When to fly
Atlanta experiences a subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and cool, variable winters. Summer can see temperatures on average between the 20s and low 30s, and although winter temperatures can drop to the single digits, the average high temperature for this time is around 12 degrees. Summer is deemed the low season due to the humidity, although people visit Atlanta all year round. Rainfall is consistent throughout the year, except for spring and autumn when it is markedly drier.
As spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the direst months and also the least humid, they are popular times with tourists, so are considered Atlanta’s peak season. Finding a cheap flight to Atlanta for this period is difficult. Temperatures during these periods are still comfortable, usually around 22 degrees and below, which makes exploring the city much more pleasant. Be forewarned, however, that thousands of college students gather for the start of a new school year in late August, therefore, finding a hotel room can be tough during this time. If your heart is set on visiting Atlanta in August make sure you book well in advance.
Atlanta has numerous festivals and events, throughout each season, there are too many to name! In addition, the city hosts annual celebrations for various holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas and New Year, to name a few. If you happen to visit in June you’re sure for a jam-packed holiday, with at least one festival every weekend, for instance the Colour Festival and Atlanta Summer Beer Fest. The Colour Festival brings together the Indian tradition of throwing colour over one another with an incredible line-up of live music, dancers, yoga sessions and much more. If you’re looking to taste the best beer Atlanta has to offer, then look no further than the Atlanta Summer Beer Fest and book a flight in advance. With over 150 beers to try, both from local Atlanta Breweries and breweries from all over the country, you will be spoilt for choice.
Atlanta’s history traces back to a railroad junction in the wilderness to a gateway to the future as the economic and cultural capital of the American South. With more than four million people calling Atlanta home, the city combines “homey”, small town Southern hospitality with all the glamour and sophistication of an international city.
Diverse and engaging, Atlanta was nearly destroyed by siege and was burnt to the ground during the American Civil War in the 1800s. Rising from the ashes, Atlanta survived to provide a home for major corporations like Coca-Cola, CNN and the Weather Channel as well as to play host to the 1996 Summer Olympics.
After stepping off your flight, visit one of the must-see attractions, the Underground Atlanta, where the old world city meets the new with shopping, dining, history and great special events.
Immerse yourself in Georgia’s southern history at the Atlanta History Centre. It is located in 33 acres of gorgeous gardens and offers guided tours at two historic homes. The Tullie Smith House was built in the 1840s and survived General Sherman’s almost total destruction of Atlanta in 1864. A farmhouse once owned by a farmer named Robert Smith, the Tullie Smith House is a great representation of the typical house of this time. The other home, the Swan House, represents the opposite end of Georgian life. Once the home of cotton heirs Edward and Emily Inman, the home is a magnificent mansion that was built in 1928. You can also visit several other historic buildings and exhibits.
Getting around Atlanta
Atlanta’s subway is run by Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority. The transit authority also runs the buses. Atlanta has notoriously bad traffic, so you’ll want to avoid driving if you can. A nice way to escape the traffic is biking the loop in Piedmont Park, or head a few miles northeast of Atlanta’s centre to hike through Fernbank Forest.
The main airport for travellers taking flights to Atlanta is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (website: www.atlanta-airport.com), which is located 7 miles (11 km) south of the central business district of the city.
Atlanta insider information
- The Atlanta Jazz Festival, the largest free jazz festival in the country, includes eight days of outdoor concerts in Piedmont Park.
- Visit the Georgia Aquarium – the Grand Opening of which took place in 2005. Located across Baker Street from Centennial Olympic Park, the Aquarium is sure to be a major attraction Downtown. It is the world's largest aquarium, with eight million gallons of water and 100,000 animals.
- Spend time in Sweet Auburn, considered the main African-American neighbourhood, east of Downtown and enjoy National Black Arts Festival, a biennial week-long celebration of African-American artistic contributions.
- Known as the Beverly Hills of the South, Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza stores include Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co. and Burberry. It is also the starting line for the yearly running of the Peachtree Road Race every Fourth of July, which ends in a spectacular fireworks display. Nearby Buckhead Village boasts 100 bars and clubs and the Roxy Theatre.
- Be sure to check the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) for the latest on Atlanta. The ACVB convention and meeting facilities, hotels and service organisations have helped to make Atlanta one of the top five convention destinations in the States.
- Learning about a painful period in America’s past in a city that’s reaching for the future can make a trip to Atlanta unique. One of the city's most famous attractions, the Atlanta Cyclorama, is a circular painting 109m around and 12m high depicting the 1864 Battle of Atlanta. Painted in 1886, it is the largest in the world and one of only three such Victorian-era circular paintings remaining in the USA.