The City in a Forest is a beautiful place, and Atlanta has landmarks that range from awe-inspiring to downright quirky. Here are 44+ top landmarks to take photos, experience and create memories during your next visit to ATL.
The Big Fish
While Marietta has the Big Chicken, Buckhead has the Big Fish. The Big Fish is a 65-foot-long bronze fish in front of the Atlanta Fish Market, which is part of the famed Buckhead Life Restaurant Group.
Location: 265 Pharr Road NE
Busy Bee Cafe
Yes, Oprah had her picture taken here so you know the Busy Bee Cafe is an Atlanta jewel. A favorite since 1947, the Busy Bee has thrilled customers with its fried chicken (often voted the best in town) and its down-home cooking.
Location: 810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW
The sign says that it will come back better than ever — and you better believe it because it was signed, “Shaq.” Yes, that Shaq — as in Shaquille O’Neal — who owns the famed Krispy Kreme on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown, which recently suffered a severe fire. The location, which opened in 1965, features a 24-hour drive-through window, is kosher-certified and donated more than 150 dozen doughnuts to Atlanta churches to help feed mourners after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968.
Location: 295 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
The Laughing Skull, a 20-foot high facade, welcomes diners into the Vortex restaurant at Little Five Points. The interior is as eclectic as the outside — and so is the menu. Laughing Skull serves up some of the best burgers in town and its Triple Coronary Bypass (estimated calories with a side 7,160) is almost as famous as the Laughing Skull.
Location: 878 Peachtree St. NE
If you want to talk politics (and even if you don’t) Manuel’s Tavern in Poncey Highland is a place to take a seat at the bar and start a conversation. Manuel’s murals on both sides of the restaurant are epic as is the well-worn bar with pictures of politicians (including President Kennedy), journalists (Ralph McGill) and regulars. The Carter Center is a few blocks away, and President and Mrs. Carter would often come to Manuel’s, take a seat in a corner and talk with whomever pulled up a chair (next to the Secret Service guys) and chat.
Location: 602 North Highland Ave. NE
Mary Mac’s Tea Room
A local institution and one of Atlanta’s iconic restaurants, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, located on Ponce de Leon Avenue, is the last of the 16 tea rooms that once were located in the Downtown area. The 1945ish restaurant is famed for fried chicken, 35 vegetables and arguably the best sweet tea in Atlanta, which it calls “Table Wine of the South.”
Location: 224 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Home-grown Mellow Mushroom was one of the first restaurants around town to embrace a bit of counter-culture and fun. The funky outdoor patio on Peachtree Street invites all to chill, be hip and enjoy great pizzas and beer while you’re groovin’.
Location: 400 West Peachtree St. NW
All you need is the red and white paper sailor-style hat. Or a chili dog. Or a frosted orange. You’ll know it’s The Varsity. The Varsity is such a landmark that you don’t even need to have your Instagram picture taken in front of the North Avenue drive-in — everyone recognizes its food. Everything about The Varsity is legendary, including when they take your order with “What’ll ya have?”
Location: 61 North Ave. NW
When a leather bar is given a historical landmark designation, you know it’s special. So welcome to the Atlanta Eagle bar, the city’s legendary leather/Levi bar known for its voluntary “NO Indoor Smoking” policy, busy dance floor and no-attitude men. It is reportedly the first recognized and protected LGBTQ landmark in the Deep South. It’s also right across the street from the equally famous Krispy Kreme.
Location: 306 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Mary’s, located in East Atlanta, is a fun and all-inclusive LGBTQ dive bar with good drinks and friendly patrons. It’s hip, fun, has world-class karaoke (more than 15,000 songs on tap) and is frequently listed as one of the country’s best gay bars.
Location: 1287 Glenwood Ave. SE
Atlanta is one of the best and most welcoming cities in the country for the LGBTQ community and its heart is in Midtown, where there are dozens of welcoming bars, businesses and restaurants many of which are gay- or lesbian-owned. To highlight it, a rainbow crosswalk was installed in 2017 at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue. It may not be as famous as walking across Abbey Road like the Beatles, put it’s still pretty cool.
Location: 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue
The Clermont Lounge is Atlanta’s oldest and most popular dive bar and strip club. It is famous for Blondie, who has danced at the club for more than 40 years, visiting stars (Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Bourdain, Slash, Jack Black and Morgan Freeman, among others) and guaranteeing a fun time — as long as you don’t take pictures. Just ask Mumford & Sons, who were kicked out for taking photos.
Location: 789 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
The Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre almost was a victim of the wrecking ball, but fortunately this former movie palace (complete with Mighty Mo, (a 3,622-pipe organ made in 1929) was saved. With soaring domes, minarets and sweeping archways, the interior features stunning gold leaf design, textiles and trompe l’oeil art. The Fox welcomes national acts and enthusiastic audiences.
Location: 660 Peachtree St. NE
Smith’s Olde Bar
It’s easy to miss Smith’s Olde Bar on Piedmont Road as it looks like any other dive. But you’d miss out on a lot. Built in the location of the first strip mall in Atlanta, Smith’s Olde Bar is a great place to relax, sing karaoke and shoot pool. It books local acts but has also hosted a few better known musicians such as James Brown, David Bowie, John Mayer, Toby Keith, Train and Janelle Monáe. It was named the best small music venue in Georgia by Yelp and Vivid Seats.
Location: 1578 Piedmont Ave. NE
Ebenezer Baptist Church
The historic Ebenezer Baptist Church is near the King Center and part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. The church sits near the King family home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn district. The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr. (“Daddy King”) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Dr. King’s funeral was also held in the church. Current Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock has served as pastor since 2005. The historic Ebenezer is located across the street from the new Ebenezer, where the Rev. Warnock preaches.
Location: 101 Jackson St. NE (new Ebenezer)
The King Center
The eternal flame at the King Center is one of the most iconic images in Atlanta. The flame burns near the eternal resting place of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King and is located at the King Center, located on Auburn Avenue.
Location: 449 Auburn Ave. NE
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum tells the legacy of President and Mrs. Carter and includes photographs, videos and gifts from world leaders. Among the highlights are a replica of the Oval Office and an interactive map table that takes you with the Carters to monitor elections around the world. The library’s garden is among the most beautiful and photographed in Atlanta.
Location: 441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway NE
Joel Chandler Harris House
The Joel Chandler Harris House, also known as the Wren’s Nest or Snap Bean Farm, is a Queen Anne-style house in southwest Atlanta. Harris’ novels, including the legacy of the Brer Rabbit, celebrates the African-American tradition of storytelling.
Location: 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd.
Madam C.J. Walker Museum
Among Atlanta’s top Black history sites is the Madam C.J. Walker Museum, which honors the life and accomplishments of Madam C.J. Walker, a laundress who became the first self-made Black female millionaire. She started her own cosmetics and hair care company, selling her own products door-to-door, through the mail and at her franchised beauty shops for African American women. If you want to know more about Madam Walker, watch the Netflix series, “Self-Made” staring Octavia Spencer. Above the museum is WERD Studios, the home of the first Black-owned radio station.
Location: 54 Hilliard St. NE
Margaret Mitchell House
Even though Margaret Mitchell called it “The Dump,” the Margaret Mitchell House was where she wrote a little novel you may have heard of called “Gone With the Wind.”
Location: 979 Crescent Ave. NE
The Swan House, located on the Atlanta History Center premises, was designed as the home for the Inman family and also housed Elizabeth “Lizzie” McDuffie, a White House employee and advocate for racial equality under Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is a beautiful site for weddings and dinner parties and is featured prominently in the “Hunger Games” films.
Location: 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
“Atlanta from the Ashes”
“Atlanta From the Ashes,” a bronze sculpture also known as “The Phoenix,” symbolizes Atlanta’s recovery after being burned during the Civil War by Sherman’s Union Army. The monument, depicting a woman being lifted from flames by a phoenix, is located in Woodruff Park. It is certainly one of the city’s most iconic public artworks.
Location: Peachtree Street and Edgewood Avenue NE
Just like any big city, Atlanta has its fair share of traffic during peak commute times. So we certainly get the thought behind Autoeater, a 16-ton marble sculpture with a car sticking out of the ground. Located at the intersection of 10th and Peachtree streets, Autoeater is the work of German artists Julia Venske and Gregor Spänle.
Location: 100 Tenth St. NE
Big Boi and Andre 3000 mural
Atlanta is the epicenter of hip-hop, so it’s only right that there is a 30-foot mural celebrating Big Boi and Andre 3000 done by the muralist JEKS. It’s a bit hard to find, but you’ll have fun looking for it in Little Five Points.
Location: 447 Moreland Ave. NE #1562
“Continuing the Conversation”
Wish you could have talked with Rosa Parks? Well, you can — sort of. Go over to Georgia Tech and spend time with a bronze statue entitled “Continuing the Conversation,” which was designed by local sculptor Martin Dawe. The statue depicts Parks at age 42, when she launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and at 92, when she died. The two statues sit across from each other with an empty seat between them. So, as we say in the South, “sit a spell” and have a private conversation with the civil rights legend.
Location: Harrison Square
Speaking of Georgia Tech and legends, the world’s third and final statue of Einstein is located on the campus. The 3,000-pound sculpture shows Einstein sitting on three curved white granite steps holding a sheaf of papers with three of his most high-impact equations. There is a black granite dais with stars that represent the constellations as they appeared in Atlanta on the day of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Location: 349 Ferst Drive NW
Homage to King
Coming off I-75-85 to the Carter Center (and a few blocks up from Auburn Avenue) on Freedom Parkway is Homage to King, a sculpture by Barcelona artist Xavier Medina Campeny. The raised statue shows Dr. King with his arm outstretched, welcoming visitors to the city.
Location: Freedom Park Trail
Krog Tunnel is Atlanta’s ever-changing canvas of street art where artists and enthusiasts can leave their mark, until it is covered over by the next artistic statement. The tunnel, which connects the Inman Park and Cabbagetown neighborhoods and the Atlanta BeltLine trail, is a popular backdrop for photo shoots. Can you find the Tiny Door?
Location: 1 Krog St. NE
Tiny Doors ATL
Speaking of which, Tiny Doors ATL is getting big attention around the world for its sense of artistic fun throughout the city. The seven-inch doors are the work of Karen Anderson Singer at the invitation of a neighborhood or institution. The doors reflect the spirit, architecture and imagination of the community. They’re located all around town and half the fun is finding them.
Location: Find them all (Spoiler alert!)
“The Storyteller” is Buckhead’s most well-known sculpture and shows a person with a buck’s head (get it — Buckhead?) that was telling the history of the area to a group of turtles and dogs. The statue was at Loudermilk Park and was moved to outside the Buckhead Library (and the turtles were removed).
Location: 269 Buckhead Ave.
John Lewis Mural
The late John Lewis was a civil rights hero and U.S. congressman. There is a John Lewis Mural on the corner of Auburn Avenue and Jesse Hill Jr. Drive. Muralist Sean Schwab created the 70-foot high likeness accompanied with the word, “Hero.”
Location: 219 Auburn Ave. NE
Right outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium is “Rise Up,” a striking 42-foot tall falcon by Budapest sculptor Gábor Miklós Szöke. It’s the largest freestanding bird sculpture in the world, and, of course, it’s perched on a football to help spur the Atlanta Falcons to victory.
Location: 409 Nelson St. SW (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
The Shade, placed outside the Stent Family Wing of the High Museum of Art, is a sculpture by Auguste Rodin. It was donated by the French after an aborted takeoff at Orly Field near Paris in 1962 killed more than 100 Atlanta art patrons.
Location: Suite 100-A, 1280 Peachtree St. NE
Also at the High Museum of Art is “World Events,” an aluminum sculpture by Tony Cragg, which sits outdoors of the Calloway Plaza, which is on the south side of the Memorial Arts Building.
Location: Bobby Dodd Way NW
Junkman’s Daughter, located in Little Five Points, is a 10,000-square-foot paradise of stuff — clothes, accessories, trinkets, shoes, art — and everything in between. It definitely has a hip counterculture vibe and it is packed with items that you don’t even know you want — but will.
Location: 464 Moreland Ave. NE
The Municipal Market
The Municipal Market opened in 1924 and was known as the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. While Blacks were permitted to shop inside, Black vendors were force to locate alongside the curb. Today this fantastic food market is home to 28 independently owned businesses, many of them minority-owned, that include eateries, retail shops and food markets.
Location: 209 Edgewood Ave. SE
Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market is a former Sears, Roebuck & Co. retail store and regional headquarters that features shops, restaurants and offices. Make sure to go to the roof for great views, food and Skyline Park, with an 18-hole mini-golf course, Heege Tower and three-story slide.
Location: 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
If you’re trying on sneakers at Walter’s, a clothing and sneakers store near Georgia State University, you might see Ludacris, DJ Khaled, Future, Trinidad James and other famous rappers. Young Jeezy even rapped that he’s “at Walter’s every week; 50 pairs of new Nike Airs ain’t cheap.” This iconic store has also been featured in rhymes by Future, OutKast and Gucci Mane.
Location: 66 Decatur St. SE
Even though the sign may move, one sign that has helped define Atlanta for years is the CNN sign at the CNN Center Downtown. It’s been the hub for CNN since 1987. Many production teams continue to handle newscasts from the Atlanta location.
Location: 190 Marietta St. NW
Fly Delta Jets
Fly Delta Jets, a sign over Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport may be a nod to Delta, which is headquartered here — or it just may be a strong suggestion for your travel plans. And while you are in the area, visit Delta Flight Museum for historic aviation memorabilia, models and even The Spirit of Delta, a Boeing 767 purchased for the company by employees in 1982.
If you’re coming or going on the I-75/85 Connector you will pass two Peachtree Street bridges, both of which will remind you that Atlanta’s favorite street is Peachtree. Attached to the bridges are a big sign, each saying PEACHTREE.
Location: I-75/85 Connector
Retro Coca-Cola Sign
Atlanta is proud to be home to The Coca-Cola Company, and we don’t have to go to a mountaintop to tell the world. We do it instead with a 33-foot iconic neon Coca-Cola sign that overlooks the spot where in 1886 at Jacob’s Pharmacy, the first Coke was served.
Location: 25 Peachtree St.
Cascade Skating Rink
On the west side of town the Cascade Skating Rink sign towers. The rink is Black- and veteran-owned and family friendly. The recognizable cursive title has been an ATL landmark since it opened at the turn of the millennium.
Location: 3335 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW
Fun, Fun, Fun
Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park is a 22-acre park Downtown that was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. While it’s a great urban oasis to relax and enjoy Atlanta’s near-perfect weather, the highlight is the Fountain of Rings interactive fountain that features computer-controlled lights and jets of synchronized water. The 251 jets shoot up 12- to 35-feet, making it fun for people frolicking in the pool as well as a beautiful water sculpture. The fountain is surrounded by flags representing the Summer Olympics’ host countries as well as several pieces of art, including the Gateway of Dreams, a monument honoring Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic movement. Another sculpture you cannot miss is “The Spectacular” standing at 11-feet tall and more than 20-feet wide representing the Olympic Rings.
Location: 265 Park Ave. W NW
East Lake Golf Club
The East Lake Golf Club is the home course of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and the oldest golf course in the city. It has been the permanent home of the TOUR championship since 2005 and is the culminating event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.
Location: 2575 Alston Drive SE
Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s version of New York’s Central Park — or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyway, Piedmont Park is 185 acres of fun in Midtown. There is a farmer’s market, sports fields, swimming pool, dog park and plenty of spaces to walk around, picnic, enjoy a concert and relax. Near the 12th Street Gate is the Noguchi Playscape designed by world-renowned artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
Location: 1320 Monroe Drive NE
Towering nearly 20 stories above Centennial Olympic Park, the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel offers great views of the city from its 42 gondolas.
Location: 168 Luckie St. NW, Atlanta
Hyatt Regency Atlanta and Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Architect John Portman’s stamp is all over the area but his first known landmark was the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Its revolutionary 22-story atrium design has influenced hotel design ever since. Speaking of atriums, Portman also designed the nearby Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which features a 470-foot-high atrium that spans the entire height of the building. You’ll instantly recognize it from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1.”
Location: 265 Peachtree St. NE
The Corey Tower
The Corey Tower, a 300-foot tall structure, offers incredible branding opportunities to a wide variety of audiences, all of whom are “captive” because they’re in their cars just at the spot where interstates 20, 75 and 85 converge, meaning that more than one million people see the tower daily. The 2000-square-foot digital display houses 1.6 million LED lights delivering messages 24 hours a day.
Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE
Jackson Street Bridge
Jackson Street Bridge is the spot if you want an Atlanta skyline selfie. It’s located on a bridge between Cain Street NE and Highland Avenue NE. Trust us, everyone goes there, including “The Walking Dead” from its first season.
Location: Jackson Street NE
Millennium Gate at Atlantic Station is a nod to Atlanta’s history of being a transportation hub. The 100-foot tall gate houses an impressive Georgia history museum as well as works of art by Scottish sculpture Alexander Stoddart.
Location: 395 Seventeenth St. NW
Looking for more must-see Atlanta landmarks? Check out more iconic locations throughout metro Atlanta here or let us know on Discover Atlanta Facebook or Twitter.
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