53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)

Not only is Atlanta, Georgia, home to the busiest airport in the world and all the things that metropolitan cities are known for, but it also features beautiful green spaces, world-class restaurants, professional sporting teams, concert venues, plenty of interactive museums, historical sites, and family-friendly adventures.

Here’s your list of the top 53+ things to do in Atlanta when you are in town, whether you’re visiting the Georgia capital city for the first time, the second or beyond.

53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)

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Museum of Illusions – You won’t believe your eyes!

If you’re visiting Atlanta, the Museum of Illusions is a must-visit destination that promises unparalleled entertainment and intrigue! Having explored its wonders myself, I can attest to the captivating exhibits that challenge reality.

The vortex tunnel is particularly exhilarating, distorting your sense of balance and leaving you in awe. Its central location makes it easily accessible, fitting seamlessly into any Atlanta itinerary.

More than just a museum, it offers an interactive experience that’s perfect for all ages. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this immersive attraction offers a unique perspective, making it an essential stop to enrich your Atlanta adventure.

Address:
264 19th Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia

Coolest Places To Stay In Atlanta

  • Best in Downtown: Located right next to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, and Centennial Olympic Park, the Westin Peachtree Plaza has a great central location. It's also home to the rotating Sun Dial Restaurant!
  • Best in Buckhead: The St. Regis Atlanta is located in Buckhead, only walking distance from the Shops at Buckhead featuring boutiques such as Tom Ford and Dior. A full-service spa is featured on site at St. Regis Buckhead Atlanta, as is a fitness center and billiard rooms.
  • Best in Midtown: Located in Midtown Atlanta, the 5-star Four Seasons Hotel is within one-half mile of the High Museum of Art. The hotel offers a full-service spa, modern health club and a on-site restaurant. Guests can enjoy the indoor saline pool, sauna or steam room.
  • Find more great places to stay, including campgrounds, at the bottom of this article!

Maximizing Your First Atlanta Visit

53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)

Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States and with 10 million gallons of fresh and saltwater, it is home to the largest aquarium habitat in the world. In addition to the aquarium habitat, the center also features interactive displays, educational programs, theatres, animal interactions, and more.

Book It: Georgia Aquarium Tickets

Read More: Things to Do at the Georgia Aquarium | Aquarium Sleepover | Swim with Whale Sharks

Zoo Atlanta

Featuring over 1,000 animals representing over 200 species from around the globe, Zoo Atlanta is a must-visit when in town. From well-known species and animals on the brink of extinction to all-time favorites like the Giant Panda twins, the zoo is a comfortable place to get up close and personal with creatures great and small.

Kids will also love the playgrounds, splash pad, train ride, Treetop Trail, giraffe feedings, and onsite eateries.

Book It: Zoo Atlanta General Admission Tickets | Read More: Things to Do at the Zoo | CityPASS

High Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy a visit to the High Museum of Art, the leading art museum in the Southeast. Featuring a celebrated collection of art from contemporary to classic, award-winning architecture and many educational programs and special events, it’s easy to see why the High is a top spot for tourists and locals alike.

Read More: Second Sundays | Membership | Jazz Night

World of Coca-Cola

The World of Coca-Cola is a dynamic, multi-media experience with tours, tastings, educational displays, a 4D movie and more.

Book It: World of Coca-Cola Tickets | Read More: Things to Do at World of Coke | CityPASS

The Escape Game at The Battery

You can always head to The Battery Atlanta to see an Atlanta Braves baseball game, but there is so much to do at this shopping, dining, play district -- including The Escape Game!

At The Escape Game, you'll find six escape rooms for all skill levels. Each game has multiple rooms to explore, and you can choose from a variety of themes and difficulties.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Far from a stuffy old natural history museum, Fernbank is a wonderland of adventure filled with living creatures, dinosaurs, artifacts, hands-on exhibits and over 75-acres of nature.

The outdoor space features interactive exhibits, giant old growth trees, boardwalks and more, making it a fun spot to explore the outdoors for families even with young kids. Check their calendar for special events and visiting exhibits.

Read More: Atlanta's Best Museum | Fernbank After Dark | CityPASS

The King Center

Created in 1968, The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) has been a global destination, resource center and community institution for 50 years. It is the “official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of America's greatest nonviolent movement for justice, equality and peace."

Visitors can view unique exhibits illustrating his life and teachings and visit the King Center, library, archives, his final resting place, his birth home, gift shop and other facilities. Admission and parking are FREE.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is an engaging cultural attraction that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to today’s global human rights movements and how the African American community has overcome numerous triumphs throughout the years. The Center uses interactive exhibits and cutting-edge technology that enables visitors to find inspiration in each story and learn more about history's Civil Rights leaders.

Read More: 7+ Compelling Exhibits at the Civil Rights Museum Atlanta| CityPASS

Piedmont Park

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park is home to over 200 acres of green space, set up to be enjoyed by the entire family. Home to many festivals, concerts and special events, Piedmont Park also houses dog parks, playgrounds, an educational garden, a lake and beautiful public pool. The park is home to concession stands, green market, and even a restaurant, making it the perfect place the day.

Read More: Piedmont Park: 17 Free Ways You Can Have Fun

World of Puppetry Museum at Center for Puppetry Arts

Kids of all ages will love visiting the Center for Puppetry Arts and exploring their museum of puppets from around the world.

In addition, check out the accompanying Jim Henson Collection— the most extensive in the world —with its interactive exhibits and behind-the-scenes looks at his most beloved and iconic characters. The puppet shows here are amazing.

Book It: World of Puppetry Museum Tickets

College Football Hall of Fame

Atlanta loves its football and college ball is BIG here, so the College Football Hall of Fame is a must. 95,000 square feet. A 45-yard indoor football field. More than 50 engaging and interactive exhibits. A shrine to the greatest to ever play or coach the game. All in the heart of Downtown Atlanta.

Book It: College Football Hall of Fame Tickets | Read More: Things to Do at The Hall | CityPASS

MORE MUST-DOS FOR YOUR FIRST ATLANTA VISIT

  • Fox Theatre. Broadway plays, concerts and professional dance performances grace the stage of the amazing theatre, as well as family-friendly shows. Make time to stop in for a tour and learn how the fabulous Fox was saved from the wrecking ball to become one of the top performance venues in the world.
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden. Enjoy touring the gardens, checking out the special exhibitions, letting the kids play at the splash pad, explore the Fuqua Conservatory, visit the award winning children's garden, take a walk though the trees on the canopy walk, and attend one of their special events.
  • Children's Museum of Atlanta. If you’re visiting Atlanta with young kids, be sure to block out some time to take them to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta with its six interactive kid-specific learning zones and feature displays. Kids can learn through play, view live performances and shop in the only kid-specific store located downtown.
  • Atlanta History Center and Swan House. The Atlanta History Center is a 33-acre historical site that is a true, must-visit destination. You'll visit one of the Southeast's largest history museums; two historic houses, the 1928 Swan House and the Tullie Smith Farm, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, the Kenan Research Center, a museum shop, and acres of historic gardens and trails.
  • Centennial Olympic Park. Arguably the centerpiece of Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park is a beautiful, walkable, vibrant and fun experience for visitors to Atlanta. Full of picturesque attractions like the Fountain of Rings, the park is fun to explore with maps and brochures from the Visitor’s Center.
  • Stone Mountain Park. This 3200-acre park features a variety of fun activities, attractions, special events, a Laser Show, and arguably some of the best views in the state. Whether you hike, bike or tram your way up, you won’t want to miss hitting the top of Stone Mountain for the unparalleled views of Atlanta.
  • Oakland Cemetery. Founded in 1850, Oakland Cemetery is a historic site that is beautiful, peaceful, and educational; a showplace of sculpture and the final resting place to may of Atlanta’s founders and noted citizens such as Margaret Mitchell, Maynard Jackson and Bobby Jones.
  • Mercedes Benz Stadium. Mercedes Benz Stadium is open for business, and offers tours that includes stops at the locker rooms, the field, Window to the City, Skybridges, and Clubs
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum. This hidden gem, founded in 1919, is one of the premier ancient art museums in the Southeast, with an extensive collection including mummies, Egyptian, Near Eastern, Classical, ancient American, African, and Asian art, as well as its important body of works of art on paper from the Renaissance to the present.

Expand To The Metro On Your 2nd Visit

53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)
Courtesy of Ponce City Market

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Sweetwater Creek Park is one of our favorite spots to get outside, enjoy nature and take pictures! There are scenic backdrops at every turn and the easy walk to the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company. This 215-acre park is full of places to explore, playgrounds, picnic areas, and even a museum and gift shop.

Read More: Sweetwater Creek State Park: Yurt Village & Hiking 411 | Georgia Glamping | Fall Colors | Parks with Waterfalls | Swimming Holes | Georgia State Parks Camping

Tellus Science Museum

If your family loves science, put Tellus Science Museum on the list for your next visit to Atlanta. Housing exhibits from dinosaurs to space, the Tellus covers all kinds of science-related things, with lots of hands-on activities for the kids, a planetarium, fossil and gem panning, and so much more.

Read More: Tellus Museum: 25 Fascinating Things To Create Lasting Family Memories

Booth Western Art Museum

In association with the Smithsonian Institution, the Booth Western Art Museum is known as one of the premier Western Art Museums in the country. Featuring permanent exhibitions in the Cowboy Gallery, the American West Gallery, Faces of the West and more, in addition to temporary exhibitions and special events, the Booth caters to art fans and families of all ages.

Read More: Booth Museum: A Legendary Western Museum in the South

Delta Flight Museum

Atlanta is home to Delta Air Lines and the Delta Flight Museum offers guests an up-close look at its history. Check out historic aircraft dating back to the '20s, fly the only Boeing 737 flight simulator, experience interactive exhibits and check out artifacts, as well as cutting-edge technology.

Public tours are offered every Tuesday at 1 pm and are free with admission. Please visit here for the tour topic schedule.

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

The Jimmy Carter Museum is filled with fascinating facts and interactive displays that all will enjoy. Get a glimpse into a day in the life of an American President, peek into the Oval Office, and learn about the Carters' continuing endeavors to fight disease and promote democracy around the world.

Ponce City Market

Even as a resident, Ponce City Market is one of my favorite places to people watch, window shop and eat! The historic Sears & Roebuck building has been revamped into a hip, urban public market full of upscale shops, taverns and eateries. In addition, PCM offers tons of special events, like Skate the Sky, their rooftop ice skating rink (seasonal), Winemaker Wednesdays, entertainment and so much more.

The Roof at PCM is an Atlanta destination in its own right. Take a freight elevator up to The Roof for panoramic views of the city, an 18-hole mini golf course, boardwalk-style games and more. Parents, get a sitter for the evening and enjoy craft cocktails during a relaxing sunset cocktail hour.

Atlanta BeltLine

Active visitors and explorers will want to take advantage of the Atlanta BeltLine, 33 miles of multi use trails snaking through the city of Atlanta. The BeltLine joins various neighborhoods, transportation hubs, green spaces and scenery with a convenient trail to walk, hike or bike while viewing nature and a multitude of public artistic installations.

The BeltLine conveniently meets stops such as Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market, making it a great place to spend a weekend morning.

Read More: Atlanta BeltLine: Outdoor Adventure Your Family Will Treasure

MORE MUST-DOS FOR YOUR SECOND ATLANTA VISIT

  • Chattahoochee Nature Center. If you’re itching to get outdoors, the 127-acre Chattahoochee Nature Center is the perfect place to do it. Families will love getting closer to nature amidst the trees, gardens, and Chattahoochee riverfront boardwalk. Take a canoe ride, interact with animals and take advantage of the educational programs that are offered at CNC.
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Far from stodgy, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra offers classic and modern musical performances for everyone. Performances range from Star Wars musical scores and Mozart, to family-friendly programming -- but the performances are just one part of ASO’s offering. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra also offers talent development, youth orchestra, educational programs and more.
  • Alliance Theatre. Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre brings high quality theatre to audiences of all ages. In addition to performances ranging from dramatic plays to “Theatre for the Very Young”, the Alliance offers acting classes, theatre camp, and tons of other educational programs.
  • SkyView Atlanta. SkyView Atlanta is a spectacular Ferris wheel-style adventure aboard gondolas that lift you 20 stories in the air. Incredible views in every direction, twinkling lights, climate controlled gondolas and comfortable “Ferrari” style seats = a ride you will never forget!
  • Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design. MODA is a participating member of the Smithsonian Affiliate Program and offers exhibitions, education and programming for visitors of all ages.
  • Atlanta Food Walks. Crazy about good food? Take some time out and sign up for one of the Atlanta Food Walks and dive into the history, culture, and food through this unique Atlanta tour. Learn about hidden gems and discover fantastic restaurants that might be off the beaten path. Plenty of food, fun, and history.

For Frequent Atlanta Visitors and Residents

53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)
Courtesy of Callaway Resort & Gardens

Callaway Resort & Gardens

Discover the beauty of Callaway Resort & Gardens, located just over an hour from the airport. Explore 2,500-acres of gardens, trails, and natural beauty, including a visit to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. There are educational opportunities like shows, workshops, hikes and group programs.

Try their zipline and treetop adventure, and make sure to visit during their special events, including Fantasy in Lights!

More info:  Callaway Gardens: The Ultimate Multi-Generational Getaway

Peachtree DeKalb Airport

Kiddos love airplanes? Then a trip to the Peachtree DeKalb Airport is on tap for your visit. Why? Because this airport has a super fun airport-themed park right within awesome runway views.

Kiddos can climb to the viewing platform, swing, slide and play; then take a break for a picnic at the covered picnic table (in a real hangar!) or hit up the Downwind Restaurant for a yummy burger as you watch the comings and goings of a multitude of aircraft!

Read More: Parks in Atlanta: Best Playgrounds & Play Spaces for Kids in the Metro

Porsche Experience Center

Do you like to go fast? If so, then the Porsche Experience Center is for you. Sign up for a driving course and spend 90 minutes behind the wheel of your choice of Porsche. And you'll have a coach at your side so you can learn how to handle it on the track.

Simulators and tours are also available, and you can dine at one of the onsite restaurants.

Dragon Con

The Dragon Con annual event and parade attracts thousands of sci-fi-loving people to Atlanta each year. The multi-day event includes panels and seminars, demonstrations, and workshops, with programming that includes writing, art, anime, gaming, science fiction, and fantasy literature, comic books, costuming, robotics, and more.

Read More: Dragoncon Parade: Everything You Need To Know for an Amazing Time

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a 2,965-acre National Battlefield that preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign. Here you'll find 17 miles of interpretive trails, monuments, and a museum that helps visitors understand the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War. If you have kids, make sure to try the Jr Ranger program.

Read More: Day Tripping to the Breathtaking National Parks in Georgia

Chastain Park & Amphitheatre

Chastain Memorial Park is the largest city park in Atlanta and includes jogging paths, playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool, a horse park, and an amphitheater.

The outdoor amphitheater is popular during the summer, with shows being offered between April and Oct. See the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra play here or one of your favorite musicians through Live Nation.

Lanier Islands

Featuring 1,500 scenic acres along the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier, Lanier Islands is a luxury resort, and the surrounding property is perfect for your next family vacation. Activities include golf, boating, camping, horseback riding, zip-lining, hiking, mini-golf, beach volleyball, and more.

Read More: 35 Amazing Lakes in Georgia You Don’t Want To Miss

Gibbs Gardens

This treasure is “hidden” about an hour north of Atlanta. Gibbs Gardens is a 292-acre estate, 220 of which is the house and gardens, making this one of the largest garden estates in the nation.

The garden is full of surprises...from a “Monet” bridge to waterfalls (there are 19), ponds, tree sculptures and more. The Garden Cafe serves tasty salads, sandwiches and other fare, allowing visitors to spend more time enjoying the lush surroundings.

Read More: Gibbs Gardens: Have You Heard of This Breathtaking Ball Ground Secret?

iFLY Atlanta Indoor Skydiving

Daring visitors and residents may want to tackle a trip to iFLY for an indoor skydiving experience. Picture yourself suited up with wind rushing over your body for this thrilling activity.

Flyers ages 3 to 103 can indoor skydive. From beginners to seasoned pros, people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities can take flight and have the time of their lives.

Read More: Indoor Skydiving Atlanta: Master iFLY Like a Certified Champ (Video)

MORE MUST-DOS FOR FREQUENT ATLANTA VISITORS

  • Medieval Times. Hear Ye, Hear Ye! This trip back in time is a blast, and you get to eat with your hands. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is one of those really fun places to go with friends. Watch a joust, cheer on your knight, enjoy food and drink, and explore the Hall of Arms.
  • INK. Imagine a town, with a post office, pizza joint, court house and more…all pint size and perfect for small kids. The Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, also known as INK, is a hands-on museum in Gainesville that even has a life-size plane and firetruck that you can climb in!
  • Panola Mountain State Park. To the west of Atlanta is Panola Mountain State Park. Panola has a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain. In addition to forest hiking trails, they also have paved trails perfect for biking, roller blading, or pushing a stroller. Our favorite thing? Archery programs and tree climbing classes!
  • Six Flags Over Georgia. If you want to know what to do in Atlanta, GA, with tweens, Six Flags Over Georgia is your best bet. You'll find thrill rides, roller coasters, family-friendly rides, experiences, dining, shows, a water park, and more. Be sure to check them out for Halloween and Christmas too.
  • Tiny Towne. Tiny Towne is a completely unique "edu-tainment" center that is the perfect indoor family-fun option. Their vision is to inspire a generation of safer drivers. They provide aspiring drivers (ages 3 through 15) the opportunity to drive high-tech mini cars on realistic streets, complete with road signs and traffic signals.
  • Dad's Garage. If you need a little laughter in your life, pick up tickets to Dad’s Garage! Since 1995, Dad’s Garage has been supplying side-splitting improv comedy, scripted shows, and a fully stocked bar. Their award-winning comedy shows are a highlight of Atlanta’s nightlife.
  • Shakespeare Tavern. The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse is a unique venue that resembles being whisked back to Elizabethan times. Enjoy good food and drink while submersed in the costumes, awesome sword fights, and a “passion for the poetry of the spoken word.”

Campgrounds In Atlanta

There are so many great places to stay in Atlanta! We've added hotel options to the top of this article, but here are some other options as well.

  • Best Forested RV Spots: Nestled in a beautiful wooded setting just outside of Atlanta, GA, in Austell is Sweetwater Creek RV Reserve. The park offers a secure, friendly environment where families, seniors, temporary workforce personnel, and every type of RV traveler can feel safe and right at home. 
  • Best RV Spots on the Water: Holiday Harbor Marina & Resort offers an unforgettable vacation destination in Acworth, GA. Relax with stunning waterfront campsites and fun activities for the entire family. Onsite fun includes watersports rentals, hiking and biking trails, a swimming area, a ship store, boat storage, full-service restaurant "Allatoona Grill," special events, and more!
53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)

THINGS TO DO IN ATLANTA (printable)

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Atlanta FAQ

What is Atlanta famous for?

Atlanta is well-known for a number of things, including being the state capital of Georgia, being home to one of the busiest airports in the world, its thriving hip hop scene, being a filming hot spot for movies and TV shows, and for its role in the Civil Rights Movement.

How many days do you need in Atlanta?

If you're visiting Atlanta for the first time, about 3 days will be enough to hit some of the main points of interest. Of course, there is so much to do here, you could be here for years and not see it all!

When is the best time to visit Atlanta?

Any time of year is a good time to visit Atlanta, but if you're looking for milder temperatures, then the spring and fall months are the best time to visit the ATL.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA

Where To Stay In Atlanta

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53+ Things To Do in Atlanta You Should Not Miss (From Locals in the Know)