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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Fodor's Choice

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Downtown 20

Sweet Auburn, the Old Fourth Ward, and East Atlanta 17

Midtown and Westside 14

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 13

Cemetery 1

Commercial District 1

Educational Institution 1

Farm/ Ranch 1

Festival–Sight 1

Film Studio 1

Financial Institution 1

Garden/ Arboretum 2

Government Building 2

Historic District/ Site 9

House/ Mansion/ Villa 7

Information Center 1

Library/ Archive 1

Market/ Bazaar 1

Military Site 1

Mountain–Sight 1

Museum/ Gallery 29

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

Sports Venue 1

Sports–Sight 1

Store/ Shop/ Mall 3

Trail/ Path 1

Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train) 1

Zoo/ Aquarium 2

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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

  • Garden/Arboretum

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 History Center

  • Farm/Ranch

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...

Center for Puppetry Arts

  • Arts/Performance Venue

The largest puppetry organization in the country houses a museum where you can see more than 350 puppets from around the world. Make...

Ebenezer Baptist Church

  • Museum/Gallery

A Gothic Revival–style building completed in 1922, the church came to be known as the spiritual center of the civil rights movement.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

  • Museum/Gallery

One of the largest natural-history museums south of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., this museum offers 17 galleries...

Fernbank Science Center

  • Educational Institution

The museum, in the 65-acre Fernbank Forest, focuses on ecology, geology, and space exploration. In addition to the exhibit hall, there's...

Hammonds House

  • Museum/Gallery

The handsome Eastlake Victorian house that belonged to Otis Thrash Hammonds, as well as his fine collection of Victorian furnishings...

High Museum of Art

  • Museum/Gallery

This museum's permanent collection includes 19th- and 20-century American works, including many by African-American artists. It also...

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