Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Midtown Atlanta

  • Published 2022/08/17

In the center of Atlanta, Georgia, is its bustling Midtown, a place of wonder and leisure.

Nicknamed the “Heart of the Arts,” this area is home to the highest number of art and cultural institutions in the Southeast.

No other place on this side of the US compares to Midtown Atlanta’s many museums, theaters, and festivals.

There are also many green spaces within and near the area that offer peace and relaxation from the intense life in the city.

Because of these, the list of fun and exciting activities to try is endless.

There’s something for the young and old alike.

So for your next getaway, why not plan a trip to this electrifying place?

Here are the 2o best things to do in Midtown Atlanta:

Spend a Day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Daytime view of Atlanta Botanical Garden

Nicholas Lamontanaro /

Plant lovers will have a memorable and exciting experience when they visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Located next to Piedmont Park, this lush facility houses a wide range of species from the region and the world.

It’s one of the loveliest places in Midtown Atlanta, with its beautiful landscaping, renowned plant collection, and colorful exhibitions of rare and exotic flowers.

Earth Goddess in Atlanta Botanical Garden

Nicholas Lamontanaro /

Bring your family and take amazing photos with sublime sculptures, like imaginary creatures and earth goddesses—all made from actual living plants.

It’s truly a magical sight!

A Dragon Figure in Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Nicholas Lamontanaro /

You can also visit the facility’s various collections, including Storza Woods, Edible Garden, Fuqua Conservatory, and the Fuqua Orchid Center.

Here, you’ll learn about various types of plants, their importance, and the conservation efforts being done to prevent them from going extinct.

Lotus flower sculpture on Atlanta Botanical Garden's fountain


Join in the Fun at Piedmont Park

Lake in Lake Piedmont Park

Sion Hannuna /

Piedmont Park is one of the largest green spaces in Atlanta, with sprawling green meadows, trees, a small lake, scenic trails, and other features that make it a unique sight in the urban setting.

Spanning 185 acres of land area, the attraction offers many outdoor activities for the young and the old.

Balloon Festival in Piedmont Park

Ajinkya Kolhe /

You can go jog or take nature walks on the picturesque pathways, relax under the shady canopies of the trees, and have a fun picnic with your family on the grassy grounds.

There are also many facilities for sports, such as volleyball courts, soccer fields, running paths, and even swimming pools.

The lake offers opportunities for recreational fishing, with crappie, bass, and catfish swimming in the depths.

Pavilion in Piedmont Park

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But perhaps the most well-known activities in the park are the annual events that attract numerous visitors.

These include the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Music Midtown, and Atlanta Pride.

People jogging at Piedmont Park

ciapix /

Catch a Show at Fox Theatre

Exterior of Fox Theatre

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As one of the premier venues for live entertainment in the city (and perhaps, the whole region), Fox Theater seats more than 4500 and hosts more than 150 events annually.

From first-class Broadway performances to rock concerts, there is something for every taste and preference.

Billboard Magazine has even designated this as the #1 non-residency venue for the decade.

Inside Fox Theatre

Conchi Martinez /

But aside from the performances, the Fox Theater is known for its historical significance.

It has been around since 1929 and has served as the venue for shows by some of the most iconic artists in history, like Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.

So if you want to catch a particular event at the theater, then make sure to check out their official website and schedule your trip around the particular day.

Grand corridor in the Fox Theatre

Conchi Martinez /

See All the Wonders in Woodruff Arts Center

Exterior of the Woodruff Arts Center

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Established in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is a well-known facility that ranks as the third-largest establishment of its kind in the US.

It is a prime destination for the patrons of visual and performance art, with an educational program that caters to artists of all backgrounds and skill levels.

Within the center, there are many attractions, such as beautifully designed buildings, installation art and sculptures, and expansive grounds.

Woodruff Arts Center Sculpture

veggiefrog, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most visited buildings of the center are the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Alliance Theatre.

The well-known facilities serve as the headquarters for some of the most talented groups and are home to coveted art pieces.

A sculpture in High Museum of Art at Woodruff Arts Center

EQRoy /

Listen to Heavenly Music at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is a Grammy-winning group based in a building that shares its name.

Today, the ASO is one of the most well-known and innovative orchestras in the US, bringing to life sophisticated compositions that enrich the region’s musical culture.

The orchestra performs regularly in the building, and you can catch one of their exceptional shows during your visit.

Aside from them, national artists and international musical prodigies hold shows in the facility, attracting many listeners and audiences from all over the country.

These performances are truly some of the best in the world, and it’s a rare experience to listen to them live.

So make sure that Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is part of your vacation plans.

Discover Famous Works at the High Museum of Art

Welcome sign of the High Museum of Art

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With a permanent collection of more than 11,000 works, the High Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the region.

Upon arriving at the building, the first sight you’ll see is the sophisticated exterior with a porcelain enamel coating.

Interior of the High Museum of Art

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Once inside, you’ll be treated to thousands of artworks from the Americas, Europe, and Africa.

There are pieces by well-known figures, such as Claude Monet, Giovanni Maria Benzoni, and Giovanni Bellini.

3D art piece on the grounds of High Museum of Art

EQRoy /

The galleries also house modern and contemporary art as well as stunning photography.

Over a year, there are limited exhibits by local and national artists, which are all worth the visit.

Exhibit in the High Museum of Art

EQRoy /

Watch a Thrilling Performance at the Alliance Theatre

The Alliance Theatre is another facility in Woodruff Arts Center that is home to a Tony Award-winning theater company that shares the same name.

Annually, around ten productions frequently cast some of the most established actors in the theater world today.

And aside from the incredible performances, these plays also showcase the prowess of playwrights and how they tackle various issues.

It’s an important aspect of theater to bring to life these topics, and you’ll have an enlightening experience as you watch the stories unfold.

So during your visit to Midtown Atlanta, make sure to catch one of these shows.

Revisit Your Childhood at the Center for Puppetry Arts

Puppets in Center for Puppetry Arts

Michael Gordon /

If you want to feel like a kid again, then the Center for Puppetry Arts is a must-add list to your itinerary.

This is the largest facility in the US dedicated to the art of puppetry.

Here, you’ll see performances, educational programs, and collections.

Catch one of the shows and relive your childhood with performances by characters from Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and other beloved franchises.

Corpse bride puppets in Center for Puppetry Arts

Michael Gordon /

You can also join the workshops where you can try your hand at voicing and puppeteering.

These classes also offer tutorials on creating your own puppet—an interactive and fun activity for kids and the kids-at-heart.

For those who want to see iconic puppets from the past, the center houses a museum with a huge collection.

It includes the puppets from Dark Crystal and Nightmare Before Christmas and art from various countries and cultures.

Kermit the frog displayed in Center for Puppetry Arts

Michael Gordon /

See the Unique Exhibits at Museum of Design Atlanta

Exterior of the Museum of Design Atlanta

Thomson200, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) is the only facility of its kind in the Southeast, and it is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating everything about design.

Most of the exhibits revolve around the daily relationship of people with design, so you’ll see speculative, innovative, and relevant collections belonging to industrial design, fashion, interior, furniture design, and graphics.

Outside Museum of Design Atlanta

John Ramspott, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a haven for those who appreciate form and function and all things aesthetic.

For those who want to try their hand at creating something beautiful and practical, interactive exhibits let you explore the relationships of lines, shapes, colors, and functionality.

These collections make the Museum of Design Atlanta distinct from the facilities in Midtown Atlanta, so visit it if you are looking for something fresh and engaging.

Tour the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film

At the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film, you’ll see iconic clothes worn in the cinema.

This facility has a dynamic and adaptable setup, so there is a significant variation in the exhibits and activities held in the museum.

If you are a fashionista, you’ll have an exhilarating time exploring their collections of glamorous designer clothes, famous costumes, and historical garments.

But the overall sophisticated ambiance inside the exquisite halls is an experience by itself—there’s no need to be a connoisseur of fashion to appreciate the atmosphere.

The facility also serves as a stage for designers to showcase their art, so you may even catch a fashion show during your visit.

For those who want to learn more about fashion history, there is a media lounge that provides educational film showings and digital presentations.

Make a Stop at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

Exterior of William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

Dschendo2, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another one-of-a-kind museum in this region is the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.

It is a cultural facility that preserves and showcases Jewish history, art, and society, emphasizing the horrors the group faced during the Holocaust.

When you visit, you’ll find extensive collections of artifacts, photographs, and documents that highlight the rich heritage of the Jewish people.

Suess exhibit in William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum

Jake Mohan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also permanent and limited exhibits by celebrated Jewish artists and groups, with comics, storybooks, and artifacts from communities worldwide put on display.

This is a contemplative place to reflect and appreciate all the good and bad things from the past, especially if you are part of this group.

Appreciate the Arts at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Crowd in Atlanta Dogwood Festival

BluIz60 /

When the native dogwood trees in Piedmont Park start blooming, the annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival begins.

This arts and crafts event brings together artists from all over the country and virtually every type of art imaginable.

At the Artists Market, you’ll find beautiful paintings, stunning photographs, awe-inspiring sculptures, gorgeous jewelry, and many other types of creations by some of today’s most talented artisans.

Asian Girls in Atlanta Dogwood Festival

BluIz60 /

There is also live music for everyone’s entertainment, as well as food vendors offering Southern staples.

It’s truly one of the most significant events in the city, so make sure that the festival is part of your itinerary.

People at Piedmont Park during the Atlanta Dogwood Festival

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Catch Live Performances at Music Midtown

Crowd in Music Midtown

Jamie Lamor Thompson /

Held in Piedmont Park, this famous event brings together some of the country’s most acclaimed and A-lister performers.

Music Downtown is held every September, and it brings together a lineup of more than 30 artists for an exhilarating two-day performance.

Chris Martin of Coldplay Music Midtown

Mark Runyon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s one of the best opportunities to catch some of your favorite chart-topping performers live!

While here, you can also enjoy some of Atlanta’s favorite culinary delights at the numerous food trucks and concessionaires within the park.

So if you are a fan of great music, bombastic acoustics, crowded venues, and an exhilarating concert experience, then make this festival the highlight of your trip.

Dan Auerbach in Music Midtown

Mark Runyon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit World-Renowned Restaurants

Fried catfish sandwich in South City Kitchen Midtown

fivetonine /

No trip to Midtown Atlanta is complete without trying the exquisite cuisine offered by world-renowned restaurants in the area.

Aside from the hearty Southern food, various establishments also offer dishes from all over the world, so there’s something for everyone.

Mary Mac’s Tea Room is a homey and historic restaurant, and it’s beloved for the cozy dining experience and the selection of Southern comfort food, teas, and chicken.

Fried chicken dish in Mary Mac's Tea Room

User: (WT-shared) DJLamar at wts wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At South City Kitchen Midtown, you’ll enjoy a sophisticated atmosphere and a menu of innovative dishes, such as Creole shrimp, fresh salads, refreshing drinks.

Another local favorite is The Vortex Bar & Grill, a restaurant with a rock-and-roll ambiance and a selection of delicious alcoholic beverages with grilled burgers.

Exterior of The Vortex Bar & Grill

Pawel Loj, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Listen to a Musical Performance at Center Stage

Singers in Center Stage

Lourdes Sukari, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another facility for entertainment enthusiasts is Center Stag, a local favorite with three separate venues: Center Stage Theater, the Loft, and Vinyl.

As a whole, the facility serves as a performance art center.

But most of its shows are music-focused, with musical performances from local and national artists regularly taking place in one of the venues.

Some notable people who have made a memorable show at Center Stage Theater include Lady Gaga, the Weeknd, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Band performing at Center Stage

FreecloudX, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Aside from these performances, the center has hosted boxing matches, television shoots, comedy shows, and private events.

So during your trip, make sure to make a stop at the center to catch a production.

You can also schedule your getaway around a specific performance of your favorite artist.

See Astounding Architecture at Rhodes Hall

Exterior of Rhodes Hall

JJonahJackalope, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rhodes Hall, built in 1904, has long been recognized as a landmark in Atlanta.

While it was once the home of Amos Rhodes, founder of Rhodes Furniture, it is now a house museum and among Atlanta’s most distinctive locations for social and business gatherings.

Explore Rhodes Hall, one of Atlanta’s best examples of late Victorian architecture still in its original form.

Discover more about Rhodes Hall’s numerous events and how to hold your upcoming occasion at Atlanta’s “castle on Peachtree.”

Discover the home’s magnificent architecture, study its history, and participate in a tour to learn more about one of Peachtree Street’s few remaining mansions.

Prepare for an Adventure at Stone Summit Midtown

Do you want to experience an adrenaline rush without venturing into the woods or taking on a difficult activity?

You should travel to Stone Summit Midtown if you enjoy adventure or if you are an experienced rock climber who wants to put your abilities to the test.

Stone Summit Midtown offers spectacular bouldering on walls stretching hundreds of feet in the middle of the city.

A rock climbing gym with various parts representing varying degrees of difficulty.

Only those over 12 should visit this destination since it will satisfy the daring spirits of all adventurous souls.

Fill Your Stomach at South City Kitchen Midtown

In the center of Midtown Atlanta, an iconic bungalow houses South City Kitchen Midtown, which serves traditional Southern fare with a modern twist.

Featuring fried chicken, shrimp & grits, and creative, invigorated regional food, they have changed the face of Southern cuisine and the Atlanta restaurant scene since they opened more than 20 years ago.

Their nationally acclaimed food, wine selection, and service work together for weekday luncheons, Sunday brunches, nightly dinners, and special dining events.

If you’re in Atlanta for business, a date, or to catch up with friends before a play, dine and savor the best modern southern cuisine the city offers.

Stop by and Snap a Photo at Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks

Self love quote near an Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalk

Katherine McAuliffe /

All four crosswalks at 10th and Piedmont have rainbow stripes painted over them as the city’s pride symbol for LGBTQ+ people.

Regardless of the locations you visit, you will always want to go someplace different so you can capture some unusual pictures that will serve as a lasting remembrance of your vacation.

The Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalk is one such location if you’re in Midtown Atlanta.

This peaceful region of the streets doesn’t see a lot of activity, but it’s a wonderful place to drop by for a while and snap a few interesting pictures as a remembrance.

Not all cities, towns, or neighborhoods have a location, making it all the more special and a must-see location in Midtown Atlanta.

Explore the Places in Technology Square

Daytime view of Technology Square

James Emery, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Midtown Atlanta is home to the multi-block technology Square or Tech Square neighborhood.

The tvsdesign-designed area, completed in 2003 and constructed over abandoned surface parking lots, has helped to continue the neighborhood’s rebirth in Midtown.

Several Georgia Tech-affiliated academic buildings at Tech Square offer access to the university through the 2007-reconstructed Fifth Street Pedestrian Plaza Bridge.

In addition, it has hotels, offices, retail stores, and restaurants.

Square is home to several eateries, including Tin Drum, Jamba Juice, Waffle House, Chuck’s Famous, Subway, Gyro Brothers, Starbucks, Ray’s Pizza, and a cafeteria where several little takeaway waiters share a dining space.

Final Thoughts

As the premier destination for the arts in the Southeastern US, Midtown Atlanta is brimming with museums, galleries, theaters, and other attractions.

When planning your visit, check out this list and ensure that all the top destinations are included in your itinerary.

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