Things to do in Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, the capital of Georgia and unofficial capital of the "New South," has a rich history and diverse culture. In this guide, we'll take you through the top things to do in Atlanta, Georgia, whether it be family-friendly fun, adult nightlife, outdoor activities, or free events. We'll also highlight some of Atlanta's hottest neighborhoods, including downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead, and attractions around the North Georgia region.
Top Attractions in Atlanta, GA
Some of the best things to do in Atlanta, GA, are located in the city's downtown. Many tourists and residents alike head downtown to visit the popular attractions centered around famed civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Atlanta's role in the civil rights movement. At the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, visitors can tour the visitor center, "Behold" monument and "I Have a Dream" memorial garden, King's childhood home, and historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was pastor for many years. Also at the site are the King Center museum and the tomb of King and his wife, activist Coretta Scott King. Elsewhere downtown, those who enjoyed learning at the King site can expand their civil rights knowledge at Atlanta's Center for Civil and Human Rights museum, historic Fire Station No. 6 and its exhibits on desegregation, and the Apex Museum of African-American history.
Looking for more fun things to in downtown Atlanta? The World of Coca-Cola is one of Atlanta's most popular attractions. The world-famous soft drink was invented in Atlanta in 1886, and the company has been headquartered there ever since. The World of Coca-Cola attraction includes exhibits on the history and cultural significance of the beverage, the vault in which the famous Coca-Cola secret recipe is stored, a behind-the-scenes look at a bottling plant, several film presentations, and a sampling room where guests can taste the company's beverages, including regional rarities from around the world.
The broadcasting network CNN is another nationally recognized brand based in Atlanta. Tours of the CNN studios are another very popular activity in the city and among some of the most unique and cool things to do in Atlanta. Visitors will learn about the history of the network and what goes into a successful news broadcast every day. Different tour packages offer more behind-the-scenes experiences, including a look into a live newsroom, access to the HLN control room, and a visit to the CNN set.
Kid-Friendly Fun for Families
Families looking for fun things to do in Atlanta this weekend with their kids will find no shortage of educational and exciting options. Many families like to visit downtown's Pemberton Place, where you'll find the Center for Civil and Human Rights and World of Coca-Cola as well as the Children's Museum of Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium. Visiting the Children's Museum is one of our favorite things to do with toddlers in Atlanta, as it was designed with little ones ages 0-8 in mind. Conceived as a "museum without walls," the site features interactive, free-range exhibits with a focus on learning and science. The Georgia Aquarium features crowd-pleasing aquatic species, animal shows, and learning programs for visitors of all ages.
Other museums in the area popular with families include the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Fernbank Science Center, and Delta Flight Museum. Families with kids also love Zoo Atlanta, one of very few zoos in North America to house giant pandas, among many other species. For more family things to do in Atlanta, consider the Skyview Atlanta Ferris wheel in Centennial Park, Legoland Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia, and the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Hot Nightlife for Couples
Couples looking for fun things to do in Atlanta at night for a great date night out will enjoy the bustling nightlife centered around downtown and Midtown. Atlanta has many top-rated restaurants that serve a variety of regional and ethnic cuisines. Romantic fine-dining experiences in the area include Bones, Canoe, and Nikolai's Roof. For more moderately priced options, try traditional American fare at Wisteria or South City Kitchen Midtown, authentic Ethiopian food from Desta Ethiopian Kitchen, or Japanese cuisine at Eight Sushi Lounge. Popular cheap options include Southern-style diners Home Grown and Atlanta Breakfast Club, Mediterranean food at Aviva by Kameel, or classic burgers from Grindhouse Killer Burgers. For after-dinner drinks, try one of Atlanta's top-rated bars, like Holeman and Finch Public House, Ticonderoga Club, Bookhouse Pub, Northside Tavern, Sister Louisa's, or Porter Beer Bar.
Atlanta has a number of lively performing arts venues to entertain couples on a date night. Venues around the area cater to just about anyone's taste, with available performances ranging from opera and symphony to musical theater to popular music acts to comedy shows. Top-rated venues for live entertainment throughout the city include The Masquerade, Fox Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Variety Playhouse, Woodruff Arts Center, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Rialto Center for the Arts, Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse, and Center Stage Theater. For those who love to dance, try nightclubs like Johnny's Hideaway, Opera Nightclub, Tongue & Groove, or Havana Club. Walking tours are some of the most fun things for couples to do in Atlanta. Check each tour company's website to see the availability of day and night tours. We recommend trying Atlanta Food Walks, Nightly Spirits, and any of DTours's walks to Atlanta history and film locations. Popular DTours walks include the Civil War and Civil Rights tour, the "Town That Coke Built" history tour, the street art tour, a Gone With The Wind tour, and filming location tours for the popular television series The Walking Dead and Stranger Things.
Free Options This Weekend
Looking for free things to do in Atlanta, GA, this weekend? Look no further! We've got you covered. There are several attractions in Atlanta that are free of charge year-round as well as periodic free events and festivals throughout the year. Museum attractions in the area that do not charge any admission include the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, National Archives at Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Monetary Museum. You can also sign up for free tours of the Governor's Mansion or the Georgia State Capitol. Book-lovers can enjoy settling down to read at any of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library's convenient locations or at the Reading Room at Woodruff Park, while art connoisseurs will enjoy the free ArtsWalk downtown on the first Thursday of every month.
Ideas for Your Birthday
Let's take a look at some of the best things to do in Atlanta for your birthday. There are lots of fun options for an adult birthday party that will make guests feel like a kid again! Amusement park fans can enjoy carnival rides and games at Skyline Park or try go-karting and more at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. If that doesn't satisfy your itch to race, try racing a luxury sports car on a professional track at the Porsche Experience. Treat your guests to an upscale bowling experience at the Painted Pin, or sign up for a murder mystery dinner at Agatha's. Sports fans can check out the NBA's Atlanta Hawks or WNBA's Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena, join the MLB's Atlanta Braves for baseball at SunTrust Park, or head to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to experience the NFL's Atlanta Falcons or Major League Soccer's Atlanta United.
If you're looking for fun and relaxing things to do outside, Atlanta has many beautiful parks, greenspaces, and nature areas to fit your needs. Popular city parks around the area include Centennial Olympic Park, Piedmont Park, Grant Park, and the BeltLine. These areas are popular for walking, biking, yoga, and free events like movie nights and concerts. For a more immersive nature experience, check out Autrey Mill Nature Preserve, Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, or the Atlanta Botanical Garden. One of the locals' favorite spots for hiking, horseback riding, and cycling is the Silver Comet Trail, a 61-mile trek that begins in the northern Atlanta suburbs and runs all the way to Alabama!
Rainy Days Indoors
Caught on a rainy day? No need to fret! There are plenty of indoor things to do in Atlanta to keep you and your family entertained and out of the rain. Rainy days are a great time to explore some of the city's coolest museums. Popular choices include Rhodes Hall, the College Football Hall of Fame, Michael C. Carlos Museum, Margaret Mitchell House, Bodies: The Exhibition, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Other fun indoor activities in the city include escape room games like those at Big Escape Rooms, Room Escape Atlanta, Paranoia Quest, and Mission Escape, indoor rock-climbing at Atlanta Rocks, indoor playgrounds at Champion Kids and Tiny Towne, and arcade games at Game X.
Midtown is known as the center of nightlife and cultural arts in Atlanta. Popular things to do in Midtown Atlanta include the world-class High Museum of Art and Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). For shopping locations in the neighborhood, we recommend Atlantic Station and the Ansley Mall. Golf enthusiasts can also check out Ansley Golf Club, while music-lovers can look forward to the annual Music Midtown festival. College football fans can watch the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take on rivals at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and any Midtown resident or visitor needs to try a meal at the original location of the Varsity, the legendary Atlanta restaurant chain.
The largely residential Buckhead neighborhood is known primarily for its upscale shopping destinations. We can confidently recommend Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza, The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, and Buckhead Court. Other fun things to do in Buckhead, Atlanta, include visiting the Atlanta History Center, Chastain Park, Punchline Comedy Club, Buckhead Theatre, and Blue Heron Nature Preserve.
Around the Area
There are lots of fun things to do around Atlanta, GA, in the North Georgia region, not to mention destinations in eastern Alabama within day-trip distance. Northern Georgia is known for beautiful scenery and nature areas with destinations for hiking, camping, and wildlife-spotting throughout the region. Popular destinations within a small radius of downtown Atlanta include Sweetwater Creek State Park, Victoria Bryant State Park, the Chattahoochee River, and Chattahoochee National Forest.
Atlanta Motor Speedway is located just 40 minutes from downtown Atlanta and plays host to one of NASCAR's biggest races of the season. Stone Mountain, Georgia, is a big tourist destination in the region and features the largest Confederate war monument in the country as well as an accompanying theme park and campground. Other nearby sites related to the Civil War include Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, just north of Atlanta in Marietta, Georgia. While the city of Chattanooga is located in Tennessee, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, the site of the famous Battle of Chattanooga, is located on the Georgia side of the border. You'll find it just more than two hours from downtown Atlanta. Also within two hours of Atlanta is a day trip to Talladega, Alabama, where you can explore Talladega National Forest or watch a NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway and visit the nearby International Motorsports Hall of Fame.