While living in New Orleans, I would take Amtrak to Atlanta several times a year to experience the food, events and famous tourist attractions. I was smitten by the skyline that seems to illuminate the entire evening sky. During the day, I’d tour the historic neighborhoods to see Southern architecture and lush trees. I’d also make a much-needed jaunt to the suburbs for shopping and fine dining before heading home.
Atlanta, the seventh most-visited city in the United States, has a range of amenities and attractions that reel in over 35 million tourists annually. This includes some 4,000 restaurants to choose from — all guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest eater. Also, the city offers generous savings to certain attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium (the world’s largest indoor aquarium), the Atlanta Zoo and the World of Coca-Cola. Pick up the latest version of the Atlanta CityPass and look inside for admission tickets, tourist attraction info, transportation directions, optimal times to visit and a map.
If you aren’t mobile, you can still hop on the bus or the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) to find your way to the renowned Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s main strip. While cruising, you’ll be amazed by the city’s noteworthy architecture. Watch civil rights history unfold before your very eyes as you visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, discover intimate facts about his life, and see his preserved childhood home and final resting place.
Later, enjoy a relaxing evening at one of the city’s major performing arts events. The city is also full of culture-rich neighborhoods that cater to out-of-town guests. Buckhead boasts high-end shopping; Virginia Highland, fine dining; and Little Five Points is full of premier dance clubs. Take advantage of Atlanta’s professional sports teams — among them, baseball, basketball and football.
In 2014, Atlanta was host to the Neighborhood Awards Show, presented by comedian, author and talk show host, Steve Harvey. The festivities began August 9, at the Philips Arena. Thousands from across the country gathered to celebrate businesses, religious figures, neighborhood leaders, churches and high schools for their contributions and excellence within their respective communities. Many award winners had never been recognized until the show was established.
Now in its twelfth year, the award show provides a platform to honor the nation’s finest community builders in twelve categories, announced by celebrity award presenters. Who wouldn’t feel good receiving an award from actors Shemar Moore and Lisa Raye? Millions of Steve Harvey fans salute each winner, sharing in these proud moments of community strength. A star-studded musical stage featured the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Chrisette Michele and India Arie. Surrounding events ran from August 8–10, including seminars and ongoing expo activities at the Georgia World Congress Center.
When I learned the award show had moved to Atlanta from Las Vegas this year, I thought: How appropriate for an African American-centered event to be held in a city with such a vibrant African American population. The show impacts not only the participants, but the city as well. Apparently, organizers realized that many people from the Southeast were regular attendees! As a matter of fact, the 2013 winner of the Best Barber Shop category, Fadeologist, hails from the Atlanta area; and he was nominated again this year. The Neighborhood Awards Show has entertainment for the entire family — there’s something for every age group to enjoy. Most importantly, it showcases great people doing positive things in their communities, with Atlanta providing Southern hospitality and making everyone feel at home.
Though I don’t get there as often as I’d like, Atlanta is one of my favorite destinations. I’m always guaranteed to have a good time and there is plenty to do. I’m looking forward to my upcoming visit. Won’t you join me?
Amtrak takes you straight to the heart of the Atlanta action, conveniently located along the Crescent route.