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Nashville is a great city! You should definitely visit the Tennessee capital at some point. But if you had to choose a vacation destination, you should visit Atlanta first. From its civil rights legacy to its iconic hip-hop music culture, here are the 12 reasons why you should head to Atlanta over Nashville.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States. Winning division titles an unprecedented 14 consecutive times, there are many Atlanta Braves fans that hail from other cities including Nashville. As of 2017, Suntrust Park, located just 25 minutes from downtown Atlanta, is the new home of Atlanta Braves.
The birthplace of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta is considered ground zero for the Civil Rights Movement. While many cities in the South have historic sites honoring the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta is home to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which connects history to current civil rights and human rights issues. After spending an afternoon at the new center, just a few miles away, visitors can take a tour of the King Center, Martin Luther King’s birth house and Ebenezer Baptist Church, located on the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park is a must-visit. It’s quite an honor for a city to host the summer Olympics, and the 21-acre park is a beautiful reminder of its Olympic legacy. Used as a central gathering location for visitors and spectators during the summer games, the park now plays host to local festivals, concerts and a place to watch the Independence Day fireworks.
You can enjoy Coca-Cola all over the world, but you can only visit the museum dedicated to the soda beverage in Atlanta. Showcasing the history of Coke, the World of Coca-Cola should be at the top of your reasons to visit the city. Located in the heart of downtown, the museum features over 1200 artifacts, a behind-the-scenes look at the bottling process, the vault that holds the 132-year-old secret formula for Coca-Cola, an exciting 4D movie experience, a look at Coke in pop culture and a tasting center, where you can taste Coke products from all over the world.
No one is diminishing Nashville’s legacy of music, but its legacy is in country music. If you love R&B and hip-hop music, Atlanta is a must-visit. Coined “hip-hop’s center of gravity,” by the New York Times, Atlanta is home to Jermaine Dupri, Usher, TLC, Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, Goodie Mob and Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Danny Glover).
Yes, Nashville is home to the hit television show boasting the same name, but Atlanta is breaking records. Often referred to as “the Hollywood of the South,” Atlanta is now the most popular destination for shooting films and television shows, surpassing New York and Hollywood. Popular movies and TV shows shot in the Southern metropolis include parts of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Netflix’s latest hit Stranger Things, Marvel’s Black Panther, Hidden Figures, The Fast Five, Avengers: Infinity War and the critically acclaimed show Atlanta. The city is also home to producer and director Tyler Perry and Tyler Perry Studios.
Atlanta’s history goes as far back as the Civil War. It’s no wonder Atlanta is home to several Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). HBCUs are academic institutions of higher education that were established before the Civil Rights Act. Their mission was to offer higher education to black Americans during a time when it was illegal for black Americans to receive an education. Today, Historical Black Colleges and Universities are more popular than ever and offer a unique education to black students. Although they were established for black students, the student body at most HBCUs is very diverse. Atlanta is home to Spelman College, the oldest HBCU for women in America, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Clark Atlanta University.
Founded in 1980, CNN was the first all-news television channel in the U.S. The channel was founded by businessman and media mogul, Ted Turner. Although CNN primarily broadcasts from New York City and studios in Washington, D.C. now, the news channel headquarters and main newsrooms are based in Atlanta. Situated downtown Atlanta, CNN Headquarters features numerous restaurants, stores, CNN’s parent company Turner Broadcasting System and studio tours that include demonstrations of the technologies such as teleprompters, as well as visits to viewing galleries overlooking the newsrooms and anchors of CNN International.
Established over 40 years ago, Atlanta Pride Festival is one of the oldest in the country. With attendance of over 200,000 a year, Atlanta’s pride festival is the largest in the southeast. Celebrating diversity and the LGBTQ+ community, the festival is held in Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s premier greenspace, and features many exhibits and events around the city.
If you love exploring aquariums, you will love the Georgia Aquarium. At its opening in 2005, it was the largest aquarium in the world. It wasn’t until 2012 that it was surpassed by an aquarium in Singapore. The Georgia Aquarium houses more than 100,000 animals and 700 species of fish and other sea creatures. The aquarium is popular for the whale sharks, beluga whales, California sea lions, bottlenose dolphins and manta rays it houses. The Georgia Aquarium is the only facility outside of Asia to house whale sharks.
You can go shopping anywhere, but shopping in Atlanta an experience everyone must indulge in. Shoppers who enjoy shopping while getting some sunshine and fresh air, visit Atlantic Station. Located in midtown Atlanta, it’s a sprawling outdoor shopping mall with a theater and restaurants. Shoppers who like high-end designers enjoy Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and The Shops in Buckhead Atlanta.
Atlanta is definitely home to great Southern cuisine like fare from Mary Mac’s Tea Room. But Atlanta is also home to innovative restaurants specializing in cuisine from all over the world. With many vegan and vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone. Whether you enjoy Vietnamese, Korean, French, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Jamaican or fusion, the Atlanta food is unlike any other.