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Atlanta Culture

Art and Design Museums
Atlanta Culture
At its core, Atlanta is a thriving metropolis with the same skyscrapers and fast-paced lifestyle you’ll find in other large towns. The neighborhoods, however, can feel like their own little cities, complete with unique culture and attractions.
By Caroline Eubanks, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Art and Design Museums
    Art and Design Museums
    The most well known of Atlanta’s cultural offerings, the High Museum of Art offers exhibits on European and American work from the last 200 years, as well as modern and regional folk art. The art museum at Oglethorpe University is small but features regularly rotating works by such notable artists as Picasso and Norman Rockwell, while the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University boasts the area’s best collection of Egyptian artifacts. Also worth visiting is the Museum of Design Atlanta, which showcases furniture, architecture, and design.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Literary Landmarks
    Literary Landmarks
    Atlanta has always been a breeding ground for literary genius, in particular Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind) and Joel Chandler Harris (the Uncle Remus stories). Head to the Margaret Mitchell House, known as “The Dump,” and explore where the writer penned her famous novel, or go to the top floor of the Atlanta-Fulton Central Library and browse a modest collection of her belongings, including her typewriter and library card. You can also visit Mitchell’s grave, which is among the most popular sites in Oakland Cemetery. At Harris’ home, known as the “Wren’s Nest,” you can enjoy regular readings and events. He’s buried in Westview Cemetery.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Science Museums
    Science Museums
    The Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville is a family favorite, with exhibits on everything from inventions and T-Rex fossils to minerals found throughout the state. Also worth a visit is the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum, which focuses on the history of printing and paper-making, and the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, where you can learn about the impacts of food safety and the AIDS epidemic. At the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you can view impressive dinosaur fossils and European artifacts, or head to the IMAX theater for a nature documentary, many of which are offered in 3D.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Live Music
    Live Music
    Among Atlanta’s many places to enjoy live music, Eddie’s Attic is probably the most well known, having hosted such notable acts as John Mayer, Justin Bieber, The Civil Wars, and the Indigo Girls. Another popular spot is the Tabernacle, a former church that now functions as a major music venue. It even played host to the Black Crowes’ four-night reunion in 2005. If your tastes lean more classical, get tickets to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which has won 27 Grammys during its tenure at the Woodruff Arts Center. During the summer, however, the place to be is the Chastain Amphitheater, the city’s best outdoor venue.
    Photo by Jeff Roffman/Delta Classic Chastain Park Amphitheater
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    Movie and Television Locations
    Movie and Television Locations
    Recently, Atlanta has become a popular place for film and television production. Tyler Perry both sets and makes his movies in the city and The Walking Dead is filmed all over town. For a closer look at locations from the addicting zombie drama, head out with Atlanta Movie Tours, which will take you to the setting for the CDC, the Goat Farm where Vatos held camp, and, of course, the Jackson Street Bridge from the show’s promotional image. If you’re willing to take a trip to nearby Senoia, you could even see the show being filmed. Atlanta Movie Tours also offers excursions to locations from The Hunger Games, including the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Bringing History to Life
    Bringing History to Life
    Around since the 1800s, Atlanta is full of history. After all, the city was the site of Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral, and the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. Start your tour at the Atlanta History Center, which details the city’s legacy. Then, stop by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site to see exhibits on segregation and Jim Crow laws. Nearby, you can also visit MLK’s childhood home and grave as well as Ebenezer Baptist Church, where both he and his father served as pastors. To learn even more, check out the MLK exhibit at The Center for Civil and Human Rights.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Historic Neighborhoods
    Historic Neighborhoods
    In recent years, a number of Atlanta’s more historically industrial areas have morphed into charming neighborhoods full of restaurants and shops. One such area is Castleberry Hill, just a short distance from downtown, where warehouses that once housed blacksmiths, butchers, and tailors are now luxury lofts. Yet another is Cabbagetown, home to converted mills that were operational until 1977. Not every neighborhood has changed, however. In Sweet Auburn, you can still visit Martin Luther King’s childhood home, attend the church where he preached sermons, and visit his gravesite.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Performing Arts
    Performing Arts
    For a little culture, catch at show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which hosts everything from Broadway shows and operas to ballets, musical performances, and more. The ultra-modern building even serves as a stand-in for the Center for Disease Control on the hit show The Walking Dead. Alternatively, you could go to the Fox Theatre; built as a movie palace in 1929, the Moorish space is now used for performing arts. Also worth visiting is the Alliance Theatre, which has won Tony Awards for its original and adapted shows—both Aida and Ghost Brothers of Darkland County premiered here before going on to Broadway.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks