Every time I touch back down in Atlanta and the flight attendant says, “Welcome to Atlanta,” the lyrics “Welcome to Atlanta where the players play…” by local music artist Jermaine Dupri immediately pops into my head. As an Atlanta native, I can tell you that playing is what we do best in the southern city.
The city is often known for its bad traffic (yes, fact), humidity (summers are sweaty), and busy international airport (yes, but efficient). If you are wondering what there is to do in Atlanta and whether Atlanta is worth visiting or not, then the answers are: plenty and absolutely. Georgia’s capital has so much to offer and is the largest metropolitan city in the south.
Established in 1937, the city was a key player in the Civil War of the 1860s and the Civil Rights Movement only a hundred years later. Atlanta is the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. with a lot of history to explore. Some historic sites worth a see include the Centennial Olympic Park, Oakland Cemetery, Fox Theatre, and Stone Mountain Park.
Margaret Mitchell made the southern city popular with her Civil War novel, Gone with the Wind, still a prominent piece of literature today. Companies like Coca-Cola and Delta set down roots and have become part of the landscape and culture of the city.
The city skyline looks different from the Atlanta of the 1996 Olympics or even from 10 years ago. Young adults and families are making Atlanta home with the increase of new business investments and continued growth of mixed-use spaces. Plus, the Atlanta food scene can rival some of the other big cities due to its list of several James Beard-winning chefs and restaurants.
Grab your favorite Coca-Cola beverage and hand-held fan (if visiting in the summer) and come explore all the Atlanta attractions. I recommend spending more than a weekend if you can because the city is larger than you think and there is always traffic!
Looking to explore Atlanta in a unique and fun way? Then sign up for a Segway tour! You'll get to see some of the city's most interesting neighborhoods, learn about Atlanta's history and culture, and sample some local restaurants. There are three different tours to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for you. Plus, all participants receive a training session before the tour so you can feel confident and comfortable gliding around on your Segway. So come on and join the fun - sign up for an Atlanta Segway tour today!
On this 1.5-hour trolley tour, you'll get to see all the best that this city has to offer. Sit back and relax as the tour take you through some of Atlanta's most historic neighborhoods including Inman Park and the Old 4th Ward. You'll get up close to the homes of both Martin Luther King Jr and Mrs. Margaret Mitchell, two of Atlanta's most famous residents. The tour also shows you some of the city's best culinary hotspots like Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market. By the end of the tour, you'll have a real appreciation for all that Atlanta has to offer.
Looking to uncover Atlanta's hidden gems? Join this small-group tour and explore the city's black history and civil rights landmarks. You'll learn about Atlanta's role in the Civil Rights movement, see key neighborhoods like Sweet Auburn, and visit local arts and cultural institutions. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, this tour is a must-see for anyone interested in uncovering the city's rich African-American history.
Show Table of Contents
- Fun & Best Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia
- 1. World of Coca-Cola
- 2. Centennial Olympic Park
- 3. Georgia Film Industry
- 4. Delta Flight Museum
- 5. Atlanta History Center
- 6. Swan House
- 7. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- 8. Fox Theatre
- 9. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
- 10. Historic Oakland Cemetery
- 11. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- 12. High Museum of Art
- 13. The Painted Pin
- 14. The Southern Beer Tours
- 15. Ponce City Market
- 16. Zoo Atlanta
- 17. Georgia Aquarium
- 18. Center for Puppetry Arts
- 19. Children’s Museum of Atlanta
- 20. Six Flags Over Georgia
- 21. The Sun Dial Restaurant at the Westin Peachtree Plaza
- 22. SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel
- 23. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
- 24. TWO Urban Licks
- 25. Piedmont Park
- 26. Atlanta Botanical Garden
- 27. Atlanta BeltLine
- 28. Forward Warrior Mural
- 29. Krog Street Tunnel
- 30. Krog Street Market
- 31. Superica
- 32. SweetWater Brewery
- 33. Marcel
- 34. Antico Pizza Napoletana
- 35. Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q
- 36. The Vortex
- 37. Folk Art
- 38. Flying Biscuit Cafe
- 39. Buttermilk Kitchen
- 40. Three Taverns Imaginarium
- 41. Fetch Park
- 42. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- 43. The Battery
- 44. State Farm Arena
- 45. Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
- 46. Atlanta Dogwood Festival
- 47. Chomp & Stomp
- 48. Buford Highway
- 49. Stone Mountain Park
- 50. Lake Lanier Islands
- 51. Hotel Clermont
- 52. Variety Playhouse
- 53. Tabernacle
- What is Atlanta, Georgia known for?
- What is the best thing to do with kids in Atlanta, Georgia?
- What are some fun things to do in Atlanta, Georgia?
- What are some things to do in Atlanta, Georgia, when it’s raining?
- Most significant landmark – King Center and Ebenezer Baptist Church
- Best venue – Fox Theatre
- Best park – Piedmont Park
- Best free activity – Exploring the Atlanta BeltLine
- Best activity for kids – Skyline Park at Ponce City Market
- Best activity for adults – The Painted Pin
- Best food – Ponce City Market Food Hall
- Best nightlife – Tabernacle
- Best all-around accommodation – Hotel Clermont
Fun & Best Things to Do in Atlanta, Georgia
1. World of Coca-Cola
Address: 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
The Coca-Cola company has made a significant mark on Atlanta. Georgia students grow up going to the World of Coca-Cola for school field trips. The best part is getting to try all the different drinks from around the world.
Located next to the Georgia Aquarium, you can hit both locations in one afternoon and both are part of the Atlanta CityPASS. The CityPASS helps guide you on what to see in Atlanta, Georgia, as it includes some of the key downtown Atlanta tourist attractions.
At the World of Coca-Cola, you learn all about the history of the company. Get a picture with the famous Coca-Cola polar bear, which has been part of their ads since 1922. Don’t expect the company to give up its secret recipe though, as they still keep it guarded in a bank vault and is a featured exhibit.
Tickets are $19 for adults with senior and youth discounts, but ages two and under get in free. If anyone tells you Pepsi is better, then walk away from them my friend because you don’t need those kinds of people in your life. I will forever be a Coca-Cola girl!
See Related: Best Places to Visit in the US
2. Centennial Olympic Park
Address: 265 Park Ave W NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Located downtown, Centennial Olympic Park was created for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Everyone I know has a named family brick as a donation to help build the park. The area makes up 22 acres of green space with fountains, Olympic landmarks, a reflecting pool, and visitor center.
Centennial Olympic Park hosts events like musical festivals, concerts, fireworks shows, and more. To beat the Georgia heat in the summer, the kids will love the immersive fountains in the design of the five Olympic Rings. The park is one of the sights to see on a sightseeing trolley tour.
Centennial Olympic Park is centrally located downtown and it’s a short walk to many other Atlanta attractions. Spend the day going to the CNN Center, Georgia World Congress Center, College Football Hall of Fame, World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Skyview Atlanta, and the National Center for Human and Civil Rights. Stay at neighboring hotels like The W Atlanta, Omni Atlanta, or the Ritz-Carlton to get the most out of the downtown area.
3. Georgia Film Industry
Though it seems Georgia may be an odd place to be the next Hollywood, film studios and producers often film here for the affordability, tax incentives, and international airport.
So, if you like TV shows and movies such as The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and the Hunger Games series, then you’re in the right spot! You may even spot a famous actor or actress!
One epic filming spot is the Jackson Street Bridge (go at sunset). Here you can see the iconic scene from The Walking Dead where the character Rick Grimes rides a horse toward the city. Some other famous filming locations in metro Atlanta are The Georgian Terrace hotel (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and various other films), Clark Atlanta University (Drumline and We Are Marshall), and East Point suburb (Stranger Things, Hidden Figures, etc.).
If you are a fan of Donald Glover’s Atlanta TV series, then make a stop at J.R. Crickets (some of the best wings) and Cameli’s Pizza. You might even run into a celebrity or two during your sightseeing adventures!
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4. Delta Flight Museum
Address: 1060 Delta Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30354
Next to the world’s busiest airport, the Delta Flight Museum is in the original Delta hangars from the 1940s. The museum started in 1995 and is now considered an Historic Aerospace Site. Since the Delta headquarters are next to the museum, you will need to stop at a security gate and provide identification.
The Delta Flight Museum has created an immersive experience for visitors. For an extra cost, you can try the flight simulation and see generations of planes dating back to the 1920s and 1940s.
Step inside a Boeing 747-400 airplane, the first of its kind. The 45-minute 747 tour is only offered on Tuesdays at 1 pm. A scavenger hunt is also available and perfect for that kid obsessed with airplanes.
The flight simulation is $425 for an hour and can sit up to four people (16 and up only). Delta pilots also trained on this simulation! Tickets are $15 with senior and youth discounts, but four and under are free.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia
5. Atlanta History Center
Address: 130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305
The Atlanta History Center covers several places to visit in Atlanta, Georgia. It includes 33 acres of exhibitions, historic homes, gardens, a research center, and more. The Atlanta Historical Society (renamed Atlanta History Center) was founded in 1926 to help protect and educate visitors on Atlanta’s history.
The Swan House (more below) and its gardens are part of the Atlanta History Center, but you can also visit several other gardens that are worth a visit. If you have children, take them to the Lee Playhouse, which is a white and yellow playhouse built in the 1940s.
Make a stop at the Atlanta History Museum to see some of the exhibits on the 1996 Summer Olympics and the famous Cyclorama. The Cyclorama paints the scene of a Civil War battle and is over 130 years old.
Adult tickets to the Atlanta History Center are $24 and there are discounts for children, seniors, students, and the military. Also, it is worth a visit for the free onsite parking alone!
See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in the USA
6. Swan House
Address: 130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305
Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the Swan House was built in 1928 for Edward and Emily Inman. The Inmans were a prominent powerhouse couple of their day, amassing wealth through the cotton trade, real estate, transportation, and banking.
Edward died only three years after the home was built, but Emily stayed in the house until she died in 1965. The Atlanta Historical Society gained ownership in 1966 and opened it as a public museum. For movie buffs, the house was featured in a few TV shows and movies such as the Hunger Games series and the modern version of the TV series, Dynasty.
Guests can explore ten acres of woods and take a peek at the historic log cabin from the 1800s. Make sure to spend time in the 1930s-style gardens surrounding the property.
Book a table at the Swan Coach House tea room for tea and lunch after seeing the grounds. Also, keep a lookout for a tiny door as part of Tiny Doors ATL on the grounds! These little decorative doors can be spotted all over the city if you know where to look.
7. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Due to the Jim Crow Laws and increased injustices to African-Americans, the American Civil Rights Movement began in the South in the 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. became the face of the movement. With Atlanta being his hometown, the city played a large part.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ purpose is to educate visitors on the current injustices and inequality happening around the world. Free events are offered to the public like the international youth film festival and workshops.
The museum provides immersive exhibits for visitors, such as simulating a lunch counter sit-in as they did in the 1960s. To get the full experience, you’re offered headphones to hear offensive threats around you. Out of the many historic sites, this is one everyone should go to when visiting Atlanta, as it’s hard not to walk away from the experience with more understanding of that time.
Complete your civil and human rights tour in Old Fourth Ward by heading to the King Center. The Center is dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to gain equality and justice for marginalized groups. Across the street is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.
Here you can learn more about his life and the American Civil Rights Movement. The National Historical Park also gives tours at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home.
8. Fox Theatre
Address: 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
The Fox Theatre started as a headquarters for The Shriners, a masonic organization. The 1920s saw an increased interest in Egyptian architecture with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
The Shriners created a design for the space, which incorporated elements from the Far East, Spain, and Egypt. To help pay for the opulent building, the organization leased the building to William Fox as a movie theatre.
Fox invested millions of dollars to get the new theatre ready, and it opened in 1929. The first movie shown was Steamboat Willie where audiences were introduced to Mickey Mouse. Unfortunately, Fox lost the theatre only a few years later due to the Great Depression.
Today, the theatre continues to have the grand decor making you feel like you’re stepping into a fantasy world worthy of Aladdin. The best part is the ceiling is made to look like the night sky with twinkling lights. A sight to see on a city highlights tour.
The Fox Theatre operates as a concert and events venue and you can even take a tour or book it for private events and weddings. There are paid parking lots around the area and the North Avenue station will be the closest to MARTA, Atlanta’s rail system.
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9. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
Address: 441 John Lewis Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Many former Presidents of the United States will set up a library in their name to archive approved documents from their time as President. President Jimmy Carter led the country from 1977 to 1981 and started his humble beginnings in Plains, Georgia. He is the only President from Georgia and is also the longest-living American president!
The library features collections of oral accounts, White House staff series, archives about policies, committees, and more. You can see a replica of the White House Oval Office and other immersive exhibits related to President Carter’s time in office. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library also hosts talks and workshops.
Next to the library is The Carter Center and is also open to the public. President Carter continues to play a big part in the organization, which deals with human rights violations.
The museum allows visitors Tuesdays – Saturdays, and tickets are $12 for adults. Those 16 and under are free. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library can be easy to miss as you travel Freedom Parkway, so pay attention to the road signs. There is free parking onsite. Take a half-day city tour and visit the museum.
10. Historic Oakland Cemetery
Address: 366 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
As Atlanta’s oldest public park, the historic Oakland Cemetery is a must-see Atlanta attraction. The Historic Oakland Foundation maintains the grounds while hosting events, classes, and tours.
Opened in 1850 with only six acres, the grounds now cover 48 acres of land. The historic Oakland Cemetery includes burial sites for former slaves and Confederate soldiers. The cemetery also includes a bell tower, gardens, a greenhouse, and a small museum store/visitor center.
My favorite time to visit is in October during the “Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween” tour. A guide leads you to different grave sites where you can meet the “spirit” of the famous residents buried in historic Oakland Cemetery. Learn about the lives of famous locals like author Margaret Mitchell, businessman Jacob Elsas, golfer Bobby Jones, and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.
Free parking is located in the gravel lot outside the entrance. Work up an appetite and stop at the restaurant Six Feet Under Pub and Fish House (across from Oakland on Memorial Avenue). The rooftop overlooks the cemetery!
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11. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Address: 767 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30307
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a great Atlanta attraction for kids and adults. However, the museum has a dedicated adult-friendly series called “Fernbank After Dark.”
On the second Friday of each month, adults can explore the WildWoods and exhibits with a cocktail in hand. Tickets are $22 for non-members.
Inside, the museum has life-size replicas of dinosaurs, a movie theater, and several other fun exhibits. Outside, explore the 75 acres of trails in the WildWoods and Fernbank Forest. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History will often put on a themed display for visitors to enjoy during the holidays for the outside part.
The museum and science center is one of the top things to do in Atlanta, Georgia, and feels like you are escaping the city when exploring the trails. You may even spot some wildlife like reptiles, birds, and mammals. Keep an eye out for a tiny door from the Tiny Doors ATL organization in the WildWoods!
12. High Museum of Art
Address: 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Located on one of the many Peachtree streets of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art was founded in 1905. The museum didn’t have a permanent location until 1926 when it moved into the family home of Mrs. Joseph M. High. The High Museum of Art still resides on Peachtree Street, though in larger facilities. It includes over 18,000 works of art and is one of the top Atlanta, Georgia things to do.
Past exhibits include the “Infinity Mirror Rooms” by artist Yayoi Kusama and “The Obama Portraits Tour” by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald. The High Museum also hosts events like Toddler Tuesdays, art classes, tours, and talks.
Adult tickets are $16.50 with children under six being free. The museum is closed on Mondays along with many local restaurants, so plan accordingly.
Since the High Museum is located on one of the busiest streets in the city center, free street parking is almost impossible to find. Parking rates at the Woodruff Arts Center are $16 – $18. If you have time, stop at the nearby South City Kitchen for lunch or dinner!
13. The Painted Pin
Address: 737 Miami Cir NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
This bowling alley and games spot is not like the one you grew up with for school bowling nights. Evenings turn into an adults-only spot where you can enjoy all kinds of games like bocce ball, skeeball, ping pong, giant Jenga, and more.
A full food menu is included as well. The place can get quite busy and reservations are not allowed, so you may have to wait for a bowling lane or game. In the meantime, settle in with one of their fun cocktails.
The Painted Pin is 21 and up starting after 5 pm, but kids are allowed during the day and is a place they will appreciate as well! If you have time, check out its sister location The Painted Duck on the Westside of Atlanta.
See Related: Best Family Road Trips in the US
14. The Southern Beer Tours
Address: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Peachtree Rd NE 3535, Atlanta, GA, 30326
In recent years, Georgia has loosened up its alcohol laws, which allows breweries and distilleries to flourish in the state. There are about 50 breweries in the metro Atlanta area with more opening all the time. I can think of ten breweries that were less than 15 minutes drive from me when I lived near the city center.
The best way to experience many breweries is to of course go on a brewery tour. Atlanta is spread out, so reliable transportation is key so you can enjoy your time. The standard Atlanta tour is about $70 per person and will take you to SweetWater Brewing, Monday Night Brewing, and Atlanta Brewing.
Learn all about how beer is made while drinking the latest fun brews. The tour takes about 4.5 hours, but leave some extra time, as we all know Atlanta is notorious for its traffic!
15. Ponce City Market
Address: 675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Previously part of the retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Co., and as City Hall, the building was renovated and re-opened in 2015. Today, Ponce City Market includes a central food hall, shops, and apartments. Ponce City Market attracted businesses like Mailchimp and Cox Enterprises to open offices in the building.
There is paid parking and a valet service. You can also enter from the Eastside BeltLine where there is a bike valet if needed. There are so many great spots to visit once inside, so save half a day to make your way around the place.
I’ve tried most of the restaurants in the food hall and you can’t go wrong with any of them. However, my go-to spots are Bottiwalla (Indian street food) and Bellina Alimentary (fresh Italian).
I love stopping at Modern Mystic for a new crystal and Posman Books to see what new books have hit the shelves. Sugarboo & Co has gifts for that special friend in your life, and Rhen’s Nest Toy Shop is a fun place for children to explore.
For an extra cost, Skyline Park on the roof of Ponce City Market is best for city skyline views and keeping your kids entertained. There are carnival games, a mini-golf course, a slide, a pool table, booze, and food. It’s a great time for the whole family!
16. Zoo Atlanta
Address: 800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315
Located in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta is one of my favorite places in the city. The orangutans are the best things to see in Atlanta with their adorable faces and mischievous attitudes!
Zoo Atlanta is open year-round, and hosts events like Boo at the Zoo, Cookies with Santa, and cocktail night events (adults only). For kids, there are rides and attractions like a petting zoo, a ropes course, and opportunities to feed and learn about animals.
Zoo Atlanta does close early (3:30 pm on weekdays and 4:30 pm on weekends) with the animals brought in an hour earlier. Zoo tickets range from $24 – $32 for adults with senior, youth, and student discounts. Children under 3 are free. It’s a large zoo and the parking lot fills up, so go right when it opens to give yourself plenty of time to explore!
See Related: Tips for Traveling with Toddlers and Kids
17. Georgia Aquarium
Address: 357 Luckie Street, NW Atlanta, GA 30313
You can’t visit Atlanta without stopping at the largest aquarium in the United States. The Georgia Aquarium is a non-profit organization and is involved in many conservation and educational programs.
Located in Downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park and the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium is the perfect place for kids and adults. The beluga whales are my favorite, but you can see other marine life like African penguins, Asian otters, sharks, and various other species. For an extra cost, you can interact with dolphins, penguins, sea lions, sharks, or manta rays.
Ocean Voyager is the best exhibit and largest in the Georgia Aquarium. Walk through a glass tunnel to see fish swimming all around you.
Then there is the floor-to-ceiling viewing pane to watch the divers interact with sharks, manta rays, fish, and other marine life. If you want a more adult experience without all the kids, then check out their Sips Under the Sea events.
The aquarium is open daily and children under two are free. Tickets are best purchased online if you want to save a few dollars.
While parking is usually difficult in Downtown Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium has a parking deck, which costs $12 – $17. Save some money by purchasing a pre-paid parking ticket. However, the parking tickets cannot be used for the World of Coca-Cola, if you are doing both locations.
18. Center for Puppetry Arts
Address: 1404 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
If you and your kids are into The Muppets and Sesame Street, then the Center for Puppetry Arts is the place for you to learn all about the puppetry arts and its history. The Center for Puppetry Arts opened in 1978.
Famous puppeteer Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog even helped cut the ribbon at the opening.
The Worlds of Puppetry Museum teaches visitors about global representation in the puppet industry and focuses on Jim Henson’s career. The museum also features special exhibits to showcase up-and-coming puppet artists.
The Center for Puppetry Arts puts on various puppet productions throughout the year. Most are geared toward children, but there are some fun ones for adults too! Check out their educational programs as well, such as learning about the history of puppetry or making your own puppet.
19. Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Address: 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Next to Centennial Olympic Park, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is a space for young kids to learn all kinds of things with immersive exhibits. The museum opened in 2003 and includes a Discovery Room, Exploration Room, Art Studio, and more.
The kids will love the Fundamentally Food exhibit. They can shop at a kid-size grocery store, learn about farming, run a cafe, and “drive” a delivery truck.
The Step Up to Science Exhibit has so many hands-on areas to play while learning about science. The museum also hosts cultural education programs for kids to learn about other cultures and religious holidays.
Museum tickets can only be purchased online and are $18 for non-member adults and children. There are paid parking lots in the area, or you can take MARTA to a few different stations.
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20. Six Flags Over Georgia
Address: 275 Riverside Pkwy, Austell, GA 30168
As a kid, Six Flags was one of the theme parks that was the place to be during the summer. We would stand in line to get in the front of the latest rollercoaster before heading over to the classics like The Great American Scream Machine, which used to go backwards in the 1990s. Did I just age myself?
The best time to go is during the week and in the months of April, May, June, and September. Those months will have fewer crowds and potentially better weather. The Atlanta summers are unforgiving with the combination of high temperatures and humidity, so make sure to stay hydrated!
Parking won’t be an issue, as there are plenty of parking spaces that rival concert venues, but there is a parking fee that ranges from $30 – $75/day. Daily tickets for Six Flags are $45, but you can save a couple of bucks each if you buy as a group. Special events like Fright Fest or Holiday in the Park will have different pricing.
21. The Sun Dial Restaurant at the Westin Peachtree Plaza
Address: 210 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
At the top of the downtown Westin property is the Sun Dial Restaurant which gives a 360-degree view of Atlanta. The restaurant is 723 feet from the ground and you can see Stone Mountain and Buckhead from its windows.
You used to be able to eat while the floor slowly revolved to give you the full view, but the restaurant no longer spins due to safety reasons. The observation deck is also, unfortunately, closed at this time.
Book a reservation at the restaurant near sunset to get golden hour photos before the city lights up at night. The Sun Dial serves a changing menu of farm-to-table dishes and is perfect for a special occasion.
The dress code is business casual. There are several paid parking garages and lots around downtown, but the Westin also offers valet parking for a fee.
22. SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel
Address: 168 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
Another great spot to get Atlanta views is the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel. It’s located next to the Tabernacle and Centennial Olympic Park downtown. Opened in 2013, the Ferris Wheel stands 200-feet tall and previously called Paris and Cape Town home.
Downtown parking can get expensive, but SkyView does offer a discounted chaser ticket, so you only pay $6 at the LAZ parking deck a couple of blocks away. Tickets are $14.75 for adults and free for children under 2.
They do offer military, senior, children, and student discounts. The VIP gondola is $50 per person. It’s open daily and runs until 10-11 pm.
Each gondola can fit up to six people and there are no restrictions to weight, height, or age, though an adult must accompany children 13 and under. The ride can last as little as seven minutes and up to 20 minutes.
There are no reservations required except for the VIP gondola, which only fits five people. You also are not required to share a gondola if you have a smaller group or would like to ride alone.
See Related: Best Road Trip Games For Couples
23. Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Address: 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
The concept to take the most talented musicians in the area and perform for an audience began in 1939 with the In-and-About Atlanta High School Symphony. This eventually led to the Atlanta Youth Symphony in 1945. Shortly after, professional musicians were asked to be part of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs a variety of events year-round. The Orchestra encourages children to get excited about music.
They play scores from children’s movies while the audience watches the movie at the same time. Some past concerts with live film showings have included Coco, Home Alone, and Star Wars.
There are a few parking decks around the Woodruff Arts Center, which cost $17-20. Rideshares like Lyft and Uber are always options, and the Arts Center MARTA station is across from the Center. There are several delicious restaurants nearby like Lure, or Tabla (the best Indian food in Atlanta).
24. TWO Urban Licks
Address: 820 Ralph McGill Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
Located off the Eastside BeltLine, TWO Urban Licks is a popular, metropolitan restaurant sure to impress any visitor or date. A pro tip is to book an outside table or one by the window at sunset to get romantic views of the city.
Treat your date to valet-only parking and step inside a lively restaurant with jazzy tunes from a live band. The restaurant gets creative with its cocktails and wine on tap that comes from displayed steel barrels. The menu changes here and there, but there are some staple dishes I recommend like the brisket empanada and mac and cheese.
The restaurant is always busy, so booking a reservation is a must. TWO Urban Licks often has events like endless rose wine brunch or Spanish wine night.
See Related: Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World
25. Piedmont Park
Address: 1320 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
The center point of Atlanta, Piedmont Park is the place to be when the weather is nice. Previously used as a place for fairs and expositions in the 1800s, it became a true park in the early 1900s. It has changed frequently over the years, but today it includes a dog park, pond, swimming pool, recreation area, and the best view of the Atlanta city skyline.
Here you will find people spending time in Piedmont Park with a frisbee, biking, or walking their dog. Piedmont Park is the perfect Atlanta venue for some of the bigger spring and summer festivals like The Dogwood Festival and Music Midtown.
A local tip is to stop at the Atlanta staple, Woody’s Cheesesteaks, and have a picnic in the meadow. The restaurant is located across the street from Piedmont Park off Monroe Drive. Afterward, grab a cocktail or beer at Park Tavern located on the corner of 10th Street and Monroe Drive.
26. Atlanta Botanical Garden
Address: 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is next to Piedmont Park and first opened in 1976. The gardens encompass over 30 acres right in the heart of the city.
The organization is often changing its exhibits and themes to keep visitors entertained. Exhibits like the Children’s Garden, Storza Woods, Canopy Walk, Japanese Garden, and Skyline Garden are all worth going to see as a child or an adult!
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is open seasonally Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm. The last tickets are sold at 7 pm. Tickets are $22 and must be bought in advance for non-members.
What I love about the Atlanta Botanical Garden is how their website helps you build out your itinerary. The site will make recommendations based on if you are with a group, as a couple, or going solo.
Some popular events at the Atlanta Botanical Garden include Cocktails in the Garden (for the adults), Storybook Time (for the kiddos), and art classes (for the inner artist in you). There is affordable paid parking onsite or you can park on the street for free outside the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Be mindful of any parking permit signs.
27. Atlanta BeltLine
I watched Atlanta transform into a city that people were excited to visit once the Atlanta BeltLine opened. The urban pathway encircles the city following the old railroad lines.
The concept is similar to the High Line in Manhattan, New York. Some parts are still being developed, but the Westside and Eastside trails are the most used.
The most popular trail is the Eastside one where you can travel from Memorial Drive to Piedmont Park. This trail has several restaurants and shops along the way, including places like Ponce City Market and TWO Urban Licks.
All the trails have something to offer and are a great way to see the city without having to deal with the car traffic, though the trails do get busy when the weather is nice and on weekends. The Atlanta BeltLine allows bikes, scooters, and rollerblades as well, so make sure to be cognizant of your surroundings. Do not cross to the other side without looking first!
In the summer, there is a free weekly yoga class next to the skate park. In this section, you will often find street musicians sharing their sounds with visitors. Art is an important feature on the BeltLine and you can find sculptures, murals, and featured photography along the way.
To be close to the Eastside BeltLine and its attractions, stay at a cute Atlanta-style bungalow like this VRBO one. It’s within walking distance to Krog Street Market, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, and more!
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28. Forward Warrior Mural
Address: 685 Wylie St SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
Every September, Forward Warrior selects local artists to paint murals alongside Wylie Street in the Cabbagetown-Reynoldstown neighborhood (my old stomping grounds!). Cabbagetown is an official historic neighborhood and was a place to call home for the Fulton Cotton Mill workers and their families.
Reynoldstown attracted an African-Americans population after the Civil War. Here they worked on the railways, and Wylie Street was the first paved road in the neighborhood. Due to the small size of the two neighborhoods, they are often referred to as one neighborhood.
The murals are mostly concentrated on Wylie Street, but there are others you can see throughout the neighborhood. Two of my favorite artists are Sanithna and Janice Rago who both create feminine-forward pieces. It is always exciting to see the creativity and diverse styles of the artists.
With the expansion of mixed-use spaces and the closeness to the BeltLine, the area has become a desirable spot to hang out and buy a home. It has also become a popular area for the movie industry to film. Give yourself plenty of time to view the murals because Wylie and surrounding streets get congested during rush hour and on the weekends. The mural is one of the best sights to see on a private Atlanta street art tour.
There is plenty of street parking if you are willing to walk a little bit. However, I recommend walking the length of the Reynoldstown BeltLine section for a beautiful city nature walk. Make a stop at the Cali-influenced Muchachos for coffee and breakfast tacos (the best in Atlanta) once you hit Memorial Drive.
29. Krog Street Tunnel
Address: 1 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
The famous Atlanta tunnel connecting the Cabbagetown-Reynoldstown neighborhoods to Inman Park deserves its own spot as a “thing to do in Atlanta.” The tunnel is a popular tourist destination and you will often see amateur music videos being filmed and photo shoots. The tunnel even made an appearance in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
The tunnel is known for its graffiti, which is ever-changing because it is legal to graffiti in the space at any time of the day. You will most certainly get a whiff of spray paint as you walk through it. The tunnel itself was built in 1912, but the graffiti theme didn’t start until the 1960s and is now a tradition.
In 2014, residents banded together to paint the tunnel all white to protest a private, for-profit Masquerade. The event shut off the main access between the neighborhoods. Due to the rail yards, there isn’t an easy way to get to the other side without having to go out of the way and deal with other congested areas.
Today, the tunnel is back to its former glory of being covered completely in spray paint. You can visit the tunnel on a biking tour. Be forewarned that there could be some vulgar words or pictures since it is a free-for-all place for artists.
30. Krog Street Market
Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
As you make your way down the Eastside BeltLine, pull off to check out Krog Street Market, a popular food hall. Opened in 2014, the historic building previously housed producer Tyler Perry’s studios. His studios have since relocated outside the city.
The food hall includes some of the best places to eat in Atlanta like Fred’s Meat and Bread, Ticonderoga Club, The Little Tart Bakeshop, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. Fred’s Meat and Bread has one of the best cheesesteaks in the country, even surpassing Philadelphia versions.
I said what I said! If you don’t believe me, then ask Alton Brown who declared on his Instagram in 2016, “I’m so sorry Philadelphia, but the best cheesesteak is now in Atlanta. @fredsmeatbread.” You can’t go wrong with their other offerings as well, and make sure to order the garlic fries with aioli.
Krog Street Market also has small shops, full-service restaurants, and a beer shop with an attached bar. I recommend going with a group and each ordering from a different place to share family style.
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Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
As one of the attached restaurants to Krog Street Market, Superica deserves its own mention. This Tex-Mex Atlanta favorite by restauranteur Ford Fry is my number one place to eat in the city. I have also been lucky enough to catch several celebrity sightings at its Krog Street location.
I’m slightly addicted to their cilantro-forward green salsa and perfectly crispy, thin tortilla chips. I have dreams about their house salad accompanied by charred corn and an oregano creamy dressing. Not to mention they have the best margaritas in town.
Do yourself a favor and go with a small group and get there right as doors open. The restaurant is packed any night of the week and doesn’t take reservations. If you’re around for a weekend brunch, then you cannot skip out on the hotcakes with the buttermilk syrup.
The restaurant has grown to include a few other locations around the city. Stop at its sister restaurant Little Rey (known for breakfast tacos) to sample other delicious fare along with some of Superica’s menu items.
32. SweetWater Brewery
Address: 195 Ottley Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30324
When you think of craft breweries in Atlanta, SweetWater Brewery is the first one that comes to mind. Starting in 1997, two University of Colorado Boulder friends created their first brew, the 420 Extra Pale Ale.
The beer ended up launching a 420 Festival in 2005. The festival is still held each April to honor 4/20, a date known for its marijuana affiliations.
At SweetWater’s Atlanta Taproom, you can take tours while sipping on one of their creative brews, like the Dank Tank series. They also order offer a full bar menu once you start to get the munchies.
The company continues to expand nationally and sells its brews as far west as Colorado and north into Vermont. Today, the brewery is now owned by Canadian cannabis company, Aphria Inc.
SweetWater also gives back locally to help keep the Chattahoochee River clean as a nod to how it all started. The name SweetWater comes from Sweetwater Creek, which connects to the Chattahoochee River. They also aim to use environmentally-conscious practices in their day-to-day operations as well.
Address: 1170 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA 30318
Take that special someone to Marcel if you want to impress them. Located on the Westside, this steakhouse is another Ford Fry go-to restaurant. If you haven’t figured it out, Ford Fry dominates the Atlanta food scene and does deserve the spotlight.
The name Marcel comes from the French boxer Marcel Cerdan. He lived an exciting life with his boxing days, his time in World War II, and his affair with famous singer Édith Piaf.
Marcel’s menu changes seasonally, but expect French classics with simplicity, fine ingredients, and richness. This is your chance to finally try escargot submerged in herbed butter – it’s delicious I promise! For your main course, you have to have one of their cuts of beef, as steak is what they are known for in Atlanta.
Afterward, perhaps finish the meal with brandy and a cigar. The cigars are affectionally described with boxing terms like heavyweight or medium heavyweight. Other popular bars within walking distance are Little Trouble and Ormsby’s.
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34. Antico Pizza Napoletana
Address: 1093 Hemphill Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
If you want the best Neopolitan-style pizza in Atlanta, then all the locals know you go to Antico. In a small building on the Westside of Atlanta, step inside to order a pizza as-is because there are no substitutions or changes allowed. Then search for a spot at one of the communal tables where you eat next to the stone wood fire stoves.
It’s rumored they were built only with materials shipped from Italy. The pizzas are done in less than two minutes in the stoves, so the inside crowd is revolving quite often. Popular with Georgia Tech students, the local spot is BYOB, so bring a bottle of red Italian wine to share.
Italian transplant, Giovanni Di Palma, has built an empire in Atlanta expanding his Antico brand and other restaurants. The Georgia Tech location now houses Gio’s Chicken Italiano and Maccheroni, Caffè Antico, and Bar Amalfi to create Atlanta’s own “Little Italia” spot.
According to Eater Atlanta publication, “Italy’s own Festa Della Pizza, held annually in the birthplace of pizza, named Antico a Top in Class pizzeria.”
35. Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q
Address: 1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Twins Justin and Jonathan Fox grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. The brothers tested out recipes on family and friends to get close to the barbecue they knew and loved from the Lone Star State.
Finding success with competitions, they opened up Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q in the Candler Park neighborhood in 2007. You can also find them at the Chattahoochee Food Works (food hall) and is usually a staple at festivals.
Their parking lot is always packed and for good reason. You can find finger-smacking delicious ribs, wings, brisket, and more. I recommend trying their chicken fried ribs for something a little different, which are breaded and fried and served with white BBQ sauce.
A true southern spin on the traditional rib. If you haven’t had white BBQ sauce before, which is also called white Alabama sauce, definitely give it a chance. It’s a tangy mayo-based sauce sometimes served with a horseradish kick. Tack on a side of jalapeño cornbread as well.
36. The Vortex
Address: 438 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Though The Vortex has been around seemingly forever as an Atlanta fixture on the corner of Moreland and Euclid Avenue, the owners hail from California. Falling in love with the vibrant nightlife of the 1990s, the sibling trio created the eclectically-themed burger joint and placed it in Midtown near I-85. The original location no longer exists, but the restaurant did keep the Midtown neighborhood when moving to a larger space.
The second location opened in 1995, which is the staple Little Five Points (affectionally called Little 5) location. The recognizable skull dominates many Little 5 knick-knacks as a representation of the neighborhood.
Great burgers, an extensive alcoholic beverage list with beer concoctions like the Dirty Hippie (Guinness mixed with SweetWater 420), and no-nonsense staff make it the place to eat before you head over to Variety Playhouse for a show.
The Vortex has made a name for itself with its list of “House Rules,” such as it being an “idiot-free zone,” no reservations, and no camping at the table when you’re done eating. Read the list before you go and you’ll be fine, but otherwise, you may get a stern talking to or thrown out if you are overly offensive to the staff!
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37. Folk Art
Address: 471 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30307
Brunch in Atlanta will take all morning because most places do not take reservations and parking is always a pain, but get ready for some delicious places. The south is where fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and hot sauce reign.
Folk Art is located in the Inman Park neighborhood and I recommend getting there as soon as it opens because street parking on busy, narrow roads is what you are working with for this restaurant. Plus you will be standing in line, as Folk Art doesn’t have a large space. The Decatur location is a little bit more spacious.
Go with a small group of 3 and order a sweet and savory combination because they are known for their Benedict selection (12 options!), but also have an extensive French toast/pancake/waffle section as well. You cannot go wrong with any of their dishes. Their cocktail menu is also top-notch.
38. Flying Biscuit Cafe
Address: 1655 McLendon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
Whenever my childhood friends would come back to visit they would always ask to go to the Flying Biscuit Cafe. With a few different locations around, the most popular spot is the original spot in the Candler Park neighborhood.
Opening in 1993, Flying Biscuit continues to win awards and serve all-day breakfast to its customers. They have now expanded to different southern states with the furthest location in Texas.
If you want southern food flavors, then Flying Biscuit Cafe is a good place to start. Order award-winning dishes like the shrimp and grits or the bbq Coca-Cola salmon, which are of course served with the famous flying biscuit and cranberry apple butter. Sides include spicy green beans, griddled macaroni and cheese, and “moon-dusted” potatoes to name a few.
My personal favorite is the Egg-ceptional eggs served with love cakes (black bean patties) with feta cheese and served over creamy grits. Flying Biscuit is a great place for those that are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Reservations aren’t accepted.
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39. Buttermilk Kitchen
Address: 4225 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30342
Chef and owner Suzanne Vizethann has made a name for herself with the rich, breakfast dishes at Buttermilk Kitchen located in Buckhead. It’s a great spot to go with some friends and get a mimosa or try the Flapjack (rye whiskey, rye whiskey syrup, cold brew, and milk of choice).
Buttermilk serves elevated standard dishes like omelets, chicken biscuits, and more. You can also order the rye whiskey syrup with plates like the “Make it Flippin’ Fantastic,” which is a buttermilk pancake with fried chicken served on top. If you are looking for something a little lighter, then you can’t go wrong with the folded egg frittata dish or vegan banana bread granola bowl.
If you can see a theme with popular Atlanta restaurants, reservations are not available at Buttermilk, but you can join the waitlist online. Parking is also hard to come by due to the small parking lot, so consolidate cars or take a shared car/taxi service.
40. Three Taverns Imaginarium
Address: 777 Memorial Drive SE Suite B103, Atlanta, GA 30316
Located in the newly developed Atlanta Dairies mixed-use space, Three Taverns created its Imaginarium location for the urbanite to experience unique seasonal flavors along with their tried and true beer options. The microbrewery’s original location is located in the city of Decatur, about 20 minutes east of the city center.
The Imaginarium is next to a greenspace area with hammocks, chairs, and fire pits. It has quickly become a favorite hang for locals.
The brewery is known for its inventive sour ales, and I recommend trying the Rapturous (raspberry sour) or Lord Grey (Earl Grey tea sour). The draft menu is always changing at the Imaginarium, but they often like to serve fruit-forward, dessert flavors like a strawberry milkshake IPA.
If you get hungry, they serve savory New Zealand hand pies and you can order select items from the next-door restaurant, Wonderkid (get the burger). They have even started doing food pop-ups, so check out the site for the rotating food vendor.
41. Fetch Park
Address: 520 Daniel St SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
If my French bulldog, Nibbler, could tell you what her favorite place in Atlanta was it would be Fetch. The dog park created a slice of Heaven for dogs in the middle of the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.
Day passes are around $10 and you must check in with proof of up-to-date vaccinations. Dogs must also be neutered. There is a small space for smaller dogs if you prefer, but the park is large enough for dogs to get some space if they need it.
In the summer, Fetch has water tubs for dogs to cool off in (Nibbler’s favorite spot) and places to wash your dog after playtime! Check times during the summer, as the park will often close during the hottest part of the day for safety.
They also offer wi-fi, coffee, and fun alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for the pawrents! There are a couple of parking lots, which have entrances from Decatur St. or Daniel St. (one-way road). They fill up quickly on the weekends, but there is street parking if you’re willing to walk a little way. It’s a traffic-heavy area with a lot of one-way roads, so give yourself plenty of time to navigate this special corner of Atlanta. Buckhead also has a location if you want to check out both!
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42. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Address: 1 AMB Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium replaced the beloved Georgia Dome in 2017. During football and soccer season, it is home to National Football League’s (NFL) Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Atlanta United FC teams. The stadium has also hosted the college football Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship, NFL’s Super Bowl, and other various sporting events.
What makes the Mercedes-Benz stadium unique is the retractable roof, which opens as a circle in the center of the building. The roof’s design was inspired by Rome’s Pantheon. The stadium can technically seat 75,000 at capacity, but the 2019 Peach Bowl counted over 78,000 visitors in the venue.
The Home Depot Backyard covers 11 acres next to the stadium to act as a place for tailgating and green space for visitors. Stop and get a picture with the stainless steel falcon in front of the stadium to represent the Atlanta Falcons.
The concessions do rival the former Georgia Dome, and I recommend checking out Farm Burger for burgers and a root beer, King of Pops for a banana pudding popsicle, Terrapin for the Hopsecutioner IPA, and The Varsity for a classic chili dog and frosted orange. The Varsity is an Atlanta, Georgia staple, and if you skip it at the stadium, then be sure to stop at the famous drive-thru location in the city center. You can also take a hop-on hop-off tour and visit the stadium.
While sports reign supreme at the Mercedes-Benz stadium does other special events like tours and large concerts where big artists like Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and The Rolling Stones have all played. MARTA will bring you directly to the stadium at the GWCC/CNN Center station for about $2-$2.50 each way.
43. The Battery
Address: 800 Battery Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30339
The year 2017 was huge for Atlanta, Georgia sports. Along with the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Atlanta Braves started their season in a new stadium as well.
The Braves moved from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta to Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park) in Cobb County. Truist Park and the surrounding area around it are called The Battery where fans can get a bite to eat, go shopping, see a concert, see a movie, and play games (bowling, Topgolf, etc.).
A lot of the popular restaurants like Fox Brothers, Superica, and Antico have a place to call home at The Battery. If you’re coming in for a baseball game, stay at The Omni or Aloft hotels. As many mixed-use spaces go these days, you can even live here in a modern apartment at The Courtland. With a yoga studio, nail salon, car wash, and other amenities you rarely would need to leave The Battery!
If staying off-site and want to visit, then I recommend taking a ride-share or renting a car. MARTA’s rail system doesn’t go all the way to The Battery, but you can take the MARTA 12 bus at the Midtown location. Then connect with the Cumberland Circular Shuttle (CobbLinc) at Cumberland Mall.
44. State Farm Arena
Address: 1 State Farm Dr, Atlanta, GA 30303
Home to National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Atlanta Hawks, the State Farm Arena is located in downtown Atlanta next to Centennial Park and the CNN Center. The venue (previously Philips Arena) opened in 1999 and finished the latest renovations in 2018 when it was renamed the State Farm Arena.
Similar to Mercedes-Benz, State Farm Arena has hosted several big events like the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, US Figure Skating Championship, and National Hockey League’s (NHL) All-Star Game. In addition to sports, the venue also puts on large-scale concerts and can sit up to 16,000 – 17,000 fans. Music artists like the Eagles, 2 Chainz, and Ariana Grande have graced its space!
There is paid parking around the arena, but the quickest and cheapest way is to use the MARTA metro system and get off at the GWCC/CNN Center station.
45. Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
Address: 250 Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
In the south, college football is considered a religion. I had a University of Georgia professor have us students try to argue why college football is not a religion, which come to find out is hard to do.
The Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellowjackets are the two most well-known college football teams in the state. Walking into the College Football Hall of Fame, you are greeted with a visual installation wall of multi-colored helmets representing over 775 schools.
The kids will love the indoor playing field where they can be like the football players training for their next game. You even get a shot at kicking a football 20 yards to make a field goal!
Explore the exhibits to learn about the College Football Hall of Fame inductees, the history of the sport, and more! Museum tickets are $25 with senior, student, and youth discounts. Children under three get in free.
The museum is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Since this location is downtown, there are only paid parking lots and decks surrounding the College Football Hall of Fame.
46. Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Address: 1320 Monroe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
Once the weather is warm enough the festival season is upon us, and Atlanta has something going on almost every weekend. Piedmont Park becomes the perfect central location for several of them like Music Midtown and the Ice Cream Festival. The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is a major one and has been around since 1936 with a hiatus from 1941 to 1963 due impacts of World War II.
The dogwood trees with their appealing flower blooms are planted all over the city, inspiring the start of the Dogwood Festival. The organization delivers a fun event for the whole family with food trucks, an artist market, and live music all in the heart of the city. There is a special kids art and crafts section and a 5K for runners where there is a mimosa waiting for them at the end!
The festival is free, and I recommend taking a ride share or taking the Eastside BeltLine to get to Piedmont Park. Parking around the park is hard to find during busy times and most street parking is permit only. Leave Fido at home, as animals are not permitted on the festival grounds itself.
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47. Chomp & Stomp
Living in the Cabbagetown-Reynoldstown neighborhood for many years, this is the one festival I looked forward to each November. Starting in 2002, this annual festival gets about 25,000 attendees each year. With the leaves changing, football season, and that crisp autumn air it is the perfect time for a chili cook-off festival.
Chomp and Stomp has two separate chili cook-off competitions. Local citizens participate in one, and local restaurants compete in the other for two winners.
Attendees who buy a spoon stand in line to try the chili (until they run out) and make their own judgments on who is the best, though official judges determine the actual winners. Get there early to get a parking spot and the best chili options!
The pro tip is to bring a muffin tin to hold all the mini paper cups of chili you will be eating. Alcohol is available for an extra cost, as well as other food trucks if chili isn’t your thing.
The Cabbagetown Park has music and there is a 5K for participants as well. Proceeds go to maintaining the green spaces and parks in Cabbagetown. The festival has my vote as one of the better cheap things to do in Atlanta.
48. Buford Highway
With Atlanta, Georgia being a center spot for international travelers, Buford Highway has become the melting pot of delicious, ethnic meals. There are several nations represented on this special highway with a focus on Asian and Latin American flavors. You can find dim sum, pho, tacos, lamb satay, and much more on Buford Highway.
The road starts in the city center and travels about 45 minutes northeast to the city of Buford. A lot of the popular places are located in the Chamblee/Doraville neighborhoods.
Do as the locals do and try Canton House for dim sum. Mamak is great for Malaysian curries, and Lee’s Bakery is the go-to spot for a banh mi sandwich. Hit up Monarca for authentic Mexican dishes, and Churreria Panaderia & Pasteleria for churros.
Food Terminal is also a great spot to taste a little bit of everything from Southeast Asian countries. Take a group of friends and go hungry, as I recommend trying a few different places while you’re visiting the area!
49. Stone Mountain Park
Address: 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Stone Mountain is about 30-40 minutes east of Atlanta and my hometown. I grew up going to the park and would often hike the backside of this large, granite rock. My summer weekends were spent watching the popular Lasershow Spectacular.
The area does have some controversial history, as Stone Mountain is known for its Confederate ties. The memorial carving features Confederate leaders President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Gutzon Borglum initially started carving in 1923 but the work was removed and re-started by Augustus Lukeman.
Borglum went on to carve out the famous Mount Rushmore memorial, however. Due to funding, the carving remained unfinished until 1964 and wasn’t complete until 1972.
There are tons to do in Stone Mountain Park like camp, fish, golf, ride the 1940s train, explore the dinosaur exhibit, and more! I recommend taking some time to hike the mountain itself, which takes a little over an hour to do. If hiking isn’t your thing you can still get the views by taking the Summit Skyride to the top.
If you are spending more than a day in the area, then check out some of the campgrounds or hotels for overnight stays. The Atlanta Evergreen Lakeside Resort and The Inn both include pools, while the golf course is attached to the Evergreen property.
Some other fun events worth checking out are the Highland Games and Native American Festival to learn more about the Scottish and Native American cultures. There are various passes to get into Stone Mountain Park, but the daily pass is $20 per car.
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50. Lake Lanier Islands
Address: 7650 Lanier Islands Pkwy, Buford, GA 30518
About 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta is Georgia’s largest man-made lake, Lake Lanier. Margaritaville offers family-friendly activities year-round.
Margaritaville is best known for its beach and water park and is open May through September. It has Georgia’s largest wave pool, water slides, foam parties, and more! The beach is separate and is an extra cost from the water park.
During the off-season, take your kids to experience Snow Island where the family can snow tube, ice skate, partake in carnival rides, and more. Snow Island is open from mid-November through February. Pick up a s’mores kit from Glacier Cafe Bakeshop to use at the fire pits!
During the December holiday, walk through the multi-colored lights at the Lights Spectacular event. Margaritaville also does margarita and mimosa brunch cruises during the warmer months.
51. Hotel Clermont
Address: 789 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
The original Hotel Clermont was a motel lodge back in its heydey in the 1920s. It sat abandoned in more recent years, and I watched as Oliver Hospitality breathed life back into it again.
Its rebranding of mid-century Miami vibes for this boutique hotel has made it more popular than ever. Book a room here and have an eventful night without having to leave the property.
Next to Ponce City Market in the Poncey-Highland neighborhood, this hotel has it all. Spend the evening dining at Tiny Lou’s, a French-American brasserie perfect for a special occasion.
The restaurant pays homage to its roots with its name coming from a 1950s dancer that entertained at the original motel lodge. Trust me and try their seasonal crepe cake.
After dinner, have a nightcap at the lobby bar before taking the elevator up to The Rooftop. Here you will drink fun tiki-style cocktails under the neon Hotel Clermont sign while taking in views of the Atlanta skyline.
If you are open to a more risqué night out, then finish the evening by heading back to the bottom of the building to the Clermont Lounge. The Clermont is an infamous spot for adult-only entertainment where many famous faces have paid a visit, so you may spot a celebrity or two. The bar is cash only and say hello to Blondie who is a local celebrity in her own right, as she has been working at the Clermont since 1978.
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52. Variety Playhouse
Address: 1099 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
In Little 5, the Variety Playhouse has been an entertainment venue since 1940. It previously was a movie theater but has been hosting live shows since the 1980s.
The small venue almost succumbed to demolition after it closed as a theater and then as a plumbing supply warehouse. Luckily the building was swept up in the plan to reimagine Little 5 by Atlanta’s mayor at the time, Maynard Jackson.
All genres of bands have come to play in the theater-style venue such as pianist George Winston and indie band, The Head and The Heart. Though the venue is more intimate than some other Atlanta ones, some bigger names like Adele and Modest Place have played here as well.
The venue has won several “Best of Atlanta” awards, which is an award voted on by locals. Check out Variety Playhouse’s events to see who is coming to town next and get your tickets!
Address: 152 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
I have been to the Tabernacle for concerts and work events more times than I can count. Bands like Incubus, The Avett Brothers, and Widespread Panic have graced its stage and a good time is always to be had here.
The indoor concert venue has been a staple of downtown Atlanta since 1996 but started as a Baptist church opening in 1911. The outside facade sticks to the Neoclassical style while the inside is four stories of dark wood and has that theatre vibe to it.
LiveNation has owned the venue for several years and continues to put on fantastic shows here. Check out their schedule for the latest events.
Afterward, head over to the nearby Waffle House (a must when visiting Atlanta) for some late-night diner food. I recommend the waffle, hash browns covered and smothered, and a Texas cheesesteak melt. If your service is sub-par and it’s freezing inside, then you’re at the right place because it’s all part of the “WaHo” experience!
What is Atlanta, Georgia known for?
Atlanta is known for many historical events like the Civil War, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Atlanta, Georgia?
There are tons of things to do for kids in Atlanta. Check out the World of Coca-Cola to try some international drinks or take the kids to admire the marine life at the Georgia Aquarium.
What are some fun things to do in Atlanta, Georgia?
It’s hard to only pick a few fun things to do in metro Atlanta. My perfect day would be biking the Eastside BeltLine to Ponce City Market to get some lunch and shopping. Then traveling back south to get a beer at Three Taverns Imaginarium!
What are some things to do in Atlanta, Georgia, when it’s raining?
There are several museums around the city that are perfect for rainy weather. Check out the High Museum of Art and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to name a couple. With kids, check out the Center for Puppetry Arts or the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
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Sheena McGuire is an experienced travel writer, narrating captivating tales from remote corners and bustling cities alike. Your passport to the world.