While a relatively young city, Atlanta still has a distinctive skyline visible to those flying into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as well to those driving on its main thoroughfare, Peachtree Street. In addition to the towering skyscrapers of downtown, the city's architecture includes everything from the Victorian homes of historic Inman Park to reclaimed Depression-era industrial spaces to contemporary museums and stadiums. From the central business district's iconic high rises like the Westin Peachtree Plaza to the Moorish-inspired Fox Theatre in Midtown, here are the city's most notable architectural landmarks.
Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel
Designed by Atlanta native John Portman and recognizable by its reflective windows and cylindrical shape, the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel was the tallest hotel structure in the world when it opened in 1976 and the city's tallest building until 1987. Visitors and residents alike flock to the hotel's rooftop restaurant, the Sun Dial, for panoramic views the city.
Originally conceived as a home for the Atlanta Shriners in 1929, this historic movie theater in Midtown was saved from demolition in the mid-1970s when it was listed as a National Historic Landmark and transformed into a modern performance venue. The Moorish-inspired theater was designed by Olivier Vinour and hosts over 250 performances each year, including touring Broadway shows like "Hamilton," live performances from popular musicians (Prince's last show was here), and the Atlanta Ballet's annual holiday tradition, "The Nutcracker." Book a behind-the-scenes tour of the space on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Bank of America Plaza
At 55 stories and 1,023 feet tall, the Bank of America Plaza has been the city's tallest building since its construction in 1982. Recognizable by both its postmodern Art Deco style, reminiscent of the Empire State Building, and its gold-leaf covered, 90-foot spire, the structure was designed by the same Connecticut-based firm responsible for New York's Central Park Zoo.
One of the newest additions to Atlanta's downtown landscape, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the home of the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta United FC. Completed in 2017, the stadium replaced the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992. The new stadium's eight panel, retractable roof is designed to look like bird's wings when fully extended and its video board is the world's largest.
High Museum of Art
Opened in 1983, the High Museum's stately, white-enameled 135,000-square-foot main building sits up on a hill in Midtown Atlanta. Designed by acclaimed architect Richard Meier, who won the 1984 Pritzker Prize for his work, the space was expanded with three additional, aluminum-clad buildings by Renzo Piano in 2005 and includes over 15,000 works in its permanent collection, ranging from European paintings to African-American art and 19th and 20th-century decorative art.
Located in Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, Ponce City Market is a 2 million-square-foot, 1920s era, converted Sears, Roebuck & Company building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The adaptive reuse space—the city's largest—opened in 2014 adjacent to the Beltline Eastside Trail and features an expansive food hall, local and national retail shops, and a rooftop amusement park as well as office space and high-end apartments.
Center for Civil and Human Rights
One of Atlanta's top attractions, this downtown museum was designed by architecture firm HOK in partnership with Philip Freelon, best known for designing the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Inspired by urban spaces like D.C.'s National Mall and Beijing's Tiananmen Square, the building is defined by two curved walls to symbolizing human connection and includes a large plaza often used for community gatherings.
Originally the residence of Emily and Edward Inman, this historic mansion was built in 1928 by architect Philip Trammell Shutze and is now part of the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead.. The elaborate main facade combines Renaissance and classical styles, and fans of the "Hunger Games" film series may recognize the home: it was used as President Snow's residence in the popular movies.
Yes, Atlanta has a Flatiron Building. And it was built in 1897, five years before New York City's building of the same name and designed by the same architect, Bradford Gilbert. The 11-story, wedge-like building is Atlanta's oldest standing skyscraper and sits at the intersections of Peachtree, Poplar, and Broad Streets in downtown Atlanta.