1 Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site
Two blocks on Auburn Avenue are now protected as a National Historic Site. They include the birthplace of the civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr at 501 Auburn Avenue, which dates from 1895, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church at 407-413 Auburn Avenue, in which he and his father were ministers. Immediately adjoining, in the Freedom Hall Complex, is his grave. The Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change is also in this area.
2 Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center is a large complex that comprises the Atlanta History Museum, Centennial Olympic Games Museum, Swan House, Smith Family Farm, and the Kenan Research Center, along with a number of historic gardens. The History Museum features changing exhibitions and a permanent collection with topics such as the American Civil War, Folk Art of the South, and various other exhibits related to the history of Atlanta.
The historic houses range in age from the 1860s to the 1920s and offer a glimpse of life during these time periods. The Margaret Mitchell House contains the apartment where Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind. The guided tour includes a look at this room as well as a brief film and exhibition on Margaret Mitchell.
The six historic gardens include both natural areas and formal gardens. The Frank A. Smith Rhododendron Garden is a delight in spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom. Visitors can also see an 1860s style garden at the Tullie Smith Farm.
Address: 990 Peachtree Street NE
3 The Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre was built in the 1920s as the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque, with an extremely posh Arabian-themed design. It has had a varied history, with problems during the Great Depression, but has always been a much loved landmark building since its construction. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior of the theatre has seen considerable restoration work over the years in an attempt to maintain its original elegance, including the repair and restoration of the furniture collection to preserve its 1929 appearance.
Performances at the Fox include diverse entertainment options such as operas, ballet, rock concerts, and movies, with hundreds of performances each year. In addition to the theatre, there are two ballrooms, the Egyptian Ballroom and the Grand Salon. Both of these have been beautifully restored and are available for special events.
Address: 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308, United States
4 World of Coca-Cola
In 1886 a chemist named Dr John Pemberton devised a syrup designed to relieve headaches. A friend of his mixed the glutinous liquid with water and carbonic acid, and the result of the mixture soon became the world's most popular soft drink. The World of Coca-Cola entertainingly illustrates the history and triumphal progress of the world-famous drink.
Address: 121 Baker Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, United States
5 Piedmont Park
Located just a short distance northeast of downtown Atlanta, Piedmont Park is the oldest and largest park in the Atlanta metro region. The grounds were originally part of the Battle at Peachtree Creek during the Civil War.
In 2006 plans were drawn up to update and revitalize the park, a plan which resulted in a lovely new look. The former bathhouse, which served as a locker room, was transformed into the Greystone, a lovely lakefront venue which can now be used for weddings, receptions, and other events. The overhaul of the pool area, which is now the Piedmont Park Aquatic Center, led to the expansion of Piedmont Park. Other additions include the Legacy Fountain, the Magnolia Greenway, new bridges, fishing piers, and restored natural areas with trails and walkways.
The park also hosts various events from musical entertainment to fitness programs.
Address: 1071 Piedmont Avenue
6 Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden offers a lovely space with a variety of well laid out gardens. The idea for the garden was presented in the early 1970s and by the early 1980s the garden saw its first visitors. Over the decades since it opened the complex has gradually expanded with new gardens, new features, and new programs.
The Botanical Garden is a great place year round, with something always in bloom. Spring is, of course, an amazing time with a riot of colors. Some of the highlights include the Orchid Display House in the Fuqua Orchid Center, the Rose Garden, the Winter Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Conservation Garden, and the Desert House. What there is to see will depend somewhat on the time of year you are visiting. However, the indoor gardens are always pleasant to wander through.
Address: 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309, United States
7 Oakland Cemetery
The Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta began as six acres in 1850. It was originally designed as a garden cemetery. Over the years, particularly during the time of the Civil War, the site grew, accommodating those killed on the battlefield. Eventually the cemetery came to encompass 88 acres. In 1884 the cemetery stopped selling plots. Eventually this once lovely cemetery fell into disrepair as those tending the plots moved away or died.
In 1976 Oakland Cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark and the Historic Oakland Foundation was established. In combination with the city the organization has done much work to maintain the cemetery. Today it is promoted as a historic cemetery and parkland with gardens, sculptures, and wildlife. There is even a Visitor Center and Museum Shop.
Address: 248 Oakland Avenue
8 Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Opened in 1992, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History portrays the natural history of Georgia as well as technical and scientific phenomena with the aid of modern techniques. Some of the most eye catching exhibits at the museum are the huge dinosaur statues at the entrance and the dinosaur skeletons in the Great Hall. Perhaps more entertaining are the interactive displays of the "Sensing Nature". There are many other interesting exhibits on the natural history of the local landscape and cultures from other parts of the world. Note that the floors are made of limestone tiles with embedded fossils.
A huge gallery is dedicated to special exhibitions of temporary and traveling exhibits. There is also an IMAX theater showing nature related movies, as well as an on-site Star Gallery.
Address: 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30307-1221, United States
9 Michael C Carlos Museum
The Michael C Carlos Museum of Emory University has one of the largest collections of ancient art in the Southeast, with objects from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Near East, and the ancient Americas. The permanent collection also contains works from the Renaissance right through the modern times.
Address: 571 South Kilgo Circle
10 Stone Mountain Park
16 miles east of the city centre is Stone Mountain Park, commemorating the soldiers of the southern states who fell in the Civil War. In the centre of the park is Stone Mountain, an 863 foot high mass of exposed granite with a circumference of 5 miles. On the east flank of the hill is an equestrian relief, hewn from the rock between 1923 and 1970, depicting the three Confederate leaders, President Jefferson Davis and his two generals, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The top of the hill can be reached by cable car, and around it runs an old steam railway. Nearby is an artificial lake on which there are paddle-steamer cruises. Other features are a museum devoted to the early days of industrialisation in the southern states, a Civil War Museum and a restored antebellum plantation.