Atlanta’s Best Sights
Best Fountain: The playful Fountain of Rings in Centennial Olympic Park (Centennial Olympic Park Dr. and Luckie St., 404/222-7275, www.centennialpark.com, daily 7 a.m.–11 p.m.) remains one of Atlanta’s most photographed landmarks — and a great place to cool off on steamy summer afternoons.
Best Animal Life: Home to approximately 80,000 animals representing 500 species, the eight-million-gallon Georgia Aquarium (225 Baker St., 404/581-4000, www.georgiaaquarium.org, Sun.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.–6 p.m., $26 adult, $19.50 child, $21.50 senior) is the largest indoor aquarium in the world.
Best Behind-the-Scenes Tour: Spend an hour exploring one of the world’s most influential news organizations via the Inside CNN Tour (190 Marietta St. NW, 404/827-2300, www.cnn.com/studiotour, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., $12 adult, $9 child, $11 senior). The interactive tour gives a thrilling backstage view of live television news in the making.
Best Monument: Countless visitors come to Atlanta each year solely to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (450 Auburn Ave., 404/331-5190, www.nps.gov/malu, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., until 6 p.m. June–Aug., Free), an impressive and fitting tribute to the slain civil rights leader. The site includes a must-see visitor center and museum.
Best Hidden Gem: The quiet Atlanta Botanical Garden (1345 Piedmont Ave., 404/876-5859, www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org, Apr.–Oct. Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Thurs. until 10 p.m. May–Oct., Nov.–Mar. Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., $12 adult, $9 child and senior) offers 30 acres of verdant splendor. Don’t miss the lovely Fuqua Conservatory, which includes the largest collection of orchid species on permanent display in the country.
Most Beautiful Theater: Built in 1929 as both an opulent movie palace and a Shriners mosque, the luxurious Fox Theatre (660 Peachtree St., 404/881-2100, www.foxtheatre.org, Tours Mon., Wed., Thurs. 10 a.m., Sat. 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., conducted by the Atlanta Preservation Center, 404/688-3353, www.preserveatlanta.com, $10 adult, $5 child and senior) today hosts a lively mix of touring Broadway musicals, concerts, and a fun summer film series.
Best Art Museum: The High Museum of Art (1280 Peachtree St., 404/733-4400, www.high.org, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.), Sun. noon–5 p.m., $18 adult, $11 child, $15 senior) more than doubled its size in 2005 with a sweeping new addition by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. His three elegant buildings now complement Richard Meier’s iconic ivory cake on the hill.
Best Park: Sometimes compared to New York City’s Central Park, the 189-acre Piedmont Park (10th St. and Piedmont Ave., www.piedmontpark.org, daily 6 a.m.–11 p.m.) in Midtown is one of the city’s favorite gathering spots, home to dozens of events throughout the year and a seductive slice of nature in the middle of the metropolis.
Best History Lesson: Tucked in a pocket of Buckhead best known for over-the-top mansions, the extensive Atlanta History Center (130 W. Paces Ferry Rd., 404/814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Sun. noon–5:30 p.m., $15 adult, $10 child, $12 senior) covers city history from its founding through the modern era. Its rambling campus includes the graceful Swan House, a restored Jazz Age gem.
© Tray Butler from Moon Atlanta, 1st Edition