Edited by Myrydd Wells
Written by Julia Bainbridge, Mary Logan Bikoff, Rebecca Burns, Rachel Hortman, Caroline C. Kilgore, Tess Malone, Jennifer Rainey-Marquez, Joe Reisigl, Betsy Riley, Matt Walljasper, Myrydd Wells, Thomas Wheatley, and Jennifer Zyman
50 Best Things to Do in Atlanta
Snap a selfie at these colorful Atlanta murals
Larry Loudmouf in Inman Park, Puddles on Edgewood Avenue, Hosea Williams at Studioplex, and more
Pull up to the lunch counter at Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights
In the 1960s thousands of peaceful protesters risked violence and arrest to desegregate Atlanta’s lunch counters.
Try to book dinner at America’s best new restaurant, Staplehouse
Reservations at the 40-seat Staplehouse, a modern Southern restaurant in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward, have been hard to come by since it was named America’s Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit last September.
Watch a game at Atlanta’s new (and improved) sports stadiums
A new professional soccer team that went to the playoffs in its inaugural year and shattered attendance records, two new stadiums, and a pro football team that was one win away from being crowned with the NFL’s highest honor—who says Atlanta isn't a sports town?
Drive (and eat) along Buford Highway
Don’t let the drab strip malls fool you; Atlanta’s most soulful dining experiences can be found along this corridor.
Visit where Captain America and Rick Grimes once stood
Atlanta Movie Tours, based out of Castleberry Hill, offers a plethora of themed tours catering to the diverse projects that have been shot in the Hollywood of the South—from Marvel superheroes to The Walking Dead.
Relish the blues at Blind Willie’s and Northside Tavern
Though Blind Willie’s has a Cajun feel and Northside Tavern has more of a roadhouse vibe, these two mainstays have a lot in common. Small, dark, and loud, these blues bars that are full of character—and interesting characters.
Take a local shopping crawl on the Westside
For a treasure trove of chic clothes, gifts, jewelry, and furniture made or designed in Atlanta, shop hop a cluster of boutiques along Howell Mill Road from Westside Provisions District to Marietta Street.
Spend a day playing tourist downtown
Our downtown tourist attractions are kitschy, but if you skip them, you're doing yourself a disservice. Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coke, Georgia Aquarium, SkyView Ferris wheel—you have to go at least once.
Walk, bike, run, or skate down the BeltLine
On any warm, sunny day in Atlanta, this rail corridor-turned-public trail is packed with families pushing strollers and walking dogs, runners getting in a quick workout, and cyclists testing out the city's Relay bikeshare program.
Devour the Hot Brown at the very first Chick-fil-A
Along with the standard waffle fries, nuggets, and even the long lost coleslaw, the Hapeville Dwarf House’s full-service dining room offers burgers, hot ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and breakfast all day.
Eat well—and get a feel for Atlanta’s neighborhoods—at the food halls
Food halls aren’t unique to Atlanta, but each of ours gives a solid snapshot of the neighborhood it calls home.
Take a few hot laps at the Porsche Experience Center
Buckle up for a wild ride around a 1.6-mile circuit designed to mimic a winding country road. At one of only two Porsche Experience Centers in the country, you can drive yourself or ride shotgun with a pro driver.
Shop at a farmers market all year round
No matter the season, Atlanta has a wealth of farmers markets. And as urban and small farms gain a foothold here, our offerings continue to become more diverse.
Get cultured at the Woodruff Arts Center
Visitors can take in a performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, or ponder works by a diverse cadre of artists like Alex Katz, Walker Evans, and Thornton Dial at the High Museum of Art.
Dine with politicos at Manuel’s Tavern
For more than 60 years, elected officials, journalists, and gadflies of all stripes—though let's be honest, mostly Democrats—have traded gossip, hectored televised debates, and licked legislative wounds at the watering hole that’s become a living museum of Georgia political history.
Visit the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born in this 1895 Queen Anne house on Auburn Avenue, and a visit to the restored two-story home offers a glimpse into the early years of the future legend.
Sip a Frosted Orange at the Varsity
Hailed as the World's Largest Drive-Thru, the Midtown mainstay has been serving hot dogs and burgers since 1928. But you can't truly call yourself an Atlantan until you've sipped a Frosted Orange.
Tour vintage jets at the Delta Flight Museum
Just to the north of Hartsfield-Jackson on the nearly 100-year-old airline’s vast corporate campus, the Delta Flight Museum is the perfect spot for aviation fanatics, kids, and even experienced fliers slogging through a long layover.
Hike Kennesaw Mountain
In 1864 this was the major obstacle between General William T. Sherman and his ultimate goal: Atlanta. Standing atop the 1,808-foot peak today, it’s easy to see why the site was so strategic.
Peek inside Jimmy Carter’s Oval Office
Ever wondered what it's like inside the country's highest office? You can peek inside an impressive life-size replica of Jimmy Carter's Oval Office at his presidential library and museum off Freedom Parkway.
Learn the backstory of Atlanta’s most famous novel
Shortly after Margaret Mitchell left her job as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal in the mid-1920s, she sat down at a desk at her ground-floor apartment on Peachtree Street—she and her husband, John Marsh, affectionately referred to the unit as “the dump”—and began writing the bulk of a Southern soap opera that became just as much a part of Atlanta’s DNA as Coca-Cola.
Escape the traffic and take hike through Fernbank Forest
There’s a place in Atlanta where you can’t hear car horns or thrumming engines, where it’s a bit cool even on sweltering August days, where you can forget that you’re in the middle of a large city entirely. Fernbank Forest, Atlanta’s largest urban forest, is 65 acres of tranquility.
Roll to soul at Cascade Skating Rink
Step into Cascade Skating Rink on Saturday, Sunday (the big night), Tuesday, or Wednesday and find a whole world of dance happening on wheels. The people who come here are regulars—and they’ve got the moves—so novices, you’ve been warned.
Shoot the ‘hooch
Lazy Atlanta summers are best enjoyed lathered in sunscreen, idling downstream in an inflatable tube, and reaching for a cooler floating slowly behind you on the Chattahoochee River.
Visit the too-cute panda twins at Zoo Atlanta
You can visit cuddly cubs Ya Lun and Xi Lun at Zoo Atlanta, along with gorillas, lions, Sumatran tigers, red pandas, tanukis, and hundreds of other creatures.
Take a spin at Polaris
While you won't see as much as of the city as you can from the nearby SunDial restaurant (yes, downtown Atlanta has two rotating restaurants within a few blocks of each other), the history behind the blue spaceship-like dome perched atop the Hyatt Regency Atlanta is more storied.
Explore Castleberry Hill’s arts scene, then sip a cocktail at 2 Chainz’s lounge
Known as Atlanta’s Historic Arts District, Castleberry Hill’s creative energy is best sampled during the evening art stroll on the second Friday of every month.
Take a craft beer tour of Avondale Estates
If you want to sample several different beers without worrying about your car, head to Avondale Estates, where there are three craft breweries next to the Avondale MARTA station.
Dine like an old-school Southerner
The Colonnade still serves turkey and dressing every day of the week and has held its ground on an otherwise fluctuating strip of Cheshire Bridge Road since 1962. Or for a cafeteria-style Southern meal, head to Matthews Cafeteria in Tucker.
Or dine like a new-school Southerner
Is Miller Union a Southern restaurant? The field peas and grit fritters with country ham you’ll find on the menu seem to say so.
Explore the creepy yet charming Doll’s Head Trail
It's artistically creepy, romantically isolated, and naturally scenic. Off an industrial stretch of Moreland Avenue, the 1.6-mile Doll's Head Trail curves through Constitution Lakes' marshy ponds, peaceful lake views, and boardwalks ideal for birdwatching. But it's the eeriness of the scuffed doll heads peering out from shrubbery that makes this trail tick.
Watch experimental theater or catch a Broadway show before it makes it big
Indie show? The next big thing? Metro Atlanta's theater scene has something for everyone.
Find a treasure you didn’t know you needed at Scott Antique Market
Looking for a vintage camera to perch on your bookshelf? A midcentury modern end table? A bucket of spoons or a taxidermied pheasant? You’re bound to find something intriguing when this market pops up at the Atlanta Expo Center each month.
Take in panoramic views at Skyline Park
Make sure to take the elevator up to this mini amusement park on Ponce City Market's roof before sunset—this spot is meant to be enjoyed during both day and night.
Eat lunch where civil rights movement leaders once held meetings
“During the civil rights movement, we’d start our day at Busy Bee or Paschal’s,” says Andrew Young, referencing his days at the SCLC with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s. “But you didn’t go to those places so much to eat as you did to meet. That’s where you found out what was going on.”
Find your new favorite band at one of Atlanta’s indie venues
Sure, you can see the latest pop sensation at Philips Arena or catch a jam band at Chastain, but you might find the next big thing at these smaller venues.
Plane-watch at the world’s busiest airport
With nearly 2,500 takeoffs and landings per day, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport provides aviation fanatics an excellent perch for watching the skies.
Take a DIY architecture tour in Atlanta’s historic neighborhoods
Atlanta may be quick to tear down historic public buildings, but the metro area is full of lovely old residential neighborhoods.
Tip a drag queen at Lips
Lips, which opened a location on Buford Highway in 2013, dazzles with over-the-top costumes, glittery decor, divas, and dirty jokes.
Sip local vodka and gin at Old Fourth Distillery
The distillery—which features the historic Cotton Mill Lofts and Ponce City Market on its bottles—started with just its signature sugar cane-based vodka when it opened in 2014 and has since expanded to include gin and a lemon-ginger liqueur named Lawn Dart.
Climb to the top of Stone Mountain
The 825-foot-tall hunk of granite surrounded by 3,200 acres of state-owned park is a historic and adventurous spot for a daytrip. Take a shaded hike or a cable car to the top for an impressive view of the landscape, ride a 1940s-era Army Duck on Stone Mountain Lake, or explore the treetops on an adventure course of ropes and swinging bridges.
Catch an improv show—or be in one—at Dad’s Garage
Founded in 1995, the theater started as a place to catch short-form improv and has now grown to become Atlanta’s version of Second City.
Play atop a true work of art
The modernist swings and slides at Noguchi Playground in Piedmont Park are a delight to both kids and art lovers. Or drive a few miles north to Sandy Springs, where the Playable Art Park at Abernathy Greenway contains six colorful sculptures that also function as interactive playsets.
Meet the Muppets at the Center for Puppetry Arts
When Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog cut the ribbon in 1978, the former Spring Street Elementary School had only one exhibition and a few shows devoted to puppets. Nearly 40 years later, the Midtown space has grown to be the largest nonprofit puppetry theater in the country.
Learn the history of the Fox Theatre—and of its ghosts
The iconic theater is perhaps most famous for the fact that it's still here—a successful 1974 campaign to save it from the wrecking ball led to its designation as a national historic landmark.
Watch Blondie’s famous routine at the Clermont Lounge
No tour of Ponce is complete without paying respects to Blondie as she crushes Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in her inimitable style.
Learn the secrets of the city’s past at the Atlanta History Center
A lot of exciting changes are happening at this Buckhead museum. A 2016 renovation gave the main building a beautiful new facade, and it inherited the Cycolorama—an early 20th-centry painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta—and the Texas—a train best known for being involved in the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War—from their former home in Grant Park.
Edited by Myrydd Wells