Atlanta is a big deal. Not only is it the biggest city in the southeastern United States, it is a hotbed of history, culture, and plenty of things to do. If you haven't planned a visit to Atlanta yet, you are seriously missing out, and here is why.
If you've flown extensively in the US, chances are good that you've already passed through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It's actually the busiest airport in the world, and a major hub for both Delta and Southwest Airlines. For you as a consumer, this means that it's remarkably easy to find a good flight deal to Atlanta.
Once you've arrived, there are plenty of rental car options as well as public transit, the MARTA, which leaves directly from the airport.
Atlanta was burned to the ground during the Civil War, so if you're hoping to re-enact a scene from Gone with the Wind you are probably out of luck. However, there is another important historical movement that took place in Atlanta, and its history is remarkably well-preserved: the Civil Rights Movement. Head down to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Sweet Auburn, which includes the home where the civil rights leader was born, along with his burial place and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where King was a minister.
Atlanta is a terrific family travel destination, with quite a few blockbuster attractions that kids will love. First up is the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. Its home to a plethora of fresh and saltwater marine life. Over ten thousand fish call the aquarium home, but don't miss the massive whale sharks, the beluga whales, and the comical penguins.
After that head to the World of Coca-Cola, the massive museum and visitor's center dedicated to all things Coke related. It may be a corporate sales pitch, but it's a really fun one! Kids (and adults) can even try different coke flavors from around the world. Follow up with lunch at the Varsity, an authentic drive-in burger joint that's been open since 1928.
Atlanta might not have the foodie reputation of some other southern cities, but hungry foodies will find everything from traditional southern BBQ to a diverse selection of authentic international cuisines.
Breakfast is an Atlanta institution, and you can find amazing fried chicken and biscuits, grits and hash browns at restaurants like the Flying Biscuit. For lunch seek out some juicy ribs at a BBQ shack like Fox Brothers or Mustard Seed BBQ.
If you're feeling more adventurous, head down to Buford Highway, where you'll find authentic hole-in-the-wall Mexican, Vietnamese, and Korean food.
Although the summer can be scorching, Atlanta is blessed with some truly great weather in the fall, winter, and spring. Naturally there are a lot of great places to soak up the sunshine. There's Centennial Olympic Park, built for the 1996 Olympics, which has a wonderful soaking fountain for hot days. There's Grant Park, home to the famous Oakland Cemetery where many famous Atlantans are buried (along with a bunch of confederate soldiers). Then there's Atlanta's biggest park, Piedmont Park, a 189-acre paradise in the heart of downtown. Piedmont is home to many major events, including the Dogwood Festival, so make sure to check the calendar.
What are some other reasons to love visiting Atlanta?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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