With a rich and complex history, it’s no surprise that Atlanta is home to several fascinating historical sites. As the capital of Georgia, there are many famous places to visit near Atlanta that offer a unique perspective on the city’s past.
In no particular order, here are nine historical sites to check out if you’re a history buff heading to Atlanta, Georgia:
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta is a must-see for Americans interested in American history. This site includes the restored sites relevant to a better understanding of Dr. King’s life. Visitors can also see the tomb of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site honors the life, work, and legacy of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was a Baptist minister and activist from 1955 until 1968. Known for offering various ranger-led programs, including walking tours, films, and discussions, there’s also an interactive exhibit called “The Dream Remembered,” chronicling Dr. King’s life and work.
As part of the park, you can see Dr. King’s childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was baptized, ordained, and served as co-pastor with his father, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Also included is the Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”), founded by his widow, Coretta Scott King.
450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA | 404-331-5190 | nps.gov…
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta is an important museum that documents the American Civil Rights Movement and the global struggle for human rights. Located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, the museum inspires people to tap their power to change the world around them.
The Center’s influential exhibitions feature the papers and artifacts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the history of the civil rights movement in the US, and stories from the struggle for human rights worldwide today. The American Civil Rights section includes exhibits on critical events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington.
The global human rights section contains exhibits on topics such as The Holocaust, Apartheid, and women’s rights. Both sections of the museum feature interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn about these topics hands-on. For example, visitors can sit in a replica of a segregated bus or experience what it was like to walk across the Selma Bridge during the Voting Rights Campaign.
The museum also has quite a few films that visitors can watch, including a documentary on the life of Nelson Mandela.
100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA | 678- 999-8990 | civilandhumanrights.org
Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center is a history museum and research center located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. The multi-acre campus houses the Atlanta History Museum, one of the largest history museums in the United States, as well as the Swan House plantation, three historic homes, a new civil rights gallery, and a library.
The Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926 by citizens interested in preserving the city’s history. Over the decades, the Atlanta History Museum has emerged as a large, archival-oriented historical society with 33,000 permanent and temporary exhibitions about Atlanta’s history. The Museum opened to the public in 1931 and has been expanded several times since then.
In addition to the Museum and Research Center, the Atlanta History Center also operates historic properties, including the Swan House, Tullie Smith Farm, Centennial Olympic Park, and six landmark neighborhoods. This museum is a great place to learn about the city’s rich history, and the Atlanta History Center offers various walking tours.
130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA | (404) 814-4000 | atlantahistorycenter.com
The Fox Theatre opened in 1929 and is an Atlanta historic landmark. The theatre was built to show first-run films and live stage shows, and it quickly became one of the city’s premier entertainment venues. Atlanta experienced a construction boom during the 1920s, which led to its rich history. A developer saw an opportunity to build a grand movie theater that rivaled New York and Hollywood.
From the start, Fox Theatre was a success, attracting celebrities and socialites from all over the country. In its heyday, the theatre hosted numerous first-run films and live stage shows, including performances by Bob Hope, Judy Garland, Cary Grant, Mae West, and more. Sadly, like many other historical landmarks, the Fox fell into disrepair in the latter half of the 20th century.
However, a multimillion-dollar restoration effort led by committed preservationists renovated the Fox back to its original glory in 1975. Today, the Fox Theatre is still a popular destination for Atlanta residents and visitors, offering a wide range of theatrical productions, concerts, and special events.
660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA | 855-285-8499 | foxtheatre.org
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta is one of fourteen Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library houses the records from Carter’s administration, which ran from 1977 to 1981, and material from his post-presidential career.
In addition to archival materials, the Library houses a museum with exhibits on Carter’s life and Presidency. Dedicated in 1986, the mission of the library is “to preserve and provide access to presidential records and papers relating to former President Jimmy Carter’s administration and post-presidential activities to foster scholarship and public policy discussion.”
In furtherance of that mission, the library makes its holdings available for research through an ongoing series of public programs, exhibitions, conferences, and publications. This state-of-the-art facility lends visitors an immersive experience that brings President Carter‘s story to life.
441 John Lewis Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA | 404-865-7100 | jimmycarterlibrary.gov
World of Coca-Cola
If you are a Coca-Cola fan, you must visit the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. This museum is located in downtown Atlanta and showcases some of the most well-known Coke memorabilia. With vintage ads and unique bottles, visitors not only have a chance to check out cool displays buts also try some of the products.
As a medicine for headaches and fatigue, Coca-Cola was first invented in 1886 by a pharmacist from Atlanta, John Pemberton. It quickly became a favorite beverage in soda fountains around Atlanta due to its unique flavor.
Pemberton entered into a partnership with Asa Candler, who eventually purchased the company outright in 1888 as demand for the drink increased. Thanks to Candler’s leadership, Coke is now one of the most recognizable brands in the world and is in more than 200 countries.
As part of the World of Coca-Cola, you can explore both the history and impact the brand had on popular culture through various exhibits. The Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta has more than 100 different flavors from around the world, including Peach Tea from China and Lemon Tea from Vietnam.
121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA | 404-676-5151 | worldofcoca-cola.com
Delta Flight Museum
The Delta Flight Museum, located in two historic hangars in Atlanta, is one of the best places to learn about aviation. Delta Air Lines was founded in the 1920s as a crop dusting operation. In addition to Boeing 747, Douglas DC-3, and Lockheed Constellation, the museum is home to a fleet of iconic aircraft.
Delta Flight Museum is located at Candler Field airport in Atlanta, where Delta’s first headquarters were located. As Delta expanded its fleet of aircraft in 1929, Hangar 2 was built in 1939 to house its growing fleet, while hangar 1 was built a few years later in 1941. In 1955, Delta relocated its headquarters to the new terminal building at Candler Field.
In 1963, Candler Field was renamed Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, and today, it remains Delta’s hub. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or opt for a guided tour led by a knowledgeable docent. They’re sure to come away with an appreciation for aviation history and maybe even gain insight into what makes Delta a success.
If you’re an aviation enthusiast or simply looking for something new to do in Atlanta, you need to put the Delta Flight Museum on your list of things to do and see. The museum offers something for everyone, from its rich history to its impressive collection of aircraft—and it just might make you appreciate air travel on a whole new level.
1060 Delta Blvd. Bldg. B, Dept. 914, Atlanta, GA | 404-715-7886 | deltamuseum.org
High Museum of Art
Located at the corner of Peachtree Street and 15th Street, the High Museum of Art has both permanent and temporary exhibitions on display at all times. Temporary exhibitions change regularly and have featured topics such as ancient Egyptian art, photography, and modernist design.
With a collection spanning the Renaissance to the present day, the High Museum of Art is one of the most prestigious art museums in the United States. Offering classes and workshops for students of all ages as part of its comprehensive educational program, if you’re looking for a top-notch art experience in the Southeast, High Museum is the place for you.
With its impressive collection of more than 14,000 works of art spanning from the Renaissance to the present day, there’s something for everyone at the High. And with its convenient location in Midtown Atlanta and various parking options, visiting the museum is easy.
1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA | 404-733-4400 | high.org
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is dedicated to studying and exhibiting natural history. It’s one of the largest museums of its kind in the world, with exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, animals, plants, and humans.
The museum’s mission is to advance the public’s knowledge and understanding of natural history through exhibitions, collections, and programs that ignite curiosity, foster learning, and provoke thought. Its permanent shows feature dinosaurs, fossils, animals, plants, and humans, and many temporary exhibitions that change frequently.
Also available at the museum are various educational programs for children and adults. These include school field trips, summer camps, lectures, and more.
767 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA | 404-929-6300 | fernbankmuseum.org
While the South has plenty to offer in terms of culture and history, there’s no better place to experience it than Atlanta. With multiple historical sites to visit, on top of numerous other attractions in Atlanta, there’s plenty for you to see and do while visiting the capital of Georgia.