How to spend 3 days in Atlanta, USA.

Atlanta is a cultural hub with a thriving restaurant scene and a variety of attractions. It offers the advantages of a bustling city with southern charm. There is something for everyone in Atlanta. If you are flying into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, here is some advice for making the most of a three-day visit.

Bustling city of Atlanta in Georgia

Before your visit, book a hotel in Downtown Atlanta for convenience. Many attractions and restaurants are downtown. Staying downtown also provides easy access to MARTA trains and buses if needed. Atlanta has great public transportation that stretches across the entire city. The 4 Seasons and Mandarin Oriental Hotel are just two of the many hotels that offer breathtaking views of the city.

Start your first day walking through Centennial Olympic Park. The 21 acre park was created for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games as a place for visitors to relax in during the event. Today parts of the park have been renovated, but a large portion stands representing the revitalization of downtown Atlanta. The beautiful park is a peaceful memorial for the game. It includes jumping fountains, brick paths and bright landscape. The park is home to a number of free events throughout the year such as concerts and festivals. The winding path will lead you to three of the biggest tourist attractions in the city- CNN Studios, The Georgia Aquarium and World of Coke.

Begin at CNN with a 50 minute walking tour. CNN is a popular national 24-hour cable news station in the United States that boasts a number of nationally known journalists, including Anderson Cooper. This popular tour shows you the process of a story hitting a news desk to making it on the air. You see an exciting side of the news that you don’t normally get to see. Aside from watching the process, you even get to sit in the news anchors desk. Keep your eyes open, you may even see one of the famous news anchors making their way around the office. Next walk over to The World of Coke. This museum is dedicated to the famous soda Coca-Cola, founded in Atlanta.

Walk through the exhibits showing different ad campaigns throughout the world and various collectible items Coca Cola has released over the years. Enjoy presentations about the company’s history and the process of making Coca Cola. Finally, visit the tasting room to try flavors of Coca-Cola brand sodas from around the globe. Some flavors aren’t even available in America.

Take a lunch break at Mary Mac’s Tea Room. This cafe is known as “Atlanta’s Dining Room,” offering the best in southern soul food. Fill up on tomato pie and peach cobbler before heading over to finish out the day at The Georgia Aquarium. As home to over 100,000 species, this is the largest aquarium in the United States. It takes around 3 hours to walk the entire aquarium, but it is worth the time. Get up close looks at species you will only see at this aquarium, such as the Whale Shark and Manta Rays. Watch a sea lion show or experience feeding time with otters to make the experience even more memorable. The entire aquarium totals 10 million gallons of water, it will be one of your most memorable experiences of the trip.

As the evening winds down, head to Midtown for dinner at The Vortex. This burger bar is for 21 and older, but it offers the best, and most creative, burgers in the city. Be adventurous and try the Fat Elvis- a hamburger with peanut butter, bacon and fried plantains on top.

Start your second day with breakfast at Wafflehouse, a staple in the south. This breakfast chain started in Atlanta and thrives across the south. Their signature waffles can’t be recreated. Don’t forget to get hashbrowns “all the way” to eat like a true southerner.

After a hearty breakfast, head to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. This site has multiple places of interest related to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Walking throughout this park you will explore the historic Ebenezer Church that Dr. King Jr. was part of, as well as his childhood home. Talk with the volunteers at Fire House No. 6 to discuss MLK Jr.’s daily visit to the firehouse. Be sure to walk across the street to view the first black colleges. Though they look like a row of a houses, it’s a big part of America’s history. Inside The King Center you can pay your respects at the tombs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. King.

Jelly fish, Aquarium Atlanta

Following your visit to the MLK Jr. National Historic Park, head to Ponce City Market for lunch. The first floor of this former factory is dedicated to a variety of local dining establishments. Eat community style or at one of the stand alone restaurants. Be sure to complete your meal with a King of Pops. This local company offers a variety of freshly made popsicles including such flavors as Cookies N Cream- made with whole chocolate chip cookies. Spend the afternoon taking in the architecture of the building while perusing local artistry from Atlanta designers on the second and third floors. Take a break with some mini golf on the enchanting Skyline Park.

Look at the Atlanta Skyline while engaging in friendly competition. Round off your day with some famous barbeque at “Fox Bros. Barbeque”. The lines may be long, but it’s worth the wait to try the sliced brisket sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese.

On your final day in Atlanta, take in a few of the secret gems of the city. Start the morning with a walk along the Beltline Trail that winds 22 miles throughout the city. The trail is divided into different sections, and one of the most popular is the Eastside Trail. This portion of the trail offers the best views of the city, especially from atop the North Avenue Bridge. Another popular spot is under the Virginia Avenue Bridge. Below the bridge is two of the many murals found throughout Atlanta. It’s a great place to stop for some photos. Rent a bike or take a pleasant walk in the early morning before the sun is at its peak for the day.

After working up some hunger, head to The Varsity for some tasty food and Atlanta history. This restaurant has been servicing customers since 1928. It’s a popular destination because it feels like a time warp to a 1950s cafe. Grab a chili dog, Coca Cola and enjoy a quiet lunch. After lunch, head over to the Oakland Cemetery. This is not only the final resting place of many famous Atlantans, including Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, but it is a popular garden. It is the largest green space in the heart of downtown Atlanta, offering a variety of beautiful greenery. You can pick up a self-guided tour map at the visitor center and take in the landscape, beautiful tombstones and sculptures throughout the 48 acres.

Continue your afternoon journey to the eclectic Center for Puppetry Arts. This museum is dedicated to the art of puppetry around the world. It’s most famous for its collection of Jim Henson muppets. Here you can see such famous muppets as Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. View exhibits that show Henson’s career from beginning through his death, as well as the legacy he left behind. Enjoy hands-on exhibits celebrating puppetry from a variety of cultures around the world.

Complete your day with dinner at Fellini’s. This local chain serves up some of the best pizza in the city. Pick your favorite toppings and order New York style gourmet pizza by the pie or slice. When planning your trip to Atlanta, use the ESTA, electronic system for travel authorization, to make international travel to the United States easier. If you are traveling from a VWP (visa waiver program) country, you can use this system for pre-approval to travel if traveling to the United States for less than 90 days for business or vacation. The ESTA checks that the traveler is not a danger or security risk and gives approval to those who pass with flying colors. Those who are from a VWP approved country and do not hold a visitor’s visa are welcome to use ESTA. All you need is a credit card or PayPal account to pay the application fee, current contact information and most recent employment information. Check ESTA application status prior to travel on their easy-to-use website. It is important to apply at least 72 hour before departure, otherwise you may not be approved in time and will not be able to travel to Atlanta.

Travel with ease and enjoy your visit to the “Gate City.”

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About the Author: Martins is a 31 years old Australian born and officially in love with a never - ending affair of solo world travel. He has a great passion of exploring the planet, meeting new lives and writing about his travel experiences with people all around the world.

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