The vanguard of the New South, Atlanta combines down-home charm and refined elegance with a fresh breeze of the modern. Packed with peach trees and people that are just as sweet, it's been a force in the civil rights movement as well as a host city for the Olympics.

Atlanta sits on the Chattahoochee River and is defined by gently rolling hills, forest, and to the east, Stone Mountain, an impressive dome of quartz monzonite that is the largest exposed piece of granite in the world. At night, the skyscrapers of Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead provide three distinct, dazzling skylines.

Where the Players Play

Atlanta's eclectic shopping neighborhoods — Downtown, Little Five Points, Virginia-Highland, Buckhead and Midtown — are packed with some of the finest shops, art galleries, theaters, thrift stores and luxe boutiques around. When you're ready to refuel, the restaurant scene features buzzworthy bistros run by celebrity chefs (like Spence from Top Chef alum Richard Blais) serving up fresh southern cuisine that's as comforting as it is contemporary.

If pop culture is your thing, refresh yourself at the World of Coca-Cola, a treasure trove dedicated to the most recognizable soft drink brand on the planet, or check out the CNN Center and Studio Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at the hectic pace of the nation's leading news center.

Atlanta's reputation as the very definition of the South has made it a character in classic films like Gone With the Wind and Driving Miss Daisy. Don't miss the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, the Tudor Revival mansion where the novel Gone With the Wind was written.

Ready to immerse yourself in history? Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, or dig into the country's largest collection of Civil War memorabilia at the Atlanta History Center — and be sure to check out the nearby exhibit commemorating the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.