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Navigating the US: Getting Around in Atlanta, Georgia

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Getting Around Atlanta

Getting Around Atlanta Photo: Terence S. Jones

Atlanta, Georgia is the place where southern charm meets world-class sophistication. Boasting an incredible skyline, one of the U.S.’s busiest airports, and every modern amenity you can hope to find, visitors can also find all the charm and elegance associated with the South – slow down for some sweet tea and don’t miss the peach trees!

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Recommended Modes of Transportation

Most locals get around by car, but heavy traffic and scarce parking can make driving a frustration. If your travels keep you in the downtown area, most visitors can easily get by on foot and via public transportation. Most in-town neighborhoods are packed with restaurants, bars, and shops, with short, easy walks. Getting between neighborhoods can be a bit more of a challenge on foot, at which point it’s worth looking into public transit to save time.

Atlanta’s public transportation is run by MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), and includes a network of bus and rapid rail throughout Atlanta.

Cars are by far the best option for long distance travel through the city during non-peak traffic hours. If that sounds more like your travel situation, be sure to check out rental cars in the area.

Major Highways and Roadways to Know

Atlanta’s streets can sometimes be confusing due to their repetitive nature. For example, there are more than 70 streets that have “Peachtree” in their name, and they are often difficult to distinguish. Peachtree Street is a major north-south road through downtown, however West Peachtree, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Circle, and many others exist, so be aware.

The main interstates serving the city are I-75 (connecting Detroit to Florida), I-85 (connecting the Mid-Atlantic to New Orleans), and I-20 (connects Texas to South Carolina). All of these highways connect downtown.

I-285 (the Atlanta Bypass) circles the entire city about 10 miles from the center, connecting with all major freeways as well as the airport.

Alternative Ways of Seeing the City

For a more insightful journey, consider taking a city tour, a hop on, hop-off Bus system, allowing you to see major free attractions through the city at your leisure. Tours of Atlanta also offers a Gone with the Wind Tour, offering a unique view of Atlanta through the classic movie’s history.

Best Places to Park

Parking can be a hassle depending on the day and time. Check out for a list of garages and lots, availability, and rates. Planning your parking situation ahead of time will go a long way when headed downtown.

Airports and Car Rentals

Atlanta is served by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, a major hub with access to almost every major U.S. (and international) city. Arrive early, as the airport tends to be bustling and busy at all hours.

If you’re planning to rent a car, Hartsfield-Jackson has you covered. Home to most major rental agencies, you’ll have no problem finding a rental to suit your needs. Due to the busy nature of the airport, be sure to reserve your rental car in advance.

The airport also offers several other ground transportation options, including an airport shuttle, public transportation, and taxis.

Hotels and Attractions

Georgia Aquarium

Photo: Beth

Home to the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theatre, Piedmont Park, CNN Center, and World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta has more than enough attractions to feed any interest.

If money is no object, consider staying at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta’s most famous and exclusive hotel. One of the Atlanta skyline’s defining buildings, the Westin Peachtree Plaza is located in the center of downtown on Peachtree Street, within walking distance of all major attractions.

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