How to See Atlanta in 2 Days

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Atlanta is a dynamic business center and headquarters of major corporations whose residents are equally passionate about their sports teams and thriving arts scene.  Atlanta is trendy and urban with a distinct southern charm and confident vibe.  As the largest airline hub in the United States, visitors from all over the world pass through it.

Whether flying into Atlanta or arriving by car, MARTA, Atlanta’s comprehensive mass transit system can get you around the sprawling metropolis to areas with attractions, museums, restaurants and shopping.  On a 2-day visit, minimize the time you spend on MARTA and maximize your Atlanta experience by visiting highlights clustered in three distinct districts. Be sure to check out Atlanta CityPass for discounted access to some of the highlighted attractions below.

DOWNTOWN

There’s a lot going on in Downtown Atlanta.  Make a day of visiting  museums, historical sites and major sports/ entertainment arenas within close proximity of each other.

Atlanta Aquarium is spectacular.  It’s a must see when traveling with children.  Watch gigantic whale sharks, manta rays and countless other marine life cruise right past you from the vantage point of a huge panoramic window.  To attend popular timed dolphin, seal and penguin shows, reserve your seats in advance.  Enjoy baby ray encounters, experience jellyfish in 3D with 4D tingling sensation as they swim by and visit Ocean Explorer and Reef Tank exhibits for a mesmerizing experience.  Be sure to check out the excellent temporary exhibits featured during your visit.  (CityPass Attraction)

World of Coca-Cola is an engaging insight into the beverage known all over the world.  Get an up-close look at the vault where the secret recipe is kept.  Go behind the scenes to see how the bottling process works.  Travel the world through your taste buds by sampling more than 100 beverages made by Coca-Cola around the globe.  It’s a fun way to see how cultural customs influence the palate. Find a Coca-Cola themed souvenir, especially one in distinctive red. (CityPass Attraction)

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is empowering. As the world becomes more interconnected through technology, we become more aware of the fundamental rights of all human beings.  This compelling new museum focuses on this topic on a global scale.  See remarkable exhibits on the Civil Rights history and movement in America.  Check out exceptional and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions on such topics as how sports figures have used their celebrity status to focus attention on the issue of global human rights or the plight of forgotten women in times of war, from WWI to current global conflicts seen through the lens of a remarkable photographer. (CityPass Attraction)

CNN Studios Tours of the CNN worldwide headquarters are an interesting way to experience how newscasts are produced. What seems effortless to the viewer is a carefully orchestrated show involving a myriad of talented people and technology. (CityPass Attraction)

Sports are a big part of the Downtown Atlanta vibe.  The concentration of major state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arenas Downtown is spectacular.  The Brand new Mercedes Benz Stadium with a retractable roof is hosting the Super Bowl in 2019.  Throughout football season, home team Atlanta Falcons fills the stands of the exciting stadium which is also the venue of A-list super stars in concert. College football is played in Turner Field, the home of Georgia State. Indoor Philips Arena, home of exciting Atlanta Hawks basketball, is also an exciting entertainment venue.  With so many major sports happening Downtown, it’s no wonder that it’s a big part of the area’s nighttime and weekend action.

The College Hall of Fame is a must for families passionate about college football. Walk through the tunnel for your entrance into the Quad where over 760 college helmets line the walls in floor to ceiling color. Test your skills through obstacle courses, kick a field goal or throw a touchdown pass in the Indoor Playing Field.  Interact with hi-tech experiences in the Trophy Room.

MIDTOWN

Midtown, known as “The Heart of the Arts,” is the center of Atlanta’s art scene.  An interesting combination of sleek hi-rises and neighborhood feel give it a trendy urban vibe.  In addition to the High Museum of Art, Midtown has a large concentration of art galleries and performing arts venues.  Expansive Piedmont Park gives it a spacious green feel.  Midtown also boasts some of Atlanta’s best restaurants, ranging from high end cuisine to food carts.  Midtown’s nighttime scene is all about nightclubs, comedy clubs and upscale bars.

The High Museum of Art.  The premier art museum in the Southeast, The High has more than 11,000 works in its extensive permanent collection which includes a broad spectrum of paintings from European masters, of 19th and 20th century American art, decorative art, folk Art, African art, African-American art, modern and contemporary art.  After your art immersion, take the time to have soup and sandwiches in High Cafe or farm to table specialties in Twelve Eighty.  The museum gift shop is a great place for the perfect artsy whimsical souvenir.

Fox Theater.  A visit to the historic gilded “Fabulous Fox” is a wonderful Atlanta experience. The architectural gem is a gorgeous venue for headlining events from favorite Broadway shows to rock star concerts, classical music greats and stunning ballet performances.  Take a 60-minute tour of the lavish gilded interior filled with turreted ceilings, exquisite trompe l’oeil art and “Mighty Moe”, the 3,622 pipe Mohler Theater Organ; or purchase tickets before your visit for a great evening out.

Atlanta Botanical Garden is a wonderful escape into the world of flowers and plants.  Beautifully planted courtyards, formal gardens and raised overlooks create this Atlanta gem.  Walk through the Canopy Walk and wander through the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and Orchid House. Experience the surprise of coming upon sculptures and water features throughout the Gardens.  Take the time for an enjoyable lunch in Longleaf Café, either indoors or alfresco.

BUCKHEAD

Attention all serious shoppers! Buckhead, more commonly known as the “Beverly Hills of the East,” is for you.  Known as one of Atlanta’s upscale communities, it’s filled with luxury shopping choices, fine dining, lavish hotels and excellent art galleries.

STONE MOUNTAIN

If you are visiting with children, the natural beauty and family attractions in Stone Mountain State Park is an Atlanta favorite. The sight of the singular mammoth boulder rising 825 feet above the surrounding area just 10 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta is mind-blowing. Entrance to the park, located about 20 minutes northeast of Atlanta, requires a $15 parking fee.  This fee allows access to hiking trails, the lake and picnic areas.  A must do for anyone able to walk up a gradual incline with a steep slope at the end is Walk the Top, a 1.3 mile hike. It’s free and the panoramic view is amazing.  Stay into the evening for the seasonal free state-of-the-art sound and light extravaganza, Laserlight Spectacular.

Access to most Stone Mountain theme park attractions is seasonal and at an additional cost.  Check out the discounted attraction package offered through Trusted Tours & Attractions.  Taking a cable car to the top on Summit SkyRide is a must.  The Scenic Railroad ride around the base of the mountain appeals to all ages. Active families enjoy the navigational challenges of SkyHike, a maze of suspended rope bridges laced over towering trees.  Kids get totally immersed into the world of dinosaurs in Dinotorium.  Historic Square has something for everyone.  Experience life in 18th and 19th century Georgia through tours of homes furnished in period furnishings, craft demonstrations and Farmyard animals.

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