Atlanta Sights

The greater Atlanta area embraces several different counties. The city of Atlanta is primarily in Fulton and DeKalb counties, although its southern end and the airport are in Clayton County. Outside Interstate 285, which encircles the city, Cobb, Gwinnett, and northern Fulton counties are experiencing much of Atlanta's population increase.

Atlanta's lack of a grid system confuses many drivers,

even locals. Some streets change names along the same stretch of road, including the city's most famous thoroughfare, Peachtree Street, which follows a mountain ridge from Downtown to suburban Norcross, outside Interstate 285: it becomes Peachtree Road after crossing Interstate 85 and then splits into Peachtree Industrial Boulevard beyond the Buckhead neighborhood and the original Peachtree Road, which heads into Chamblee. Adding to the confusion, dozens of other streets in the metropolitan area use "Peachtree" in their names. Before setting out anywhere, get the complete street address of your destination, including landmarks, cross streets, or other guideposts. Street numbers and even street signs are often difficult to find.

Atlanta proper has three major areas—Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead—as well as many smaller commercial districts and in-town neighborhoods. Atlanta's Downtown is filled with government staffers and office workers by day, but at night the visiting conventioneers—and, as city improvements take hold, residents—come out to play. Midtown, Virginia-Highland, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, the Westside, and Decatur are the best places to go for dinner, nightclubs, and shows. Other neighborhoods like East Atlanta, Grant Park, Little Five Points, and Kirkwood have unique characteristics that merit exploration.

The city's public transportation system, MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), operates bus and rail networks in Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties. The two major rail lines, which run east–west and north–south (there's a northern spur, so consult a map before you jump on board), extend roughly to the edges of Interstate 285. MARTA is best for traveling to and from the airport and within Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, and Decatur; if you plan to venture beyond those regions, call a taxi or rent a car.

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Downtown 20

Sweet Auburn, the Old Fourth Ward, and East Atlanta 14

Midtown and Westside 13

Virginia-Highland and Emory 4

Buckhead 3

Little Five Points and Inman Park 1

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Amusement Park/ Water Park 2

Arts/ Performance Venue 3

Building/ Architectural Site 11

Cemetery 1

Commercial District 1

Educational Institution 1

Farm/ Ranch 1

Film Studio 1

Financial Institution 1

Garden/ Arboretum 2

Government Building 2

Historic District/ Site 4

House/ Mansion/ Villa 4

Market/ Bazaar 1

Museum/ Gallery 26

Nature Preserve/ Wildlife Refuge 1

Neighborhood/ Street 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 3

Park/ Playground 2

Public Art (Mural/ Sculpture/ Statue) 1

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 2

Store/ Shop/ Mall 2

Trail/ Path 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 2

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Family 14

Atlanta Sights

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African American Panoramic Experience (APEX)

  • Museum/Gallery

The museum's quarterly exhibits chronicle the history of black people in America. Videos illustrate the history of Sweet Auburn, the...

Atlanta Botanical Garden

  • Museum/Gallery

Occupying 30 acres inside Piedmont Park, the grounds contain acres of display gardens, including a 2-acre interactive children's garden;...

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

  • Museum/Gallery

Established by a group of photographers in the '70s as the arts co-op Nexus, the ACAC exhibits edgy contemporary art. It has the feel...

Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

A building in Grant Park (named for a New England–born Confederate colonel, not the U.S. president) houses a huge circular painting...

Atlanta History Center

  • Museum/Gallery

Life in Atlanta and the rest of the South during and after the Civil War are a major focus of this fascinating museum. Displays are provocative...

Atlanta Monetary Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

The exhibits in this grand museum explain the story of money as a medium of exchange and the history of the U.S. banking system. Rare...

Bank of America Plaza Tower

  • Building/Architectural Site

At 1,023 feet, this is the South's tallest building. The 1992 skyscraper's graceful birdcage roof is easily visible from the highway.

Baptist Student Union

  • Building/Architectural Site

This restored Victorian building adjacent to the Georgia State University campus once contained the Coca-Cola Company's first bottling...

CNN Center

  • Film Studio

The home of Cable News Network occupies all 14 floors of this dramatic structure on the edge of Downtown. The 55-minute CNN studio tour...

Centennial Olympic Park

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

This 21-acre swath of green was the central venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics. The benches at the Fountain of Rings allow you to enjoy...

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