Atlanta’s hidden gems

Atlanta – this urban city in the heart of Georgia epitomises much of America’s history. From igniting the civil rights movement to birthing a vibrant music scene, the state capital has an important place on the US map.

Aside from being an historic hotbed, Atlanta has some hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. From entire pond systems brought to life from abandoned sites and one of the world’s most famous paintings finding its home in the city, discover Atlanta’s best quirks with our guide.

Stone Mountain Park

This vast park is just 15 miles east of Atlanta and the most popular attraction in the state of Georgia.

Stone Mountain formed from an upwelling of magma 350 million years ago. Scale its west side by following a clear walking path or take the leisurely yet breathtaking Summit Skyride up the mountain’s north side. At the base, enjoy a scenic railroad trip on a 1940s locomotive for a lively excursion around the mountain.

The Confederate Memorial Carving etched into the mountain’s side is the biggest high relief sculpture in the world. In total, it covers three-acres of space – larger than Mount Rushmore.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

On the north side of Piedmont Park hides a tranquil urban oasis brimming with life. Visit the Furqua Orchid Center and walk amongst the largest collection of orchids in the US. Be transported to the southern hemisphere as you pass through the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory, full of plants found in tropical rainforests and South African deserts.

Outside, you can amble around the pristine rose gardens and Japanese themed spaces, completing the international experience.

Constitution Lakes Park

Just a few miles outside downtown Atlanta, Constitution Lakes is a distinctly urban nature preserve. Once a thriving brickyard, its clay pits have since filled with rainwater, becoming a manmade pond system.

The area is now a popular park with many featured paths, the most famous being Doll’s Head Trail. Local carpenter Joel Slaton created this quirky trail from discarded doll heads and abandoned litter, introducing an obscure twist to the area. 

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site

Martin Luther King Jr. was a native Atlantan and his legacy is commemorated at this historic site. Spread across several blocks, take a tour that delves into King’s leadership role in the civil rights movement.

The visitor centre is excellent, and regularly plays the short but informative film New Time, New Voice. Wander through the several exhibits describing King’s life, as well as the segregation and racial violence he fought to abolish.

Atlanta History Center

Established in 1926, the Atlanta History Center spreads across 33 acres (that’s about 66 football pitches) and features detailed exhibitions, historic houses and exquisite gardens. The Goizueta Gardens are filled with fragrant plants, while the Swan Wood Trails lead through sprawling forestland. 

The history centre is home to the recently restored Atlanta Cyclorama, The Battle of Atlanta. At 49 feet tall and weighing 10,000 pounds, the piece was once the largest oil painting in the world.

Atlanta has plenty to offer visitors. Book car hire to Atlanta with Hertz and experience this urban jungle, its hidden highlights and the surrounding attractions in Georgia.