Experience the top things to do in Atlanta, from historical sites to chic shops
Sometimes called the “cradle of the civil rights movement,” Atlanta is a city steeped in America’s complex cultural history. Home to several Civil War historical sites, Atlanta is also a preeminent modern city known for its outdoor beauty—don’t miss the Atlanta Botanical Gardens—and sports venues like the Atlanta Motor Speedway and SunTrust Park, the Atlanta Braves ballpark. It’s a food lover’s dream destination, boasting some of the South’s top spots for garden-to-table cooking or classic soul food, plus excellent banh mi, bibimbap, and other eats perfected by the city’s growing international population.
Atlanta has been a transportation hub since 1837, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport continues to be the busiest airport in the world. Today, the ATL airport is a symbol of Atlanta’s place at the intersection of Old South history and New South commerce, a city where you can shop at couture clothiers in Buckhead and see the birthplace of MLK, Jr., all in the same day.
Reasons to visit Atlanta:
- Civil War history: During the Civil War, Atlanta’s status as a railroad hub made it a crucial supply depot for the Confederate States Army and a prime target for Union troops. Visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to learn about General Sherman’s tactical victory and the subsequent burning of Atlanta. Or, head to Oakland Cemetery, dotted by ancient magnolias and oaks, to see the final resting place of Confederate soldiers and Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell.
- Civil Rights Monuments & Sweet Auburn: Born in Atlanta in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. lived in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood until he was 12. Today, the National Park Service leads tours of Dr. King’s Birth Home, which is restored to look as it did when he resided there. Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are buried at the nearby King Center, which houses the largest library of Dr. King’s original works. In Sweet Auburn, visitors can also discover iconic street art, hip bars, the APEX Museum of the African diaspora, and great food from the Municipal Market.
- SunTrust Park: Visiting Atlanta to watch the Braves play ball? SunTrust Park, 10 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta, comprises a state-of-the-art stadium experience—think carefully designed seating with excellent lines of sight, modern-meets-Old-South eats, and plenty of interactive activities for kids to love. While you’re here, don’t miss a stop at The Battery Atlanta, adjacent to the park, and featuring a music venue, retail shops and eclectic dining.
- Callanwolde Fine Arts Center: This community arts conservatory sits on 12 acres in the Druid Hills neighborhood. Its centerpiece is the estate itself, designed by Henry Hornbostel in the late Gothic Revival style, complete with the renowned Aeolian organ chambers. From art markets to jazz on the lawn, Callanwolde delivers a vibrant, year-round events schedule.
- World of Coca-Cola: Born in Atlanta as a health tonic, Coca-Cola is now celebrated at World of Coca-Cola, one of the city’s most popular things to do. Tour the 20-acre complex to taste everything the company produces around the world, look back at the history of Coca-Cola advertising, and pick up Coke-branded souvenirs.
- Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum: Learn about the role America’s 39th president played in the civil rights movement, the human rights movement, and Habitat for Humanity in this important presidential library.
- Unique eats: Atlanta’s dynamic restaurant scene runs the gamut from upmarket to historic. With its reputation for stellar Southern eats, Atlanta’s most exciting dining may be among the diverse Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese options clustered along Buford Highway northeast of the urban core. Closer to downtown, you can order the oysters at well-known spots like The Optimist, find farm-to-fork bites at Staplehouse, or feel like a local at better-kept secrets like Lazy Betty and Atlanta institutions like Mary Mac’s Tea Room.
Whether you want to dig into history or catch a ballgame, Radisson Hotels has you covered in Atlanta. Explore our hotels to learn more.
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