For many, Atlanta is just the bonfire background to one of cinema's most famous clinches, but the city's profile is rising. Long known as the 'Capital of the New South', Atlanta has benefited in recent years from a booming economy, the 1996 Olympics and a baseball dynasty.
The city has suffered from the relentless development that has razed much of what it hasn't converted to shopping malls. But there are offbeat neighborhoods to explore and old-fashioned towns nearby where you can still savour something of bygone days.
Atlanta travel, US Tourist Attractions
Since being rebuilt after the Civil War, downtown Atlanta has been transformed by waves of development and is now a thoroughly modern metropolis. For a glimpse of the past head to Fairlie-Poplar, which was the city's commercial centre 100 years ago. Its 20-odd blocks are lined with buildings constructed between the 1880s and WWI.
Atlanta's weather is mild for much of the year, though July and August tend to be steamy and hot and the area does get snow in December and January. Spring and fall are the best times to visit the city. Bear in mind that thousands of students arrive in late August and early September to attend the area's many colleges - which is good if you're looking to party but bad if you need a hotel room.
Atlanta started as railroad junction in the 1830s and quickly became the transport hub of the South. Its strategic importance was a large part of the reason it made such an inviting target for General Sherman's Union Army, which razed it during the Civil War. Ever ready to convert fact into myth, Hollywood made the burning of Atlanta the set piece of Gone with the Wind. With Atlanta tourism rebuilding came the rigid segregation of the post-Reconstruction era, shutting African Americans out of white Atlanta for decades.Majuro
The efforts of the city's boosters eventually paid off, and Atlanta became known as 'Capital of the New South.' Anchoring its economic renaissance has been the king of fizz, Coca Cola. Atlanta was also the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr and the nerve centre of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, Atlanta has elected the first black representative to Congress since Reconstruction, Andrew Young (later ambassador to the UN under Jimmy Carter), and the country's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson.
The city has in recent years undergone a stunning metamorphosis. Although the tourists still flock through the antebellum plantation homes, in reality Atlanta remains the south's capital. The Atlanta travel city became internationally known as the host of the 1996 Olympics and as the home of such multinational corporations (it's the base of global broadcasting giant CNN as well as those soda pop sellers).