Atlanta

Atlanta view by CC user downeym on Flickr

Introduction

For many, the Deep South of the United States represents a place that embraces tradition wholeheartedly at best, and a rural backwater that lags behind the rest of the nation at worst. Anybody that lives in the Southeastern United States known that many of these stereotypes are patently false, but it can be hard to sway outsiders despite this.

The best place to send those that think along these lines is Atlanta, a metropolis that earns its nickname with every business deal that closes within its borders, and with every art gallery that opens to rave reviews from a sophisticated and discerning citizenry.

As the self-proclaimed Capital of the New South, Atlanta has given a region maligned by those living on the outside a rebuttal to the unfair generalizations leveled against it, as its historical, artistic, and modern attractions will give visitors an appreciation for a portion of the USA that has been disrespected and misrepresented over the past few decades.

Martin Luther King National Historic Site by CC user akasped on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Begin your trip to Atlanta by paying your respects to one of the world’s greatest leaders in civil rights by spending an afternoon exploring the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. While the central focus in on his boyhood home, the site also includes the church where he and his father preached to the masses, a museum highlighting his life’s work, and a tribute to fellow civil rights pioneer Mohandas Gandhi.

Being a key urban centre during the American Civil War, conflict inevitably found its way to this cities’ doorstep. The Atlanta Cyclorama is a cylindrical painting that was once the biggest of its kind in the world.

Rotating slowly around in a room within this cities’ Civil War Museum, the work of art documents the carnage that unfolded during the battle of Atlanta, making it a worthwhile cultural highlight during your time here.

High Museum of Art by CC user amytrippmyers on Flickr

Those looking for an in-depth retelling of life in the area during the American Civil War will find details on this period at the Atlanta History Center, an outstanding museum located in the nearby suburb of Buckhead.

In addition to the coverage surrounding America’s most notorious conflict, info on the rest of the cities’ development can be found, fleshing out the story of this modern metropolis.

Fine art fans may think that they won’t find anything of interest in Atlanta (or anywhere else in the South for that matter), but this is a preconception that the High Museum of Art delights in proving dead wrong.

Being home to the largest collection of paintings and sculptures in the South, works by famed visual artist Claude Monet serves as the headline attraction, with countless other outstanding works from across the South and around the world impressing all that grace the steps of this Top 100 in the world art museum.

World of Coca Cola by CC user dizrythmia on Flickr

Other Attractions

In the modern age, Atlanta has been the birth place of a pair of companies that have gone on to become worldwide phenoms. The first of these is celebrated by the World of Coca-Cola, which is an interactive museum that allows you to learn about the history of the world’s most famous soft drink through its ads and bottles through the years. You’ll get to taste all 63 of the variants of Coke that are in production today, and you’ll also leave with a customized can … bonus!

The other company is one of the world’s most well known cable new channels, which has its world headquarters in the heart of Atlanta’s downtown core. CNN Center broadcasts its version of world and American events to the world from its studios here, and those wishing to witness how it all goes down day after day are in luck, as tours are offered throughout most of the year that shed light on what foes into making a 24 hour news outlet runs smoothly.

Georgia Aquarium by CC user hyku on Flickr

If you have kids in tow, a visit to the Georgia Aquarium is practically mandatory, as it was the world largest when in opened in 2005, holding 10 million gallons of water within its tanks. 100,000 animals spanning 500 species call this aquatic zoo home, including beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins and manta rays.

Finally, be sure to learn the story behind the 39th president of the United States’ presidency by dropping by the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum before departing Atlanta. Aside from documents and exhibits surrounding the events of his tenure in office, this museum also contains a fair bit of information surrounding on his international efforts to improve the human rights of people all around the world. Despite your opinion of his leadership, spending time here is definitely a worthwhile use of a couple of hours.

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