Over the last few years, a city in the heart of the South has been tugging on America’s heartstrings and making its way onto travel lovers’ must-see lists. That city is Atlanta- known for its juicy peaches, warm climate, and southern traditions, the Georgia capital has had an increase in residents and is one of the country’s fastest growing cities. In February, it hosted the nation’s biggest sporting event: The Super Bowl. And with more and more people discovering its charm, Atlanta has become a hotspot and popular destination for travelers. Can you blame it though? Its stunning nature will allure you and its charm will have you smitten by the South and pulling out a southern drawl in no time. If you’re ready to see what all the hype is about, here are three reasons why Atlanta should be on your summer travel list.
If you’re a history buff, then you’re in luck because Atlanta is an essential place in American politics and history. It served as grounds for higher education in the 60s, is the birthplace of the notable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was the hub for the civil rights movement. Visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum to see special exhibits, photographs, and archives of the Carter administration and the 39th President’s personal life. There’s even a replica of the oval office, where you can envision yourself as president for the day! Walk through the life of MLK at the King Center, which has the most extensive collection of materials and resources on the extraordinary Civil Rights leader. There are tours of his birth home, crypt, and Ebenezer Baptist Church where he delivered sermons and speeches. While Martin Luther King Jr. may be the most famous civil rights leader out of Atlanta, there are plenty of untold stories and influential African American activists to discover. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights presents a permanent and interactive exhibition on the Civil Rights Movement in the South and tells the story of the 1950s and 60s activists from the Freedom Riders to The March on Washington.
Whether you’re exploring the city solo or with friends and family, Atlanta has something for everyone. Treat yourself and the kiddos to a sugar high by tasting rare and international coke products at the World of Coca-Cola. Don’t worry about eating your way around the world with Coke; you can work it all off by challenging yourself to hike up Stone Mountain, the world’s most massive exposed granite. Make a day out of it and enjoy some of the many attractions Stone Mountain Park has to offer including the Camp Highland Outpost with outdoor rope courses and challenges, the Farmyard where you can pet the cutest farm animals, and the evening Lasershow Spectacular with fireworks that light up the skies. If you’re looking for something more low-key, you can see up to 500 species of underwater creatures living their best life at the Georgia Aquarium which is the largest in the country.
From classic southern cuisines like fried chicken and shrimp and grits to Michelin-starred restaurants, Atlanta is a city to chow down in. You’re going to want to fill your belly with all it has to offer. Check out any of the Atlanta institutions like Waffle House which serves up breakfast 24-hours a day or classic American burgers at The Varsity, the world’s largest drive-in! Atlanta was founded as a railroad town, and some of the old tracks are being put to good use in a significant redevelopment project called the Atlanta BeltLine. The plan is a 33-mile trail that connects 45 neighborhoods. So far, the BeltLine has five trails and seven parks. Walk along the Eastside trail and pop into Ponce City Market, a multi-use space for shopping, housing, and of course, food. And lots of it! The Central Food Hall has everything from curated cocktails at The Mercury to delicious fried chicken at Hops. If you want to get a little fancy and treat yourself be sure to try southern food with an upscale twist at Miller Union or The Sun Dial restaurant with farm-to-table dishes paired with a 360-degree view of the city.
Atlanta is a historic, bustling city so vibrant with character, culture, and food that there’s no wonder it’s labeled ‘the capital of the South.’ With tons of green space plus fun-filled activities for the whole family, this southern destination is not one to miss this summer.