Things to Do in Atlanta: What You Need to Know

May 21, 2024

If Atlanta is on your travel itinerary with the goal of experiencing nearly unlimited options for having fun morning, noon, and night in a vibrant city with an undeniable history, you've chosen wisely. This Atlanta travel guide will take you on an interesting journey through the history of the city, with stops along the way where you can savor the flavor of this historic southern city and its charm and hospitality. Sit back and enjoy a ride featuring Atlanta sightseeing and interactive activities at your leisure.

aerial view of the Atlanta skyline

image credit: Nate Hovee (Pexels)

Historical Places to Visit

Incorporated in 1837, Atlanta provides many historical places to visit that are not only informative, but also provide visual glimpses into the past.

  1. Atlanta History Museum - The center comprises many features on its 33 acres, such as the 1920s Swan House, exhibitions, Goizueta Gardens, and the historic Cyclorama painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta, which was painted in 1886 and one of only two in the US.
  2. Oakland Cemetery - A peaceful and tranquil setting that inspires reflection on many levels. Walk through the beautifully landscaped cemetery, visit the separate gardens, schedule one of the tours, and stop by the Visitor Center and Museum Store when visiting this special place in Atlanta.
  3. Margaret Mitchell House - author of Gone with the Wind, the historic home is one of the museums in the Midtown covering the life of the famous author. It’s also part of the Atlanta History Center and worth a visit.
  4. Georgia State Capitol - Built in 1858, and designated a National Historic Landmark, the historic neoclassical architectural design and its gold-gilded dome using gold sources from Dahlonega, GA. It is another of the city's tours of one of the most beautiful buildings that takes you from its exquisite lobby to its imposing Rotunda.
  5. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park - Immerse yourself in the transformative journey of one of history's most influential civil rights icons.

Destinations with Family Attractions

  1. The Fox Theatre - Built in 1928, the theater resides in Midtown and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and rightly so. The beautifully detailed building was leased to William Fox, who created a lavish setting for the new moving picture shows that were increasing in popularity across the country. It opened in 1929 with a premier showing of Mickey Mouse in the animated cartoon, Steamboat Willie. Today, the theater has an extensive line-up of live musicals, performances, and concerts for all ages.
  2. Stone Mountain - Located in DeKalb County, Stone Mountain is a suburb of Atlanta and home to the 3200-acre Stone Mountain Park. From the scenic railroad to the Summit Skyride to the mountain top, there is never a dull moment at Stone Mountain Park. There's also Dinosaur Explore, the Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf and Dinotorium for the kids. Take a seat at the 4D Theater or step back in time in Historic Square.
  3. World of Coca-Cola - Satisfy your thirst for historical knowledge about the long-standing beverage while sampling flavors from the company's secret Vault at the Beverage Bar. View artifacts and exhibits at The Loft, enjoy an informative clip in The Coca-Cola Theater, take a sip or two of worldwide beverages, and kids and adults can get a photo with the well-known Coca-Cola Polar Bear.
  4. Phipps Plaza - an upscale, uptown, and upbeat atmosphere is standard operating procedure in the posh Buckhead neighborhood shopping center. If shopping for that "perfect something" at a luxury establishment with more than 100 stores and complete with dining, a hotel, and a movie theater is your preference, set your sites on Phipps Plaza - Atlanta's premier shopping destination for those on the go and in the know.
  5. Atlanta Botanical Garden - The sheer beauty of the blooms and gardens and interesting art exhibits keep people coming back year after year. While strolling the grounds, take time out to visit the Garden Gift Shop or unwind and refresh at one of the three food locations for snacks, grab-and-go options, or full-service dining.

Places to Go for the Kids

Atlanta’s sightseeing excursions and activities are sure to tantalize a child's imagination. Adults can enjoy them, too. A few parks and museums to consider include:

  1. Children's Museum of Atlanta - Kids from around the world don't ignore but explore the fascinating hands-on activities promoted by the museum. Tour the museum, see featured and permanent exhibits and visit the museum store. Check their calendar of upcoming events so you can plan to be in town.
  2. ZooAtlanta - If you have a love for wildlife, ZooAtlanta has over 1,300 animals calling the zoo home sweet home. Whether you like them, tall or short, feathered or furry, sleek or shelled, come see over 220 species that will make a lasting memory of a lifetime.
  3. Fernbank Science Center - "There's more to the world than meets the eye" and that is true at the science center when viewing the stars and the universe beyond through a special projector at the planetarium. The center hosts events, rotating exhibits, and permanent exhibits that cover history as well as sparking the imagination.
  4. Georgia Aquarium - Visit today and plan to stay is the best way to experience the Georgia Aquarium. There is a lot to do at the popular water attraction with something of interest to keep everyone engaged and fascinated. You'll see ground and water animals, have an encounter with sea lions, penguins, dolphins, and more. Dive and swim with sharks and manta rays, see shows and presentations, and much more.
  5. LEGO Discovery Center Atlanta - Kids and LEGOs go hand-in-hand, and at the LEGO Discovery Center the play space is a dream come true for children of all ages. The center features interactive exhibits, rides, and building stations.
  6. Sloomoo Institute - Kids can get wild when they step up to the DIY bar at Sloomoo Institute and get creative with colorful ooey gooey slime. Pick the texture, color, fragrance, and charms to make a personal masterpiece.

Please Your Palate

No matter what your preference may be in cuisine, Atlanta's dining options are sure to satisfy your taste buds. So when it's time to dine, Midtown Atlanta has the most restaurants available to satisfy your appetite around the clock. Choose your palate-pleasing pleasure from over 150 eateries with choices from traditional fare and inspired gourmet menus at casual cafes, family restaurants, and fine dining establishments.

Other areas chock-full of eateries include:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport area -The airport area keeps those coming and going in and out of Atlanta and is saturated with nearly 100 restaurants available for tasty dishes.
  • Downtown - The downtown area features over 300 restaurants, so there's no chance you will go hungry when experiencing the many things to do in Atlanta.
  • Buckhead - The Buckhead neighborhood features upscale dining that is irresistible to the palate.
  • North Atlanta - In North Atlanta, travelers can take a tasty journey around the world along Buford Highway. From Cantonese to Vietnamese cuisine and just about everything in between, your taste buds will be transported to the culinary flavor of regional delights.

Below are some suggestions to get you started on your culinary experience with the Atlanta food scene.

  • The Varsity Atlanta - If you adore an awesome chili dog, fresh fries, and delicious fried pies, the Varsity is a "must-do" dining experience. In business since 1928, serving the multitudes of hungry residents and travelers has been the focus and remains the goal of this iconic downtown restaurant. Dine in, drive-thru, or relax in your car and let the car-hop take your order.
  • Majestic Diner - 1929 was a very good year when Majestic Diner made its debut with a menu to delight the senses in the Virginia-Highland area. With its location next to the Plaza Theater, which opened in the late 1930s, grab a bite at the diner on Friday night, then head over to the Plaza to watch the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, which has been shown at the theater for over 20 years.
  • Moe's and Joe's - It doesn't get much better than the food and the price at this vintage 1947 local eatery. Located in the Virginia-Highland area, a cold 16 ounce brew along with the signature MoJo Burger with fresh fries has a tab less than one Hamilton ($10).

Atlanta's Travel Guide to Hidden Gems

  1. Underground Atlanta -Although a historical site and more for adults, with its underground location it is a truly "hidden" gem. Underground Atlanta was constructed in 1866. Known as "The City Beneath the Streets," visitors are transported to another level of excitement with the many options involving art, culture, shopping, restaurants and diverse entertainment.
  2. Delta Flight Museum - Delta has called the Atlanta airport home since the 1940s. Its original headquarters at the airport are designated a Historic Aerospace Site. Come and take part in interactive activities, get an up-close look at an original 1940 Douglas DC-3 passenger plane, and experience the real-time action of a training session in a flight simulator.
  3. Blue Heron Nature Preserve - Located in Buckhead, this is one of the many secluded parks for quiet strolls along the 3-mile trail networked over the park’s 30 scenic and tranquil acres.
  4. Eddie's Attic - Stop by for some food and drinks while waiting for local musicians to take the stage. For close to 30 years, the venue has welcomed live musical performances by talented musicians with the goal of becoming the next great music icon.
  5. CDC Museum - The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made learning about and treating diseases interesting. Residing on the Georgia Tech campus, visitors can take a guided or self-guided tour, see award-winning exhibits, and wear a hazmat suit,

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