Once you get to Atlanta, you’ll quickly realize this city knows how to live it up. Founded in 1837, Georgia’s capital city has long been a transportation and cultural hub. This fast-growing town of over 400,000 residents is famous for its fascinating history, vibrant arts scene, world-class museums, gorgeous green spaces, and some of the best comedy clubs in the country. You might be surprised to know you can enjoy many of Atlanta’s gems for free or little cost.
In this post, we’ll show you free things to do in Georgia with no money to spare. As you’ll see, some of the city’s top sites are completely free – and that’s not to mention all of the cheap things you can do in Atlanta, too! Whether you’re visiting Atlanta for pleasure or call A-town home, you should have no trouble saving money while exploring everything the city has to offer.
14 Things to Do in Atlanta for Free
If you’re trying to save money and have a blast at the same time, Atlanta welcomes you with Southern hospitality. Anyone can easily spend days touring Atlanta without ever opening their wallet. Thanks to Atlanta’s love of art, history, and culture, there are tons of ways to have an enriching experience in Atlanta with no money. Here are just a few suggestions.
1. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park is one of Atlanta’s top historical attractions. Here you can follow the footsteps of one of the country’s greatest leaders from childhood into the civil rights movement. Visit this park to see where Martin Luther King, Jr. played and dreamed as a child and gave great speeches to spark social change.
Start your tour at the Visitor Center to view exhibits and pick up a map of the park. Then head to the International World Peace Rose Garden to take a fragrant stroll and pause at the Behold Monument. Make sure to include the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Freedom Hall in your itinerary. End your tour with a walk down the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and feel empowered – all for free.
2. Piedmont Park
You could spend days exploring Piedmont Park, which is Atlanta’s largest city park, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Here you’ll find over 200 acres of green situated in the heart of Atlanta. From visiting the butterfly haven to fishing off the dock at Lake Clara Meer, there are dozens of ways to enjoy southern sunshine and nature at Piedmont.
Piedmont Park is also home to Green Market, which is one of the city’s best farmer’s market. If you have a little money to spend, you might stock up on fresh local treats from farmers and small businesses, and enjoy a Saturday picnic in this vast urban oasis.
3. Atlanta Contemporary
You don’t have to look far to find artistic inspiration in Atlanta, completely free of cost. One way to get a dose of Atlanta’s art scene is to head to Atlanta Contemporary. This free-of-admission contemporary art center showcases emerging artists from around the world. Stop here to partake in an event or educational program, soak up free art, or sip coffee with members of the local art community. Did we mention the coffee is free too?
4. Centennial Olympic Park
In 1996, Centennial Olympic Park was the site of the Summer Olympics. Since then, the park has been redesigned for public use and now offers 22 acres of urban green space. Here you can visit the landmark Fountain of Rings, or chill out to an hour of free jazz, pop, or rhythm and blues during Music at Noon every Tuesday and Thursday.
5. Atlanta Monetary Museum
Did you know you can spend an afternoon exploring money – for free? You can learn all about money on a self-guided tour at the Atlanta Monetary Museum, which is a free museum located in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Stop here to explore money-related artifacts, look at rare coins, and learn about America’s banking history. By the end of the tour, you’ll feel rich with knowledge, without having to break the bank.
6. High Museum of Art
Atlantans know you don’t have to dip into your savings account to relish fine art. In fact, you can visit Georgia’s leading art museum for free on the second Sunday of each month at the High Museum of Art. This means you can view a renowned collection of art, from iconic masterpieces to Southern folk art in a beautifully designed building without spending a penny.
7. Historic Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta’s Historic Oakland Cemetery is not your average resting ground. In addition to being the gravesite of several famous citizens, Oakland Cemetery is the city’s oldest public park and home to gardens and artwork. This cemetery is so celebrated for its beauty and history — it even holds a wedding venue.
You might visit Oakland to stroll beneath ancient oak trees and magnolias, pause at the graves of the city’s most notable residents, or spend an afternoon enjoying the peace and natural beauty of this free Atlanta must-see.
8. Fernbank Science Center
Although there’s a small admission fee to enter Fernbank’s planetarium, this science center is otherwise free. Permanent exhibits include the Apollo 6 Command Module – which was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in 1968 – and a live animal exhibit. You can also get starry-eyed and attend a free observation every Thursday or Friday night at the Dr. Ralph L. Buice, Jr. Observatory.
9. David J. Sencer CDC Museum
If you’re fascinated by science and public health history, the David J. Sencer CDC Museum is the place for you. Here you can learn about the history of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and view a mix of interesting permanent and ever-changing exhibits.
Step back in time and learn about the early days of the CDC through photos and objects such as an iron lung and an early 20th-century quarantine sign, or learn more about various public health topics through a multimedia installation. Parking and admission are free, but adults need to show a government-issued photo ID to enter.
10. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve
If you want to escape the urban din and unwind in a tranquil park, Cascade Springs Nature Preserve awaits you. Though you won’t find miles upon miles of trails at this park, you will be surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty. Here you’ll find a waterfall, historic springhouse, Civil War earthworks, and tons of greenery. You might also spot wildlife such as turtles, deer, and birds. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve may be the perfect place to lose yourself in nature, without losing a dime.
11. Georgia State Capitol
In the mood for 19th-century architecture? You can tour the Georgia Capitol and museum free of charge. Step inside this gold-domed marvel, which was completed in 1889, to learn about Georgia’s history and government. You can reserve a guided tour if you’re in a group of ten or more people, or take a self-guided tour by picking up a brochure at the Capitol Tour Desk.
12. Castleberry Hill Art Stroll
For an art-filled stroll in a vibrant and historic Atlanta neighborhood, head to Castleberry Hill on the second Friday of the month. This free self-guided tour invites you to explore a range of galleries for a day brimming with creativity, self-expression, and Atlanta-style joy. If you’re up for spending a little cash, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to buy art or mouthwatering grub.
13. Woodruff Park Reading Room
While you’re in downtown Atlanta, you can take a break at the Reading Room located in the Woodruff Park. Locals, workers, students, and visitors can stop by the Reading Room to relax with a magazine or newspaper for free. If you’re not in the reading mood, you can find other ways to spend a few hours without spending money in Woodruff Park. After all, you’ll find complimentary Wi-Fi, a game cart, and a fitness station here – so why leave in a hurry?
14. Anne Frank Exhibit
The Anne Frank Exhibit, hosted by the city of Sandy Springs, is a free public exhibit. Here you can view over 500 photos telling the story of Anne Frank and her experience hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Also, within the exhibit space, you can explore a replica of Anne Frank’s room and watch a short film about her life. This exhibit is a must-see for anyone who wants to examine this period in history.
6 Cheap Things to Do in Atlanta
If you already covered all of the freebies or want to know the budget-friendly options, there’s still plenty more to explore in Atlanta. We looked at some of the best attractions to see for free – here are some inexpensive things to do in Atlanta to round out your weekend.
1. Little Five Points
Little Five Points is a hip Atlanta neighborhood where you’ll find an array of quirky shops, bars, and eateries. You could spend a day strolling the streets and browsing without spending a cent. However, if you’re up for an inexpensive goodie, you’ll have plenty of options. For example, you can grab a frozen treat at retro Zesto, or pick up a trinket at Junkman’s Daughter. You can find ways to stretch a few bucks in Little Five Points or head there simply to enjoy the vibe.
2. Michael C. Carlos Museum
Located in Emory University’s old law school building, the Michael C. Carlos Museum is one of the top art and archaeology museums in the southeast. This museum, established in 1919, houses a world-class collection of artwork and artifacts from around the world. Here you can view everything from ancient Egyptian art to contemporary photography – all for an $8 admission fee.
3. Margaret Mitchell House
Lit lovers won’t want to miss the chance to visit the Margaret Mitchell House, which was the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Gone With the Wind.” For $13, you can visit the spot where Mitchell wrote her epic novel. You can also learn about her life and legacy through the various exhibits. Even if you aren’t a fan of the book or film, the Margaret Mitchell House is still worth visiting to experience another piece of Atlanta’s history.
4. SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion and Film
Students of film and fashion will feel right at home in Atlanta, especially when they stumble upon the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) museum. Located at the SCAD campus, this museum welcomes students and visitors to explore the future of fashion through fascinating exhibits, films, and educational events. While wandering almost 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, visitors can admire the garments of acclaimed fashion designers or attend an event. You’re bound to discover your style after a visit, and general admission is only $10.
5. Millennium Gate Museum
The Millennium Gate Museum is yet another Atlanta must-see if you want to sample Georgia’s culture, art, and history. The Gate, which is designed in classical Roman style, is a monument in itself and houses the 12,000 square-foot museum. For $12, you can view all the world-class art, historical artifacts, and interactive media you can handle in a day. Make sure to save time for exploring the Period Rooms, which include an 18th-century Colonial-style study. A trip to the Millennium Gate Museum is a great way to start an Atlanta vacation.
6. Village Theater
As one of the funniest cities in the country, a trip to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without a good laugh. You’ll have your pick of comedy clubs to choose from in Atlanta, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to have fun. For example, you can stop in the Village Theater to catch an improv comedy show, which ranges from $5 to $10 a show. For affordable entertainment and a dose of laughter, head to the Village Theater and get acquainted with Atlanta’s funny side.
Experience Catch 12
Whether you’re in Atlanta for sightseeing or landed a job downtown, you’ll need to save time for relaxation and a satisfying meal. With all that Atlanta has to offer for free, you’ll have funds left over to jump into Atlanta’s world-class culinary scene.
At Catch 12, we’re waiting to serve you. Visit us at our convenient downtown location for unique award-winning cuisine served in a relaxed, intimate setting. Our chefs combine local ingredients with a passion for flavor to create seafood, steak, and sushi dishes your palate doesn’t want to miss. Stop in for a refreshing cocktail, mouthwatering meal, and unforgettable dining experience – our attentive waitstaff looks forward to meeting you!