Atlanta, a diverse city with thriving arts, sprawling nature preserves, and a pivotal role in shaping American history, has long lagged behind its more tourist-friendly counterparts across state lines: Orlando and New Orleans, to name a few.
Atlanta is no longer just home to the world’s busiest airport; the Georgian capital is now receiving the attention it deserves, welcoming millions of tourists each year in search of great food, unique attractions, professional sports, A-list entertainment, and world-class museums.
In recent years, upscale hotels, exquisite retail options, and beautifully planned green spaces have all opened. With options ranging from casual to upscale, Atlanta’s dining scene, which has long prioritized locally grown food, continues to shine. There is much to discover, so start with our list of the top things to do in Atlanta before getting overwhelmed by everything the Big Peach has to offer. you can also check the Top 10 Airbnbs In Atlanta Georgia.
Walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, visit the infamous World of Coca-Cola, sample some regional wines in wine country, and so much more in this vibrant, underappreciated Southern gem.
1- Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s answer to Central Park, is a haven for joggers, bocce players, and picnickers. It is a world away from the concrete metropolis of the city, with flourishing greenery, rippling waters, and bustling wildlife. This natural oasis also hosts a number of art festivals throughout the year, including the Dogwood Festival, a spring celebration of flowers and fine art; the Atlanta Jazz Festival on Memorial Day weekend; outdoor performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the summer; and farmers’ markets.
2- Atlanta History Center
The Atlanta History Center, which spans 33 acres in Atlanta’s hip Buckhead neighborhood, aims to explore Georgia’s past through in-depth exhibitions, historic homes, and miles of gardens and trails. The Atlanta History Museum, the main building of the center, houses exhibits that cover the history of the area from the culture of the Creek and Cherokee Indians’ ancestors to life in the antebellum South.
The Swan House, a 1928-era estate that has undergone restoration, is close to the museum. Many of the rooms are decorated with swan or bird-themed furnishings, true to the hotel’s name. The 10-acre Swan Woods outside the house protects Georgia-native plants. You can visit Smith Farm nearby to gain insight into what life was like for slaves on the plantation. The farm includes historic structures that have been moved for preservation and depict what it was like to live on a farm in the 1860s. It replicates the slaves’ garden, complete with a garden kitchen. On the farm, there are also chickens, goats, sheep, and other creatures. The Kenan Research Center’s extensive holdings can be browsed by those interested in learning more about Atlanta’s past. Remember that although it is situated in midtown Atlanta, the Margaret Mitchell House is a part of the Atlanta History Center.
3- Atlanta Botanical Garden
It’s simple to understand why this 30-acre haven in the center of Midtown draws more than 500,000 visitors a year given its proximity to Atlanta’s lush Piedmont Park. When the 600-foot Canopy Walk, suspended in the trees, opened in 2010, it almost doubled in size. Visitors can explore the steamy orchid house, stroll through the native plant edible garden (resist the urge to eat them, though! ), and stop for an elegant meal at Longleaf, one of the few restaurants in the world that is located inside a botanical garden. There is also a learning component to ABG, which oversees numerous nationally renowned conservation initiatives, such as the Orchid Conservation Institute, the Conservation Greenhouse for endangered plants, and a program to save rare frogs.
4- Georgia Aquarium
With more than 100,000 residents who enjoy the water, the largest indoor aquarium in the Western Hemisphere also serves as a teaching hospital. Even the most attention-challenged visitor will spend hours enjoying themselves at this attraction, which is close to Centennial Park. The enormous whale sharks, Beluga whales, dolphins, and penguins are the aquarium’s main attractions. The exhibits can be explored using a free self-guided tour app that you can download.
5- High Museum of Art
A diverse collection of artwork from different countries and historical periods can be found at the renowned and alluring High Museum of Art. Both inside and out, the white concrete, glass, and steel art behemoth is impressive, and the structure itself isn’t bad either. African art can be found at the High Museum, which was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier and expanded by Renzo Piano in 2005. It also contains works by Ellsworth Kelly and Spencer Finch that are modern and contemporary. One of the museum’s highlights in terms of American photography is a 180-year retrospective of female photographers.
6- Atlanta’s Fox Theatre
One of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, the Fox Theatre is more than just a place to see performances. Fortunately, you don’t need show tickets to view the building’s elaborate interior. The design of the theater was initially created by the Shriners organization in Atlanta and was influenced by the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor, Egypt, and the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. During a tour, you’ll learn about the building’s iconic architectural features as well as other things. Visitors are led on tours through more than ten different locations inside the structure. You will also see Mighty Mo, one of the largest theater organs in the world.
7- Ponce City Market
The enormous 1926 Sears & Roebuck structure has been transformed into one of Atlanta’s most exciting mixed-use projects. Here, you can spend the entire day perusing well-known stores, independent boutiques, and a variety of popular eateries and food stands (featuring several James Beard award-winning chefs). Visit the farmers market, take in a show at the RoleCall Theater, test your knowledge at a trivia night, work out at the gym, or just hang out at the rooftop bar. You can even spend the night at the market in one of the many lodging options.
8- Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Fernbank is more than just a place for field trips thanks to its stunning atrium that features a suspended life-scale brontosaurus skeleton and swanky after-hours activities. In the popular exhibit “A Walk Through Time in Georgia,” you can stroll through swampland and foothill dioramas populated with prehistoric, Mesozoic, and contemporary flora and fauna or watch a massively scaled educational 3D IMAX film.
9- Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Center for Civil and Human Rights was established to celebrate the accomplishments of both the American Civil Rights Movement and the international human rights movement. The striking, contemporary structure has interactive exhibits that connect the fight for more comprehensive human rights globally to the 1950s Jim Crow era and the fight for equality. The mission of the museum is strengthened by educational initiatives and public discourse.
10- World of Coca-Cola
This gleaming museum details the development of Coca-Cola and the soda business in general. In the city where Coke was created in 1886 and where the brand’s global corporate headquarters is located, it is king and all-pervasive. True to its name, the World of Coca-Cola is completely overwhelming in a fun, fizzy, overly commercialized way when it comes to dominating the soda universe. Check out the DIY beverage fountains that serve flavors from all over the world, the 4-D theater displays, the pop-culture museum, and the replica soda fountains. Are you thirsty? Choose from more than 100 beverages, including all the traditional options and special releases.