65+ Fun Things to Do With Kids in Atlanta
There are so many reasons to love our city and we continue to be pleasantly surprised with all of the new things to do. 2017 brings two impressive new sport venues to our city. We can’t wait to head to a Braves game at SunTrust Park or catch an Atlanta United soccer match this summer in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The BeltLine continues to expand and is one of our favorite things to do for an afternoon of fun. It’s a perfect place for your family to ride bikes or walk and admire the artwork along the path.
We’ve rounded up 65+ of our favorite things to do divided into the four main geographical areas of the Atlanta metro area.
Ponce City Market is a fun place to explore with your family. Once a Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution center, then City Hall East housing government offices, it is now full of delicious eateries and popular shops making it a fully re-vamped mall experience. 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-900-7900.
Make a splash at this park that draws families in with sleek playground structures, active splashpad and a nearby skate park area, an outdoor theater, huge lake, neat walkways and open green spaces. 664 Angier Ave. NE and 666 Rankin St., Old Fourth Ward. 404-546-6757.
The crown jewel of parks in Atlanta. Take a stroll or a bike ride through the park or enjoy the two fun playgrounds: The Mayors Grove Playground features a playscape with structures for younger kids. The Noguchi Playscape is both a work of art and a fun place for kids. Its unique design allows for high swings, a circular slide and triangular climbing structures.
Walk through Georgia’s history, see towering dinosaur skeletons, view a traveling exhibit and participate in special children’s activities. Don’t forget to visit the new Fernbank WildWoods, which features outdoor areas to explore, playgrounds and nature-viewing vistas. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta.
Metro Atlanta’s only drive-in theater, shows evening films on multiple screens. Each ticket is good for a double feature, so you get two films for the price of one and kids 9 and younger get in for just $1. Tune in with an FM radio and relax in your ride or grab blankets and lawn chairs to create comfy viewing in the great outdoors. 2000 Moreland Ave. SE, Grant Park.
Two friends wanted to bring an ice cream shop to Atlanta that has flavors made 100 percent from scratch and that they did. A Million Cookies + Cream, Vanilla Bean and Deep Chocolate are children’s favorites.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a traveling art studio come to your home? Atlanta artist Susie Boggs engages kids with themed storytime and songs, inventive art projects and crafting.
Books, toys, a play kitchen and a rocking horse are part of the kids’ corner, tucked in the back of the shop. In summer, kids love the shop’s frozen hot chocolate or fresh-squeezed lemonade. Adults go for iced coffee. 720 Moreland Ave., Atlanta. 404-622-8525.
Take a self-guided bike tour or explore the terrain of Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area on foot. Two massive granite outcrops and dozens of rare plants provide plenty of views, and more than 40 geocaches can be found along the way. 3787 Klondike Rd., Lithonia, 770-492-5220.
This restaurant boasts Indian-style street food with spicy, sweet and savory flavors in an eclectic atmosphere. The kids’ menu offers a delicious taste of India.
This Inman Park restaurant serves breakfast all day, plus lunch and dinner, in an arty atmosphere. Menu choices include sure-fire kid eats, plus dishes with all-ages appeal like five-cheese grilled cheese and peanut butter and banana pancakes. 465 N. Highland Ave. NE, Inman Park, 404-537-4493.
If the impressive skylift, the 1870s-replica town, the indoor and outdoor play experiences for kids, and the scenic railroad aren’t enough, Stone Mountain Park is almost always hosting a special event or festival. Don’t miss the new Dinosaur Explore complete with tons of huge dinosaurs and new play areas. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain.
North Georgia Live Steamers miniature outdoor railroad club gives public rides on small live steam locomotives. Adults and children can hop on. Upcoming dates for rides are April 15, May 13, June 17, and August 26. Trains begin at 1 p.m. weather permitting. 1632 Centennial Olympic Pkwy., Conyers.
Peek into daily life of the Trappist monks on a tour of Monastery. A beautiful example of Gothic architecture sits on lush grounds where you can stroll, feed the ducks, learn about the art of bonsai, and even pick up some fudge, fruitcake and biscotti at the bakery. 2625 Hwy. 212 SW, Conyers, 770-483-8705.
Tour the Old Jail Museum on the first Sat. of each month from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to see where Rockdale County sheriffs’ families lived between 1897 and 1969. Learn about the area’s law-enforcement history and check out the maximum security area and upstairs hanging room. 967 Milstead Ave., Conyers, 770-401-1662.
Eighty-seven acres of green space make up T.W. Briscoe Park, an ideal place to spend an outdoor day. Fishing is permitted in the lake, and two playgrounds, a fitness trail, tennis courts, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, outdoor pool, and basketball courts give endless get-active options. 2500 Sawyer Pkwy SW, Snellville, 770-985-3535.
Can you solve a puzzle to save your life? The danger is pretend, but plan to bring problem-solving skills and a can-do attitude to an outing at an escape room. Participants (younger than 14 often must be accompanied by an adult) work together to escape a locked room before a zombie or something equally nefarious “gets” them.
Savor some fried chicken, grits, sweet tea and a slice of sweet potato pie. Kids are welcome, and eat free on Wednesdays from a limited menu. 5210 Stone Mountain Hwy., Stone Mountain, 770-413-4213.
Take the Stone’s Throw self-guided walking tour of Stone Mountain Village to explore buildings standing since the 1800s, the Freedom Bell, the city’s original train depot, and a 1914 train caboose that now serves as a visitor center. 891 Main St., Stone Mountain, 770-879-4971.
Breakfasts at the Peachtree Café please the pickiest, with sweets like giant Belgian waffles piled with fruit and whipped cream, or savory omelets filled with meat, cheeses and veggies. The biscuits and gravy have plenty of fans, too. Additional location in Peachtree Corners. 50 S. Clayton St., Lawrenceville. 678-377-8745.
The BAPS Mandir, a Hindu place of worship and community gathering place, was assembled like a giant 3-D puzzle from more than 34,000 individual pieces hand-carved from three types of stone. Take an audio tour that gives details about the building, as well as info about Hindu art, architecture and philosophy. 460 Rockbridge Rd. NW, Lilburn. 678-906-2277.
Wright’s Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe is an order-at-the-counter, family-owned eatery with a devoted following. The Rebel Reuben sandwich and lemonade cake are good bets, along with other freshly made sandwiches and treats. Get your lunch to go, or take your time on the spacious patio. 5482 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Dunwoody. 770-396-7060.
Henri’s Bakery has been an Atlanta landmark since the 1920s, and a taste of the French pastries can tell you why. It’ll take multiple visits to try all the goodies on the menu, both savory and sweet. 6289 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-256-7934.
The 15.5 acre park at the Aviation Wing of the Marietta Museum of History showcases civilian and military aircraft from the 1940s to the present. Open Thurs.-Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For a party of 10 or more, call to book a walking outdoor tour. Suitable for ages 5 and older, wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. Parking, $5. 550 Perrin Rd., Marietta, 770-794-5710.
Features build-your-own pasta, noodle or wrap dishes made to order. Kids can customize their dish after viewing pasta choices on display. Don’t leave without a freshly-baked cookie for dessert. There is also a location in Midtown Atlanta. 125 E. Barrett Pkwy., Marietta, 770-675-3721.
If skydiving is on your bucket list, but you can’t work up the courage to jump out of a plane, then iFLY is the place to go. Thoroughly enjoy the adrenaline rush of indoor skydiving on Cobb Parkway in Atlanta.
Get a history lesson at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, which was a Civil War battleground for the Atlanta Campaign. Hit the visitor center and museum and, on weekdays, feel free to drive to the top of the mountain. On weekends, hike to the top or take a shuttle bus to snag spectacular sweeping views of Atlanta. 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw, 770-427-4686.
Learn about the placement of planets in relation to the sun and moon on this walking tour that serves as a scale model of the solar system. Created by the North Georgia Astronomers Group, the tour covers 1.8 miles and begins in downtown Gainesville; download the map before heading out. 118 Main St. SW, Gainesville.
2 Dog, set in a historic 1800s home, offers eclectic dog-lovers’ décor inside and a pretty patio outside (great for wandering little ones.) The restaurant uses local, seasonal ingredients for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, and bakes and makes it all in-house. Don’t miss the peanut butter pie. 317 Spring St. SE, Gainesville, 770-287-8384.
Hear bluegrass and gospel musicians at Everett’s Music Barn, a heritage concert venue where Saturday night shows have been played for 50 years. Family concerts are free (donations appreciated), and professional touring acts are $15 per adult. Children are welcome; no alcohol is served, but sweets and refreshments are. 4055 Stonecypher Rd., Suwanee.
Mayfield Dairy Tours give families a behind-the-scenes look at how milk makes it from cow to grocery store, complete with Jersey cow replicas and scoops of Mayfield ice cream in the parlor at the end. 1160 Broadway Ave., Braselton, 888-298-0396.
On the Chattahoochee River banks, Jones Bridge Park offers a playground for kids, open green space for pick-up games of kickball, and grills to barbecue. The highlight of the park is the terraced stairs leading down to the river. Wear water shoes and bring bread to feed the ducks. 4901 E. Jones Bridge Rd., Norcross. 678-277-0920.
Step out of the heat and into the Hudgens Center for the Arts’ Children’s Zone. Create make-and-take art projects, get cozy in the reading nook, and play a tune at musical stations at Hudgens. Plan to stop by the sculpture garden, too.
6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 770-623-6002.
Stop by the AtlantaFresh Artisan Creamery flagship store for a taste of seasonal frozen Greek yogurt, including peach and ginger, vanilla, mixed berry, Mexico City-style chocolate and French roast coffee. Bring a cooler to take some home. 6679 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross. 678-240-4660.
Knead all about it! Take the Science of Baking class at the Great Harvest Bread Company. Mix ingredients, learn how certain ingredients react together, and bake a loaf of bread. Reservations are required.10305 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek. 770-622-0222.
Heritage Sandy Springs is a prime gathering spot with grand green space for recreation, concerts and festivals. Check the website for summertime kids’ programs and squeeze in a visit to the engaging Heritage Sandy Springs Museum, too. 6110 Blue Stone Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111.
Hike the trails of Old Mill Park, where you can see a waterfall that was created when Vickery Creek was dammed to give waterpower to the Roswell textile mills in the late 1830s. Walk on a covered pedestrian bridge and view the only mill building that survived the Civil War. 95 Mill View Ave. (at Sloan St.), Roswell. 770-640-3253.
Go ice or roller skating at The Cooler during public sessions. One of the biggest skating facilities in Georgia houses two ice arenas and one roller rink, and offers specials and family programming during summer. 10800 Davis Drive, Alpharetta. 770-649-6600.
Watch the treats being made through the kitchen windows of Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, where flavors (like salted caramel bars and root beer float doughnuts) change daily. Wash ‘em down with coffee drinks, teas and hot chocolate mixed from steam milk and solid cocoa blocks. 3075 Ronald Reagan Blvd., Cumming. 404-482-3650.
At The Teaching Museum North, kids can get hands-on with educational exhibits. Compare heights to more than 30 presidents and first ladies in a life-sized display, explore a courtroom and log cabin, and investigate Civil War objects and military uniforms. Call in advance to tour as summer hours are limited. 793 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell. 770-552-6339.
Downtown & Westside
Meet animals of all species or climb high above like tree-dwelling animals in the new Treetop Trail. Visit the twin panda cubs or stay overnight with the NightCrawlers program, and learn what it takes to be a zookeeper. 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-5936.
The Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs offers a Public Art Tours App highlighting more than 100 unique works of art in Downtown Atlanta. The tour starts at Andrew Young Plaza. A printable map is available on the website. Andrew Young International Blvd. NW and Carnegie Way NW, Atlanta.
Have a meal, or just take in the 360-degree panoramic view of Atlanta’s skyline. The Sun Dial sits at the top of downtown’s Westin Peachtree Plaza, the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere. 210 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta.
The museum has always offered interactive activities for the toddler set, but after the expansion and renovation, it now keeps older kids engaged, too. Be a Waffle House cook for the day, play and learn in one of the special traveling exhibits or attend one of the fun, daily programs. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta.
Spend and afternoon at The World of Coke visiting The Vault, watching the bottling process, singing along to Coke commercials and tasting drinks from around the globe appeals to anyone who’s sweet on soda. 121 Baker St NW, Atlanta.
What’ll ya have? No visit to Atlanta is complete without a meal at The Varsity, open since 1928, where placing an order is half the fun! Make sure everyone knows the lingo for ordering their dogs (red, Yankee or walking?) and an FO (Frosted Orange drink). 61 North Ave. NW, Atlanta.
News junkies thrill at the chance to see the inner workings of CNN and the creation of live global news broadcasts. 1 CNN Center, Atlanta.
The Center for Puppetry Arts, the largest museum dedicated to the art of puppetry, has been around since 1978 and recently completed a $17M expansion and renovation. In addition to high quality puppet productions, hundreds of puppets from different eras and countries (including lots of Muppets!) are on display. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. puppet.org
The iconic Fountain of Rings – the largest interactive fountain in the world – is a can’t-miss crowd pleaser at Centennial Olympic Park, and Holiday in Lights and the outdoor skating rink make this park a winter winner as well. 265 Park Ave. West NW, Atlanta.
Peachtree Heights/Garden Hills Duck Pond is an open-to-the-public oasis tucked inside a historic neighborhood, where duck and geese roam, along with turtles, birds and other wildlife. Catch-and-release fishing is permitted for kids. Stone foot bridges encourage exploration and benches offer relaxation. 70 Lakeview Ave. NE, Buckhead, 404-921-5900.
Vintage Frozen Custard is a booming food truck that now also boasts a permanent location. Each day they have a brand new flavor, but classics like vanilla and chocolate are always available along with many topping mix-ins.
Offering brands such as Nico Nico, Rylee & Cru and Red Caribou with modern-neutral designs, Seed Factory is full of stylish options. They also have a wide variety of children’s books, toys and room decor such as organic rattles and plush stuffed animals.
An eco-friendly indoor playground, HippoHopp offers a three-lane obstacle course, plenty of jumpies, slides and climbing structures, ride-on toys, basketball hoops, free games, and space to just run around. Plus, the café serves up natural, mostly organic foods on a seasonal menu. 1936 Briarwood Ct. NE, Brookhaven, 404-634-4964.
The Cookie Studio bakes more than 18 flavors daily, like cherry ginger explosion, hot chocolate, and some gluten free versions of classics. Parents can get their gourmet caffeine fix from the coffee and espresso bar and kids enjoy occasional in-store activities. 30 Pharr Rd., Buckhead, 404-373-8527.
Soak up some local culture at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) Georgia, where more than 700 works – sculpture, painting, photography and more – by about 250 Georgia artists are on display. Tours are available by reservation Tues.-Fri. and all ages can register for Draw@MOCA workshops, offered on select Sat. afternoons. 75 Bennett St., Suite A2, Buckhead, 404-367-8700.
Tour the Wren’s Nest, the home of famous author Joel Chandler Harris, where he penned many of his Uncle Remus tales about Brer Rabbit. Professional storytellers spin their tales here every Sat. afternoon, one of the few remaining Queen Anne Victorian homes in Atlanta. 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 404-753-7735.
Foodies can bliss out at Sweet Auburn Market, with a smorgasbord of options from bbq to crepes to soul food. Kids can indulge in burgers and dogs, too. 209 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta. 404-659-1665.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center includes his birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Freedom Hall, where you can view Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize and one of the largest collection of materials about the American civil rights movement in the world. 449 Auburn Avenue NE.
If you’re craving Southern fried chicken, The Colonnade is the spot to go. They’ve been serving that dish – and plenty of Southern classics – since 1927! Babies to great grandparents are comfortable here. 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd., Atlanta
Tour Atlanta Printmakers Studio, a space for printmaking artists and students, to see working printing presses, artists at work, and create a book to take home. Reservations are required; tours cost $5-15. 675 Metropolitan Pkwy. Atlanta.
The expansive Silver Comet Trail is designed for casual walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters. Direct access to Heritage Park by a peaceful 1.7-mile soft-surface walking trail makes it picnic-perfect. 60 Fontaine Rd., Mableton. 770-528-8810; silvercometga.com
Kids can make like Spider-Man on the only Magnetic Climbing Wall in Georgia. At Mojobas Fun Factory, magnetized gloves and ankle-foot straps connect climbers (30-150 pounds) with magnets on a wall. It’s extreme monkey bar action in every direction: up, down, sideways, or a full 360 degree rotation. 7442 Douglas Blvd., Douglasville. 770-575-0717.
Train aficionados will appreciate the view overlooking the railroad tracks at New York Pizza Exchange, where trains pass by regularly. In addition to a long list of specialty pizzas, this eatery also offers salads, pastas, sandwiches, wraps and calzones.
The patio hosts live entertainment on Fri. and Sat. 2810 Paces Ferry Rd., Vinings. 770-434-9000; nypizzaexchange.com
The museum covers more than 100 years of Villa Rica’s gold mining industry history. Pan for gold, tour real gold mines and view precious artifacts. Families can also walk trails, picnic in a pavilion, visit a live farm animal exhibit, and take a train ride along the Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad. 1881 Stockmar Rd., Villa Rica. 770-459-8455.
The Reynolds Nature Preserve, 146 acres tucked into the heart of Clayton County, includes four miles of hiking trails, historic buildings dating back to the Civil War, and an environmental center with live animals and displays. 5665 Reynolds Rd., Morrow. 770-603-4188.
Take in a bike race at Dick Lane Velodrome, with family admission, music and commentators explaining the action. The one-fifth mile, 36-degree banked concrete track is set in a green space, providing tranquil views. Races take place primarily in afternoons or early evenings; visit the website for a complete schedule.1889 Lexington Ave., East Point. 404-769-0012.
Grab a chicken sandwich and fresh lemonade at the original Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, the first in the vast CFA empire. Choose to dine in the retro restaurant side, or the modern version. Either way, kids will want to enter through the dwarf door. 461 N. Central Ave., Hapeville. 404-762-1746.
Take flight and visit the Delta Museum, featuring the only full-motion flight simulator in the U.S., a DC-3 passenger plane and the Waco 125 biplane. The museum re-opens this month, commemorating the 85th anniversary of Delta’s first passenger flight. 1060 Delta Blvd., Atlanta. 404-715-7886.
– Dalia Faupel