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Atlanta...what area hotel...need car?

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Hi,
We will visit Atlanta for the first time next month for 2 days, 3 nights and am wondering where best to book a hotel and whether or not a car is better than MARTA.
We will visit High Museum, Aquarium, CNN, maybe the zoo, maybe MLK sites, maybe Atlanta History Center.
At night we search out places with live jazz..Any suggestions for bars or restaurants with jazz? I've heard of Dante's so far.
Walking a bit is no problem. I don't mind some inconvenience to walk if the cost of MARTA passes ( MARTA 2 day pass is $14 X 3 people) is significantly cheaper than renting a car (plus parking?? I was searching hotels on Kayak.com and out of about 150 hotels only saw one with free parking).Plus I would need to consider taxi fares for any locations not served by MARTA.
And what area would be best for a hotel location? From what I've read so far I'm guessing Midtown for nightlife and MARTA access.
Thanks for your help!!

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