Atlanta Midtown Walk (Self Guided), Atlanta

Atlanta, the capital of the state of Georgia, was founded in 1837 as an international transport hub. Widely known as "the city not too busy to care", it is also the city of many attractions, among which are numerous museums, theaters and historic landmarks. Take this orientation walk to explore some of Atlanta's Midtown key places of interest.
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Atlanta Midtown Walk Map

Guide Name: Atlanta Midtown Walk
Guide Location: USA » Atlanta (See other walking tours in Atlanta)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Fox Theatre
  • Saint Mark United Methodist Church
  • Cypress Street Pint & Plate
  • Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
  • Alliance Theatre
  • High Museum of Art
  • Museum of Design Atlanta
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Piedmont Park
Fox Theatre

1) Fox Theatre (must see)

The Fox Theatre (often marketed as the Fabulous Fox), a former movie palace, is a performing arts venue located at 660 Peachtree Street NE in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia, and is the centerpiece of the Fox Theatre Historic District.

The Fox Theater was officially opened in 1920. It was originally planned as part of a large Shrine Temple as evidenced by its Moorish design. Its main features are the onion domes, minarets and arches, a colossal theater organ, called Mighty Mo, and of course the Egyptian Ballroom. The 4,665 seat auditorium was ultimately developed as a lavish movie theater in the Fox Theatres chain and opened in 1929. It hosts a variety of cultural and artistic events including the Atlanta Ballet, a summer film series, and performances by national touring companies of Broadway shows. The venue also hosts occasional concerts by popular artists. Today, the theater is considered to be the last surviving "picture palace". It hosts a variety of shows including touring Broadway shows, the Atlanta Ballet, summer film festivals and many other shows. The Fox Theatre gives regular tours of the Fox Theatre’s interior.

Why You Should Visit:
Classic, historic, and intimate theatre that feels like a magical place.
The stage is large, the sound is great, a giant chandelier lights the "night sky" and gilt carvings abound.

Arrive a little early (like 30 minutes...) so you will be able to find your seat & get situated prior to the performance.
You can also arrange a private tour of the Fox Theater and even rent areas of it for a private event.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Saint Mark United Methodist Church

2) Saint Mark United Methodist Church

Saint Mark United Methodist Church was founded in 1872 only to become what it is today in 1900. The current building was constructed from 1902 to 1903 after the congregation of Merritts Avenue Methodist Church outgrew their old building. The sanctuary has four rose windows, and the northern and southern walls have twelve pictorial stained-glass windows. Saint Mark Methodist Church is one of the few remaining Gothic style granite churches in Atlanta. The architecture is notable for its use of Stone Mountain granite, triple entrance portal, and pot-metal stained glass windows. The architect, Willis Franklin Denny, also constructed two other granite Methodist churches that survive today. The congregation chose the location for Saint Mark Methodist Church to give them more room and to be in a less dangerous location than the "Tight Squeeze" area beyond the city limits. The 12 pictorial stained glass works depicting scenes from the life of Jesus were installed gradually from 1909 to 1959. In the early 1990s the church was on the verge of closing but the congregation ended up swelling to more than 1700 members during the decade. A 15 year series of renovations to the main sanctuary was completed in 2008.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cypress Street Pint & Plate

3) Cypress Street Pint & Plate

Cypress Street Pint & Plate is the favorite of many. They have a great menu that includes dishes such as pizzas with a multitude of toppings, desserts, pasta dishes and their special Sublime Burger that uses a glazed donut as a bun. The beer selection is great and the layout is open with a dark wood decor. A nice pub for you and your friends.
Margaret Mitchell House and Museum

4) Margaret Mitchell House and Museum (must see)

Margaret Mitchell House and Museum was opened in 1985. The house itself dates back to 1899. The museum's exhibition showcases the life of Margaret Mitchell. It contains an array of objects, manuscripts, personal correspondence, original photographs, archival materials and memorabilia related to Margaret Mitchell and "Gone With the Wind". Docents guide visitors through the house and the apartment to learn of Mitchell's life in Atlanta, of facts surrounding her writing the novel, and of how the book advanced toward publication in North America and in non-Anglophone countries.

A "Making of the Movie" museum, included in the price of admission, is located in an adjacent building. Several collectors of "GWTW" movie memorabilia have donated parts of their collections for display in the new museum. Among these artifacts are photos taken during the movie's 1939 premiere in Atlanta; the original entryway to the Hollywood movie set of the O'Hara home, Tara; and, recognizable to the movie's aficionados, the portrait of Scarlett O'Hara from the Butler Mansion.

Admission to the Atlanta History Center also includes tickets to the Margaret Mitchell House which you can use at any point during in the next 9 days.
The visit to the house is greatly enhanced by a tour with a docent, which does not cost extra but is not always offered, so call ahead to make sure you can get on it.
There are exhibits in the house and a two-hour film on the making of 'Gone with the Wind' in an attached building, so give yourself enough time.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-5:30pm; Sun: 12-5:30pm
Alliance Theatre

5) Alliance Theatre

The Alliance Theatre is a theater company in Atlanta, Georgia, based at the Alliance Theatre, part of the Robert W. Woodruff Arts Center, and is the winner of the 2007 Regional Theatre Tony Award. The company, originally the Atlanta Municipal Theatre, staged its first production (King Arthur) at the Alliance in 1968. The following year the company became the Alliance Theatre Company. Within a decade, the company had grown tremendously and staged the world premiere of Tennessee Williams' Tiger Tail and was casting such well-known actors as Richard Dreyfuss, Morgan Freeman, Jane Alexander, Paul Winfield, Robert Foxworth, Jo Van Fleet and Cybill Shepherd. Alliance Theatre is one of America's most acclaimed theaters and hosts plays only by professional artists. The venue has three stages, the biggest being the Alliance Stage with 800 seats. The other two are the Hertz Theatre with 200 seats and the 14th Street Playhouse which features the children's theater. It has a great location in Downtown Atlanta and a modern architecture that will impress any visitor. The Alliance Theatre is perfect for a night out.
Sight description based on wikipedia
High Museum of Art

6) High Museum of Art (must see)

The High Museum of Art (colloquially 'the High'), located in Atlanta, is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. Located on Peachtree Street in Midtown, the city's arts district, the High is a division of the Woodruff Arts Center.

The Museum was founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association. In 1926, the High family, for whom the museum is named, donated their family home on Peachtree Street to house the collection following a series of exhibitions involving the Grand Central Art Galleries organized by Atlanta collector J. J. Haverty. Many pieces from the Haverty collection are now on permanent display in the High. A separate building for the Museum was built adjacent to the family home in 1955.

The High Museum holds more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection. More than one-third of the High's collection was acquired after the museum announced its plans for expansion in 1999. Included in this collection are 19th- and 20th-century American art; European art; decorative arts; modern and contemporary art and photography. Highlights of the permanent collection include works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Claude Monet, Martin Johnson Heade, Dorothea Lange, Clarence John Laughlin, and Chuck Close. In 1958, 29 Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation were donated, establishing the core of the High’s European art collection.

The High places special emphasis on supporting and collecting works by Southern self-taught artists, such as Howard Finster, and includes a contextual installation of sculpture and paintings from his Paradise Gardens. The Museum includes a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of self-taught art, a distinction unique among North American museums.

This museum does a great job on the rotating collections – go to the website to find out what's on display.
Also check out the docent 'Highlights Tour' at 1:00 PM (occurs every day, reservations not required).

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu, Sat: 10am-5pm; Fri: 10am-9pm; Sun: 12-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum of Design Atlanta

7) Museum of Design Atlanta

Museum of Design Atlanta is the only museum in this part of the country that is focused entirely on the study and recognition of design. It features a large number of exhibitions ranging from educational programs for children to inspiring adult content. You can take a comprehensive tour of the museum and learn more about the intricate world of design or stop at the museum's gift shop that sells an extensive variety of merchandise. The Museum examines how design affects people's daily lives through exhibitions, K-12 educational outreach, and adult programming. MODA regularly features exhibitions on architecture, industrial and product design, interiors and furniture, graphics, fashion and more. The museum is located on Peachtree Street, across from the High Museum of Art, in Midtown. The exhibit space at MODA is 6,500 square feet (600 m2) in two main galleries with clean, industrial lines and versatile concrete floors. The front desk area can double as a reception space and the back gallery has a vaulted ceiling with windows stretching up two stories. The museum has a built-in A/V system with ceiling-mounted digital projectors, track lighting that switches on in the blink of a motion detector, and banks of security cameras.
Sight description based on wikipedia
First Presbyterian Church

8) First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta is a parish of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) located in the Midtown section of Atlanta, Georgia. First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1848, and it was Atlanta’s first Presbyterian house of worship. The original church building was vacated in April 1916 and the property was sold to the U.S. government for the construction of the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. It has a Gothic-Revival design with stained glass windows and towers. Be sure to drop by this wonderful attraction. The church, which hosts a congregation of 3,000 members, is located across 16th Street from the High Museum of Art. The purpose of the congregation is "to be and become a community of grace a people of praise a loving congregation rooted in tradition, open to the Spirit disciples who proclaim and serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all we say and do to the glory of God for the salvation of humankind for the healing and hope of the city, and for the reconciliation and peace of the world".
Sight description based on wikipedia
Atlanta Botanical Garden

9) Atlanta Botanical Garden (must see)

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a 30 acres (12 ha) botanical garden located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. Incorporated in 1976, the garden's mission is to "develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment." The Green Expansion Plan was a large-scale expansion project that was completed in the spring of 2010 that doubled the size of the Garden while modernizing them at the same time. The expansion plan encompassed the construction of a number of new facilities, the most noticeable of which are the new visitor center and 600-foot-long (180 m) canopy walk.

The Botanical Garden is composed of a number of smaller themed gardens. Each contains different landscapes to display a variety of plants. Near the entrance are formal gardens, such as the Japanese garden and the rose garden. Upper Woodland and the 10 acres (40,000 square meters) Storza Woods feature large trees and shade-loving flowers and undergrowth. The Children's Garden features whimsical sculptures, fountains, and interpretive exhibits on botany, ecology, and nutrition. The 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters) Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory contains indoor exhibits of plants from tropical rainforests and deserts. The rainforest room of the Fuqua Conservatory is also populated by tropical birds, turtles, and several exhibits of poison dart frogs, the last of which is a collaboration in conservation efforts with Zoo Atlanta. Adjoining this building, the Fuqua Orchid Center contains separate rooms simulating the tropics and high elevations in order to house rare orchids from around the world.

The Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the largest collection of species orchids on permanent display in the U.S. and hosts a wintertime display known as Orchid Daze. Its unique Tropical High Elevation House provides the correct habitat for montane orchids and companion plants from around the equator at elevations of 6,000 to 10,000 feet. An Air Washer System, technology adapted from the textile industry, was combined with traditional greenhouse heating and cooling to create this environment, and allows rare orchids to thrive. The Tropical Display House is filled with fragrant orchids from around the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Very large garden with some beautiful places to stop. The indoor gardens (Orchid Center, Conservation Center, ...) behind the Great Lawn are all must-sees.
The Fuqua Conservatory is one of the 5 best in the U.S., and the Cascades Garden with the Earth Goddess living plant sculpture is beautiful as well!

Thursday night (during the summer until end of October) is a great time to visit as the garden is open late and you can see the skyline lit up from the Skyline Garden.
Have a small flashlight at hand as some of the areas are dark at night, and make sure you pick up a map at the entrance.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 9am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Piedmont Park

10) Piedmont Park (must see)

Piedmont Park was founded in 1895. It is usually called “Atlanta's Eden”. The Park features spacious lawns, paved pathways, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, two soccer fields, a lake and playgrounds for children, offering visitors and residents alike a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The 189-acre (76 ha) urban park is located about 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of Downtown, between the Midtown and Virginia Highland neighborhoods.

The park was originally designed by Joseph Forsyth Johnson to host the first of two major expositions held in the park in the late 19th century. The Piedmont Exposition opened in October 1887 to great fanfare. The event was a success and set the stage for the Cotton States and International Exposition which was held in the park seven years later in 1895. Both exhibitions showcased the prosperity of the region that had occurred during and after the Reconstruction period. In the early 20th century, a redesign plan called the Olmsted plan was begun by the sons of New York Central Park architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. The effort led to the addition of scenic paths in the park and the joining of the park with the Ansley park system.

Over the years, the park has also served as an athletic center for the city. Atlanta's first professional baseball team, the Atlanta Crackers, played in the park from 1902 to 1904. Several important intercollegiate rivalries were also forged in the park including the University of Georgia vs. Georgia Tech baseball rivalry and Georgia versus Auburn football which has been called the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry". Throughout the 20th century, many improvements have been made in the park, including the addition of covered picnic areas, tennis facilities, the Lake Clara Meer dock and visitors center, and two playgrounds. In 2008, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for a 53-acre (210,000 m2) extension to the park. On April 12, 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed cut the ribbon to open the first phase of a major expansion into the northern third of the park. Additional areas at the far north of the park (near Ansley Mall) are to be developed next.

Why You Should Visit:
Large open space, many weekend activities (concerts, art fairs, farmers market), public pool and lots of paths alongside acres of well-kept grass.
Home of the Atlanta Jazz Festival and many other events that come into the city.
The city skyline backdrop makes for an outstanding sunset.

Small restaurant at one end of the park has good food and a good beer selection.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

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