Photograph by Raymond Boyd, Getty Images
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The Atlanta skyline glows at twilight.

Photograph by Raymond Boyd, Getty Images

See Atlanta like a Nat Geo Explorer

This vibrant city combines Southern hospitality with an electrifying charisma.

Atlanta, Georgia, home to both legends of the civil rights era and modern-day hip-hop artists, combines traditional Southern hospitality with an electrifying charisma. While this sprawling metropolis is a major U.S. city and host of the 2019 Super Bowl, the small-town vibe from the locals will make you feel right at home.

The National Geographic Society funded my work to document the Siddi tribal people, an African diaspora community that arrived in India some 500 years ago, through photography and film.

Travel for good

Visitors to Atlanta can contribute to the local community by grabbing a drink at Refuge Coffee, a coffee shop dedicated to employing and conducting job training opportunities for resettled refugees.

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Refuge Coffee employs and trains resettled refugees.

What's in my bag

The Google Maps phone app is a must-have when traveling around any city, but it’s especially helpful in Atlanta because of its sprawling landscape. Having your maps ready will help prevent you from getting lost.

Must-read book

Burial for a King by Rebecca Burns provides a good background on the history of Atlanta and the civil rights struggles of the city’s African-American community.

Take a class

If you really want to understand the people of Atlanta, the best way to learn about them is through their food. Take a tour with Atlanta Food Walks to bite into some savory soul food cuisine. And don’t pass up a chance to visit the one and only Soul Food Museum. Founded by local chef Dr. Kenneth Willhoite as a means to express the history of African-American cuisine, the museum will not leave you disappointed.

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People gather around the tomb of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Savor the flavors

For a quintessential Southern experience check out Georgia-style barbecue at Old Hickory House. With its timeless decor of wooden walls and classic painted artwork, the restaurant makes you slow down to enjoy all it has to offer. For another kind of foodie experience, visit the Sweet Auburn Curb Market for dishes like Southern-style fried chicken and homemade cornbread. Started in 1918, it is one of Atlanta’s oldest markets.

Cultural heritage

At the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historical Park, you can experience the story of the activist’s life and legacy by visiting a dedicated museum and touring his former home.

Asha Stuart is a documentary filmmaker and photographer who focuses on human interest stories. Follow her on Instagram @asha.stuart.