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.
The most expansive and popular of Atlanta's city parks were 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 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.
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.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the largest spectacles of plant life in the Southeast. Sprawling over 15 acres (six hectares), this natural oasis was established in 1976 and is located within stumbling distance of the famous Piedmont Park. It is home to the Fuqua Conservatory and Japanese gardens, both rich in globe-spanning flora. Follow a walking trail, great for couples, and admire exotic rose plantations and carnivorous specimens. In addition, guided tours and seasonal shows guarantee an entertaining botany lesson.
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.
A vibrant capital with a rich history, Atlanta is Georgia's most populous city. Downtown is home to big businesses as well as restaurants and attractions like the Georgia Aquarium, Fox Theater, and ATLwood , Atlanta's booming movie and theater district. Entrenched in African American history and the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic speech. With all the energy of a booming metropolis, Atlanta still retains its southern charm, tucked away in its quieter neighborhoods and invites travelers to discover for themselves its warmth and friendly spirit.
Founded in 1913, Georgia State has come a long way since its beginnings. It was recently awarded with a slot in the top 100 public universities in the nation and has over 55 degree programs to choose from. It is the only urban research university in the South and is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The school has approximately 30,000 undergraduate students as well as about 10,000 graduate students taking classes on campus.
When building this landmark in the 1920s, architect Joel Hurt was careful to keep frills to a minimum, preferring the simple base, shaft and capital design so prevalent in the office buildings of the 1890s. The resulting clarity of design still provides a handsome highlight to the Atlanta skyline, rising 18 stories above the downtown business district. It is now used mainly for private office space.
Built in 1906 by Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler, this 17 story masterpiece is a prominent fixture on the Atlanta skyline. The elaborate detail on the white marble facade is a fine example of the style of the period, when functional buildings were designed as much for their aesthetic appeal as for their practicality. The tons of structural steel and iron used in construction is said to be twice the amount used in any other building in the Southeast. Today, the building houses private offices. The Atlanta Preservation Center's walking tours of the neighborhood include The Candler Building.
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.