A-Z of Capital Cities: Atlanta

Atlanta, capital of Georgia state, is a very unexpected city. While touted as the capital of the south, the city is a far cry from the southern stereotype of pickup trucks and country music.

The street culture and music of this city are largely dominated by its status as the home of Hip-Hop. However, it also offers something different if you venture off the beaten track. Head to Edgewood Avenue in downtown and you’ll find an array of small bars and venues offering a great variety of music and nightlife, with everything from jazz to electro being taken care of.

When it comes to food, you can’t escape the southern BBQ. To do it justice, you’ll find amazing grub being offered at local stalls such as those at Auburn Market where fried chicken has been reinvented in the most unexpected ways and all for under $10.

Walk one block down from the market and you’ll find yourself on Auburn Avenue, once the richest black street in the world. A stroll down this street will take you back in time to the days of Civil Rights and Martin Luther King. All on the same street you will find a collection of buildings which were crucial to the civil rights movement in the mid to late 20th century, although now most stand empty, unnoticed by passers by and even tourists.

The famous Ebenezer Baptist church is situated half way down the road, and inside the speeches of Martin Luther King are played everyday for visitors. Over the road is the building that used to house the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Council which Martin Luther King once lead, and right next door is the tomb of Luther King and his wife Coretta.

Piedmont Park can be found in Midtown, and is a pleasant surprise to find in such a concrete city. The lake in the middle of the park has a fantastic view of the skyscrapers in Midtown, where you could be tricked into thinking you were standing in central park looking at Manhattan. On a weekend the park fills with dog walkers and young families, while the sports field attracts local softball and volleyball teams, making for good entertainment. The park is also home to numerous art and music festivals, with the most notable of these being the annual Music Midtown in September, which has attracted the likes of Mumford and Sons, Bon Jovi, and Eminem over the past few years.

If a stroll in the park isn’t really your thing, then Little Five Points might have something for you. Only five minutes from downtown, Little Five is its own hippie/alternative district. The main street is lined with vintage shops, old record stores and independent cafes, giving the area a very understated and eclectic atmosphere.

If you fancy experiencing something at the other end of the spectrum, Buckhead is the place to go. Made famous by the TV show, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Buckhead encompasses ‘the life of the rich and famous’. Shopping malls such as Phipps Plaza are home to outlets including Gucci and Versace, and restaurants here regularly attract celebrities and offer some of the best fine dining in the south. The nightlife in Buckhead is mainly guest list only, with the likes of Usher often frequenting clubs, but be assured that beer pong bars filled with frat guys are never more than a few streets away.

Frances Helm 

Images courtesy of apple.white2010 via Flickr 

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