One and a half miles east of Centennial Park, Auburn Avenue stands as a monument to Atlanta’s black history. During its heyday in the 1920s, “Sweet Auburn” was a prosperous, progressive area of black-owned businesses and jazz clubs, but it went into a decline with the Depression from which it has never truly recovered. Several blocks have been designated as the Martin Luther King, Jr National Historic Site, in honour of Auburn’s most cherished native son. This short stretch of road is the most visited attraction in all Georgia and it’s a moving experience to watch the crowds of school kids waiting in turn to take photographs. Head first for the park service’s visitor centre where an exhibition covers King’s life and campaigns. If you’re looking for a broader account of the civil rights years, the museum in Memphis is much more comprehensive, but this provides a powerful summary, culminating with the mule-drawn wagon used in King’s funeral procession in Atlanta on April 9, 1968.

You should check in at the visitor centre for a free tour of King’s Birth Home, a short walk east. As only fifteen people can visit at a time and school groups often visit en masse, you may have to settle for a “virtual tour”, using the computers at the visitor centre. The house itself is a fourteen-room Queen Anne-style shotgun, restored to its prosperous 1930s appearance. Home to King until he was 12 (he was born in an upstairs bedroom), it remained in his family until 1971.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The glamour, surf beaches and…

22 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

A vast expanse of stunning desert scenery, the Southwest is arguably the USA’s most spectacular region. For splendour and sheer scale, the landscape consisten…

06 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

We asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to vote for the most beautiful locations in the USA. Now the results are in. This gallery showcases the top ten most…

31 May 2017 • Lottie Gross camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month