Atlanta, Georgia, is such a big city (the largest in the state) and bursting with unique neighbourhoods, each with its own vibe and notable attractions. On my recent holiday, I was pleased to take in so much of the metropolitan but Southern city, with its modern, diverse and artistic flair seen throughout its architecture, parks, attractions and restaurants.
The Downtown District
Redesigned for the 1996 Olympic Games, Centennial Park in the downtown area draws millions of visitors to concerts and events. The park is vibrant, and some of Atlanta’s top attractions are within walking distance. I loved visiting the Georgia Aquarium. Whale sharks, belugas, dolphins, penguins, otters, stingrays and even a touch pool with little sharks and baby stingrays bring joy to animal lovers – it’s not to be missed.
At the World of Coca-Cola across the way, you can learn a lot about the development of the beverage that had its origins in Atlanta. And at the CNN Center at the other end of the park, you can take the Inside CNN Studio Tour to learn a lot about the world headquarters of the famous cable news station.
Midtown Atlanta is known for its walkability and its thriving arts scene. This is where you’ll find multiple theatres including the historic Fox Theatre, Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Museum of Design Atlanta, just to name a few. If you’ve ever read or seen the movie “Gone with the Wind,” you can visit the apartment where author Margaret Mitchell wrote most of the novel right here in Midtown.
Buckhead, Cabbagetown and Little Five Points
From here, I explored the massive villas with huge gardens in Buckhead, one of the city’s most important financial districts and an area of obvious affluence. Buckhead is also renowned for its absolutely decadent shopping at Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square. Can you say Hermes, Louboutin and Etro?
For something completely different, head to Cabbagetown on the east side of Atlanta to check out the painted murals of the Living Walls Project and graffiti art in the Krog Street Tunnel. Seeing these fantastic, colourful works will completely change how you define and view graffiti – you’ll see that it truly can be artistic.
The nearby Little Five Points area, with its second-hand stores and funky eateries, is made for those who embrace the Bohemian lifestyle. At The Vortex, I indulged in one of their famous burgers, named one of the best in the United States.
A Gunshow in Glenwood Park
If you like cooking shows, you might know Kevin Gillespie from “Top Chef”. Since 2013, Gillespie has run a very non-traditional restaurant called Gunshow in Glenwood Park. The décor is rustic cool, and the open kitchen allows you to watch all the action. What’s unusual here is that there is no menu. That’s right – no menu! Instead, each chef personally brings his culinary creations from table to table, dim sum style. Try it all; you will fall in love with Gunshow’s delicious magic. Definitely make a reservation here!
In short, Atlanta’s many neighbourhoods are awesome! This city has great variety and so much character, with plenty to discover and experience.