Atlanta City and Culture

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Atlanta City and Culture
At its core, Atlanta is a thriving metropolis with the skyscrapers and fast pace of life you'll find in other cities. But each neighborhood can feel like its own city, with its own culture and attractions.
By Caroline Eubanks, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Art and Design Museums
    The High Museum of Art is the most well-known of Atlanta's cultural offerings, with exhibits of European and American art from the last 200 years as well as regional folk art and modern art. The art museum at Oglethorpe University is small, but contains a regularly changing gallery of works by artists like Picasso and Norman Rockwell. The Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University has the area's best collection of Egyptian artifacts. The Museum of Design Atlanta devotes itself to furniture, architecture, and design.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Literary Landmarks
    The city has been a breeding ground for literary greats, in particular Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, and Joel Chandler Harris, writer of the Uncle Remus stories. Visit the Margaret Mitchell House, known as "The Dump," where the writer penned her famous novel. A modest collection of her belongings, including her typewriter and library card, are on the top floor of the Central Library. Mitchell is buried in Oakland Cemetery and her grave is one of the most visited. Harris' home, known as the Wren’s Nest, regularly hosts readings and events for future generations of writers. Come full circle by visiting Joel Chandler Harris' grave at Westview Cemetery.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Science Museums
    Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville is a family favorite, with exhibits on everything from inventions to fossils of the Tyrannosaurus Rex to minerals found throughout the state. The Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at the Georgia Institute of Technology discusses the history of printing and paper making. Fernbank Museum of Natural History is known best for its impressive dinosaur fossils and European artifacts; in addition, their IMAX Theater hosts nature documentaries, many in 3D. The David J. Sencer Museum at the Centers for Disease Control in Decatur offers insight into the CDC's work on the impacts of food safety and the AIDS epidemic.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Live Music
    Every genre of music is represented in Atlanta, so you'll find plenty of spots to catch a live act. Eddie's Attic is one of the most well-known, hosting acts like John Mayer, Justin Bieber, The Civil Wars, and the Indigo Girls. In contrast to the humble stage at Eddie's, the Tabernacle brings in well-known musicians to the former church that is now a top music venue. The church operated from 1898 to 1994 before hosting the four night reunion of the Black Crowes. For more classical tastes, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has won 27 Grammys over its tenure at the Woodruff Arts Center. If your visit is during the summer, bring a picnic to 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
    Atlanta has become a popular setting for film and television production. Tyler Perry movies and shows are filmed and set in the city, but the most popular series is The Walking Dead. The addicting zombie drama even has its own film location tour with Atlanta Movie Tours, which takes you to the setting for the CDC, the Goat Farm where Vatos held camp, and, of course, the Jackson Street Bridge from which the iconic promotional image derives. A trip to nearby Senoia or Covington could even give you the chance to see The Walking Dead or The Vampire Diaries being filmed. You can also tour locations from The Hunger Games series, such as the Swan House.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Bringing History to Life
    Atlanta has been around since the 1800s, and there's plenty of history still reflected in today's city. These streets were the site of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., and the 1996 Olympics. Start at the Atlanta History Center, which lays out the regional and local history and legacy. Then stop by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which has exhibits on segregation and Jim Crow laws. MLK Jr.'s birth home and grave are also nearby. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights has an MLK Jr. exhibition, too, and is well worth a visit.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Rose/Atlanta Photos
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    Historic Neighborhoods
    In recent years, a number of the city's more historically industrial areas have morphed into charming neighborhoods full of restaurants and shops. Castleberry Hill is one such neighborhood; a short distance from the downtown area, the warehouses-turned-lofts were once spaces for the city's blacksmiths, butchers, tailors, and laborers after the Civil War. Sweet Auburn is another one of Atlanta's historic neighborhoods; this is where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up. You can see his childhood home, the church where he preached his sermons, and his grave. Nearby Cabbagetown is full of converted mills, where a community of employees and their families lived until the mills' closure in 1977.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks
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    Performing Arts
    Catch a show at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which plays host to traveling Broadway shows, opera, ballet, musicians, and more throughout the year. The ultra-modern building even acts as a stand-in for the Center for Disease Control on the show The Walking Dead. Atlanta's Fox Theatre was built in 1929 as a movie palace; the Moorish interior is now used for the performing arts. The Alliance Theatre has won Tony Awards for its original and adapted performances—Aida premiered here before going onto Broadway, as did Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.
    Photo by Caroline Eubanks