Atlanta is a treasure trove for travelers who love movies and cinemas. It’s the place you go if you want to see film settings in real life and get in the shoes of your favorite character, even for a brief time. It’s also a hub for some of the most phenomenal street art; you just have to learn to look for it!
Meanwhile, Chicago is the perfect getaway spot if you’re more adventurous. You can say that the city has it all, from accessible natural wonders to awe-inspiring concrete structures. On top of that, it’s also known for its great museums that showcase works of art from long ago.
No matter which city comes out on top, know that both destinations can sweep anyone off their feet. If you’re still having doubts about which is better, then check out this article to help you decide!
Welcome to Atlanta, the city brimming with Southern charm! It’s known as the home to the most famous soft drink in the world, but its achievements don’t stop there. The city has everything you could ever want in a tourist destination. It’s armed with world-class attractions, delectable food, and a thrilling nightlife scene.
On top of these, the Big Peach’s huge collections of street art are nothing to scoff at, either. You’d definitely find something that speaks to your soul here in this US destination; you might even prolong your stay. So why not take a chance on this wonderful capital of the South and personally experience the many ways Atlanta is one of a kind?
What Makes Atlanta Unique?
Hollywood of the South
Movie fan, film buff, and cinephile. No matter what you call yourself, one thing’s for certain: you’re meant to visit Atlanta!
Yes, you may identify it as a city famed for its amazing food and world-class attractions. However, did you know it’s also one of Hollywood’s most favored shooting locations?
That’s right; the Big Peach is among the hottest spots in America due to its top-notch scenery fit for every type of movie scene.
It’s crowned the Hollywood of the South, serving as a setting for some of the award-winning classics and series making waves in the industry. Curious about which masterpieces featured this charming city?
To start off, there’s the epic historical romance Gone With The Wind, a genuine classic still loved up to this day! The city even has a dedicated museum used as a home to some of the movie’s memorabilia, including the iconic Bengaline gown worn by Vivien Leigh. You can also drop by Mary Mac’s Tearoom and Margaret Mitchell’s House, places that would make any Gone With The Wind fan swoon.
Of course, if you’re a sucker for dystopian action films, know that the Big Peach hosted some of the scenes of the Hunger Games series. Want to know what President Snow’s mansion looks like in all its glory? Well, you should include Atlanta’s Swan House in your itinerary. You can also drop by the Goat Farm Center and the Marriot Marquis Hotel to make your heart happy!
And don’t forget that Atlanta is also the setting for some of the greatest Marvel movies to appear on Earth. Surely, you’ve heard of Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man? Well, the Big Peach is where these top superhero franchises were filmed!
Plenty more productions that have tugged on the heartstrings of many made Atlanta their home. Some of them include The Vampire Diaries, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and Baby Driver. If you’re a fan of those, you’d enjoy witnessing the places you’ve only seen on these series!
Your Trip Begins After a Glorious Sip
Atlanta – the home of the mighty Coca-Cola! It’s the city that gave birth to the most iconic soft drink in the USA and the whole wide world. However, did you know there is so much more to explore regarding the Big Peach’s beverages? You can even say that your trip to this city begins after you’ve sipped one of their marvelous concoctions.
The million-dollar question is this: which of Atlanta’s drinks will serve as a starter in your city exploration?
You literally have a treasure trove of options, so be sure to make a wise choice. Of course, you can also opt to sample them all, which will be a thrilling journey on its own!
First off, you can go for a quick caffeine fix to get your day started off right. This is a must if you’re a coffee lover, and Atlanta happens to have some of the best local coffee shops! In this city, you can access freshly brewed cups of joe no matter where you are. You can even have something special on days you want to explore out of your comfort zone, like a Georgia Peach latte!
Of course, those that don’t have a taste for coffee can still get their ideal refreshments in Atlanta. This city is also well-versed in creating great cups of tea, particularly those with a classic Southern touch! You can savor the taste and aroma of several loose-leaf teas and enjoy scones and finger sandwiches.
And don’t forget Atlanta’s milkshakes – it’s home to some of the most inventive boozy desserts around. It’s the perfect spiked concoction with just the right sweetness after a long day of city exploration! Choose from boozy milkshake flavors like bourbon chocolate or rum coconut, or whip out your own combination.
There are also colorful cocktails and craft brews to look forward to. You definitely shouldn’t miss it because mixology is considered an art form in Atlanta! The city has the best bars you can head to, whether you’re looking for an all-out night out or something to soothe your nerves.
Here, there is an abundance of premium spirits mixed with ambrosian syrups and the freshest ingredients. Get ready to drown in classic concoctions and unique twists on traditional favorites!
The Hunt for the Greatest Street Art
Want to relive your fun childhood memories of looking for easter eggs? Maybe you’re missing the feeling of uncovering something for the first time and looking forward to the reward it brings. Well, you may find what you’re seeking in the Big Peach, the city with the most beautiful street art of every kind!
Here, you’ll have the time of your life going on a scavenger hunt – but for a different kind of treasure. Instead of gold, pearls, or shiny trinkets, the prize is far greater: witnessing unique works of art you can’t find anywhere else! It’s sure to incite hidden emotions, filling you with wonder and awe at every skillful stroke local artists made.
Think this is the best part of this adventure? You may want to brace yourself because you’d be witnessing a plethora of scenery during your hunt! That’s right, Atlanta is a city with many aesthetics thanks to its diversity in color and architecture. You’ll find street art in modern neighborhoods and even feast on some hidden in the quirkiest downtown spot.
Truly, Atlanta is a vibrant city armed with plenty of character. You’d enjoy dropping by Inman Park, for instance. Marveling at its well-preserved Victorian-themed structures is a great side quest during your hunt for street art! You’d surely think how great it is that the marks from different periods jive well to create one unrivaled scenery.
Don’t forget the Korg Street Tunnel, the ultimate destination in the Big Peach if you’re into constantly evolving street art. It’s where new, inspiring works from local artists appear all the time, so you never really see the same thing twice!
Of course, you can also create your masterpiece in case inspiration strikes you on your visit. It doesn’t matter if you draw idols, abstract shapes, or mythological creatures. The important thing is you’ve expressed yourself and dared to show what you’re made of to others!
The Time is Food o’Clock
There are grub that go straight to your tummy, and then there are those that can nurture the soul. However, what if there are foods that can do both – satiate your stomach heartily while filling your spirit with everything it’s craving for? In Atlanta, this is entirely possible!
Of course, you may have known it as a spot that whips up one tasty fried chicken and filling meat-and-threes. However, that’s not scratching the surface of everything the Big Peach has up its culinary sleeves. Its gastronomy is on a whole other level of divine, enough to satisfy the pickiest food connoisseur or the most adventurous foodie.
Curious about Atlanta’s food scene and can’t wait to sample them all? Why not start by filling yourself with barbecue, a classic meal that transformed into something else with a Southern touch? In this city, you’ll have a barbecue with brisket, smoked ribs, and pulled pork! This dish is quite heavy on the tummy, so it’s one of your best bets if you’re actively exploring the city for the whole day.
If you’re not up for a hearty meal filled with meat, there’s also the city’s quirky combination of chicken and waffles. Many restaurants in Atlanta offer this meal; you’ll even find the meat sandwiched between two big waffles! You may find it weird at first, but this pairing will eventually grow on your palate. It’s an explosion of sweetness and saltiness in one, a great choice when you’re hungry for many flavors.
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and the Big Peach won’t leave you unsatisfied! There’s the Peach Cobbler, another Southern genius with all the fruity sweetness you dream of, with a hint of spice that sets it apart. No matter how you serve it, be it with ice cream, whipped cream, or all on its own, it’s sure to satisfy your every fantasy.
Want to explore more of the many wonderful food and kitchens in Atlanta? The list below may help you decide which foodie spot to drop by during your trip to the capital city of Georgia:
- Café Vendôme. This Atlantan café will bring the best of French pastries to your table. Its menu has classic French and Mediterranean delights that will sweep you off your feet. Craving crepes, tarts, and soft bread that melts? Café Vendôme is here to bring you to your knees with their ancestral baking techniques.
- Gunshow. If you want to have a one-of-a-kind goodie experience, Gunshow is the place to be. It features an open kitchen where you can see each masterpiece being prepared, from cutting onions down to designing each plate. The food will then be offered, but you can decline if it’s not to your fancy. Tip: you’ll be tempted by most dishes, so get ready for a taste-test galore!
If you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation spot, look no further than Chicago! It’s a city known for being a traveler’s dream, armed with jaw-dropping architecture and top-tier entertainment. It’s also a spot famed for its amazing skyline, with unique buildings that leave a lasting mark on any spectator.
The Windy City is also blessed with miles of shoreline and waters so blue they can compare to the Caribbean. Plus, there are plenty of nature spots you can run into when you feel like getting in touch with Mother Nature. Whether you’re a first-timer or a veteran traveler, something will always capture your imagination in Chicago!
What Makes Chicago Unique?
Rendezvous With Mother Nature, Anytime, Anywhere
Are you the type who wants to get the most out of every adventure? Perhaps you can’t decide whether to go on an intimate moment with nature or marvel at shiny cityscapes? Maybe you’re simply eyeing destinations that can give you the best of many worlds. No matter which it is, know that your search is over once you visit Chicago!
It’s a thriving metropolis that can give you everything-at-once encounters. It’s specially made for you if you’re craving urban life with many nature getaways. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone – you can admire concrete structures while having many rendezvous with Mother Nature. One moment, you’re admiring some of the tallest skyscrapers; the next, you’re listening to birds in a nature park!
Wondering how Chicago has some of the brightest urban views while providing you with unlimited moments with nature? You can thank their motto, ‘Urbs in Horto’, for this. It translates to yet another fitting nickname for this gem in Illinois: City in a Garden. It’s the perfect moniker for the Windy City, bursting to the seams with nature spots!
Here are some of Chicago’s natural treasures you can drop by when the bustling city streets get a bit overwhelming:
- Lincoln Park. One thing that makes Lincoln Park stand out from the other spaces is its size. It’s literally Chicago’s largest nature park, filled with entertainment for tourists and locals alike. Here, you can have a cooking show with nature – using only the freshest ingredients you can think of.
- Chicago Botanic Garden. Located in Glencoe, this botanical garden is like a scene from a garden painting. You can experience eternal spring and summer here, enjoying your time among many flowers and weeping willow trees. During winter, you can also enjoy lovely indoor exhibits and participate in harvest time.
The Fourth Most Cultural City in the World
Chicago is well-known for its towering skyscrapers, deep-dish pizza, and wonderful jazz and blues music. However, there’s yet another remarkable thing you can add to its roster of achievements. It’s crowned as the fourth most cultural city in the world!
Yes, you’ve read that correctly. On top of being the birthplace of buildings that touch the sky and home to the loveliest nature parks, Chicago is also recognized as a cultural mecca. It’s bursting at the seams with museums and galleries that contain some of the planet’s most iconic artworks and antiques. What more can you ask for in a tourist destination, right?
It’s a must-visit getaway spot for people eager to satiate their curiosity about periods long gone. In fact, even some of the buildings in this Illinois gem can provide you with a preview of the past. For instance, there’s the Chicago Cultural Center, a historic structure dating back to 1897. Not only is it well-preserved, but it also hosts free cultural gatherings that you can participate in!
Don’t forget the many exhibits in the Windy City that will make you swoon. There’s the Art Institute of Chicago, a museum that will impress any art lover. It houses the biggest assembly of Impressionist and Postimpressionist masterpieces outside the Louvre! Get ready to be in awe and witness the works of Monet, Renoir, Degas, and many more when you drop by this place.
Are you more into uncovering the periods of beings that have walked the Earth before modern humans? Then the Windy City’s Field Museum is meant for you! It’s where you can find traces of ancient ancestors and animals alongside them. You can check out the Ancient Americas collection, showcasing 13,000 years of US culture! That, or see SUE the T. Rex and Maximo, dinosaurs that existed in the prehistoric world.
The Windy City has no shortage of these cultural gems, whether it is a building that survived the passage of time or artifacts that tell an age-old story. It’s a destination for people who want to learn more about their roots and dig deeper into the world’s origin!
A Place to Get a Perfectly Natural Tan
When it comes to Chicago’s surprises, the sky’s the limit. You may think that its picture-perfect skyline is the peak of its treasures, but you’d be surprised at its collection of beaches. The city is blessed with the most cerulean waters, enough to rival even the legendary Carribean!
That’s right, The Windy City’s title as the number one best big city in the USA is no coincidence. It’s truly a destination that has it all, from pretty structures and yummy food to some of the loveliest shorelines in the world. Pair this with picturesque sunsets and silky white sands, and you’re in for a trip of a lifetime!
The best thing of all? There’s no need to travel miles and miles away from the city proper to get a perfectly natural tan. All you have to do is lather on your sunscreen and drop by the many beaches and lakes scattered throughout the city. It’s a spontaneous adventure you can do any time during your getaway!
Don’t know which wonderful spot to choose for your exploration? Here are some of the best ones that will entertain you for hours:
- 63rd Street Beach. Are you a fan of live entertainment? Then this beach is right up your alley with its amazing live music! Imagine listening to local artists sing their hearts out while watching the sunset; it’s a magical scenery sure to be ingrained in memory. And if you’re looking for more, drop by the beach house to marvel at interactive water fountains and Classical Revival structures.
- North Avenue Beach. If you’re a party animal, this beach is a must-visit. It’s the perfect spot to let your hair down while mingling with people of the same interests, particularly younger crowds with a thirst for fun. Plus, it’s also where you can play to your heart’s content, including roller hockey and dodgeball.
There’s plenty more where these came from, so Chicago should be on your radar! Specifically, there are 26 beaches you can visit in the Windy City. It’s perfect when you’re in the mood to beach-hop and experience the many wonders each spot offers. Whether you’re looking for an escape from bustling city life or an adventurous encounter, there’s something to enjoy here.
The Buildings Speak for Themselves
Once you set foot in Chicago, you’ll immediately notice one thing: it’s a real-life storybook! Its structures can tell a tale, proof that the Windy City is one of the most stunning cities on the planet. Most buildings here are ingrained in culture and history; it’s as if they can speak for themselves.
You’d enjoy strolling down the streets and watching the story unfold right before your eyes. From classic beaux art to postmodern designs, you can tell the people have shaped Chicago’s architecture! It doesn’t matter if the building you’re looking at is new or vintage; they’re all breathtaking and will catch your eye.
Among all of Chicago’s truly remarkable structures, you’d definitely take notice of the Willis Tower. It’s a concrete behemoth standing at a whopping 1450 ft (442 m), making it hard to miss. It’s the second-tallest building in North America and the twelfth-tallest one in the world!
There’s also the iconic 875 North Michigan Avenue, formerly known as the John Hancock Center. It’s a well-recognized skyscraper known for its sloping facades and advanced industrial design! Initially, it was labeled as “too industrial”, but the building has long become a symbol of Chicago’s bold architecture.
Don’t forget to witness the Aqua Tower in all its glory! It’s made with an impressive wave-like design, something you can’t find anywhere else. And if you want to see a structure that will take you back in time, then the Tribune Tower is meant for you. It’s full of delicately carved stonework, which makes it all the more special.
The Windy City is a sight to behold, with striking architecture reflecting the history of the place! It’s the right place to be if you want to appreciate historic buildings, modern designs, and everything else in between.
Is Atlanta Better Than Chicago?
Welcome to the great debate between Atlanta and Chicago – which is the better American destination? Both cities are amazing for different reasons, making it hard to pick a clear winner. But if you want to uncover which one is better for you, know that it depends on what kind of traveler you are.
If you’re the type of tourist that thrives in a concrete jungle, you will find a haven in Atlanta. In this city, you can have as many treasure hunts as you want! You could go on a quest to find the greatest street art you can only see once in your lifetime, or look for the unparalleled drink to tickle your tastebuds.
Meanwhile, you’d consider Chicago better than Atlanta if you’re more into a laid-back atmosphere. The Windy City is a metropolis deeply intertwined with Mother Nature – it’s coined City in a Garden for a reason! Here, you can get the best of every natural wonder you can think of, whether hiking or going out and about on the beach.
Is Atlanta Safer or More Dangerous Than Chicago?
People have a misconceived notion that Chicago is the crime capital of America, but it truly isn’t the case. Atlanta is a more dangerous spot than the Windy City, a fact that has been established by 11 Alive and Reel Chicago.
To elaborate, data shows that you’re more likely to be a victim of murder, assault, burglary, and theft in Atlanta. Violent crimes are way up in the Big Peach, with an index of 55.3. Meanwhile, Chicago sits at a violent crime rating of 49.9. Regarding property crime offenses, Atlanta has an index of 75.4, while the Windy City is only rated at 46.3.
Don’t let this stop you from dropping by Atlanta though! It’s a city that offers many wonders, and you’ll be safe so long as you remain vigilant.
Chicago vs. Atlanta Crime
Based on the analysis of 11 Alive, Chicago has a higher crime rate than Atlanta. However, considering the two cities’ populations, you’re more likely to have an unfortunate incident in the Big Peach than in the Windy City.
Note that Chicago has over 2.6 million citizens, while Atlanta is only home to half a million. Following this, the robbery rate in the Windy City falls to 13 out of 100,000, while the Big Peach has 76 per 100,000 people. Similarly, the aggravated assault rate in Chicago is 114 out of 100,000, while Atlanta has 386 per 100,000.
Despite this, you’d still enjoy going to the Big Peach for your getaway trip. As long as you practice some caution, you’ll have the time of your life exploring Atlanta.
Is Atlanta Bigger Than Chicago?
When it comes to geographical size, Chicago is over two times bigger than Atlanta. The Windy City spans about 607.4 sq. km (234.5 sq. mi), while the Big Peach measures only 353 sq. km (136.3 sq. mi).
Chicago to Atlanta Flight Distance
If you travel from Chicago to Atlanta via plane, the flight distance would be 948 km (589 mi). The journey will last about 1 hour and 10 minutes if you’re riding a commercial liner with a speed of 805 km/h (500mph). However, travel time may vary depending on aircraft type, speed, and weather conditions.
Atlanta Airport vs. Chicago Airport
Both Atlanta and Chicago have one major airport to boast of. They are the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the O’Hare International Airport, respectively.
When you compare them in size, the one in the Windy City wins. O’Hare has a whopping 30.87 sq. km (11.92 sq. mi), while the one in Atlanta only has 19.02 sq. km (7.34 sq. mi).
However, Hartsfield-Jackson is busier, catering to an annual average of 75.7 million passengers. Meanwhile, Chicago’s airport only has an average of 54 million travelers.
How Long Is a Train Ride From Atlanta to Chicago?
The train ride to Chicago from Atlanta spans about 945 km (586 mi) and generally lasts about 3 hours and 16 minutes. Direct railways are available for this route, so you don’t have to worry about booking a ticket or getting off to switch rides.
Chicago to Atlanta Drive
The average drive from Chicago to Atlanta spans 1152 km (716 mi). This means that if you’re traveling directly between the two cities, you’ll be behind the wheel for about 10 hours and 42 minutes. However, if you’re going on a leisurely trip while going on several stopovers, your journey may last for days or even weeks.
Best Driving Route From Chicago to Atlanta
There are two driving routes that go from Chicago to Atlanta – the main path and the one that passes through Mississippi. Both options are straight interstate drives that lead to several beautiful towns and cities. As such, you can only decide which is best by determining what kind of scenery you want to witness on your journey.
The main Chicago to Atlanta route is best for travelers who want to enjoy the view while keeping up with their schedule. It’s the most direct link between the two cities and takes around 11 hours to cross. It’s also the easiest path to follow since it passes through major cities and interstates in the USA. You’ll drive by Indiana, the Ohio River, Louisville, Tennessee, Nashville, and Georgia.
Meanwhile, take the Mississippi route if you want to make the best of your road trip. It is longer than the main road that connects Chicago to Atlanta. Specifically, it takes 14 hours to drive without any stopovers. Driving through this route will show you St. Louis, Memphis, and Birmingham.
Road Trip From Chicago to Atlanta
No matter what route you choose for your Chicago to Atlanta road trip, you’ll find a treasure trove of sceneries. Both are direct interstate drives, meaning you get your fair share of cities and countryside.
The first route is considered the main one, allowing you to stop by Nashville. It’s a great city for stopovers, especially if you’re into music. You can drop by the Country Music Hall of Fame and maybe even visit the Storytellers Hideaway Farm. Plus, there are plenty of bars en route if you’re eager for a night filled with alcohol and partying.
Meanwhile, if you take the Mississippi route, you can spend some time in Memphis. This is a must-do, particularly if you’re interested in culture and history. Here you can book a tour of the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. There’s also the Talladega National Forest if you want a brief hiking trip surrounded by nature.