Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Georgia Atlanta



"Hotlanta," as Atlanta, Georgia is known by locals, is as the name suggests: Hot! Not only do summer temps stay in the upper 80's and low 90's for weeks on end with high humidity, this capital of the south also is hip, hop & everything in between! Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5,522,942 people and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County, and a small portion of the city extends eastward into DeKalb County.

Atlanta was established in 1837 at the intersection of two railroad lines, and the city rose from the ashes of the American Civil War to become a national center of commerce. In the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, during which the city earned a reputation as "too busy to hate" for the progressive views of its citizens and leaders, Atlanta attained international prominence. Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeastern United States, via highway, railroad, and air, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport being the world's busiest airport since 1998.




Atlanta is composed of a variety of neighbourhoods for all times of day & all types of travelers:

  • Downtown is the bustling centre of Atlanta in the day, for locals and tourists. If you're visiting the city, highlights like the High Museum of Art and Piedmont Park are prime attractions in this neighbourhood.
  • Virginia Highlands is yuppie heaven, with fancy boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and tree-lined streets of expensive homes.
  • Little 5 Points has long been Atlanta's "alternative" neighbourhood. Still the best place for people-watching south of Manhattan, "Little 5" is where to go for everything from organic food stores to tattoo parlors.
  • Decatur is a laid back reminder of the little town it used to be, with a picturesque old downtown replete with artsy shops & interesting restaurants. Often called "Dykatur," this is the center of the city's lesbian community, with clubs and queer-friendly businesses abounding. not surprisingly, Agnes Scott's gates open onto downtown Decatur.
  • Midtown is the masculine Decatur: pulling in higher incomes, Atlanta's gay population heads for the high rises, and in Midtown you can find "fabulous" restaurants, clubs, and other delights.
  • Buckhead used to be where the city's elite went to get away from it all and hunt. Now Buckhead is where the elite (and everyone else) goes to be in the midst of it all. At night, this neighbourhood turns into the Hip-Hop capital of the world, with famous musicians and celebrities pouring into the neighborhood's top restaurants, bars, and clubs.
  • Cabbage Town is the new Little 5 & Buckhead rolled into one. Students come here to hang out & take pictures of themselves.
  • Atlantic Station is Atlanta's newest neighbourhood, and artificially constructed complex of shops, restaurants, homes & entertainment not far from downtown.
  • East Atlanta Village a reasonable, best in class region with a crazy, varied vibe. Similar to Cabbagetown as in it's a great place asylum for music, artists, and incredible food, yet EAV is all the more trendy and hipster. There are a lot of music scenes, road fairs, tattoo parlors, and even a drive-in theater!



Sights and Activities

Museum of high arts, Atlanta

Museum of high arts, Atlanta

© bentivogli

Atlanta has impressive cultural offerings, from numerous theaters to the Atlanta Ballet, Opera, and Symphony Orchestra.

Around Atlanta

  • Chief Vann House and New Echota
  • Stone Mountain
  • Callaway Gardens
  • Chattanooga Aquarium



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.




Atlanta has a subtropical climate with generally warm to hot conditions and relatively high humidity. Temperatures range from around 30-32 °C from June to August to around 12-14 °C during the winter months of December and January. Lows during these times are around 20-22 °C and 2-4 °C respectively. Extremes can be as low as -23 °C and as high as 41 °C though. The average annul amount of precipitation is around 1,300 mm which is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, though spring and early fall are somewhat drier.

Avg Max10.2 °C12.8 °C17.9 °C22.6 °C26.4 °C29.9 °C31.1 °C30.6 °C27.7 °C22.6 °C17.4 °C12.2 °C
Avg Min-0.3 °C1.4 °C5.8 °C10.1 °C14.8 °C19 °C20.8 °C20.6 °C17.5 °C11.1 °C6 °C1.7 °C
Rainfall120.6 mm122.2 mm146.6 mm108.2 mm109 mm90.4 mm127.3 mm93 mm86.9 mm77.5 mm98 mm110 mm
Rain Days9.



Getting There

By Plane

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the gateway to Atlanta and is located about 7 miles (11 kilometres) from downtown Atlanta. Since more than a decade it has been the busiest airport in the world regarding the number of flights and number of passengers, with currently around 88 million passengers a year! Regarding international passengers, it's way lower though.

To/from the airport:

  • Rail: Hartsfield–Jackson has its own train station on the city's rapid transit system, MARTA. The above-ground station is inside in the main building, between the north and south terminals on the west end. The Airport train station is currently the southernmost station in the MARTA system.
  • A four-lane roadway across Interstate 85 connects the Hartsfield–Jackson Rental Car Center to the existing airport road network.

By Train

The Crescent , operated by Amtrak, travels between New York and New Orleans, stopping in Atlanta.

By Car

Atlanta is linked to the rest of the US by the Interstate Highway System. The principal interstates serving the city are I-75 (serving traffic from Detroit to Florida), I-85 (connecting the Mid-Atlantic to New Orleans) and I-20 (connecting Texas to South Carolina), all of which cross through Downtown.

I-285 (commonly called the Perimeter by Atlantans, and the Atlanta Bypass on overhead signs) circles the city at a distance of about 10 miles out, crossing and connecting with all the above freeways as well as the airport.

Free real-time traffic information is available by dialing 511 anywhere in the state of Georgia.

By Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines, 1-800-229-9424, provides bus service to Atlanta from many locations throughout the United States. Buses arrive at and depart from the Greyhound terminal at 232 Forsyth Street, located in a less affluent neighborhood on the southern edge of the downtown area and directly beneath MARTA's Garnett Station (see 'Get around' below).
Megabus, service to Atlanta from locations across the Southern United States. The bus stop is near the Civic Center MARTA station (435 West Peachtree Street); buses stop on the east side of the street at the north end of the station.
GoToBus, service from Atlanta to locations across the Northern United States. The bus stop is near a plaza off Interstate 75, Exit 244 (1192-A Pryor Street); buses stop in the parking lot in the plaza.



Getting Around

By Car

Atlanta drivers are among the most insane in the country. Sadly, Atlanta is so poorly served by public transportation, that one practically needs a car to get around the city. Cars are the most popular form of transport to get around the sprawling city, and usually the fastest during non-peak hours. Many destinations outside the urban centers are only accessible by car. Rush hour peaks around 7:30am-9:30am and 4:00pm-6:30pm on weekdays and often results in congestion when traveling inbound in the mornings and outbound in the afternoons. Downtown/Midtown and major shopping districts such as Buckhead can also get crowded on weekends. In the most urban areas, many restaurants and shops in the area offer complimentary or low-cost valet services ($1–3 tip expected) and on the rare occasion where parking is scarce, public lots are usually nearby for a fee. In most of the city, though, parking is free and plentiful.

Street names in Atlanta are very confusing. There are more than 70 streets that have "Peachtree" in their name, and they are often difficult to distinguish (Peachtree Street, Peachtree Lane, West Peachtree Street, etc.). When someone says "Peachtree" without clarifying, they mean Peachtree Street, a major north-south thoroughfare through Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead. Do not confuse it with West Peachtree Street, which parallels Peachtree Street a block away and is a major road through Midtown. Additionally, many thoroughfares change street names frequently, generally at intersections and curves.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Sixt rent a car Atlanta AirportHertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) provides fast public transport on some routes. A single ride on MARTA costs $2.50; the fare includes transfers. MARTA uses wireless Breeze Cards to store your fare; a new card costs $2.00 but is reloadable and valid for 10 years. (Breeze Cards can't be shared; you need one per person.) Breeze Cards are sold in vending machines at all rail stations or at RideStores at Airport, Lindbergh Center, and Five Points Stations (vending machines accept credit cards, but cash may be faster as the machines are slow and prone to breaking). On the bus, tap the card at the fare post next to the driver. At the train station, tap on entry and exit at the fare gate. When transferring, simply tap your card again. (The card uses RFID technology, so you can leave it in your wallet and just tap your whole wallet on the sensor.)

Buses accept fares in cash, but cannot issue transfers on fares paid in cash; you must have a Breeze Card to obtain the transfer. If you plan to make a connection, make sure to get one before starting your trip.
Unlimited passes are available ($9 for 1 day, $19 for 4 days, $23.75 for 7 days). These will easily save you money if you plan on making more than one or two trips per day.

The system is quite safe regardless of the time of day, although there have been a handful of incidents of violent crime in the last decade. Like in any other city or transit system, use common sense, keep aware of your surroundings during low ridership periods, and avoid train cars with no other riders or with only a couple of other riders.

The rail network is comprised of four lines: Red, Gold, Blue, and Green. The Red and Gold lines run north-south, while the Blue and Green lines run east-west, forming a cross with Five Points Station in the center.

By Foot

Visitors will find today's Atlanta very walkable, with many improvements made in the last decade. Most of the in-town neighborhoods are individually easy to walk around, with dense collections of bars, restaurants, and shops. In particular, getting around within Midtown, Downtown, Decatur, Buckhead, or the areas around the North Highland Avenue corridor in East Atlanta (including Virginia-Highland, Poncey Highland, and Little Five Points) is usually quite easy; walking times rarely exceed 10–20 minutes, and buses or trains provide some relief for longer trips. Getting between those neighborhoods solely by foot is more difficult; for example, expect a 30–45 minute walk between Midtown and Virginia-Highland. Inter-neighborhood transportation is best done by car or public transit.

By Bike

Due to the rashness of local drivers, bicycling on the roads is not a great idea. However, Atlanta has a rails-to-trails bike trail running through the city.




Affordability, variety of restaurants, culinary diversity and award-winning chefs are key ingredients that earn Atlanta a place at the table with other popular culinary cities. An assortment of neighborhoods offers an array of restaurants featuring cuisine that spans the globe, serving something for every taste.

During the past few years, several celebrity chefs have traveled south to call Atlanta home. Drawn to the quickly growing culinary scene, these chefs have been welcomed with open arms and some true southern hospitality. Jean-Georges Vongerichten (Spice Market), Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafe, and Abbatoir), and Richard Blais (The Spence, FLIP Burger Boutique, and One Midtown Kitchen) are just a few.

Atlanta is also making a name for itself in pizza of almost every style. For gourmet pizza, Varasano's (which has a satellite location in the airport) and Antico Pizza Napoletana are invariably named as the two best, but opinions are divided about which is the top. Other gourmet pizzerias include Ammazza, Double Zero, and Fritti, just to name a few. If you're looking for less-pretentious 'za, check out Blue Moon Pizza, Cameli's, Fellini's, or Rocky Mountain Pizza.

Of course, you can stick with the landmarks, such as The Varsity (the world's largest drive-in), The Sun Dial (a restaurant on top of the Westin Hotel which revolves for a 360° view of the city), Pittypat's Porch (Southern charm inspired by Gone With the Wind), or R. Thomas (healthy meals including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, just to name a few).




In much of the South, thanks to the influence of Coca-Cola being headquartered in downtown Atlanta, "coke" can colloquially refer to any soft drink in place of "soda" or "pop". Ordering "a Coke" at a restaurant usually, but not always, means you're asking for a Coca-Cola Classic (and they will ask "Is Pepsi okay?" if they don't serve Coca-Cola products), but if someone says they're going to the grocery store to buy "some cokes" for a party, they mean "a variety of soft drinks", not just Coca-Cola.

A true staple of southern culture, sweet tea can be found at almost any restaurant in Atlanta. In most places an order for "tea" will be assumed to mean "sweet tea"; hot or unsweetened tea need to be asked for specifically. A popular variant to a glass of sweet tea is an Arnold Palmer, a half and half mix of iced tea (either sweetened or unsweetened) and lemonade, named after the famous golfer who popularized it. "Arnold Palmer" is a bit of a tongue twister, so ordering a "half iced tea and lemonade" is common.

Atlanta is home to Sweetwater Brewing Company, one of the largest microbreweries in the South; their 420 Extra Pale Ale is a signature item. Red Brick is the second-largest, and Monday Night and Red Hare (in Marietta) are relative newcomers.

Beer bars are a big to-do in Atlanta. The most widely-known is local chain T.MAC (formerly Taco Mac), which boasts an ever-changing collection of as many as 140 beers on draught and hundreds more in bottles, with wings, burgers, and tacos to wash them down. Not to be outdone, The Porter serves up 430 brews along with excellent gastropub food. Brick Store Pub offers over 20 beers for connoisseurs, plus an additional bar of Belgian beers in an upstairs alcove. Serving up their own in-house brews, Wrecking Bar, 5 Seasons (Upper Westside and Sandy Springs), and Twain's top the list of brewpubs. Other local favorites for a good pint include Publik Draft House, Book House, Thinking Man Tavern, and Cypress Street Pint & Plate.




Most of Atlanta's major hotels are located downtown between Five Points and Midtown in area with a name that is easy to remember: the Hotel District. The district is in the heart of Atlanta's economic and political center and is within walking distance to many of the major tourist attractions, including the Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, and the CNN Center.

Rapidly growing Midtown, the center of Atlanta's business district as well as many high-rise luxury condos is nearby many museums and theaters. If you're looking for boutique hotels that are near a thriving urban setting, Midtown may be the area for you.

Once the heart of Atlanta's nightlife, Buckhead is still home to several upscale hotels, which are close to the area's shopping and dining districts.

If you're staying in Atlanta without a car, you'll have the best time if you stay around Midtown or Downtown, which offer central, easy access to MARTA. Both areas have many excellent bars, restaurants, and cultural attractions accessible by foot. The big-name hotels in these parts of town are close to train stations and bus routes, making access to most interesting parts of town quick and hassle-free. Buckhead and Decatur are other options with good access to transit, but not as many tourist attractions in the area (and in the case of Decatur, not many hotels to choose from).

If you plan on renting an apartment, good places to look include Midtown a few blocks from Peachtree Street between the Arts Center and North Avenue MARTA stations, and around North Highland Avenue south of Virginia Avenue (including Little Five Points).

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Undergraduate and Graduate Education

Private K-12 Schools

  • Arbor Montessori
  • Atlanta Girls School
  • Lovett
  • Marist
  • Pace Academy
  • Paideia School
  • Waldorf of Atlanta
  • Westminister
  • Woodward Academy



Keep Connected


There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.


The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 33.754487
  • Longitude: -84.389663

Accommodation in Atlanta

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