Things to Do in Georgia - page 2
Though much of the epic Pulitzer Prize–winning novelGone with the Wind takes place in famously grand houses, author Margaret Mitchell penned the tome from a tiny Atlanta apartment. Today her home is the Margaret Mitchell House, which serves as a tribute to where the author lived and worked while writing the novel from 1925 to 1932.
Once home to Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, this historic mansion has been restored to its 19th-century glory and offers tours and hosts Girl Scout events. Visit the first National Historic Landmark in Savannah to see exhibits that follow the Low family and the genesis of the Girl Scouts.
More than just Atlanta’s oldest cemetery, dating back to 1850, Oakland Cemetery’s large grounds serve as a tranquil sanctuary from the urban bustle. Take a quiet moment to meander past stunning mausoleums, grand oaks, and notable graves including those of Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson.
The city of Savannah has a rich history unlike anywhere else in the US, and the Massie Heritage Center is one of the best places to hear Savannah’s story. Learn why Oglethorpe designed Savannah in a large, square-laden grid, and hear Savannah’s maritime past or the history of its most famous buildings. Occasionally, the heritage center will hold special events, such as guided walking tours that showcase the city’s plantation or Civil War past, or the interactive Georgia History Festival that’s held each year in February. Located in Georgia’s oldest public school building, the Massie Heritage Center is filled with numerous hands on and interactive activities, so visitors of all ages can bring the past of this colonial city to life. With its wood cupola and gabled roof, the building is a classic site in itself and indicative of colonial architecture, and the center is considered a “must-stop” spot for learning the history of Savannah.
A premier destination for arts enthusiasts, the Jepson Center (one of Savannah's Telfair Museums) is a cultural hub devoted to showcasing contemporary art. See diverse exhibitions that span genres, and visit TechSpace, a gallery devoted to digital art. Family days, talks, and guided tours are offered regularly.
Tucked away in a beautiful southern mansion once owned by William Scarbrough, (better known as one-time president of the Savannah Steamship Company), Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is both a garden oasis and step back into the past history of the great era of trade between England and America during the 18th and 19th Centuries. The collection of this historic museum takes you through the history of shipping from tall ships to steamers with expertly-crafted model displays, while the garden is a prime example of a 19th century parlor garden and is the largest garden of its kind in the historic district of Savannah. The Scarbrough house itself is a museum, built in 1819 and one of the best examples of the Greek Revival in Savannah, sure to please any architecture buff.
Home to over 80 species and 300 animals, the North Georgia Zoo offers the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, both mammals native to Georgia and more exotic species. The petting zoo and hay rides are especially popular and ideal for small children.
At least a dozen other experiences are offered with highly trained staff members on hand to ensure the safety of both the animals and visitors. Many guests enjoy the Wildlife Walk, a guided tour through the grounds to see wild animals such as kangaroos, snakes, and alligators. In addition, guests can take part in a unique camel presentation, as well as a reptile exhibit featuring giant tortoises, python snakes, and crocodiles. Although not offered by Viator, add-on, hands-on animal encounters are available (from $35).
Of all the squares in historic Savannah, Columbia Square is the most serene and devoid of swarms of crowds. Originally constructed in 1799, Columbia Square is punctuated today by the historic Wormsloe Fountain, which once graced the grounds of the Wormsloe Plantation—one of the earliest settlements in Georgia. It’s also the site of the immaculate Kehoe House that was built in 1893, and despite the fact that it’s rumored to be haunted, it thrives today as one of Savannah’s most luxurious bed and breakfasts. Also here on Columbia Square is the historic Davenport House, which was originally built in 1820 and saved in 1955. With the city threatening demolition, a group of women in downtown Savannah raised funds to purchase the house, and the move would lead to the eventual establishment of the Historic Savannah Foundation—a group that has helped to preserve and restore over 400 buildings downtown.
This 1820 Federal-style home is the origination of a lot more than beautiful genteel mansions in Savannah, Georgia. Once home to successful artisan Isaiah Davenport, throughout it’s near 200-year history this house developed a past all its own. A Cinderella tale of neglect and rebirth, saving the Davenport House Museum was the first act of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which has gone on to single-handedly save hundreds of historic buildings in downtown Savannah, thus imbuing the town with the charm it’s known for today. Now known as one of the finest examples of architecture in Savannah, the Davenport House not only boasts an impressive and peaceful garden, but also houses an exquisite look into 19th century living.
The Owens-Thomas House is considered by many architecture historians to be one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America. Built in 1816 by William Jay, one of America’s first formally trained architects, the house stands as a monument to the ancient southern aristocracy. Currently under operation by the Telfair Museum of Art, and the Owens-Thomas house is more than just a passing interest – from the slave quarters to brick ovens, to dazzling symmetries of light and space, to the rotating exhibits of popular contemporary Southern artists, the Owens-Thomas House earns the Certificate of Excellence awards.
More Things to Do in Georgia
The eclectic Atlanta neighborhood, Little Five Points, has been described as the Haight-Ashbury of the south and is known for its fringe culture, music, food and residents. Visitors who venture to this popular spot can jam out to the indie radio station, WRFG, that’s a hit among locals, while combing through the stacks at two of the area’s independent bookstores. Lined with skate shops, coffee shops, health food stores, local food joints and off-beat retailers, Little Five Points makes for a fun and versatile way to spend an afternoon.
For a more structured tour of the neighborhood, consider visiting Five Points on a shopping tour or as part of an Atlanta city tour including stops in Midtown, Poncey Highlands and Castleberry Hills.
Melding culture, history, and architecture, the Fox Theatre is Atlanta’s performing arts hub, hosting everything from Broadway-style plays to rock concerts. The opulent theater was built in the 1920s and boasts mosque-like minarets, an Egyptian ballroom, and a ceiling made to resemble the night sky with twinkling stars.
Learn about the quirky history of prohibition at the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah. Explore this controversial moment in America's past with exhibits on everything from gangsters and bootleggers to politicians and flappers. Costumed docents, wax figures, and an on-site cocktail bar round out the experience.
Atlantic Station is a district in Atlanta, GA west of midtown. It is one of the newest areas of the city with plenty of apartments, lofts, and condos for those who want to live there. The neighborhood also has a focus on shopping, and you can find a wide variety of stores set up as an open-air mall. You'll find smaller boutiques, chain stores, and department stores. When you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, including sit-down establishments and cafes where you can get a quick bite.
If you're looking for entertainment, Atlantic Station has you covered. A movie theater shows the latest hit movies, and several bars provide a fun place for a drink. Atlantic Station is the permanent home for BODIES The Exhibition and often hosts Cirque de Soleil. Concerts and festivals are held here throughout the year, and in the winter there is an ice skating rink. A grocery store, fitness center, and several medical facilities round out the neighborhood.
The Atlanta History Center is an interactive educational complex devoted to sharing the history of Atlanta and the Southeast. The center includes four historic buildings, a research center, and a museum with one of the world’s largest collections of American Civil War artifacts. Its large grounds offer walking trails and lovely gardens.
What would it be like to live in the world of LEGO®? At LEGOLAND® Discovery Center, a LEGO-themed entertainment park, children ages 3-10 years old have the chance to find out. The highly interactive and educational experience takes place entirely indoors, where there are play areas for kids to build anything they can dream up with more LEGOs than they can even imagine. The center also features a 4D cinema, special party rooms for birthdays and celebrations, two rides, a LEGO-building class taught by a master model builder and an exhibit that showcases the skyline of Atlanta–made out of LEGOs, of course!
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center also has the Ninjago Laser Maze, where kids can duck, dive and jump under, through and over laser beams. Of the two rides here, Kingdom Quest is by far the most popular and geared toward 5 to 10-year-olds. The play areas are separated–one for the older kids and one for children under 5. Another favorite area is the earthquake table, where kids can build Duplo towers. All of the play areas are made of safe with soft rubber matting so that if kids take a tumble, they will jump right back up and keep on playing.
Once a cast iron range factory, the mixed-use, food-focused Krog Street Market is now a colorful and eclectic center showcasing southern and international flavors. Home to dozens of unique food stalls and restaurants, visitors can sample sweets from Xocolatl or the Little Tart Bakeshop and visit local hot spots like Richards' Southern Fried for some authentic down home chicken.
Show up at Krog Street Market with an open mind and empty belly to get the most out of a visit. Though easy to explore solo, travelers who prefer to experience the scene with a guide will find a number of walking tours that feature local food and drink—one of the best ways to learn about neighborhood culture, sights and flavor.
Reynolds Square is part of the Historic District and was designed back in 1733 to include four open squares, surrounded by four residential and four civil blocks. This layout of a square and its accompanying blocks is known as a “ward.”
Lucas Theater is one of the square's most important buildings, built in 1921 for Savannah native Colonel Arthur Lucas. The space originally held vaudeville performances and screened silent movies and has today re-emerged as one of Savannah’s most romantic buildings.
The square was also once home to a filature, which housed silkworms, which are believed to have thrived in the area, producing silk and supplanting imports to England from China by way of Italy. This idea didn't pan out, however, as Georgia's humid climate kept the cocoons from maturing properly.The filature was then converted into a meeting space, serving as the city hall until around 1845.
Two historic homes in the area have survived the times: the 1798 Habersham House, today known as the Pink House and serving as a restaurant, and the Oliver Sturgis House, dating back to 1813.In Reynolds Square, look for a bronze statue of John Wesley, who founded the first Sunday school in America while in the region on a mission. The location of the statue is believed to have been where Wesley’s home once stood.
The Atlanta CNN Center serves as headquarters for the cable TV news giant, CNN. Inside, visitors can see the 24-hour news cycle in action with an insider’s look at newsrooms, control rooms, production studios, and sets, all in addition to the interactive exhibits that chronicle the network’s history.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream is realized every day at Atlanta's Historic Fourth Ward Park in the neighborhood in which he was born. Today the area houses the first completed urban park of the Atlanta Beltline Project, which brings modern, renovated park spaces to the city.
This 17-acre space celebrates Atlanta’s natural beauty with wide open green areas and its central two-acre lake, also used as a stormwater retention basin. Multiple lawns dot the park, all suitable for reading, a game of Frisbee and picnics. A modern playground with a splash pad is the crowning jewel of the park for young kids, and a skate park, athletic field and amphitheater round out the park’s entertainment options.
Built in the mid-19th century for shipping merchant Francis Sorrel, Sorrel Weed House became a State Historic Landmark in 1954, one of the first in Georgia. It’s also believed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Savannah, and has been featured on TV shows likeGhost Hunters and Travel Channel’sMost Terrifying Places in America.
There are 12 Federal Reserve Banks in the United States, and one of them is located in Atlanta. The Federal Reserve plays an important role in the US economy and banking system. They make sure banks are operating safely and fairly as well as establish monetary policies. Of the 12 locations throughout the country, only two have give tours. At the Atlanta location, visitors can tour the Atlanta Monetary Museum and learn about the history of money from barter to modern times. Different exhibits show the turbulent history of banking in America. There are also displays with rare coins and currency.
Interactive, multimedia exhibits explain the Federal Reserve's role in the economy. Visitors will also learn how monetary policy affects daily life, how the Fed supervises and regulates banks, and how the Fed provides payments system services to help the economy run smoothly. Tours also show visitors the cash processing operations where millions of dollars are counted, sorted, or shredded daily.
Yes, the Olde Pink House has amazing food, but there’s so much more to this grandiose house than simply the food on your plate. For one thing the building dates to 1771, and the land it sits on was once a land grant from the British Royal Crown. It was built as a mansion for James Habersham, one of the founders of modern Savannah, and a cotton factor who would eventually become one of the richest men in the South. Throughout the enormous, multi-storied mansion, you’ll find 18th century English antiques and Venetian chandeliers, and paintings of Georgia’s original founder, James Edward Oglethorpe. Downstairs, away from the fancy white linens, crystal, and polished silver spoons, is a wood-floored tavern that’s dimly lit and widely regarded as haunted. It’s here, some say, that James Habersham hung himself in 1799, though despite the somewhat grisly past, the tavern retains a romantic feel, and you can envision the officers and Civil War generals that gathered right here in these halls. For one lucky couple, there’s a single table inside the wine cellar that’s reserved for special occasions, though regardless of where you choose to dine, the southern comfort food is some of the best you’ll find in Savannah today.
Adjacent to Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden comprises a stunning 30 acres (12 hectares) of indoor and outdoor themed gardens, woodland areas, brooks, fern glades, and walking paths. A highlight is the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory, a massive collection of plants from tropical rain forests and deserts from around the globe.
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