There is no shortage of things to do in Atlanta, as any resident can attest. Atlanta attractions include indoor and outdoor activities that highlight the area’s history and natural resources. When compiling a list of fun things to do in Atlanta, you don’t want to miss any of these top ten attractions. Listed in no particular order, these popular Atlanta destinations will have you returning to the Peach State again and again.
Holding tens of thousands of animals in over 10 million gallons of water, the Georgia Aquarium is the second-largest aquarium in the world. Sometimes called the Atlanta Aquarium, the attraction offers some of the world’s largest viewing windows through which you can encounter aquatic life including the following:
- Sea lions
- Beluga whales
- Sea otters
Georgia Aquarium tickets average around $30, and annual memberships are also available. All tickets include access to a 4-D movie, dolphin show and other interactive experiences. The aquarium is open every day of the year, but hours of operation vary by the day and month. The entire venue is ADA accessible, but do call ahead with any special assistance needs.
World of Coca-Cola
When wondering what to do in Atlanta, be sure to check out the World of Coca-Cola. Visitors will enjoy an in-depth look into the Coca-Cola bottling process as it was in the old Coke Factory in Atlanta. A genuine Coke museum, Atlanta visitors can view hundreds of Coke-themed artifacts and artwork. Most people will complete the entire on-foot Coca Cola tour in Atlanta within two hours, which includes the opportunity to freely sample over 100 sodas from around the world. Complimentary wheelchairs are available for use, and handicapped guests are welcome to bring their own motorized wheelchairs or scooters.
The Coca-Cola tour in Atlanta is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours on Saturdays and certain holidays. The attraction is only closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. General admission tickets and annual passes are available. Atlanta Coca-Cola tour annual passes include multiple discounts on guest tickets, Coca-Cola Store merchandise, photo imaging packages and food purchased at the on-site Pemberton Café.
- Adult one-day ticket (13-64): $17
- Adult annual pass: $34
- Senior (65+) one-day ticket: $15
- Senior annual pass: $30
- Youth (3-12) one-day ticket: $13
- Youth annual pass: $26
- Toddlers (0-2): Free with adult ticket purchase
Atlanta Botanical Garden
One of the most beautiful outdoor downtown Atlanta attractions is the Atlanta Botanical Garden. With many permanent landscapes affected by the seasons and rotating exhibitions, every visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden is different. Permanent exhibits include Japanese, rose, orchid and herb gardens, as well as woodland areas.
The Garden provides classes in basic and advanced gardening. It also offers spring break and summer camp opportunities, storybook time and garden tea party events for children. During the holiday season, the city is abuzz with talk about the Atlanta Botanical Garden lights on display.
Atlanta Botanical Garden tickets include admission to current exhibits and the Fuqua Conservatory which houses tropical rainforest plants and animals. Daily admission is $21.95 for guests age 13 years of age and older, and $18.95 for children between the ages of three and 12. Children under age three get free admission.
MLK Jr. National Historic Park
One of the most meaningful Atlanta activities, the MLK Jr. National Historic Park is a popular destination for many around the globe. Also known as The King Center, this attraction is located in the Sweet Auburn District of Atlanta and is dedicated to preserving and sharing the civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Housing the world’s largest collection of source materials on the American Civil Rights Movement, admission to the MLK Jr. Historical Park is free. Atlanta attractions at The King Center include the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, the International World Peace Rose Garden and a bookstore/resource center. Historical highlights include:
- Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
- and Mrs. King’s Crypt.
- The Eternal Flame.
- Freedom Hall.
- King’s Birth Home.
While most of the tour is self-guided, park ranger-led tours of Dr. King’s birth home are available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. The Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Freedom Hall are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park is closed on January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25.
One of the options on the Atlanta City Pass, Zoo Atlanta features the southeast’s only giant panda bear twins. In fact, you can log into the Atlanta Zoo Panda Cam ahead of your trip to catch glimpses of the cuteness that awaits. The Atlanta Zoo offers many interactive exhibits and a wide variety of animals, including elephants, lemurs, lions and gorillas. Birds on exhibit include owls, kookaburras and ostriches. The new Scaly Slimy Spectacular exhibit houses more than 70 species of reptiles and amphibians, including anacondas, pythons and African crocodiles.
One of the most popular downtown Atlanta attractions, Zoo Atlanta sits right at the heart of the city, just minutes from I-20 in the Historic Grant Park area. It is open every day of the year except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Hours of operation may vary throughout the year, but the zoo is generally open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The following daily general admission ticket prices are reduced if purchased in advance online. Passes for add-on attractions and rides can be purchased at the zoo or online if you wish to enjoy the Zoo Train, Endangered Species Carousel, Treetop Trail and other bonus activities. Annual memberships are available and encouraged to help fund the Atlanta Zoo’s animal conservation projects.
- Adult (age 12+): $22.99
- Child (age 3 to 11): $18.99
- Child (age 2 and under): Free
- Senior (age 65+): $18.99
- College student (available only with ID at gate): $21.99
- Military (active duty, reserves, veterans and retirees): Free with military ID
High Museum of Art
A list of things to do in Atlanta would not be complete without a mention of its biggest art museum. The High Museum of Art is part of the Woodruff Arts Center Complex on Peachtree Street and is easily accessible by MARTA. Temporary exhibitions change throughout the year. Permanent collections include photography, European and American art, modern/contemporary art, African art, folk and decorative arts. Works by Monet, Degas and Renoir are some of the legendary pieces on display at the High.
Guests may enjoy self-guided tours through permanent art collections and special exhibits or schedule a group tour. The High Museum is closed on Mondays and hours of operation may vary throughout the year. Most days, it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Every third Friday of the month, the museum remains open until 10 p.m. for Friday Jazz. General admission is $14.50 for anyone over age 6 and free for children age 5 and under. Military veterans and groups receive discounted admission.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
One of the best science-themed Atlanta attractions is the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. With tons of hands-on Atlanta activities for scientists of all ages, the museum features dinosaurs, cultural artifacts, live animals and science experiments. Rated by USA Today and CNN Travel as one of the Top 10 Dinosaur Destinations in the World, the Fernbank Museum is the perfect place to be awed by the size of these prehistoric beasts. Permanent exhibitions include Dinosaur Plaza and Giants of the Mesozoic, where you can see Argentinosaurus, the largest known dinosaur to walk the earth. Other exhibits take you through the natural history of Georgia, including Native American history, and showcase natural artifacts from around the world.
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on holidays. For the best value, purchase an Atlanta City Pass for admission to Fernbank. General admission tickets may be bought alone or with 3D movie or other amenities added. Current daily admission fees are:
- Adult (ages 12-64): $27
- Senior (age 65+): $25
- Child (age 3-12): $23
- Members: $8
The Fernbank Planetarium is housed in a separate location in DeKalb County, owned and operated by the county’s school system. Called the Fernbank Science Center, it houses the Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium. This celestial theater in the round creates an immersive tour through the universe as guests learn about the planets, moon, sun and galaxies. Adult admission to Fernbank Planetarium programs is $7 while senior citizens and students ages three to 18 pay only $5.
One of the Atlanta attractions that appeals to visitors and residents alike is Stone Mountain Park. Located approximately 15 miles east of Atlanta, 3,200 acres of natural beauty surrounds the famed domed-shaped rock, which is scientifically referred to as a quartz monzonite dome monadnock. Rising 1,686 feet above sea level and 825 feet above the surrounding area, walking atop Stone Mountain is an experience not soon forgotten. Visitors may use a trail to hike to the top or ride the Summit Skyway tram.
At the ground level, paying just the $20 per vehicle daily parking fee provides access to several attractions, including the nightly laser shows projected on the face of the dome during the spring and summer. Hiking trails, lake fishing, playground and picnic access are included with your parking fee, as well as admission to the Quarry Exhibit, Grist Mill, Washington W. King Covered Bridge and Environmental Education Center.
Additional fees apply if you wish to ride the Summit Skyride tram, Scenic Railroad or use the Skyhike Adventure Ropes course. These range in price from $31.95 to $39.95.
Centennial Olympic Park
Many downtown Atlanta attractions surround the Centennial Olympic Park area of the city, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This Atlanta attraction is the legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics and is now home to the Fountain of Rings water fountain and play zone. Centennial Olympic Park is free to visit between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. The visitor’s center is open daily, with hours of operation that vary by season. It includes educational information about the 1996 Olympics and the park’s monuments and tributes.
Atlanta activities should always include shopping, and visitors seeking the best malls in the area cannot go wrong with any of the places listed below. From Ponce City Market’s eclectic combination of food