The variety of restaurants in Atlanta can get a little overwhelming: Italian, French, Barbecue, Southern, Soul, Mexican, Japanese … you might want to start with a food tour, such as Taste of Atlanta or Atlanta Food Walks. If you'd rather jump right in, head over to Bacchanalia, one of Atlanta's best restaurants. Other top spots include Cakes & Ale, Restaurant Eugene, and Tomo.
When you want to catch the latest Broadway show or the hottest concert, check out what's happening at the Fox Theatre, Philips Arena, the Woodruff Arts Center, Center Stage Theater, the Alliance Theatre, and the Chastain Park Amphitheater. Discover your inner child at the Center for Puppetry Arts, get intrigued at Agatha's Mystery Theater, and laugh your head off at the Laughing Skull Lounge or at the Punchline.
The Atlanta area is a haven for sports lovers. The NFL's Atlanta Falcons call the truly impressive Mercedes-Benz Stadium home; the Atlanta Hawks play at Philips Arena, and as of 2017, the Atlanta Braves play at SunTrust Park in the nearby Cumberland area.
In 1821, settlers began to arrive to what is now Atlanta. Back then, it was a handful of farmers and very little else. But that changed when it was determined that Savannah needed to be connected to the Midwest -- enter the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The area that is now Five Points was the location of the railroad terminus, and a small village developed around it.
Creative or not, the name "Terminus" definitely fit, and that became the name of the village. There were 30 people living here in 1842 when the villagers decided to rename their community "Marthasville" after the governor's daughter. The chief engineer of the railroad apparently didn't like the name and he suggested renaming it to "Atlantica" after the railroad, which eventually became Atlanta.
Because of its location, Atlanta played a major role in the Civil War, distributing military supplies via the railroad. The Battle of Atlanta took place in July 1864, and General Sherman defeated the Confederates and seized the railroads. The city was burned as Sherman's troops continued on their March to the Sea. After the war, Atlanta slowly rebuilt. In 1868, the capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta.
You may want to learn more about the city's history once you've moved to an apartment in Atlanta. Start at the Atlanta History Center, which has exhibits on the Civil War and the Olympics and includes two historic houses (the 1928 Swan House and the 1860s Smith Family Farm), the Goizueta Gardens, and a restaurant. Then tour the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum for a truly unique look at the history.
From there, head to the Center for Civil and Human Rights to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement. This museum features a variety of interactive exhibits and artifacts. Finish your history tour at the Margaret Mitchell House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is the home where Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind.
You always have something to do in Atlanta -- it just depends on what you're in the mood for. Spend the afternoon at the Georgia Aquarium or Zoo Atlanta, head to the Fernbank Museum or the Michael C. Carlos Museum, tour the World of Coca Cola, make some paper at the Institute of Paper and Science Technology, or relax and enjoy the sunshine at Olympic Centennial Park.
The gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol is a major landmark in the city. Get the inside scoop (or just marvel at the architecture) with a guided or self-guided tour. The Georgia Capitol Museum features a variety of historic flags, artwork, and artifacts. While items can be found throughout the building, most exhibits are on the fourth floor.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site includes the home where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born, a visitor center, and the "I Have a Dream" World Peace Rose Garden. The home offers a ranger-led tour; all of the other sites are self-guided.
The city of Atlanta is very pedestrian-friendly, and it is also bicycle friendly, with over 45 miles of bike paths. Hop on the streetcar to get where you want to go quickly, or take the MARTA train throughout the Atlanta Metro area.
Atlanta's highways can get quite congested, but if you want to travel by car, the major highways include I-75, I-20, I-85, and I-285. For longer trips, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is located just south of the city.
Atlanta's terrific weather means you'll get to enjoy its parks and outdoor spaces year-round. The Atlanta Botanical Garden contains a variety of formal gardens, a rose garden, a conservatory with indoor exhibits, and a Japanese garden. Piedmont Park provides 189 acres of park space in the heart of downtown. This park hosts a variety of festivals, including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and Music Midtown. Centennial Olympic Park includes the Fountain of Rings splash pad and SkyView Atlanta, a 200-foot Ferris wheel.
From expensive to bargains, Atlanta is a city designed for shoppers. Phipps Plaza Mall contains several high-end stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada. Lenox Square, one of Atlanta's most popular malls, features Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Burberry, Cartier, Diane von Furstenberg, Vineyard Vines, and FENDI.
If your budget is limited, there are still terrific shopping destinations throughout Atlanta. Atlantic Station, for example, contains a variety of stores in a wonderful mixed-use area. Ponce City Market blends history with shopping. This terrific destination is located in the old Sears, Roebuck & Company Building. Ponce City Market was recognized as one of the "World's Coolest New Tourist Attractions" by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2014. Underground Atlanta is another historic shopping district. In the 1920s, viaducts elevated the streets one level, so merchants moved to the second floor. The old street level was virtually forgotten, only to be rediscovered in 1968.