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Top 10 outdoor things to do in Atlanta

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Atlanta is best known for its big-city trappings: high-speed expressways, gleaming high rises and efficient public transport. Look closely and you’ll discover plenty of places to enjoy outdoor Atlanta. Book your Atlanta hotel, then head off into the great outdoors.

Morning strolls through Centennial Olympic Park

The center of the 1996 Olympic games, Centennial Olympic Park is today a green oasis in downtown Atlanta. Rolling lawns, public art and a fountain of intersecting Olympic rings contrast with the surrounding glass and steel high-rises.

265 Park Ave. West NW, Atlanta 30313

Café dining in Virginia Highland

Dine alfresco at hip cafés along Highland Avenue in Virginia Highland, an upscale neighborhood known for trendy boutiques and charming residences. Stay on for an after-hours drink and enjoy the cool evening air in one of the South’s great cities.

Virginia and Highland avenues, Atlanta 30306

Viewing the Appalachians from atop Stone Mountain

To enjoy sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains, climb the 1,700-foot Stone Mountain either via wildflower-strewn footpaths or cable car. The best views of Stone Mountain itself – a massive granite outcropping carved with figures of the American Civil War – are from its base.

Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta 30086

A morning walk through Piedmont Park

Paved footpaths crisscross Piedmont Park, a shady retreat on the eastern edge of bustling Midtown. It’s a favorite with runners, but pedestrians and parents with baby strollers enjoy the trails too, as do the ducks drawn to Lake Clara Meer.

400 Park Dr. NE, Atlanta 30306

Rooftop drinks in Midtown

Enjoy Atlanta’s skyline from above, and catch the cool evening breeze while drinking and dancing at Midtown’s rooftop bars. Shout and F.A.B. are trendy mainstays; Flip Flops caters to a younger crowd.

Peachtree St., Atlanta 30309

Martin Luther King’s Sweet Auburn

Martin Luther King was born in Sweet Auburn in 1929. Auburn Avenue is the place to see his humble but beautifully-restored neighborhood. The area’s shotgun shacks are so named because a shot through the front door would come right out the back. Many bear historical markers. 

450 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta 30312

Baseball at Turner Field

Sports-loving Atlantans head to Turner Field in the spring to welcome the return of their baseball team, the Atlanta Braves. Hot dogs, pizza and tacos keep fans satisfied while they watch America’s favorite pastime. 

Atlanta Braves, Turner Field, 755 Hank Aaron Dr., Atlanta 30315

Canoeing the Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area stretches 48 miles from downtown Atlanta north. Suburban Sandy Springs offers the best river access to canoe, hike past redbuds and azaleas and watch herons glide overhead. 

1978 Island Ford Pkwy., Sandy Springs, Atlanta 30350

Admiring a baby panda at Zoo Atlanta

More than 1,000 animals call Zoo Atlanta home: kangaroos and komodo dragons, gorillas and giraffes. But the star of the zoo is Xi Lan, the first giant panda ever born in the United States, in 2008. 

800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta 30315

Civil War tours of Oakland Cemetery

Margaret Mitchell, author of the Civil War epic Gone with the Wind, and 50,000 Civil War soldiers claim Oakland Cemetery as their final resting place. The cemetery’s war graves, gardens and elaborately-adorned marble mausoleums have been tourist attractions since the19th century. 

248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta 30312