Photo: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

The birthplace of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., is on Auburn Avenue, preserved as part of a National Historic Site that includes his home church, Ebenezer Baptist.

Photograph by RonSherman.com

Atlanta Botanical Garden
“Don’t miss the Fuqua Orchid Center and the collection of rare and endangered tropical and desert plants, including poison dart frogs!”—K.K. Snyder, author, Frommer’s Atlanta. On 30 acres (12 hectares) next to Piedmont Park; includes a Japanese garden, water plants, and hydrangeas; special art installments include glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. 1345 Piedmont Avenue NE; tel. +1 404 876 5859; fee. www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org

Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum
“A four-story, nine-thousand-pound painting brings to life the 1864 Battle of Atlanta that left the city in ruins.”—Scott Hawley and Kevin Crow, authors, Museums of Atlanta: A Guide for Residents and Visitors. Tours start every half hour. 800 Cherokee Avenue SE (in Grant Park); tel. +1 404 658 7625; fee. www.bcaatlanta.com

Atlanta History Center
Located on 33 acres (13.3 hectares) of gardens and shade trees in Buckhead; Civil War artifacts, newspapers, and photos; tour the resplendent 1928 Swan House and the 19th-century Tullie Smith Farm. 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW; tel. +1 404 814 4000; fee. www.atlantahistorycenter.com

Centennial Olympic Park
“Bring a change of clothes so your kids can dance in the fountain.”—Betsy Riley, executive editor, Atlanta Magazine. A 21-acre (8.5-hectare) park built for the 1996 Olympics; fountain has 251 jets spouting water, accompanied by music and lights; summer-time concerts; ice skating rink in winter. 265 Park Avenue West NW; tel. +1 404 222 7275. www.centennialpark.com

CNN Studio Tour
Compelling 55-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the world’s largest news organization; see the film editing process, observe the vast pool of writers clicking away on computers in the newsroom, and watch a live broadcast. 1 CNN Center; tel. +1 404 827 2300; fee. www.cnn.com/tour/atlanta

Fernbank Museum of Natural History
“The only place in the world where you can see a complete mounted skeleton of Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur ever found.”—K.K. Snyder. Exhibits include Giants of the Mesozoic, a timeline of Georgia’s natural ecology, and a fascinating collection of shells. Tip: Come on Friday evenings for “Martinis & Imax.” 767 Clifton Road. NE; tel. +1 404 929 6300; fee. www.fernbankmuseum.org

Georgia Aquarium
“Don’t miss the touch tanks, where kids can ‘pet’ sea anemones, bonnethead sharks, and horseshoe crabs.”—Betsy Riley. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus’s gift to Atlanta opened in 2005; take a few hours to see it all, including the 4D Theater; behind-the-scenes tours available. Tip: Go to the website and download the free audio tour. 225 Baker Street NW; tel. +1 404 581 4000; fee. www.georgiaaquarium.org

High Museum of Art
“The newly expanded High Museum is in the middle of an unprecedented three-year partnership with the Louvre.”—Betsy Riley. Permanent collection includes some 11,000 pieces of mostly 19th- and 20th-century American works; special exhibit on Southern folk arts; exhibits on loan from the Louvre include Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiques. 1280 Peachtree Street NE; tel. +1 404 733 4444; fee. www.high.org

Margaret Mitchell House & Museum
“The most unexpected treasures here are Bob Adelman’s remarkable photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr.—exhibited at the museum in honor of Mitchell’s little known but generous support of historically black Morehouse College.”—Betsy Riley. The Peachtree Street home where Mitchell lived while writing Gone With the Wind. 990 Peachtree Street; tel. +1 404 249 7015; fee. www.gwtw.org

Martin Luther King National Historic Site
Comprised of several blocks in the Sweet Auburn part of downtown; commemorates the life and work of King and the civil rights movement; includes a museum, King’s birthplace, gravesite, and Ebenezer Baptist Church. 450 Auburn Avenue NE; tel. +1 404 331 6922. www.nps.gov/malu

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University
Exhibits showcase everything from Egyptian mummies to ancient Greek jewelry. On the Emory University campus; ancient works from the Americas, Asia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Tip: Check out the bookstore’s vast collection on ancient history, art, and archaeology. 571 South Kilgo Circle; tel. +1 404 727 4282. www.carlos.emory.edu

Oakland Cemetery
Historic Victorian cemetery includes graves of Margaret Mitchell and two monuments to the Confederate War dead. Founded in 1850; 88 acres (35.6 hectares); elaborate mausoleums and sculptures, along with ancient trees and gardens. Tip: Before venturing on your own, stop by the visitor center for a walking tour map. 248 Oakland Avenue SE; tel. +1 404 688 2107. www.oaklandcemetery.com

Piedmont Park
“Top choice for walking, jogging, or just reading the Sunday paper with coffee and the dog.”—K.K. Snyder. In the heart of Midtown and venue for many city festivals; bike paths; tennis courts; soccer fields; outdoor pool; dog park. Tip: Catch an outdoor movie during summertime’s Screen on the Green. 1071 Piedmont Avenue; tel.  +1 404 876 4024 www.piedmontpark.org

Stone Mountain Park
Giant granite mound features bas-relief carving of Confederate leaders; hike the mountain or take the cable car; park includes lakes and campgrounds; museums, antebellum plantation, and mini-railroad. Located 16 miles (25.7 kilometers) east of Atlanta on U.S. Highway 78; tel. +1 770 498 5690. www.stonemountainpark.com

World of Coca-Cola
“Full of glitzy animated attractions, but the biggest hit is still the tasting room where you can sip Coke products from around the world.”—Betsy Riley. In 2007 moved to slick new digs next to the Georgia Aquarium; exhibits include the history of Coke and its founding in Atlanta; some 1,200 Coke artifacts from around the world. Tip: Buy tickets online to get a guaranteed admission time. 121 Baker Street NW; tel. +1 404 676 5151; fee. www.woccatlanta.com

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