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Best Things To Do in Atlanta

Sure, Atlanta is a commercial hub, but it's also a sightseer's dream. There are scenic green spaces like Piedmont Park, unique entertainment venues like the Fox Theatre, plus one of the country's best panda exhibits at the zoo. History buffs, shopaholics and night owls will likely all find something to pique their interests: from Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace to Buckhead's top-notch bars and boutiques to sports-focused sights like the College Football Hall of Fame and Centennial Olympic Park. Meanwhile, families can flock to the Georgia AquariumWorld of Coca-Cola and other interactive spots.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Atlanta

Spread across 33 acres in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, the Atlanta History Center seeks to explore Georgia's past through comprehensive exhibitions, historic homes and miles of gardens and trails. The center's primary facility is the Atlanta History Museum, which showcases exhibits that span the region's history, from Native American culture to life in the antebellum South. 
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Atlanta History Center
Spread across 33 acres in Atlanta's trendy Buckhead neighborhood, the Atlanta History Center seeks to explore Georgia's past through comprehensive exhibitions, historic homes and miles of gardens and trails. The center's primary facility is the Atlanta History Museum, which showcases exhibits that span the region's history, from Native American culture to life in the antebellum South. 
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#2

#2 in Atlanta

Free
Walk in the footsteps of one of history's most important figures with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Here you'll find the modest home where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised. You can also head over to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once a pastor. And at The King Center, you'll find engaging exhibits on the civil rights movement and King's gravesite. These, along with several other landmarks and museums, are jointly considered a national historic site.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Walk in the footsteps of one of history's most important figures with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Here you'll find the modest home where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised. You can also head over to the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was once a pastor. And at The King Center, you'll find engaging exhibits on the civil rights movement and King's gravesite. These, along with several other landmarks and museums, are jointly considered a national historic site.
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#3

#3 in Atlanta

Free
Adjacent to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown, Piedmont Park is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Sprawling 200-plus acres, the park has no shortage of things to do, including walking and jogging paths, dog parks, picnic facilities, playgrounds, tennis courts, a public swimming pool and a Saturday farmers market. Thanks to its size, Piedmont Park also hosts a variety of Atlanta's top events, including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival and Atlanta Pride.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Piedmont Park
Adjacent to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown, Piedmont Park is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. Sprawling 200-plus acres, the park has no shortage of things to do, including walking and jogging paths, dog parks, picnic facilities, playgrounds, tennis courts, a public swimming pool and a Saturday farmers market. Thanks to its size, Piedmont Park also hosts a variety of Atlanta's top events, including the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival and Atlanta Pride.
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#4

#4 in Atlanta

The Fox Theatre is more than a performance venue – it's one of the city's most iconic landmarks. And luckily, you don't need to have tickets to a show to take in its ornate interior. Originally conceived by Atlanta's Shriners organization, the theater's design was inspired by Egyptian and Spanish architecture, specifically the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor and the Alhambra in Granada. You'll get a tutorial on the building's iconic architectural details and more during a tour. Tours, which take place on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, guide visitors through more than 10 locations within the building, from the orchestra pit to the ornately decorated men's bathroom. Plus, you'll see Mighty Mo', the largest working Moller theater organ in the world.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is more than a performance venue – it's one of the city's most iconic landmarks. And luckily, you don't need to have tickets to a show to take in its ornate interior. Originally conceived by Atlanta's Shriners organization, the theater's design was inspired by Egyptian and Spanish architecture, specifically the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor and the Alhambra in Granada. You'll get a tutorial on the building's iconic architectural details and more during a tour. Tours, which take place on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, guide visitors through more than 10 locations within the building, from the orchestra pit to the ornately decorated men's bathroom. Plus, you'll see Mighty Mo', the largest working Moller theater organ in the world.
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#5

#5 in Atlanta

For an in-depth look at the American civil rights movement and ongoing human rights struggles across the world, check out the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This 42,000-square-foot museum by the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola offers two temporary and three permanent exhibits, including a collection of Martin Luther King Jr. artifacts, such as his briefcase and handwritten drafts and outlines of notable speeches.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Center for Civil and Human Rights
For an in-depth look at the American civil rights movement and ongoing human rights struggles across the world, check out the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This 42,000-square-foot museum by the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola offers two temporary and three permanent exhibits, including a collection of Martin Luther King Jr. artifacts, such as his briefcase and handwritten drafts and outlines of notable speeches.
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#6

#6 in Atlanta

Free
Situated less than 2 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta and spanning 48 acres, Oakland Cemetery stands as a testament to the city's role in the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Among its winding paths, trees and flower shrubs, you'll find elaborate mausoleums, intricate sculptures and an impressive collection of art and architecture. Amidst the 70,000 graves, you'll spot some well-known Atlantans, including legends like golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The Confederate Memorial section has some of the most impressive memorials and carvings of the whole cemetery, while Potter's Field has only one monument for the thousands of people who couldn't afford private burial plots.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Oakland Cemetery
Situated less than 2 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta and spanning 48 acres, Oakland Cemetery stands as a testament to the city's role in the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Among its winding paths, trees and flower shrubs, you'll find elaborate mausoleums, intricate sculptures and an impressive collection of art and architecture. Amidst the 70,000 graves, you'll spot some well-known Atlantans, including legends like golfer Bobby Jones and author Margaret Mitchell. The Confederate Memorial section has some of the most impressive memorials and carvings of the whole cemetery, while Potter's Field has only one monument for the thousands of people who couldn't afford private burial plots.
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#7

#7 in Atlanta

Free
Located across the street from the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta is Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre patch of land that features lush paths of grass, artwork, pools and fountains. The park was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games and was a centerpiece of the festivities; now, it's one of the most visited areas of the city. One of the park's most well-known elements is the Fountain of Rings, made up of 251 water jets. Every day, four water shows choreographed to various songs take place.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Centennial Olympic Park
Located across the street from the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta is Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre patch of land that features lush paths of grass, artwork, pools and fountains. The park was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games and was a centerpiece of the festivities; now, it's one of the most visited areas of the city. One of the park's most well-known elements is the Fountain of Rings, made up of 251 water jets. Every day, four water shows choreographed to various songs take place.
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#8

#8 in Atlanta

The Atlanta Botanical Garden should be every plant lover's first stop in the city. It covers a magnificent and beautiful 30 acres in the northwest corner of Midtown's Piedmont Park. There's lots to see here, including the Lou Glenn Children's Garden, the Edible Garden, the Tropical Rotunda and one of the few remaining mature hardwood forests in Atlanta. Plus, you can't miss a pass through the Fuqua Orchid Center, which features a variety of unique high-elevation orchids never grown before in the Southeast. You'll also find a wonderful and colorful collection of poison dart frogs within the glass walls of the Fuqua Conservatory.
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden should be every plant lover's first stop in the city. It covers a magnificent and beautiful 30 acres in the northwest corner of Midtown's Piedmont Park. There's lots to see here, including the Lou Glenn Children's Garden, the Edible Garden, the Tropical Rotunda and one of the few remaining mature hardwood forests in Atlanta. Plus, you can't miss a pass through the Fuqua Orchid Center, which features a variety of unique high-elevation orchids never grown before in the Southeast. You'll also find a wonderful and colorful collection of poison dart frogs within the glass walls of the Fuqua Conservatory.
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#9

#9 in Atlanta

Considered one of the world's largest aquariums, the Georgia Aquarium boasts more than 100,000 animals from 700 species represented in seven different galleries. Housing everything from freshwater animals in its Southern Company River Scout gallery to a 6.3-million-gallon whale shark tank in its Ocean Voyager gallery, it's safe to say the aquarium runs the gamut in terms of its marine life.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Georgia Aquarium
Considered one of the world's largest aquariums, the Georgia Aquarium boasts more than 100,000 animals from 700 species represented in seven different galleries. Housing everything from freshwater animals in its Southern Company River Scout gallery to a 6.3-million-gallon whale shark tank in its Ocean Voyager gallery, it's safe to say the aquarium runs the gamut in terms of its marine life.
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#10

#10 in Atlanta

Located just south of the Georgia Aquarium and across the street from Centennial Olympic Park, the College Football Hall of Fame offers more than 50 interactive exhibits dedicated to its namesake sport. Inside the 95,000-square-foot facility, visitors can look for their team's helmet on the three-story Helmet Wall, admire Heisman and National Championship trophies, sit at the interactive ESPN College GameDay Desk, kick a field goal at the 45-yard football field and more.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
College Football Hall of Fame
Located just south of the Georgia Aquarium and across the street from Centennial Olympic Park, the College Football Hall of Fame offers more than 50 interactive exhibits dedicated to its namesake sport. Inside the 95,000-square-foot facility, visitors can look for their team's helmet on the three-story Helmet Wall, admire Heisman and National Championship trophies, sit at the interactive ESPN College GameDay Desk, kick a field goal at the 45-yard football field and more.
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#11

#11 in Atlanta

Spread across 3,200 acres, Stone Mountain Park boasts a variety of family-friendly attractions. But for many, the real star here is the Confederate Memorial Carving. The largest high relief sculpture in the world, this carving depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. For a little perspective, the entire carved surface measures 3 acres, which is larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore. If the carving alone isn't enough of an incentive to drive 20 miles northeast of the city, then consider the park's other attractions.
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Golf Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Stone Mountain Park
Spread across 3,200 acres, Stone Mountain Park boasts a variety of family-friendly attractions. But for many, the real star here is the Confederate Memorial Carving. The largest high relief sculpture in the world, this carving depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. For a little perspective, the entire carved surface measures 3 acres, which is larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore. If the carving alone isn't enough of an incentive to drive 20 miles northeast of the city, then consider the park's other attractions.
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#12

#12 in Atlanta

As its name suggests, World of Coca-Cola is a museum dedicated entirely to Coke. Visits to the two-level facility begin with exhibits on the drink's historical milestones, its role in pop culture and the bottling process. The older generations in your group will likely enjoy the museum's attention to the company's past, but the kids will probably be most excited for the Taste It! area, where more than 100 varieties of Coke from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America are available for unlimited sampling. You can also purchase various Coke memorabilia at the on-site gift shop.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
World of Coca-Cola
As its name suggests, World of Coca-Cola is a museum dedicated entirely to Coke. Visits to the two-level facility begin with exhibits on the drink's historical milestones, its role in pop culture and the bottling process. The older generations in your group will likely enjoy the museum's attention to the company's past, but the kids will probably be most excited for the Taste It! area, where more than 100 varieties of Coke from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America are available for unlimited sampling. You can also purchase various Coke memorabilia at the on-site gift shop.
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#13

#13 in Atlanta

The High Museum of Art's aesthetics begin with the physical structure itself. The Richard Meier-designed building is covered in white porcelain that is mirrored on its interior, which also features winding walking paths and an interesting light system at the top. The most noteworthy part of the collection is the 19th- and 20th-century American art, including pieces by Thomas Sully, Norman Rockwell and Frederic Church. The museum also houses an impressive collection of Italian works from the 1300s to the 1900s and masks, figurative sculptures, ceramics and more from sub-Saharan Africa.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art's aesthetics begin with the physical structure itself. The Richard Meier-designed building is covered in white porcelain that is mirrored on its interior, which also features winding walking paths and an interesting light system at the top. The most noteworthy part of the collection is the 19th- and 20th-century American art, including pieces by Thomas Sully, Norman Rockwell and Frederic Church. The museum also houses an impressive collection of Italian works from the 1300s to the 1900s and masks, figurative sculptures, ceramics and more from sub-Saharan Africa.
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#14

#14 in Atlanta

What sets Atlanta's zoo apart from other wildlife exhibits is its panda population: Zoo Atlanta is one of only four zoos in the U.S. housing giant pandas. The rare bears are a favorite among recent visitors, but the zoo also boasts more than 200 other species. While here, you'll spot lions, giraffes, zebras and plenty of reptiles. Apart from the animals, the zoo offers a train ride, a carousel, a ropes course and a rock climbing wall, among other attractions. Keep in mind: The cost of these activities is not included with admission.
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Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Zoo Atlanta
What sets Atlanta's zoo apart from other wildlife exhibits is its panda population: Zoo Atlanta is one of only four zoos in the U.S. housing giant pandas. The rare bears are a favorite among recent visitors, but the zoo also boasts more than 200 other species. While here, you'll spot lions, giraffes, zebras and plenty of reptiles. Apart from the animals, the zoo offers a train ride, a carousel, a ropes course and a rock climbing wall, among other attractions. Keep in mind: The cost of these activities is not included with admission.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

Whether you're a budding journalist or a fan of the network, odds are you'll enjoy touring CNN's headquarters. Tours of CNN Center give you an inside look at the day-to-day operations of one of the world's largest news organization. Standard Behind-the-Scenes Tours, which last 50 minutes, include peeks at spaces used to produce broadcasts, while upgraded experiences offer everything from access to live newsrooms to souvenir press passes and meet-and-greets with TV anchors.
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Tours Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
CNN Studio Tours
Whether you're a budding journalist or a fan of the network, odds are you'll enjoy touring CNN's headquarters. Tours of CNN Center give you an inside look at the day-to-day operations of one of the world's largest news organization. Standard Behind-the-Scenes Tours, which last 50 minutes, include peeks at spaces used to produce broadcasts, while upgraded experiences offer everything from access to live newsrooms to souvenir press passes and meet-and-greets with TV anchors.
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Families and photography enthusiasts alike will love visiting SkyView Atlanta. This large Ferris wheel just east of Centennial Olympic Park stands nearly 20 stories tall and features 42 air-conditioned gondolas. While passengers ride the attraction, they'll enjoy stunning views of the downtown skyline.
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Amusement Parks Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
SkyView Atlanta
Families and photography enthusiasts alike will love visiting SkyView Atlanta. This large Ferris wheel just east of Centennial Olympic Park stands nearly 20 stories tall and features 42 air-conditioned gondolas. While passengers ride the attraction, they'll enjoy stunning views of the downtown skyline.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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