While the lure of shiny new woodworking machinery and supplies may be the prime draw at IWF, don't overlook what else Atlanta has to offer while you are at the show. Whether you are interested in shopping, entertainment, the arts, history or just a great meal, Atlanta has what you are looking for. Here's a sampling.
Atlanta's newest attraction is the New World of Coca-Cola. Located downtown in close proximity to IWF, the exhibit features a 4-D theater, the world's largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia, a Pop Culture Gallery featuring work by Andy Warhol and Steve Penley, a fully functional bottling line, and the opportunity to taste nearly 70 different products. Learn more at www.woccatlanta.com.
For some fishy fun for the whole family, check out the Georgia Aquarium, which is the world's largest aquarium. Watch live whale sharks, beluga whales, spectacularly colorful tropical fish and other live water creatures inhabiting five separate exhibit areas covering 500,000 square feet. There are more than 100,000 freshwater and saltwater fish plus more than 500 mammalian species. Check it out at www.georgiaaquarium.org.
More places to see
If you need to take a break from the business bustle of the show, consider a visit to the Woodruff Arts Center and the High Museum of Art. Improved with a recent $130 million expansion that added new galleries, an open-air piazza and the restaurant Table 1280, the museum is currently in a three-year partnership with the Musee de Louvre in Paris. That means you can see priceless art from the Louvre without flying to Paris. For details, go to www.high.org.
Atlanta is steeped in history, and many will want to take time to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. It includes the famed civil rights activist's boyhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where both King and his father were pastors. Learn more at www.nps.gov/malu.
There's more history to be had at the Atlanta History Center, with exhibits covering artifacts from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. There are also displays on the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and famed golfer Bobby Jones. Visit www.atlhist.org for current exhibits and hours.
Shopping, dining and more
Long a centerpiece of downtown, Underground Atlanta offers six city blocks of shops, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment. Details at www.underground-atlanta.com.
Atlantic Station is a new national model for smart growth and sustainable development. Providing homes for 10,000 people and work for 30,000, this community is a shopping and entertainment destination for millions more. Check it out at www.atlanticstation.com.
Castleberry Hill is Atlanta's newest arts community, and it's located just a short distance from downtown. Look here for contemporary artwork, great restaurants and exciting exhibits. Learn more at www.castleberryhill.org.
Atlanta's dining opportunities range from the down home soul food of Son's Place (404.581.0530) to the chic French bistro Joel (www.joelrestaurant.com). IWF offers a great dining guide and restaurant finder at www.atlanta.net/minisites/IWF/dining2.html.
The best way to get around Atlanta while you are at IWF is MARTA, Atlanta's public transportation system. It includes a network of rapid rail and bus service that will get you most anywhere you need to go. Check out the special MARTA discount ticket offer when you arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport or see schedules and maps at www.itsmarta.com.
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