Atlanta isn’t on everybody’s bucket-list. There are far to many places around the world tempting us, even inside USA there are many more iconic cities on the top of our lists.
This wonderful city is mostly visited for business – Atlanta’s airport is the busiest world wide– after all it’s the third city, behind NY and Houston, to be home for more Fortune 500 companies. Among them: Delta Airlines, Southwestern Airlines, CNN, Coca Cola. This is the reason for the huge variety of retail stores and restaurants, enough to please the most demanding travelers.
I have visited it many times, for various reasons, nonetheless never ceases to amaze me. Atlanta’s allure for me, is that is REAL. A real city. The streets exude a history full of contradictions and differences, war and suffering, tradition and change, rebirth and generosity, dignity and peace. The people you encounter are mostly residents, many of them students that bring to the city a good amount of needed heterodoxy. Nothing is staged for tourists, the energy is authentic.
During the Civil War, Atlanta was a strategic location for the Confederate Troops… it was constantly attacked. Numerous battles took place nearby, before falling definitely on 1864. It’s siege and evacuation were later (1936) immortalized by Margaret Mitchell on her famous novel “Gone with the Wind”
During the 60’s, this city was the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, leaded by Martin Luther King (born in Atlanta 1929). Later the city was the first one in America to have an African-American as an elected mayor. Today is a city of great importance for the GLBT community. The opennes of the city and its habitants was recently materialized in the new Museum dedicated to Civil an Political Rights, a place that I would recommend everyone to visit for an eye opening experience.
The architecture of the city is different than other Southern cities, they decided to change the classical structures and buildings by more modern ones. Renzo Piano, John Portman and Richard Meier are some of the famous architects that have contribute to this new skyline.
Cinema and literature are also interesting in Atlanta, after the approval of a tax incentive’s program designed to promote the production of films and television – and with the undenniable benefit of the weather– has become a mayor destination for the industry, the most famous and recent TV series is probably “The Walking Dead” that isn’t only filmed there, but has Atlanta as setting for the story. The beauty of this city has also been the backdrop of great films like Driving Miss Daisy (1989); Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and American Beauty (1999).
Every year on April, the city hosts the “Atlanta Film Festival” which offers a wide array of independent films to the public, as well as conferences and events. The city also hosts the biggest Independent Book Festival in USA, besides being the city where authors like Natasha Trethewey and Chandler Harris were born.
Last but not least, the southern hospitality is real, you feel it everywhere you go, and that makes your visit a very pleasant one.
As you see, there are many reasons to visit Atlanta, on my next post I will recommend you the places I treasure the most.