A guide to all the fun and merriment available in The Big Peach while the industry is in town.

Erik J. Martin, CSP Correspondent

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Midtown Must-sees

There’s more to Atlanta than its activeurban hub and eclectic downtown sites.Cultural highlights and Mother Naturenotables are found across the greatermetropolitan area within several differentneighborhoods that are each worthexploring. (Search Atlanta-midtown formore information and ideas.)

Fine and Performing Arts: One of theworld’s choicest collections of pricelesspaintings, sculptures and other artisticworks is waiting to be discovered at theHigh Museum of Art, where masterpiecesby Monet, Tiepolo and Bellini are on permanentdisplay. The collections consistof more than 12,000 pieces and include19th and 20th century decorative andAmerican art, as well as major Europeanworks, modern and contemporary art,photography and more. $19.50 generaladmission (404-733-4400; high.org).

Just across the street is the Museum of Design Atlanta, the only museum in theSoutheast dedicated solely to the studyand appreciation of all things design.MODA most recently debuted “Barrique:Wine, Design and Social Change,”an exhibit that showcases a wine-barrelrecycling project occurring at Europe’slargest residential treatment center foryoung women and men recovering fromdrug addiction and social exclusion.$10 general admission (404-979-6455;museumofdesign.org).

And even if you didn’t bring the kids,you can feel like a kid again at the Centerfor Puppetry Arts, which celebrates theart and wonder of puppetry and housesmore than 350 puppets from around theworld, among them famous creations byJim Henson. $16.50 general admission(404.873.3089; puppet.org).

Natural Wonders: Yearn to communewith nature and bask in the great outdoors?Make plans to stop by the AtlantaBotanical Garden, where you can experience30 acres of trails and gardens aswell as a conservatory and orchid center.“Imaginary Worlds,” the top exhibit for2013, is still open through October, featuring19 amazing living sculptures up to25 feet tall—including a cobra, goddess,unicorn and ogre. $19 general admission(404-876-5859; atlantabotanicalgarden.org). Or take a scenic walk or jogthrough Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s versionof Central Park, which comes alive mostweekends with various music, sports andrecreational festivities. Free admission(404-875-7275; piedmontpark.org).

View the Brew: Learn about treasuredarea libations and satiate your palate withfresh suds by embarking on two famousAtlanta brewery tours and tastings. Thefirst brings you to the headquartersof SweetWater, which concocts up to100,000 barrels of beer a year. Free admission(404-691-2537; sweetwaterbrew.com). The second takes you to the homeof award-winning Red Brick, the oldestoperating craft brewery in the state. Freeadmission (404-355-5558; redbrickbrewing.com).

Making the Rounds Uptown

Eager for excitement and souvenirsbeyond downtown and midtown? Buckup and head to Buckhead, known for itschic shops, distinguished dining establishmentsand impressive mansions.While uptown, consider visiting:

The Atlanta History Center: Thisunique campus houses the AtlantaHistory Museum, Centennial OlympicGames Museum, Swan House, SmithFamily Farm, Kenan Research Center,Margaret Mitchell House and six picturesquegardens. The most currenttemporary exhibit spotlights “NativeLands: Indians and Georgia.” $16.50general admission (404-814-4000;atlantahistorycenter.com).

Chastain Park: Spanning more than260 acres, this is Atlanta’s largest park—the ideal place for an outdoor excursion,with its plentiful fields, tennis courts,arts center, golf course, walking trail,horse park and massive amphitheater.Free admission (chastainpark.org).

Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza: Shop ’til you drop at these two indoor,upscale malls located in different areasof Buckhead, each featuring a widevariety of specialty shops, departmentstores and designer boutiques. LenoxSquare retailers include Louis Vuitton,Fendi, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus,Cartier and Herve Leger; Phipps Plazanotables include Nordstrom, Saks FifthAvenue, Tiffany & Co., Gucci and Belk.Free admission (404-233-6767, simon.com/mall/lenox-square; 404-261-7910,simon.com/mall/phipps-plaza).

LEGOLAND Discovery Center: Traveling with the youngsters to theNACS Show? Take them to a placethey’ll never forget. This interactivewonderland is loaded with familyfriendlyamenities, from the LEGOfactory and MINILAND to KingdomQuest, the 4D Cinema and the MasterBuilder Academy. $19 general admission(404-848-9252; legolanddiscoverycenter.com/atlanta).

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