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Travel: Georgia's 'Hotlanta'

The Atlanta skyline

The Atlanta skyline Credit: The Atlanta skyline.

Georgia's capital city of Atlanta is a corporate mecca (home to Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola and Home Depot among many companies) with its fair share of Southern charm. It's also an easy two-hour flight from New York. And now that the oppressive heat has broken, this is a great time to visit.

Note: You'll definitely want to rent a car, as ATL (as it's known to locals) is not a walking city. We still think there's something for everyone:

FOR HISTORY BUFFS

Atlanta History Center
The 33-acre center includes a museum and two historic houses - the elegant Swan House and the Tullie Smith House. The latter is a plantation-plain house built in the 1840s that survived the Civil War. Adults: $16.50, guided tour of homes included. Atlantahistorycenter.com

Margaret Mitchell House
"Gone with the Wind" fans can tour the small garden apartment where Margaret Mitchell penned the book. (It took 10 years!) Guided tours are available and a small museum features two exhibits, one about the making of the movie. Adults: $13. Dual admission to the History Center and Mitchell House: $22. margaretmitchellhouse.com

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Guided tours of Martin Luther King Jr.'s childhood home are available every half hour. You can also explore the nearby Ebenezer Baptist Church and visit the gravesites of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. Admission is free. nps.gov/malu

Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum
If you're looking to brush up on the Civil War, the Cyclorama is a huge (42 feet tall and 358 feet in circumference) oil painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta. Visitors sit in the center and get a rotating view of the painting while a narrator describes the scene. The Civil War Museum features artifacts from the war. Adults: $10. atlantacyclorama.org

NATURE LOVERS

Piedmont Park
The picturesque Piedmont Park features lots of outdoor events and places for picnicking. piedmontpark.org

Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Garden includes an orchid display, a Japanese garden and a two-acre children's garden. Adults: $18.95; Children: $12.95 atlantabotanicalgarden.org

Georgia Aquarium
This over-$200 million aquarium is the largest in the world. Adults: $29.95; Kids: $23.95. georgiaaquarium.org

ART LOVERS

High Museum of Art
This museum - best known for 19th and 20th Century American art - is housed in buildings designed by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano. Through the end of January, the High features "Fast Forward: Modern Moments, 1913-2013," drawn from the MoMA collection. Adults: $19.50 high.org

NEWS JUNKIES

Inside CNN Studio Tour
CNN's Atlanta location is (semi-) open to the public with this guided tour. Learn more about how the first 24-hour news channel runs, spy a taping in progress, and try your hand at reading the news (off-camera). Adults: $15 cnn.com/tour

GETTING THERE

All major domestic airlines fly between NYC and Atlanta. AirTran, (airtran.com) whose principal hub is in Atlanta, is often the cheapest option.

WHERE TO STAY

If you want to stay in the center of it all, we recommend the Midtown area.

The iconic Georgian Terrace Hotel (thegeorgianterrace.com) hosted the premiere gala for "Gone with the Wind." A more budget-friendly (and perfectly nice) option is the nearby Hotel Indigo (ichotelsgroup.com), but don't expect too much in the way of charm. 

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