So far, we’ve talked about the Sweet Auburn’s entrepreneurial spirit and eaten our way through the neighborhood, but we’d be remiss if we put together a guide without mentioning our picks for the top things to do and see. Sweet Auburn is experiencing a revival, resulting in a split personality of sorts—it’s home to a burgeoning night life scene and some of the hippest bars and coffee shops in the city, but at the same time, so much of the area’s unique history is prominently preserved at every turn.
Sweet Auburn has two distinct cultural identities and the only way to really understand the neighborhood Spacelab V. 1.0 is currently popped-up in is to explore the best of what each has to offer:
Experience—Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy
MLK birthplace: Get a glimpse of Dr. King’s birth home on Auburn Ave., where he lived until 1941. Tour admission is free!
MLK Center: Visit exhibits on Dr. King, which also houses the tombs of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
MLK Historical Park: At the visitor center, you can see the original farm wagon that held King’s casket during his funeral procession, plus with exhibits and a film on King.
Ebenezer Baptist Church: Don’t miss a tour of the historic church where both Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached here.
Visit—The multitude of museums and historic markers throughout the corridor
Apex museum: Spacelab’s neighbor in the historic Neel Reid building. Check it out for exhibits on African Diaspora, African Women in S.T.E.M., the slave trade, Atlanta’s legacy of African American politicians and a film on the history of Sweet Auburn.
Fire Station No. 6: Built in the 1890s, this fire station was steps away from MLK’s home yet didn’t desegregate until 1963.
Play—Kick back at two of the city’s most entertaining bars
Joystick Game Bar: Swing by the self-coined “nerdy dive bar of Atlanta” for snacks, drinks and a lot of arcade games.
Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, aka “Church bar”: Born from founder Grant Henry’s alter ego, Sister Louisa, Church is part bar, part gallery, part ping pong hall, and definitely worth checking out. Words don’t do this one justice.
See—Inspiring, photo-worthy pockets of the city
Jackson St. Bridge: Head to the center of the bridge for one of the most Instagrammable views of the city’s skyline.
John Lewis mural on Auburn Avenue: A larger than life mural dedicated to politician and Civil Rights icon, John Lewis.