Is Atlanta pedestrian friendly?

Old Dec 26th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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Is Atlanta pedestrian friendly?

Wife and I will spend a week in Atlanta from 27th March to 03rd April.

We are staying at the Renaissance in the airport area.

I usually don't like driving in big cities and never rent a car in European large cities. When in San Francisco, the rented car was parked for the three days at the downtown hotel and was only taken out of the garage to visit Golden Gate and drive away from SF.

On the other hand cities like Miami, Orlando and small cities around the US are fiercely pedestrian hostile.

If wife and I could spend the week using the week MARTA pass it would be great. Will rent a car for day trip(s) from Atlanta and or for any must see attractions which are not doable with public transportation.

Any inputs will be most appreciated.

P.S.: This would be the first time we would not have a car in the US territory.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Have been to Atlanta only on business - but that at least 8 times - sometimes to Convention Center and others various hotels. The downtown area resembles the earth the day after an alien attack - assuming the entire population has died of some bizarre plague.

Did not take public transit but there is no one on the downtown streets.

Caveat: I am judging by NYC and european cities - which typically have throngs except in the middle of a blizzard - or 3 am.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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I was in Atlanta about a month ago. With a MARTA Pass, you can ride from the airport area right to downtown. From there you can easily walk to sites such as the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, Millennium Olympic Park, and the CNN Center. You'll have to ride the subway again to get to places like the Capitol Building, Four Points, Underground Atlanta, the Varsity, and the High Museum of Art. By judicious bus riding OR a lot of walking; you can get to the Carter Center, MLK National Historic Site, Cyclorama, and the Atlanta Zoo.

You'll probably need a car to get to places like Stone Mountain or Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield.

In other words, you'll probably do just fine with some planning and good walking shoes.

Note that there are car rental places just a few blocks from the Buckhead MARTA Station, at which I found rental prices far lower than at the airport or downtown. May or may not be worth the subway ride.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 06:43 PM
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We stayed in downtown Atlanta for two or three nights a couple years ago. We walked all over Atlanta, but it was not a pleasant activity that I recommend to others.

I kept wondering, what are we doing here?

HTtY
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 02:19 AM
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A week is a l-o-n-g time to spend in Atlanta, though if you are foodies, you could certainly find excellent lunches and dinners daily for longer than that.

Atlanta is far more like Miami and Orlando than it is like San Francisco. The traffic is not fierce if you can avoid rush hours. I like the suggestion above to take MARTA when you can, then rent a car in Buckhead for the rest of your trip, probably returning it at the airport when you are finished.

A car would allow you to do anything you want outside the central city and to visit some of the towns within a reasonable driving radius -- Athens, Carrollton, Madison -- or even go to the mountains.
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Thanks a lot for all your inputs. So, it looks like we will rent a car. I was wondering which would be the closest MARTA station to park the car and go downtown.

Thanks once more for the info.
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I love that hotel. I stayed there once for work and then brought my kids back. (Husband and daughter.) It is fascinating seeing the planes. The rooms are truly quiet as well.

Check with the hotel to see if they have a shuttle to the terminal. There is a Marta station there.
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 03:10 PM
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> Check with the hotel to see if they have a shuttle to the terminal

According to
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/maps/...-airport-hotel
the hotel has "Airport shuttle service, scheduled, complimentary" which PROBABLY means you can ride a van for free, to and from the airport, at regular intervals.

Based on this PDF
http://www.atlanta-airport.com/docs/terminal/mt.pdf
the drop-off point for hotel shuttles (at the bottom of this pdf) is right at the MARTA Station (#47).
Again, if your family can organize its schedule well, you can get to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and ride MARTA to Downtown and other tourist stops. That way, you need only rent a car when going to places away from the city itself.

> I was wondering which would be the closest MARTA station
> to park the car and go downtown.

This pdf
http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFile...l-Map-2010.pdf
shows which stations have free parking. The nearest to downtown happens to be "West End." Residents of Atlanta will be more knowledgeable about which stations would be the best at which to park a car for the day.
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 06:58 AM
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Great post Paul.


JF. If you do want to rent a car for a day or so in ATL, try Hertz. They partner with Marriot hotels or Enterprise. Do not get a car from the airport. It will be twice as high as getting a car off site.
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Thanks everybody!!!

@ PaulRabe

Excellent information. I see that the MARTA airport terminal is pretty close to the hotel shuttles.

I called the hotel and they confirmed that the shuttle is complimentary regardless of how many times you use back and forth to the airport and it runs approximately every 20 minutes, so that will be excellent when going downtown.

@ palmettoprincess

We got this hotel through a blind bidding with Priceline. The price paid is almost obscene to be publicly disclosed 8D

Thusfar we have never been unhappy with any of our winning bids and i am sure this will be another happy stay.

As far as renting cars, I also usually bid on car rentals and as a rule of thumb am never unhappy. I expect to get a compact car at around 20/25 dollars a day, through bidding. I wonder if I would be able to get better prices downtown.

@ Ackislander

Going through your post once more, I saw some pictures of Athens, Carrollton, Madison and by gosh!!! that is what I want to see.

As an afterthought I not only dislike driving in big cities, I actually dislike big cities all together.

We have been three times to Holland. Those stays totalled about 20 days and thusfar we have spent only one day in Amsterdam. There are so many beautiful little towns in Holland, that we never really think worthwhile "wasting" our time with Amsterdam.

Can somebody add a few more of those precious little gems around Atlanta, or maybe some other particularly interesting attraction (A national park, or something like it).

I understand there are some nearby mountains and maybe a river within a reasonable driving distance.

@ nytraveler

That was a funny post, but frankly speaking, I have already felt something like that more than once elsewhere in the States.

When I think of it, my first impression is that I would not like to live in a city where I could only stretch my legs in shopping centers and malls.

I physically need to walk. I am not happy if I can't walk.

However since I never lived in cities like that, I am probably wrong and you can actually enjoy them.

Maybe for a future life...
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 03:54 PM
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I don't blame you for not wanting to drive in Atlanta. It's hell.

That said, if you are staying out at the airport, you can ride Marta downtown and to all the sites (Lenox Square Mall for me) and rent a car to get to sites outside the city.
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 05:00 PM
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Well coming from a city where you can walk everywhere (not all in one day of course) - this is what I am used to and what I enjoy. I really dislike cities that don't have a lot of pedestrians, and streets lines with shops of all types, cafes, restaurants, small parks etc. Visiting a city like that is really necessary to me - I can;t stand the places that are nothing but streets, office buildings and empty sidewalks.
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Old Dec 29th, 2012, 03:25 AM
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Well, ny, you are certainly not talking about the Atlanta I know! There are interesting, walkable neighborhoods separated by wide expanses where a car is necessary. Sort of like LA without palm trees.

On the other hand, driving in Atlanta is hellish in my experience only at commuting time because very few people take public transportation. Otherwise, you have the country-driver-in-what-has-become-a-suburb problem, but you have that around Boston and in Fairfield County, too.
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Old Dec 29th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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For something very different and interesting, visit Etowa Indian mounds, about 45 miles north of Atlanta.

www.gastateparks.org/EtowahMounds
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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I'm talking about downtown Atlanta.

I'm sure there are some areas where there are people.

But in the central part that I have visited there are essentially no people on the street - just lots of giant office buildings and empty sidewalks. Not vibrant streets lined with shops of every variety, a host of restaurants - many with outdoor cafes, interspersed with small parks and seating areas - and tens of thousands of people walking everywhere. To me - that is what a city center should be. Not just an overgrown office park plopped down where a living city should be.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Yes, you are right about downtown Atlanta. It's true. Ditto many other formerly wonderful American cities. Which is why so many of us go to Europe. Or Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. There is still something there there.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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Reposted from an earlier thread I replied to with a couple changes:

I spent five full days sightseeing in Atlanta. There's a surprisingly large amount of stuff here. If memory serves, I did the following:

a. one day at the Stone Mountain Park complex. (Note that it's about a mile walk from the end of the bus line to the park entrance).

b. one day seeing the MLK Complex, Oakland Cemetery, Grant Park, and the Cyclorama/Civil War Museum.

c. one day seeing the Downtown area attractions, such as the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, World of Coca Cola, and Underground Atlanta.

d. one day seeing the Midtown area attractions, such as touring both the Fox Theater and Margaret Mitchell's House, Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the High Museum.

e. one day seeing other city attractions, such as the State Capitol, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Jewish Heritage Museum, and Michael Carlos Museum at Emory University.

And I didn't even get to the Fernbank Science Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta History Center, or the Zoo. So yes, one could spend a week sightseeing here.

While I can't say that I found Atlanta to be an especially appealing city in and of itself, there are a lot of attractions there. Some good eateries, too.

I did not use a car and stayed in Midtown, using MARTA and a couple bus routes. Staying at the airport makes car-less Atlanta sightseeing possible as well.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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Thanks y'all!!! This is the result of your inputs:

I rented a car for four days. During those four days, we will make short day trips around ATLANTA and the remaining three days we will explore a little of ATLANTA using MARTA.

@ Ackislander

Would you mind mentioning a couple of those "walkable neighborhoods"? I understand Decatur is one of them, isn't?

Any others I can reach using MARTA (subway, train or bus)?

While with the car I am thinking of visiting Madison, Athens and Carrollton, as you suggested. Any others? Is Helen also interesting? Rome? Marietta?

@ bachslunch

The Stone Mountain Park is a very good suggestion. Could you give a rough idea what would the cost be altogheter for a couple to spend the day at the park? Just a really rough idea with lunch for two. Can one do a picnic at the park? Do you know if barbecueing is permitted?

Is the Red Top Mountain State Park worthwhile for a visit?

Once more: Thx everybody.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 05:57 PM
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jfcarli:

I don't have anything to add but you are doing a good job describing what you want. We often get posters who just ask, "What would you do with a week in Atlanta?" and then never give any more details.

Hope you have a great trip.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 06:36 AM
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Stone Mountain is mainly a theme park (not so much a nature wilderness), though there likely are hiking trails. There are several things there, including a Civil War Museum, railroad, gondola up to the top, clutch of historic buildings, and several eateries. You could probably bring in your own picnic lunch. Cost will likely be the park entrance fee plus whatever you spend on food. See this link:

http://www.stonemountainpark.com/
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