The attractive southern metropolis of Atlanta, the capital of the US state Georgia, is the international gateway to the southern United States. The up-and-coming city combines the atmosphere from the classic “Denied by the wind” and the American Civil War with modern architecture and a lively scene.
Dynamic, busy and full of good surprises: the city with its five million inhabitants has a distinctive nightlife with many music clubs, as well as a symphony, ballet and opera of world class. The home of Nobel Prize winners Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter offers many attractions. Atlanta has a population of 416,474.
The fascinating metropolis of the southern states shines with gigantic shopping malls, the World of Coca-Cola, tours through CNN, the Georgia Aquarium, the Centennial Olympic Park with interactive water features and the art gallery High Museum. Here you can experience the life’s work of civil rights activist Martin Luther King up close.
In the 1920s, Atlanta overbuilt a business district to make room for the growing traffic. The wider streets rest like bridges on concrete pillars; the shops moved upstairs. For more than half a century, the old shops were only used as warehouses until they were rediscovered in the 1960s. In 1969 the first subterranean shops were built, but they then had to give way to a subway line. In 1989, however, there was a reopening. The underground shopping mall full of boutiques, souvenir shops, trendy shops and restaurants has been one of Atlanta’s most popular tourist attractions ever since.
Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park was the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Here, the Fountain of Rings offers refreshment on hot summer days and the Skyview Ferris wheel offers a wonderful view of the city. There are four exciting attractions to choose from around the park: Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Studio Tours and Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site
A must-see is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Heritage Site, which has a museum of personal memorabilia and the graves of Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King. The memorial is run by the National Park Service and can be visited free of charge, as can the recently renovated Kings residence.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the American civil rights movement was born in Atlanta and the house where he was born can still be visited today in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site on Auburn Avenue. Nowhere does one learn more about the famous civil rights activist and Nobel Prize winner.
In the immediate vicinity of the house where he was born is the Ebenezer Baptist Church , where he was baptized and preached, and the King Center with his grave.
The memorial is best reached by taking the Atlanta Streetcar, which also gives a deeper impression of the struggle for equality.
Contemporary witnesses bring history to life
Those interested can travel back in time to Atlanta’s past on a Civil Rights Tour with Tom Houck. The former driver and assistant to Dr. King reports on his experiences as an active member of the civil rights movement and heads for places steeped in history. These include Morehouse College, which was reserved exclusively for African-Americans and was also run by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was visited, the graves of King’s parents in South View Cemetery and Paschal’s restaurant, which was used by civil rights activists in those days. Other stops are in the Old 4th Ward and Sweet Auburn neighborhoods, where King grew up and lived until his death. His home, office and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached, were preserved as testimonies to his eventful life. The Civil Rights Tour starts every Saturday at 11 a.m. from the Martin Luther King Jr.
The provider Atlanta Movie Tours illuminates the topic in a slightly different way on its Atlanta Heritage Tour. This not only focuses on the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, but also on the Afro-American influence on film history. Participants visit the places of activity of Martin Luther King Jr., the rose garden of his wife Coretta and stroll through the Sweet Auburn Historic District, which with its colorful houses, churches and music clubs was once the cultural center of Afro-Americans in Atlanta. In addition to historical locations, the tour should also include locations for award-winning films such as Selma and Hidden Figures or the Atlanta series. With the help of film clips, the guide shows how, for example, Morehouse College was transformed into the NASA command center for Hidden Figures.
The largest oil painting in the world shows the Battle of Atlanta in the American Civil War in 1864. German artists began working in Wisconsin in 1885 and were later joined by Theodore Davis, who had seen the battle with his own eyes. His knowledge was fundamental to the accuracy of the painting.
Historic Oakland Cemetery
Less than a mile from the city center, the final resting place of many of the city’s founders and famous people such as Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell and Maynard Jackson has been located since 1850. The park-like complex offers a wide view of Atlanta’s skyline and is adorned with antique sculptures, old oaks and magnolias.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
A piece of India: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple in Atlanta is the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Up to its completion in 2006, two million man hours were invested and 12,300 tons of Italian marble, Turkish limestone and pink sandstone from India were processed.
Aha experience: The Swan House in Atlanta from the 1920s is one of the most photographed buildings in the city. Movie fans will recognize it as President Snow’s Capitol from the blockbuster The Panem Tribune.
Going out and shopping
Atlanta has a strong nightlife with many music clubs, as well as a symphony, ballet and opera of world class.
Atlanta’s modern Buckhead district is ideal for shopping, easily accessible with the MARTA. The super malls Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza offer goods of the highest international brand quality at comparatively low prices. Regular American department store chains can be found in the Mall Atlantic Station in Midtown. Little Five Points is also known for its second
hand shops, clubs and bars.
Red Brick Brewing Co.
Numerous breweries in the state create unusual types of craft beer and invite you to taste them. Red Brick Brewing Co. is the oldest craft beer brewery in Georgia and the first to export its specialty beers abroad.
- In the evening it’s time to have a good meal. For example in the trendy gunshow. Chef Kevin Gillespie is known all over the USA. He interprets southern cuisine in a completely new way – a good example of the hip restaurant and lifestyle scene in the metropolis not only in Georgia, but in the entire southern states.
- The day ends with a Mint Julep or Peach Cobbler with a spectacular view in the Sundial Bar on the 73rd floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel.
A visit to the traditional southern restaurant Pittypat’s Porch near MARTA station N1 Peachtree Center is the best way to continue an afternoon at Margaret Mitchell House . The name says it all: In the novel, Scarlett always stayed with her aunt Pittypat when she visited Atlanta. Little has changed in the restaurant since it opened in 1968.
Upstairs is a large bar with rocking chairs instead of bar stools. You should definitely try the in-house cocktail Scarlett’s Passion. A creaky wooden staircase leads along the in-house bakery to the cozy dining room.
Classic southern dishes like those from the movie “Gone with the Wind” are served on the table in the oldest restaurant in Atlanta, with specialties such as Fried Green Tomatoes, South Georgia Gumbo, Blackeyed Pea Cakes, Fried Chicken or Pork Tenderloin with Curried Peanut Sauce, as well as desserts like the one Georgia Peach Cobbler. Movie posters hang on the walls.
Atlanta offers a large selection of hotels and can be reached non-stop with Delta Air Lines and Lufthansa *.
Gateway to the Southern States: Atlanta has with the Hartsfield – Jackson Atlanta International Airport the largest airport in the world (in terms of traffic volume) with numerous connections from Europe. Ideal not only as a starting point for any trip to the southern states, but also for an exciting stopover on the way to completely different destinations in the USA.
The entry formalities in the ultra-modern and brightly-lit international terminal rarely take longer than an hour. Then take the modern MARTA subway to downtown in around 20 minutes. The tickets are easily available at the machine, and they can even speak German if you wish.
It’s easy and quick to hire a car at Atlanta Airport
All car rental companies at the major Atlanta International Airport are brought together in one place. Travelers can reach the Hartsfield-Jackson Rental Car Center in just five minutes on the ATL Sky Train . The train runs from the baggage areas “North” and “South”, which all travelers pass through on arrival.
All rental companies who sell cars from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are represented in the center. Trains run every three minutes at peak times. The ATL Sky Train stops on its way to the rental car center at the Georgia International Convention Center. The congress center is also perfectly connected to the airport.