Atlanta - Attractions
A few miles north of downtown is Buckhead, one of Atlanta's toniest suburbs. It's got upscale hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, and some of Atlanta's best architecture. Among its showpieces are the 1917 Brookwood Railway Station, one of the country's few surviving train palaces, and the 1938 Cathedral of Christ the King, which has over 60 stained-glass windows.
Since being rebuilt after the Civil War, downtown Atlanta has often been transformed by waves of development and is now a thoroughly modern metropolis. Among the few remaining traces left of the 19th-century city is Underground Atlanta, a multi-leveled mall that is, as the name indicates, below ground level - the result of several levels of train trestles having been built over the streets below. One of the city's finest historic buildings is the gilt-domed 1889 State Capitol, which has tours and exhibits.
To the west is the National Historic District of Fairlie-Poplar, which was the city's commercial centre 100 years ago. Its 20-odd blocks are lined with brick and tile buildings constructed between the 1880s and WWI. News junkies will want to head a couple of blocks northwest to CNN Center, headquarters of the worldwide cable TV news service; tours take in broadcasting studios and backrooms full of technicians, writers and researchers.
Just south of downtown, Grant Park offers one of the most unique multimedia experiences anywhere: the Atlanta Cyclorama. Built in the 1880s, the Cyclorama features a big circular painting of the Battle of Atlanta that revolves around the audience, with sound and light effects and an informative commentary. There's also a diorama and a short movie on the campaign. At the southern end of the park is Zoo Atlanta, where naturalistic habitats include an African rainforest and a Sumatran tiger forest.
For decades, Sweet Auburn was Atlanta's black downtown - a city within a city where African Americans created the institutions they were excluded from by white Atlanta. Though the construction of I-75/85 in the 1940s cut the neighborhood in half, it became the hub of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s and has remained the centre of Atlanta's black life and culture. Several of the neighborhood's early 20th-century churches, homes and commercial buildings are in good shape, making for an excellent walking tour. One of them houses the African American Panoramic Experience, known as APEX, which has several exhibits on the area's history and a movie about the neighborhood.
Several blocks of Auburn Avenue have been designated part of the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, in honour of the civil rights leader who was born here in 1929. King's birthplace is open for tours. A block west is Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached. Across the street is the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Non-Violent Change, which has a visitors' centre and exhibits on the civil rights campaigner's life and work. King's tomb is on view at the site.