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Architecture in Havana

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Old Havana
Old Havana, located around the five main squares, and has one of the most impressive ensembles of historical architecture. From Baroque to Art Deco, from Neoclassicism to Art Nouveau, the rainbow-colored facades of the area adorn the diverse cultural heritage of Cuba. Founded in the early 16th century on the southwest coast of Cuba by Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez, Havana moved twice before taking permanent establishment on the Caribbean island’s northwest coast. Strategically chosen for its location in the Gulf of Mexico, Havana became a mandatory stop for ships traveling to and from the New World, and quickly became the largest port in the Spanish West Indies. Today, the city still claims some of the oldest stone fortifications in the Americas, and Old Havana, or Habana Vieja, claims some of the most beautiful architecture.
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Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle in Old Havana, Cuba, one of Cuba’s most ancient castles. It is a great sample of military architecture during the Spain's rule over the Caribbean. It is located in the Plaza de Armas Square in Old Havana facing the sea. The Castle, as well as the rest of the old city’s fortifications, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is the oldest fortress still preserved in all the Americas. It was built between 1558 and 1577, in the same location where a fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1555. The west tower is crowned by the copy of a well-known bronze weathervane called La Giraldilla. The original was made in Havana in 1630 and is quite similar to the Giralda of Seville.
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El Capitolio
El Capitolio, or the National Capitol Building is one of the most visited sites in Havana. This majestic construction, located in the Centro Habana, is similar to that in Washington D.C, but a meter higher, a meter wider, and a meter longer, as well as much more rich in detail. It was started to be built by Gerardo Machado in 1926 supported by North America. Formerly, it was used as headquarters of the Cuban Congress, but since 1959 it has hosted the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Science and Technology National Library. The entrance is sheltered by 6 huge Doric columns, on top of a 55 steps granite staircase. In both sides on top of the stairs there are two amazing sculptures in bronze, a masculine and a feminine one, both 6,70 meters high, by the Italian Angelo Zanelli. When you cross them you’ll arrive to the Hall of Lost Steps, named in this way due to its wonderful acoustics, and in which center is the Republic statue, a huge woman in bronze 14,60 meters high and more than 30 tons weight, representing the virtue of the nation and work.
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Malecon
The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a complex but smart design for the seawall, which was to be a lot more than just a promenade. According to historical records, the avenue was supposed to be constructed 4 meters above sea level. The whole project would cost 850,000 pesos, but the Spanish government didn’t bring itself to issue the construction permit and Albear’s proposal was postponed. The construction of the Malecón began in 1901. After the first stretch was completed, for which several public facilities were demolished, construction works were resumed in 1921, and again in the 30’s.The architectural richness of the Malecón is also expressed through 18th- and 19th-century stately homes, followed by a row of 20th-century buildings with an unusual combination of styles and profusion of portals, columns and pilasters that loosely follow classical lines. But beyond the architectural values of the buildings, its greatest charm lies in being somewhere to stroll or hang out on a stiflingly hot day. It is a place where couples come to make amends, especially at sunset, in the company of children and fishermen. It is Havana’s outdoor lounge.
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Morro Castle
Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro (Morro Castle) was erected between 1589 and 1630 to protect the mouth of the Havana port from pirates and invaders. The fortress stands on a rocky promontory known as El Morro, over the Atlantic. It was the King of Spain who ordered the castle to be built and appointed Juan de Texeda, a field commander, and Batista Antonelli, a military architect, to lead the works. The castle was originally planned to have an irregular polygonal shape, with three-meter-thick walls and deep moats. The castle is an perfect example of renaissance military architecture, and is endowed with an harmonic elegance that melds with its natural surroundings through a series of terraces fused to the rock. Nowadays, the castle offers impressive views of the sea and Havana. The lighthouse that crowns its tower was added in 1844 and helps guide ships docking in the port.
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Ancient Spanish Monastery
Hidden in modern North Miami Beach, the Ancient Spanish Monastery takes us back. An enclave of European architecture and history, this Florida Heritage site—which was originally built in Sacramenia, a municipality of Segovia in northern Spain—has endured a long and interesting history to become the South Florida monument we know and love today. “The Ancient Spanish Monastery is a little piece of Spanish history,” says Father Gregory Mansfield, Curator of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Museum & Gardens. “Construction began in 1133 AD, almost 360 years before Columbus left Spain and arrived in the Americas, and it took eight years to complete. There are over 35,000 stones, some of which weigh a ton and a half.” In the 21st century, the Ancient Spanish Monastery serves as both a peek into history and a tourist attraction. At the entrance to the property, there’s a museum with historic Spanish artifacts like a hymnarium and pieces of armor worn during the Crusades. In that same building, there is also a gift shop with souvenirs available for purchase.
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Pedro St. James
Discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman via this lovingly restored window into the 18th century that’s only a 20-minute drive from George Town. At a time in the Cayman Islands when most people lived in tiny, thatch-covered houses, a wealthy Englishman, using slave labour from Jamaica, created an astonishing 3-storey building called Pedro St. James. In the 1990s, the Government of the Cayman Islands purchased Pedro St. James and painstakingly restored the Great House to the splendour of its 18th-century heritage. Today, visitors can stroll through the imposing edifice with its period furniture and authentic artefacts to experience what life was like so long ago in Cayman’s history.
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El Meco
At Km 2.7 of the Puerto Juárez - Punta Sam highway north of Cancun, is El Meco. On the site you can see 14 structures with a main temple: El Castillo, which is a pyramid of five levels.
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Henry B. Plant Museum
The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad resort that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant. The Museum seeks to transport the visitor through educational exhibits and events to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the city of Tampa.
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The Straz Center for the Performing Arts
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts provides world-class entertainment, ranging from lavish Broadway shows to classical music and rock concerts. It is the largest facility of its kind in the Southeastern United States.
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Valladolid Fort
The Convent of San Bernardino stands with its majestic architectural style as one of the most popular attractions in Valladolid.
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Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is probably the most important city of the Mayan Culture in the Yucatan peninsula and has the most amazing buildings of any other Mayan ancient cities. Chichen Itza is also the largest and most impressive of the Mayan ruins, is an spectacular and mystical place to visit, if you only want to do one day trip during your vacation in Cancun, this should be this one. Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, was a sacred city of the Itza and the name literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza". Located 75 miles east of Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico; it covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds but more than thirty may still be seen by tourists. The ruins of Chichen Itza are divided into two groups. One group belongs to the classic Maya Period and was built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D., at which time the city became a prominent ceremonial center. The other group corresponds to the Maya-Toltec Period, from the later part of the 10th century to the beginning of the 13th century A.D. This area includes the Sacred Well and most of the outstanding ruins.
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Rose Hall Great House
Cinnamon Hill has a very historic and celebrated past. The house was built in 1734 by Edward Barrett, ancestor of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. It was subsequently owned by George Robertson, Joseph Shore, then the Henderson family until it was purchased by John Rollins in the 1960s. Johnny Cash bought the house from Rollins in the early 70s and he and his estate owned it until the Rollins family -Michele Rollins- bought it back in 2012 after the Cashes passed away. Rumour has it there are ghosts living in the house, with many stories told from the Cash’s and other visitors about common sightings. But the real intrigue is the Cinnamon Hill Great House itself. The estate features island architecture, furnishings, native flowers, iridescent hummingbirds and still captures the spirit of the man in black. The interior is frozen in time with family photos, a crocodile Johnny helped catch and even a pair of Johnny’s well-worn work boots.
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Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention
The Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention, located at 811 South Main Street, is a museum of ideas. The question is not what you will see but what will you imagine and create. Dr. James Robert Cade, a kidney specialist at the University of Florida, was best known as the leader of the research team that invented Gatorade in 1965. In 2004, Dr. Cade and his family established The Cade Museum Foundation in an effort to design and build a 26,000 square foot museum in Gainesville, Florida. The mission of the museum is to transform communities by inspiring and equipping future inventors, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. The Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention offers interactive activities in the Creativity and Fab Labs, hands-on learning in the rotunda, Studebaker Sundays, outdoor educational activities, travelling exhibits, and much, much, more. Cade programming and events are designed to engage guests in “purposeful creativity,” the kind that leads to great inventions, new businesses, and ideas that change the world
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Gainesville Community Playhouse
The Gainesville Community Playhouse is one of the oldest community theatre in the state of Florida. Its first play, The Pied Piper of Hamlin, was produced in 1927 and have been producing quality plays and musicals ever since. In 2006, Gainesville Community Playhouse moved into our present facility, the magnificent Vam York Theater, a 210-seat house with facilities to stage the most demanding musicals and plays.
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Santiago de Cuba Cathedral
The Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Cathedral stays from the early 20th century in the same place where other temples stood before since the 16th century. However, the repeated assaults of the pirates, the weather and the earthquakes destroyed the previous buildings.
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Paseo Montejo
Walk along the traditional Paseo Montejo to admire the old houses of the Porfiriato accompanied by large trees which project their playful silhouettes on the wide paved sidewalks.
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Devon House
Sitting on 11 lush acres in the capital city, the stately Devon House mansion was the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire, George Stiebel. It was built in 1881, on what was originally a 51-acre property.
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Port Royal
One of the oldest and most historic regions of the country, Port Royal has maintained much of its independence as well as its heritage. Once the enclave of pirates and other outlaws, there is still a strong seafaring tradition. Much of the old city, described in the 17th century as the "wickedest city in the west", lies underwater beside the town, the result of an earthquake that in 1692 swallowed about two-thirds of the then-living space. Since then, another earthquake in 1907, numerous hurricanes, fires, and various population-decimating diseases have plagued the town. Despite all, the waters around Port Royal are a virtual archaeological gold mine, filled with pieces of history that tell of everyday life in the earliest days of English occupation. Port Royal is also home to the Archaeological Division of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), which recently completed a sonar survey of the underwater city, revealing a sunken pirate ship in the Kingston Harbour. To date thousands of artefacts have been recovered, and there are plans to develop a local museum to showcase these items once the research on them is complete.
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Liberty Hall
Liberty Hall located at 76 King Street, Kingston was the centre of activities for the Kingston division of The U.N.I.A. It was acquired in 1923 for eight hundred pounds sterling (£800). The two-storey building was the first meeting hall in Jamaica that was fully owned and operated by blacks. It was the home to plays, concerts, dances, elocution pieces, adult and children's choirs. One famous play, which took place here, was the "Slave Ship", which recaptured the horrors of the Middle Passage. Liberty Hall was so named because of Garvey's great admiration for the Irish independence movement and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union whose headquarters in Dublin was named Liberty Hall in 1912. It was at this place, described as "the fortress of the militant working class of Ireland" that many plans were made for Irish self-determination, and Garvey saw the U.N.I.A struggle as being akin to that of the Irish. Liberty Hall is decked in colours red, black and green, which are of much significance. The red denotes the blood of the Negro race nobly shed in the past and dedicated to the future; black represents the colour of the skin and green represents a promise of a better life in Africa. This monument stands as a proud reminder to all Jamaicans, and indeed to all visitors of the works and achievements of the great visionary and National Hero the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
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St.John's Cathedral
Located in the heart of Belize City, St. John’s Cathedral is one of the few physical legacies of the long period as a British colony. Built in 1812 as the Church of England’s headquarters in Central America, the cathedral was once used to crown four different native kings of the Miskito tribe in lavish ceremonies matching the pomp and circumstances of coronations in Europe. Today, the cathedral is the oldest surviving building constructed by Europeans in Belize. Using the enormous ballast stones brought over from Europe, English colonizers in what was then known as British Honduras erected the mighty St. John’s Cathedral as the power base of the Church of England in Central America. Visitors today can marvel at the well-preserved architecture made from sapodilla and mahogany wood, an antique pipe organ and tombstones of English colonists from the earliest days of the settlement of Belize City.
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Royal Street
For a full 13 blocks, Royal Street runs parallel to Bourbon Street, yet this thoroughfare – one of the finest stretches of art galleries, antique stores, wrought iron balconies, restaurants and architecture in the USA – is sometimes almost completely missed by visitors. This is a real shame; beyond the qualities we’ve just described, Royal Street makes a nice counterbalance to the neon and noise of Bourbon.
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Garden District
Love at first sight is a common experience for first time visitors to the Garden District. It often goes something like this: they’re traveling up St. Charles Avenue via the streetcar when they get their first glance of the oak tree lined streets and historic homes. You can tell by the pristine look on their faces, that the Garden District has started a new found romance. The romance blooms as the afternoon is spent exploring memories of New Orleans’ antebellum past, gazing at secluded mansions, wandering down the brick lined sidewalks. Its canopy of oak trees is world-famous, while its characteristic gardens of hibiscuses and crepe myrtles, angel trumpets and bougainvillea, make it one of New Orleans' most beautiful neighborhoods. The Garden District has worked its magic again.
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Jackson Square
Historic Jackson Square, originally known in the 18th century as "Place d'Armes," and later renamed in honor of the Battle of New Orleans hero Andrew Jackson, is a timeless attraction in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. This famous landmark facing the Mississippi River is surrounded by historic buildings, including the St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere and Cabildo (Louisiana State Museums), not to mention the Lower and Upper Pontalba Apartments, the oldest apartment buildings in the United States. The Pontalba Apartments offer retail shops, museums, galleries and restaurants on the ground level; their second and third floors still house a selection of prestigious apartments. For well over a half-century, there has been an open-air artist colony at Jackson Square. Local artists paint, draw, create portraits, caricatures, and display their work on the square's iron fence. Some have been there for generations! Jackson Square is a favorite site for visitors and locals. The artists, restaurants, museums, merchants and the square itself make Jackson Square one of the French Quarter's most popular destinations.
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St. Louis Cathedral
Facing Jackson Square and flanked by the historic Cabildo on one side and the equally historic Presbytere on the other, St. Louis Cathedral is among the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter. And one of the most recognizable.
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Bourbon Street
This street is a tourism destination for a reason. It’s a thoroughfare with an utterly fascinating history, home to some of the oldest bars, family-run restaurants and gay entertainment districts in the country. In short, while there’s plenty to discover off of Bourbon, there’s a lot to discover on the iconic street as well that may surprise those travelers who turn their nose up at all the flashing lights.
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Citadelle Laferriere
The Citadelle Laferrière is a mountaintop fortress, located on the northern coast of Haiti - on the top of mountain Bonnet a L’Eveque. Depicted on local currency, stamps and postcards, this amazing structure has become the symbol of Haiti’s power and independence. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century by one of the leaders of Haiti’s slave revolution. The Citadelle Laferrière is also known simply as the Citadelle or as Citadelle Henri Christophe in the honour of its creator. The Citadelle is referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World and in 1982 it was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This massive stone construction is the largest fortress in the Americas. Built to demonstrate the power of the newly independent Haiti, the Citadelle Laferrière was essential for the security of Haiti’s newly formed state.
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Sans Souci Palace
Henri Christophe is also the one who ordered the construction of this palace. Although in ruins today, its remnants explain the extent of the territory on which it was built. Two earthquakes (1842 & 1843) seriously destroyed it. This colossal monument was the personal residence of Henri Christophe and was divided into four sections including the King's apartments (Henri Christophe), left pavilion, the Queen's apartments and large stables. It even had a barracks, a hospital, a print shop and more. According to the hearsay, the style of the palace was to compete with the castle of Versailles.
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L'Auberge Casino
Featuring a single-level, 30,000-square-foot gaming floor with 1,500 slot machines and 51 table games, including a poker room; a hotel with 205 guestrooms and a rooftop pool. The casino also includes a multi-purpose event center with concert seating for up to 1,400 people or banquet seating for up to 800 people, a covered parking garage, unique dining options and entertainment venues overlooking the Mississippi River.
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Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum
Established to provide and sustain a publicly accessible center for the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the material culture, cultural landscapes and vernacular architecture of Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Visitors see how the settlers of Louisiana established an admirable society in spite of great odds, gain insight into the difficulties faced by their ancestors, and learn why Louisianans are a unique people with roots from many parts of the world. Tour 32 historic buildings within the Museum Complex, and the historic Windrush Gardens.
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Magnolia Mound Plantation
A 1792 French Creole plantation house authentically restored with outbuildings and gardens covering 15 acres. This landmark is a unique southern Louisiana landmark because of its age, quality of restoration, and outstanding collections. Magnolia Mound's mission is to illustrate and interpret the lifestyle of the French Creoles through educational programs, workshops, lectures, festivals, and other special events. The property includes a historic museum house, an open-hearth kitchen, overseer's house, quarter house, crop garden pigeonnier and carriage house.
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Louisiana Governor's Mansion
Built in 1963 when Jimmy Davis was Governor of Louisiana, the Mansion is located on Capitol Lake near the State Capitol. Because so many antebellum mansions were being destroyed by fire and neglect, Gov. and Mrs. Davis instructed the architects to design a mansion in the Greek Revival style, which was the dominant style in Louisiana after 1830. This period marks a distinct departure from earlier Louisiana architecture. The Mansion contains a total of 25,000 square feet of space in three floors and a basement.
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Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
The Museum of the Jimmy Carter Library provides a unique experience for the visitor. Through immersive exhibitions of objects, documents, and photographs, videos, and beautiful gifts from world leaders, visitors can get a close-up view of the modern American Presidency. Highlights include a life-size replica of the Oval Office, a dramatic “Day in the Life of the President” presentation on 13 ft. screens, a walk-through cabin setting for the crucial Camp David Meetings exhibition, and an Interactive Map Table that takes you with the Carters to monitor elections and fight diseases. The Presidential Library is nestled between two lakes on 30 acres of parkland and provides a tranquil setting with a view of the Atlanta skyline. Changing exhibits are drawn from the library and museum collection or are based on themes relating to the presidency and American history.
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Fox Theatre
Known to locals as "The Fox", this exotic styled downtown landmark brings Atlanta the best in performance entertainment including Broadway shows, the Atlanta Ballet, Billboard's top music concert tours, and its original purpose: classic feature films. Travel back in time to 1929 as you ascend stone staircases, down steel freight elevators, and gaze up as "clouds" drift across an Arabian night sky to see why The Fox is #2 on the list of Things To Do in Atlanta. An interior design aficionado? A fan of globally inspired architecture? Or interested in historical buildings that almost became a concrete parking lot? Take a guided tour through this immaculate theatre's story of rising from the ashes (literally), and see the world's second-largest theatre organ Mighty Mo as well as men's and women's lounge areas straight out of the Jazz Era.
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The Red Stick Sculpture
This Baton Rouge landmark is a commemorative sculpture by the late SU Alumni Frank Hayden, erected on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus to mark the site of the famous exchange on Scott's Bluff that gave the city of Baton Rouge its name, meaning "Red Stick" in French. Wondering what "Baton Rouge" means? The story has it that long ago, this area in Louisiana along the mighty Mississippi River was occupied by two indigenous tribes, the Houma Indian Tribe and the Bayougoula Indian Tribe. To settle a border conflict between them, the tribes used a cypress pole to mark the boundary dividing their hunting grounds at an area now known as Scott’s Bluff. This marker on the east bank of the Mississippi River caught the eye of French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville while making his way upriver during an exploration in 1699. He and his men saw the bloodied cypress pole on the bluff, adorned with animal parts and stained red from the tribes’ latest haul, and dubbed the area "le bâton rouge," French for "Red Stick". In 1810, the area became part of the colonies and in 1817, the town was officially incorporated as “Baton Rouge.” Locals still lovingly refer to the city as "The Red Stick."
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High Museum of Art
From a stately home on Peachtree Street to its current award-winning buildings in a spectacular setting, the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta has become the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. The High boasts a celebrated collection of classic to contemporary art, as well as renowned architecture by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano. With a dynamic schedule of special exhibitions, an extensive collection, innovative educational and family programs, meeting and event facilities, the Museum Shop, and several dining options, there is something for everyone at the High.
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The Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center is located in one of Atlanta’s most vibrant neighborhoods where the stories, mysteries and crusades of our region thrive. Our 33-acre experience features award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, enchanting gardens, interactive activities and a variety of year-round adult and family programs.
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NASCAR Hall of Fame
Conveniently located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010, and includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, a 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop, NASCAR Productions-operated broadcast studio and an attached parking garage on Brevard Street. The 5-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000-square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The goal of the facility is to honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport in the past, present and future.