25 Best Ways to be a Hometown Tourist in Atlanta
Use these ideas to rediscover why visitors love our city.
Ways to save:
This multi-use ticket deal helps you save when visiting area attractions. It’s a packaged selection along with some perks.
Library Pass Program
You can check out free passes at your local library to several area attractions including Georgia ParkPass or a Historic Site Pass, Zoo Atlanta and Center for Puppetry Arts. Visit websites for complete details and restrictions. Other free admissions that vary by county (Gwinnett County, for instance, has passes to Hudgens Center for Art & Learning and Southeastern Railway Museum).
How to get around:
Riding MARTA with kids can be a quick way to travel to different neighborhoods, not to mention a fun experience. Park at a station closest to you, and make a stop in Decatur, Buckhead, Downtown Atlanta, Midtown and more.
Electric Car and Segway Tours
ATL-Cruzers has electric car and Segway tours of Atlanta including downtown, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, Midtown, Oakland Cemetery and more.
Try Tours of Atlanta to learn about landmarks and attractions or tour “Gone With The Wind” locations. Atlanta Sightseeing Bus Tours provides a five-hour tour around the Atlanta BeltLine, CNN Center, Atlantic Station and more. The Civil Rights Tour takes visitors from the King Center to Auburn Avenue, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the State Capitol and more.
These all-electric streetcars run seven days per week, and the Downtown loop includes stops at Centennial Olympic Park, Sweet Auburn Curb Market and more. The Streetcar stops at each of its 12 stops, so it’s easy to get on and off.
Experience Downtown Atlanta with the Peachtree Trolley Company’s 90-minute, fully-narrated tours starting at Centennial Olympic Park and covering areas such as The Fox Theatre, The Woodruff Arts Center and more.
See the city from a bicycle. The Fall in Love With Atlanta tour includes an eight-mile bike ride through Inman Park, the Atlanta BeltLine, The Jimmy Carter Center and more. Also join the Journey for Civil Rights Tour or the Street Art tour. Each includes a bicycle, helmet, bottled water and snack. Guests need to be at least 4’8″ to ride and need to know how to operate hand brakes. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
What to see:
Wander through paths of bright flowers or stop by the Children’s Garden. This area features more ways to play including a bird nest-shaped playground and water feature.
Explore our state’s history from the perspective of Civil War soldiers, Indian natives or even “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell.
The largest museum dedicated to the art of puppetry is in Atlanta, and showcases hundreds of puppets from different eras and countries, including Muppet favorites. While visiting, a puppet show and a build-a-puppet workshop is a must-do.
Be a Waffle House cook for the day, build a block city or attend one of the fun, daily programs. The museum has six permanent exhibits to explore the world of science, engineering, art, food and more.
See how news is broadcast all over the world from Atlanta. The experience gives visitors a peek into live studios, the chance to sit behind an anchor desk, and a bird’s-eye view of the famous 24-hour newsroom.
Families can learn about college football players, team history and much more through giant touch screens, a playing field and out-of-this-world displays. See memorabilia from football greats, try your hand in the Skill Zone and access your stats online after you leave.
See towering dinosaur skeletons and experience hands-on exhibits including Sensing Nature to learn about weather, and Fernbank NatureQuest, where kids can explore life under the sea. Don’t forget to visit Fernbank WildWoods, featuring playgrounds and nature-viewing vistas.
One of the biggest aquariums in the world, the Georgia Aquarium showcases marine life in an awesome way. The Ocean Voyager exhibit includes large, floor-to-ceiling windows and a walk-through tunnel to watch whale sharks, manta rays and colorful fish swim above.
Admire art from multiple time periods and genres in permanent and traveling collections. The Greene Family Learning Gallery is undergoing renovations, and will be closed this summer, but will re-open in October with a fresh, new look. Every second Sunday, admission is free and special programs are offered.
The nation’s most famous civil rights leader was born and buried here. The site includes exhibits, MLK’s birth home, The King Center and Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta. Learn about the life of Dr. King and the lasting legacy he left behind.
The giant Ferris wheel towers 20 stories above Centennial Olympic Park, and provides a great panoramic view of downtown Atlanta. While taking in the view, you’ll stay cool in the climate-controlled gondolas.
Visit The Vault of the secret formula, watch the bottling process, sing along to Coke commercials and walk through rooms of Coca- Cola artifacts. For most kids, sampling tons of flavors of coke from around the world is the best part.
Meet animals of all kinds or climb high above tree-dwelling animals in the new Treetop Trail climbing area. Play in the splash fountain or on the playgrounds, ride on the carousel or head to the petting zoo.
Visit SunTrust Park for a Braves games and Hope & Will’s Sandlot also inside the park, with a zip line, rock climbing wall and games. The Battery includes shops and restaurants, plus when staying on site, you don’t have to worry about finding parking spots.
Good eats: Check out the new Punch Bowl Social for burgers, tacos and breakfast foods plus bowling and arcade games (ages 21 and older after 10 p.m.). Also check out Antico for authentic Italian pizza or The El Felix for Tex Mex.
Where to stay: Omni Hotel at The Battery Atlanta.
Close attractions include: The Georgia Aquarium, The College Football Hall of Fame, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, CNN Center and more. Burn some energy by visiting Centennial Olympic Park, the Fountain of Rings and playgrounds. Catch an Atlanta United soccer game at the close-by Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Good eats: Within a short drive, The Varsity is a iconic choice for onion rings and a hot dog. Near by is Ted’s Montana Grill and Hard Rock Café.
Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown. Numerous other hotels are in walking distance to attractions, including the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park and Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center.
Hike the mountain or walk the trails, then head to the Geyser Towers, miniature golf, Scenic Railroad and SkyHike, one of the nation’s largest climbing adventure courses.
Good eats: Eat inside the park at Base Camp BBQ, Big Rock Café or Granite Café among other choices, or stop by a grocery store and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the park.
Where to stay: Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort