When I first moved to Atlanta, I had no concept of the different neighborhoods in the city. I read a lot of similar articles mentioning the top things to do in Atlanta- the World of Coca Cola, the Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, and CNN Studios. Now that I live here full time, I can safely say that downtown is considered touristy- locals do not really go downtown much.
Now that I have lived here for almost a year, I never understand why all of these articles about Atlanta never seem to mention The Beltline, Krog Market, or any of Atlanta’s unique neighborhoods! I would never have someone visit me in Atlanta, and only take them downtown- it would be like going to New York City and spending the whole weekend in Times Square.
That being said, if you are interested in one of the places downtown, go! It’s fun to be a tourist, and I think everyone should see downtown Atlanta at least once. But- please do yourself a favor and see more of the city…there is so much to explore!
If you go downtown, I would recommend picking one large thing, like the World Coca Cola or the Aquarium, and stopping by Olympic Park and SkyView Atlanta. Depending on your group, you could fit everything in a morning or afternoon, and everything is a few steps away from each other. Be sure to do your research on crowds- the aquarium gets especially busy.
Olympic park is small, but it’s neat to walk by the fountains and see the olympic rings. Sky View is $14 for adults and worth the walk through the park. I love ferris wheels (Ryan asked me out in line for one!), but this one was a little much for me because it is pretty high. I didn’t really enjoy the ride because it was so high, but the views of the city are incredible. If you aren’t afraid of heights, go for it!
I visited the World of Coke on a rainy afternoon with my parents just after I moved down. It was cheesy in a fun way, but I would consider it to be the type of thing you go and do once. I don’t love soda (or many sweets), so I found trying all the flavors to be more gross than fun…I did end up trying them all, and my stomach hurt the rest of afternoon. But, I can say that I did it!
I was most interested in the branding displays- as a marketing major, I had studied Coke as a world-known brand powerhouse. It was cool to see the history of the company, and learn a big piece of Atlanta’s history through the eyes of a single brand.
If you want to get the true experience, I would recommend visiting the Coke Headquarters. The building is located in Midtown by Georgia Tech’s campus. I had the chance to get lunch with a few employees at the headquarters last year, and that was way more interesting! The campus is incredible and so big. I’ve read that they do give tours, so it’s definitely worth a look if you want to see where the magic really happens!
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