From historic theaters to amusement parks to hipster spots, there’s no limit to the number of fun things to do in Atlanta. The city’s diversity of attractions means that whether you’re a family, a couple, or a solo traveler, you’ll find numerous options for your travel style and budget.
Fun Things to Do in Atlanta
If you’re in a jam trying to decide what to do in Atlanta, here are some fun things to try.
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Enjoy Green Spaces
Atlanta is a thriving urban hotspot that’s constantly growing and developing. However, this growth hasn’t meant a complete disconnect from nature, as the city still maintains numerous green spaces. The most frequented and popular is beautiful Piedmont Park. Stretching roughly 185 acres, this is Atlanta’s response to Central Park.
Other equally great options are the Centennial Olympic Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The former was built for the 1996 Olympic Games and is famous for its water shows. The latter invites visitors to spend the day smelling the proverbial roses with canopy walks, sculpture gardens, and amazing special exhibitions.
Walk or Bike Along the Atlanta Beltline
The slogan for this former-railway-corridor-turned-green-space is “Where Atlanta Comes Together,” and it couldn’t be more true. Come during a sunny day and it’ll seem like every local and tourist in the city has come to the Beltline to walk, work out, or hang out.
The Beltline connects numerous neighborhoods, including Midtown, Sweet Auburn, Inman Park, and Atlantic Station, and comprises several parks and trails. With boutique shops, restaurants, temporary art installations, and events of all kinds, it’s easy to see why this is one of the top things to do in Atlanta.
Enjoy the Views
Like any city worth your time, Atlanta boasts a beautiful skyline, which you can appreciate if you know where to go. If you’re seeking a fun ride rewarded by a bird’s eye view of the city, head straight to Skyview Atlanta. This 20-story Ferris wheel towers over Centennial Olympic Park and offers a panorama of Atlanta.
If heights aren’t your thing, all you have to do is go to Jackson Street Bridge. Considered the best photo op in Downtown Atlanta, it has been the setting of numerous commercials as well as the opening scene of the massively successful television show The Walking Dead.
Go on the Hunt for Street Art
Atlanta is in constant competition with Miami for the title of best street art city in the American South. And the jury is still out. The absolute must-go-to place is Krog Street Tunnel. Connecting Cabbagetown and Inman Park, this tunnel is an ever-changing, multi-purpose collective canvas. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single spot on the tunnel that hasn’t been tagged, the pieces themselves change constantly— you never step into the same Krog Street Tunnel twice. Besides being an urban sanctuary for street art, the tunnel is also the setting for numerous creative projects, such as music videos, as well as underground parties and events.
If you still crave more street art, make sure to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of Little Five Points. Though you’ll find interesting pieces in the facades of the neighborhood’s numerous bars, thrift stores, and tattoo parlors, the best art is always the one that’s a little harder to find.
With diverse focuses but always held to high standards, cultural institutions in Atlanta abound. Art lovers will have the time of their life at the High Museum of Art, whose collection expands over various periods and includes international masters such as Dürer, Francis Criss, and Toshiko Takaezu. See dinosaurs bones at the Fernbank Museum, learn about puppetry at the Center for Puppetry Arts, or get modern at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.
Get your adrenaline fix at Six Flags Over Georgia, one of the most exciting things to do in Atlanta. Here you can test your limits in the park’s extremes rides—have a “floorless” free fall in Acrophobia, experience zero-gravity in Tsunami Surge, and cross the crime-ridden streets of Gotham in Batman: The Ride.
For a fainter but still solid thrill, visit Legoland Discovery Center. Spend the day rediscovering the joy of play as you build your own car, do a treasure hunt, watch movies in 4D, and hop on the rides at the theme park. The Legoland Discovery Center proves to be so fun, adults congregate here once a month for a night of play without their kids.
Join a Unique Tour
Ever wondered what’s behind the scenes of CNN? Ever wanted to know how Coca-Cola makes its beverages? You can find out in Atlanta. Join a tour to get a look at things you won’t find anywhere else. Spend the day playing anchor at the CNN studio, or explore the World of Coca-Cola. You can also take a tour around numerous film sites, as well as Civil War and Civil Rights tours. And don’t skip out on the mouth-watering food tours, too.
Stuff Your Face
Southern food. Need we say more? As the unofficial capital of the South, Atlanta is filled to the brim with amazing restaurants serving shrimp and grits, sweet potatoes, fried chicken steak, and every soul food dish your heart could ever desire. But the city is far from ethnocentric, offering flavors from worldwide cuisine. Peruvian, Lebanese, Thai, French—you name it, Atlanta has it.
Catch a Show
No visit to Atlanta is complete without at least one concert, play, or musical. Going to the iconic Fox Theatre is a must for those who live for Broadway shows, but there are several other venues, like the Alliance Theatre, with equally interesting repertoires.
If underground is your game, head to Little Five Points and East Village for independent concerts and performance art shows. Don’t forget to check the event calendar for the dates of your visit. With the sheer number of festivals and concerts Atlanta puts on every year, chances are your dates will coincide with something interesting.
Delve Into History
Learning about the history of the city is one of the most important things to do in Atlanta, a place steeped in a painful history of dehumanization and discrimination. Today there are several sites that commemorate the fight for progress.
At the Atlanta Historical Center, you can see the contrast between the life led by the wealthy plantation owners and the slaves they forcefully kept. At Oakland cemetery, you can witness both the segregation of even the most humbling of places, and the strides to end it.
But perhaps the most significant landmark of all is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which comprises a number of museums, memorials, and sites honoring the Civil Rights Movement and other struggles for human rights.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Atlanta Travel Guide
- 10 Best Hotels in Atlanta
- 10 Best Cheap Hotels in Atlanta
- 10 Best Atlanta Airport Hotels
- 10 Must-See Atlanta Attractions
- A Visitor’s Guide to Atlanta Neighborhoods
- The 10 Best Cheap Eats in Atlanta
- 10 Best Restaurants in Atlanta
- 10 Great Spots to Try Southern Food in Atlanta
- What to Wear in Atlanta
- What to Pack for Atlanta
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– Original reporting by Mariana Zapata
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