While many are running to national parks and out West to play in National Parks to enjoy the outdoors, Atlanta and the surrounding area may surprise you as a place to get the best of both worlds- the city and the outdoors. If you are looking for fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga, this is your guide to planning the perfect Atlanta itinerary. There are many fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga from exploring the city’s food markets and other Atlanta attractions, to visiting parks such as Piedmont Park or Stone Mountain for the outdoors. It is definitely a great destination to visit with great weather almost year round.
I was surprised when I visited how much in fact there was to do in Atlanta, and had to go back after a day trip for a five day trip to explore the city with my Citypass, bike, and belly. Atlanta offers culture, history, food, and outdoor experiences to keep any traveler satisfied. From cute and homey unique stays, to luxury hotels and shops it is hard not to find something you like about Atlanta- a city that caters to everyone with Southern hospitality.
How to get around Atlanta, Ga?
There are so many neighborhoods as well as close half day trips in Atlanta worth seeing that it is nice to have a car to get around. Whether you rent one in town, or have your own car for a road trip I recommend having a vehicle to visit Atlanta. What do you do if you don’t have access to a car? Well there is always Marta, the public transportation metro in Atlanta. There is even a handy guide that helps you know where to go for what ever you are looking for and tells you what stop it’s at. The Marta Guide is jam packed with tips, such as best ways to get to and from the airport, where to go for public pools, music, restaurants, and will even help you find well located hotels near a station!
Atlanta has the world’s busiest airport, with flights only 3 hours away from most major cities it is the perfect location and home to Delta! Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport when it is in its’ full force offers 150 flights with daily direct non stop flights to Atlanta.
Atlanta is right off of a few major highways and it’s Downtown is where three interstates meet- I-20, I-75 and I-85. This makes driving into Downtown Atlanta easy. The drive from Orlando, Florida takes 6.5 hours and goes through Macon, Georgia, which is a nice stop for lunch. The drive from Savannah another one of my favorite Georgia destinations is a 3.5 – 4 hr drive depending on traffic.
Fun Things To Do In Atlanta, Ga
There are many fun things to do in the ATL and many are family attractions in Atlanta that are great to explore for all ages. I actually love those special moments when I can head back to an aquarium or zoo to learn a bit more about animals and fish from around the world. It actually inspires me to see them in the wild and is a great way to introduce people to nature to educate them to embrace it.
Family Attractions In Atlanta (Great For Adults Too)
There are many family attractions that are great for all ages, solo travelers, and a quite a few are covered by the Atlanta CityPASS. I for one really enjoyed exploring the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Zoo, and World of Coca Cola. Below is a bit of what to expect at each, plus some other things to do in Atlanta.
What is CityPASS?
CityPASS is offered in many cities across the USA, I have used it in Chicago as well. It is perfect if you want to visit a lot of the main attractions in a destination. In Atlanta it costs $77 for Adults, and $63 for children.
- 1 Georgia Aquarium – OPEN
- 2 World of Coca-Cola – OPEN
- 3 Zoo Atlanta – OPEN
- Plus get admission to 2 more attractions of your choice:
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History – OPEN
- College Football Hall of Fame – OPEN
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights – OPEN
Travels of Sarah Fay Youtube Guide and Vlog to Atlanta, Georgia
Want to visit the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere? Well, you will have to come to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the 10 million gallons of water and tanks with some pretty big fish from sharks and whale sharks, to some of the most unique marine life you will ever see in a city.
The newest addition is the Dolphin theater which can seat up to 1,800 people (pre-pandemic), and a huge 1.8 million gallon tank. Don’t sit in the first 10- 15 rows if you don’t want to get WET!
The crown jewel of the Georgia Aquarium is the Ocean Voyager built by Home Depot. It has over 6.3 million gallons of water, and makes you feel like you are under water with over 1,000 types of marine wildlife, representing 50 different species including many sharks and manta rays. Also, don’t miss the rare albino alligators and beluga whales.
World of Coca Cola
Coca Cola is the world’s largest distributor of beverages in the world and is sold in over 200 countries. When I was younger I would try Coca Cola from around the world at Walt Disney World and I had always wanted to visit the headquarters. I was so happy to see that World of Coca Cola and the headquarters was in Atlanta where it was founded in 1889 by John Pemberton who sold the secret formula for $2300 USD. Boy was that a mistake because Asa Candler built Coca Cola into a world renowned company that is worth billions today.
The main draw to the World of Coca Cola is to try Coke products from around the world, see the vault where the secret formula is held, and understand the history of Coca Cola an institution in Atlanta. There are also many fun things to do that are interactive, plus who doesn’t want free coke?
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
Zoo Atlanta opened its’ doors in 1889! It is the oldest cultural attraction in the city of Atlanta. The history itself is fascinating how a bankrupt traveling menagerie showed up to Atlanta and never left. But my favorite thing are of course the animals and the baby panda. This is one of the few zoos in the United States that has Panda’s which is reason enough to visit!
Hours: Weekday hours are 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Last entry is 3:30 p.m.
Weekend hours are 9 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Last entry is 4:30 p.m.
A fun attraction for families and travelers alike in Atlanta is the Skyview Atlanta. It is located in Centennial Park and is a 20 story ferris wheel. While you could go in a regular gondola on the ferris wheel, why not treat yourself to being a VIP for $50 USD per person. These VIP gondolas are not for the faint hearted with glass floors, ferrari style seating, it is bound to be memorable!
Fun Things to Do in Atlanta, Ga for History Lovers
Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site
I was so impressed with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The National Park Service has basically preserved the neighborhood of Martin Luther King Jr. and have kept is birth home where he grew up as a museum people can visit. It covers 35 acres, visitors can visit Ebenezer Baptist Church where he and his father were pastors, the birth home of MLK Jr. , and his grave. Placards are located across the park and neighborhood where you can learn more about what life was like during the Civil Rights Movement and the time of MLK Jr.
The National Center For Civil And Human Rights
A museum that connects the past struggle for civil rights to the present struggle to ensure human rights and equality for all is a perfect opportunity to learn about the civil rights movement. Also, it is a great place to learn more about Atlanta’s Civil Rights history after a visit to Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site. The National Center For Civil and Human Rights may not be a traditional fun thing to do in Atlanta, but it is important to remember the history as well. An experience that stays with me is the sit-in counter interactive exhibit in the main exhibit “Rolls Down Like Water: US Civil Rights Movement ”. It focuses on African Americans living in urban centers of the US like Atlanta.
As you sit there with noise canceling headphones with sounds and movements of your chair that make you feel as if you are being intimidated and taunted like those that participated in peaceful sit-ins really was impactful.
Hours: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Saturdays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Last entry at 4:00 pm
College Football Hall of Fame
Opened in 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame offers a tribute to players, coaches, and college football teams that have earned a spot in the 95,000 square foot interactive museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
I am not necessarily a football fan, but this is included in the CityPass of Atlanta.
Hours: Monday- Wednesday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Georgia State Capitol
I don’t know about you, but it is secretly my mission to see every state capital building in the USA states I visit. Tour the capitol building with a self-guided tour and visit the Capitol Museum during your trip to Atlanta for a unique and fun way to learn more about Atlanta.
Fun Things to do in Atlanta, Ga Outdoors
Atlanta’s “Central Park” is where locals and tourists go alike. I took a bike ride to Piedmont Park connected by the Atlanta Beltline. There are many restaurants along the way to grab to-go food and have a picnic in the park. Piedmont Park is a fun thing to do in Atlanta and it is FREE!
The park is perfect for outdoor activities, including Volleyball, Basketball, Cycling, Running, and enjoying the beautiful weather with over 189 acres to roam.
Bike The Atlanta Beltline
When the city wondered what to do with miles and miles of unused train tracks what did they do? Well they built the city’s newest outdoor recreation space, 22 miles of bike trails that connect places like Piedmont Park, Ponce City Market, and Krog Street Food Market. Once an eye sore there are now many art murals, businesses, and restaurants that make this one of the most exciting parts of town on a sunny day.
The walk up patios for coffee, shops, and outdoor eateries along the Atlanta Beltline are extremely popular. I loved going on a road trip because it meant I had my bike with me and I could cycle all over Atlanta safely.
Take An Atlanta Bike Tour
Add this to the list of fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga – The Bicycle Tours of Atlanta Founded in 2009 by travelers and bicycle enthusiasts that believe there is no better way to discover the history and culture of Atlanta than by bike. (I have to say I agree). They also have electric bicycle options as well.
Centennial Olympic Park
There are so many parks in Atlanta, but one of the most important is the Centennial Olympic Park that opened when Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996. There is even an audio tour to take you around the main sites of the park including the ring fountain, the beautiful gardens, and learn more about the Olympic History of the park.
Where to eat in Atlanta?
The Atlanta food scene can be a bit overwhelming, however if you have a busy schedule hopping around with all of the fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga. Here are some of the best food spots, and neighborhoods to check out while you are in Atlanta.
Ponce City Market
I have been to Atlanta twice recently and both times I could not resist the urge to visit Ponce City Market. However, this time I learned a secret. Go to the Ponce City Rooftop for sunset and have a meal at 9 Mile Station. There are also carnival-like games, mini golf, a huge slide, and for $30 USD you can play all the games and enjoy the views for as long as you want.
If you arrive during the day, head to the market hall and shops to explore a unique assortment of eateries, restaurants, and my favorite coffee shop in Atlanta- The Dancing Goat.
Krog Street Market
One of the fun things to do in Atlanta is explore the unique neighborhoods and art work surrounding Krog Street Market. However, with all that exploring you are bound to get a little hungry. Krog Street Market is located off the Atlanta Beltline. I came to have the proclaimed best Chinese Food Restaurant in America- Gu’s Dumplings . However, they have a lot for everyone to choose from including Fred’s Meat and Bread, Jai Ho Indian Kitchen and Bar, as well as some amazing pizza at Varuni Napoli. I also had to get some ice cream at Jake’s Good Food.
Peachtree Street + Buckhead
This is the “main street” of Atlanta well there are a few named after Peachtree so make sure you are on the right one. The main Peachtree Street stretches from Five Points in Downtown, through Midtown, and all the way to Buckhead (but it turns into Peachtree Road). A great restaurant for fresh, on the go, and healthy food head to Aviva by Kameel. If you want something a little more fancy head to 5Church Atlanta rooftop to dress up for a night out. If your sweet tooth is calling head to the Asian bakery- Sweet Hut Bakery and Cafe.
Buckhead is an upscale neighborhood, full of luxury shopping, restaurants, and chic trendy spots. The Governor’s Mansion is also located in Buckhead.
Little Five Points neighborhood is a hip area of town where you can find record stores, vintage stores, and alternative bars and restaurants. It is Atlanta’s Haight- Ashbury. I have only been here briefly, but I can say it definitely is a colorful and unique neighborhood, standing in stark contrast to the trendy chic Buckhead. Where to eat in Five Points? Check out the 20 year old establishment- The Vortex Bar and Grill. Here you can find some of the best burgers surrounded by kitschy decor and after entering the giant white jaws of a skull at the entrance.
The original Varsity location is located Downtown and is massive covering 2 city blocks. It fits 800 diners inside and when it opened in 1928 it earned its title as the world’s largest drive-in. I got a chili cheese burger and fries.
Day Trips from Atlanta
While there are many fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga, there are also some things you won’t want to miss just outside of the city.
Covington, Georgia aka Mystic Falls for my Vampire Diaries Fans
Have you seen The Vampire Diaries, The Dukes of Hazzard, and Gone With The Wind? Well if you have you have seen Covington, Georgia. Covington Georgia has developed a reputation as the “Hollywood” of the South. The town even has a walk of fame around the town square and shops where you can see what actors and actresses have filmed in the area.
Also, the town itself is very cute and one of the most beautiful towns in Georgia. Bread and Butter Cafe is my favorite place to grab a cup of coffee and pastry. However, if you are only here for one meal head to the Mystic Grill like the one in Vampire Diaries.
Where to stay in Covington, Georgia?
Head to The Twelve Oaks Bed and Breakfast where they filmed Vampire Diaries, and the mansion that inspired the mansion in Gone With The Wind.
Stone Mountain for the Outdoors Lovers
Want to go hiking, mountain biking, and get outside of the city with epic views of the skyline of Atlanta, Georgia. Hiking up Stone Mountain offers many fun things to do in Atlanta, Ga, from biking to hiking. This is a place where outdoor enthusiasts thrive, but for those that want to relax, head to grab a bite or coffee at Gilly Brew Bar.
Where To Stay In Atlanta, Georgia?
A Unique Stay In Atlanta In An AirStreamer
There are many options from swanky hotels in Buckhead, to unique Vrbo stays in Airstreamers and treehouses. This trip I decided to try something different and stay at TikiAirstreamer in Atlanta. I loved staying more in the suburbs in this tiki themed oasis. It was pleasant to come back each night to my little slice of heaven and wake up with the sound of birds around me.
Every detail was planned to make you feel like you were in an Airstreamer located in Hawaii. The retro furnishings, little touches like the guest book, and the stock tank pool are just some of the touches that make this a perfect escape for summer and spring. This was my first time staying in an Airstreamer and it was surprisingly spacious. There was a fridge, hot plate to cook, a coffee machine, a comfy bed, and a TV that got all of my favorite Netflix shows.
Also, there was a couch and table to hang out inside. But the fact was there was also a lot of space to spread out and enjoy the weather outside with a firepit, chairs, and the pool. My two nights here were relaxing and so comfortable and I would 100 percent go back. Another amazing aspect were the hosts that paid attention to make sure their guests were enjoying their stay.
Want to stay Downtown?
Atlanta Marriott Marquis a stunning and famous atrium will greet guests checking in. There is also an indoor outdoor pool that is perfect any time of the year.
Feeling The Midtown Modern
Loews Atlanta offers modern, luxurious accommodation in Midtown. This hotel is in walking distance to Piedmont Park, the Beltline, The High Museum, and restaurants.