The best 19 things to do in Atlanta
For most visitors, their introduction to Atlanta is a busy airport, the busiest in the world. But with historic sites, green spaces, museums and championship sports teams, this capital city is worth visiting for more than just an airport stop.
From attractions like the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights badge and the Fox Theatre, to world-class museums like the Center for Puppet Art and the Atlanta Historical Center, to green spaces like Piedmont Park, there are places not to be missed in the commercial and cultural heart of the South.
01 of 19
Visit Historic Downtown Atlanta
Located on a wooded 33-acre site in downtown Buckhead, just off Peachtree Street, Historic Downtown Atlanta features permanent and alternating exhibitions on everything from the city’s railroad and its role in the Civil War to folk art and legendary golfer Bobby Jones as well as year-round programming for kids and adults. Walk the grounds and visit the Smith Family Farm, the oldest surviving farmhouse in Atlanta, which includes hands-on demonstrations of food, crafts and carpentry.
Fans of Gone with the Wind take note: While the Margaret Mitchell House is run by the Atlanta Historical Museum, you can purchase admission there as well. The author’s home is four miles south at 10th and Peachtree Streets downtown.
02 of 19.
Explore the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Museum
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is located on historic Auburn Avenue, once the wealthiest African-American street in the country, and includes several buildings, including his ancestral home, Ebenezer Baptist Church (where Dr. King was baptized and ordained), the visitor center and the King Center, whose campus houses the vaults of Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King and hundreds of documents and oral histories from the civil rights era. Admission is free, and tours of the birth home (501 Auburn Avenue) are limited to 15 people and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The historic site is about one mile east of downtown Atlanta and can be reached by both car and Atlanta streetcar.
03 of 19
Take a walk through Piedmont Park
About 200 acres in the heart of downtown, Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s version of Central Park and one of the city’s best green spaces. With a weekend farmer’s market, tennis courts, a community pool, an off-leash dog park, sports fields, playgrounds, and plenty of paved and unpaved paths for running and biking, the park really has something for everyone. Bring a picnic and take in the views of the Midtown skyline, refresh yourself on a hot summer day at the splash pad, or explore the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which is adjacent to the hotel and contains the largest collection of orchid species in the United States in addition to stunning year-round gardens. Be sure to visit the park’s website for up-to-date information on festivals, concerts, and other public events.
04 of 19.
Eat at the food stall on Krog Street
This popular food hall, retail and office complex is the perfect stop to refuel after a walk, run or bike ride along the city’s popular Beltline Eastside Trail. Enjoy coffee and pastries at Little Tart Bake Shop, grab a chicken plate with all the appetizers at Richards’ Southern Fried, enjoy shawarma and kebabs at Yalla, a Middle Eastern inspired restaurant! or keep it light with a salad or bowl of grains from The Break.
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Attend an Atlanta United game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Although Atlanta United is the city’s newest professional sports team, it is by far the most popular, constantly setting and breaking its own MLS attendance records. See what all the hype is about and join nearly 50,000 other fans by attending one of the championship team’s home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, which is located at the GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center MARTA GTA station.
06 of 19
Tour of the Historic Fox Theatre
Originally conceived as a home for Atlanta Shriners, this historic Moorish-inspired movie theater was saved from demolition in the mid-1970s and transformed into a modern multipurpose venue. The theater hosts more than 250 performances each year, including Broadway shows, popular musicians and Atlanta Ballet’s beloved Nutcracker.
Book a tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at Fabulous Fox’s history, unique Middle Eastern-inspired décor and notable performances. Tours run Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and tickets go on sale two weeks in advance of the tour date.
07 of 19
Taste more than 100 drinks at the World of Coca-Cola Museum
Drink over 100 different varieties of Coca-Cola sodas from around the world at “Taste It!” World of Coca-Cola” station dedicated to homegrown beverages. Tours also include a 4-D theater performance, a miniature look at the bottling process, a visit to the vault where the secret recipe is kept, and an interactive pop culture area where visitors can create their own Coca-Cola bottles.
08 of 19
A visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
This downtown museum has two permanent exhibits, one devoted to the U.S. civil rights movement and the other to the modern human rights movement. Both have interactive displays, including a replica of the Freedom Fighters Greyhound bus complete with a short film and oral histories of the participants, as well as a simulated sit-in with a nonviolent counter. Temporary exhibits included everything from the athletes’ role in breaking barriers to documents of an icon of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Tour of the Historic Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta’s oldest public park, the 48-acre Historic Oakland Cemetery is less than a mile from downtown and contains the graves of former Major Maynard Jackson, author Margaret Mitchell and golfer Bobby Jones.Sign up for one of the tours, including a guided tour and rotating tours focusing on topics ranging from African American history to the cemetery arboretum. Or just bring and picnic and stroll the grounds while enjoying the views of downtown.
10 of 19.
See Atlanta on Film with the Atlanteans
Watching the latest blockbuster or popular show on Netflix? There’s a good chance it was filmed in Atlanta.
With more than 1,500 movies and more than 20 TV shows shot in Georgia since the 1970s, the state has earned the nickname “Hollywood of the South.” Explore popular local film sets and filming locations with Atlanta Movie Tours, which include the Big Zombie Bus Tour for “The Walking Dead” fans; All Atlanta Movie Tours featuring highlights from “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” for comic book fans; and Best of Atlanta Movie Tour, featuring clips from “Stranger Things,” “The Hunger Games,” “The Fast and the Furious” and more. All tours are led by working actors, so you get an inside look at all your favorite movies and shows.
11 of 19
Higher Art Museum
The Southeast’s leading art museum, the High Art Museum is located on the campus of the Woodruff Center for the Arts downtown at the intersection of 16th Street and Peachtree Street. Its 15,000 works in its permanent collection range from European paintings to 19th- and 20th-century African American art and decorative arts to interactive outdoor exhibitions.
Pro tip: Visit on the second Sunday of every month from 12 to 5 p.m., when admission is free and the whole family can enjoy the creative works, live performances and take rides around the place for free. While there are two parking lots and street parking, the Art Center MARTA station on the red and gold lines will drop you off right across the street from the museum.
Explore downtown Decatur
No trip to Atlanta would be complete without a visit to Decatur, “where it’s bigger.” Not only is this small suburb the site of popular events like the AJC Decatur Book Festival every summer and the Decatur Arts Festival every spring, you’ll find plenty of local stores, restaurants and more in the quaint main square. Find books for young readers at Little Shop of Stories, grab a pint at Brick Store Pub’s beer tavern, have oysters at Wagon Depot, the award-winning Kimball House restaurant that’s become, dine at Indian Street Restaurant on Chai Pani, catch a show at the popular music venue at Eddie’s Loft or just stroll around the square and people watching with coffee or a treat from Dancing Goats Coffee Bar or Jeni’s Ice Cream.
Although there are several parking lots and limited street parking in Decatur, it’s best to take the blue MARTA line to Decatur Square Station, where you will be taken in the middle of the action.
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Watch the sunset on the roof of the Clermont Hotel
This newly renovated hotel sits above the famous strip club of the same name in the city’s bustling old and new Poncey Highlands neighborhood. It boasts one of Atlanta’s finest rooftops. Take the elevator up from the lobby to the rooftop bar with panoramic city views, drinks, snacks and Instagram-worthy photos against the hotel’s neon sign. Want to learn more about the Clermont? Book an overnight stay at the hotel or dine downstairs at Tiny Lou’s French Restaurant. Pro tip: Don’t skip dessert.
14 of 19
Play Skyline Park at Ponce Market
Kids of all ages will love playing at Skyline Park in Ponce City Market. Located on the rooftop of a mixed former development that once housed Sears, Roebuck & Co., the park features carnival games and activities such as a slide, miniature golf and Skee ball as well as breathtaking views of the city. Food offerings range from pretzels, hot dogs and tacos on the go to a sit-down beer garden 9 mile station.
Don’t miss the stores or the downtown food hall below, whose offerings range from ramen and yakitori at Ton Ton to baked goods and salty vegetable dishes at Root Baking Co. to Latin American cuisine at El Super Pan.
15 of 19
Shoot the Hooch.
“Shooting the town,” or floating down the Chattahoochee River, a nearly 50-mile-wide river that runs along the western and northern perimeters of the city, is a rite of passage for residents. Rent a kayak, canoe, raft or stand-up paddleboard at Shoot the Hootch (with spots at Azalea Park, Don White Memorial Park, Ford Island and Garrard Landing), take in some provisions and relax as you leisurely float down the river.
Note that hours of operation and access to the river depend on weather, river flow, and temperature, so it’s best to call ahead before you head out.
16 of 19.
Learn about African-American folklore at Wren’s Nest
Wren’s Nest is located in the West End neighborhood, just west of downtown. It is the preserved home of Joel Chandler Harris, known as the author of the tales of the brevet rabbit. Visit the historic Queen Anne House, learn about the rich history of African American folk tales and listen to live storytellers in action every Saturday at 1pm.
The museum is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and by appointment on weekdays. Admission is $8 for children, seniors and students and $10 for adults.
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Visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Located between two lakes and near the popular Liberty Boulevard Trail in Inman Park, this library and museum is dedicated to humanitarian, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President Jimmy Carter. Highlights include an exact life-size replica of the Oval Office, an interactive map table that shows Carter and his wife, Roslyn, working to monitor elections and fight disease around the world, and thousands of documents, videos and photographs documenting his life as a statesman.
The center also hosts lectures, film screenings and book orders. Ample parking is available on site.
18 of 19
Take a stroll along the BeltLine’s Eastern Trail
Before you leave Atlanta, take time to walk, run, or bike along the popular BeltLine Eastside Trail. Book a bike or walking tour to explore the multi-use trail that connects DeKalb Avenue to Piedmont Park and includes murals, public art installations and more, and then find the nearby patio – New Realm Brewery, Lady Bird Grove and Mess Hall, and Nina and Rafi are all popular spots – for rehydration, rest and refueling.
19 of 19.
Puppet Art Center
The Center for Puppet Art, located downtown at the corner of 18th and Spring Streets, is America’s largest nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to the art of puppetry. The collection includes an exhibition dedicated to Jim Henson and such iconic dolls as Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, and The Global Collection, which focuses on puppetry traditions from around the world. The museum also hosts regular performances, workshops and events for all ages.
What’s worth seeing in Atlanta?
Attractions in Atlanta are located all over the city, but the effort it takes to find them will more than pay off. Have fun exploring the official capital of Georgia as well as the unofficial Capital of the New South!
World of Coca-Cola Museum
At the World of Coca-Cola, fans of this soft drink can learn all the information about it – after all, it appeared in this very city. This place has an exposition with more than 1200 antique and memorable items that are associated with the drink. There is a hall for tastings where tourists are invited to try the company’s products. A fully functioning bottling line offers every visitor a free bottle of the drink.
Downtown, near Olympic Park, is the headquarters of a major local television station, CNN. You can take a 55-minute walk through this office, see the main production rooms, and watch live broadcasting.
Martin Luther King Museum
On Auburn Avenue in midtown Atlanta are sites that relate to the birth and life journey of Martin Luther King, the famed champion of black rights in America. The building where he lived, the museum, the memorial, his tomb, and the Baptist church where he preached are all located right next to one another.
This place is one of the most beautiful in the city, no matter what season you happen to be in Atlanta. The central city oasis is home to a wooded area, an orchid center, gardens, and lots of flowers. The botanical gardens cover twelve acres.
Atlanta History Center.
This is a historic museum complex that is one of the largest here in the southeast. It consists of two historic buildings and several objects. It is also a favorite place to host wedding events.
Road Atlanta Autotrack.
You can find all kinds of car and motorcycle races on this track. It is located in Braselton and is a one hour drive from Atlanta in a northeast direction.
Located north of Centennial Olympic Park, this oceanarium is one of the largest on the planet. Among the many excellent oceanariums located in America, this is one of the best.
Fox Theatre is one of Fox’s chic theater venues that operate in various states. This one, located in Atlanta, was built in 1929. If you want to compare it to the Fox Theater, located in Detroit, you can do so.
The Underground Atlanta is six underground blocks of fast food, shopping, nightlife, and restaurants. If you can’t imagine your life without it all, this is the place for you.
This park is the city’s main public park, which is close to downtown. It is a beautiful place with playgrounds, picnic areas, dog walking areas, a pond, tennis courts, and other areas. Piedmont Park hosts various public events, festivals and concerts every year.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center, which is located in Atlanta, is actually a whole playground where both children and adults can have fun – there is an opportunity to ride a carousel, shoot a laser gun, watch a cartoon in 4D and of course try their hand at constructing with Lego. This entertainment facility is located in the Buckhead neighborhood, which is famous for its shopping malls, high-rise buildings, hotels and the beautiful fireworks during the Independence Day celebrations.
White Water Water Park
White Water, or fully Six Flags White Water Atlanta, is a water park located in the northwest corner of the city. Similar to the Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park, this facility has everything you need for a great time on the water, with water rides – slides, fountains, watering machines. The park is surrounded by a “lazy river” (tubing), in the central part there is a large pool, equipped with an artificial wave pumping system. The park opened in 1984, and in 1999 it became part of the Six Flags chain. The park has twenty-two rides, most of them represented by water slides, each of which has its own degree of fear designation. So you can tell at a glance if you should try it…
Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park, or Centennial Olympic Park, is located in downtown Atlanta and is one of its main attractions. The centennial of the Olympic movement was one of the themes of the 1996 Summer Olympics, held in this city. An interesting fact is that after the end of the event, there weren’t many Olympic venues left in Atlanta. Some of the arenas were built temporarily, and some events were held in other cities in the state, and even in other states. The Omni Coliseum, the Olympic Volleyball Tournament, was removed in 1997. So Centennial Olympic Park is quite a unique attraction. It is located on an area of 8500 square meters and is a public park. Its main feature is the Fountain of the Olympic Rings, or Fountain of Rings, which is controlled by a computer synchronizing the water supply, music and lighting accompaniment. The park’s website has a schedule and program of shows that take place at the fountain. Around the fountain are flags of countries that participated in the XXVI Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
The park is centrally located in the city, and nearby are the Coca-Cola Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia Dorme Concert and Exhibition Hall, and the Philips Arena Sports Palace – all together they form a unified architectural complex.
Atlanta is a classic example of a super modern American city, with its flaws and, of course, advantages. Upon arriving here, many tourists, the first thing to enjoy the main architectural landmark – the numerous skyscrapers, which are just amazed by their giant size, as well as their grandiosity! All of America wants to show the world that she is the best country. Atlanta is no exception. If you have to build – then build either the best or the biggest. In 2005 the city opened the largest, if not in the world, then certainly in the States, the aquarium.
225 Baker Street Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30313 – at this address, you can find a phenomenal structure – a huge aquarium that holds no less than 31,000 cubic meters of sea water, in which 120,000 exotic sea creatures representing more than 500 species feel perfectly well. To imagine the scale of this unique structure, think about the fact that orcas and small beluga whales, not to mention a large number of dolphins, feel very at ease here. During the 9 years of its existence, this unique oceanarium has been visited by about 20 million visitors. None of this would have happened if not for the native of these places, businessman Bernard Marcus, who donated $250 million for the construction of this miracle object. To see the inhabitants of the sea depths firsthand, you would have to pay a $26 admission ticket for an adult and $21 for a young visitor.
Zoo Atlanta / Zoo Atlanta
521 Atlanta Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315 – The Zoo Atlanta is the oldest zoo in the United States (1889) and is home to 1,300 animals from all over the world. A special pride of the locals is the largest family of orangutans and gorillas. There are also rare animals, for example – pandas, everyone’s favorite, near the cages of which, there is always an incredible number of tourists and locals. However, pandas are not the property of the zoo, as in their native China, they are declared the national treasures and therefore in the United States, the pandas are just a mere rental. Admission price for an adult visitor is $17, children under three are free.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Another attraction of the city is the Botanical Garden, which covers an area of 12 hectares. You can find it at 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA. A perennial favorite with residents and tourists, there is a huge collection of gorgeous and enchanting orchids, as well as outlandish flowers from the gardens of Japan. It is always crowded in the rainforest. Next to the main areas of the botanical garden is a magnificent rose garden. Tickets are $19 for adults and $13 for children ages 3 to 12.
Coca-Cola World / Coca-Cola Museum
1 Coca Cola Plz NW – At this address is the unique and only museum of the world’s most popular drink and the most promoted brand in the world, Coca-Cola. It was here, from this city, back in 1886, that the most popular beverage in the world, named Coca-Cola, began its triumphal march. In the halls of the museum you can get acquainted with a detailed history of the drink’s appearance, see the most diverse bottles, in which the drink was ever poured. And, of course, you can’t do without the tasting (in one of the halls they offer to try Coca-Cola, produced in different countries). Interesting fact of history: in the beginning of its way this divine drink was considered a cure for headaches! Admission is $16 for adults, while younger visitors get in for free.
Margaret Mitchell House and Museum
There are probably few people in the world who haven’t read or at least watched the iconic melodrama Gone with the Wind. At 990 Peachtree Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30309, you will find the home of the museum where the famous American writer Margaret Mitchell lived and worked on her immortal work. To get inside the museum, you’ll have to pay $13. Admirers of her talent can visit the tomb of the writer, which is located in Oakland Cemetery.
The High Museum of Art / The High Museum of Art.
1280 Peachtree Street, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30309 – at this address, in 1983, the city’s most popular museum moved into a new 12.5-square-mile building housing paintings by famous American and European painters who lived in the 18th and 20th centuries. By the way, the building was built on money of the owner of the ” Coca-Cola Company” Robert Woodruff. The museum has over 11 thousand exhibits. Among them, the most famous works of artists Dorothea Lange, Claude Monet and Chuck Close. There is also an exhibition of the sculptor Rodin called “The Shadow”. The ticket price for adult visitors is $13; children can contemplate the beauty for free.
Michael C.Carlos Museum
571 South Kilgo Circle Northeast – This address is the largest collection in the United States of ancient artifacts from China, ancient Greece and Egypt. Mummies of the pharaohs are also present. The museum is located on the territory of the city’s university. You can get in provided that you pay for an adult for $ 8 dollars. By the way, here, too, was not without patrons. 20 million dollars to build a building for the museum, donated by Atlanta native, businessman Michael Carlos.