ATLANTA: EMPIRE STATE OF THE SOUTH
When my plane began to approach Atlanta, I couldn’t believe my eyes; everywhere was soo green! I wondered how come rapidly developing city like Atlanta which is also home to big companies like CNN, Coca Cola and so on couldn’t get effected by grey face of development.
I thought to myself, probably airport is little far away from city center since it is the busiest airport in the world. I proved myself wrong after 20-minute metro ride to the very center of the city.
Then I understood the secret of the city ☺ The city center was full of skyscrapers, luxury restaurants, headquarter of companies like CNN and Coca Cola. It almost feels like New York. But when you go to surrounding areas, all you can see is beautiful gardens, 1-story town houses that feel really peaceful and southern. It is often called as “The City in a Forest”. In other words, Atlanta offers big city experience and green and happy southern sprit at the same time.
Where is ATLANTA?
It is a shame that this city isn’t worldwide. When I did a research about Atlanta prior to my arrival, I discovered that one of the top searches about Atlanta was “Where is Atlanta?” Here is Atlanta ☺
Nicknames of ATLANTA
Hotlanta: There are two reasons this city is called Hotlanta. First is Atlanta’s warm weather throughout the year. Second is vivid nightlife. But be warned. Locals hate that nickname, I don’t know why.
Terminus: They named Atlanta Terminus because it is located at the last station of one of the oldest railroads in America.
Marhasville: When local authorities suggested the one of the oldest mayors Wilson Lumpkin to name the Town after his name, he suggested naming the town after her daughter, Martha. So the won was called Marthasville for a while.
Capital City of the South: Since Atlanta is very strong economically contrary to most of the other cities in the South, most of the Americans call Atlanta capital city of the South.
ATLANTA TRAVEL GUIDE
In this city, places that worth visiting are mainly modern attractions. Main reason behind that is city was burned to the ground during American Civil War. So nothing old was left to visit today. But the city literally rised from the ashes. When city was rapidly rebuilding itself, back then Governor Ivan Allen called Atlanta “The City to Busy to Hate” to emphasize focusing on development where other states was too busy with racism.
Here are some places you should visit in Atlanta.
Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta successfully hosted Summer Olympic Games in 1996 , which was 100th year of the Olympics. And this park was build in honor of Atlanta being host of 100th Olympic Games. This park is located in the middle of downtown. It is nice place to relax and take photos of the city.
This Aquarium, which opened in 2005, is worlds largest tank Aquarium. There are more than 100 thousand species in Georgia Aquarium. But the most interesting feature of this park was that there is a part that you can actually dive into a tank where whale sharks live. I couldn’t do that due to limited time but if I go to Georgia again (Oh, please…) this is the first thing I’m going to do ☺
The World of Coke
For me, this museum is one of the finest examples of modern museums and commercial creativity. There are all sorts of this you can imagine in the world of Coke from exhibition of all bottles of Coca Cola since it was invented to history of Coca Cola. There are also creative parts where you can actually try to achieve secret formula of the Coca Cola. And at the last platform there are 60 types of Coca Cola products to try for free! And souvenir department is just divine !
One of the biggest touristic attractions in the city is CNN Headquarters ☺ You can visit CNN headquarters, get your photos taken in newsstand and see employees of the CNN at their real working habitat. As you can see, CNN workers even turned a working place into commercial product. For a real CNN experience, I advise you to attend this guided CNN tour. I was really impressed by it. Highly recommended.
Atlanta Fox Theatre
Atlanta Fox Theatre offers you real 1920s experience. Besides fascinating visitors with its gorgeous architecture, It continues to host many famous shows and Broadway musicals. What makes this theatre so special is the giant Möller theatre organ “Mighty Mo”. It is claimed to be world’s largest pipe organ in the world. You watch a Show or you take 60 minute tour to see this amazing theatre and organ, I’m sure you will enjoy it.
Martin Luther King National Historic Site
Did you know that true American hero, Afro American Civil Rights Movement Leader Martin Luther King was an Atlantan? Now you know ☺ during your Atlanta trip, you can visit Martin Luther King National Historic Site and pay your respects to him. İt is also great idea to visit this site with children and let them know about Civil rights movement at “Children of Courage “ Exhibition.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ATLANTA; EATING AND SHOPPING
If you ask any American citizen outside Georgia about Atlanta, they suggest two things; eating and shopping. I tested two of them and approved the theory ☺
Firstly I will talk about the eating part. Atlanta has so many great restaurants that offer tasty food of the South with reasonable prices when compared to cities like New York
One of these restaurants was Sun Dial Restaurant, which has the best view in the city. This tri-story restaurant is located at the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. Here, while you are tasting the yummy food of the South, you can enjoy amazing Atlanta view.
If you want to experience something more Southern than that, I advise you to visit Mary and Mac’s Tee Room. Here you can taste delicious poultry cooked in Southern style but I think side dishes are as delicious as the main dish. But the poultry dishes are the star of this show, which is normal when you consider that poultry production is one of the main sources of income here. I even saw “Waffles and Fried Chicken” in breakfast menu… And I asked the waiter “How is this possible?”
Anyways, I should add that what makes Mary and Mac’s Tee Room so special is their slogan; “I got my tummy filled and back rubbed”. I thought this is just a motto at first. But then I saw Ambassadors of the restaurant chatting with every table and rubbing peoples backs.... ☺
If you are done with tasty and high calorie southern food, True Food Kitchen will be right choice for you. This restaurant is located at the entrance of Lenox Square Mall and serves delicious, healthy food. Since healthy, unprocessed food restaurants are so popular in U.S., it is very hard to get a table at this restaurant.
Shoppers Paradise: Atlanta
Atlanta is true shoppers paradise outlets, big malls low taxes. I didn’t do lots of shopping in Atlanta because I was planning to visit New York couple of days later. I thought there would be more variety in New York…. Which was wrong…
I should emphasize that prices are lower in regular shops and especially outlets. And Atlanta doesn’t fall behind of cities like Washington DC and New York in terms of variety. So if you visit Atlanta, make sure to visit Lenox Square Mall and for brands for less visit North Georgia Premium Outlets.
Gone with the Wind: If you are movie buff or Literature Lover, you probably know that Margaret Mitchell, Pulitzer awarded writer, wrote phenomenal book “Gone with the Wind” in Atlanta. This book is about Southern Beauty Scarlett O'Hara’s life during American Civil War. I strongly advise you to watch the movie or the book before you visit the city because it tells so much about the history of the city.
“Gone with the Wind” is not the only movie recorded in Atlanta. In fact, the city is one of the major platou for US productions. Famous Triology “Hunger Games” and many more films are recorded in Atlanta Also US Tv sries like “The Walking Dead” and “Wampire Diaries” are produced in Atlanta. There are even movie tours to visit their famous spots in Atlanta. You can also watch them to get familiar with Atlanta.
Most of the population of Atlanta is African American rooted so city also became the capital of American Rap Music. So to get into Atlanta mood, you can listen to famous Atlantan Rap singers like Outkast, Ludacris or Atlantan R&B singers like Usher.