photo by Chuck Koehler

Atlanta is the vanguard of the New South, with the charm and elegance of the Old. It is a city that balances southern traditions with sleek modernism. In Atlanta, the peach trees are plentiful and the tea is sweet, yet this city boasts three skylines and the world’s busiest airport. Atlanta has been burnt to the ground and built back up; it has seen the horrors of war and felt the pain of droughts and floods. Atlanta knows rebirth and endurance though, perhaps better than any other city. Atlanta was host to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, gave birth to the greatest figure of the civil rights movement, is the beloved capital of the state of Georgia, and has become the enduring leader of the American South.


Located on the Piedmont Plateau in the Northern Georgia, Atlanta is located almost entirely in Fulton County, while a part of the city limits extends into DeKalb County. The area size of the city limits is only 132 sq mi (343 km²), but Metro Atlanta which includes 28 counties has an area of 8,376 sq mi (21,693.7 km²). The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Northwestern boundary of the city limits of Atlanta, is a major source of water throughout the metro area. Aside from the river, the topography of Atlanta is assorted with rolling hills, forests, lakes and ponds, and granite Stone Mountain to the east.


Atlanta is on the Piedmont Plateau, at an approximate elevation of 800 ft - 1900 ft (240 m - 580 m) above sea level. The city is thus somewhat cooler than other places in the US South, a fact that certainly helped the growth of the city before the introduction of air conditioning.

Atlanta experiences a very wide range of temperatures. Temperatures in winter can drop into the single digits on occasion, and some winters bring significant snowfall. The region can also receive devastating ice storms. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures frequently reaching above 90°F (32°C), thus the city earning the nickname "Hotlanta". 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. The region is often affected during hurricane season (June 1 to November 30) from remnants that spill out from the Gulf, bringing heavy rains and sometimes high winds.


Atlanta began taking substantive shape in 1837 when the Western & Atlantic Railroad selected the site as the Southern end of its tracks. The town was called Terminus until 1843 when it was renamed Marthasville after the daughter of Gov. Wilson Lumpkin. In 1847, the city was renamed Atlanta, supposedly a feminine form of "Atlantic" probably created by an engineer with the Western & Atlantic. The city was incorporated in 1847.

By the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Atlanta was a major railroad hub, manufacturing center, and supply depot. But, in 1865, in order to cripple transportation between the South and the North, Union General William T. Sherman's army burned all of the railroad facilities, almost every business and more than two-thirds of the city's homes to the ground during his infamous "March to the Sea." Atlanta lay in ruins, the only major American city ever destroyed by war.

Atlanta's first resurgence began soon after. Within four years of Sherman's attack, the Georgia capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta and a drive to attract new business was underway. In the meantime, college and universities began to open, telephones were introduced, and trolleys began to roll. In 1895, the Cotton States and International Exposition in Piedmont Park showed 800,000 visitors and residents that Atlanta was headed in a new direction and braced for the 20th century.

By the late 1920s, a downtown business sector had taken shape, giving Atlanta much of the distinct pattern it maintains today. At the same time, Atlanta Alderman (and later Mayor) William B. Hartsfield campaigned long and hard to convince the city to turn a vacant racetrack into an airport. Today, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the world's busiest airport, with more than 80 million annual passengers.

While the city continued its economic surge, it also became known as the "City Too Busy to Hate." Atlanta and Georgia preempted much of the strife associated with the 1950s and '60s by taking the lead in the Southeast in strengthening minority rights. The city's strongest identification with the movement was through its native son, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Much has been accomplished in the last 25 years to elevate Atlanta to world-class status. An efficient public transportation system, MARTA, was put in place; Underground Atlanta was added to the entertainment map; the Georgia World Congress Center made the city a convention hub; the Georgia Dome was built in 1992; and Philips Arena was built in 1999.

From July 20 through August 4, 1996, all eyes were on Atlanta as it hosted the Centennial Olympic Games. The city successfully hosted the biggest Olympic Games ever, showcasing itself to 2 million people in person and 3.5 billion people through global broadcast.

The Olympics served as a catalyst for a second resurgence of Atlanta as it experiences a dramatic transformation from great American city to greater international city by fueling more than $6 billion in development and changes.

Most recently, Atlanta has become a major conference and convention destination, due mostly to the enormous airport and favorable weather. Most of the conference venues are located around Peachtree Center, and when there is a large show in town, it can sometimes seem as though every other person in the city is wearing a name tag.


Atlanta’s southern culture, deep history, and bustling city have been the backdrop for numerous classic films.

  • Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Steeped in Confederate politics, a struggle for survival, and unavoidable love intrigues, this film has the rare distinction of being as good as if not better than the classic southern book it is based on.

  • Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford, 1989). This film tactfully explores the racial issues of the civil rights-era through the nuances of a relationship between a wealthy white woman and her black chauffer.

  • ATL (Chris Robinson, 2006). A coming of age drama set in the hip-hop culture of the modern city.

Getting there

By plane

Atlanta's principal airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (IATA : ATL) ("Hartsfield-Jackson" to locals), situated about 8 miles south of downtown in Hapeville. Hartsfield-Jackson has the coveted superlative of "Busiest Airport in the World" by passenger traffic, due chiefly to the volume of connecting flights associated with this airport being Delta's base of operations.

Hartsfield-Jackson is largely set up as a hub airport for Delta Air Lines, with much of its traffic being transfer rather than arrival or departure traffic. The airport has a single groundside terminal, connected to 6 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 there. 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.

The airport offers a full range of ground transportation services, including taxicabs, airport shuttle vans, and car rental offices.

Hartsfield-Jackson airport is also the terminus of the southern branch of the MARTA rail system (see 'Get around' below), and for travelers going to locations in downtown, midtown or northern Atlanta this forms a convenient, and at $2.00 per one-way ticket, an economical way of getting there. Most MARTA stations have taxi stations to aid completion of the journey, and some hotels have free shuttles which will collect from either the airport or nearest MARTA station on telephone request.

By train

Atlanta is served by Amtrak 1-800-872-7245. Amtrak's Crescent train 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 Amtrak station is located at 1688 Peachtree St. N.W., which is several miles north of the airport and downtown. Unfortunately, there are no direct connections between the MARTA trains and Amtrak. However, MARTA Bus routes 23 and 110, which can be transferred at the Buckhead Station and the Arts Center Station, stop in front of the Amtrak Station. There is no on-site parking for amtrak but Elite Parking has a surface lot which is nearby and they offer longterm parking at reasonable rates.

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines , 1-800-229-9424, provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the United States. Buses arrive at and depart from the Greyhound terminal at 232 Forsyth Street, located in a less affluent neighborhood on the southern edge of the downtown area and directly beneath MARTA's Garnett Station (see 'Get around' below).

By car

Atlanta is linked to the rest of the US by the Interstate Highway System. The principal interstates serving the city are I-75 (serving traffic from Detroit to Florida), I-85 (connecting the Mid-Atlantic to New Orleans) and I-20 (connecting Texas to South Carolina), all of which cross through Downtown.

I-285 (commonly called the Perimeter by Atlantans, and the Atlanta Bypass on overhead signs) circles the city at a distance of about 10 miles out, crossing and connecting with all the above freeways as well as the airport.

Free real-time traffic information is available by dialing 511 anywhere in the State of Georgia.

Traveling around

By foot

Walking is a reasonable way to get around within pedestrian-friendly areas of Midtown, Downtown, Decatur and Virginia-Highland. If traveling outside of those areas, renting a car is highly recommended.

By transit

Atlanta is served by MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), +1 404-848-4711, , which operates both rapid rail and bus networks in the city of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton and Dekalb.

For out-of-town visitors, MARTA is a convenient way to travel from the airport to all stations on its network. Those who need to travel alone at night, however, may be better served by taking taxis, hotel buses, or renting a car, as the system often becomes empty or rowdy at nighttime, and travel may feel unsafe to those who do not know the city. Most destination stations have taxi service available for local trips.

The rail network comprises two principal lines making up a cross. One line runs north-south across the city, while the other runs east-west. The north-south line runs from a southern terminus at Hartsfield-Jackson airport through downtown and midtown Atlanta, before splitting into two branches running north, one which terminates in north metro Atlanta at the North Springs station and the other which terminates at the Doraville station. The east-west line runs from an western terminal at Hamilton E. Holmes to an eastern terminal at Indian Creek. The Five Points station in downtown Atlanta is the only station where passengers may change trains between the north-south and east-west lines. Trains run from 5AM until 1AM Monday-Friday, and from 5AM until 12:30AM on weekends and holidays. 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 approximately every 20 minutes. Bus service on some lines (generally including the most popular tourist areas) runs from 5AM until 1:30AM Monday-Friday and from 5AM until 1AM on the weekends and holidays.

A single ride on MARTA costs $2.00. The fare includes transfers. Single use Breeze Cards are sold in vending machines at all rail stations or at RideStores at Airport and Five Points stations. When starting the journey by bus, swipe the card at the fare post next to the driver. When starting the journey by train, swipe the car at the fare gate; your cash-depleted card will now act as your transfer. When transferring to a bus, give the operator your breeze card. When transferring to a train, swipe the transfer ticket through the reader on the turnstile.

Note for Weekend Travel: MARTA has a tendency to run slower on the weekends. Typical wait times are 30 minutes for trains and up to an hour for buses. Be sure to accommodate for this.

By taxi

It is usually possible to flag taxicabs down near tourist attractions and in Midtown and Downtown. However, calling ahead is recommended.

24-Hour Taxicab Services:

  • Checker Cab, +1 404-351-1111,

Flat rates to and from the airport are listed on Hartfield-Jackson International Airport's website . Be warned - most taxi drivers will turn the meter on and claim no knowledge of the flat rate. You must be persistent.

By car

If MARTA Rail does not service all the areas desired, cars are the most popular form of transport to get around the sprawling city. To experience Atlanta's various unique neighborhoods, renting a car is recommended. Rush hour peaks around 6:30 AM-9:30 AM and 3:30 PM-6:30 PM on weekdays and often results in congestion when traveling inbound in the mornings and outbound in the afternoons. Downtown/Midtown and major shopping districts such as Buckhead can also get crowded on weekends. Most restaurants and shops in the area offer complimentary or low-cost valet services ($1-3 tip expected) and on the rare occasion where parking is scarce, public lots are usually nearby for a fee. Free road maps are available at . Real-time traffic information is available from the Georgia DOT at or by dialing 511 from any phone (land-line or mobile).



Atlanta's top attractions form an eclectic mix that is sure to have something that appeals to everyone, and enough variety to keep the adventurous traveler busy. The highest concentration of exhibits can be found in the Centennial Park Area, where Atlanta's three biggest attractions are located within two blocks of one another: World of Coca-Cola tells the history of the world’s most iconic brand, with plenty of samples to ensure understanding; across the street is the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest by volume of water, where you can swim with the biggest fish of them all, the whale shark; and the CNN Center and Studio Tour, which offers a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run one of the nation’s leading news sources.

Those more inclined to history can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Sweet Auburn, which includes this inspiring leader’s birthplace home, his final resting place, the church where he once gave sermons, as well as a museum and memorial dedicated to his colossal achievements. Civil War buffs will enjoy the 100-year old Atlanta Cyclorama in nearby Grant Park, which tells the story of the Battle of Atlanta through a massive, continuous, circular painting. The largest collection of Civil War memorabilia in the nation can be found at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead, along side a large exhibit memorializing the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

Exhibits to both ancient and modern history can be found near Little Five Points at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, featuring a humbling display of the largest dinosaur ever unearthed, and the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, which is the permanent home of the former president’s Nobel Peace Prize. Those with more refined tastes can enjoy the High Museum of Art in Midtown, which displays fine art from the last two centuries, as well as modern and contemporary pieces. And finally, Gone with the Wind aficionados can’t miss the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, which preserves the Tudor Revival mansion in Midtown where the Pulitzer Prize winning novel was written.

Travelers planning to visit multiple attractions may benefit from the Atlanta City Pass , a discount package allowing access to many of the top sights for one reduced price. The pass is valid for 9 days and includes expedited entry in some cases.


All types of cultural experiences can be found in Atlanta, such as the Atlanta Ballet . Founded in 1929, it is the oldest professional dance company in America, the largest self-supported arts organization in Georgia and the official Ballet of Georgia. The company's performances combine contemporary and traditional styles with classic ballets and new choreography. Its annual season is presented at the fabulous Fox Theatre , including the holiday season favorite "The Nutcracker." Opera fans can enjoy the Atlanta Opera . Atlanta's love affair with opera has spanned over 125 years of the city's history. Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Opera has won numerous awards both nationally and locally. How about orchestra fans? The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is recognized for its creativity and innovation internationally. It is also known as a wonderful training ground for musicians who go on to stellar careers with other orchestras. Regular orchestral performances can also be caught at the new Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Atlanta has one of the most impressive theater communities in the United States with more than 65 active performance groups. Metro theaters present a variety of new and old works: Broadway musicals through Broadway in Atlanta , and Theater of the Stars , improvisation, southern themes, political and human issues, contemporary, classic and, of course, Shakespeare. Check out Alliance Theatre , Dad's Garage , Georgia Shakespeare Theatre , Fox Theatre and Theatre in the Square.


Explore the cityscape and enjoy the many pieces of architecture built all around Atlanta, from the skyscrapers of Midtown, to the Downtown skyline, to the houses on Highland Avenue, to the mansions of Buckhead. Inman Park, Atlanta's showcases the city's old Victorian architecture. Other notable architectural attractions include the High Museum of Art and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.

Atlanta also has a few view points where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the city in Downtown. One of them is the Sundial atop Westin Peachtree. Another is the Polaris atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and there is also Nikolai's Roof on top of the Hilton.


  • Atlanta Braves and Turner Field — The Atlanta Braves' regular season takes place April through September at Turner Field in South Atlanta. Check out the Ivan Allen Jr. Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame at Turner Field, both open year-round.

  • Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome — The 1998 NFC Champions, the Atlanta Falcons, gear up each September to kick off the official season in Downtown. The Georgia Dome has hosted numberous events including parts of the 1996 Summer Olympics, Super Bowl XXXIV, the 2006 Sugar Bowl and the annual Chic-fil-A Bowl.

  • Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena — Covering 4.4 acres, Philips Arena is Atlanta's state-of-the-art multi purpose sports and entertainment complex located in Downtown. The arena is home to the NBA Atlanta Hawks, the NHL Atlanta Thrashers and the new WNBA Atlanta Dream.

Things to do


  • One day in Atlanta — This busy one-day tour will show you the many sides of Atlanta.

  • Old South and New South — This tour takes you through the old historical sides of Atlanta and the new rapidly growing areas with postmodern architecture and technology, as well as unique culture.

  • Atlanta shopping spree


  • Visit Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown and relax by the man-made river, splash in the Fountain of Rings on a hot summer day or go ice skating at the ice rink in the wintertime, attend a concert, and pay respects to the victims of the 1996 Olympics bombing.

  • Walk through Piedmont Park in Midtown, the largest park in Atlanta. Attend the Dogwood Festival in the spring time or one of the many musical events.

  • Grant Park is the oldest city park in Atlanta and is home to Zoo Atlanta. Historic Oakland Cemetery, also located here, serves as the final resting place for more than 3,900 Confederate soldiers, famous Atlanta author Margaret Mitchell, golfing legend Bobby Jones, six Georgia governors and 25 Atlanta mayors.


  • In January and February, look for the city-wide celebration of visual arts with ATLart and enjoy an early spring at the Southeastern Flower Show held at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

  • In March, Atlanta celebrates Irish Heritage with Downtown Atlanta's St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, followed, in April, by the Atlanta Dogwood Festival staged at Piedmont Park with children's activities, an artist market, and more.

  • The Georgia Renaissance Festival allows people to experience merry olde England during the days of King Arthur.

  • Each May celebrates jazz in Atlanta, the Atlanta Jazz Festival is presented at the Woodruff Arts Center and other venues.

  • In June, visitors can experience the Atlanta Film Festival. The Georgia Shakespeare Festival presents plays from June through October at the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University.

  • The National Black Arts Festival is held during the third week in July and is the world's largest cultural celebration of African-American art.

  • The Atlanta Pride Festival is an October three-day celebration held in Piedmont Park.

  • Atlanta Celebrates Photography promotes photography exhibitions and events citywide every October.


Affordability, variety of restaurants, culinary diversity and award-winning chefs are key ingredients that earn Atlanta a place at the table with other popular culinary cities. An assortment of neighborhoods offers an array of restaurants featuring cuisine that spans the globe, serving something for every taste.

Celebrity Chefs

During the past few years, several celebrity chefs have traveled south to call Atlanta home. Drawn to the quickly growing culinary scene, these chefs have been welcomed with open arms and some true southern hospitality.

  • Craft , +1 404 995-7580, +1 404 995-7580, 3376 Peachtree, inside The Mansion on Peachtree, New York celebrity chef Tom Colicchio (most famous for his role as head judge on Bravo’s **Top Chef**) chose Atlanta as the third location for his award-winning restaurant Craft. Located in Atlanta’s newest luxury gem, The Mansion on Peachtree, the menu consists of bold, a la carte American classics that use only the finest ingredients Georgia has to offer.

  • Straits , +1 404 877-1283, Su 11AM-3PM (brunch), Su-W 5PM-10PM; Th-Sa 5PM-11PM (dinner), 793 Juniper St, NE, corner of 5th and Juniper St NE, Grammy Award-winning Atlanta native Chris “Ludacris” Bridges teamed up with renowned chef Chris Yeo to open Straits in the heart of Midtown. The restaurant offers traditional Singaporean cuisine with a modern twist.

  • Maxim Prime , +1 404 469-0700, M-F 6:30AM-2PM (brunch), Sa-Su 8AM-2PM (breakfast) Su-Th 6PM-10PM; Sa 6PM-11PM (dinner), 110 Marietta St, NW, inside the Glenn Hotel, Ideally situated in the heart of downtown Atlanta at The Glenn Hotel, restaurateur Jeffery Chodorow and Maxim magazine’s Maxim Prime is a modern steakhouse with a seductive twist. The lavish atmosphere and gorgeous roof-top bar provide accompaniments that are as tasty as the cuisine itself.

  • Spice Market , +1 404 549-5450, 188 14th Street, NE, inside the W Hotel in Midtown, World-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten moved camp from New York to Atlanta and brought with him a new branch of this 3-star Big Apple restaurant, Spice Market. Located at the W Hotel in Midtown, the restaurant features family-style Asian-infused cuisine.

  • Home , +1 404 869-0777, +1 404 869-0777, 111 West Paces Ferry Rd, **Top Chef** finalist Richard Blais combined traditional Southern flavors with contemporary techniques to create dishes like buttermilk pancakes with foie gras. He then departed and started

Contemporary Southern Cuisine

What better place to travel than to the heart of Atlanta to experience Southern cuisine at its finest?

  • Bacchanalia , +1 404 365-0410, M-Sa 6PM-close, 1198 Howell Mill Rd, Ranked #1 in Atlanta by the Zagat Guide for seven years straight, Bacchnalia uses only the best organic and small-farm produce from its own Summerland Farm. Chefs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison also received the coveted James Beard award for “Best Chef in the Southeast.”

  • Canoe , +1 770 432-2663, +1 770 432-2663, M-Fr 11:30AM-2:30PM (lunch), Su 10:30AM-2:30PM (brunch), M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5:30PM-9:30PM (dinner), 4199 Paces Ferry Road, NW, Tucked away along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, Canoe has been recognized by **Bon Appetit**, **Food and Wine**, **Gourmet** and **The New York Times** for its excellent Southern cuisine.

  • JCT. Kitchen & Bar , +1 404 355-2252, M-Th 11AM-2:30PM & 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-2:30PM & 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM, 1198 Howell Mill Rd, Ste 18, inside Atlanta's Westside Urban Market, Inspired by the “junction” of railroad lines near its home base, this restaurant infuses the down-home style of a country meal with the sophistication of a French bistro.

  • Restaurant Eugene , +1 404 355-0321, M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-11PM, Su 5:30PM-10PM, 2277 Peachtree Rd, at the Aramore condos in Buckhead, Chef Linton Hopkins and his wife Gina run this small, family-style restaurant that features a menu sprinkled with staple Southern ingredients. The restaurant has been ranked among Atlanta’s Top 10 by **Atlanta Magazine**, and **Atlanta Business Chronicle**.

  • Dogwood , +1 404 835-1410, T-F 11:30AM-2PM & 5:30PM-10PM, Sa 5:30PM-11PM (dinner), 565 Peachtree St, Executive Chef Shane Touhy creates traditional American dishes that incorporate both local products and influences from the Southern region at his new restaurant, Dogwood, which has a stellar wine list and an inspired menu.

  • South City Kitchen , +1 404 873-7358, M-Th, Su 11AM-3:30PM & 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-3:30PM & 5PM-10:30PM, 1144 Crescent Ave, Fifth Group Restaurant®’s South City Kitchen provides an accurate reflection of contemporary new Southern cuisine with a sophisticated spin. The restaurant is consistently recognized for its award-winning food, wine list and service including being listed in the top 10 of Atlanta’s best 100 restaurants by Jezebel Magazine as well as Best Restaurant in Midtown by Atlanta Magazine. A new location recently opened in Vinings GA, northwest of the city.

Atlanta Dining Landmarks

Be sure to check out these classic Atlanta icons.

  • Pittypat's Porch , +1 404 525-8228, M-Su 5PM-close, 25 Andrew Young International Blvd, Experience the Hollywood glamour of Southern belles and fancy gentlemen at this restaurant named after Scarlett O’Hara’s hospitable aunt in Atlanta’s own **Gone with the Wind**.

  • Dante's Down the Hatch , +1 404 266-1600, M-Su 4PM daily, 3380 Peachtree Rd, NE, A Buckhead fondue spot with a nautical theme, live crocodiles and jazz performances six nights a week.

  • The Varsity , Established in 1928, The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant and serves greasy chili dogs and locally renowned frosted orange drinks.

  • The Sun Dial , Located 723 feet above downtown Atlanta, this revolving restaurant gives a 360 degree view of the city and serves excellent entrees, wine and desserts.

  • R.Thomas Deluxe Grille , With its trademark windmills, bells, birds, lush plants, and Peachtree St. location, it is hard to miss this fixture of the Atlanta dining scene. This is probably the only restaurant in town where a vegan and a burger lover can eat together and both be happy. Favorites - the grilled-not-fried wings, the french toast, and all the smoothies.

Fast Food Chains

Atlanta is home to the headquarters of restaurant chains such as Waffle House , Chick-Fil-A , and Arby's .



In much of the South, and particularly in Atlanta, all soft drinks are referred to as "Coke." Due to the ubiquitous advertisements and broad popularity of the product, Coca-Cola has transformed the modern southern colloquial for anything carbonated into simple "Coke." If you sit down and order a "Coke," expect to be asked "what kind?" This odd cultural practice is maintained even to the illogical extreme of ordering a Pepsi by saying "I'll have a Coke...a Pepsi please." The epicenter of this peculiar practice is Atlanta of course, because the world headquarters for Coca-Cola are downtown.

Sweet tea

A true staple of southern culture, sweet tea can be found at almost any restaurant in Atlanta. In most places an order for "tea" will be assumed to mean "sweet tea"; hot or unsweetened tea need to asked for specifically. A popular variant to a glass of sweet tea is an arnold-palmer, a half and half mix of iced tea (either sweetened or unsweetened) and lemonade, named after the famous golfer who popularized it. "Arnold-palmer" is a bit of a tongue twister, so ordering a "half iced tea and lemonade" is common.


With fun and unique attractions, renowned restaurants and top-of-the-line hotel experiences, Atlanta keeps the party going from day to night. With chic style in Buckhead, alternative scene in Little Five Points, a casual atmosphere in Virginia-Highland and a trendy vibe in Midtown, Atlanta nightlife suits every style of letting loose. Since each district has so many options, you will want to visit each discrict article for a more detailed listing.

Buckhead is still the most popular nightlife district for locals and out-of-towners alike. Andrews cafe and Aiko Lounge are among the most popular dance clubs in Buckhead among 20's and 30's singles, while an older crowd can be seen at the Beluga Martini Bar. The Buckhead clientele is mostly of an upscale crowd, so be sure to dress to impress.

Midtown is the spot if you're looking for the urban vibe with diverse a crowd of 20's and 30's, many of them are college students, locals, transplants from out of state and foreign countries. This is also a gay and lesbian friendly area.

Downtown has a few options for nightlife as well. Many of the Downtown watering holes can be found in Kenny's Alley in Underground. The Fairlie-Poplar district has a few neighborhood bars as well. Stats is an ideal sports bar to watch a game located near Centennial Olympic Park.

Other popular clubs throughout the city include The Masquerade and MJQ Concourse. All areas of the city also have plenty of pubs and taverns, such as Fado Irish Pub Fado in Buckhead, Shakespeare Tavern in Midtown, and Highland Tap in Virginia-Highland.

If you like country line-dancing, you can head out of the city and into the suburbs and check out Wild Bills in Duluth.


See the Districts articles for more listings.

Most of Atlanta's major hotels are located downtown between Five Points and Midtown in area with a name that is easy to remember: the Hotel District. The district is in the heart of Atlanta's economic and political center and is within walking distance to many of the major tourist attractions, including the Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the CNN Center.

Rapidly growing Midtown, the center of Atlanta's business district as well as many high-rise luxury condos is nearby many museums and theaters. If you're looking for boutique hotels that are near a thriving urban setting, Midtown may be the area for you.

Once the heart of Atlanta's nightlife, Buckhead is still home to several upscale hotels, which are close to the area's shopping and dining districts.


Atlanta has one of the top 10 retail markets in the country, and the city's neighborhoods are a great place to find antiques, art galleries, arts and crafts stores, thrift stores and boutiques. The city's eclectic shopping neighborhoods include downtown Atlanta, Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, Buckhead, and Midtown.

Looking for antiques and art? The Miami Circle, Street, and The Galleries of Peachtree Hills offer some of the best merchandise in Atlanta.

Buckhead is home to more than 1,400 retail stores. Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza offer the most concentrated collection of upscale stores available anywhere in the city including Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Jil Sander, Gucci, Cartier, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton. A line of stores similar to Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive will open in 2010 at Streets of Buckhead. Midtown Mile is a stretch of Peachtree Street in Midtown that offers street level retail shopping. It's on schedule to be complete in 2009, but many shops are currently open. Atlantic Station also offers plenty of retail options.

If your interest lies in smaller, specialty, boutique or vintage stores, try Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, and East Atlanta Village. Wax 'N Facts is a popular store in Little Five Points that actually still sells vinyl records. Bill Hallman Boutiques are also a neighborhood staple, providing fashion forward clothing for Atlanta's social set. For those not able to visit the actual stores, the retailer also sells online.

Underground Atlanta is six city blocks in the heart of downtown Atlanta transformed into a spirited marketplace that offers historic guided tours and features restaurants, specialty stores, entertainment emporiums and street-cart merchants.

Street vendors are common in Downtown, especially in the Five Points neighborhood. You can also find large assortment of trade retailers at AmericasMart.


Despite Atlanta's reputation, the city is not as dangerous as many perceive it to be. The crime rate has dropped during the late 1990s and 2000s, and has reached a near 40 year low in 2005. In the past, Atlanta was ranked in the top three for U.S. cities with the highest crime rates repeatedly for many consecutive years, but since 2005 the city's ranking has been off the top 10. Still, precautions should still be taken as in any other major city, such as not traveling alone at night, and being aware of which neighborhoods and areas are more prone to crime. In Atlanta, the Southwest and Southeast area have reported the most incidents of crime. Also to note, statistics indicate that 2006 and 2007 were two consecutive years of an increase in overall crime citywide, but the current rate is still lower than in the not-too-distant past. It should be noted that much of the crime is drug-related and out of sight so long as you are not in low-income areas. Outside of the perimeter, the crime rates are significantly lower (except perhaps in Dekalb County). Muggings are rare, even at night, and as a tourist/visitor to the city, you should be very safe.


The separated skyscrapers of Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead make Atlanta’s three skylines, and the size of any one of these districts could rival the center of any other city in the South. Atlanta is not all high rises though; each of the city’s urban neighborhoods offer unique atmospheres that are well adapted to living in the shadow of the city.

  • - The most central and commercial area in Georgia, (economically and politically), downtown Atlanta includes the state capitol, city hall, the CNN Tour, Georgia Aquarium and the New World of Coca-Cola |
  • - Just North of Downtown, this is main business district with tall skyscrapers, and a popular nightlife area. This district also includes Piedmont Park, the Woodruff Arts Center, the Georgia Tech campus |
  • - Located North of Midtown, Buckhead is the center of Atlanta's nightlife. Buckhead is surrounded by neighboring Brookwood Hills, as well as Peachtree Battle, Lindbergh Center, and the Governor's Mansion. |
  • - The alternative style neighborhood Little Five Points is bordered by trendy Virginia-Highland with nearby Poncey-Highland, as well as the growing community of East Atlanta Village. |
  • - Home of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field and one of the busiest airports in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. South Atlanta also contains the neighborhoods of Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, and Lakewood. |
  • - Includes Vine City, Bankhead, Historic West End, Collier Heights, and the Upper Westside |


  • Meet the people of Atlanta while serving alongside them at a Hands On Atlanta volunteer project.


  • Local Calls: Atlanta area codes are 770, 404, and 678. All 10 digits of the phone number are required when making local calls.

  • Directory Assistance: dial 411.

Get out

Inside the Perimeter

In Atlanta vernacular, "ITP" refers to everything inside I-285 which makes a loop around the city's far edges. A few cities, which are distinct from Atlanta proper, also reside ITP.

  • Decatur is easily mistaken for an in-town neighborhood of Atlanta , but is in fact the largest of Atlanta's neighbors and sits a quick 15 minutes east on Dekalb Ave. Decatur has retained its small city feel and relaxed pace, despite its proximity to the giant metropolis.

  • East Point is home to a many well known hip-hop and R&B groups as well as a burgeoning fine arts community, and is located south-west of Atlanta's neighborhoods.

  • College Park is a small town south of East Point and adjacent to Hapeville and the airport in South Atlanta.

Outside the Perimeter

Many towns in the greater Atlanta area reside "OTP" but remain closely associated with the city.

  • Marietta is half an hour north-west on I-75 and home to Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum and Six Flags White Water.

  • Kennesaw is just beyond Marietta on I-75 and is home to a Civil War battlefield, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

  • Stone Mountain is one of Georgia's most unique attractions, and is just half an hour to the east. Visitors can hike up the mountain or take a cable car to the top.

  • Austell is half an hour to the west and is home to Six Flags Over Georgia. Goliath, the tallest roller coaster in the Southeast, can be found here.

  • Helen — A mountain town created to resemble an Alpine village. Popular in the fall for viewing autumn leaves, and the largest and longest Oktoberfest in the Southeast. Also neaby is Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls, as well as Sautee-Nacoochee Valley.

  • Dahlonega — Once the location of Georgia's own gold rush. Visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum and try your luck finding some of your own gold. Also located in Dahlonega is Wolf Mountain Vineyards , which offers a perfect get-away to taste award winning wines and enjoy a beautiful scenery. The vineyards and winery provide the perfect setting for Sunday brunch, café lunch, and gourmet dinners.

  • Savannah — A 4 hour drive, but well worth it. The downtown is a historical district with many parks, squares, and historic architecture.

  • Hampton — Home to the Atlanta Motor Speedway, an 870-acre racing complex hosting NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series events in March and October. In addition to the race weekend, the facility hosts events ranging from driving schools, Thursday Thunder Legends racing, Friday Night Drags, Car Shows and many others.

  • Chatahoochee River Fun — Sixteen recreation areas along a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River have been designed to conserve the river and provide outdoor entertainment for the whole family. In addition, the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell offers education environmental programs, canoe trips and other recreational activities.

  • Outdoor Adventure Club of the South — Atlanta's premiere outdoor adventure and social club. OAC South offers dozens of outdoor and social events around the metro Atlanta area every month. Hiking, biking, backpacking, climbing, water sports, and more.

  • Lake Lanier Islands — The closet beach to Atlanta can be found at Lake Lanier Islands Resort , with its lakefront beaches, water park, golf courses, boating, spas, and more.

  • Chateau Elan Winery and Resort — Chateau Elan , a 16th-century-styled French retreat, is just 30 minutes north of Atlanta and has a festive atmosphere that encourages guests to tour the vineyards, visit the winery, have lunch at a sidewalk café and play a round of golf.

  • Barnsley Garden Resort — Barnsley Garden Resort is a beautiful hotel and resort in Adairsville, Georgia with lush gardens, cabins and a Zagat-rated golf course.

  • Callaway Gardens — Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia Callaway Gardens is a premier vacation spot with tons of activities for the entire family.

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