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The best attractions in Atlanta

Dive into the best attractions in Atlanta, from World of Coca Cola to the Trap House Museum

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
Contributors
Nicole Letts
,
Krista Diamond
&
Lola Christina Alao
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Atlanta conjures up images of Southern charm, hot nights, great food, hip hop, history and more. With all the things to do in this sprawling city, it’s no wonder Atlanta is one of the best cities in America to visit. The nickname “Hotlanta” doesn’t just refer to sweltering summer days and nights, it also reflects the cutting-edge restaurants, acclaimed bars and hotspots that keep people coming back (and staying permanently). Whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to check out the best Atlanta attractions — we’ve got them all right here for you.

On the cultural side of things, Atlanta has amazing museums that cover everything from Jimmy Carter to Civil Rights to Coca-Cola to Trap music. Don’t miss visiting these museums to learn about the unique culture of the South (and more). The city also has plenty of attractions focused on entertainment and other pursuits. Atlanta has famous fast food joints that draw visitors for more than just a bite to eat, a great zoo and aquarium, beautiful parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, and a state-of-the-art stadium. These Atlanta attractions are worth revisiting again and again.

After you’ve had your fill of Southern fare — you can’t visit Atlanta without eating your way through the best BBQ joints or diving into hearty plates of biscuits or fried chicken at a breakfast spot — work it all off by touring these parks, museums and other great attractions that the city has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Atlanta

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Best attractions in Atlanta

  • Museums
  • Techwood

The NCCHR presents the civil rights movement and its Atlanta roots as a progressive and ongoing project. With three permanent exhibits representing the fight for equality both here in the U.S. and on a global scale, the institution has a clean, open-air layout and design. Neon signage is incorporated on segregation displays, bold colors capture the spirit of standing up for justice, and interactive portions salute activism in the face of danger. All these factors contribute to providing brutal but necessary honesty about how much work remains to be done.

  • Things to do
  • Butler Street

The King Center pays homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and was established back in 1968 as the official memorial dedicated to the advancement of his legacy. Here, you'll be able to learn more about his work through the exhbits on display at Freedom Hall. And at the end, take a visit to the King Center’s library, full of communications media used to teach the world about Dr King's life. And what's more? Admission to to The King Center is completely free.

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  • Attractions
  • Techwood

Georgia Aquarium is full of beluga whales, dolphins and wait for it - white sharks! If you're brave enough to step up to the challenge, read on! They also have interactive touch pools and an immersive 4D theater to keep you occupied. Plus, a self-guided tour that gives you insight into the creatures of the deep ocean. If you're an aquatic enthusiast, you can participate in everything from shark cage diving to penguin petting!

  • Museums
  • Brooklyn

Shaped like two-thirds of a football and conveniently located downtown between Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Centennial Olympic Park, proud fans of undergraduate Gridiron games flock to the CFHOF year-round. Beginning at The Quad, register and watch your favorite team’s official helmet begin to glow along a wall of more than 760 schools. Then test your talents on the 45-yard indoor playing field where you can kick field goals, practice throwing, and run an obstacle course while learning more about any inductee you pick through augmented reality.

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  • Attractions
  • Brooklyn

Fun fact: Coke is king in Atlanta. It goes without saying that Coke is king in Atlanta. So it's only right that Atlanta has a world of Coca Cola exhibition. Here, you'll be taking on a journey of the history of Coca Cola, the most famous drink in the world. You'll even get insight into Coca Cola's secret formula. And don’t miss the World of Coca-Cola’s "Taste It!" exhibit, where you'll get to slurp and sip more than 100 Coca-Cola Company beverages. Oh, and you can't forget to take a photo with the famous 7-foot Coca-Cola Polar Bear.

  • Attractions
  • Boulevard Heights

You might be familiar with Zoo Atlanta because of its famed gorilla exhibit and residents. In fact, the oldest living male gorilla in the world, Ozzie, calls Zoo Atlanta home. Beyond primates, Zoo Atlanta allows visitors up-close-and-personal experiences with elephants, giraffes and lizards. However, the menagerie is probably best known for its giant panda habitat—complete with a webcam—where you can peek into the black and white bamboo-eating bears’ habitat adventures around the clock.

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  • Restaurants
  • Centennial Place

Don’t be alarmed with the chorus of “What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?” coming your way as you enter the renowned North Avenue diner. Instead, be prepared. Walk right up to the expansive counter and place your slaw dog order with confidence. Want to really blend in like a local? Finish your order with an F.O., an orange and vanilla flavored milkshake.

  • Music
  • Midtown

Atlanta’s epicenter of the arts is the Woodruff Arts Center, specialising in visual and performing arts. It's the site of the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the High Museum of Art. Showing right now is What Is Left Unspoken, Love which should definitely be on your list to see. 

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  • Things to do
  • Old Fourth Ward

A series of former railroad corridors might not seem like anything exciting, but when they're lined with exciting art, bustling eateries and humming microbreweries, you've pretty much entered cultural heaven. Generally speaking, the area is also usually filled with dogs. Eventually, the 22-mile BeltLine will connect many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods but, for now, it’s a premiere spot for exercising, people watching and just plain living.

  • Museums
  • Old Fourth Ward

You’re never too old to love dinosaurs (this museum doubles as one of the best things to do with kids in Atlanta), but there’s much more to the Fernbank than the fossil-filled gallery (which features a 47-foot-long Giganotosaurus). There’s also a four-story 3D IMAX theater, 75 acres of walking trails, canopies, and outdoor exhibits within the Wildwoods and Fernbank Forest, and of course, adult programming (like the Fernbank After Dark events, where science meets live music and cocktails).

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  • Sports and fitness
  • Vine City

Atlanta sports fans’ pride and joy, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is home to not one but two of the city’s professional sports teams: the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. Watch the Falcons rise up and ATLUTD unite and conquer or take a virtual STEAM tour of the stadium and learn about the architecture and engineering.

Rapper T.I. opened this physical salute to Atlanta’s street hip-hop sounds just in time for the release of his 10th album, Dime Trap, in September 2018. Since then, thousands of visitors have come by to see the museum’s walk-through exhibits dedicated to pioneers of the now-world-famous “trap” genre, including an all-pink area setup (there’s a matching old-school Chevrolet in there) for 2 Chainz, a kitchen with scattered drug paraphernalia for Gucci Mane, a jail cell replica outlined with paintings of rappers who’ve served time, and even an “Escape The Trap” challenge where you have to navigate your way out of a “trap house.”

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  • Shopping
  • St. Charles Greenwood

Engage in vista views of Midtown while trying your hand at a variety of kitschy carnival games at Skyline Park on the roof of Ponce City Market. Old-time favorites like ring toss and skee ball are shaded by a three-story slide and a Heege Tower. Of course, no cheesy carnival is complete without street fare. Refuel with a soft pretzel or a walking taco and imbibe in an aperol spritz or frozen rosé.

  • Museums
  • Midtown

Under the Atlanta History Center umbrella, the Margaret Mitchell House is the site where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author dreamed up Scarlett O’Hara and Ashley Wilkes and penned Gone With the Wind. Here, literary lovers peruse Mitchell’s garden apartment and learn more about her life before and after the novel that made her famous.

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  • Attractions
  • Parkview

Experience new heights in aviation at Delta’s headquarters and the recently renovated Delta Flight Museum. Adventurous aspiring pilots of all ages line up for the flight simulator while history buffs are enamored with restored passenger and biplanes of yesteryear. Visitors can also step inside the first 747 ever built. Housed in Delta's original 1940s-era aircraft hangars, the museum is, shall we say... pretty fly.

  • Attractions
  • Grady

Locals call it Sweet Auburn Curb Market or simply Sweet Auburn, even though the marquis reads Municipal Market. In many ways, Atlanta’s OG food hall and farmers' market, this slice of Atlanta history is known for its more than 20 unique businesses. Some of the city's best-known restaurants began as stalls at Sweet Auburn. You never know who you’ll discover next.

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  • Attractions
  • Brooklyn

Home to a medley of hands-on, educational exhibits specifically for kids ages 0-8, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta provides a playground for pint-sized minds and hands. Sensory play includes an interactive pond with magnetic fish while pretend-play features a miniature market with small-scale shopping carts. Engaging learning opportunities abound in other parts of the museum, too. The hardest part will be convincing your kiddo to leave.

Easily recognizable as the headquarters of nefarious President Snow in The Hunger Games, the IRL Swan House is as far from a dystopian residence as you can imagine. Situated in prestigious Buckhead, the 1928 mansion exudes all things Jazz Age: Atlanta’s very own West Egg. The iconic home often hosts weddings and special events and is open for tours six days a week. However, a cruise down Andrews Drive offers you a quick Instagram photo-op.

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  • Attractions
  • Brooklyn

If one of Atlanta’s many rooftop bars don’t fulfill your desire for a bird’s-eye view, head to SkyView Atlanta. Here, the stately Ferris wheel with climate-controlled gondolas (think: Atlanta’s own London Eye) offers panoramic scenes of the city below. For an experience unlike any other, book an extended trip in the VIP pod featuring a glass floor and Ferrari-inspired seats.

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  • Attractions
  • Greater Atlanta

A list of top Atlanta attractions would not be complete without Six Flags Over Georgia. The amusement park’s roller coasters soar to astonishing heights while offering thrill-seekers stunning views of the city skyline. Check out Pandemonium, a swinging pendulum towering 15 stories high and speeding up to 70 miles per hour. 

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