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Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park: A Historical Landmark to Add to Your Must-Visit List

Centennial Park

An urban oasis in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park is a world-famous destination that represents Atlanta’s Olympic legacy. The 21-acre park features wide footpaths, fascinating public sculpture, 65-foot lighted towers, plenty of open spaces, and many more.

History

The Centennial Olympic Park was once a large vacant lot in a rundown area of Atlanta. When the city won its bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Billy Payne, an Atlanta attorney and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, envisioned the space to be a gathering spot for residents and visitors alike.  The park cost an estimated $75 million to develop. After the Olympics, the majority of the park was renovated for public use, becoming one of the city’s top outdoor areas.

Attractions

Centennial Olympic Park is home to a number of attractions that represent the park’s history and connection to the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Fountain of Rings

The interactive Fountain of Rings is one of the most prominent attractions in Centennial Olympic Park. Surrounded by flags of the host countries of previous Summer Olympics, this iconic water attraction is in the shape of an Olympic Ring symbol with 251 computer-controlled water jets, 487 lights, and 400 fog jets. During a show, spurts of water will shoot up from the five interconnecting Olympic rings, accompanied by upbeat music, flashing lights, and sound effects. The Fountain of Rings show is played four times each day.

Quilt Plazas and Water Gardens

Located in the eastern portion of the park, the Quilt Plazas and Water Gardens is another distinctive attraction that should not be missed. The Quilt Plaza comprises five plazas: the Quilt of Dreams, the Quilt of Remembrance, the Quilt of Origins, the Quilt of Olympic Spirit, and the Quilt of Nations. Each plaza represents certain events that shaped Atlanta’s history and culture.

The Spectacular

It’s hard not to miss The Spectacular. This massive aluminum sculpture stands 11 feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds, making it the perfect spot for taking pictures. The Spectacular can be found along the park’s entrance at Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Andrew Young International Boulevard.

Unity Plaza

Situated at the corner of Centennial Park Drive and Baker Street, Unity Plaza is an entry point for those who are coming from the park’s nearby attractions. Unity Plaza is also home to the Androgyne Planet, a towering sculpture at the center of the plaza that stands for the continuity and spirit of international unity of the Olympic Games.

Paralympic Plaza

Built in honor of the athletes who competed in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, the Paralympic Plaza features plenty of green spaces for visitors to roam around in.

Visitor Center

If you’re new to Centennial Olympic Park, make sure to stop by the official Visitor Center first. The center offers brochures, travel maps, and information kiosks. Their kiosks, in particular, can tell you about the park’s history, role, monuments, and Olympic tributes. An interactive mural created by local artists allows visitors to view the moving animations through an app.

You’ll also find several attractions near Centennial Olympic Park. These attractions include the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.

Events

Centennial Olympic Park has played host to numerous events over the years. Here are the ones to look forward to:

  • Wednesday WindDown – Every Wednesday, residents and visitors relax and unwind to a variety of live jazz, neo soul, funk, R&B, and contemporary music. This weekly concert is held at the Southern Company Amphitheater.
  • Fourth of July Celebration – There’s no better way to celebrate Independence Day than at Centennial Olympic Park. Sponsored by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), this annual celebration features a grand fireworks display, live entertainment, and plenty of food and drinks.
  • Holiday in Lights Festival – Looking for the best Christmas light display in Atlanta? The Holiday Lights Festival in Centennial Olympic Park is one of the best things to do in Atlanta with kids. Aside from the thousands of twinkling lights, this annual event comes complete with an outdoor ice-skating rink for everyone to enjoy.

Check the Centennial Olympic Park website for updates on their schedule of activities.

How to get there

Centennial Olympic Park is located at 265 Park Avenue W Northwest, Atlanta, GA. The park is accessible via Interstate 75 and Interstate 85.

It is open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Check the website for changes in schedules. Entrance to the park is free of charge. For more information, call 404.223.4412.

Looking for more outdoor spots in Atlanta, Georgia? We’d be happy to tell you all that this vibrant city has to offer. Get in touch with us at the Page Morgan Real Estate Group by calling 770.579.5650 or sending an email at info(at)pagemorgan(dotted)com.