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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.
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.
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.
A Civil War landmark as well as an expansive verdant oasis, Candler Park offers tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields and an outdoor pool. Perhaps the park's most unique feature is its nine-hole golf course that winds its scenic way through one of the east side's most pleasant residential neighborhoods. Often crowded, Candler Park is not the ideal place for a quiet jog, but sports are always being played and everyone is welcome.
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.
Chastain Park is one of the largest of its kind in the city. Situated to the east of its namesake neighborhood, it is a popular recreational respite among locals and tourists alike. It features playgrounds, a golf course, tennis court, swimming pool and running paths. In addition, it is a great outdoor venue for concerts. The amphitheater is one of the most famous in the country for setting the standard in live entertainment. Past performances have been by some of the biggest artists in music such as Counting Crows, Lyle Lovett and Jewel.