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A public redevelopment project, the Atlanta Beltline has established itself as one of the city's most popular recreation spots, and the location hosts marathons and other sporting events. Visitors to the Beltline can hike, bike, and walk the park's many trails or even visit the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark. The non-profit organization backing the Beltline also offers guided tours of the area explaining various aspects of the project, its history, goals, and purpose.
Standing tall over Capitol Square, The Georgia State Capitol commands historic and architectural importance. 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 rounded dome is laden with gold leaf, and a statue of the Goddess of Liberty stands at it very top. 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 also houses several office chambers where the General Assembly meets every year.
Housing the history of the world's most popular soda, the World of Coca-Cola is one of Atlanta's premier attractions. See pieces of historic Coke memorabilia, visit the 4D theatre for a unique cinematic experience, and lay eyes on the vault that holds the secret recipe. Visitors can also sample an array of different coke products, send letters to friends and family from the famous Coke polar bear, take home authentic Coke gifts from the museum shop, and visit the pop culture gallery to learn about the advertising history of this renowned brand.
In the shadow of downtown, this bucolic expanse is a constant reminder of the city's history. Dating from 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, although locating Mitchell's plain headstone can be a challenge. A brochure from the cemetery office will help you find famous graves and interesting sections. Tours are offered March through October.
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, this historic site contains Dr. King's boyhood home, his tomb and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King and his father were both pastors. The district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977. This collective 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. This historic site is home to many other monuments like King Center, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, 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.
Created mostly with land granted by Colonel Lemuel Grant, the "Father of Atlanta," Grant Park is the oldest surviving park in the city. Its landscape was part of the defensive line against Union forces in the Civil War, and the breastworks of Fort Walker remain as evidence of the Confederacy's defeat. The Cyclorama, a circular building filled with the world's largest painting, tells the story of the battle. The park's other main attraction is Zoo Atlanta, one of the only places in the country that you can see a set of giant pandas.
This modest turn-of-the-century home is an architectural find in itself, but most notable because it houses the apartment where Margaret Mitchell penned most of Gone with the Wind. Having survived arson and many seasons of decay, the house has been completely restored. Guided tours feature a wealth of historical and anecdotal information on Mitchell, the house and Atlanta in general. A museum shop is also on site.
The Jimmy Carter Library & Museum sits on 35 landscaped acres just east of downtown where the Virginia-Highlands meet Inman Park. The complex consists of five interconnected pavilions that house the offices of the former President, research and foundation facilities, and the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, which includes thousands of papers and mementos from the Carter administration. The landscaped gardens feature a lake, as well as more than 400 plants and 80 varieties of roses, including the coral Rosalynn Carter rose.
The Millennium Gate beautifully punctuates Midtown to give Atlanta its "Gate City" nickname. The Latin inscription on the facade indicates the structure is a dedication to peaceful accomplishments. The architecture is quintessential of classic Roman triumphal arches replete with sculptural accents and a picturesque landscape. It houses a museum that sprawls over 12,000 square feet (1,100 square meters) and showcases a well-preserved collection of Georgian memorabilia and historical evidence. The period rooms lend a glimpse into life in the 18th Century while digital and technologically interactive displays make for a sophisticated history lesson.
Atlanta History Center is a great spot for history buffs. This comprehensive museum complex was founded in 1926 and chronicles the region's history which includes sections on the Civil War, Civil Rights movement, Southern folk crafts, Atlanta's expansion and much more. Spread across 33 acres (13.5 hectares), it consists of the Atlanta History Museum, Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm (Smith Family Farm), Margaret Mitchell House, Centennial Olympic Games Museum, Kenan Research Center and six beautiful gardens. It has various programs, festivals and events going on 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. The Margaret Mitchell House is a hub for authors and amateur writers as it hosts yearly creative writing programs to keep the legacy of the celebrated writer, whose novel Gone with the Wind, is among the most loved books. Don't miss this center when in Atlanta.
This 24,000-square-foot (2230-square meter) modern mansion has been home to the state's governors since 1968, when the mansion was rebuilt in the Greek Revival style. The two-story home features a library and a ballroom that comfortably seats 150 for dinner. Furnishings and paintings are neoclassical and feature many collections from Georgia artists. The second floor is the family's private residence and includes a large suite for visiting dignitaries. The free tour is self-guided, although hosts are available in each room to explain items of special significance. A virtual tour is available on the website.