Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta

It gleams amid glass and steel towers, but the heart of the South’s largest city is its people.

Visitors are likely to be greeted with a big helping of “How y’all doing” hospitality. Atlanta may have birthed “Gone with the Wind,” yet today’s big, bustling city is more New South than old.

You’re more than likely to meet people who came for a weekend and decided to stay a lifetime.

Atlanta began as a railroad terminus and is still a transportation hub, but with a 21st-century, global approach. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the most travelled airport in the world with 80 percent of the US within a two-hour flight.

MARTA, Atlanta’s public rail system, enables you to get into town from inside the airport without a car.

Centennial Olympic Park, Downtown’s centrepiece, is marked by the Fountain of Rings, an everlasting reminder of the Centennial Olympic Games.

The Atlanta History Center has 6,000 items of memorabilia from the Olympic Games including uniforms, medals, Olympic torches and even an original running track.

And the Swan House was featured in the blockbuster hit, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2.

Atlanta Streetcar is the city’s modern-day trolley, carrying passengers from the convention and tourism district to the eastside of the city.

Attractions at Pemberton Place include the popular Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Sports fans congregate here to visit the College Football Hall of Fame and to “Rise Up” with the NFL Falcons at the Georgia Dome, NBA Hawks and WNBA Dream at Philips Arena, and the MLB Braves at Turner Field.

In 2017, there will be two new stadiums – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, future home of the Falcons and the 22nd MLS franchise, Atlanta United, and SunTrust Park, the new stadium for the Braves.

The city’s rich history comes to life in Sweet Auburn Historic District, a focal point for the American civil rights movement, as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and Ebenezer Baptist Church are located there.

In Atlanta, chef-run restaurants dish up modern American cuisine in strikingly beautiful spaces.

Among the cutting-edge eateries are cozy diners, cafés and bistros. The ethnic mom-and-pop restaurants along Buford Highway offer menus with little English and lots of flavour. Locally-owned craft breweries sprinkle the city, creating an unofficial brewery trail for visitors to enjoy.

Beyond the city centre, Atlanta’s neighbourhoods are packed with personality. Midtown, the “heart of the arts,” sits along the famed Peachtree Street and mixes elegance with culture.

The Westside has become a magnet for foodies, design enthusiasts and shoppers. Buckhead blends boutiques and galleries with fabulous dining, while Little Five Points lives on the edge of bohemian grunge paired with live theatre and music scenes.

Little Five Points is a conglomeration of second-hand shops, piercing parlours, funky bars and music venues while Virginia Highlands is, perhaps, the city’s most quietly-hip and sought-after address.

It has been called Atlanta’s answer to New York’s SoHo and Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue.

Neighbourhoods on the Eastside are connected by the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, a multi-use trail and greenspace that runs 2.25 miles near Piedmont Park. Tattooed locals, creative street art and historic homes come together on this side of town. Culture permeates throughout Atlanta. Emerging artists and designers are present in the city’s galleries and boutiques while for high-brow options, Atlanta boasts an award-winning symphony, opera and ballet.

The city hosts nationally-acclaimed touring shows and world-class exhibitions. Visitors can also catch home grown talent at numerous local playhouses, theatres and neighbourhood music venues.

Before taking your seat, though, don’t forget to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park, 30 acres of lush green garden just waiting to be explored.

ATLwood is at the centre of a bustling TV and film industry with The Walking Dead and Anchorman 2 among the most famous filmed in Atlanta, let Atlanta Movie Tours show you the sites!

It is easy to fall in love with beautiful Atlanta – its world-class attractions, award-winning dining and hidden wonders – and be inspired by the city’s endless possibilities.

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