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Atlanta

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Central Georgia : Atlanta
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See Atlanta (disambiguation) for more Atlantas

Atlanta is in the Southeastern United States. It is the state of Georgia's capital and largest city.

Metro Area Cities

Atlanta Neighborhoods

  • '"Buckhead"'
  • '"Midtown"'
  • '"Virginia-Highlands"'
  • '"Morningside"'
  • '"Grant Park"'
  • '"Poncey-Highland"'
  • '"Brookhaven"'
  • '"Candler Park"'
  • '"Inman Park"'
  • '"East Atlanta"'
  • '"West End"'
  • '"Garden Hills"'

Understand

Climate

Atlanta is located on the Piedmont Plateau, over 1000 foot above sea level and the coastal plains of Georgia. This altitude means that the city is somewhat cooler than other places in the US South, a fact that certainly helped the growth of the city in pre-airconditioning days.

Atlanta benefits from a very large temperature range. Temperatures in winter can go into the low teens, and snowfall is not unknown. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures commonly reaching 90°F. Rainfall is high in late winter and early spring, and afternoon thunderstorms are common in summer. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit.

History

Atlanta was originally founded as Terminus in 1836, the name reflecting its function as a railway terminus, and renamed Atlanta in 1847. Atlanta remains a key junction point of the US rail system, with several lines connecting in a complex of junctions within the downtown area.

During the American Civil War, the city became the target of a major Union invasion in the American Civil War as part of Union General William T. Sherman's March to the Sea. Union forces entered Atlanta on September 2nd, 1864 and Sherman ordered Atlanta burned to the ground on November 11 in preparation for his march south. As a consequence almost all of buildings in Atlanta date from after 1864.

In the late 20th century, Atlanta has grown to be a major commercial center and is the home of several major enterprises, including Delta Airlines, Coca-Cola, UPS and CNN. At the same time, Atlanta became one of the major centers of the American civil rights movement. Martin Luther King was born in the city, and his boyhood home on Auburn Avenue in the Sweet Auburn district is preserved by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site; his final resting place is in the tomb at the center of the reflecting pool at The King Center.

In 1996, Atlanta hosted the 26th Olympic Summer Games of the modern era. Sadly the games were marred by a terrorist attack on the Centennial Olympic Park, which killed 2 and wounded many more. Subsequently the games were also criticised for poor transport facilities and consequent traffic congestion, and are regarded by many as the least successful games of recent times. However they have left a legacy of civic improvements and sporting facilities which benefit the visitor.

Visitors

Atlanta is essentially a place to live and work. There are some interesting things to see in the metro area, but nothing significant enough to motivate a visit to the city from too very far. However it is well worth the trip from cities such as Chattanooga, TN or Athens, GA for big name concerts and excellent dining.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this, Atlanta has become a major conference and exhibition city. Most of the venues are in the area around Peachtree Center, and when there is a large show in town it can sometimes seem like every second person in the city is wearing a name badge.

Get in

By plane

Atlanta's principal airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is situated 10 miles south of downtown Atlanta. This is often claimed as the busiest airport in the world, and it does have many flights from both US domestic and, to a lesser extent, international destinations.

It should be noted that Hartsfield is largely set up as a hub airport, with much of its traffic being transfer rather than arrival or departure traffic. The airport has a single groundside terminal, connected to 5 mid-airport concourses by underground walkways and rail transit. The concourse furthest from the terminal (concourse E) is dedicated to international flights and all immigration and customs formalities are conducted here. This makes international arrival procedures rather cumbersome. Passengers arriving from overseas will need to clear immigration controls, reclaim hold baggage from a baggage carousel, clear customs, check hold baggage back in, ride the underground transit to the main terminal, reclaim hold baggage again from another carousel, and finally exit the airport.

Hartsfield airport is the terminus of the southern branch of the MARTA rail system (see 'Get Around' below), and for travellers going to locations in downtown, midtown or northern Atlanta this forms a good and economic way of getting there. Most MARTA stations have taxi ranks to aid completion of the journey, and some hotels (especially in the Sandy Springs area) have free shuttles which will collect from their nearest MARTA station on telephone request. Alternatively the airport has the usual complement of taxi ranks, airport shuttle vans and car hire offices.

For more information:

By train

Atlanta is served by Amtrak's Crescent train, which runs daily and serves New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans (and vice-versa). Southbound, the train leaves New York just before 3pm, calls at Atlanta at around 9am and reaches New Orleans by 8pm. Northbound, the train leaves New Orleans at around 7am, calls at Atlanta at around 8pm and reaches New York by 2pm.

In Atlanta, the train calls at the Amtrak station at 1688 Peachtree St. N.W., which is several miles north of downtown and not well served by local public transport. You will probably need to budget for a taxi to complete the journey.

For more information:

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines provide bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the US. Buses arrive at, and depart from, the Greyhound terminal at 232 Forsyth Street, which is on the southern edge of the downtown area and directly beneath MARTA's Garnett Station (see 'Get Around' below).

For more information:

By car

Atlanta is linked to the rest of the US by the interstate freeway network. The principal interstates serving the city are the I-75 (serving traffic from Chicago and Detroit to Florida), the I-85 (serving traffic from the North-East to New Orleans) and the I-20 (serving traffic from California and Texas to South Carolina), all of which cross near the downtown area.

A further freeway (the I-285 or Perimeter) rings the city at a distance of about 10 miles out, crossing and connecting with all the above freeways as well as the airport.

All these freeways can become very congested inside the metro area, especially during commute times. If commute times co-incide with heavy weather then gridlock is all but inevitable.

Get around

By foot

Within the downtown and midtown areas, walking is a reasonable way to get around. All the streets have sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.

However outside these areas, Atlanta is a distinctly unfriendly place for pedestrians. Many streets have neither sidewalks nor pedestrian crossings, and the width and traffic density of some streets make then almost uncrossable; the problem seems to be worst in the most recently developed areas. In some areas you will need to reconcile yourself to using car, taxi or shuttle for journeys of less than one hundred yards.

If you are tempted to brave the traffic on foot, remember that this is the city that allowed its most famous literary citizen (Margaret Mitchell, author of 'Gone With The Wind') to be knocked down and killed by a speeding taxi driver.

By transit

Atlanta is well served by MARTA, (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) which operates both rapid rail and bus networks in the city of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton and Dekalb.

The rail network comprises two principal lines making up a cross. The north-south line runs from a southern terminus at Hartsfield airport through downtown and midtown Atlanta, before splitting into two branches serving terminals in north metro Atlanta at North Springs and Doraville respectively. The east-west line runs from an western terminal at Hamilton E. Holmes, via an interchange with the north-south line at Five Points station in downtown Atlanta, to an eastern terminal at Indian Creek. Trains run on all lines every 10 minutes during peak periods, reducing to every 20 minutes on Sundays.

The bus network comprises over one hundred different bus routes, with many routes operating every 20 minutes or so. One feature of MARTA is the close integration of rail and bus services. Many rail stations have integral bus stations, and in some cases the buses enter the station's 'paid area' thus avoiding the need to use transfers.

A single ride on MARTA costs $1.75 including transfers. Ride tokens are sold in vending machines at all rail stations or at RideStores at Airport and Five Points stations. When starting the journey by bus, drop the token or cash fare into the farebox and, if necessary, ask the operator for a transfer ticket. When starting the journey by train, drop the token into the turnstile and, if necessary, press the button to request a transfer ticket be printed. When transferring to a bus, show the operator your transfer ticket. When transferring to a train, swipe the transfer ticket through the reader on the turnstile.

For more information:

By taxi

Until the past few years, Atlanta had lousy cab service. You didn't even want to think about trying to flag down a cab. They were few and far between. It is getting easier in the downtown area along Peachtree St. up to the Buckhead area to flag one down, but your best bet is to go to a hotel or a MARTA train station to get one.

Lately, it has been possible to call a cab in (Checker, etc) and have them do pick ups within 5 minutes around the Midtown/Downtown area. The prices are high (expect to pay $10 within Midtown/Downtown and an extra $10-20 if you're going to Buckhead/North Atlanta).

By car

Cars are the most popular form of transport in and around Atlanta and as such, traffic can be pretty bad. While the Interstates are large (Eight lanes in one direction in several places), rush-hour can see them at a stand-still. Travelling during business hours or on non-holiday weekends, though, can be quite easy.
Keep your eyes peeled as you drive because native Atlanta drivers have learned the art of moving from the far side of the road to make an exit. If you keep your cool and watch the traffic, you'll soon learn the flow. Given a day or two of study, you'll be driving like a native.

See

Downtown Atlanta

Downtown Atlanta is the old central area of Atlanta, which still contains much of the commercial activity of the city. All the places to see here are within 10 minutes walk of each other, and within a similar walking distance of any of the MARTA stations at Five Points, Peachtree Center or Omni-Dome-World-Congress Center.

  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • CNN Center, Marietta Street (adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park), telephone (404) 827-2300. The world headquarters of CNN shares the CNN center with a large tourist oriented shopping mall and food court. Here you can eat food from around the world whilst watching CNN's multi-channel output to the world on large screens. In addition studio tours are available, which include demonstrations of the technology used and visits to viewing galleries overlooking the newsrooms and newsreaders of CNN, CNN Headline News and CNN En Espanol. Tours run 9am-5pm every day. Admission to the center is free; tours cost $10 (adult); $8 (senior); $7 (child). http://www.cnn.com/StudioTour/
  • Underground Atlanta
  • World of Coca-Cola, 55 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (adjacent to Underground Atlanta), telephone (770) 578-4325 extension 1465. Pay good money to receive the word from the marketing department of the world's largest soft drinks company. Open M-Sa 9am-5pm; Su 11am-5pm. $7 (adult); $5 (senior); $4 (child).
  • The King Center,449 Aubum Avenue, NE Atlanta, GA 30312, telephone (404)526-8900. The memorial of Martin Luther King Jr. Which was established in 1968. The place shows Martin Luther King Jr.s nonviolent Social Change works and also it holds Dr.Kings birth home. It is one of the place you should visit in downtown Atlanta. http://thekingcenter.com/tkc/index.asp

Midtown Atlanta

Midtown Atlanta is the area due north of Downtown. It also has significant commercial activity, but it is also a major restaurant and arts quarter, with significant 'urban living' apartment coverage. All the places listed are within 15 minutes walk of each other, and within a similar walking distance of the MARTA stations at Midtown and Arts Center.

  • Arts Center, Home of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, the Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta College of Art. http://www.woodruff-arts.org/wac/index2.asp
  • Atlanta Botanic Gardens, 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE, telephone (404) 876-5859. Relatively small but interesting botanic gardens, with displays of local plants and the Fuqua Conservatory of tropical and desert plants. Accessible by car but parking is limited, at weekends park at Old Colony Square adjacent to the Arts Center and catch the shuttle bus provided. By transit, catch MARTA rail to Arts Center station then catch bus 36 (27 on Sunday) or walk via the Arts Center courtyard, 15th Street and Piedmont Avenue (15 min walk). Open Apr-Sep Tu–Su 9am–7pm; Oct–Mar Tu-Su 9am–5pm. $12 (adult); $9 (senior); $7 (student). http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/
  • Piedmont Park Atlanta's largest park at over 189 acres. Great for spending a sunny week-end dog walking, sleeping, reading a book or picnicing. Parking is tough to come by so try to look out by finding street parking or pay about $2-5 at the public parking lots on Juniper (1 block to the West). Not visiting Piemont Park on your trip to Atlanta would be like not visiting Central Park on a trip to New York. http://www.piedmontpark.org/
  • Margaret Mitchell House, 990 Peachtree Street, telephone (404) 249-7015. A museum dedicated to Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind and based in her original home. Open every day (except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Thanksgiving Day) 10am-5pm. $12 (adult); $9 (senior/student); $5 (child). http://www.gwtw.org/
  • Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, telephone (404) 688-3353 for tour information or (404) 817-8700 for the box office. A fabulous and historic Moorish style cinema and theatre dating from the 1920s and now designated a National Historic Landmark. Tours available M,W&Th 10am; Sa 10am and 11am. $10 (adult); $5 (senior/student). http://www.foxtheatre.org/
  • Crescent Avenue, Area off Peachtree near the Margaret Mitchell house. Just north of the Federal Reserve Building at 10th St. Lots of hip nightclubs and restaurants located in renovated homes on side streets. With Virginia Highlands, has taken much of the nightlife from the Buckhead area which mostly attracts hip-hoppers now.


Intown Atlanta

These are areas within the City of Atlanta that are commonly refered to as "intown" by Atlantans.

  • Zoo Atlanta, Grant Park, telephone (404) 624-5822. This zoo specializes in primates and African animals but also has a (breeding?) pair of Giant Pandas and a children's zoo. Open every day 9:30am-4:30pm; Sa-Su during daylight saving time 9:30am-5:30pm; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. $16.50 (adults); $12.50 (seniors); $11.50 (children). http://www.zooatlanta.org/
  • Cyclorama Home of the world's largest painting, "The Battle of Atlanta" and home of the historic Civil War locomotive, "TEXAS" (hero of the "Great Train Race") Located next to Zoo Atlanta in Grant Park.
  • Atlanta History Center, the Atlanta History Museum, the Swan House, (an opulent 1920's mansion), and the Tullie Smith House, 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd. NW. http://www.ngeorgia.com/attractions/atlanta_history_center.html
  • Fernbank Science Center and Museum of Natural History. Planetarium, dinosaurs, IMax theatre. Great for kids.http://www.fernbank.edu/
  • Virginia Highlands,Area east of Piedmont Park in the center of town known for its nightlife and restaurants. The part of Atlanta most like a real city. Pedestrian friendly and packed sidewalks till late at night. Go east on 10th street past the park. Do a quick zig-zag at the football stadium and keep going about another mile to the intersection at Virginia Ave. and you're there.


Suburban Atlanta

All these sights can be found somewhere in the suburban sprawl that is Atlanta. A car is probably the best way to visit them, but some are accessible by public transit as indicated in the listing.

Outside Atlanta

  • Stone Mountain - The town of Stone Mountain is host to Stone Mountain Park, a wooded park with dozens of attractions surrounding a giant granite dome.

Do

Learn

Work

Buy

  • Junkman's Daughter, 464 Moreland Avenue NE (At Little Five Points), telephone (404) 577-3188. A warehouse full of quirky gifts and funky fashions. Open M-Th 11am-7pm; F 11am-8pm; Sa 11am-9pm; Su 12pm-7pm.
  • Criminal Records, 466 Moreland Avenue NE (At Little Five Points, right next to Junkman's Daughter), telephone (404) 215-9511. The best place in atlanta for cds, records, used cds, comics, toys, posters and magazines.
  • IKEA, 441 16th Street (Atlantic Station, near Georgia Tech), telehpone (404) 745-4532. The Swedish-based furniture company has landed in Atlanta, providing everyone within driving range stylish, affordable furniture. Open Everyday 10am - 9pm.

Eat

Close In

  • Mary Mac's Tea Room, a landmark of southern cooking, 224 Ponce De Leon Ave., NE. Not fancy, just good. http://www.marymacs.com/
  • The Varsity, "Whatayahave, whatayahave, whatayahave?" Near Georgia Tech on North Street. Visit the website so you'll be prepared: Hint: try "two dawgs walkin, ring one, and a large PC" http://www.thevarsity.com/

Little Five Points

This bohemian district to the east of downtown Atlanta contains many interesting eateries. Here are some of them:

  • Vortex Bar and Grill, 438 Moreland Avenue. Tel: (404) 688-1828. Great burgers. http://www.thevortexbarandgrill.com/
  • Savage Pizza, 484 Moreland Ave NE. Tel: (404) 523-0500. Good pizza, cheap prices, good wall murals. Next to Criminal Records and Junkman's Daughter.

Midtown

  • MF Sushibar, 265 Ponce De Leon Ave. Tel: (404) 815-8844. "Magic Fingers". Excellent sushi. It's expensive but the best selection and quality I've found in all of Atlanta. http://www.mfsushibar.com/
  • Willy's, 1071 Piedmont Avenue. Tel: (404) 249-9054. Actually an Atlanta chain, but this one is in Piedmont Park on Piedmont and 12th Street. This place has great, cheap burritos served in the California style (they add the fresh ingredients and roll it up in front of you). The hard shell charolitas are a favorite. Similar to burrito chains such as Moe's (which originated in Atlanta) and Chipotle. http://www.willysmexicanagrill.com
  • Flying Biscuit Cafe, 1005 Piedmont Avenue. Tel: (404) 874-8887. Serves breakfast everyday and famous for brunch. Great place for kosher and vegetarian eaters as they have no beef or pork products- just great chicken sausage, turkey bacon, black bean cakes. Long wait on the week-end so get there early when they open at 7am. The original location is in Candler Park, 1655 McLendon Ave. http://www.flyingbiscuit.com/
  • Kool Korners Grocery, 349 14th Street NW (corner of State St.) Tel: (404) 892-4424. Take-out lunches Monday through Saturday. Known for making the best Cuban sandwiches in Atlanta (with jalapeños upon request). With its friendly owner, Ildefonso Ramirez, and its hole-in-the-wall atmosphere, Kool Korners is a local landmark. One can expect 5-15 minute lines of students, construction workers, and corporate exectives from 11:30 a.m. onwards. As-yet-untoasted cubanos are pre-made in the morning, and the store can run out of them later in the day. Call ahead for large orders. Locals often eat the sandwiches in their cars. Cubano, plantain chips, Latin soft drink, and a Moon Pie: $8.

East Suburbs

  • Zyka, Fast food, the Indian way. The decor is simple, and the food is served on plastic plates, but the food is served quickly, hot and wonderful. They have the best naan in the US. Some of the food is spicy and sometimes oily, so keep an eye out. 1677 Scott Blvd., Decatur, GA 30033. Tel: 404-728-4444. www.zyka.com

Drink

  • Mary's, gay-friendly neighborhood bar in East Atlanta Village. 1287B Glenwood Avenue. Telephone (404) 624-4411. marysatlanta.com

Sleep

Atlanta offers a wide variety of lodging options to fit all budgets. Here are a few options:

Contact

In order to make local phone calls, all ten digits of the phone number are required. As such, you'll notice that all phone numbers will include an area code. Currently they are 770, 404, and 678. At one point you could determine where a number went by the area code, but they have now become quite jumbled.

Stay safe

As with any large urban metropolitan area, use caution and don't let your guard all the way down. Be careful of areas south of Interstate 20.

Cope

Get out

Nearby towns with things to do include Marietta and Decatur.

For those more interested in scenic beauty and outdoor activities, the Appalachian mountain chain begins about sixty miles north of Atlanta. The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is on Springer Mountain in north-east Georgia, an easy drive from metro Atlanta.

Shop

Shop at:

  • Discover Mills - Suwanee
  • Mall of Georgia - Buford
  • Phipps Plaza Mall - Buckhead, Atlanta
  • Lenox Square Mall - Buckhead, Atlanta
  • Perimeter Mall - Dunwoody
  • 'North Point Mall - Alpharetta

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