Atlanta has the busiest airport in the world, and many people do a stopover here. However, the city is much more than an airport with its wide variety of cultural and culinary attractions. Here are the best places to visit in Atlanta, Georgia.
This article may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclaimer policy here.
Welcome to Atlanta: More Than the World’s Busiest Airport
With over six million inhabitants, Atlanta’s metropolitan area is the 8th largest in the US.
Many people only travel to Atlanta to change planes at Hartsfield Jackson, the world’s busiest airport, but the city has much more to offer.
Famous for its civil rights history as well as modern culture, sports, and attractions there are many fascinating places to visit in Atlanta.
On this basis, here is a guide to the top things to do in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Best Places to Visit in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta’s layout is highly spread-out, making a car indispensable. Many places to visit in Atlanta are in the downtown core, so that’s the best place to start.
Atlanta has the largest aquarium in the United States.
In this context, Georgia Aquarium hosts a myriad of species in over 11 million US gallons (42,000 m3) of water.
The highlights are whale sharks, beluga whales, and manta rays. An excellent place to learn about marine life, Georgia Aquarium is one of the most unmissable attractions in Atlanta.
World of Coca Cola
Many people don’t know that Coca-Cola is from Atlanta. The first bottle of Coke was, in fact, sold by Dr. Pemberton in a pharmacy in downtown Atlanta in 1886.
Today, you can learn about the history of the popular drink in the World of Coca-Cola.
The massive complex has several exhibitions, screening rooms, a Coca-Cola fan shop, and a tasting center where you can sample different Coca-Cola Compay brands from all over the world.
Martin Luther King Memorial Buildings
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta in 1929, and his legacy is still visible all over the city.
In the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, you can visit his birth house, the church where he preached, his grave, memorial walk, and a small museum.
The MLK National Historic Park is one of the best places to visit in Atlanta because it teaches us about a great man whose work is far from over.
The Best Museums in Atlanta
Apart from historic sites, Atlanta has a lot to offer to art aficionados.
The best one is arguable the High Museum of Art. Apart from that, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights are well worth visiting.
When it comes to romantic things to do in Atlanta, a walk in Piedmont Park is definitely up there.
With an area of 189 acres (76 ha), it’s the largest park in Atlanta and home to a wide variety of attractions, such as the Farmer’s Market and Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
One of the coolest places to visit in Atlanta is the BeltLine. It’s a 22-mile-long former railway line turned into a green walking path going around central Atlanta.
As such, it’s one of the best spots for a casual stroll in Atlanta.
Ponce City Market
If you want to savor local and international cuisine as well as craft beer, the Ponce City Market is one of the best places to visit in Atlanta.
You’ll find the market in a repurposed historic industrial hall in the Old Fourth Ward. Apart from food, the market also has a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views over downtown Atlanta.
If you enjoy Ferris wheels, SkyView Atlanta is a great spot to enjoy the skyline views.
It’s located in Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta and rises 20 stories above the city.
Where to Stay in Atlanta
Atlanta is massive, and you will need a car to get around. Nevertheless, staying in one of the centrally-located neighborhoods will save you a lot of time. Here are three options on where to stay in Atlanta:
- Downtown: conveniently located close to most tourist sights;
- Midtown: a bit quieter but home to many luxury hotels, offices, and entertainment venues;
- Old Fourth Ward/Ponce: cozier and more residential with a lot of budget options. You’ll also find Jackson Street Bridge (The Walking Dead Location) here.
- Buckhead: the wealthiest neighborhood of Atlanta with lots of shopping and nightlife options. It’s a great place to stay if you have a higher budget but far away from the top places to visit in Atlanta.
I stayed in the Old Fourth Ward and loved it. The buildings are smaller, and the streets are nicer to walk, but you’ll need a car to get anywhere.
Places to Visit in Atlanta: Know Before You Go
To complete our Atlanta city guide, here are a few essential things to know before visiting Atlanta.
How to Get Around Atlanta
You might have guessed it, Atlanta isn’t a walkable city. The best way to get around is by car.
The city’s mass transit system, MARTA, works well if you are close to a station and want to get to various suburbs or ATL Airport. However, for getting around within the downtown core, the MARTA is virtually useless.
Safety in Atlanta
Atlanta isn’t the safest city in the world, but if you stick to the right areas, you shouldn’t have any problems. Most crime in Atlanta is gang-related and generally only affects certain areas.
Avoid the areas around downtown Atlanta at night and stick to Ubers or taxis when moving around in Atlanta after dark.
Midtown, Old Fourth Warth, and Buckhead are considered safe areas in Atlanta, but even these aren’t devoid of crime. For more info on which areas to avoid in Atlanta, check this resource.
Best Time to Visit Atlanta
The best months to visit Atlanta are March, April, and May. You’ll have pleasant weather and lower room rates.
The summer months (June – August) are notoriously hot and humid. You’ll also encounter higher prices during these months.
The autumn months (September to November) are rainy, and the chance for hurricanes is higher. Nevertheless, these months offer lots of music festivals.
Finally, the winter months (December – February) are generally mild, but the temperatures can go as low as 30°F (-1°C). If you’re on a budget, this is the cheapest period for hotels and Airbnbs.