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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.
A rolling oasis nestled in the heart of downtown Atlanta, this lush park is interspersed with sprawling rock gardens. Built to enhance the infrastructure for the 1996 Summer Olympics, this park is fringed by a tapestry of buildings significant to the city, like the CNN Center, Philips Arena, and the Georgia World Congress Center. The nearly 500,000 commemorative bricks that make up its main walkway were part of fundraising efforts for the Games. During scorching Atlanta summers, children frolic in the ground-level Olympic Rings, which periodically shoot streams of water through their seven rings. One of the most promising features of the park is the fascinating 'Fountain of Rings', a technology-controlled fountain complete with music, light towers and a splash pad; not only is the fountain is a hive of fun and frolic, but it is also a great architectural feat. The park is also home to several other water features and is a massive locus for live music in the city's downtown. Bearing stunning semblances of natural wonders and an iconic Olympic legacy, Centennial Olympic Park is a site that Atlanta holds close to its heart.
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.
This National Historic Landmark was built in 1929 as a Shrine temple, but through most of its storied 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 a night on the town.
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 most expansive and popular of Atlanta's city parks was originally laid out for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895, and it now attracts more than 2 million visitors annually. Dog owners, sun seekers and sports enthusiasts flock to the Piedmont Park to enjoy the fair weather, largely unaware that this was the spot of the Battle of Peachtree Creek during the Civil War. Its picturesque locales also offer a romantic ambience. The 189-acre (76.48-hectare) facility is home to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and scenic Lake Clara Meer, and plays host to many of Atlanta's favorite concerts and festivals.
Located in the northeast part of Atlanta, Virginia-Highland is one of the popular neighborhoods of the city. The area is has a variety of restaurants and is home to many shopping and fine dining destinations. Many of the buildings still retain their historic architecture. A must-visit attraction when in Atlanta.