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If you travel a lot, you’ve probably flown through Atlanta at least once or twice. It’s known for having the world’s busiest airport, but there’s a whole lot more to the capital of Georgia than a few crowded terminals. It doesn’t get the nickname “Hotlanta” for nothing.
Here’s Why You Need to Visit the ATL
While southern cities like Nashville, Charleston, and Savannah get a lot of attention from travel bloggers and review sites, don’t forget about Atlanta. It’s the undisputed capitol of the south and offers what other cities can only dream of: history, famous sites, attractions, food, sports, and entertainment. Specifically, here are some of the reasons why you need to visit Atlanta in the coming year:
- Convenient to Reach
As mentioned, Hartsfield Jackson Airport is commonly referred to as the busiest in the world – both in terms of passenger traffic and flight volume.
“It has been the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs from 2005 to 2013, and in 2015,” Wikipedia notes. “Hartsfield–Jackson held its ranking as the world’s busiest airport in 2012, both in passengers and number of flights, by accommodating 100 million passengers (more than 260,000 passengers daily) and 950,119 flights.” It has 207 different domestic and international gates.
While a busy airport may not sound good to weary travelers, the fact of the matter is that you can fly directly to Atlanta from just about any major city in the world. This makes it convenient and cost-effective to get to.
- Easy on the Wallet
Speaking of cost-effective, Atlanta is an affordable travel destination. Unlike other major cities in the northeast and on the west coast, Atlanta’s prices for food, accommodations, and entertainment are comparatively low.
Take hotels for example. You can stay at luxury Atlanta hotels like The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, or even The Ritz-Carlton for less than $250 per night. In other cities, similar rooms may cost you more than $500 per night.
The same goes for parking, dining, and entertainment. Because the cost of living is so much cheaper in Atlanta, wages tend to be lower (which drives prices down for the customers). There are certainly expensive parts of Atlanta where the money flows freely, but if affordable is what you’re aiming for, then you’ll have no trouble finding options.
- Incredible Shopping
Atlanta has become a bit of a shopping destination over the years. People from all over the southeast will drive into the city for access to designer stores and famous shopping districts. If you plan to shop until you drop, you’ll want to check out the following:
- Ponce City Market. If you’re looking for a unique shopping spot in Atlanta, you should go to Ponce City Market. Try to go on a day when they have a farmers’ market or special event.
- Atlantic Station. If you want a centralized shopping experience, Atlantic Station is the place for you. There are dozens of shops, restaurants, bars, and attractions all within walking distance of each other.
- Lenox Mall. If designer brands are your thing, then Lenox Mall is for you. Stores include Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Brooks Brothers, Coach, David Yurman, J. Crew, Lacoste, and dozens more.
You’d also do well to check out areas like Little Five Points and Buckhead – both offer unique shopping experiences.
- Sports Arenas and Concert Venues
If live entertainment is a priority on your list, you can find plenty of it in Atlanta. Famous venues include The Fox Theatre, The Tabernacle, and The Masquerade. There are also a bunch of good sporting venues. Phillips Arena – home of the NBA’s Hawks – is located right in the middle of downtown. The city also features Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta Falcons) and SunTrust Park (Atlanta Braves), two new professional sporting venues that will be launching in 2017.
- Museums and Attractions
If you prefer a more laid back experience that unfolds at your own pace, you can always take in some of the city’s big museums and attractions. Within just a few city blocks, you’ll find CNN Center, the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, and the College Football Hall of Fame.
Here’s a pro tip: With the Atlanta CityPass, you can see five different Atlanta attractions for right around $75 – that’s 43 percent off the normal price.
- Big City With Southern Hospitality
The final reason to visit Atlanta has less to do with the sights and more to do with the people. The wonderful thing about Atlanta is that visitors get to see some big-city sights and enjoy world-class entertainment, while also experiencing southern hospitality.
Unlike many other large cities, Atlanta is known for being polite and patient. Residents welcome tourists with open arms and aren’t afraid to lend a helping hand. For those who are used to the hustle and bustle of crowded cities, this can be a refreshing change of pace.
Plan a Trip to Atlanta
While most people think about New York City, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles when it comes to big city destinations, don’t count out Atlanta. The city may not be as centralized as some of these other large cities, but there’s just as much to do.
From fine dining and shopping to historical sights and world-class entertainment, there’s a reason why rapper Jermaine Dupree says, “The parties don’t stop ‘til eight in the morning.”