Downtown As in many cities, Atlanta's downtown serves as the center of most business and government doings. It is not, however, the hub of the social or cultural scene, and other than for fine dining or professional sports events, pretty much shuts down after business hours.
The ever-changing skyline is dominated by skyscraper hotels and offices, perhaps none more impressive than the Peachtree Center, which serves the business community in both capacities. Most major chain hotels are represented here, as well as many of Atlanta's most prestigious business addresses, such as the world headquarters of Coca-Cola. The Georgia World Congress Center plays host to a never-ending string of trade shows, while in the southern corner of downtown you'll find the golden-domed Georgia State Capitol Building.
Opened in 1989, the enclosed mall of shops and restaurants known as Underground Atlanta also houses the most comprehensive division of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. Standing near the entrance is the World of Coca-Cola, the soft-drink giant's interactive museum. For athletics, visit the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome, home of the The Atlanta Falcons, or Philips Arena, featuring Hawks basketball and Thrashers hockey. Across the street, the massive CNN Center is home to cable television's first 24-hour news network.
Midtown's skyline is dominated by mighty hotels such as the Four Seasons and Sheraton Colony Square standing side-by-side with the regional headquarters of such giants as IBM and BellSouth. Midtown is home to the city's greatest concentration of cultural outlets, including the Fabulous Fox Theater, the High Museum of Art, and the Woodruff Arts Center, home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Known for its diversity, Midtown is home to much of Atlanta's gay community. You'll see plenty of rainbow flags fluttering from porches of the beautifully restored Victorians between Ponce and 10th Street. From the mansion dwellers in Ansley Park, to the seedier elements that haunt the liquor stores of Ponce de Leon, to the grungy-cum-preppy types that prevail around Georgia Tech, a broad cross-section of Atlanta natives will greet you on the sidewalk. Despite the neighborhood's reputation for glamorous clubs and fine dining, the unquestioned social center of Midtown is Piedmont Park, a 180-acre expanse of green where Atlantans turn out to walk their canine companions.
Buckhead The legends of how Buckhead earned its unusual moniker are varied, but most center around the mounting of a slain deer over the door of a 19th Century public house. Today,the wild tavern tradition is still in full swing. Despite the regular disorder brought on by the drinking crowd, Buckhead's downtown area remains safe, and is home to many fine shops, restaurants and spas. World-class hotels like the Ritz-Carlton and the Grand Hyatt Atlanta stand steps away from the city's most elegant shopping venues in Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square.
As you move away from central Buckhead, a growing battalion of high-rise luxury apartments and condos attracts the city's prosperous up-and-comers, while the tree-lined neighborhoods west of Peachtree live on as exquisite enclaves of old Atlanta money. Just a mile down this awe-inspiring stretch of road from the rollicking, disco-themed Have A Nice Day Cafe sits the august Georgia Governor's Mansion.
Virginia-Highland More commonly known as "the Highlands," this largely residential neighborhood centers on the intersection of its namesake avenues, Virginia and North Highland. Most points are within walking distance of the Jimmy Carter Center in Inman Park, Emory University in Druid Hills, and Piedmont Park in Midtown.
High rents have banished the starving artist crowd downtown, but in their place have come numerous galleries, representing the city's best mix of modern and folk art. Although not as glitzy as Buckhead, shopping is a casual pleasure, and quirky boutiques like Metropolitan Deluxe and Providence Antiques draw a heavy window-gazing crowd.
Young and middle-aged professionals mix easily with a mild influx of students from the nearby university in the Highlands' bars and restaurants. A vibrant nightlife thrums through the laid-back atmosphere at such pubs as the Dark Horse Tavern. Highbrow restaurants like Southern-influenced Harvest rub amicable shoulders with popular brazier joints such as Neighbors and Moe's & Joe's.
Little Five Points This conglomeration of second-hand shops, piercing parlors, funky bars and music venues touches on the old neighborhoods of Inman Park and Candler Park, pricing much of the real estate well beyond the range of the young rebels that flock here. Many nicely-restored bungalows and post-Civil War era homes line the peaceful streets nearby, including a good number of respectable bed-and-breakfasts. Good eats are plentiful in Little Five Points, but fine dining has thus far eluded the rough-edged neighborhood. One notable exception is the Flying Biscuit Cafe, home of Atlanta's best breakfast.
East Atlanta Climbing out of a long period of steady decline, this is the latest addition to a growing list of gentrified Atlanta neighborhoods. As elsewhere, the process in East Atlanta is a slow one, and even as a solid collection of shops and restaurants gains a foothold in the blocks around the intersection of Flat Shoals and Glenwood Avenues, most of the surrounding area continues to struggle. One notable out of the way spot is JavaVino, where you can sip wine to slow down and then coffee to speed you back up. Your shopping options, if limited, represent an interesting mix, while most of the area's watering holes lean toward the local, blue collar crowd.
Vinings This trendy area has re-invented itself over past few years to become a rather enviable and affluent address. Sitting at the far northwest corner of the city, the Vinings is largely home to folks who want to live in the city but really don't. Following the money, great new restaurants like Canoe are gaining widespread praise as they take their place alongside such re-invented local favorites as the Vinings Inn. Shopping, however, still draws the majority of traffic, mostly to Cumberland Mall at I-75 and Windy Hill Road, but also to the Vinings Jubilee center, a collection of shops and boutiques developed to resemble a town square.
Art lovers discover a rich and varied cultural tapestry in Atlanta. From exhibits in the High Museum of Art’s collection of more than 11,000 works, to hundreds of independent galleries featuring both well-known and up-and-coming artists, the city broadly supports all types of visual arts, photography and sculpture. The Woodruff Arts Center, which opened its doors in 1968, is the largest performing and visual arts center in the country and serves as host to Broadway-caliber performances, classical music and experimental theater. The Center includes the Alliance Theatre (honored as the 2007 Regional Theatre Tony Award® winner for outstanding achievement), the Atlanta College of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and the 14th Street Playhouse. To stretch your imagination, the Center for Puppetry Arts is a unique and internationally renowned destination that offers entertaining shows for children and adults.
You can tour the new $200 million Georgia Aquarium. This magnificent destination features more than 100,000 animals from 500 different species in more than 8 million gallons of water. Then, visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where rare plants from all over the world are cultivated and conserved. And you’ll thrill to the giant pandas, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, and 1,000 other animals at Zoo Atlanta.
If it’s shopping you’re looking for, Atlanta has it all and then some. The city’s Buckhead area is not only home to a vibrant nightlife, it also boasts some of the finest shopping in the world. Traditional malls like Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square provide the commerce-minded with high-end options, and boutiques throughout the area deliver unique finds and one-of-a-kind items. Sports fans have year-round options in Atlanta with its profesional franchises. In the summer, baseball fans can head to Turner Field to watch the perennially dominant Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball. In the fall and winter months the NFL's Atlanta Falcons light up the Georgia Dome while hockey and basketball fans flock to Philips Arena to cheer the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and the NBA's Atlanta Hawks respectively. When you come to Atlanta, be prepared to be informed, entertained and excited.
Chateau Elan is 40 minutes north off the airport right off I-85 exist 126. Chateau Elan is a 3,500 acre resort featuring golf, day and overnight spa, and neighborhood community. Everything is centered around a 16th century French-style Chateau that houses Georgia's largest full production winery. Wine tours and tastings take place all week long, however the weekend features special Culinary Demonstrations and cooking classes within the Winery. Annual wine festivals and holiday events also take place here.