Atlanta’s dense foliage has earned it a reputation as “The City in a Forest,” but Georgia’s capital has also proven fertile ground for influential public figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The city’s history stretches back nearly two centuries, so there has been ample time to fill in a list of local celebrities that also includes baseball legend Hank Aaron. Such a list serves to highlight the exceptional diversity of Atlanta’s past and present residents. Though the city continues to add more than 450,000 new citizens per year, it offers enough variety to keep all segments of the population amused.
Atlanta has long been a cradle of innovation, and perhaps its most famous export is the internationally beloved soft drink, Coca-Cola. Local pharmacist John Pemberton first brewed the soda at Jacob’s Pharmacy in 1886, envisioning it as a cure for headaches and hangovers. Today, fans pay homage to the beverage and its colorful history at the World of Coca-Cola. Just next door at Pemberton Place is a new addition to the city’s litany of attractions: the Georgia Aquarium. Here, guests of all ages explore exhibits and touch pools that spotlight Georgia’s aquatic wildlife, from horseshoe crabs to a loggerhead sea turtle.
Atlanta’s natural splendor simply refuses to be ignored. Tucked amid the southern foothills of the Appalachian mountains, the Chattahoochee River snakes along the city’s northwestern edge. The river’s most awe-inspiring stretch burbles through a valley that reaches depths of 400 feet and widths of up to five miles. To the east, Stone Mountain cuts an imposing shape into the horizon. Rising 825 feet toward the clouds, this quartz monzonite behemoth ranks as the biggest chunk of freestanding exposed granite in the world.
Atlanta’s malls make for impressive landmarks in their own rights. The area’s reputation as a hotspot for shopping is well earned, thanks to commercial havens such as Lenox Square and the imposing Mall of Georgia in nearby Buford. A profusion of celebrated restaurants lines the famed Peachtree Street that runs through downtown Atlanta, making the city an attractive culinary destination. Just make sure you know where you’re going, as more than 65 streets in the city go by some version of “Peachtree.