It may boast of the world’s busiest airport, but Atlanta, Georgia, has plenty to offer people passing through in RVs. In fact, there’s so much to do, plan to stay a week or two.
We travel full-time and we mostly seek the destinations known for natural beauty. When we had the opportunity to visit a bigger city like Atlanta, we were very excited to get a look at city life.
The first thing to know about Atlanta is that it is divided into three commercial districts — downtown, midtown and Buckhead.
Downtown is the business hub of the city consisting of high-rise buildings and corporate headquarters. Downtown is the southern-most of the sections. Midtown is, naturally, right in the middle and is mostly known for the arts and culture it provides. Buckhead is the northern-most district and is also home to big business, but it is mainly known for it’s high-priced neighborhoods that surround the district.
Knowing where these districts are will definitely help you orient yourself when you visit Atlanta. The locals often refer to them and give directions assuming you have some knowledge of each district.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the goods that Atlanta has to offer.
Visit a Park
We were surprised by the number of parks (and the sizes of them) that were in Atlanta. This made us feel right at home to get out and get some fresh air. A couple of our favorites were Centennial Park in downtown and Piedmont Park in midtown.
Centennial Park was constructed for the 1996 Olympic Games. A big portion of the park is paved with memorial bricks. There are almost a half million engraved bricks laid here, which is pretty impressive. If you happen to have purchased one of the bricks, there is a website you can use to find the exact location of your brick. So, yeah, there’s an app for that!
At Centennial Park you can sit on one of the many park benches for a picnic or just watch the hustle and bustle of city life. You can also find the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Park. This fountain is in the shape of the Olympic Rings with each ring having several water sprayers that shoot water. Our kids, along with several other school children, loved running and splashing around here on the warm autumn day we visited.
Another cool thing about the fountain is that four times daily, it produces a synchronized water show. During the show, music is played at the park and the fountain shoots water in sync with the music. It’s really neat to see! www.centennialpark.com.
The other park we really enjoyed was Piedmont Park. It is located in midtown and is a mecca for those craving fitness and sports. There are several playgrounds for kids and even a public swimming pool. Here you can get out of the city for a bit, get some fresh air, and tune up your muscles.
Atlanta was a key location in the civil rights movement. One of my favorite places we have ever visited is the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. It was such an honor to see the place Dr. King was born and where he became a pastor.
It was such an educational experience for my family to learn of his struggles as well as his successes. This is definitely a place I recommend visiting. www.nps.gov/malu/index.htm
Big cities seem to have a never ending list when it comes to food options. Atlanta is no different. We had a hard time choosing where to eat because every place we checked out looked delicious. So, how do you decide then? We’ve learned the best bet is to ask a local. We asked around and the overwhelming response was a food market.
We stopped at two food markets, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and the Krog Street Market. The markets were very cool to see and had such a variety of food options. You could buy anything from sweet desserts to fresh meat cuts to locally grown vegetables. They even have local breweries and retail shops in the markets.
Things to do
You can imagine the possibilities of things to do in a bigger city like Atlanta. We found some of the best, but will have to go back to see them all.
The Georgia Aquarium is a world-renown aquarium and also the world’s largest. Here you can see more than 100,000 aquatic animals from 500 type of species swimming in 8 million gallons of fresh and salt water.
Atlanta is home to three professional sports teams — the Atlanta Braves (baseball), the Atlanta Falcons (football) and the Atlanta Hawks (basketball). So if you are into sports, you’ll find something in season no matter what time of the year you visit.
Stone Mountain is about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta. Here you’ll find a gigantic rock with the carvings of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis on the face of the mountain. You can get to the top of the mountain either by the one-mile hike up the side of the mountain or by taking the tram.
The hike up is very neat and offers glimpses of the Atlanta skyline in the distance.
You’ll also find a theme park at Stone Mountain, which our kids enjoyed very much. The park offers rope courses, a very nice campground (which is RV friendly) and two golf courses, plus several shops and restaurants.
For more information on Stone Mountain Park, visit www.stonemountainpark.com.
If you want to get a 360-degree view of Atlanta, the best place to do that is the rotating bar atop the Westin Hotel in downtown. For a minimum $8 bar tab, you can grab a seat on a comfortable couch and soak in a great view of the city.
Atlanta is known for its street art and as soon as you see it you know why. It is absolutely brilliant, inspiring, and amazing! The colors jump out of the other wise mundane brick walls of the buildings.
Atlanta has a project called Living Walls that is all about changing the perception of public spaces via street art. Learn more at www.atlanta.net/things-to-do/living-walls.
There are also amazing art structures that you can find that are made out of garbage. Seriously. Garbage! You can see a lot of the art pieces by visiting the up-and-coming 22-mile BeltLine in Atlanta. You can learn more about it at www.beltline.org.
We know that doing several activities in any given city can really add up financially. We were told about CityPASS Atlanta that offers big discounts to several Atlanta attractions. For details, visit www.citypass.com/atlanta.
A great resource we used when researching ideas for visit Atlanta was 365 Atlanta Family. Here you’ll find in-depth information on all that Atlanta, as well as surrounding areas, has to offer. www.365atlantafamily.com.
Atlanta is definitely a great city to visit for all that it has to offer. If you’re looking for history, culture, great food, or wide open spaces, this city has something for you.