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Atlanta is a sprawling southern city and the capital of the Peach State. It has become famous for many things, such as being Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace, for its role in the American Civil War, and hosting the Summer Olympic Games. This is a family-friendly destination with lots of museums and festivals, as well as a top spot for foodies who have a soft spot in their hearts for southern cuisine.
The city is a popular place for business conferences and flight layovers, and its tech scene and film industry have been rapidly growing in recent years. If possible, plan your visit to Atlanta for the springtime because this is when the flowers and flowering trees are in full bloom and the high humidity of summer hasn’t yet kicked in. But no matter when you visit, these are some of the most awesome things to do in Atlanta to help you plan your trip!
What Is It? Georgia Aquarium is one of the most amazing aquariums in the world, worth a visit if you love marine animals or are traveling with kids.
Why Do It? Here you’ll see whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, belugas, penguins, piranhas, and more.
Good to Know: Plan to spend at least half a day here to see it all.
What Is It? Martin Luther King Jr., one of America’s all-time great civil rights leaders, was born in Atlanta, and there’s a national historic site to commemorate his role in the city’s history.
Why Do It? It’s a must-see attraction in Atlanta. When you stop by the visitor center, sign up for a tour of his birth home and see the “Courage to Lead” exhibit and the D.R.E.A.M. gallery. The birth home tour is free, led by a ranger, and limited to 15 people per group. The Center for Nonviolent Social Change was established by King’s wife and is his final resting place.
Good to Know: Another related sight to see is the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King served as a pastor. The “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden and the Behold Monument are worth stopping by as well.
What Is It? The Atlanta BeltLine is a massive urban redevelopment project. Most people associate the BeltLine with its pedestrian trails that connect the city’s neighborhoods.
Why Do It? This is a popular local place to walk dogs, push strollers, bike, and jog.
Good to Know: It passes by Old Fourth Ward Park, which hosts lots of music and food festivals throughout the year.
What Is It? Many people who only visit the city of Atlanta don’t realize that the surrounding areas of Georgia are full of outdoor adventure just waiting to be explored.
Why Do It? Get out of the city and breathe in the fresh air. The closest state park to the city is Sweetwater State Park, but many others are within a couple of hours and well worth the drive.
Good to Know: There are quite a few waterfalls at the state parks here, including ones at Amicalola Falls State Park and Tallulah Gorge State Park, and lots of wildflowers and bird species to see and learn about.
What Is It? Atlanta is the headquarters for the Coca-Cola beverage company.
Why Do It? You can take a tour of the facility here and have the chance to sample 100+ Coke products from around the world.
Good to Know: When you visit, you can see the vault where the legendary soda formula is stored, the bottling area, and learn about the company’s history in the 4-D theater.
What Is It? If you have a taste for something a little stronger, Atlanta has plenty of options for you too.
Why Do It? There are lots of breweries in Georgia, but one of the most famous ones is SweetWater. Take a tour of the facility and get your drink tickets to sample their tasty beers.
Good to Know: Other breweries worth checking out in town are Monday Night Brewing, Second Self Beer Company, and Red Brick Brewing. Local beer pairs unbelievably well with southern barbeque, and there are several highly rated BBQ restaurants you simply have to check out while you’re in town.
What Is It? There are many different neighborhoods in Atlanta, but none more eclectic than Little Five Points.
Why Do It? This is a hippie/hipster neighborhood with plenty of thrift stores, crystal shops, vegetarian fare, and street performers. There’s also a Vortex Lounge location here, which is a famous burger joint in Atlanta.
Good to Know: On a nice day, plan to sit outside at one of the local restaurants and do some people-watching. You won’t be bored, to say the least, and you’ll also get a taste of the artsy side of Atlanta.
What Is It? The CNN news station is headquartered in Atlanta.
Why Do It? You can take a tour of the facility to see where the news is reported around the clock. Most guided tours last about an hour and pass by several newsrooms and film studios.
Good to Know: There’s a huge food court here that’s a good place to stop by for a quick lunch.
What Is It? Several Atlanta neighborhoods have undergone exciting transformations and built market spaces.
Why Do It? These popular spots are perfect for browsing during an afternoon and getting a taste of the local culture.
Good to Know: The Krog Street Market and the Ponce City Market are great places to walk around, shop, and grab a meal.
What Is It? Stone Mountain is one of Georgia’s most beautiful natural wonders.
Why Do It? Take a hike up the mountain to get in your daily workout. It’s only about a half-hour from the city and a wonderful day trip for families and nature lovers.
Good to Know: The hike up Stone Mountain isn’t long, but it is steep, so be prepared for a workout. Stone Mountain Park hosts lots of attractions year-round, as well as seasonal festivals and events.
What Is It? Centennial Olympic Park park was built in remembrance of when the city hosted the Olympic Games in 1996.
Why Do It? Check out the Fountain of Rings and run through the fountain to relive your childhood and cool off on a hot day.
Good to Know: It’s a good central base in the city, with lots of nearby family-friendly attractions to explore.
What Is It? Nothing beats a hot muggy day in Atlanta better than a King of Pops popsicle.
Why Do It? Most of the pops have between three and five ingredients, and there’s almost 500 flavors to choose from. They keep it simple, with wholesome ingredients and lots of taste.
Good to Know: You can often find popsicle push-carts scattered around town and at local festivals, but you can also visit their website to find the nearest pops available to you.
The Not As Famous food truck gets around the Atlanta area, and can pop up anywhere from festivals, and schools to markets. Now, there’s even a brick & mortar shop you can visit in Smyrna. Orders can be placed online, and their multilayered cookie cakes steal the show at birthday parties and weddings.