Weekend Escape | Atlanta | RTX Traveler Magazine

A hub of commerce and culture in the South, Atlanta has been a burgeoning tourist destination since the Olympics were held there in 1996. With a rich history from the Civil War through the Civil Rights movement, booming industry from media and information technology to professional and business services, and world-class dining complemented by Southern hospitality and traditions, Atlanta is a sure bet for a fun-filled escape.

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Getting there: The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has consistently been named the busiest airport in the world since 1998. This is good news for visitors, as there are direct flights from many airports throughout the country. If arriving by car, interstates 75 and 85 intersect the city from north and south, and interstate 20 connects to points east and west. Atlanta’s traffic is notoriously congested, so once you’ve arrived, learn to navigate MARTA, the city’s rapid transit system made up of train and bus routes.

Atlanta ParkDay 1

Kick off your Atlanta visit with a day downtown, where several sites and attractions are all within blocks of one another. Kids and adults will love the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola while news and media junkies will enjoy a CNN Studio Tour. See what performances are coming up at the Tabernacle, an old church turned music venue, and relax a while to people watch in Centennial Olympic Park. Cool off with a gourmet sweet treat from King of Pops and indulge in a local favorite with plenty of Southern soul at Gladys Knight’s Chicken & Waffles restaurant. For a change from ubiquitous Southern cuisine, check out Aviva by Kameel, an authentic Mediterranean restaurant that takes pride in using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients to create a tasty and healthy menu.

Day 2

SMartin Luther King Jr Tombtart the day at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead, where you can explore Georgia’s history through two historic houses, a museum and historic gardens and trails. Admission also includes a tour of the Margaret Mitchell house, the birthplace of Gone with the Wind. Continue your historical adventure with a visit to Freedom Park and the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum, with photographs and historical memorabilia from the Carter presidency, as well as an exact replica of the Oval Office. The Freedom Park Trail travels east to just a block from the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site where visitors can see three significant landmarks: the house where the Civil Rights leader was born, the church where he preached and the site where he was buried. End the day by exploring the eclectic Little Five Points neighborhood, with street performers, quirky boutiques and landmark restaurants like Vortex Bar & Grill known for its monstrous burgers and Front Page News, famous for its patio, New Orleans cuisine and live music.

Day 3

Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood is the perfect playground for culture seekers. The green space in Piedmont Park is ideal for a long walk, a picnic or a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Nearby, several museums including the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Design Atlanta and the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum are all within a few blocks of one another. The Bodies exhibition is in nearby Atlantic Station and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s home is in this neighborhood as well. For food, sample the many flavors at Einstein’s for brunch, lunch or dinner. For nearly 25 years, this Midtown favorite has been serving clever recreations of Southern comfort classics. If you’re craving seafood, for a casual lunch or a late night bite, you can’t go wrong with The Steam House Lounge. Try the award-winning lobster bisque paired with their signature Goombay Smash.

stock-photo-23222086-turner-field-with-signDay 4

Visit the Turner Field, known as the “Home of the Braves” – at least until after 2016 when the major league team will move to a new stadium outside of Atlanta in Cobb County. Since 1997, Turner Field has given baseball fans the nostalgic feel of America’s pastime combined with state-of-the-art family entertainment. If you can’t make a game, guided tours are offered year round. Nearby Grant Park is a local favorite, with plenty of paved trails, a museum and Zoo Atlanta. Zombie fans should also note that this neighborhood is where scenes from the early episodes of The Walking Dead were filmed. For food, check out the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, with produce stands, meat purveyors, bakeries and a wide variety of eateries. Grant Central Pizza is just a block from the park and is a tasty stop for a family meal before or after a zoo visit. For patio dining, rooftop views and a great selection of food and beer, check out Six Feet Under, directly across the street from Oakland Cemetary.

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