17 Best things to do in downtown Atlanta

Atlanta, the capital city of Georgia is known for its historical sites and museums. It is the birthplace of Martin Luther Jr and famous for attractions like SkyView Atlanta, World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, and many more. If you have a layover at Atlanta airport or you are visiting Atlanta for a short time then visit Downtown Atlanta for the best memorable experience. Now we will see the best things to do in downtown Atlanta. This guide is part of our USA Travel Guide.

Also, check other city guides including Boston, Las Vegas, and Washington to make perfect itineraries while visiting those cities.

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Here are the 8 best things in Atlanta Georgia. Also, check this Best Day Trips From Atlanta guide for enjoying the best weekend near Atlanta.

SkyView Atlanta

SkyView Atlanta

SkyView Atlanta is the best Downtown Atlanta adventure which gives you beautiful panoramic views of downtown Atlanta and surroundings. You can see views from 20 stories height from the giant Ferris wheel which has 42 climate-controlled gondolas and also private gondolas are available. For the VIP experience, you can also choose a more comfortable sheet with extra viewing time. The SkyView Atlanta is located on Luckie Street.

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park Atlanta

The Centennial Olympic Park is one of the best things to do in downtown Atlanta. The 21-acre park was developed during the 1996 Centennial Olympic games as a gathering spot for visitors and residents. There are many free things to do in the park. Also, The park sponsors some free events like Fourth Saturday and the fourth of July celebration. The park serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the 1996 Olympic games.

The top things to do and icons in Centennial Olympic Park are Fountain of rings, Allen Family tribute, Gateway of dreams, Androgyne Planet, children’s garden, and playground, Paralympic Legacy, Quilt of nations, Quilt of Olympic Series, Quilt of origins, Quilt of Remembrance, Quilt of dreams, Centennial Plaza and Southern Company Amphitheater.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Engage, explore, and enlighten this is the motto at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Tailored for young minds, its interactive exhibits, from a mock construction site to an art studio, foster creativity and curiosity. Regularly updated thematic displays ensure that return visits offer something new, ensuring that learning and play go hand-in-hand.

CNN Studio Tours

Best things to do in downtown Atlanta

This 50 minutes walking tour goes through the halls of the CNN center. Check how live broadcast is produced and sent to viewers from all over the world, history of Cable News Network (CNN), first newscast and live studio tour with an experienced guide who knows all things about CNN. You will see the working of a teleprompter, live-action in studio 7. Also, see yourself on a large screen by trying your hand on the “cold reading” of the news.

Georgia Aquarium

Best things to do in downtown Atlanta

The Georgia Aquarium is home to thousands of animals and hundreds of species in its seven galleries. Till 2012, it was world’s largest Aquarium. The aquarium is located at the Baker Street in Downtown Atlanta. Go with your family to see a giant whale shark and other ocean voyagers like beluga whales, manta rays, dolphins, penguins, sea otters and many more which are living in more than 10 million gallons of fresh and salt Water.,

World of Coca-Cola

World of Coca-Cola

The World of Coca-Cola is also located on Baker street. By visiting this wonderful museum World of Coca-Cola, you will learn the history of the Coca-Cola company. You can even get inside the look of the bottling process of Coca-Cola. You can taste more than 100 beverages from Coca-Cola from all around the world in one place. Also, view the advertisements for Coca-Cola by year in this amazing museum. This is the best place to organize any events or product launch. Go watch  “In Search of the Secret Formula” in the 4 D theatre at the World of Coca-Cola with your children. Movable and stationary chairs are available for watching the show for children. Don’t forget to greet and take a selfie with the famous Polar bear at World of Coca-Cola.

National Center for Civil and Human rights

The National Center for Civil and Human rights is a museum showcasing human rights movements from all around the world including American civil rights movements. The museum exhibits the world’s most dangerous rulers in history. Also, the civil rights gallery shows many movements including Martin Luther King Jr. The gallery gives detailed knowledge of human rights issues and how they affecting the lives of the individual. The museum also organizes events throughout the year related to human rights, mental health, and more. You can check their website to view the event calendar.

Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame

Best things to do in downtown Atlanta

Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is dedicated to college football. At the entry, you will see three stories wall which full of helmets of all USA college football teams. You can identify your team from 760 schools represented and helmet will light up! After getting tickets you can get the experience of Indoor playing field and hi-tech history of why we love college football. This is the must-visit place in Atlanta for football lovers to get one of its kind lifetime experience. It is located nearby famous tourist attractions of Atlanta like Centennial Olympic Park and SkyView Atlanta.

Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market Atlanta

Ponce City Market is home to retail shops, food stalls, offices, residences, and restaurants. This historical building which was used by Sears has 2.1 Million square foot space. If you want to buy some Georgia grown products then you should visit the Ponce City Farmer’s market which is located inside. Do not forget to visit Skyline amusement park at the rooftop of Ponse City Market which is a major attraction here. Ponce City Market also offers luxury apartments for living. Enjoy your day here with food, drink, and shopping.

Pemberton Place

Pemberton Place is more than just a location; it’s a journey through Atlanta’s rich history and cultural dynamism. The inventor of Coca-Cola, Dr. John S. Pemberton, lends his name to this 20-acre complex, housing attractions such as the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. As you explore, experience the immersive theater, relive nostalgic moments with classic advertisements, and engage with fascinating exhibits detailing marine biodiversity. The landscaped grounds are perfect for leisurely strolls or simply absorbing the ambiance of Atlanta’s iconic heart.

Fountain of Rings

Nestled in Centennial Olympic Park, the Fountain of Rings stands as a testament to Atlanta’s Olympic legacy. This mesmerizing water feature attracts visitors from around the world, presenting a harmonious blend of art, technology, and water play. Children and adults alike delight in chasing the rhythmic spouts, while evening visitors are treated to beautifully illuminated displays. The accompanying music, ranging from pop hits to classical symphonies, enhances the overall sensory delight.

Woodruff Park

Woodruff Park is downtown Atlanta’s green gem. Originally a gift from the illustrious Woodruff family, the park has grown into a hub for public events, community gatherings, and moments of reprieve. Apart from its historical monuments and statues, it frequently hosts cultural events, book fairs, and even yoga sessions. The reading room, stocked with newspapers and novels, offers a unique open-air literary experience.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. echo throughout this historic site. Beyond just his childhood home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden captivates visitors with its intricate floral displays, each bloom symbolizing hope and peace. The visitor center’s exhibits chronicle the American Civil Rights Movement, providing a holistic understanding of Dr. King’s indomitable spirit and enduring legacy.

Beat The Bomb Atlanta

Immersive entertainment reaches its zenith at Beat The Bomb Atlanta. Far from the traditional escape room, participants are plunged into a digital universe where teamwork, quick thinking, and reflexes are tested. Sporting neon paint and guided by pulsating beats, teams navigate challenges that test their wits and agility. The thrill of racing against the clock in this visually stunning environment is unparalleled.

Georgia Capitol Museum

A masterpiece of neoclassical architecture, the Georgia State Capitol building houses more than just legislative chambers. The Georgia Capitol Museum, spread across its ornate halls, curates a rich tapestry of the state’s history. Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and portraits unravel Georgia’s evolution, from its indigenous roots to its present-day stature.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Eric Yarnell, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Step into a verdant paradise at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. A horticultural marvel, the garden offers zones like the Desert House, Orchid Center, and the edible garden. The Canopy Walk, a suspended bridge amidst treetops, provides a bird’s eye view of the lush expanse. Seasonal events, from light festivals to art installations, ensure the gardens shimmer in a myriad of colors year-round.

Piedmont Park

Dubbed as Atlanta’s “Common Ground,” Piedmont Park seamlessly marries nature and urban life. This expansive sanctuary, with its tranquil lakes and wide-open meadows, hosts a plethora of activities. Sports enthusiasts can engage in tennis, soccer, or swimming, while others can attend the numerous cultural festivals, farmers’ markets, and art fairs. The park’s legacy as a venue for the 1895 Cotton States Exposition adds a historical dimension to its contemporary vibrancy.

Give your comments about your Atlanta visit and how you enjoy all these wonderful places.