Located in central Cobb County, the suburb of Marietta predates Atlanta itself and has a storied history. Named for the wife of Thomas Cobb, U.S. Senator and namesake of the county, the city of Marietta was settled on Cherokee land and officially recognized in 1834.
The town square residents and visitors know today as Marietta Square has its origins in these early years. By 1845, construction of the Western and Atlantic Railroad to Chattanooga ran through Marietta and its square, boosting its status as a major settlement. Residents moved in and the pace of development increased, including a series of factories and inns — of which, only the Kennesaw House stands today as the home of the Marietta History Center. In the 1850s, the city was beset by a series of fires. The city recovered, but in 1864, Sherman’s northern army occupied Marietta Square and pillaged the city on its way to burn Atlanta.
Growth continued after the Civil War, and the war marked the next turning point for Marietta. World War II and the Korean War brought military aircraft development to Cobb County, first with Bell Aircraft and then Lockheed Martin (which still maintains its facility in Marietta). Dobbins Air Force Base was built on the outskirts of Marietta. In peacetime, the city has continued to grow over the years as more residents are attracted to its neighborhoods and students move there for the city’s two large college campuses. Throughout it all, Marietta Square has stood tall, home to a lively collection of diners, breweries, shops, and government buildings.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Marietta or Cobb County, visit the Marietta History Center.
What can I do for fun in Marietta?
Make a splash at Six Flags White Water. Cool off during this extreme heat at the most thrilling water park this side of Sea World. Six Flags White Water Take a swim in the giant wave pool, plunge down one of their many slide variants, or get daring with the new Python Plunge, twisting and turning down multiple drops in a roller coaster of a water slide.
See a show at the Strand Theatre. Revitalized in 2009, this historic Art Deco theatre on the Square is a major venue for concerts, theatrical performances, and more. Catch a tribute performance for everything from Motown to arena rock, a stand-up comedy set, a classic film screening, or a musical.
Summon the spirits of yore or take a history tour. With its history of conflict, from the Cherokees to the Confederacy, there’s plenty of reasons for spirits to haunt the city. Book a haunted walking tour of Marietta Square, a lantern-led museum tour, or stroll amongst the gravestones and try not to wake the dead!
Given its history, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that Marietta also has a rich black heritage, and the Marietta Visitors Bureau has a self-guided Black Heritage Walking Tour available for visitors. Visit historically significant sites that span from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, including old churches and shops.
Where are the best places to eat and drink in Marietta?
Cool Beans Coffee Roasters
The trains may be gone from Marietta Square, but their stations still fuel the town. Start your day by grabbing a fresh espresso in this boutique coffee shop tucked into an old train station. Or grab a bag of whole bean coffee, with varieties from around the world, to go. But take a minute to relax on the spacious outdoor space as you sip your morning brew.
Location: 31 Mill Street, Suite 100; Hours: Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Website: coolbeanscoffeeroasters.com
Mezza Luna Pasta & Seafood
Forget Olive Garden. Check out this Italian bistro, which handcrafts their noodles fresh daily, instead. Enjoy the homey atmosphere as you slurp down a selection of creamy pastas and seafood dishes. Pair it with a bottle of imported Italian red wines, or a cappuccino if you need that date night boost of energy.
Location: 2100 Roswell Road, Suite 2198; Hours: Lunch: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Dinner: Monday through Thursday, 5 - 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 3 - 10 p.m.; Sunday noon to 9 p.m.; Website: mezzalunaga.com
Stockyard Burgers and BBQ
Meat lovers, rejoice! Stockyard Burgers has you covered with a bevy of juicy Angus beef burgers, smoky racks of ribs, coffee-rubbed steak, or seafood (for the nautically-inclined). Relax in their leather-clad booths or on their spacious patio. The bar can quench your thirst with a full stock of bourbons, whiskeys, and beers. Sunday brunch mixes up the proteins with waffles, eggs, pulled pork hash, plus a classic chicken and waffles dish.
Location: 26 Mill Street; Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday brunch lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.); Website: stockyardburger.com
Glover Park Brewery
Wind down after a long week with friends and neighbors at this rustic brewhouse. Located in a historic building in Marietta Square, Glover Park has a wide selection of cocktails, lagers, German, and Irish brews. Depending on when you visit, enjoy their variety of monthly activities, including a rotating variety of food trucks, Wednesday trivia nights, and live music on the weekends.
Location: 65 Atlanta St SE; Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 - 10 p.m.; Thursday: 4 - 11 p.m.; Friday: 2 p.m. to midnight; Saturday: noon to midnight; Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Website: gloverparkbrewery.com
Award-winning fine dining isn’t just for intown Atlanta. Winners of a James Beard Award, this bistro tucked away in Marietta Square serves New American dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. The menu is as sparse as the décor, but it’s all well thought out. Start off with a chicken liver parfait and move on to fish and pastas for the main course. Cool off with a melon and cucumber sorbet before venturing back out into the Square.
Location: 36 Mill Street; Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 - 9 p.m.; Website: springmarietta.com