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Atlanta - fun things to see/do in and around Atlanta

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Mar 14th, 2012, 02:42 PM
  #1
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Atlanta - fun things to see/do in and around Atlanta

Will be visiting our son in Atlanta in June, and am looking for fun/interesting things to see and do. We've only been to Atlanta once many years ago and went to the Coca-Cola Museum/display and I vaguely remember Stone Mountain.

He'll have a few things lined up for us to do, but was hoping my Fodor's buddies could come up with some suggestions also.

We'll have a car so getting out and about will be no problem.

Restaurant recommendations welcome.

We're staying in the midtown area.

No serious hiking will be done on this trip, but pretty scenery, parks, architecture, museums (although we have great ones where we live), etc. ... we're open to any suggestions.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 03:43 PM
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If I were going to Atlanta the CNN tour would be on my list.
http://www.cnn.com/tour/
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Mar 14th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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We liked the Atlanta History Center, the MLK sites, and the Carter Library. Didn't get to the High Museum, but want to.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 05:10 PM
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I would go to Zoo Atlanta and Kennesaw Mountain. The Cyclorama at Zoo Atlanta is pretty cool to see also.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 05:14 PM
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Well, let's see. Atlanta in June...

Do head back to Stone Mountain Park. A lot has changed since you were last here. A lot of new attractions. The best activity IMO is going to the top of the mountain - either by walking up the trail (a little over a mile) or take the cable car up. The views are wonderful. On summer afternoons you'll see lots of folks walking, running and biking around the mountain (5 miles). You can still take the train, riverboat ride and there's now a new duck ride (think Boston). New attractions too. Check out their website.

In Midtown you'll find our version of Central Park = Piedmont Park. Lots of people out enjoying the walking paths, playing fields, sunbathing, picnicing. Check the website to see if there are any festivals or concerts going on. There's a great Saturday farmer's market there - and in other places around Atlanta.

Next to the park is the Botanical Gardens. Very nice, especially the orchids house. Special events take place there too and there's a new parking garage that provides parking for both the gardens and the park.

Also in Midtown is the High Museum of Art. Very nice. Check the website for special exhibits and info on permanent installations.

One of Atlanta's treasure is the Fox Theater. Check to see if there's a concert you may be interested in. There's also a summer film series (sponsored by Coca-cola). Great experience especially when the Mighty Mo organ is played for a sing-along before the film - and vintage newsreels.

There's a wonderful walking tour of the Fox on Saturday mornings for $10. The history center also has other tours around different areas of Atlanta.

For more tours consider the tours of Oakland Cemetery, built to be a park as well as a cemetery. The docents give very interesting tours.

The aquarium downtown is great.

The classic summer night experience is a concert at Chastain Park, an outdoor amphitheater. You can bring your own food, drinks and candles and hear a wide variety of artists. There are several different summmer series at Chastain so it can be confusing seeing all the concerts. A smaller, newer version of this experience is south of Atlanta in Peachtree City. That venue is called The Fred.

If you want to take day trips or an overnight trip, head for the mountains. The north GA mountains are gorgeous. Where to go depends on where your son lives. I'm partial to the NE corner in Rabun County. There are two state parks there. Take a walk along the rim of Tallulah Gorge and take in the view in the highest park in the state, Black Rock Mountain State Park. Gorgeous scenery and plenty of hiking and walking trail options.

Most of head for water in the summer. The beach is 4+ hours away so we spend a lot of time on lakes. Lake Lanier is the biggest lake in the area. Lake Lanier Islands offers lots of options including a beach. My favorite lakes are back up in Rabun County and you could rent a boat for the day (or 1/2 day) if you are interested. Crystal clear water on a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. My favorite is Lake Burton but Lake Rabun is gorgeous too.

I love drive-ins and the one I grew up going to is still operating in Atlanta. Check the website of the Starlight. It's fun to go early and tailgate, then set up lawn chairs and watch the movie. Back in Rabun County there's a tiny version of the drive-in - the Tiger Drive-in, with several grass tiers, a playground under the screen and inexpensive snacks at the concession stand. Both will play a double feature of first run movies.

Well, that's a start. Let me know if you want more info or help in finding the links to websites.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 06:19 PM
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Martinis & IMAX at the Fernbank Museum

http://www.fernbankmuseum.org/experi...inis-and-imax/

Stone Mountain Laser Show
Zoo Atlanta

There are several quaint downtown areas in the suburbs...Roswell, Norcross, etc. with shops and restaurants.
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Mar 14th, 2012, 09:19 PM
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Thanks everyone. just the type of suggestions I'm looking for.

Starrs -- my son lives very near Piedmont Park and we'll be staying near the Fox Theatre, so I'll put those on my list definitely.

I love the idea of a drive-in movie - something I grew up with and something my kids have only gone to a couple of times.

Love the zoo and aquarium idea.

GREAT suggestions guys. Thanks again!!!
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Mar 15th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Lots of great suggestions here. The only things I can add, depending on interests, are the Georgia State Capitol (includes some local historic exhibits as well as being a very good example of its kind), the Margaret Mitchell House (historic house tour and a small museum about the writer), the Michael C. Carlos Museum (a very good medium-sized museum primarily of antiquities and ethnic art), William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum (Jewish history both locally and not), and the World of Coca-Cola (contains product memorabilia and advertizing, a mock-up of a bottling plant, and an area where you can try unlimited samples of Coca-Cola products from around the world which include a lot of items not available in the US).

If you're looking for places to eat, I liked The Varsity (a drive-in type place excellent for chili slaw dogs and frosted orange drinks), Fox Brothers (BBQ), Rolling Bones (BBQ), Mary Mac's Tea Room (Southern soul food meat-and-three), and Flying Biscuit Cafe (great biscuits, also does breakfast and such). But there are a lot of worthwhile dining options here.
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Mar 15th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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The Jewish museum, the High and the Margaret Mitchell house often have guest lecturers and author signings. Check their websites to see the schedule. Usually the High's lectures are free but you order the tickets online.

There are several places around town that offer painting classes. Check the schedule to see which painting you'd like to paint, the cost includes all materials and you follow along with an instructor. You can bring your own wine and snacks. They are an absolute blast. I am completely addicted. The closest one to your son is probably Sip n Strokes at Toco Hills.

The Landmark Art Cinemas is a great midtown theater offering a wide range of movies, from first run mainstream movies to cutting edge indy films. The Plaza on Ponce de Leon is another classic Atlanta movie theater that offers a variety of movies and events.
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Mar 23rd, 2012, 09:23 AM
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Okay, I've taken a look-see at the various places you guys have recommended and WOW this will be a great trip.

Chastain Park doesn't have anything I'm interested in, but I'll keep watching. Fox Theater doesn't have their Coca-Cola film schedule up yet, and I definitely think we'll have to do the zoo and the aquarium.

My husband will be MOST interested in the Flying Biscuit -- he LOVES biscuits and gravy. Mary Mac's and the BBQ places are a most definite, too.

I'd like to venture out to the state parks - Tallulah Gorge and Black Mountain -- if the weather holds out and isn't too hot.

I would love to get it all done, but not sure it's possible this trip. Oh well, guess we'll have to make a second trip out there!

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Mar 23rd, 2012, 09:34 AM
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A few years ago (could be 10 now), we had barbecue at Fat Matt's and thought it was great, extremely casual, very inexpensive, and live music to boot! I wanted to order their barbecue sauce online but shipping was ridiculously costly.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 06:00 AM
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My 10 year old and I are flying to Atlanta This Thursday on our way to a charming small town called Madison GA, 1 hour east of Atlanta off of Rt.20. We HAVE to stay one night in Atlanta because of the Aquarium. He says, and I agree, one of the best in the US. And no one mentioned the Coca Cola museum across from the aquarium which he also loves, which is interesting. Have fun!!
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Apr 1st, 2012, 06:05 AM
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The OP mentioned the World of Coke. She's been there already. Enjoy Madison.
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Apr 10th, 2012, 09:23 PM
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My son and I had a great time. Went to Coke Museum again and then headed to Madison. Saw Hunger Games at neat looking newer theater in Greensboro, at Reynolds Plantation near the Ritz Carlton and then fished off our dock on Lake Oconee near Madison Georgia which is a very adorable looking town. They say Sherman refused to burn the area down because it looked so nice. Very nice looking Antebellum homes. Caught my first fish ever, a Catfish. I thought it was big at 3 pounds until 2 local boaters who I gave the fish to told me it was a baby. Very peaceful, but a little remote. My son wanted to buy the last book in the trilogy of Hunger games and I had to drive over a half an hour to a Barnes and Noble in Athens not too far from the University of Georgia.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Sherman actually spared Madison due to ties between his brother and a pro-Union senator from there, but it is a beautiful town.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 02:38 PM
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I did not know that. Their brochures at the Welcome Center say something different. Like you said though, beautiful little town.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Another story is that his roommate at West Point was from Madison and he spared it for that reason. Covington and Social Circle were spared as well (neighboring towns). It is a beautiful town. You probably could have found the book at Wal-Mart, but Athens is not a bad drive. A lot of the B&BS stay rented out on football weekends. It's a quick drive from Madison. And the Ritz Carlton and Reynolds Plantation have transformed what was sleepy countryside not so long ago. That's nice for the locals - especially for the property values for those who had little homes on the lake.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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If you have an interest in history, you might also enjoy driving just outside Atlanta to Marietta and Kennesaw. Kennesaw has "The General" locomotive from The Great Locomotive Chase (http://www.southernmuseum.org/welcome, as well as the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and Marietta has many beautiful old homes and a charming town square with lots of cute restaurants and shops.

Also interesting is Roswell, Ga, a northern suburb of Atlanta, which was settled in the 1820's and was not burned by Sherman. Many of the original homes remain. There was a woolen mill producing cloth for the Confederary operating in Roswell that was captured by Sherman's troops. All of the mill workers (women and children) were marched to Marietta, put on trains and shipped north, never to return home. The ruins of the mill are still there. Bulloch Hall is open for tours (the 1838 Greek Revival home of Theodore Roosevelt's mother). The Roswell Ghost Tour is a fun evening activity. There are many cute restaurants and bars that line Canton St. and are bustling day and night.

I second the recommendation of the Atlanta History Center. It's also in a beautiful neighborhood that includes the Governor's Mansion.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 05:15 PM
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You may see a baby Beluga whale. There will be the pitter patter of little fins in June or July at the aquarium.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Our realtor told us we would have to go to Athens for the book because it was probably too new for Wal-Mart. Having said that I did not mind the drive. Someone told me to check out Monticello GA. He said there is a neat little village there. Not sure how close it was to Madison.
My son was upset because we did not have time to see the Dolphin show at the Aquarium as we had to leave Atlanta by 1PM and the next show was at 3PM. Last time we were at the aquarium,over a year ago, the Beluga Whale exhibit was down for maintenance issues and he was so upset, he was crying. A great employee saw this and had a manager come over to us and because he was upset he took us on a "Back Stage" tour of the aquarium which the public does not get to see. Real neat!!
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