Information & Facts
Atlanta has four distinct seasons, and a temperate climate.
Winters are very cold with temperatures below freezing for much of
the time, but the daytime weather is mild enough to sit outdoors,
with only an occasional snowfall. Summers, by contrast, can be hot
and humid with heat wave spells lasting days at a time. Average
temperatures for summer show up as fairly low, however, but this is
somewhat misleading. Atlanta receives abundant rainfall, which is
evenly distributed throughout the year.
Offering just about every type of cuisine under the sun, eating
out in Atlanta is a sensory explosion and visitors with a taste for
excitement and variety won't be disappointed. One of the fastest
growing metropolitan areas in the United States and the third
largest city in the country, there are a lot of restaurants to feed
a lot of people in Atlanta!
Atlanta locals love to dine out so visitors can expect
restaurants to be bustling and dripping with atmosphere. From
traditional Southern cooking like fried chicken, shrimp, fish and
okra to the legendary peaches, pecans, peanuts and Vidalia onions
that Georgia is known for, the food in Atlanta is second to none.
Be sure to sample some peach cobbler and a slice of pecan nut pie
for good measure.
You can't beat the hospitality of the south and the quality of
the food isn't far behind. Head to Buckhead for trendy eateries and
good home-cooked food, while Decatur, Midtown and Virginia-Highland
can't be beat when it comes to international cuisine. Most of
Atlanta's finest restaurants require reservations and it is
customary to tip waiters 15%, while in expensive restaurants,
tipping anything up to 20% is the norm.
Atlanta's trains and buses reach most parts of the city, but
they are not always the most convenient way to get around, and
services are limited outside of the immediate city limits. The
MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) network is
inexpensive, safe and well-integrated, but travel can be slow. A
one-way MARTA pass, good for travel anywhere on the system, costs
$1.75. There are weekly, weekend and visitor's passes available for
various rates that are even more economical. Atlanta is a
car-dominated city, so there is plenty of parking, especially at
tourist sights, but traffic on the freeways and in the city centre
can be very busy, particularly during rush hours. During
conventions and big sporting and entertainment events, it is easier
to use public transport to get around. 'The Buc' is operated by
BATMA; it is a free shuttle service connecting the two MARTA rail
stations with many hotels, shopping areas and businesses in the
city. Car rental agencies require an International Driving Permit
only if the visitor's national license is not in English, and most
prefer drivers to be over 25 years of age. Taxis are available, but
it is easier to order one by phone than to find one on the street;
they can also be found in taxi stands around the city. Visitors
should be cautious of unlicensed taxis, and women travelling alone
at night should order taxis by phone.
One of the most exciting cities in the United States, Atlanta is
a great place for children on holiday to explore and enjoy. Steeped
in a rich and diverse cultural and political history, kids can
learn and discover while having a great time sightseeing - what
more could a parent ask for?
Pack a picnic basket and blanket and head off to the Atlanta
Botanical Gardens for a day of sunshine and fresh air, or for a
slightly more active day, take the kids to the Six Flags Over
Georgia Theme Park where plenty of fun and screams can be had
enjoying the rides on offer. The Fernbank Science Center is a must
for all inquiring minds and the wonderful outdoor trails to be
enjoyed are great for kids of all ages, while the neighbouring
Fernbank Museum of Natural History will simply amaze all who visit.
Stone Mountain Park is must, where mountain trails abound, and
after a day in the great outdoors, children will love the laser
light show in the evening.
On quieter, days or when the weather is bad and outdoor
activities with the kids is not an option, take the kids to one of
the fantastic museums such as the Imagine It! Children's Museum of
Atlanta where kids can crawl, paint, play and enjoy all the
fascinating exhibits on display. Most of the shopping malls in
Atlanta feature indoor playgrounds, but one of the favourite has to
be HippoHop Indoor Playground, where kids will have fun jumping,
climbing and playing on inflatable equipment.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
The heat makes for a lethargic day, but the night air opens the
bright doors of Atlanta's night owl hotspots. This flashy city can
get downright gritty but in both cosmopolitan bars and street side
clubs it is best to come dressed to impress.
Buckhead is a good place to start. The area has a festive night
scene with a line of hopping nightclubs and rowdy bars. Here are
dance clubs, pubs and a bit of something for everyone, although
venues close at 3am. Downtown has some chic lounges and cocktail
bars, especially in the large hotels. For a bit of trendy Atlanta
nightlife, the Virginia Highlands regularly packs a young
professional crowd into stylish clubs.
Smaller venues scattered around the city are perfect to revel in
a bit of southern baritone blues. Others prefer one of four huge
concert venues, part of any major band's American tour. Of course,
Atlanta hip-hop features many clubs with line-ups of rising and
Shopping in Atlanta is more of an activity than a pastime and
with so much on offer, Atlanta's shopping malls, boutiques and
markets are more than enough to meet every shopaholic's needs.
Head to Buckhead for some first class shopping opportunities or
discover the trendiest boutiques, which can be found in Decatur,
Virginia-Highland and Little Five Points. Some of Atlanta's best
buys can be found at Lenox Square which is anchored by
Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus and Macy's and features almost 250
specialty stores and 5 restaurants for weary shoppers to rest their
For budget buys head to the North Georgia Outlets where just
about anything under the sun can be found for a bargain. Most
people won't leave without buying something. In addition to
countless shopping malls, Atlanta also has some wonderful flea
markets where antiques are a popular buy. Don't be afraid to haggle
with the sellers as you are guaranteed to find some steals!
Most shops in Atlanta are open from Monday to Saturday from 10am
to 9pm and on Sundays from 12pm to 6pm. The sales tax varies by
city and state in the US and ranges from 4% to 15%. This is added
to the price of goods at the point of purchase.
There is no system for refunding non-US visitors in Atlanta but
large and expensive purchases are often tax-exempt if they are
shipped from outside the state they are bought in.
Home and birthplace of the iconic Martin Luther King Jr, Atlanta
is far from short on history and culture, and the city's
attractions bear testament to this. Visitors need look no further
for stories of the south and for some of the United States' finest
exports, such as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
History buffs will love the countless museums this city has to
offer, from the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and
the Atlanta History Center, to the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War
Museum and the Carter Center. A trip to the World of Coca-Cola is a
must for lovers of the world's best known brand, while kids of all
ages will love the Georgia Aquarium, and Zoo Atlanta, which
features a panda exhibition. Wander through the Botanical Gardens
or ponder at the magnificent artwork in the High Museum of Art, the
choices are endless!
An Atlanta CityPass can be bought for $69 for adults or $49 for
children and is valid for nine days. The pass allows the bearer
free admission to six of the city's top attractions. The CityPass
booklet provides attraction information, transport directions and
best times to visit as well as coupons and other special