Atlanta History Center#1 in Best Things To Do in Atlanta
Spread across 33 acres in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, the Atlanta History Center seeks to explore Georgia's past through comprehensive exhibitions, historic homes and miles of gardens and trails. The center's primary facility is the Atlanta History Museum, which showcases exhibits that span the region's history, from Native American culture to life in the antebellum South.
Near the museum is the Swan House, a restored estate originally built in 1928. Living up to its name, every room allegedly features at least one swan (motif). Outside the house, the Swan Woods Trail is lined with beautiful plants native to Georgia. Nearby, you can also see how the other half lived at the Smith Family Farm, a plantation house from the mid-1800s. Meanwhile, bookworms won't want to miss a tour of the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author penned her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Gone With the Wind."
Many travelers say that this property's attractions more than justify its entrance fee. Just be sure to allot enough time for the center's buildings: Several visitors note that there's plenty to see here, so plan on spending at least three hours on-site.
Tickets – which grant admission to all of the center's attractions and access to facilities like a gift shop, a coffee shop and two eateries – cost $21.50 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $9 for kids ages 4 to 12. Entrance is free for children younger than 4. If you choose to drive, you'll find free parking at the history center. You can also take southbound bus No. 110 to the Sardis Way NW stop, which sits a few blocks east of the property. Hours of operation vary by building, but the Atlanta History Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with reduced hours on Sundays. Check the center's website for more information.
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#2 Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Walk in the footsteps of one of history's most important figures with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Here you'll find the modest home where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised. You can also head over to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once a pastor. And at The King Center, you'll find engaging exhibits on the civil rights movement and King's gravesite. These, along with several other landmarks and museums, are jointly considered a national historic site.
Most agree a trip to Atlanta must include time spent at this historic site. Many travelers recommend arriving early to take a free 30-minute guided tour of King's birth home. Tours start at 10 a.m. and are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Weekdays and Sunday mornings are the least crowded, according to the National Park Service. Also, remember to wear comfy shoes since the entire complex is spread across several city blocks.
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