Being the capital of Georgia, Atlanta is pretty well-known when it comes to cities in the USA to visit. Not only is it steeped in history, but it’s also got a heap of the best things to do in Atlanta dotted all across (and just outside) the city.
From galleries, civil rights museums and yummy spots to eat, you’ll be spoilt for choice in places to explore. So, to help you along your way, we wanted to share some of the very best things to do in Atlanta when you visit. We’ve popped a few iconic places that you really can’t miss but we’ve also included a few suggestions that’ll be a little more off-the-beaten-track.
This way, you’ll have a firm list of the best things that you have to see whether you’re spending all your time in Georgia or heading on a wider road trip. After all, there’s a heap of stunning places in Tennessee and Florida that’s just next door!
With that in mind take a gander, below, at the best things to do in Atlanta and have lots of fun!
1.) High Museum of Art
Located in the Midtown area of the city, strolling the High Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Atlanta if you love art from all different periods.
Housing classic and contemporary art from around the world, it’s incredible to visit and considered to be one of the leading art museums in the south. You can easily spend 3-4 hours (if not longer) heading between the floors and galleries, it’s gorgeous.
Afterwards, pop over to Bone’s Restaurant for some of the juiciest steaks and lobster. Just be prepared to roll outta here, you’ll leave stuffed!
2.) World of Coca Cola
Coke fans rejoice! A trip to Atlanta would just not be the same without a visit to the Coca Cola museum.
Invented in Atlanta by John Pemberton, Coca Cola has a unique history that you can explore in the museum exhibit. You can sample it (along with a variety of other Coca Cola products) at the museum tasting room.
It’s really fun and situated right next to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, too. This all means you can do both in one long afternoon.
3.) Centennial Olympic Park
This 21-acre public park is in the downtown area and one of the best things to do in Atlanta if you fancy a little chill time.
Now, the park was originally constructed for the 1996 Olympic Games, and now can be enjoyed for a simple lunch break or for an all-day getaway from pounding the pavements.
Enjoy live music in the afternoon or check out the Fountain of Rings, too! It’s an interactive fountain that loves to show off a little!
4.) Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site
Explore the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in United States history: Martin Luther King Jr.
The historic site is comprised of multiple buildings, including King’s boyhood home and the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, too.
The 35-acre site also has a museum where you can explore the history of the civil rights movement.
It really can’t be missed when in Atlanta.
5.) National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Yes, Atlanta holds a lot of incredible history, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights is a must-see!
Detailing the civil rights movement and current human rights initiatives, it’s one of the best things to do in Atlanta when you’re in the downtown area. Explore the history and learn more about the fight for civil rights. Trust me, this is a place you have to visit.
Afterwards, to fill your tummy, head over to Desta Ethiopian Kitchen that might be on the fringes of the city but is well worth the trip. Their tibs are so yummy!
6.) Center for Puppetry Arts
Atlanta is home to a puppet mecca of sorts- the largest organization dedicated to the art of puppetry in the United States.
See the retired, famous puppets from the classic show Sesame Street in the Jim Henson wing, participate in a puppetry workshop or enjoy a puppet show. It’s so unique and really fun, too.
For something of an institution, hop over to Mary Mac’s Tea Room that’s been around since 1945! Totally casual, it’s the kind of spot you go for great food and lots of it, too. Make sure to try their catfish fillets or their slow-cooked beef pot roast. Oh, and their Georgia peach cobbler is everything!
7.) Grant Park
Take a walk through Grant Park, the oldest park in the city, on a sunny summer day! For me, it’s totally blissful, especially as it’s surrounded by the gorgeous historic Victorian neighbourhood, nearby.
Not only that, but the park is also connected to the Civil War Museum making it easier to partner both up in one visit.
8.) Atlanta BeltLine
This former railway corridor is now a trail connecting parks and different areas in the city. The BeltLine Trail was founded in 2005 and is well worth following the trails around Atlanta itself.
Just be sure to check out what is going on in the area beforehand. You see, the connected parks host festivals and art exhibits may be seen along the trail. Oh, and always stick to the right when walking.
9.) SweetWater Brewing Company
If you love a good taproom and local ales, then you’ll easily find this one of the best things to do in Atlanta.
SweetWater Brewing Company is such a great place for some fresh brews and yummy food right within Armour Yards. Trust me, you won’t find a SweetWater product far from the source. This spot prides itself on producing fresh, quality beers that are seasonal and totally tasty.
Oh, and be sure to check the schedule to see if live music is playing Brewery tours available for a fee, and are a must-see for beer lovers!
10.) Chattahoochee River Trails
If you fancy escaping the confines of the city itself, head out on one of the hiking trails that follow the Chattahoochee River. For us, one of the best is the Vickery Creek Trail that’s just shy of 4-miles in length.
Now, you don’t need to be a pro-hiker for this trail, but you do need a certain level of fitness as it can be a little tough in parts. It’s a well-marked trail to follow, plus, you’ll get to see some falls along the way.
11.) State Capitol Building
Easily one of the most beautiful buildings in Atlanta, the State Capitol Building is a sight to see! Housing governmental chambers, it has a long history in the city. Not only that, you can see a number of prominent statues within the grounds, too.
For instance, you’ll easily spot the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Expelled Because of Color. The latter statue represents Original 33, thirty-three African-American who were removed from the Georgia legislature back in the 19th Century.
For a great breakfast treat, head over to Buttermilk Kitchen that serves up some of the tastiest southern food that’s all locally sourced. Yes, you might have to wait for a table but trust me, it’s worth it! The chicken biscuit is so tasty.
12.) BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
This traditional Hindu mandir is easily one of our favourite buildings in all of Atlanta. Right on the fringes of the city, it’s situated beyond Tucker relatively close to Lions Club Park.
Both inside and outside are totally beautiful and a place you kinda can’t miss if you love a good bit or architecture.
13.) Fox Theatre
Heading to the Fox Theatre might is easily one of the best things to do in Atlanta if you love the theatre.
Before you head to Atlanta, make sure to see what’s in residency or which performances are going on. It really is a special place for theatre!
Also, you can head to the Fox Theatre for a tour, too. This means you can still visit and learn more about these incredible places even without going to see a show. Though, personally, it’s the shows that sell it for me!
14.) Starr’s Mill
Around a 40-minute drive from the centre of Atlanta, Starr’s Mill is a lovely stopping point to see the centuries-old mill that still stands proudly on the riverside.
Although you might only spend 20-30 minutes here, it’s close to the roadside and easy to stop at on your drive from Atlanta to Columbus.
15.) East Atlanta Strut
Usually taking place around the end of September, joining the East Atlanta Strut is one of the best things to do in Atlanta if you fancy a really fun day!
Dotted all across the East Atlanta Village, it’s filled with music, art, foodie joints too! It’s pretty fun.