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Tips on What To Do in Atlanta

Atlanta offers a wide range of activities to please many types of visitors. History buffs -- especially of the Civil War and civil rights eras -- will flock to the Atlanta's historic museums and attractions. Travelers with kids might enjoy a visit to the famous aquarium or zoo. The city also has plenty to offer when the sun goes down.

  • You can take a stroll through a world-class botanical garden, visit the world's largest indoor aquarium, picnic in a scenic park, raft down a river, visit a major art museum, splash through the Olympic-rings fountain, take in an enchanting puppet show, and much more." -- Frommer's
  • Start at the thriving epicenter of this booming metropolis, Centennial Olympic Park: home to two of Atlanta's most entertaining attractions, the nothing-short-of-awesome Georgia Aquarium (the world's largest, by gallon count) and the World of Coca-Cola, where you can drink yourself silly on 60 sodas from around the world." -- Lonely Planet

Museums

The city is also home to several good museums, including the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta History Center and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. For history buffs who want something a little different, reviewers and leisure travelers recommend a tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, located just east of downtown. The birth home of the famed civil rights leader also features an exhibit about the civil rights movement.

  • If you are towing a significant other, spend some time in the whitewashed multilevel High Museum of Art, taking in eye-catching late-19th-century furniture, and countless European and American artists." -- Lonely Planet
  • To sign up for guided tours, go to the National Park Service Visitor Center (450 Auburn Ave., 30312), across the street from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. … Advance reservations are not possible, so sign up early in the day." -- Fodor's

Attractions for Kids

For a look into one of the biggest brands in America, writers and recent visitors suggest going to the World of Coca-Cola, which offers samples of the product from other countries and has a number of exhibits devoted entirely to the beverage. The world's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium is interactive with touch tanks and has more than 80,000 animals (not to mention eight million gallons of water) within its walls.

  • You can sip samples of Coca-Cola Company products from around the world and peruse more than a century's worth of memorabilia from the corporate archives. The gift shop sells everything from refrigerator magnets to evening bags. Visits begin with the screening of a promotional movie. Some visitors love it; others see it as an annoyingly long commercial." -- Fodor's
  • Even if you have only a day or two to spend in the city, this is a must-see. The Georgia Aquarium, the largest in the country, continues to draw mind-boggling numbers of visitors every day. The highlights include giant whale sharks and unforgettable exhibits in five major categories, from river life to sea life from foreign waters around the planet." -- Away.com

Nature

For a quiet escape from the fast-paced city life, recent visitors recommend heading to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which sits on 30 acres of land in Piedmont Park and features a breathtaking orchid center. Less than 20 miles east of downtown is Stone Mountain Park, which features a huge granite memorial to the Confederacy that's carved into the side of the mountain. Visitors can either walk or take a cable car to the top of the mountain for great views of the outlying countryside.

  • The Confederate Memorial on the north face of the 825-foot-high mountain [at Stone Mountain Park] is the world's largest sculpture, measuring 90 feet by 190 feet. There are several ways to see the sculpture, including a cable car that lifts you to the mountaintop and a steam locomotive that chugs aro1und the mountain's base. " -- Fodor's
  • For the lover of natural wonders, take a short drive east to Stone Mountain State Park. This 3,000 acre expanse of forests and lakes centers around the park's namesake, a chunk of solid granite that rises 1,683 feet and is adorned with the world's largest bas-relief sculpture." -- Travel Channel

Shopping

Atlanta features a huge shopping scene with everything from high-end boutiques to smaller and more niche flea markets and antiques shops. For the best spots, head to Buckhead. Recent visitors also recommend the boutiques of the Virginia Highland area, northeast of downtown.

  • For unique finds, head northeast from downtown to Virginia Highland where leafy streets are lined with stylish boutiques, neighborhood taverns, and sidewalk cafés. " -- National Geographic Traveler
  • Be prepared to spend some cash because Atlanta shopping is top-notch, whether you prefer the antiques in Miami Circle or Bennett Street District, the designer labels in Phipps Plaza, or the unique items at Underground Atlanta." -- Smarter Travel

Nightlife

The neighborhoods of Buckhead and Virginia Highland are where the major nightlife spots are located. As far as Atlanta nightlife goes in general, there certainly isn't a shortage of things to do when it's dark. Bars and dance clubs blaring everything from jazz and house to Top 40 hits and hip-hop line the streets of the city, while performance venues like the Fox Theatre hosts concerts, ballets and operas.

  • Atlanta is a place where you can have a very good time; budget for blowing some money hopping between its bars and clubs. The main concentrations are in the overlapping yuppie Virginia-Highland and punky Little Five Points, and the more upmarket Midtown, the center of Atlanta's thriving gay and lesbian scene. Buckhead can be a lot of fun if you've got bags of cash. " -- Rough Guides
  • The biggest concentration of clubs and bars is in Buckhead (near the intersection of Peachtree Rd. and E. Paces Ferry Rd.); in Virginia-Highland (at the intersection of Virginia and N. Highland aves., and on N. Highland just north of Ponce de Leon Ave.); in Little Five Points (near the intersection of Moreland and Euclid aves.); and downtown near Peachtree Center." -- Frommer's
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