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Things to See and Do in Kennesaw, GA

Updated on September 9, 2012
The General, the Confederate train that was stolen in "The Great Train Chase."
The General, the Confederate train that was stolen in "The Great Train Chase."

The city of Kennesaw, about 21 miles northwest of Atlanta, is a mecca for Civil War buffs. Its distinguishing landmark, Kennesaw Mountain, was the scene of a notable Confederate victory, the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

The surrounding area was also the scene of many dramatic clashes, including a train theft and the deaths of several Union and Confederate generals.

But even though Civil War battles are its claim to fame, Kennesaw offers a great deal more than historical attractions.

Visitors can also enjoy shopping, fine dining, theaters, hiking, water sports, paintball, helicopter and biplane rides, indoor rock climbing and even indoor ice skating.

The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.
The Southern Museum in Kennesaw.

Civil War Attractions

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw commemorates a daring Union raid commonly known as "The Great Train Chase." In 1862, Union raiders boarded and stole the Confederate locomotive, The General, in an attempt to destroy vital Confederate railroad and telegraph lines. Thus began a wild train chase from Kennesaw to Chattanooga.

The robbed train conductor chased the raiders almost to the Tennessee line, sometimes by train, sometimes by platform car and sometimes even on foot. The raiders tore up the tracks in an attempt to throw off pursuit, but in spite of these attempts, the conductor and other Confederates eventually caught the raiders and recovered the train.

The Smithsonian-affiliated museum now houses the restored General and permanent exhibitions about the train robbery and the importance of railroads during the Civil War. The museum also houses rotating or traveling exhibits of Civil War memorabilia, and houses a permanent Archives and Library featuring archival photographs, drawings, files and blueprints from the post-war railroad industry in the Southeast.

The museum is open daily all year round except for New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Admission is $7.50 for adults $5.50 for children from the ages of 4 to 12, and free for children under 3 years old.


The Trackside Grill is located across the street from The General museum and is a handy place to stop in for lunch or dinner. The menu features mostly traditional Southern fare such as shrimp and grits, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, and fried green tomatoes.

Lake Acworth and Lake Allatoona are only a few miles north on Highway 41 and offer visitors beaches, picnic areas, marinas, fishing and a wide array of water sports, including boating, skiing, jet skiing and kayaking.

"Sherman at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.", A.R. Waud, 1864.
"Sherman at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.", A.R. Waud, 1864.

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park

The park is the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, which took place on June 27, 1864. The battle was a dramatic interruption to General William Tecumseh Sherman's march to Atlanta.

Sherman chose to launch a frontal attack on Confederate General Joe Johnston's fortified positions on the mountain, resulting in heavy Union casualties and a rare defeat for Sherman.

Visitors could devote a whole vacation to this 2,923-acre park; it includes an accessible museum and visitor center, many historic battle sites and monuments, 18 miles of hiking trails and picnic grounds. The park is open 7 days a week and all year long, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and posted seasonal closings. Admission is free. The park is open only during the day and has no camping facilities.


The Gone With the Wind Museum (also known as Scarlett on the Square) is only a few miles south of the park off the Marietta courthouse square. This small but interesting museum houses movie items like Scarlett's breathtaking black-and-white honeymoon gown and Melanie's flowered bonnet, as well as a GWTW manuscript and movie posters from around the world.

Visitors can choose to stay in one of many antebellum-style mansions in the area. The Stanley House is a historic bed and breakfast inn built in 1897 by President Woodrow Wilson's uncle and aunt. The house is decorated with Victorian-style furnishings and is located a few blocks from the Gone With the Wind Museum in Marietta.

The Whitlock Inn is a gloriously restored turn-of-the-century Southern mansion available for dinners, meetings, events and weddings. It's located a block from the Gone With the Wind museum in Marietta.

Shopping and Dining

Ernest Barrett Parkway is Kennesaw's main shopping and dining corridor. Many of the area's non-historical attractions are located on or near Barrett Parkway. Barrett Parkway runs right in front of Town Center Mall -- home to nearly 200 stores -- and is lined by dozens of freestanding restaurants, including:

  • Carrabba's Italian Grill
  • Bahama Breeze
  • On the Border Mexican Grill
  • Golden Corral
  • Applebee's
  • TGIF Friday's
  • Olive Garden, and many others.

The Town Center Mall area is also home to the Regal Town Center 16 theater, for visitors who'd like to take in a movie. Any visitors who visit Town Center should also take the opportunity to visit the nearby Varsity restaurant, home of the legendary Varsity hot dog and the artery-clogging, but oh-so-good, Varsity fried onion rings.

Battlefield visitors who leave their cars on the south side of the park can drive west on Dallas Highway for a few miles to reach The Avenue at West Cobb. This upscale mall contains over 50 stores and a variety of restaurants, including:

  • Ted's Montana Grill
  • Aspen's Signature Steaks
  • Panera Bread Company
  • Romano's Macaroni Grill
  • Chili's
  • Cold Stone Creamery


McCollum Airport is Kennesaw's air traffic gateway, located not far from Town Center Mall. Visitors who arrive by plane can grab a quick bite in the airport's restaurant, Elevation Chophouse, before heading out to local attractions. Charter companies at the airport also offer visitors open-cockpit biplane rides, and helicopter rides over Kennesaw Mountain and the surrounding areas.

Kennesaw paintball companies such as Georgia Paintball (supply vendors) and Arkenstone Paintball (paintball fields) give visitors the chance to play commando games in a variety of themed fields.

There is also an indoor ice skating rink near Town Center Mall for public skating (Ice Forum at Town Center) an indoor rock climbing wall (Escalade Climbing Gym) and a game emporium with go karts, mini golf and video games (Mountasia Family Entertainment Center.)

Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park

The General Museum


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    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Nell, thanks for visiting. And come on over! You haven't lived until you've eaten authentic Southern cooking. It will ruin you for anything else!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Sounds like an amazing day out! yes me too, the gone with the wind museum! lol! but even eating out sounds great, wonderful hub and so interesting! nell

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      JC, I'm glad I gave you an idea. The Atlanta area has so much history and drama. Come on over!

    • jcevans2009 profile image

      Judith C Evans 5 years ago from Boise, ID

      Sounds like a great place! I'd especially love to see the Gone With the Wind Museum. Voted up and interesting!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I would love to visit Kennasew, Ga. I was hooked when you mentioned the ' gone with the wind ' Exhabit. My favorite movie of all time. Thank you for sharing..Enjoyed..

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you for visiting, Mhatter! Come on down sometime!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      :-) Faith!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Teaches, thanks for visiting! Yes, the Atlanta area generally is rich in Civil War and civil rights history and has a lot to offer visitors. The north Georgia mountains are lovely and Savannah, especially the historic district, is a lot of fun. I'm glad if I inspired you to consider a visit. Come on up!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for the great suggestions and the backgrounds.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      LOL - For sure!!! Oopsey In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Georgia is just a few hours from here but we have never considered it holding any interest as a vacation spot. Now, I will have to check this out. The history is quite interesting. Love the Georgia peaces too!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      I'll be waiting to see it, Faith! Just make sure that Mhatter doesn't see it -- oh dear, after all that kerfuffle about the hat.... ;-)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      LoL, molly, I will come for a visit, but I believe I will bypass "Cowboys" this time. Ha. I am not up on the country stuff, except once a year now I watch the awards to see who is who nowadays. Uploading that photo of me, may have to along with a limerick or funny poem. I mainly just listen to Contemporary Christian music now, but I sure do hate that I had no clue about everything interesting in Kennesaw. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Faith! Thanks for visiting! Cowboys is still here and may be an even bigger attraction than the park! I've never been there myself, my country music listening is sporadic and tends to be the older stuff like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline. You'll have to educate me about Gary Allan.

      And you will definitely have to upload a photo of you in your cowboy hat! :-) Come on back to Georgia sometime!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      molly - you are not going to believe this, but I have been to Kennesaw, Georgia one time, but not to see all the lovely historical and other wonderful attractions that one would want to see - and why is that? Well, after listening to 40 years of rock-n-roll, one day I was just so tired of listening to the same thing for 40 years, so I changed the channel on the radio station and a country music channel came up, and then I started watching the CMC and happened to see a video of a new artist back then, Gary Allan, well that was all it took! LOL As I became a member of his fan hub and all that, and we traveled to Kennesaw, Georgia to "Cowboys" just to see him. I have photos and everything wearing my cowboy hat, etc. I even had a back stage pass to meet him at the meet and greet. LOL That phase in my life lasted about two years and then I changed the channel on the radio again, and found a Christian radio station, and that was that. LOL I will never forget that night though, I must say. I may have to write a hub about my obession with Gary Allan back in the day before my walk with Christ got serious. You brought back some memories for sure. Now, I must travel back to Kennesaw to see all the other great attractions, as you have mentioned here! I noticed that "Cowboys" is not on your list of things to see in Kennesaw. Ha. I actually grew up in Georgia. Great hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Come on down, Hyph! You and your son would like Kennesaw. It's funny, I just got off the phone with a man at the train museum. I had asked him about taking a photo of the train and he invited me to come over and take all the photos I like -- yay! So I'll soon have a color photo of The General. I wanted to run color photos of the park as well, but the national park service wants $190 for a commercial photo permit....ouuuccchh. They don't play -- they want that money, lol!

      Thanks for looking in, Hyph!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      You have made me excited to visit Kennesaw. I especially love the train story. I have been past there but never had time to stop and explore. I shall plan a weekend trip with my boy. He and I both love history. Thank you so much.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Crystal, and thank you! Kennesaw, and really the entire region, is lovely and has a lot to offer. I might do a follow-up on area wildlife -- I looked out my back window today and saw an eagle sitting on a post in my garden fence. After the rabbits, no doubt! One of the most charming things about the area is that it still has a touch of that undeveloped wildness about it.

      Thanks for visiting - drop in anytime!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 5 years ago from Georgia

      Kennesaw is near my hometown - it's nice to see it highlighted here. Good job!

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Thanks for looking in, Bill! I appreciate it. Yes, Civil War battles are Kennesaw's claim to fame. I learned a lot when researching this hub. Local groups do reenactments in the park every year on the anniversary of the battle, but the park is huge and contains so much more than that: historical houses and farms, many battle sites and monuments. Come on down anytime!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I would love to see this some day; since I am a Civil War buff this is a must-see if I'm ever in that area. Thanks for the great tour and suggestions.


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