In amongst the skyscrapers and sprawl of Atlanta, come visit some of the must-see sights of the Southeast’s biggest city, centered on three open spaces.
Day 1: Around Centennial Olympic Park
The eyes of the world were trained on Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics, and it remains a downtown hub. Start the day with the most famous Atlanta native of all at The World of Coca-Cola. Hopefully refreshed after sampling the soda giant’s products, your next stop is the nearby home of another global icon. Your tour of CNN Center starts with the world’s largest free-standing escalator and takes you in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. Afterwards, head through the dancing fountains of Centennial Olympic Park to arrive at Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest. "Journey with Gentle Giants," an opportunity to swim with whale sharks, doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Day 2: Around Piedmont Park
Many people still associate Atlanta with Gone with the Wind, written in, and about, Atlanta. The broad verandas of the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, where the author wrote that famous novel, exude Southern charm, while inside you’ll find exhibits detailing her life and work. The High Museum of Art, meanwhile, symbolizes the New South. American art forms the core of the permanent collection housed in this award-winning Richard Meier-designed building expanded in the new millennium by Renzo Piano. Then make your way to Piedmont Park, the “Central Park of Atlanta” and home of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where you can take a canopy walk through the treetops of an urban forest.
Day 3: Around Grant Park
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site Visitors Center is the focus for a cluster of sites associated with the great civil rights leader, including his house, church, tomb and the King Center for Non-Violent Social Change. Next, head south to Grant Park where the famous Atlanta Cyclorama goes even further back in the history of the South, with an enormous painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta. Finally, say hello to the giant pandas at the excellent Zoo Atlanta.