For many years, Downtown Atlanta was a thriving business sector by day but a virtual ghost town at night. All that changed in 1996, when the Summer Olympics came to town. Major revitalization efforts have transformed the Downtown area into a multi-use community offering parks, residences, and retailers. Sculptures, streetlights, and landscaping have beautified the area, and “Downtown Ambassadors” patrol the streets to ensure visitors’ and residents’ safety.
Downtown is home to the Atlanta Convention Center, the Georgia Dome, CNN Center and the Underground Atlanta shopping center. Restaurants, nightclubs, parks and cultural sites are located within the area, which is served by MARTA and major expressways.
Many of Atlanta’s most prestigious offices, such as the Coca-Cola building and Peachtree Center, are located Downtown. Hotels include the Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott Marquis, and the Atlanta Hilton & Towers. The Georgia World Congress Center is one of the world’s largest convention facilities. And the Georgia State Capitol Building adds a touch of elegance with its golden dome and Corinthian columns.
Activities in Downtown Atlanta
Underground Atlanta is a massive shopping complex featuring more than 100 stores, restaurants, and attractions. Near the entrance to Underground Atlanta, you’ll find the World of Coca-Cola, an interactive museum where you can revisit the beverage’s history and sample Coke products from around the world.
Centennial Olympic Park is a lovely reminder of the 1996 Summer Olympics. This 21-acre facility includes pavilions, water gardens, a visitor center, an amphitheater and the popular Fountain of Rings. The park is located beside the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome, which is site of the annual Peach Bowl.
The 71,000-seat Georgia Dome is also home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Sports fans can catch baseball’s Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, which was built for the 1996 Olympics, and the Phillips Arena hosts both basketball’s Atlanta Hawks and hockey’s Atlanta Thrashers.
CNN Center is located across the street from Phillips Arena. Home to the 24-hour cable news network, the center offers studio tours and free seating for its current-affairs program, “Talk Back Live.”
Downtown Atlanta offers creative housing options that appeal to young professionals and those with a thirst for the “new.” Older buildings and former businesses have been converted into condos and spacious loft apartments. Structures that have gotten a new lease on life include the Metropolitan Building, the William Oliver Building, the Muses clothing store, the King Plow Arts Center, and the Fulton Cotton Mill.
The former Imperial Hotel was also renovated and now provides affordable, low-income housing. Other traditional apartments are located throughout the area in developments such as the City Plaza Apartments.