General Question

Dog's avatar

Anyone know of any low cost museums or interesting attractions in Altanta?

Asked by Dog (24791points) September 7th, 2009

I am flying standby to Atlanta on Thursday for an exhibit over the weekend. If I get there early enough I will have time to kill.

I will be taking Marta so where ever it is must be within a couple of miles of a Marta station.

What my hope is would be to find points of interest such as art museums, historical exhibits or any other interesting areas that preferably are real easy on the wallet.

Where is your favorite place to hang out in Atlanta?

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32 Answers

Darwin's avatar

The High Museum of Art I think is still free, and it is a very cool museum, well worth seeing. Otherwise, take a look at this list.

vered4's avatar

The HIGH Museum of Art is right on the Marta line. The CNN tour is interesting and on Marta as well as the World of Coke museum! The Aquarium is the largest in the world and fabulous! Walk around Lenox Mall to people watch and shop—all easily accesible by Marta!

Dog's avatar

@Darwin Lurve for an awesome link! I am taking notes!

@vered4 CNN and World of Coke and Aquarium- Great ideas! Last time I exhibited I hung at the Lenox mall and people watched. Lurve!

avvooooooo's avatar

The High is not free, but its relatively inexpensive. 18 bucks for an adult ticket. They’ve got the last weeks of the exchange from the Louvre and something else (less spectacular) going on. Nothing as great as the Chinese soldiers that were here at the end if 2008.

If you haven’t been to the Georgia Aquarium its worth a visit. General admission, I believe, is $26. Not cheap, but very cool. And right next to World of Coca Cola ($15).

I like Underground Atlanta. Right in the middle of everything! And sooooo interesting! If it were me, that’s where I’d be. If I wasn’t hanging out with the belugas.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Next weekend is the Atlanta Arts Festival in Peidmont Park. It’s a short walk from the station. And free! But do make sure you donate something ;)
also pick up a copy of the Creative Loafing (free), and you’ll get an update on all the various things going on in the city that week. There’s usually list of some great Art openings. Some neighborhoods to check out (free) are Little 5 Points (eclectic, on Marta), Virginia Highlands (Yuppie, on Marta Busline), and Downtown ofcourse.
and if you make it to Little 5 Points, check out a bar by the name of “Euclid Ave Yacht Club”. Your first drink is on me, whoever is behind the bar, tell em to put it Sabah’s tab. Seriously!
Welcome to Atlanta!

JLeslie's avatar

I love the Coca Cola museum, but I don’t know how much it costs now. I grew up in a Coke loyal family so I am partial. Interesting facts about how the first bottler bought the right to bottle coke for a $1 (I think it was a dollar? It’s been a while) and of course other pieces of history related to coke. You can try sodas from all over the world. Great shop at the end to buy Coke clothing and knick knacks.

There is a history museum of Atlanta also that is towards the west, but I don’t think the subway lets off there, not sure? If was very good also.

avvooooooo's avatar

@JLeslie World of Coke admission is $15.

JLeslie's avatar

@avvooooooo Crap. That is expensive to me. Museums have become ridiculous. Some museums have a suggested price, but you can give less, like the Met Museum of Art in NYC, but their suggested price is $20! I think that is very expensive. I give $5.

JLeslie's avatar

@avvooooooo I just noticed you had suggested Coke above, I had missed it the first time I skimmed the answers.

sunshine123's avatar

When checking muesums many will have one day a week/month that is free to the public… you might want to check into that ..good luck!

dalepetrie's avatar

For $12 admission, one block East of the Midtown Marta Station, the Margaret Mitchell House (where she wrote Gone With the Wind) might be the most historically significant building still standing in Atlanta. We were actually stunned, we like to visit a lot of historical sites, and Atlanta is just a city devoid of historical architecture…something gets 50 years old in that town and they tear it down. This was one of the few places left that we found with any historical significance. And if you do like history, even though you won’t see much of it still standing in Atlanta, go to the Atlanta History Center, $15 admission and it’s on Marta route 38. Also note, both are run by Atlanta’s Historical Society, so if you present your ticket stub from one of these attractions at the box office of the other one, you get $2 off. Both are also part of Atlanta’s CityPass.

Darwin's avatar

@dalepetrie – It doesn’t help that on September 1, 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood evacuated Atlanta, after a four-month siege mounted by Union General William Sherman, and ordered all public buildings and possible Union assets destroyed.

When a city has been burned to the ground it doesn’t have a lot of historical buildings left.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Darwin – true, I completely understand why there are no buildings left from pre-Civil War days. But what about everything built the next 100 years, 99% of it is gone too. I mean, I’ve gone to Chicago several times, it had a fire that burned a great portion of the city over 100 years ago, but there’s still a ton of historically significant architecture. I went to London which burned what was it about 400 years ago, and THEY still have tons of great historical sites from well before that fire. You go to Atlanta though and you’re lucky to see a house more than 40 years old…if it gets too old, the culture there is to tear it down rather than try to restore or preserve it. I’m not talking about pre-burning of Atlanta, I’m talking about turn of the century, you’d be hard pressed to believe Atlanta exited before 1955 if you visit. At least that was my experience.

avvooooooo's avatar

@dalepetrie Its obvious you haven’t spent very much time in Atlanta if you truly believe the culture is to tear down rather than preserve.

Here is more of historic Atlanta, though its not at all a complete list.

Darwin's avatar

@dalepetrie – For one thing, Atlanta was a relatively small town until the advent of air conditioning as a generally affordable option, somewhere in the 1960s, as well as the boom in air travel that resulted in Atlanta becoming an important hub. Then, like many Southern cities, Atlanta underwent an huge growth boom. Thus, much of the city is indeed younger than 1950 because it simply wasn’t there before. You will get the same feeling in Houston, Texas, for the same reason.

Chicago, OTOH, has been a big city for a long, long time, and has often been rivaled only by New York in terms of architects, museums, wealthy families, and so on.

However, there are still some interesting buildings in Atlanta. The Fox Theater (1920’s), the Candler Building (Candler as in Coca Cola’s Asa Candler) and other early skyscrapers are in old downtown. There are the Victorian houses of Inman Park (1880’s and later), Druid Hills, planned in 1893 by Frederick Law Olmsted, and Grant Park, which includes the antebellum Grant Mansion and Confederate fortifications. There is also Historic Midtown, including the 1883 Peters House, and Midtown/SoNo Commercial District, the original commercial district, which goes from Queen Anne period styles to Art Deco to New Formalism.

Peachtree Street once was where all the wealthy folks had their mansions. However, today Peachtree Street is now an important commercial area so most of those houses fell to progress.

I don’t think you wandered very far afield when you were there.

avvooooooo's avatar

@Darwin Don’t forget The Georgian Terrace. There are all kinds of things that you only have to open your eyes to see.

dalepetrie's avatar

I haven’t spent a lot of time there, so obviously I haven’t seen all of it, and I don’t disagree that there is some history to be had there, but it’s not like other cities of its size, and I know this from both visiting the city and from talking to people who lived there for years. Not saying there’s nothing there, I’m saying that there are countless examples of things that would have been preserved in other cities which were torn down in Altanta. The culture of tearing down and rebuilding extends far beyond Sherman. My understanding of the political redevelopment policies of Atlanta is that up until 1989, when Mayor Young introduced a comprehensive new preservation-based redevelopment ordinance which recognized the importance of preserving and reusing older buildings, Atlanta’s historic preservation policy was widely described as an abject failure. This doesn’t mean that NOTHING survived the developers’ greed, but far too much was lost to it. I’d argue having traveled all over this country that far more of Atlanta’s history was razed during the 100 years following the Civil War than in any other big city in the country. I’d argue this is pretty well documented, though there is definitely a PR effort in Atlanta which obscures this, which can pretty much be summed up by that old song that goes…“Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween.”

And just for argument’s sake, how close did the aforementioned Fox Theater come to being torn down? A bit too close for comfort if you ask me.

Darwin's avatar

“the Margaret Mitchell House (where she wrote Gone With the Wind) might be the most historically significant building still standing in Atlanta.”

You have got to be kidding.

give_seek's avatar

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial is good. You can also get a tour of Dr. King’s home and church.

avvooooooo's avatar

@dalepetrie If you put buildings up very quickly, like they were during the reconstruction, they tend not to last. There was a lot of tearing down after the building up, a good bit of it was necessary.

dalepetrie's avatar

@Darwin – terms like “most” are subject to one’s interpretation…I look at the list of oldest structures in Atlanta, I look at the list of historic sites and I ask myself, what is the most socially and culturally relevant to the whole of America, what has the broadest cultural appeal, and that’s what I come up with. I’m not saying some of the other historical sites are not of greater civic or institutional importance, but it’s in the eye of the beholder, and I tend to think of what has been achieved at particular sites, being of a literary mindset, I’d say the home where one of the most celebrated Pulitzer Prize winning novels of all time was written, a novel which became the top grossing film of all time in present day adjusted dollars, I’d say that’s a pretty significant site. Now the house itself, not much to look at, I don’t think Mitchell herself liked it all that much, but an argument could be made.

Now, again, I’m talking about the period from the Civil War to 20 years ago, Atlanta was KNOWN, without any question….no one living there, no one who ever visited there, no one who knew a thing about Atlanta would even question in the slightest a statement that Atlanta is not known for its historical preservation efforts. Yes, some has been preserved, but far too much has been lost….a lot of that being 20 years old, all of this predating the world wide web by five years or more, is pretty hard to track down these days. But in my lifetime, Atlanta was viewed without question as a city dedicated to the future, not the past. If you look for articles written in present day, if you look at the historical society’s propaganda, if you look at the people who love and celebrate Atlanta for all the great stuff it does have, you’ll get a pretty picture, you’ll find plenty to see and do in Atlanta even from a historic buff’s point of view. But look at this New York Times article from 22 years ago and you’ll see what I mean when I say that Atlanta has a culture that has been long known historically for tearing down and rebuilding rather than preserving.

Don’t want to believe me? Fine. I’m not an expert. I just know what I know, and I know I’m far from the only person who is stunned by the RELATIVE lack of historical architecture in Atlanta. But if you’re going to try to prove me wrong that too much hasn’t been torn down, don’t give me examples of the things that haven’t been torn down yet, tell me about the things that were torn down that gave Atlanta this reputation and why the interpretation that Atlanta at least didn’t used to value its history is wrong. Tell me why the things that were torn down to give Atlanta this widely held reputation (which I still see echoed in the sentiment of those trying to save the Crum and Forster building…see petition and comments here), really were not of all that great significance and shouldn’t be used to paint Atlanta with the brush of a city dedicated to its future, not its past.

dalepetrie's avatar

@avvooooooo – I can buy that logic.

avvooooooo's avatar

@dalepetrie Obviously the luxury structures (like the houses of wealthy people) weren’t slapped together, so they lasted… But the primary goal of the reconstruction was to get the city up and running as soon as possible. At that, it wasn’t big because it is hot as hell in Georgia and cities are inevitably hotter than out in the country and there weren’t reasons for a lot of people to be in the city like there are now and since the 60s, as @Darwin pointed out. There were a lot of old, shoddy structures that were removed along with the couple of remarkable ones. But the newness is mostly due to its period of growth.

Darwin's avatar

@dalepetrie – Yes, Margaret Mitchell’s book made a big splash, but it isn’t exactly fine literature. Personally, I would consider anything having to do with Martin Luther King Jr. to be of far more vital and lasting historical importance, especially in the light in which Southern life was presented both in writing and in the film.

“Lawzy, we got to have a doctor. I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies.” – Butterfly McQueen as Prissy

dalepetrie's avatar

@Darwin – I’d agree with that…I was taking more of a populist view when I wrote that, and I did use the qualifier “might be”, it all depends on how you look at it, and I do think if you look at what has the power to draw more people, something that connects to a broader base, I think one could make the argument. I personally would agree that MLK would be of greater significance hands down, but I’m not 100% sure the majority of visitors to Atlanta would agree. One could however argue that King was the mouthpiece for a movement whose time had come anyway…he did not create the inequities and the dissatisfaction with them, nor was he the only one to decry them, he simply was the most well known, most well connected, most charismatic person to do so at a time when our culture was undergoing a seismic shift. Whereas Mitchell created something that even though it was far from great literature, was a work of historical fiction which had the power to connect with a broad base of Americans, and which was met with enough critical acclaim to win a Pulitzer, and which has enough staying power to be a household name some 72 years after its publication. As such, I was not kidding, I think my statement could be argued (even if the one who made the statement would be the first to argue against it).

Dog's avatar

AWESOME!!! Through this lively discussion I think I have found a GOLD MINE of historic places to visit and places to go! I am going to map it all and take a walkabout!

And feel free to discuss more of the History- it brings the place to life!

Thanks All!

dalepetrie's avatar

please let us know where you ended up going

avvooooooo's avatar

@Dog The walking tours link should have some good stuff for you. The tour of the Fox is $10 bucks and should be pretty cool (I wanna go on it now that I know!), but it starts at 10 am and isn’t done on Fridays… You should find plenty though!

vered4's avatar

I have been an usher at the Fox Theatre for 20 years. It is a beautiful building and you should definitely try to see it! It was built as a Shriner’s Temple….complete with faux sky and stars….. If you can’t ‘tour it’....then buy the cheapest possible ticket to whatever show is playing and go in and see the entire theatre! The bathrooms are some of the best sites to see as they are so elegant! We hold our ‘ushering’ meetings in the men’s bathroom on the 2nd floor…what does THAT tell you??

The Underground is a bit sketchy but worth a walk-through if you want something free to do! It does have some history ‘down there!’

The HIGH Museum is a good choice…

Enjoy the fabulous people watching wherever you go in Atlanta!

Dog's avatar

Thanks again everyone. I am fluthering from the airport and was bumped off the first flight. It was so close that I walked onto the airplane only to have the seat occupied. No big deal- when you fly standby you take what you can get.

So I hope to visit some of the places on this thread and will post if I do.

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