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| Spring 2020

Atlanta’s Top 20 Sites

Check Out Your New City’s Must-See Places

By Anna Bentley

Welcome to Atlanta! By now, you’ve probably realized how many

things there are to do and see in your new hometown. It’s got something for everyone: art lovers, history buffs, sports fanatics … even whale shark enthusiasts. While there are dozens of sights to take in and places to explore, on the pages that follow we’ve narrowed down 20 of the city’s must-see picks.

1 Atlanta History Center

Everything you need to know about the history of Atlanta can be found here. Permanent exhibits detail the Civil War, Southern folk art, Atlanta’s hosting of the 1996 Olympic Games and more. The Atlanta Cyclorama moved into a new space at the center in 2019. There’s also a vast collection of original papers and artifacts. The center also operates three historic houses, including the famed Swan House, which appeared in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” in 2013. 404-814-4000, atlantahistorycenter.com

2 Fox Theatre

There’s nothing like catching a show at the Fox. Whether it’s a concert, movie screening or Broadway play, everything looks more special under the Fabulous Fox’s twinkling night sky. But you don’t have to see a performance to experience its ornate, detailed design: The Fox hosts guided, behind-thescenes tours two to three days per week that highlight 10 of the theatre’s special features, including Mighty Mo, the world’s largest working Moller organ. 404-881-21000, foxtheatre.org

3 Center for Civil and Human Rights

Opened in 2014 just steps from Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, this must-see destination features exhibits and educational programs that aim to show visitors how the American civil rights movement and modern civil rights issues around the world are linked— and empowers them to enact change in their own communities. 678-999-8990, civilandhumanrights.org

4 Gone With The Wind Museum

Located in Marietta, the Gone with the Wind Museum is a fascinating shrine to the classic novel and film, with movie memorabilia, some of Margaret Mitchell’s personal volumes of the book and much more. The museum offers group tours, has a gift shop and rents indoor and outdoor space for events, including weddings. 770-794-5576, gwtwmarietta.com

5 High Museum of Art

The Southeast’s leading art museum features more than 14,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings spanning 19th- and 20th-century American, European and African art in its permanent collection, plus an impressive selection of special and traveling exhibits.
Exhibits scheduled for 2015 include a European print series, Paa Joe’s architectural sculptures and design featuring sensory expression and new approaches. 404-733-4400, high.org

6 Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

This can’t-miss attraction showcases significant landmarks of the civil rights movement and the history of both Atlanta and the nation. It’s actually made up of five sites: the home on Auburn Avenue where King was born; Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he began preaching at age 19; the King Center, where King and his wife Coretta Scott King are buried; the Peace Plaza, home of the “I Have A Dream” World Peace Rose Garden; and the Visitor’s Center. 404-331-5190, nps.gov/malu

7 Bodies . . . The Exhibition

Located at Atlantic Station, “Bodies . . . The Exhibition” is a permanent exhibit that educates visitors on human anatomy. Displaying more than 200 real human bodies and specimens, it provides an up-close look at the body’s skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, digestive, urinary and circulatory systems. “Bodies” also offers field trips and group tours for schools and large groups. 404-496-4274, bodiesatlanta.com

8 Children’s Museum of Atlanta

This downtown destination stimulates the imagination and encourages a sense of discovery with interactive exhibits that let kids learn how food goes from farm to table, create works of art, engage in creative problem-solving and more. The museum has both permanent exhibits and temporary traveling ones. This year’s traveling exhibits feature the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Trivial Pursuit and Thomas Edison. 404-659- 5437, childrensmuseumatlanta.org

9 Six Flags Over Georgia

Families and thrill-seekers alike have been coming to the Austell theme park for over 50 years to ride roller coasters like the Georgia Cyclone, Great American Scream Machine and Mind Bender. In 2020, the theme park will add two rides: Catwoman Whips and Poison Ivy Toxic Spin. 770-739-3400, sixflags.com/overgeorgia

10 Georgia Aquarium

This popular spot was billed as the world’s largest aquarium when it opened in 2005, and it’s only grown since. The aquarium is the home of more than 100,000 animals, with hundreds of species including sharks, beluga whales, sea otters and dolphins. The dolphins even star in their own musical show. In addition to its themed galleries, the aquarium offers visitors unique experiences like behindthe- scenes tours, penguin encounters and even diving with whale sharks. 404-581-4000, georgiaaquarium.org

11 Fernbank Museum of Natural History

There are a lot of cool things about the Fernbank Museum: the striking dinosaur skeletons in the grand lobby, the fossils embedded in the limestone floors and the twinkling constellations in the Star Gallery. The museum is a great place for children to learn about science and Earth’s history, and its grounds include a 65-acre forest with immersive trails, play areas and sensory stations. 404-929-6300, fernbankmuseum.org

12 Legoland Discovery Center

Located at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead, this 35,000-square-foot interactive playground features 14 attractions. They include Miniland (which has replicas of Atlanta buildings and landmarks), a 4D cinema, a Lego factory tour, a Master Builder Academy, The Great Lego Race VR Experience and much more. 404-848-9252, atlanta.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

13 World of Coca-Cola

It’s only fitting that the World of Coca-Cola is located in Pemberton Place, a downtown plaza boasting some of the city’s top attractions: It’s named after John S. Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola celebrates Pemberton’s invention with exhibits about the soft drink brand’s history, memorable advertising campaigns and global reach. 404-676-5151, worldofcoca-cola.com

14 Zoo Atlanta

Ever wanted to feed a giraffe? Meet an African elephant? How about spy on a giant panda cub? You’re in luck: Zoo Atlanta offers all these experiences, plus wildlife shows, keeper training demonstrations and more than 200 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals on display. The zoo also offers educational summer camps and NightCrawler overnight adventures for kids and families. 404-624-9453, zooatlanta.org

15 Atlanta Botanical Garden

Just off Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is devoted to developing and maintaining an impressive collection of plants for education, research, conservation and enjoyment. Must-see areas include the Fuqua Orchid Center (the nation’s largest collection of orchids under glass), the Kendeda Canopy Walk above the Storza Woods, and the elegant Rose Garden. 404-876-5859, atlantabg.org

16 Oakland Cemetery

It might seem like an odd pick, but Historic Oakland Cemetery, a Southern example of the garden cemeteries popular in the mid- to late 1800s, is one of the city’s most peaceful greenspaces. More than 1,400 trees dot its 48 acres, and heirloom daffodils, garden mums, irises and evergreens can be enjoyed throughout the year. Take a self-guided stroll or opt for one of the cemetery’s popular guided tours, highlighting its most famous residents. 404-688-2107, oaklandcemetery.com

17 Piedmont Park

Every city has its hallowed ground, and Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s. This popular Midtown spot is the site of numerous festivals, concerts and other special events throughout the year. Every other day, it’s a top spot for joggers, swimmers, sun bathers, energetic pups and anyone in need of fresh air. 404-875-7275, piedmontpark.org

18 Stone Mountain

Located just east of the city, this is the perfect spot to spend the day hiking— and the night enjoying a laser show on an 825-foot stone mountainside. Stone Mountain is known for its Civil War memorial carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and also offers fishing, golf, plenty of hiking and numerous festivals throughout the year. 800-401-2407, stonemountainpark.com

19 College Football Hall of Fame

The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame moved from its original home in South Bend, Indiana, to downtown Atlanta in 2014. New for the museum is the Fan Experience, which adds tons of interactive multimedia features to the hall of fame experience—plus a giant Helmet Wall, with helmets from more than 760 college football teams. 404-880- 4800, cfbhall.com

20 Truist Park

From the months of April through October, Truist Park is the home of the Atlanta Braves, the city’s Major League Baseball team. In 2014, the Braves announced a move from Turner Field near downtown Atlanta to a new stadium in Cobb County, and Truist Park is the only place to go for big-league catches, hammered home runs and the best hot dogs in town. 404-522-7630. atlantabraves.com

 


SPECIAL PROMOTION: Bodies . . . The Exhibition

Rated one of the top attractions in Georgia, “BODIES…The Exhibition” is an excellent resource to learn about the human anatomy in an intimate and informative way. Using an innovative polymer preservation process, the exhibition allows guests to see the body’s inner beauty. With more than 200 actual human bodies and specimens on display, the exhibition provides a unique look into the human body. Docents are available throughout to answer questions and point out interesting facts and details. Audio guides in English and Spanish are also available to provide a more comprehensive experience. Each system of the body is included in the exhibition – skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, reproductive/ urinary, fetal (optional) and the treated body. Vital health concerns such as obesity, smoking, cancer, cirrhosis, arthritis and lack of exercise are on display to illustrate the damage caused by these concerns. The exhibition provides details on how visitors can take better care of their body by making healthy lifestyle choices. For more information, visit bodiesatlanta.com or call 404-496-4274.

 

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