Atlanta gleams amid glass and steel towers, but the heart of the South’s largest city is its people. Visitors are likely to be greeted with a big helping of “How y’all doing” hospitality. Atlanta may have birthed “Gone with the Wind,” yet today’s big, bustling city is more New South than old. This diverse population of 4 million residents is decidedly youthful – younger than the U.S. population and more racially diverse. You’re more than likely to meet people who came for a weekend and decided to stay a lifetime.
Atlanta began as a railroad terminus. It’s still a transportation hub, but with a 21st-century, global approach. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world with direct, nonstop service to more than 155 U.S. destinations – 80 percent of those within a two-hour flight – and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries. With MARTA located inside the airport, visitors can roll into town without a car.
Centennial Olympic Park, the heart of Downtown’s tourist hub, is marked by playful fountains that draw visitors to its core. Attractions abound at Pemberton Place with the popular Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and opening this year, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Sports fans congregate here to visit the College Football Hall of Fame, opening Labor Day weekend, and to ”Rise Up” for the NFL Falcons at the Georgia Dome, NBA Hawks and WNBA Dream at Philips Arena, and the MLB Braves at Turner Field.
The city’s rich history comes to life in Sweet Auburn, once the richest black community in America. The area is a mecca for civil rights travelers visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and Ebenezer Baptist Church. In Atlanta, chef-run restaurants dish up modern American cuisine in strikingly beautiful spaces. Among the cutting edge eateries are plenty of cozy diners, cafés and bistros. The ethnic mom-and-pop restaurants along Buford Highway offer menus with little English and lots of flavor.
Beyond the city’s core, Atlanta’s neighborhoods are packed with personality. Midtown melds in-town glitz with the culture. The Westside has become a magnet for foodies, design enthusiasts and shoppers. Buckhead blends boutiques and galleries with fabulous dining, while Little Five Points lives on the edge of bohemian grunge paired with solid live theatre and music scenes.
Culture permeates throughout Atlanta. Emerging artists and designers pepper the city’s galleries and boutiques. For high-brow options, our city boasts an award-winning symphony, opera, and ballet. We host nationally-acclaimed touring shows and world-class exhibitions. And visitors can catch our homegrown talent at our numerous local playhouses, theatres, and neighborhood music venues. It’s easy to fall in love with this charming metropolis that offers something for every traveler.
Look beyond the gleaming high rises to discover the soul of the South. Atlanta’s dozen or so intown neighborhoods build an attractive quality of life that keeps people moving and visiting here. These communities blend residential streets with gotta-find-it boutiques and the best chef-owned eateries. Shady oaks, mounds of blooming azaleas, and snowy hydrangeas paint a verdant backdrop.
Looking for a dining recommendation in Atlanta? Just ask the locals. Dining is one of Atlanta’s favorite past times, with residents spending half of their annual food budget on eating away from home. Atlanta boasts more than 700 Zagat-rated restaurants from upscale gourmet cuisine to progressive variations of Southern staples.
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