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People truly began flocking to Atlanta following its unveiling during the 1996 Olympics. Finally, outsiders had a reason to come to the city, and while they were here for those international games, they discovered that Atlanta has a huge offering for visitors and residents alike. Word spread like wildfire. Despite the complaints about traffic -- which can still be an issue -- tourists pour into the city at an average rate of 36 million people a year to see what this gateway to the New South has to offer. And they're not disappointed.

A lot has happened since Atlanta's humble beginnings as a railroad depot, and the city is rich in historic attractions -- Civil War sites, landmarks of the civil rights movement, and monuments to the businesses that have energized the city's development (such as World of Coca-Cola). And all those elements that make Atlanta a great place to live make the city a terrific place to visit, too. You can take a stroll through a world-class botanical garden, visit the world's largest indoor aquarium, picnic in a scenic park, raft down a river, visit a major art museum, splash through the Olympic-rings fountain, take in an enchanting puppet show, and much more.

Consider the CityPass and see eight of Atlanta's top attractions ($74 for adults, $54 kids 3-12; it's a bargain, take my word for it) while avoiding most ticket lines at the same time. For info, call tel. 770/256-0490, or visit www.citypass.com.

MARTA stops near attractions are listed where applicable. If you need information on bus routes, call tel. 404/848-4711.

Rooms & a View -- For a bird's-eye view of the city, take a trip up to the top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza. You'll ride up 72 stories in a glass elevator to a viewing area with telescopes where you can get a 360-degree look at Atlanta and the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can see the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Open from 10am to 11pm daily; the cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children. Call tel. 404/659-1400 for details.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.