What could be better than some slow placed rest and relaxation in the heart of the Southern United States? For over one hundred years, Atlanta has been known as the capital of the South, and for good reason. There’s no shortage of fun to be had, for the young, the old, and families alike.
With over 5.5 million residents and as the ninth largest metropolitan area in the country, Atlanta is rich in history, culture, sports, and picturesque landscapes. How could a trip be complete with a visit to the Botanical Garden or an hour or two (or a whole afternoon) spent taste testing at the World of Coca-Cola.
So grab a chair, mark off your calendars, and get ready to indulge in the best things to do in Atlanta to date.
1. Swim with the Fishes at the Georgia Aquarium
Get in touch with marine life at the Georgia Aquarium like you never have before.
In fact, the facility encompasses 10 million gallons of fresh and salt water to house all of its amazing creatures. And this is no large fish tank either. A couple thousand species are located in this one aquarium center alone.
The most famous animals housed at the Georgia Aquarium include whale sharks, manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, and beluga whales. Special exhibits allow visitors to view sharks from underneath in an underwater tunnel, pet small animals like the bonnethead sharks and the cownose rays, and watch a 4D movie with interactive identification of marine animals.
2. Capture Perfect Picture Worthy Moments at the Skyview Atlanta
Situated in Atlanta’s famous Centennial Park, the Skyview Ferris Wheel towers 20 stories high.
From its pinnacle, not only can riders get great panoramic views of the city, but as far as the Atlanta metropolitan area as well. And why not experience it all in luxury? Skyview Ferris Wheel boasts Ferrari style seats, a glass floor, and a longer ride time for VIP visitors.
First riders strap in at noon during the week or at 10am on Saturdays, until midnight on weekends and until 11pm during the week. Admission ranges from approximately $9 to 14 per ride.
3. Zip Around Town with ATL Cruzers Tour of Atlanta
Sure you could take a relaxed stroll around the cities, winding from one place to the next, but why not add a little excitement to your vacation? At ATL Cruzers, you can join all kinds of tour groups that view the city in style.
Take for instance the Electric Car Tour of Atlanta. For $29 per person, you’ll get a 1.5 hour ride through downtown Atlanta. Not only will you enjoy the breeze through your hair, but you’ll also get some helpful tips about best eats, museums, and can’t-miss cultural events.
Another option is to test your balance skills on one of two Segway Tours, either through Midtown or Eastside Atlanta. For $60 per person, you’ll spend 2.5 hours weaving and bobbing your way around one of the most vibrant cities in the country.
4. Get Cultured at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
Located on the Emory University campus, the Michael C. Carlos Museum teems with artifacts of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.
Current exhibitions focus on North American pottery, photographs from rural Tibet, and Buddhist sculptures in the form of shrines. The museum is not only committed to preservation of collection and exhibit items, but of education in the community as well.
In fact, the Michael C. Carlos Museums hosts a myriad of activities including K-12 programs, family events, university classes, workshops for teachers, a student docent program, and even its own podcast.
5. Take a Walk Back in Time at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History
A perfect pit stop for the whole family to enjoy. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History includes hours of fun, indoors and out.
Catch a movie at the IMAX theatre, showings like A Beautiful Planet and Dinosaurs Alive. Or get outdoors for a while in the 75-acre outside adventure zone including WildWoods and Fernbank Forest. Special exhibits and kid favorites include The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, Wild Weather, and Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice.
Besides routine visits, the museum offers young learners countless other ways to get excited about science, like organized field trips, summer camps, and UrbanWatch Atlanta for middle and high school students.
6. Indulge in an Afternoon of Taste Testing at the World of Coca-Cola
Whether you’re Team Pepsi or Team Coca-Cola at heart, Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola won’t disappoint.
Located just beside the Georgia Aquarium, it’s definitely one of the most loved things to do in Atlanta. You’ll learn about the production of Coca-Cola throughout the years, the legacy of the Coca-Cola polar bear, and if you’re lucky, even catch a glimpse of the company’s secret formula.
Although you may be familiar with Coke products sold here in the US, there’s no better time than during your visit to sample Coke products around the world. Sample over 100 Coke flavors from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and here in North America. Of course, the visit wouldn’t be complete without a quick stroll through the World of Coca-Cola gift shop as well.
7. Catch a Breath of Fresh Air at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Keep your fingers crossed for great weather that will lend to a pleasant afternoon at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Delight in seasonal blooms, like the autumn crocus, mountain sage, perennial mum, and pink muhly. The Garden encompasses unique spaces such as the Flower Zoom zone and Art in the Garden. If you’re worried about keeping the kids occupied, there’e also the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, perfect for outdoor adventure, hands on play, and one of a kind creations.
With some advanced planning, children can also participate in Amphitheater Programs, Crop-In Kids Classes, an Children’s Garden Storybook Time in addition to summer and springtime camps. Check out the calendar online for great special events for the family altogether.
8. See Your Celebrity Crush Entertainers at the Fox Theatre
Don’t let the fun end when the sun goes down though. After all, Atlanta has a lively nightlife of all sorts.
The Fox Theatre is a great venue for seeing some of the top artists and entertainers of today, from musicians, to comedians, to talk show hosts. Upcoming performers include people and groups like Chance the Rapper, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dirty Dancing, and Atlanta Ballet.
Besides regular performers, the Fox Theatre also hosts special events and tours like the Fox Theatre Ghost Tours. View the calendar online to see show, tours, events, and private booking schedules.
9. Loose Yourself in the Middle of the City at Woodruff Park
If you’re looking for that perfect blend of outdoors amongst the city backdrop, check out Woodland Park.
The park stretches 6 acres between Peachtree Street NE and Park Place NE. Landscape is varied, and includes fountains, monuments, as well as a performance pavilion. In particular, the statue referred to as Atlanta from the Ashes illustrates a women freeing a phoenix.
The bronze statue holds historical significance depicting the journey of Atlanta from the headquarters of the Union armies during the Civil War to a flourishing metropolis and epicenter of business, media communications, and tourism on an international scale today.
Other notable landmarks include a children’s playground made of the letters “ATL” in sculpture form, a curved brick fountain along the park’s perimeter, and the Woodruff Park mural, which depicts the Atlanta city skyline.
10. Get in Touch with Your Wild Side at the Zoo Atlanta
Make your childhood or adult dreams of seeing your favorite animals up close come true.
Zoo Atlanta is home to a wide variety of bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species, such as ostriches, exotic snakes, tropical frogs, and large African elephants. As Zoo Atlanta proclaims, “Don’t just see the Zoo. Do the Zoo!” And with so many interactive family activities, it would be impossible not to dig in deep.
Learn straight from zookeepers and trainers what their daily routines entail, and why they love their jobs the most. Maybe you’ll even spark the curiosity of future veterinarians or animal caretakers.
Take a look at some of the world’s biggest birds, with the most impressive wing spans. Pet soft and furry creatures, and learn about their natural habitats.
Participate in a program known as Zoo’s Clues, perfect for 8 to 12 year olds eager to solve a zoo mystery alongside Detective Clue Spotter the Otter. Be a Keeper for the Day and actually work together with the professionals that care most closely for the animals. The list goes on and on. The Zoo is open every day of the year besides Thanksgiving and Christmas. Consult the website for more detailed information about operating hours and pricing.
Where will your adventure begin? There’s no end in sight for the fun that awaits you in Atlanta city!