A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in race day excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...
Author’s note: While I try my best to give you a diversified look at each city NASCAR visits on the Cup circuit, this week is going to be a little more personalized. Since visiting Georgia and seeing places for myself, I wanted to include in this article all the places I saw and fell in love with while I was visiting. I am also completely aware that the exact location of AMS is in Hampton; however, being that it is called Atlanta Motor Speedway, I will keep the focus on Atlanta alone. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy! (All locations, except where noted, suggested by yours truly)
Pemberton Place – downtown Atlanta
Located just across from one another lie the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. The plaza where they are is known as Pemberton Place.
If you’re a Coca-Cola racing fan, the World of Coca-Cola is a must see! Wonderful and historical memorabilia adorns the walls and you can tour the Bottle Works and see just how they get all that delicious Coke inside of those bottles. The journey begins with a fun video tour inside of a real Coke machine and ends in their large tasting room. With over 60 different Coca-Cola products from all around the world, you’re sure to find a few new and exciting – and certainly exotic – flavors to enjoy.
General adult admission tickets run you $15 for admission into just the World of Coca-Cola, but you can buy a Pemberton Place pass which gains you access into the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. Website and further admission details will be listed at the bottom of this section.
The nearby Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest, featuring more marine life than any other aquarium in the world, and boasting more than 8 million gallons of water, the aquarium was a gift to the city of Atlanta from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of the Home Depot.
As already stated above, the Georgia Aquarium is in partnership with the World of Coca-Cola. Joint passes to both attractions, known as the Pemberton Place Pass, go for $36.50 for an adult pass. Visit the World of Coca-Cola or the Georgia Aquarium for directions, Pemberton Place Passes or just general admission and hours of operation information.
Atlanta was the site of the 1996 Olympic Games. Just a few years before, the part of town where the park is now located was nothing but an eyesore to the locals. A committee came together to relieve the burden of the site and to build a park for not only visitors to the city during the Olympic games, but to visitors and locals to enjoy for many years to come. What resulted was a large and beautiful 21-acre park in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
The park is neatly situated adjacent to the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. There is no cost for admission into the park and they host many free and family oriented events. For more information, visit their website.
The Historic Atlanta Fox Theatre – downtown Atlanta
The historic Atlanta Fox Theatre was once used as a movie house. It is now a home to the performing arts and an attraction boasting an estimated 750,000 visitors each year. And it really is no wonder why so many people want to visit the almost palatial yet tastefully designed building.
The building has survived the Great Depression, fierce competition, and will celebrate its 81st birthday this Christmas.
Even if you’re not going to see a show, you may consider visiting this building, with all the charm one could expect in a late 1920s building, complete with old fashioned elevators and engaging elevator operators, you may not want to step through downtown Atlanta without at least stopping to marvel once at the beautifully restored building.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to look for the Phantom of the Fox.
More information, ticket sales, show times, and a calendar can be found on the Fox Theatre’s website.
Peachtree City – scenic drive south of Atlanta
If you’re like one of the many NASCAR fans who travel many miles to see a race, you may be interested in seeing more than just the city where the race will be. If you are one of those people, you may want to check out Peachtree City. The small, quaint town is located just southwest of Atlanta and about a 50-minute drive, depending on traffic, from the race track. Everyone can find plenty to do and see in this sweet southern town.
Museums, golf courses, nature trails, Peachtree has them all. To learn more about the town or for maps and directions, visit their website.
Bizarre: Roadside Attractions – suggested by RoadsideAmerica.com
Everyone has always wanted to see a giant chicken, right? ….right? OK sure, the moving beak and eyes are a little…OK a lot creepy, but he’s kind of cute.. And don’t even try to pretend that visions of enormous bronze fish decked with Santa Claus hats don’t dance in your head.
When you think of going down to Dixie, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t exactly what you pictured.
So if scenic drives, old theaters, and Coke aren’t your thing, be sure to check out some of the more off-beat attractions in Atlanta and all around the state. RoadsideAmerica.com has a list of fun, bizarre, unique, and just downright laughable attractions for the whole family to see.
*All photo credits ©Genesis Short 2010