It’s time to look at this Southern capital with fresh eyes: Atlanta is stealthily emerging as one of the country’s great urban destinations, with tantalizing eats, creative cocktails, ample museums, and plenty of green space. Atlanta has always held a particular magic, and what really makes the city shine is its abundance of Black history and culture—here’s how to see the best of it in three days.
Atlanta wouldn’t be Atlanta without the wealth of contributions that African Americans have brought to the city. Set out early from Hotel Clermont, which opened three years ago in a 1924 apartment building turned motor lodge, and head toward Auburn Avenue (affectionately known as Sweet Auburn), where Martin Luther King Jr. spent his childhood.
Walk a few short blocks to Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park to learn about the civil rights hero’s life and activism. Visit the 1895 house where he was born and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached until his assassination in 1968. Pay your respects at the King Center, where both he and his wife, Coretta Scott King, were laid to rest.
Take a break to indulge in a taste of the Caribbean at Mangos Caribbean Restaurant, where you can choose from dishes like jerk chicken, escoveitch red snapper, and shrimp curry. After lunch, cross the street to For Keeps Books, which specializes in rare editions by Black authors, and continue along to the APEX (African American Panoramic Experience) Museum. You’ll need to book a timed-entry ticket in advance to explore the collection, which includes an exhibit on Black women in STEM.
End the day with dinner at one of the city’s renowned Black-owned restaurants, Paschal’s. The original location on West Hunter Street was founded in 1947 by two brothers, James and Robert Paschal, and later served as an integral gathering place during the civil rights movement. This new location, opened in 2002, remains a favorite spot for soul food classics like fried chicken and mac and cheese.
Head over to the Castleberry Hill historic arts district and browse through Besharat Gallery, the Granite Room, and ZuCot Gallery, the largest Black-owned fine art gallery in the Southeast. From here, drive about four miles north to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park to see America’s largest permanent orchid collection; the thousands of flowers are as boldly colorful and unique as the art you’ve been viewing on gallery walls all day.