The sprawling, beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia, not only has a defined place in civil rights history, but is also a swelling tree-lined hub of commerce and tourism in the Southern U.S. With a myriad of shopping, dining and entertainment options, this self-dubbed “capital of the South” is an urban playground for vacationers from around the world.
Without natural boundaries to define the city limits, Atlanta has become an immense metropolitan area made up of several skylines and urban neighborhoods. Downtown Atlanta is made up of Five Points, Centennial Park, Sweet Auburn, Castleberry Hill and the Hotel District. Midtown, which includes Atlantic Station, is the main business hub of the city and home to the Georgia Tech campus. Known for its pulsating nightlife and upscale shopping district that rivals Rodeo Drive, Buckhead plays host to a surplus of bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels that could very well make up its own skyscraping city. East Atlanta is a woven tapestry of alternative and trendy neighborhoods, like Little Five Points and Virginia-Highland, while West Atlanta is home to historic districts such as Collier Heights and the West End.
As a major transportation center and booming tourist destination, Atlanta thrives off its charming sights and attractions. The World of Coca-Cola exhibition and the Georgia Aquarium are two new and modern additions to the city’s vast variety of visitor entertainment. Hiking trails, Civil War memorials and a plethora of black history are scattered throughout the city. The CNN world headquarters, along with the Atlanta Zoo and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site are popular draws for this large Dixie burgh.
Although Atlanta has become a hotbed for unique and contemporary cuisine, classic Southern favorites still reign supreme. Whether serving up fried chicken, shrimp and grits or fall-off-the-bone BBQ, restaurants like Thelma’s Kitchen and Rib Shack, Dogwood and Restaurant Eugene are always packed with folks looking for a true taste of Southern cooking. Downtown Atlanta hosts a wide variety of high-end and budget-friendly dining, showcasing cuisine from around the world. For fusion hotspots, check out restaurants like Spice Market and Straits, while contemporary places like Pricci and Kyma serve up authentic Italian and Greek dishes. For the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, check out an Atlanta staple -- The Varsity.
Located eight miles south of downtown, the city’s principal airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). With an immense volume of passenger traffic, this busy airport serves as the one of the main transportation gateways of the South, as well as the national hub for Delta Air Lines. For transportation around the city, Atlanta is served by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which operates both regional rail and bus networks. Single rides will set passengers back $2 (including transfers), while those in the city for expended stays can use Breeze Cards for easy transit access. Many areas within Downtown and Midtown Atlanta are pedestrian-friendly, and walking will be the best way to experience the city.
With a temperate climate, Atlanta enjoys all four distinct seasons. Though snow is not very prevalent in the region, Atlanta winters can still average a low of 33.5°F (0.8°C) in January. The warmest month of the year is in July, when temperatures average 89°F (31.6°C), though the city can reach well into the 90s. With an average 5.36 inches of precipitation, the month of March is Atlanta’s wettest month, while October is the driest, with 3.11 inches. Weather-wise, early spring and autumn are considered the best times to visit, with steady mild temperatures and low humidity.