Wondering what to do in Atlanta? Whether you are a visiting the city for the first time or a resident looking to entertain guests or try something new, this list of 10 Atlanta attractions can help you narrow down your choices for an easy car-free adventure. Read on to learn about sightseeing options that are as close to MARTA as you can get.
10. Oakland Cemetery
It’s hard to miss Oakland Cemetery. One of Atlanta’s largest greenspaces, it is adjacent to the King Memorial MARTA station and is easily seen out the windows of the train. On the ground you’ll find graves of former Atlanta mayors, Gone With the Wind writer Margaret Mitchell and an entire area dedicated to the Confederate dead. Large trees and interesting architecture add to the ambiance. Special events also take place thoroughout the year including Tunes From the Tombs, Sunday in the Park, Run Like Hell 5K and Halloween tours. Several restaurants border the cemetery so you can combine your trip with something to eat.
You’ll find Atlanta’s heart of gold at the Georgia Capitol. A National Historic Landmark one block from the Georgia State MARTA station, the building was completed in 1889 and under budget, even with the gold dome. Tours and a museum are available to the public. A few other historic landmarks are nearby, including the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot and The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the oldest Catholic church in Atlanta. Dining options are limited, though there is a Waffle House and Willy’s Mexicana Grill next to the MARTA station and a food court in Underground Atlanta, which is just down the street.
Scheduled to open by the end of 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame will be Atlanta’s next major attraction, and one convenient to MARTA’s Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN station. The Hall of Fame will feature exhibits and a 45-yard indoor football field, plus the surrounding area is bustling with other tourist attractions, including Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium and the CNN Center. New restaurants and several hotels make the area a great destination for tourists.
If you are a media fanatic or want to go behind the scenes of a major news network, head to the CNN Center (also near the Dome MARTA station) for the Inside CNN Studio Tour. A food court and shops are located in the building’s large atrium and several other restaurants are just outside, providing plenty of options to dine before or after the tour. Pair the visit with Centennial Olympic Park across the street or other area attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, which is on the far side of the park.
Step back in time with a visit to the Fox Theatre, where you can take a 60-minute guided tour of the building’s stunning architecture or see a show — everything from Broadway performances to concerts and movies during the summer months. A special exit for the Fox Theatre is located inside the North Avenue MARTA station, and for an added excursion after visiting the theatre, take a walk north on Peachtree Street to view the sights or eat and return to MARTA via the Midtown or Arts Center stations at 10th and 15th Streets respectively.
A lesser known museum in Atlanta is the Federal Reserve Monetary Museum in the Federal Reserve building next to the Midtown MARTA station. Learn all the things you didn’t know about money, see inside a vault, view cash-counting operations and tour the building on your own or with a scheduled leader. The Margaret Mitchell House is across the street for an additional destination or combine the visit with a walk to the Woodruff Arts Center or Piedmont Park.
Literature buffs will enjoy the Margaret Mitchell House, where the famous book Gone With the Wind was written. The historic building is next to the Midtown MARTA station and offers tours of Mitchell’s apartment along with exhibits and special events. The Federal Reserve Monetary Museum is across the street or head north on Peachtree Street for the Woodruff Arts Center or south to tour the Fox Theatre.
Art, music and theatre, oh my! Next to the Arts Center MARTA station, the Woodruff Arts Center is the home to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Hall and the Alliance Theatre. Several other museums are also nearby, including the Museum of Design Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts and the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum. Or take the shuttle to Atlantic Station from MARTA to wrap up the trip with a movie, meal or the Bodies and Titanic exhibits.
Connected directly to the Five Points MARTA station, Underground Atlanta contains a food court, retail stores and Kenny’s Alley, a restaurant and nightlife area. You’ll find brick streets and the first floors of buildings that are now underground due to the construction of an elevated road to separate pedestrians from the frequent coming and going of trains. Freight rail still rumbles nearby, and an old rail depot can be viewed at the end of Lower Alabama Street. Underground Atlanta is also the location of the New Year’s Eve Peach Drop along with a few other events throughout the year. The Georgia Capitol isn’t far away as another sight to see, and city tours are available above the underground area on Upper Alabama Street.
The number one tourist attraction closest to MARTA? The narrated (and free) Atlanta BeltLine bus tour, which picks up passengers on the Inman Park side of the Inman Park MARTA station. Departing Friday and Saturday mornings, the three-hour tour provides history and progress updates along with views of the changing city landscape connected to the project. Reservations are required and seats fill up, so plan ahead. If you need to eat after the tour, several restaurants are in the area, including options in Little Five Points and the Inman Park Village. One Eared Stag is directly next to the station.