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Atlanta is the vanguard of the New South, with the charm and elegance of the Old. It is a city that balances southern traditions with sleek modernism.
Atlanta is on the Piedmont Plateau, at an approximate elevation of 800 ft - 1900 ft (240 m - 580 m) above sea level. The city is thus somewhat cooler than other places in the US South, a fact that certainly helped the growth of the city before the introduction of air conditioning.
Atlanta experiences a very wide range of temperatures. Temperatures in winter are overall mild to warm, but cold-fronts can bring light accumulations of snow and lows occasionally plummet into the teens.
Movies and Television
Atlanta’s southern culture, deep history, and bustling city have been the backdrop for numerous classic films.
Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939). Steeped in Confederate politics, a struggle for survival, and unavoidable love intrigues, this film has the rare distinction of being as good as if not better than the classic southern book it is based on.
Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford, 1989). This film tactfully explores the racial issues of the civil rights-era through the nuances of a relationship between a wealthy white woman and her black chauffer.
ATL (Chris Robinson, 2006). A coming of age drama set in the hip-hop culture of the modern city.
Atlanta is also the background for the popular television shows "The Walking Dead", "Real Housewives of Atlanta", "Single Ladies", "Drop Dead Diva" and "Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta".
Atlanta's principal airport is Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) ("Hartsfield–Jackson," "ATL," or just "the airport" to locals), located about 8 miles south of downtown. Hartsfield-Jackson has been the world's busiest airport since 1998, and is a major hub for Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.
On the domestic side, Hartsfield–Jackson is one large building separated into South Terminal (Delta and its partners) and North Terminal (all other airlines), connected by a central Atrium with a smattering of restaurants. The security line is through the Atrium, and because it is centralized.
Greyhound Bus Lines, provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the United States. Buses arrive at and depart from the Greyhound terminal at 232 Forsyth Street, located in a less affluent neighborhood on the southern edge of the downtown area and directly beneath MARTA's Garnett Station.
Although most locals rely on their cars for day-to-day transportation, walking, biking, and public transit are well suited for visitors. The major intown neighborhoods are quite walkable, and many attractions are easily accessible from public transit.
If you'll have a car anyway, driving is often the fastest means of getting around. It also opens up destinations that are difficult or impossible to access by public transit. However, having a car in Downtown or Midtown is often a hindrance where parking is scarce, and the lengthy rush hour is an exercise in frustration.
By foot and bicycle
Visitors will find today's Atlanta very walkable, with many improvements made in the last decade. Most of the intown neighborhoods are individually easy to walk around, with dense collections of bars, restaurants, and shops. In particular, getting around within Midtown, Downtown, Decatur, Buckhead, or the areas around the North Highland Avenue corridor in Eastern Atlanta is usually quite easy.
Bicycling inside the City of Atlanta can be easy or difficult, depending on the neighborhood and route. The city is slowly making progress on building a comprehensive network of bicycle paths, however Atlanta's bike infrastructure pales in comparison to some other US cities like Minneapolis and Portland.
Atlanta is served by Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, which operates both rapid rail and bus networks in the city of Atlanta and the counties of Fulton and DeKalb, and bus service only in Clayton county.
Buses accept fares in cash, but cannot issue transfers on fares paid in cash — you must have a Breeze Card to obtain the transfer.
What to see
Atlanta's top attractions form an eclectic mix that is sure to have something that appeals to everyone, and enough variety to keep the adventurous traveler busy.
Those more inclined to history can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Sweet Auburn, which includes this inspiring leader’s birthplace home, his final resting place, the church where he once gave sermons, as well as a museum and memorial dedicated to his colossal achievements.
Exhibits of both ancient and modern history can be found near Little Five Points at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, featuring a humbling display of the largest dinosaur ever unearthed, and the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, which is the permanent home of the former president’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Travelers planning to visit multiple attractions may benefit from Atlanta CityPASS, which grants admission to 5 Atlanta attractions within 9 days of first use for a much reduced rate and includes expedited entry in some cases.
Explore the cityscape and enjoy the many pieces of architecture built all around Atlanta, from the skyscrapers of Midtown, to the Downtown skyline, to the houses on Highland Avenue, to the mansions of Buckhead.
What to do
Visit Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown and relax by the man-made river, splash in the Fountain of Rings on a hot summer day or go ice skating at the ice rink in the wintertime, attend a concert, and pay respects to the victims of the 1996 Olympics bombing.
Walk through Piedmont Park in Midtown, the largest park in Atlanta. Attend the Dogwood Festival in the spring time or one of the many musical events.
Grant Park is the oldest city park in Atlanta and is home to Zoo Atlanta. Historic Oakland Cemetery, also located here, serves as the final resting place for more than 3,900 Confederate soldiers, famous author Margaret Mitchell, golfing legend Bobby Jones, six Georgia governors, and 25 Atlanta mayors.
With fun and unique attractions, renowned restaurants and top-of-the-line hotel experiences, Atlanta keeps the party going from day to night. With chic style in Buckhead, alternative scene in Little Five Points, a casual atmosphere in Virginia-Highland and a trendy vibe in Midtown, Atlanta nightlife suits every style of letting loose.
Buckhead is a popular nightlife district for locals and out-of-towners alike. Andrews cafe are among the most popular dance clubs in Buckhead among 20's and 30's singles, while an older crowd can be seen at the Beluga Martini Bar. The Buckhead clientele is mostly of an upscale crowd, so be sure to dress to impress.
For the more alternative/hipster crowd, East Atlanta Village (EAV) is the place to go for live music and inexpensive drinks. However, EAV can be difficult to get to for visitors without access to a car.
Midtown is the spot if you're looking for the urban vibe with diverse a crowd of 20's and 30's, many of them are college students, locals, transplants from out of state and foreign countries.
Other popular clubs throughout the city include The Masquerade and MJQ Concourse. All areas of the city also have plenty of pubs and taverns, such as Fado Irish Pub Fado in Buckhead, Shakespeare Tavern in Midtown, and Highland Tap in Virginia-Highland.
All nightlife parts of the city are gay- and lesbian-friendly. However Midtown has the largest concentration of gay/lesbian nightlife establishments.
If you like country line-dancing, you can head out of the city and into the suburbs and check out Wild Bills in Duluth.