The 5 Best Atlanta Sightseeing Spots
A brief rundown of the 5 sightseeing spots in Atlanta that you should definitely visit to ensure a well-rounded trip.
Lying on the foothills of the Piedmont Plateau along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, Atlanta is the bustling capital and the most populous city in the US state of Georgia. The city was established in 1837 and played a significant role in the Civil War and the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. In recent years, Atlanta has become a major cultural and economic hub in the southeast region while retaining its classic southern charm.
From romantic parks to child-friendly zoos and aquariums, there are lots of spots to visit and things to see and do while in the city. To further help you in planning your itinerary for your visit to Atlanta, visit these 5 best sightseeing spots that you and your travel companions will surely enjoy.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Born in the city of Atlanta in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a known American Baptist minister and a social activist who led the African – American Civil Rights Movement. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his significant contribution in fighting racial inequality with nonviolence. As a form of commemoration, Martin Luther’s King Jr.’s childhood home and nearby buildings in Atlanta were collectively designated by the US Department of the Interior (DOI) as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
During your visit to the historic site, you will be able to know more about his life story and learn about his vision, ideals, and significant contributions to the society. There are seven stops during the tour, beginning at the site’s Visitor Center where a short orientation will be held to ensure utmost appreciation and a great overall experience.
The Birth Home Tour is considered by majority of the site’s visitors as the highlight of their visit. This is the only ranger-facilitated tour in the site and lasts for about 30 minutes. Here, you will be able to have a glimpse of life through the eyes of a young Martin Luther King, Jr. in the place where he was born and raised. Since the tour is limited to only 15 people per batch, it is best to come early to secure a slot. Slot reservations are not allowed and tours for the day are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The site's guests can also have a self-guided tour of the International Word Peace Rose Gardens’, I Have a Dream Garden, Dr. and Mrs. King’s Tomb, Freedom Hall, Historic Fire Station No.6, and Ebenezer Baptist Church where you can listen and relive the sermons of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is located at 450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312 and is open every day from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. For general inquiries, you may call (404) 331-5190 or visit The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site’s official website at www.nps.gov/malu for more information.
The 189-acre Piedmont Park located about a mile northeast of Downtown Atlanta has always been the venue of choice for numerous types of festivals and special events. Dubbed as Atlanta’s version of the famous Central Park, the park offers a wide selection of activities that you can enjoy, depending on your preference. Here, you can relax and nestle in lush greeneries that will make you forget that you are in the middle of a bustling US city.
If you are looking for sumptuous meals and refreshing drinks, you can visit Park Tavern that is also situated in the area. The tavern is set in a stone house and serves full meals, bar chow and drinks that guests can consume while enjoying a great view.
If you and your companions are craving for an endorphin rush, you can opt to go for a bike ride or a quick swim, play basketball, engage in a tennis match, jog on the designated walking and jogging paths, or go for a quick run on the Active Oval Sports Field. Kids can also engage in playful fun by spending time in Mayor’s Grove Playground or Noguchi Playscape, two of Piedmont Park’s designated facilities for children and families.
Park visitors also have the option to join the scheduled park tours for further exploration and appreciation. Through the historic park tours and bird walks, you will be able to explore the park grounds and learn more about Piedmont Park’s rich history and its wildlife. Apart from these guided tours, you and your companions can also partake on a self-guided scavenger hunt and tree tour that showcases the park’s natural woodlands and planted groves.
Piedmont Park is located at 1342 Worchester Dr NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30306 and is open every day from 6 in the morning to 11 in the evening. For general inquiries, you may call (404) 875-7275 or visit Piedmont Park’s official website at www.piedmontpark.org for more information.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gracing Country Gardens Magazine’s list of 20 all-time favorite public gardens, the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden is a sightseeing spot that you should not definitely miss during your visit to the city. Situated adjacent to Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden opened its doors in 1976 in order to fulfill the garden’s commitment to build and maintain a diverse collection of plants for display, research, education and enjoyment.
Comparable to a hidden oasis nestled in the middle of a busy city, Atlanta Botanical Garden features not only a wide array of colorful flora but also a number of art installations such as sculptures and water features. There are different paths that you can take while walking around the garden in addition to the canopy walk which enables guests to view the area from a different perspective, hoisted up among the huge oak trees. After the sun sets, visitors are also in for a spectacular treat by witnessing Light in the Garden, a colorful light and music show.
While taking a rest after touring the vicinity, tourists can sit down for meals and refreshments at The Café at Linton’s in the Garden, a restaurant that offers a signature menu inspired by local ingredients in the garden. The Café is run by Chef Linton Hopkins, a James Beard Award winner and a renowned restaurateur.
All areas in Atlanta Botanical Garden are picturesque, so do not forget to pack your trusted camera and wear comfortable footwear since you will surely be on your feet for the duration of your visit.
Atlanta Botanical Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 and is open from 9 in the morning to 7 in the evening every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and from 9 in the morning to 10 in the evening every Thursday. For general inquiries, you may call (404) 876-5859 or visit Atlanta Botanical Garden’s official website at www.atlantabg.org for more information.
Zoo Atlanta was launched in 1889, after George V. Gress, a wealthy businessman, purchased animals from a bankrupt traveling circus. These animals were then donated to the city of Atlanta and placed in Grant Park, which still serves as the zoo’s current location. Zoo Atlanta is one of the four US zoos that currently house giant pandas named Lun Lun and Yang Yang who made their debut in 1999.
Zoo Atlanta houses a number of exhibits that visitors can choose from. Among these zoo experiences, The Ford African Rain Forest was the first to be offered to the general public in 1988. Since this zoo experience opened, 21 gorillas have been born at Zoo Atlanta. Next to open is the African Plains which opened in 1989. This zoo experience features animals that are native to Africa’s deserts and grasslands such as lions, African elephants, meerkats, zebras and many more. Guests can also partake in a giraffe feeding experience in the zoo’s savanna landscape.
Other zoo experiences that you can enjoy are Boundless Budgies: A Parakeet Adventure which houses parakeets that can be hand-fed by guests, Trader’s Alley and Complex Carnivores which is focused on animal species that are deeply impacted by the wildlife trade, Giant Pandas which feature Lun Lun and Yang Yang plus their offspring, Asian Forest which houses animals such as otters, Komodo dragons and red pandas, The World of Reptiles which displays over 450 reptiles and amphibians, and the Children’s Zoo, featuring the Outback Station with kangaroos, cockatoos, and cassowary.
Animals in Zoo Atlanta are well cared for by the zoo’s keepers and are given ample room to roam around. The general admission ticket to Atlanta Zoo includes activities that guests can enjoy such as interactive wildlife shows, keeper talks and training demos, petting zoo, zoo’s clues, and access to the KIDZone playground and a tunnel zone inspired by naked mole rats.
Zoo Atlanta is located at 800 Cherokee Ave. SE Atlanta, Georgia 30315 and is open every day of the week, from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Last admission and closing of food stands is at 4:30 PM and closing of rides is at 5:00 PM. For general inquiries, you may call (404) 624-WILD (9453) or visit Zoo Atlanta’s official website at www.zooatlanta.org for more information.
Centennial Olympic Park
Situated in downtown Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park is a 21-acre public park built in 1996 as part of the city’s infrastructure improvements for the 1996 Summer Olympics. The park hosts numerous events in a year, including an annual Independence Day concert and fireworks display.
Centennial Olympic Park is known for its interactive fountain called “Fountain of Rings” which features lights that are controlled by computers and water jets with synchronized music. The park’s fountain also features a splash pad where children can frolic and play and where joggers can cool off after a run. Aside from this attraction, Centennial Olympic Park also features several sculptures around the area.
During your visit, you can also visit Googie Burger and enjoy tasty burgers while relaxing in the park. Googie Burger features a nostalgic menu served in a restaurant with a futuristic theme. The establishment prepares their menu items from scratch and food items are freshly-cooked upon order.
Centennial Olympic Park is located at 265 Park Ave W NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30313 and is open every day of the week, from 7 in the morning to 11 in the evening. For general inquiries, you may call (404) 223-4412 or visit Centennial Olympic Park’s official website at www.centennialolympicpark.com for more information.
The sprawling city of Atlanta offers world-class attractions that will surely appeal to tourists of all ages. Whether you will be visiting with family, friends, or colleagues, there are a variety of local attractions that you may consider. Given the city’s diverse culture, you will surely have various colorful experiences that surely exceed expectations.
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