The best museum in Atlanta, bar none, Atlanta History Center spans centuries' worth of Southern history, from the Civil War era right up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Spread across 33 forested acres in Buckhead, the complex includes 22 acres of walking trails and gardens, as well as two historic homes. Most notable is the Swan House, a stately old mansion built in 1928 for the Inman family. You can eat lunch in the Swan Coach House after you "ooh" and "ahh" at the ornate interior. The interactive Smith Family Farm uses character reenactments to show firsthand the troubles that families faced during the Civil War. Through photos, videos, talks, folk art, and other memorabilia, visitors get a front row look at the extensive history of Georgia and the South as a whole. Also included in the tour is a visit to the Margaret Mitchell House, the former home of the "Gone with the Wind" author (it's on a separate campus five miles away). Each month, the center puts on its popular "Party With the Past: Free History, Cold Beer" series, which takes place at different historical venues around town, with guest speakers, prizes, and a cash bar. The estate is massive so you'll need from several hours up to a half day to fully take advantage. There's free parking in the museum lot.