Summer Guide - Get out and tour your city
Go behind the scenes, under the ground, and around the Beltline
Atlanta’s Unseen Underground Walking Tours
You should know by now that Underground Atlanta is not literally underground. The shopping and entertainment hub rests at the city's original level, while the city streets Atlantans walk on are actually above ground. As the city expanded around its now historic railroad tracks, viaducts were built to separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic from the rails below. Atlanta architect Jeff Morrison has shared his passion with the public by conducting free walking tours of the city's "underground" history. The tours are not scheduled regularly, and are private events, but you can request information on the Unseen Underground Facebook page. If you're looking for an on-the-ground Atlanta history lesson, you're on the right track. Free. www.facebook.com/pages/Unseen-Underground-Walking-Tour/211158548933073.
Fox Theatre Tours
If you've ever sat on the edge of your seat wondering what is behind the Fox Theatre's sweeping curtains and beyond the ethereal starlight ceiling, wonder no more. The Fox offers an hour-long tour showcasing 10 locations throughout the building, including the orchestra pit and Mighty Mo', supposedly the world's largest working Moller theater organ. The tour also tells the history of the theater, including how it was almost demolished in 1974, and the steps taken to preserve the landmark. Tickets are $15 for military and seniors, $18 for adults, and $5 for children 10 and under. www.foxtheatre.org.
Bike rental and tour company Civil Bikes combines founder Nedra Deadwyler's love for history, passion for cycling, and penchant for community building. The upstart is dedicated to using bike riding as a vehicle to share civil and human rights stories through Atlanta's historic lens. The Garden Bike Tour brings pedalers to some of the city's community gardens, the Yoga + History + Bike Tour mixes three Atlanta sights with stretches and poses, and the ATL Love Tour offers riders a chance to hear stories of people's passion for the environment, community, and others. Each tour lasts two hours, covers roughly 8 miles, and costs $50, with a bike and helmet provided. www.civilbikes.com.
Atlanta Movie Tours
Whether your preference is to call it ATLwood or Y'ALLYWOOD, there's no denying the city's growing influence on the global film industry. Thanks to the nice tax break Georgia offers, and the fact that it's home to the world's busiest airport, everything from The Hunger Games franchise to AMC's "The Walking Dead" have set up shop inside and outside the Perimeter. So want to visit President Snow's Capitol digs (aka the Atlanta History Center's Swan House), or peek at the spots where Rick Grimes laid waste to hoards of zombies? Atlanta Movie Tours is your chance to take a trip behind the scenes of some of the most popular film and television productions that have called Atlanta home. $65. www.atlantamovietours.com.
Atlanta Beltline bus tour
There's more to the Atlanta Beltline than the 2.5-mile Eastside Trail. Unfortunately, seeing some of those other parts could be considered trespassing. The Atlanta Beltline Partnership, the smart-growth project's fundraising arm, has provided bus tours of the full 22-mile loop. From the comfort of an air-conditioned bus, real estate professionals, developers, and curious locals learn about the Beltline's adjacent neighborhoods, progress, and future. (The tour no longer includes a trip inside Bellwood Quarry, the 350-acre future park in northwest Atlanta.) Learn about the project and then join one of the many guerilla bike tours offered by unofficial Beltline ambassador Angel Poventud via Facebook. Free. www.beltline.org.