Atlanta, the bustling capital of Georgia, is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and booming economy. Yet, beneath its modern skyline and renowned landmarks, there are some lesser-known facts and stories that might surprise you. Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Atlanta.
Home of the World’s Busiest Airport
Did you know that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been the world’s busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998? Not only does it serve over 100 million passengers a year, but it also offers flights to over 150 U.S. destinations and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries.
After the Civil War, Atlanta was essentially burned to the ground. However, the city rose from its ashes, which is why it often associates itself with the mythical bird, the Phoenix. The symbol can be seen in numerous places across the city, representing Atlanta’s spirit of resilience and rebirth.
The Birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.
While many know Atlanta as a pivotal location for the Civil Rights Movement, not everyone knows it’s the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His childhood home and the church where he preached, Ebenezer Baptist Church, are both located in Atlanta and are part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
An Underground City
Beneath the city streets of downtown Atlanta lies an area known as the Underground. Originally street level in the 1800s, the streets were raised to combat flooding and traffic issues, turning the original storefronts into basements. Today, this area is known as Underground Atlanta, a shopping and entertainment district.
If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead,” then you might know that much of the series was filmed in and around Atlanta. Its urban and rural settings have made it a prime location for the post-apocalyptic show. The city has embraced this role, with numerous tours and events centered around the zombie theme.
A Forest Inside the City
Atlanta is often referred to as the “city in a forest” due to its unusually dense tree coverage for a major city. Nearly 50% of Atlanta is covered by trees, making it one of the most heavily forested urban areas in the U.S.
One of the world’s most iconic beverages, Coca-Cola, was invented in Atlanta by Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886. Today, you can visit the World of Coca-Cola, an interactive museum that tells the history of the soft drink and offers a taste of different Coca-Cola products from around the world.
Home to One of the Largest Aquariums
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is one of the largest in the world. It houses tens of thousands of animals in more than 10 million gallons of water. One of its primary attractions is the whale shark, the largest fish in the world.
Atlanta’s Odd Street Names
If you’ve driven around Atlanta, you might have noticed an abundance of Peachtree-named roads. There’s Peachtree Street, Peachtree Road, Peachtree Circle, and many more. Surprisingly, none of these are named for actual peach trees but are instead believed to derive from the Creek Indian word “pitchtree.”