In recent years, Atlanta has become the South’s most important business and transportation hub. With its newfound prosperity, the Peach State’s capital has also become a magnet for global tourists who are fascinated by the city’s long history and dynamic present. Georgia holds a special part in my heart as I spent a summer working in a summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains and we spent many days off visiting Atlanta and all its attractions. Here are five must-see attractions everyone should see on a visit to Atlanta.
With over 100,000 animals in seven massive exhibits, the Georgia Aquarium easily ranks as one of the world’s greatest aquariums. Besides marveling a wide variety of marine life swimming around some 8 million tons of water, you’ll have the opportunity watch incredible live shows, see a 4D movie, and even pet a few of the aquarium’s animals. Definitely prioritize visiting the Ocean Voyager tank first since this is the home of the museum’s star attraction: whale sharks.
Because the Georgia Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in Atlanta, it’s highly advised you purchase your tickets online and arrive early in the morning. Standard ticket prices are in the $30s for adults and children. If you want to take part in special programs like swimming with whale sharks, then you will have to purchase separate tickets.
Georgia Aquarium’s standard operating hours are from 10AM to 9PM Mondays through Fridays and from 9AM to 9PM on the weekend. You’ll find the Georgia Aquarium at 225 Baker Street near Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta.
WORLD OF COCA-COLA
Created by Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886, Coca-Cola is one of Atlanta’s most iconic companies. At the World of Coca-Cola you’ll get to learn the long evolution of this belch-inducing global brand with hundreds of artifacts and stunning multimedia exhibits. You’ll also get to see the vault that houses the secret Coca-Cola formula. Just be sure to visit the World of Coca-Cola thirsty, because there are over 100 international sodas here for you to try.
The only days the World of Coca-Cola is closed include Thanksgiving and Christmas. From Monday through Thursday and on Sundays this center is open from 10AM till 5PM; on Fridays and Saturdays, however, the World of Coca-Cola is open from 9AM till 7PM.
General admission tickets to the World of Coca-Cola cost $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $13 for kids between the ages of three and 12. Children under two-years-old can visit for free. You’ll find the World of Coca-Cola conveniently located a five-minute walk from the Georgia Aquarium.
Measuring over 200 acres, Piedmont Park is a green oasis amidst the bustle of industrialized Atlanta. This historic park was founded in 1904 and has many facilities both locals and tourists can take advantage of. Consider taking a stroll by Lake Clara Meer, snapping some selfies with the Atlanta skyline in the background, and enjoying a lunch on one of this beautiful park’s many benches. Definitely check online to see if any special festivities will be going on at Piedmont Park during your visit. Some famous events to look out for include the Atlanta Dogwood Festival in April, the Atlanta Jazz Festival in May, and the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in May and June.
Piedmont Park is open every day of the year between 6AM and 11PM and is located in Midtown between 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue. It’s free to enter Piedmont Park, but it costs about $5 if you want to use the park’s swimming facility.
ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN
Nature lovers can’t pass up a visit to the 30-acre Atlanta Botanical Garden in northwestern Piedmont Park. One of the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s main claims to fame is housing Atlanta’s only surviving hardwood forest. Other popular exhibits include a magnificent orchid garden, a conservatory with poisonous frogs, and even an edible garden.
Although the Atlanta Botanical Garden is open between 9AM till 4PM almost every day of the year (except Monday), it’s best to check this garden’s website for official times before visiting. Also, keep in mind that most of the flowers at this botanical garden aren’t in full bloom in during winter.
Tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Garden cost $21.95 for adults and $18.95 for children between the ages of three to 12. Children under the age of three enjoy free admission.
CENTER FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS
As the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta was a major center for the American Civil Rights movement. The best place to learn about this impact of this important era in American history is at the state-of-the-art Center for Civil and Human Rights near both the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.
Created in 2014, this center’s main exhibit is called “Voice to the Voiceless” and contains many important artifacts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. Another important area to explore here is the “Rolls Down Like Water” exhibit, which explores pivotal moments in the history of the US Civil Rights movement.
Admission to this educational museum costs $20 for adults and $16 for youths over the age of six. The Center for Civil and Human Rights is open between 10AM to 5PM Mondays through Saturdays and from 12PM to 5PM on Sundays. The only days this center is closed to the public is on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This is just the beginning of exciting things to see and do in Atlanta! With the Atlanta nightlife, restaurant scene, and beautiful neighborhoods, it may just be the kind of place to put down roots and make a home, and the lovely people at Suddath can help with just that.
All opinions are my own.