Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta – The Peach State

Georgia State Capitol - FrontWhile in Atlanta, June of 2012, we had a great time touring the Word of Coke, seeing Stone Mountain, and spending a few hours at Centennial Olympic Park. However, on our continued quest to visit all the 50 state capitols, we also toured the Georgia State Capitol while in the area. Yes, 2012 was a while ago, but I still remember our visit fondly, as well as their amazing staircase. I think it was the highlight of the building. Of course, that is just my opinion, but I really liked it.

 Georgia State Capitol - GroundsThe Georgia State Capitol is one of only forty-three National Historic Landmarks in Georgia. It has been named a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the primary office building of Georgia’s government housing the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state.

 Georgia State Capitol - StaircaseThe capitol was designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke and Franklin P. Burnham. Its style is described as “Neo- Classical-Renaissance Revival.” The cornerstone was laid on September 2, 1885, attended by a major ceremony and celebration. Georgians were invited to donate articles for entombment in the stone, and local Masons oversaw the laying of the stone. I thought that was pretty interesting when I heard that.  It took until 1889 to be complete, but on July 4, 1889, construction of the Georgia State Capitol was complete, and the building opened. I thought that was cool that the building opened on our independence day!

 Georgia State Capitol - LightToday the capitol offers guided tours for groups of 10-60 and must be reserved in advance by calling  404-463-4536 to schedule your tour. Sadly we didn’t have reservations and all the spots were already filled. Luckily they also have self-guided tours (at least when we were there). We grabbed a Capitol tour guide brochure and toured on our own.

 Georgia State Capitol - DomeAs the guide suggested we started in the rotunda and were able to see the gorgeous gold dome and the statue of Miss Freedom. There are also portraits of both national heroes and famous Georgians. It is a very beautiful space.

 Georgia State Capitol - Miss FreedomWe made our way up to the second floor which was designated as the executive floor because it housed the Governor and Secretary of State’s office and in 1946 the newly created Office of the Lieutenant Governor. This floor also contains portraits of Washington, Franklin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, former governors, as well as Jimmy Carter, the only Georgian to become President of the United States.

 Georgia State Capitol - Chambers 1We eventually made it up to the third floor which is known as the legislative floor and it is where our legislators gain access to both the House and Senate chambers. This is always one of my favorite things to see at capitols. Apparently, the General Assembly is made up of 56 Senators and 180 Representatives. They serve during a legislative session that begins every year on the second Monday of January and lasts 40 working days, usually finishing by the end of March. Since we were there in June, there was nothing going on, but they were still cool to see.

Georgia State Capitol - Chambers 1The fourth floor houses a museum that was designed to showcase the Georgia State Capitol and Georgia government. We had such an enjoyable time exploring that we never made it up tp the fourth floor :(. However, the guide said there is a description of the Capitol’s time capsule; two dioramas from the 1939 World’s Fair, Governors’ artifacts, and a case featuring many of Georgia’s state symbols. We were disappointed we didn’t get to see that. Hopefully, we will be able to check it out the next time we are in the area. Here is a link to a website with more info about the capitol and its tours.

Georgia State Capitol Visitor Information

Georgia Flag

Address:

206 State Capitol, Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Phone:

404-463-4536

Hours:

  • Monday – Friday
  • 8 AM – 5 PM
  • (Note: Washington St. entrance closes at 4 PM.)

Price:

Free

Tours:

General Guided Tour Description

This comprehensive tour provides visitors with an introduction to the principles of democratic government in Georgia. Through an interactive discussion (with student groups) the guide will help visitors learn about democracy and representative government. During the tour, your guide will describe the history of Georgia’s capitals, point out unique features of this building, recognize important figures from Georgia history, and provide fun facts about Georgia.

January through May

GUIDED TOURS (10-60 VISITORS)
Monday – Friday at 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, and 11:30 AM**Reservations are required** Call 404-463-4536 to schedule your tour.
Tour lasts 25-40 minutes. Due to the legislative schedule, this tour may or may not include a guided visit to the legislative galleries.

June through August

GUIDED TOURS (10-60 VISITORS)
Monday – Friday at 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM
**Reservations are required** Call 404-463-4536 to schedule your tour.
Tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.

September through December

GUIDED TOURS (10-60 VISITORS)
Monday – Friday at 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM and 11:30 AM
**Reservations are required** Call 404-463-4536 to schedule your tour.
Tour lasts approximately 40 minutes.

Directions:

From the South:

Take I-75/85 North to Exit 245 (Capitol Avenue).
At the bottom of the exit ramp, continue straight through the stop sign.
At the first traffic light, turn left onto Hank Aaron Drive.
The Capitol will be approximately one mile down on the left.

From the North:

Take I-75/85 South to Exit 248A (Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive).
Bear right onto Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
The Capitol will be on the left.

From the East:

Take I-20 West to Exit 58A (Capitol Avenue).
Turn right on Capitol Avenue.
The Capitol will be approximately one mile down on the left.

From the West:

Take I-20 East to Exit 56B (Windsor St./Spring St./Stadium).
At the third light, turn left onto Central Avenue.
Go to Mitchell Street and turn right.
The Capitol will be two blocks down on the left.

Parking:

Public parking is available in several locations surrounding the Capitol. Parking fees vary by lot. Certain lots may be closed due to the legislative session.

The following lots are always open to the public if spaces are available:

  • Steve Polk Plaza Parking is located on M.L. King, Jr., Drive, one block from the Capitol
  • A surface lot is located on Memorial Drive, one block from the Capitol
  • Underground Parking: A parking garage is located on the north side of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, two blocks from the Capitol

Accessibility:

The south entrance located on Capitol Square is accessible. The building is open from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except for state holidays.

The House and Senate galleries located on the 4th floor each have accessible seating areas. There are committee meeting and conference rooms available throughout the building. For specific information on accessibility for the Senate gallery and committee rooms, contact the Secretary of the Senate’s office at 404-656-5040; for the House gallery and committee rooms, contact the Clerk’s Office at 404-656-5015.

Courtesy wheelchairs and scooters are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the south entrance located on Capitol Square. Photo ID is required. Wheelchairs and scooters must remain on Capitol property at all times.

There is an accessible single-user Toilet Room on the first floor near the east entrance. A wheelchair-accessible women’s restroom is located on the second floor, in room 233. This restroom has a power-assisted door for entry and exit. A wheelchair-accessible men’s restroom is located on the fourth floor, adjacent to the House gallery, in room 425.

Permanent room spaces, including House and Senate galleries, offices, hearing rooms, and restrooms are designated using braille numerals with white-on-red signage. House personnel are available to assist individuals who need or desire further guidance. In addition, all elevators are equipped with audio floor notifications and braille controls.

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