Get us in your inbox

The Benz - Atlanta
Photograph: Shutterstock/Nate Hovee

The best things to do in Atlanta right now

Dive into the charm of this Southern city with the best things to do in Atlanta

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
Contributors
Tiffany J. Davis
,
Jennifer Bradley Franklin
&
Talia Stanton
Advertising

From the farthest reaches of the sprawling metropolis that is the ATL you’ll find no shortage of Southern charm and hospitality. The city attracts a mix of leisure and business travelers throughout the year, so it’s always bustling with activity. From historic landmarks and lush green parks to world-class museums and a vibrant nightlife scene, the best things to do in Atlanta will please everyone (kids, too). Atlanta offers the opportunity to explore the region's deep-rooted history and the culture that the city has spawned, from its arts and industry to music and theater, not to mention the history of the Civil Rights movement. Once you’ve explored all that Atlanta has to offer, dive into the city’s culinary offerings, where you’ll find a slew of renowned bars and restaurants ranging from classic to cutting-edge. 

At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

RECOMMENDED:
🍽️ The best restaurants in Atlanta
🍷 The best bars in Atlanta 
🐟 The best things to do with kids in Atlanta
🏛️ The best attractions in Atlanta 
🌳 The best treehouse Airbnbs in Atlanta
🏠 The best Airbnb cabins in Atlanta

Best things to do in Atlanta

  • Attractions
  • Brooklyn

This gleaming museum chronicles the history of Coca-Cola, as well as the soda industry itself. Coke is king—and ubiquitous—in the city that saw its invention in 1886 (and also houses the brand’s global corporate headquarters). True to the name, when it comes to total soda universe domination, the World of Coca-Cola is totally overwhelming in a fun, fizzy, hyper-commercialized sort of way. Check out replica soda fountains, the pop-culture museum, 4-D theater displays, and DIY beverage fountains dispensing flavors from around the world. Feeling thirsty? Pick from over 100 beverages, including all the classics and limited editions.

2. Ponce City Market

The massive former Sears & Roebuck building, erected in 1926, has been repurposed into one of Atlanta’s most exciting mixed-use developments. You can spend all day at Ponce City Market, browsing big-name retailers, small local boutiques, and a roster of buzzy restaurants and food stalls (featuring several James Beard award-winning chefs). Catch a show at the RoleCall Theater, check out the farmers market, exercise your bod at the gym or hang out at the rooftop bar. You can even stay at the market in one of the many available rentals.

Advertising
  • Attractions
  • Techwood

The largest indoor aquarium in the Western hemisphere doubles as a teaching hospital with over 100,000 water-loving residents. This attraction, adjacent to Centennial Park, boasts enough fresh and saltwater habitats to keep even the most attention-challenged visitor happy for hours. The aquarium’s big stars include the massive whale sharks, Beluga whales, dolphins, and penguins. There’s a free self-guided tour app available for download that will help you navigate through the exhibits.

  • Museums
  • Butler Street

The Martin Luther King Centre is the must-see tourist attraction in Atlanta. Once ‘The King Center,’ it is now a nonprofit organization in the heart of the city, as a place for education and social change. There’s plenty to do here—get a guided tour through Dr. King’s birth home, where you can still see actual furniture from his childhood, and check out exhibitions on offer about Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi and Coretta Scott King. There are also guided sermons a little further down at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which is the exact spot where Dr. King preached from 1947 and for the rest of his life. 

Advertising

5. Atlanta BeltLine

A former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta has been revitalized into a vibrant, multi-use path lined with art, native plants, and attractions. While not all sections are paved yet, the BeltLine loop is fully accessible. When completed sometime around 2030, it will ultimately connect 45 neighborhoods within the city. Walk between stops like Ponce City Market and Piedmont Park, or enjoy events along the BeltLine, like fitness classes, art events, and more.

  • Attractions
  • Hillside Cottages

Atlanta’s answer to Central Park, Piedmont Park is a haven for joggers, bocce players, and picnic lovers. With flourishing greenery, rippling waters, and bustling wildlife, it is a world away from the concrete metropolis of the city. This natural oasis is also the setting for frequent art fests throughout the year, including the Dogwood Festival, a spring celebration of flowers and fine art; Memorial Day weekend’s Atlanta Jazz Festival; outdoor performances by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in summer; and farmers’ markets.

Advertising
  • Museums
  • Lake Claire

Between the stunning atrium featuring a suspended life-scale brontosaurus skeleton and swank after-hours events, Fernbank isn’t just a school trip destination. Walk through swampland and foothill dioramas populated with prehistoric, Mesozoic, and modern-day flora and fauna in the crowd-pleasing exhibit “A Walk Through Time in Georgia” or take in a larger-than-life educational 3D IMAX film.

8. SkyView

Atlanta has a stunning skyline, with some equally stunning rooftop bars that offer amazing views. But for one of the best views of the city, the SkyView Ferris wheel in Centennial Park is hard to beat. You’ll enjoy unobstructed, panoramic views of downtown Atlanta and beyond. Insider tip: take a spin at night with a special someone for a romantic date.

Advertising
  • Attractions
  • Grady

Green spaces and beautifully maintained stones and statues make Oakland Cemetery one of the most popular picnic spots in the city. Strike out on a self-guided tour to view the final resting place of Atlanta notables, including Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell and Atlanta’s first African-American mayor Maynard Jackson. Guided tours explore various strands of city history through its late inhabitants, from local scandals to brewing. 

  • Museums
  • Midtown

World-renowned and captivating, the High Museum of Art houses a cross-era, international scope of work. And the building isn't shabby either: the white concrete, glass, and steel art behemoth is striking inside and out. Designed by starchitect Richard Meier and featuring a 2005 expansion by Renzo Piano, the High Museum's collection includes everything from African art to modern and contemporary work by Ellsworth Kelly and Spencer Finch. The museum is strong on American photography, including a retrospective of 180 years of female photographers.

Advertising

11. Trap Music Museum

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chanel Jack (@chanel_bee)

Rapper T.I. opened this physical salute to Atlanta’s street hip-hop sounds in 2018. Since then, thousands of visitors have come by to see the Trap Museum’s walk-through exhibits dedicated to pioneers of the now-world-famous “trap” genre, including an all-pink area (featuring a matching old-school Chevrolet) 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 room where you have to navigate your way out of a “trap house.”

12. Center for Civil and Human Rights

The Center for Civil and Human Rights celebrates the achievements of both the American Civil Rights Movement and the global human rights movement. It is designed to inspire action and change. The bold, modern building includes immersive exhibits that begin with the 1950s Jim Crow era and the fight for equality, which tie together the global struggle for broader human rights. Educational programs and community discussions enhance the museum’s mission.

Advertising

13. The Battery

Home to Atlanta Braves stadium, The Battery is an entertainment complex with everything you need for a night out. This buzzy destination is poppin' whether there’s a game on or not. With dozens of boutiques, restaurants and bars, you can shop, dine, bowl and even challenge your friends to some bull riding. The Battery boasts a Roxy Theater for live music as well as a state-of-the-art movie theater. Check the calendar for events like wine tasting, yoga and themed movie series. Around the holidays, The Battery is decked out with plenty of cheer.

  • Attractions
  • Morningside

Pretty flowers are just the beginning at this 30-acre botanical center bordering the northeast side of the city’s largest public park. Traipse through oak, hickory, and poplar treetops on the 600-foot Canopy Walk footbridge suspended 40 feet above the blooming hydrangeas, perennials, and bulbs below. Afraid of heights? Go zen in an authentic Japanese garden dating back to the 1960s and featuring a 300-year-old lantern, a gurgling waterfall, and a seasonal rotation of irises, azaleas, and maples.

Advertising

15. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

The life and presidency of Georgia native Jimmy Carter are celebrated throughout the 24,000 square feet of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. The grounds and modernist building are impressive, and within the museum, you’ll find interactive exhibits covering President Carter’s life before, during, and after his time in the White House. His Nobel Peace Prize is on display, with exhibitions dedicated to his charitable work.

Advertising
  • Movie theaters
  • Browns Mill

This Art Deco drive-in that first opened in 1949 is still a beloved date spot for loved-up locals. Grab some wheels to check out the nightly double features and snack bar serving Mexican food at this old-school drive-in theater. On Saturdays, head to Starlight between 6am and 3pm for a swap meet (with the equally retro admission price of 50 cents) chock full of Americana goods, vintage clothes, records, and some good ol' people-watching.

18. Mercedes Benz Stadium

“The Benz” is an architectural icon, home to the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer. The multi-purpose stadium hosts a variety of events and is equipped with all the bells and whistles a fan (whether sports or music) could want: massive screens, a retractable roof, an art collection, and great food offerings. Attend an event or take a tour.

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising