Despite its sprawling layout and debilitating traffic, Atlanta is fairly easy to navigate, both with your own set of wheels or on public transportation.
The city is well served by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority bus and rail system and a downtown tram. And once the groundbreaking Atlanta BeltLine completes its loop by 2030, Atlanta's multiuse trail system will be one of the most progressive in North America, if not the world. Here's everything you need to know about traveling in Atlanta.
The Atlanta BeltLine is repurposing an existing 22-mile rail corridor into a multiuse trail ideal for two wheels. Free bike tours are available in season. The Atlanta Bicycle Commission is an invaluable resource for all things bike-related, including bike paths around the city and a downloadable bike-suitability map.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) runs Atlanta's city bus system in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties. You'll need to buy a reloadable silver Breeze Card ($2, valid three years) to ride. Download MARTA On the Go for schedules and real-time bus location.
Atlanta’s neighborhoods and business districts are best accessed by car. You can generally find a parking space – even a free one on occasion – but rates can be expensive, especially if you only need a spot for a short time (removing meters means there is usually a one-hour minimum).
Download the Parkmobile app to pay for parking with your smartphone.
The MARTA trains travel to/from the airport to downtown and include commuter routes. Each customer must purchase a Breeze Card; you pay $2 for the card, which can then be loaded and reloaded as necessary. MARTA fare is $2.50.
The Atlanta Streetcar is a nice way of getting around downtown Atlanta. Fare is $1 for a one-way ticket (or you can get an all-day pass for $3); the streetcar follows a 2.7-mile loop that covers a dozen stops, from Centennial Olympic Park to the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site.
Accessible transportation in Atlanta
Major museums and blue-chip tourism sites have wheelchair-accessible entrances; the same goes for downtown hotels and restaurants. It may be harder to find accessible establishments at smaller businesses in residential neighborhoods.
The MARTA transit system is fully wheelchair accessible, and many sidewalks downtown are well kept; the situation deteriorates, again, in smaller residential areas. Check here for more information. You can also download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides.
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