See also: Where to Stay in Atlanta
The birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the center ground for the civil rights movement as well as the basis for the book ‘gone with the wind’ and a melting pot of diverse cultures such as the largest Hindu temple outside of India is situated here. Basically, the only word used to describe Atlanta is ‘historic.’ Here, you can bike around or simply stroll as you like as its trails span 61.5 miles. Here are 30 things you can do while you’re in Atlanta:
Hike Around the Stone Mountain Park
The Stone Mountain Park is the most scenic location of Atlanta due to its lush green environs and natural rocky structures. It is an instant crowd pleaser with its buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as a swift sky ride that takes you to the top of the mountain. There are also adventure rides such as the sky hike which is an adventure course in the tree tops sure to keep your adrenaline pumping. The 3,200 acres of nature will breathe new life inside of you and you can end the day by watching a light laser show.
Cruise Around the Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee river national recreational area contains 50 miles of breathtaking trails and opportunities for adventure activities such as paddle boarding on the mighty waves of the river at Morgan falls. A picturesque trail known as Sope creek will leave you marveling at the tall trees and warm sunlight streaming through the leaves. Another one called the East Palisades trail has a wooden bridge stretched across another creek and provides stunning views of the River. Simply put, this location has to be on everyone’s list.
Bike Around the Beltline
The former 33 mile rail line had been lying disused until an urban renewal project began which is still a work-in-progress but has successfully transformed the area into a recreational area containing restaurants, shops and pathways. The Krog street market, rathbun’s, parish, king of pops and Woody’s famous Philadelphia cheese steaks are among a few of the eateries situated alongside the pathway. You can visit the Ponce city market and Ponce on Paris in order to have a wholesome shopping experience. You can catch on some exercise by renting a bike on the Eastside trail.
Visit the CNN Studios
CNN rose to prominence when it live telecasted the Gulf war in 1991 and since then has cemented its place in popular culture. At the CNN center, you will be taken on a guided tour of the legendary headquarters where you will learn about the history of the media organization and visit their studios. The 50 minute walking tour will take you through all the behind-the-scenes action as well as educate you about the production techniques required for live broadcasting. When you get hungry, you can visit their enormous food court.
Become Quirky at Little Five Points Neighborhood
The little five points is an iconic neighborhood of the city with its charming old-school vibe mixed with the rawness of a hipster sensibility. The area is full of fascinating murals, shops, restaurants and art galleries. Criminal record has a unique blend of lesser-known vinyl records along with mainstream musical hits and is a tourist magnet. The Vortex is the most recognizable building of the neighborhood because of its skull-shaped entrance and serves the juiciest burgers. Finally, a homegrown fast food restaurant called Zesto is famous for its ice creams.
Take Off at the Delta Flight Museum
The Delta flight museum is a paradise for aviation nerds as it provides a state-of-art facility spanning over 68,000 square feet of area. The museum has many exhilarating displays such as the spirit of Delta airplane, Boeing 767, Ship 41 and DC-3. Though, the most exciting interactive display of the museum is the full-motion simulator of the Boeing 737-200. The museum showcases the vast history of Delta airlines through eight decades and the start of commercial aviation.
Dive Deep at the Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia aquarium is considered by many locals as the ultimate tourist destination of Atlanta and it’s not difficult to see why. The aquarium houses aquatic life from 500 different species within a facility which contains 10 million gallons of water, a rare amount for any aquarium around the world. The aquarium is home to four beluga Whales and hosts Dolphin entertainment shows. Within its vicinity, it also houses other exhibits such as Ocean Voyager, the cold water quest, Aquanaut adventure, River scout and Tropical Diver. The interactive sessions with aquatic animals will leave you mesmerized.
Stop and Smell the Roses at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The botanical garden of Atlanta is spread over an area of 30 acres and is an oasis of greenery and plants. It is situated in the Midtown area of the city and has the Fuqua orchid center which houses rare varieties of Orchids from around the world. You can visit the observation hive in order to learn about honeybees and visit the children’s garden to frolic around the sunflower fountain. The Kendeda canopy walk offers blissful scenery and a peaceful trail for you to stroll around and the Sheffield botanical library is a storehouse of knowledge and a place for research.
Laugh Out Loud at Dad’s Garage Theatre Company
The dad’s garage is a local not-for-profit theatre company situated in the old fourth ward neighborhood of the city. If you want to have a hearty laugh or do something fun with your partner on a date night this theatre company is going to enthrall your senses. They put on a variety of shows every week such as ‘murder: she improvised, death at the scary house’ and ‘theatre sports’ which puts on a show every Saturday night. If you want to acquire some new skills or meet locals then, you can sign up for their improv classes.
Meet Dinosaurs at Fernbank Museum
Fernbank museum is a state-of-the-art facility that showcases fascinating pre-historic cultures, natural history and ancient fossils through its displays. The museum has wild woods and the Fernbank forest where you can explore 75 acres of lush plant life as well as go on a canopy walk. There is also a 3D giant theatre inside the facility which premiers movies such as the great bear rainforest, Apollo 11 and volcanoes 3D. As you walk around the museum, you will be left astonished by the many Dinosaur fossils and skeletons displayed inside.
Become a Movie Star at Fox Theatre
The Fox theatre will transport you back to the golden era of Hollywood with its red cushion seats, white marble staircases, gold engravings on the walls and an overall feeling of regality and old-school Hollywood charm. The theatre’s main purpose is to showcase classic Hollywood films but it also hosts music concerts, the Atlanta Ballet, Broadway shows and live performances. The theatre is one of the most visited sites of Atlanta, according to Trip Advisor and will not leave you disappointed.
Admire Modernism at the High Museum of Art
The high museum of art is one of the most phenomenal contemporary art museums of South East America and this is because of its remarkable permanent and rotating art exhibitions. The museum contains 11,000 works of permanent art including folk, decorative, European, African and American art as well as photographic works and a room full of giant peaches. The art collection is richly comprised by Tiepolo, Ernst, Tournier and Monet, you can buy prints of your favorite art pieces and other memorabilia from the museum gift shop. The museum has jazz evenings every Friday and also hosts family and youth programs.
Democratize Art at the Krog Street Tunnel
The Krog street tunnel is a passage that connects the area of Cabbagetown and Inman Park neighborhood and is known for its colorful and vibrant walls. Every inch of the walls are covered either in graffiti, murals, festival flyers and you may even spot an occasional marriage proposal. The Krog street tunnel is frequented by locals and cyclists who use it for their daily commute but the tunnel is a magnet for photographers and artists who want to create art for the public.
Support Local Farmers at the Municipal Market
The municipal market is an open-air facility selling fresh and local produce since the year 1918. It is also known as the curb market and houses around 30 local businesses that specialize in meat products, fresh fruits, vegetables, bakery, pharmacy and a cooking school. You can also choose among an array of diverse eateries such as Venezuelan, British pies, Caribbean cuisine, soul food, barbeque, Polish, American and French crepes, among many others. The aroma of baking goods combined with butchers cutting fresh meats of pig, the market promises an unusual sensory experience.
Visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Established in the year 2014, the national center for civil and human rights is a museum and gallery preserving the history and artifacts relating to the American civil rights movement of the 1960s as well as other humanitarian efforts around the world. One of the exhibitions displays personal writings and letters of Martin Luther King, Jr. such as the letter from the Birmingham jail and another one which talks about the American civil rights movement more comprehensively. There is a gallery which juxtaposes images of dictators with modern day activists and LGBTQ advocates.
Fly High at the Skyview Atlanta
The skyview is a technologically advanced Ferris wheel that has 20 storeys’s and is 200 feet tall which provides for breathtaking views of the city. The enormous wheel is situated inside the Centennial Olympic Park and has temperature controlled gondolas that take you around in a circle while you admire every nook and corner of this city. The night time laser light show happens here and is considered to be a popular tourist attraction of Atlanta and is a once in a lifetime experience.
Get a Sugar Rush at the World of Coca Cola
The world of Coca-Cola has been open to the public since 2007 and as the name suggests, it is a museum that tells the story of the beverage company. Here, you will be taken on a guided tour where you will be shown how the coke is made, the humble beginnings by John Pemberton, the bottling machinery and coca-cola’s presence in popular culture. The most popular part of the visit is the soda tasting room where you can try drinks of innumerous varieties and countries such as Peru, Uganda and Russia. This is the ultimate place for sugary drinks enthusiast and overexcited children.
Watch a Game at the Mercedes Benz Stadium
The Mercedes-Benz stadium is massive in size with 71,000 seats for viewers but this is not its only perk as the seats are designed with cutting-edge technology which means there is no bad seat in the stadium as any seat provides for clear viewing of the game or performance. The stadium is home to NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League soccer’s Atlanta United as well as hosting musical concerts and live performances. The environmentally sustainable stadium will be hosting this year’s super bowl.
Be a Diva at the Scad Fash Museum of Fashion + Film
The SCAD FASH museum of fashion and film is a standalone and one of its kind museum dedicated to high street and couture fashion. The museum has temporary and rotating exhibitions by couture fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Pierre Cardin, Carolina Herrera, Daniel Lismore and Guo Pei. In 2018, the museum hosted an exhibition of costumes from the TV show ‘the handmaid’s tale’ and has also housed photographic exhibitions by artists such as street photographer Bill Cunningham, Jonathan Becker and Omar Victor Diop. The audience it attracts is generally fashion enthusiasts and art curators.
Go on a Drive at Porsche Experience Center
The Porsche experience centre offers a world class facility for people who want to learn about the famed company and have a desire to test drive one of the 75 models present within the facility. Visitors can either choose to drive a Porsche vehicle or can visit their simulator lab which will give them the feel of driving a race car on some of the most famous tracks in the world. Here, you will get a better understanding of the engineering process and the work that goes in making these vehicles. You can eat and drink at their Carrera Café or Restaurant 356.
No One’s Too Old for the Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland discovery center is a paradise for children and adults who want to have a day off from typical tourist activities and enjoy a few carefree hours with lego’s. The center has a 4D cinema hall which showcases the famous LEGO movies and there are also interactive rides such as the pirate adventure land where you can build your own treasure map, pirate ship and sandcastles. At the master builder academy, you can learn to build lego’s with the help of experts and learn the tricks of working with lego’s. Even if you’re an adult, you shouldn’t feel ashamed in frolicking around and playing with lego’s.
Pay Your Respects at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park
The national historic Park is dedicated to the life and legacy of Civil Rights movement activist Martin Luther King, Jr. and within its vicinity, it contains many buildings. One of the buildings is King’s childhood home which was built in the year 1895 and where Martin Luther was born in 1929. The home includes a parlor, dining room, bedroom, front porch and a study and nearby is the King center where you can visit the memorial tomb of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta who founded this center after his assassination. The statue of Mahatma Gandhi is part of the Park as a memorial for the Indian freedom struggle.
Feel Regal at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum
The Jimmy Carter Presidential museum and library was formed as a way to honor the legacy of the former Governor of Georgia and the 39th president of the United States. Jimmy Carter is the oldest and longest living president of America as he is the first American president to reach the age of 95. The museum and library are surrounded by lush green gardens and inside the building; you can look at interactive displays and spend a day in the life of a president by entering into the Oval office and taking a virtual trip with Mr. Carter. Through, you should be alert because the former President does make occasional visits to his museum.
Shop Till You Drop at the Atlantic Station
The Atlantic station isn’t a station at all instead it is a bustling area of Atlanta perfect for enjoying a day out because of its numerous shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique hotels. Some of the best restaurants to try here are the pig and the pearl as well as the yard house. The area also offers affordable and trendy retail places for shopping such as H & M, GAP and Dillard’s or you can catch a movie with your friends at Regal Cinemas. Numerous festivals also take place here such as the Jewish film festival in February and the beer, bourbon and BBQ festival in the month of May.
Visit the Dead at Oakland Cemetery
The Oakland cemetery is not only the resting place for many Atlanta natives and significant personalities but also, a historic landmark as it was built in the year 1850. The cemetery is situated in downtown Atlanta and is known for its serene architecture and tropical gardens where dense Magnolia trees provide shade in abundance. There are many festivals that take place here such as ‘Sunday in the Park’ which is a Victorian themed festival and the Oakland Halloween tours. The famous graves worth visiting here include Bobby Jones and writer Margaret Mitchell.
Watch a Performance at Alliance Theatre
The Alliance theatre is an award winning national theatre founded in the year 1968 which aims to put up radical, innovative and diverse shows for a worldwide audience. Some of the most legendary productions of the theatre include the color purple, bring it on: the musical, aida, come fly away, sister act: the musical, the prom and ghost brothers of darkland county. The theatre puts up rotating productions that change all through the year and gives the viewers a chance to experience scintillating and mind blowing performances.
Get Serenaded at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The Atlanta symphony orchestra was founded in the year 1945 and is situated inside the Woodruff arts center. The famous orchestra has played during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, both for the opening and closing ceremonies. Its capable and outstanding musicians are worth everyone’s time and money. As a first time visitor, you can book yourself a ticket for one of their concerts which occur on a daily basis. Jane Little, the world’s longest serving musician was a part of this orchestra for 71 years till the last day of her life.
Eat Your Heart Out at Buford Highway
Buford highway is a rustic and banal looking mall but is one of the best places in Atlanta to try a variety of cuisines belonging to different nationalities including Vietnamese, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Mexican and Korean, among many others. Panahar is a Bangladeshi restaurant situated here that serves a generous and affordable lunch buffet. The Havana sandwich shop is known for its authentic and original Cuban sandwich and Lee’s Bakery serves Vietnamese specialties such as pork banh mi and shrimp pho. These are only a few of the many scrumptious restaurants located inside the mall.
Strip Your Vices at Clermont Lounge
The Clermont hotel was founded in the year 1939 and is a trendy boutique hotel inside which is situated a one-of-a-kind strip club called Clermont lounge. This lounge was started in the year 1965 and experienced the psychedelic nature of the 60s and 70s in full swing while maintaining its uniqueness. Unlike other strip clubs, this lounge employs servers and dancers ranging from the ages of 22 to 65 and has ensured the integrity of the people who work here. This club is famous and infamous, all at the same time.
Quality Over Quantity at the Staplehouse
In 2016, the renowned food magazine Bon Appetite named staplehouse as the best restaurant in the entire country and many have applauded its food and hospitality. Unlike other restaurants of its stature, staplehouse is situated inside a former factory and the architecture has exposed ceilings and brick walls which give it a relaxed and unpretentious vibe. The 10 course tasting menu is worth the price and will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds. Some of the most coveted dishes include the chicken-liver tart, fennel soup and potato bread. Consider the hype or the supposed quality of food, staplehouse is the perfect way to end your trip.
Atlanta is such an iconic city that rapper and actor Donald Glover decided to make a television show on this place and you can’t blame him because it is hard to be cynical about Atlanta once you visit it. This city is known for its place in the history of America, its love for Barbeque sauce and giving the world musical gems such as John Mayer and Usher.