One of the largest cities in the United States, the Atlanta metropolitan area is home to 5.5 million people. Originally established where two railroad lines intersected, then largely burned during the Civil War, the city has come back as a major area of commerce. Today, there are plenty of cool things to do in Atlanta.
10. Atlanta Station
The Atlanta Station neighborhood is a small city within itself in the heart of the larger city. The area is a 24 hour hub of activity featuring beautiful architecture, world-class shopping and dining, and entertainment. It is also the site of the Millennium Gate. The district is on 138 acres at the northwestern edge of Midtown. Large boulevards allow pedestrians to walk about freely, and 11 acres of parkland dot the district. It is one of the best places to meet up with friends for a day of shopping and sipping coffee at an outdoor café, or catching a show.
9. Georgia Aquarium
Located at 225 Baker Street NW, Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Visitors can view hundreds of species in the galleries, or take advantage of events, programs, and activities. Some activities include lectures, shows, animal interactions, tours, and sleepovers. Some events the venue has hosted are Sips Under the Sea, Imagination Nights, and Dive in Movies. One popular exhibit is the dolphin show in the AT&T Dolphin Tales gallery, which is about 30 minutes long and set to music. The aquarium is open every day, but times vary. Tickets can be purchased online or at the entrance.
8. Fox Theatre
First opened in 1929, the historic Fox Theatre has been restored and hosts roughly 300 events per year. The venue is available for private parties, but also hosts movies, plays, dance performances, and live music shows that are open to the public. The building is designed with Moorish and Egyptian details, such as arched windows. The ceiling is blue with twinkling, crystal stars. One unique feature of the theatre is the Mighty Mo, a 3,622-pipe Möller organ. The Fox Theatre is at 660 Peachtree Street NE. Tickets can be purchased by calling the number on the theatre’s website.
7. Atlanta History Center
This history center is a 33 acre campus that includes the Atlanta History Museum, the very popular Swan House, the Tullie Smith Farm, the Kenan Research Center, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, and more. Visitors can tour the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind at the center’s nearby midtown campus. The center has a café, a museum shop, and lots of gardens and trails. The history center houses one of the most extensive collections of Civil War artifacts in the nation. Tickets can be purchased online, and are good for the main center and the Margaret Mitchell House.
6. Chastain Park Amphitheater
At 268 acres, Chastain Memorial Park is the largest park in the city. The land is at the city’s northern edge, in the Buckhead region. The park has jogging trails, play areas, a tennis courts, horse trails, a golf course, a swimming pool, and the amphitheater. The Chastain Park Amphitheater is an outdoor venue that sees 200,000 visitors per year, mostly in the summer months. Performers range from the local symphony orchestra to some big name rock stars. Concertgoers are allowed to bring food and alcoholic beverages in to many, but not all, performances.
5. CNN Studio Tour
The city is home to the world headquarters of CNN, CNN Center. The center hosts walking tours of the facilities. Entrance to the building is free, and visitors can eat at the food court. The 50 minute tour requires tickets, which can be purchased at the box office, but should be purchased online to ensure availability. The tour begins with a ride on the largest freestanding escalator in the world, which is eight stories high. Visitors get a behind the scenes look at the news studio, how the weather map works, and more. Kids are welcome. The center is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
4. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Located at 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW is the largest children’s museum in the state. The museum features interactive, educational exhibits that are fun and geared to children ages 0 to 9. Some exhibits, which are targeted to children of specific ages, include Fundamentally Food, which shows children the journey food takes from the farm to the table, Gateway to the World, which covers the continents and layers of the earth. The museum also hosts music and dance activities. Check the website for hours, as they vary, and to purchase tickets.
3. Braves Museum & Hall of Fame
Baseball fans will enjoy this museum, located at Aisle 134, on the northwest side of Turner Field. The museum holds over 600 photographs and artifacts that go back to the team’s beginning, in 1871. The museum is the start point of a tour of the Turner Field facilities, including the press box, the broadcast booth, the club house, and more. The family friendly museum is open year round. The hour long tour is available during baseball season, which runs from April to September, Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
2. Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar & View
Perfect for a romantic weekend, The Sundial Restaurant, Bar & View is a rotating restaurant located on the 71st floor of The Westin Peachtree Plaza. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience. The bar, on the 73rd floor, serves cocktails with a casual dinner menu. Both the bar and the restaurant offer the revolving view. Visitors who don’t wish to dine can purchase tickets to ride the glass elevator up to the 72nd floor observatory where they can view the city from the windows or the complimentary telescopes, and view memorabilia and photographs as well. The tickets are inexpensive, and kids under six get in free.
1. Piedmont Park
One of the most popular places to visit in Atlanta is Piedmont Park. The 189 acre piece of land is located just northeast of Downtown. It was created in 1895, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The park is home to tennis courts, a swimming pool, jogging trails, a dog park, two ponds, and more. Many popular annual events take place in the greenspace, including the Dogwood Festival, the Jazz Festival, The Gay Pride Festival, and Music Midtown. The beautiful Atlanta Botanical Garden is adjacent to the Piedmont Park grounds. Several bars, cafes, and restaurants are within walking distance.
If you find yourself needing something to do during your stay in this Southern city, these tourist attractions in Atlanta are a great place to start. Whether you enjoy shopping, jogging in the park, learning about the history of the place, or catching the view, there are plenty of exciting places to see.