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Atlanta: City guide

By Amy Cox and Linnie Rawlinson for CNN
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If you fancy some offbeat Atlanta history, head to Oakland Cemetery. Amongst the leafy oak trees, camellias and magnolias is buried all of Atlanta, from princes to paupers. Look out for ornate carved monuments of the great and the good, contrasted with the unmarked indigents' graves in Potter's Field.

Atlanta was known during the Civil Rights movement as the "city too busy to hate". The birthplace of Martin Luther King, you can see his boyhood home and learn about his influence on others at the Martin Luther King National Historic Site.

Music lovers should get tickets for the downtown Tabernacle. In amongst the bizarre folk-style wall murals, pipe organ and secluded alcoves, this former church-turned-rock-palace now plays host to diverse artists from Etta James to Snow Patrol.

And while it might not be on a par with London or New York's top galleries, the High Museum has recently partnered with the Louvre Museum in Paris. Until 2009 they'll be showing a rotating exhibition of the Louvre's collection -- your chance to gaze upon cultural treasures from the personal collections of the Kings of France.

Be seen:
Right now, the East Atlanta Village is the neighborhood du jour -- head here for lots of little funky bars and live music. Try Eastside Lounge for cocktails and indie flicks, or check out the East Atlanta Art and Antique Bazaar for kitsch with cachet, Sugar Britches for cutting-edge clothing and Thread Zeppelin for vintage clobber.

Clubbers not tempted by the glossy posses at Eleven50 or Compound should seek out the MJQ Concourse -- it's worth it. Hidden away underground, its diverse crowd and music give it a low-key, fun atmosphere -- get mellow in the Drunken Unicorn lounge within. If you want to make it a late night, the Clermont Lounge, an infamous dive, is the final destination for Atlanta bar crawlers -- join them here at 2a.m. after an evening in more salubrious places. A few would call it a flesh joint but the antique exotic dancers give it a vibe that's more carnival act than strip club.

Eat:
Try Ludacris's favorite, the Showcase Eatery in College Park, for shrimp, rib-eye steak, champagne chicken and a cozy, eclectic ambience.

If you're looking for eggs, grits and gravy, try the Flying Biscuit for great all-day breakfasts in a funky little setting. For something a little more upmarket, wander in to Django on Peach Street. It's small, bohemian with a gypsy twist and has a modern, eclectic menu.

Don't miss the largest drive-in restaurant in the world: Varsity is a real Atlantan experience, serving up Southern-fried comfort food to the masses. Impoverished college students eat alongside sharp-suited businessmen on lunch breaks. Don't go here to eat salad -- they'd only put chili on it -- and learn the lingo before you go. (Tourist: "Hot dog with chili; hamburger with tomato, lettuce, ketchup and mustard; a large Varsity Frosted Orange; and onion rings." Local: "Chili dog, glorified, large FO and rings.")



Ludacris and Atlanta montage

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