Maybe you’re planning a visit, or you’re a local looking for things to do in Atlanta. No matter your reason for exploring the city, know that Atlanta has so many exciting attractions and sights. From taking in the culture to shopping the day away to getting active outdoors, you’ll find something for you in this Georgia city.
If you’ve visited us before, read on to see if your favorite destination made the list. If you’re new to the city, discover fun destinations to try in Atlanta today.
Experience Culture, History, and the Arts
From fine art to a cultural legacy, some of the most popular things to do in Atlanta involve exploring the history of the city. Take a tour of the past to discover what makes Atlanta the city it is today. Immerse yourself in art forms of all varieties. When it comes to cultural experiences, this city has everything. We recommend visiting these four locations during your trip to Atlanta.
- High Museum of Art: The Midtown art museum houses a collection ranging from classic to contemporary. Plan your visit around the schedule of special exhibits or come to see the impressive variety of art. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to begin. The museum offers a digital tool that creates a custom map based on works you’d like to see.
- The King Center: The official, living memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy presents unique exhibits. Spend some time in the library and archives, see Dr. King’s final resting place and his birth home, then finish your tour of the center at the Reflecting Pool and Eternal Flame. The beautiful features symbolize Dr. King’s dream of justice, peace, and equality. Join the nearly one million people a year who journey to this historic site in Atlanta.
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights: The cultural center connects the American Civil Rights Movement with the human rights movements of today. Explore inspirational stories through interactive exhibits and modern technology. Come ready to engage with the past, and leave empowered to join the ongoing conversation of the present.
- Atlanta History Center: Composed of the Atlanta History Museum, the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, historic gardens, two historic houses, and more, the 33-acre historical center has something for everyone. Learn about the city you’re visiting, or discover something new as a local.
The art and history of Atlanta will keep you occupied all day with plenty of museums and sites to explore, but there’s still more to see. It wouldn’t be a list of cultural experiences in Atlanta without mentioning the city’s theaters. See a show or take in the historic architecture of some of the theaters. No matter what you do, Atlanta has everything to offer visitors interested in the performing arts.
- The Fox Theatre: Explore this gorgeous theater’s 1920’s-era architecture and style. “The Fox,” as it’s known, presents Broadway shows, the Atlanta Ballet, concerts, and classic films. Stop in for a show or tour the historic and gorgeous landmark. See one of around 150 performances and movies per year, ranging in style to suit anyone’s taste.
- The Alliance Theatre: The Alliance Theatre is one of the leading regional theaters in the United States. The theater has produced over 50 world premiere plays and sets the highest artistic standard for its productions. Committed to diversity and community engagement, the Alliance Theatre received the Regional Theatre Tony Award for its efforts and contributions to the performing arts.
- Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: Performing at Atlanta Symphony Hall, the orchestra puts on over 150 concerts a year. Plan your trip to Atlanta around one of the live shows at Symphony Hall. The orchestra’s commitment to music, the arts, and the community make for an excellent performance you will not want to miss.
- The Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University: As a cultural hub in Downtown Atlanta, the Rialto Center hosts a variety of performing arts and music presentations. From jazz, dance, world music, and more, seeing a show at the Rialto is one of the best things to do in Downtown Atlanta that will please any crowd.
You can plan evenings upon evenings of witnessing the performing arts in our great city. If you’re ready to get outside after spending some time soaking in the arts and culture of Atlanta, there is plenty to do outdoors too.
Explore the Outdoors
When visiting a bustling city like Atlanta, you may expect to go from buildings to pavement and back again. Venture out and experience fun things to do in Atlanta that also let you soak in the Georgia sunshine and sights. Nature lovers will find a range of parks, paths, and activities to enjoy in Atlanta.
- Centennial Olympic Park: The Centennial Olympic Park served as a public gathering spot during the 1996 Summer Olympics. The park now holds public festivals and community events while celebrating the legacy of Atlanta’s participation in the Olympic Games. This urban oasis is one of the top things to see in Atlanta, whether you come for a tour or a relaxing break outdoors.
- The Atlanta BeltLine: The ever-expanding network of trails currently has five pathways and seven parks open to the public. Walk the BeltLine or pedal the path to explore what else there is to do in Atlanta. The project’s goal of completion is 2030, but the BeltLine still welcomes over two million visitors a year. Be one of the many who tour the trails of the most extensive urban redevelopment program in the country.
- Atlanta Botanical Garden: Featuring 30-acres of outdoor gardens and other various exhibits, the botanical garden has enough for all-day exploration. Tour collections of tropical and edible plants, orchids, and more. Located in the heart of Midtown, the garden hosts events every season along with its captivating collections.
- Piedmont Park: Next to the botanical garden is Atlanta’s central green space. The park holds events throughout the year and has picturesque views of the Atlanta skyline. Take a self-guided or historical tour, bike the paths, or rent a court to enjoy a game of tennis and other sports. There are so many things to do at this park in Atlanta alone that you could easily spend a whole day there.
- Historic Oakland Cemetery: History and the outdoors combine in this garden cemetery. The Oakland Cemetery hosts brilliant works in sculpture and architecture, while the lush gardens preserve ancient oak and magnolia trees and house different plant life every season. The cemetery is the final resting place of over 70,000 residents, among them, notable authors, mayors, and governors.
- Stone Mountain Park: Enjoy a break from the city and explore Stone Mountain Park. While the park includes other attractions, take advantage of its location right outside Atlanta to hike wooded nature trails or the summit of Stone Mountain. Relax by the 363-acre lake or explore the natural scenery that Stone Mountain Park has to offer.
Recharge under the sun during your trip to Atlanta or take a break from the norm of local life with some outdoor adventure. So many of these places to see are close to each other, meaning you can quickly bounce from location to location. A quick tour will allow you to see what else there is to do in Atlanta. Once you’re satisfied with the natural sights, head inside to shop.
Shop the City
Whether you’re looking for something to commemorate your trip to Atlanta or you want to browse local offerings, the city has numerous destinations that suit any shopping need.
- Ponce City Market: Located at the intersection of Midtown and other neighborhoods, this market spans over two million feet. Find menswear, women’s apparel, and more at Ponce City Market’s variety of shops. The market also houses offices, dining options, and a wide range of services.
- Peachtree Center: From shops, dining, and other services, you’ll find nearly everything at this hub. Known as a city-within-a-city, Peachtree Center features unique architecture and countless things to do in Atlanta. Unique skywalks connect the sprawling center, enhancing the architecture and visitor experience.
- Atlantic Station: The sustainable Atlantic Station neighborhood incorporates housing among theaters, restaurants, and retailers. Visit on certain days to experience events like a beer festival or watch an outdoor movie on the Atlantic Green.
- Boutique stores: Now that you’ve checked out shopping centers, you’re looking for an adventure that takes you in and out of shops as you trek the Atlanta streets. Plan a shop crawl to discover chic jewelry, clothing, gifts, and more. Support local artisans, score vintage finds, and purchase luxurious products all while exploring the city.
- More antiques: Continue your antique hunt at the pop-up Scott Antique Market. Come during the second week of the month to catch this market and discover vintage finds. Take home unique pieces or admire items from decades and centuries ago.
- Farmers markets year-round: No matter what season you’re here, there’s a farmers market somewhere in Atlanta. Pick up some local meat or produce, making sure to grab yourself a Georgia peach.
When you need a break from shopping, visit us at Catch 12 for the ultimate dining experience. The elegant ambiance provides a break before you get back into exploring the top things to do in Downtown Atlanta. Stop in for any meal of the day, from an upscale brunch to a delicious dinner and refuel from your adventures in and out of the city. After your meal, head back out on your Atlanta exploration.
Tour the Sights
Every city has must-see attractions — the sights and activities that people will ask about when you return from your trip. We can’t forget about these quintessential things to do in Atlanta.
- Georgia Aquarium: Tour the country’s largest aquarium — also the world’s second-largest — right in Downtown Atlanta. Support the aquarium’s dedication to conservation and making a positive impact on animal life around the world.
- Zoo Atlanta: After seeing the aquatic life, you’ll want to visit what roams on land. Zoo Atlanta houses over 1,000 species of wildlife and is one of four homes to giant pandas in the country. As the Georgia Aquarium involves itself in conservation programs, so does Zoo Atlanta. The zoo’s conservation efforts range from local ones in Georgia to worldwide.
- College Football Hall of Fame: The immersive College Football Hall of Fame features exhibits that will intrigue any college football fan. Check out the three-story helmet wall and other historical artifacts during your visit to one of the most fun things to do in Atlanta. With 95,000 square feet of exhibits, an indoor football field, and more, sports fans will want to spend all day at this Downtown location.
- SkyView Atlanta: Get the most impressive view of the city with a ride on SkyView Atlanta. The 200-foot tall wheel provides an aerial look at the Centennial Olympic Park and Downtown Atlanta. Take in panoramic views of the city in one of SkyView Atlanta’s gondolas and plan what you want to do next.
- Movie tours: Once you’ve seen the attractions, hit the city with a tour group to see filming locations for countless movies. Get a glimpse at where Hollywood projects came to life with one of this top thing to do in Atlanta. There are a variety of tours to choose from that will intrigue any film buff.
Find many of these sights in Downtown Atlanta, which makes it easy to bounce from one attraction to the next. Remember to stop by and see us at Catch 12 during your Downtown visit, then get right back into the city.
Visit Atlanta Today
Sports fans, nature lovers, theatergoers, and more will discover things to do in Atlanta. Spend your trip wandering throughout the city or plan excursions at the many attractions. Explore the wonders of Atlanta and reach new heights for the perfect view. Whatever you choose to do here, you are sure to have a memorable experience.
Now that you’ve seen some of what there is to do in Atlanta, come see for yourself what makes the city so fantastic. Plan your perfect stay or explore the city you call home. No matter what you’re interested in seeing, Atlanta’s got it. While you’ll find plenty of the best things to do above, we couldn’t possibly fit everything in the city on one list. Book your visit today to explore the city firsthand, and experience dining at Catch 12 to top off your stay.