I asked Lauren for a quick response on what she thought was a must do in her hometown. In typical Lauren fashion, she went above and beyond and whipped up this little feature on Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery:
I’m from Atlanta, and my favorite MUST DO in the city is to visit Oakland Cemetery. First of all, it’s free for entrance & self-guided walking tours, and second of all, it’s only a few miles from countless other famous attractions in the city, such as the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and much more.
I realize that visiting a cemetery might sound morbid, but it is actually very peaceful, scenic, and filled with amazing architecture. Oakland Cemetery is the oldest cemetery, as well as one of the largest green spaces, in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1850 on six acres of land southeast of the city, Oakland remains one of the oldest historical plots of land in Atlanta, most of the rest of the city having been burned in 1864.
See the dying Lion of the Confederacy monument (which looks very similar to the famous Lion Monument in Lucerne, Switzerland). Shop in the intriguing Bell Tower Building (which looks almost like a castle in the center of the cemetery). Visit the grave of Margaret Mitchell Marsh, author of Gone with the Wind. Explore the many miniature-cathedral-like Mausoleums, many complete with polished stone, multi-colored stained glass windows, steeples, gargoyles, and gates.
A beautiful array of flowers, trees, and walkways make Oakland Cemetery a place hard to leave. You might see someone painting under in the cool shade of a magnolia tree, someone else reading a book on a stone bench loveseat, another discussing the exotic flowers throughout, and still more enjoying the ghost walking tours through the cemetery at night. At the end of your visit, I would recommend heading straight across the street to the Six Feet Under Pub! They have fantastic seafood, drinks, and much more. Don’t miss out on the true “spirit” of Atlanta while you are here.