One of the largest cemeteries in Atlanta, the Oakland Cemetery is located in the heart of downtown. This bucolic expanse serves as a constant reminder of the city's history. Dating back to the 1850s, the cemetery was the final destination for all Atlantans until 1884, when private burial grounds began appearing throughout the city. The oldest section is near the main entrance, where legendary golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell are interred. This expansive 48-acre (190,000-sq meter) beautiful garden now houses sculptures, an art gallery, a green space and serves as a prominent wedding venue for the city.
Atlanta History Center is a great spot for history buffs. This comprehensive museum complex was founded in 1926 and chronicles the region's history, including sections on the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, Southern folk crafts, Atlanta's expansion, and much more. Spread across 33 acres (13.5 hectares), the complex consists of the Atlanta History Museum, Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm (Smith Family Farm), Margaret Mitchell House, Lee Playhouse, Victorian Playhouse, McElreath Hall, Kenan Research Center, and beautiful gardens. It has various programs, festivals, and events throughout the year. Considered to be among the biggest history museums in the country, each space is unique and distinct, giving a glimpse of an era bygone and stories to enthrall everyone.
A few blocks to the east of downtown, the Sweet Auburn neighborhood is home to the birthplace of America's most influential Civil Rights leader. Operated by the National Park Service, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park comprises Dr. King's boyhood home, his tomb and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King and his father were both pastors. The park, along with much of the surrounding district, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. This collection of historic monuments invokes poignant memories of Martin Luther King Jr., and the indelible mark that he has left on the American Civil Rights Movement. Visitors will also find other fascinating monuments here such as the King Center, the Prince Hall and a statue of the world-revered Mahatma Gandhi. The Visitor Center of the site shelters an insightful museum, which sheds light on the legacy of Dr. King.
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1929 as a Shrine temple, but through most of its history, it has served as Atlanta's premier theatrical venue. The Fox Theater is a marvel of Middle Eastern Revival architecture that spans a full city block. It is one of the largest theaters built in America during the golden age of the movies. Today, the theater maintains a steady schedule of Broadway shows, operas, symphonic performances, and rock concerts. Tours are available, but the best way to experience the Fox Theatre is through the city's nightlife.
The Georgia Aquarium opened in 2005 as one of the largest aquariums in the world. Located in downtown Atlanta, it is undoubtedly a breathtaking experience for all its visitors. A generous endowment from Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, made this dynamic aquarium possible. It showcases exotic sea creatures such as giant groupers, beluga whales and whale sharks. With 500 species, you will see something new and different no matter when you visit. One can opt for sleepovers with friends and enjoy a night-time experience in the aquarium. In addition, it also offers an expansive educational program for students of all ages and several interactive animal experiences.
Standing tall over Capitol Square, The Georgia State Capitol commands historic and architectural significance. Colored in rich white, the building displays a blend of neoclassical and classical revival architecture. It features elements like detailed pilasters and Corinthian columns, which support a four-story front porch, or portico. The towering dome is laden with gold leaf, with a statue of the Goddess of Liberty perched as its crowning glory. The monument features a museum that chronicles the history of the state through various historic artifacts like portraits, statues, relics and fossils. It serves as the primary legislative building of the government of Georgia and houses several office chambers, where the General Assembly meets annually. Students, tourists and locals alike can indulge in guided tours of the building to learn about the state’s and the country’s important historic events.
Housed within a lovely Gothic Revival style building that was built in 1906, is the All Saints Episcopal Church of Atlanta. In a space sheltered by the church's high ceilings and surrounded by some beautiful stained glass windows, the congregation gathers to worship and pray in unison. The church does not only attract those looking for a place to pray, but also tourists who come to see the church's wonderful stained glass windows, six of which have been crafted by the famed Tiffany Studios. The services are accompanied by a lively choir and organ music, while the sermons offer a thoughtful and progressive interpretation of the Scriptures. Through its support of a variety of ministries, social outreach programs, special events and social gatherings, the church fosters a sense of fellowship and community amongst its members.
Established in the 1840s, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was Atlanta's first catholic church and is the second oldest surviving building of Downtown. The existing church building was originally constructed in 1873, however renovation and restoration work conducted over the years have altered its appearance to some extent without detracting from its beauty. Replete with ornate carvings, splendid stained glass windows, historic paintings and fine architectural details, the church is a popular tourist destination, aside from being a thriving and active place of worship. Known for its social conscience and outreach programs, the church continues to serve the community even after all these years. The services are often attended by a diverse group of individuals including members of other denominations. No matter where you come from, what you believe, or who you are, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception you will be welcomed with open arms. With its rich history, exquisite architectural design, and moving worship services, it is no wonder that the church holds a fond place in the hearts of all who have visited and worshipped here.
The First Congregational Church of Atlanta is the second oldest Black Congregational Church in the United States, and has played a invaluable role in the social upliftment and spiritual growth of the African-Americans of Atlanta. From the time of its inception, the church has provided the community with a host of facilities that had until then been denied to the greatly neglected African-American community. Housed within a stunning early 20th-century building, the church is a striking sight that inspires all with its beauty and historic significance. Although chiefly built in a Beaux-Arts Classical Revival style, the church gracefully incorporates a mix of styles including that of the Italian Renaissance and Spanish Mission. Favored by prominent members of the community and as a part of the United Church of Christ, the church continues on in its legacy of creating a generation of spiritually mature and socially conscious individuals. Striving for social justice, this open church continues to contribute to and organize social outreach and humanitarian efforts. Home to a vibrant and active congregation, the First Congregational Church offers worship service every Sunday at 11a and organizes various events and concerts throughout the year.