Photo Courtesy of Michele Pegoraro
It’s been called Terminus and Marthasville, but we now know it as Atlanta. It was burned to the ground during the Civil War but notoriously rose from the ashes like the "resurgens" that has become the city’s motto. Atlanta was an important city during the Civil Rights Movement and the site of the 19…96 Summer Olympic Games. The music scene here slowly developed and has become home to hip-hop and rap record labels like So So Def Recordings, and it has now grown to include all genres. Today Atlanta is headquarters to countless companies including Delta, Coca Cola, Turner Broadcasting, and Equifax.
What to know before you go to Atlanta
Atlanta is known for humid summers and mild winters, so fall and spring are the best times to visit. During both seasons, there are plenty of events and music festivals around town.
From Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, you can take the Red or Gold MARTA train lines into the center of town. Alternatively, you can take a taxi for around $30.
If you’ll be taking public transportation, purchase a Breeze card, a reusable card that you can add money to. But public transportation leaves a lot to be desired, so it’s likely you’ll need a car unless you plan on staying within a certain neighborhood. Parts of the city are very walkable, but use caution at crosswalks. Atlanta isn’t the most cab-friendly city, so if you’ll be taking taxis, look up a few cab numbers before you leave or download the Uber app for free on your smartphone.
Head over to the Starlight Six Drive-In for one of the few remaining drive-in movie experiences. Bring some snacks and a few friends.
Atlanta may not have its own signature dish, but the city excels in award-winning Southern restaurants. The city's chefs have received countless awards and recognition over the last few years.
Buckhead once was art gallery central, and while some art remains, it’s been largely replaced by bars, restaurants, and boutiques. It is, however, still a good place to catch a live music act. For more culture, visit the High Museum of Art, with one of the best collections in the southeast. See a play at the Alliance Theatre. Or attend a performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Also, try to catch an open-mike night to see who the “next big thing” might be in the city’s music industry.
Springtime is the season of festivals, but the most popular is the Dogwood Festival, which draws food and arts vendors to Piedmont Park. The Peachtree Road Race is the city’s largest event, with thousands of runners participating every Fourth of July. And food is the main event at the Taste of Atlanta and the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.
Explore more than just downtown. While there is plenty to see ITP (“Inside the Perimeter”), check out unique neighborhoods and experiences outside the perimeter, like the Buford Highway, Decatur, and historic Marietta. But don’t get on any major roadway between 3:30 and 7 pm unless you want to be sitting in your car.
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more about Atlanta
Caroline Eubanks is a freelance writer with a focus on travel, particularly in the Southern United States. She’s a team writer for Her Packing List and her work has been featured in the Charleston City Paper, Matador Network, National Geographic Traveler and Travel Mindset. She calls Atlanta home in between adventures. You can read more of her writing on Caroline in the City and This Is My South, a site devoted to Southern travel.