Oakland Cemetery#7 in Best Things To Do in Atlanta
Situated less than 2 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta and spanning 48 acres, Oakland Cemetery stands as a testament to the city's role in the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Among its winding paths, trees and flower shrubs, you'll find elaborate mausoleums, intricate sculptures and an impressive collection of art and architecture. Amidst the 70,000 graves, you'll spot some well-known Atlantans, including legends like golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The Confederate Memorial section has some of the most impressive memorials and carvings of the whole cemetery, while Potter's Field has only one monument for the thousands of people who couldn't afford private burial plots.
You are welcome to explore the grounds on your own, although many recent visitors recommended joining a guided tour. If you do decide to venture out on your own, previous travelers suggested buying a map from the Visitors Center and Museum Shop for $5 or downloading a free self-guided tour from Google or Apple's app store. To add to the ambiance, consider arriving in October when the cemetery offers Halloween-themed ghost tours.
Oakland Cemetery's grounds are free and open year-round from dawn until dusk. Guided walking tours are available on most Saturdays and Sundays: Tickets for adults cost $12, while children between 6 and 17, students and seniors pay $6.
You'll find free parking outside the cemetery's front gate or on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Oakland Avenue. If you're arriving by MARTA train, get off at the King Memorial station; the cemetery is a half-mile walk southeast. You can also take No. 21 or 99 bus to the property or the Atlanta Streetcar to the Edgewood at Hilliard stop, which is less than a mile northwest. For more detailed directions, tour hours and more, check out the cemetery's website.
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#1 Atlanta History Center
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."
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