Once named Marthasville (after the then governor's daughter) the city was renamed Atlanta in honor of the Western and Atlantic Railroad that served as its lifeline. Prosperity was short-lived however, as Union General William T. Sherman and his troops visited the city during the Civil War, leaving behind nothing less than massive destruction. With most of the city burned to the ground, and railroad lines removed, the future looked gloomy. In 1867 Atlanta was named the capitol of Georgia, and the city re-established itself as an impressive regional center.
Visitors are warned to leave the stereotype of a Southern city at home... make no mistake, Atlanta today is nothing less than a sophisticated, metropolitan mega city. The home to four major universities, Zoo Atlanta, the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta History Center and the King Center, this place truly has something for everyone. The Five Points MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) station serves as the hub of metro transportation for this impressive city and offers visitors an easy to understand, inexpensive way to discover sprawling Atlanta. Those visiting for the first time should stop at the Visitors Center for an essential map, and a wealth of information on all there is to see and do.
Visitors will quickly discover that Atlanta is divided into three major areas; Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead.
Five Points MARTA is located in downtown, making this region one easy to explore. The region within downtown, known as Peachtree Center, serves as the central hotel district. Highlights of downtown include Centennial Olympic Park, the Atlanta Children's Museum, the World of Coca-Cola, CNN, Georgia State University, and of course, the state capitol. Visitors are warned not to miss the new Georgia Aquarium, recognized as the largest aquarium in the world.
Buckhead is located approximately three miles north of Downtown, and is known as Atlanta's exceptionally classy region. As such, visitors should expect to find gorgeous mansions, high-end shopping malls, luxurious hotels, exclusive galleries, and a plethora of elite dining options.
Midtown is a diverse district, sporting renovated cottages and bungalows, tasty greasy spoons, trendy cafes, quaint bookshops, hip nightclubs, and artsy specialty shops. Highlights include Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the super popular Arts Center which displays a variety of Atlanta's creative collections. Restaurant Row is an eclectic mix of delicious eats located between 12th and 14th streets. This is a great area to relax, and really get a feel for what Midtown is all about.
Atlanta is located in the northwestern part of Georgia, at the intersections of Interstates 75, 85, and 20.