After living in Atlanta for more than 30 years, we know a thing or two about the best things to do in Downtown Atlanta.
You’ll find popular tourist attractions, outdoor adventures, amazing hotels and restaurants, and so much more in Georgia’s capital city. Whether you’re a local planning a staycation or a traveler hoping to get the most out of your trip — we’ve got you covered.
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COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA
- Hilton Garden Inn Downtown. We’ve stayed at this hotel countless times because of the great service and the location, location, location. It’s easy access to all the attractions, State Farm Arena, Tabernacle, Centennial Park and more.
- Omni Hotel Atlanta. Omni is located within the CNN Center and next to Centennial Park. It includes a heated outdoor pool and hot tub, sports lounge with scenic views, and the Omni Sensational Kids program.
- Courtland Grand Hotel. At the Courtland Grand Hotel, you’ll find a garden courtyard pool topped by a retractable glass atrium ceiling, onsite restaurants, and more. It’s about a 15 minute walk to Centennial Olympic Park.
- Hyatt House Atlanta Downtown. Spacious guestrooms and suites are ideal for families. Fully-equipped kitchens available. Free Wi-Fi, outdoor heated pool, 24-hour market.
- Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Another family favorite, the Hyatt Regency is comfortable but sophisticated. Outdoor pool, Free Wi-Fi, easy access to Marta.
DOWNTOWN ATLANTA’S TOURIST STOPS WORTH A VISIT
- Georgia Aquarium. Families love the world-renowned aquarium, with whale sharks, sea lions, penguins and a spectacular dolphin show. Our favorite exhibit will always be the jellyfish! Don’t forget to bring the kids by Aquanaut Adventure, a discovery zone for kids. If you have time, the Behind the Scenes tour of the world’s largest aquarium is a must-do. Get Your Guide has great Skip-the-Line Tickets!
- World of Coca-Cola Museum. You’ll find the world’s largest permanent display of memorabilia from the soda most people prefer – Coca-Cola! My kids adore the tasting room with 100+ beverages from around the world. Make plans to see a show at the 4D Theatre and pose for a picture with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. Get Your World of Coke Tix Here!
- Center for Civil and Human Rights. The Center for Civil and Human Rights is a powerful, moving museum that ties the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s with the today’s global Human Rights movement. Expect to see emotionally raw images and portrayals at this Atlanta attraction, watching, seeing, hearing and interacting with history in an intimate and modern setting. Ideal for kids elementary age and up.
- College Football Hall of Fame. Feel the excitement and spirit of college football fanfare from the moment you step inside the football-shaped building. The big draw for kids is the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Skill Zone. Kick a field goal, run through a training course, or take the quarterback challenge. After that, make your way to the Game Day Theater, where the energy of college football comes to life.
TIP: The above attractions are all within walking distance of each other and part of Atlanta CityPASS, which allows you to save up to 44% off regular ticket prices. See more info here.
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Explore the newly remodeled kiddo museum, with interesting traveling exhibits and fantastic permanent play stations that include science, art and other fun missions that teach while kids play. Designed for kids 0-8 yo.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA
- ATL-Cruzers. One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in Atlanta and see as much as you can is with a Segway, Minibus, or Electric Car Tour with ATL-Cruzers. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll love the opportunity to see a small (usually unknown) jail cell in a public park, unmatched views of Atlanta’s best murals, filming locations, and more.
- SkyView Atlanta. Up, up, up…and over the city for gorgeous views day or night. Atlanta’s Ferris Wheel is the ideal place to catch a glimpse of Centennial Park and the surrounding area from 20 stories in the air. Want something extra-special? Try the VIP gondola boasting Ferrari-style seats, a glass floor and a longer flight time.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. As birthplace and home to the legendary Dr. MLK Jr, you can take a journey through special places in his life on a walking tour of the park. Not your typical national park, sites are spread over a several block radius of the main park building, including his birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fire Station No. 6, The King Center, and more.
- Centennial Olympic Park. This unique 21-acre park serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the Centennial Olympic Games. The Fountain of Rings is the world’s largest interactive fountain utilizing the Olympic symbol of five interconnecting rings, and it’s a local favorite for kids who love to run and jump in the water to cool off from the heat. You’ll find concerts, festivals and special events happening here year-round.
- Carter Center. The Carter Center is the only presidential library in the Southeast. Tour the 35 acres for FREE, with two beautiful lakes and a Japanese garden. A small fee allows you into the museum where you can view Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize or take a photo in an exact replica of the Oval Office.
- State Farm Arena. If you’re in town to catch a Hawks game, then State Farm Arena is where you’ll be. It’s also the ideal venue for watching big-name music artists like Jonas Brothers, John Mayer, Doja Cat, the Eagles, and more.
- Mercedes Benz Stadium. If you’re not in town for a Falcons game, then try a concert or a United game. In summer, you can enjoy the new Home Depot Backyard Greenspace with a playground, tailgating space, event venue and more. Finally, don’t miss touring the amazing art collection within the Stadium.
WORTH THE DRIVE FROM DOWNTOWN
- The Varsity. (<2 miles) The Varsity is the world’s largest drive-in restaurant, and it’s been serving the locals since 1928! Don’t be intimidated by the quick order-taking staff…they just want to make you happy. I recommend the chili-cheese-slaw-dog with onion rings and a Frosted Orange.
- Zoo Atlanta. (3 miles) Lions and tigers and bears…and so much more. Our favorite has to be the Giant pandas! Come see the new safari habitat for the elephants, zebras, giraffes and other African animals. Or take to the trees like a Toucan, and enjoy the ropes course. The splash pad in the summer is a big hit.
- Center for Puppetry Arts. (3 miles) Show your love for all things puppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Regularly playing host to puppet performances for adults and children, the site is also home to a museum featuring permanent and visiting exhibits. Most puppet shows are for elementary age and up, though there are often adult-centric performances, too.
- Fernbank Museum. (5 miles) This highly interactive museum provides activities, stories, crafts and special events. Regular interactive traveling exhibits always offer something new. Permanent exhibits include kids’ favorite Fernbank NatureQuest, a fun way for kids to explore nature and science through immersive exhibits.
- Six Flags Over Georgia. (12 miles) Catch-your-breath fun for everyone! Attractions include thrill rides like Goliath, DC Super Friends Bugs Bunny Boomtown (great for young kids) and Hurricane Harbor Water Park.
- Stone Mountain Park. (20 miles) Stone Mountain Park is filled with family fun adventures in the outdoors. Climb to the top of the mountain or take the train around the giant outcrop. Golf at the championship courses or the mini-golf course. Explore the park in the daytime and stay until dark for the fireworks and laser show extravaganza. There is also camping, glamping and two Marriott hotels.
Insider Tip: Zoo Atlanta and Fernbank Museum are part of Atlanta CityPASS. Click here to see how you can save up to 43%.
RESTAURANTS IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA
- Dos Bocas. Dos Bocas is easily accessible from the Hilton Garden Inn and Centennial Park. We love the Louisiana-Texas take on food (and the black bean soup is to die for). Ask for a seat on the patio for wicked views of the Aquarium, Ferris wheel and more.
- Der Biergarten. As the name suggests, this is a German beer garden with an authentic German menu and beer selections. One of the owners is an Atlanta resident and native of Germany, and he brings to life dishes like jägerschnitzel (my fave), käsespätzle, reibekuchen and more!
- Gus’s Fried Chicken. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken has flickered on the edge of national recognition for a decade, ever since GQ Magazine cited it in 2001 as one of the top five restaurants in the country worth hopping on a plane for a meal. Originally in Memphis and now in Downtown Atlanta, this is fried chicken you don’t want to miss.
- Hard Rock Café. Grab a delicious hamburger in a fun environment. In town Monday? You can experience free live concerts here. Great for teens and tweens.
- Paschal’s. Southern cooking since 1947, Paschal’s Restaurant is the “soul” of Atlanta, serving favorites like Paschal’s Fried Chicken. There’s also a Civil Rights history here you won’t want to miss. This amazing restaurant is a shining star in our foodie city.
- The Municipal Market. Head to Sweet Auburn for a series of delicious eats from Earl of Sandwich to Tijuana Tacos. Rawsome Juicery is also a fun treat for the kids.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- ATLANTA: 53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)
- FREE ATL: 50+ Free Things To Do in Atlanta (That Don’t Suck)
- AQUARIUM HOTELS: Hotels Near Atlanta Aquarium: 7+ Best Places to Stay Near Georgia Aquarium
- DATE NIGHT: It’s Date Night Atlanta: 50+ Ideas for Romance and Fun
WHERE TO STAY IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA
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