Centennial Olympic Park

#8 in Best Things To Do in Atlanta
Centennial Olympic Park picture1 of 2
Centennial Olympic Park2 of 2
SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images

Key Info

265 Park Ave. W NW

Price & Hours

Free
7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily

Details

Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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.

Recent visitors noted the fountains were a hit with families, especially young children, and advise bringing a change of clothes if you know your kids will want to splash around in the water. Past travelers also appreciated the park's proximity to must-see sights like the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. The park is also a featured stop on several of the best Atlanta tours.

Centennial Olympic Park is free to visit from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Free hour-long audio tours, which start and end at the visitor center, are available. Maps for the audio tour can be downloaded here. The park is accessible via multiple bus lines and the Atlanta Streetcar. You can also take a MARTA train to the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center station or the Peachtree Center station. If you decide to drive, expect to pay $10 per vehicle, per day to park at World of Coca-Cola, where the nearest garage resides. For more information, visit the park's website.

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#1 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. 

Near the museum is the Swan House, a restored estate originally built in 1928. Living up to its name, every room allegedly features at least one swan (motif). Outside the house, the Swan Woods Trail is lined with beautiful plants native to Georgia. Nearby, you can also see how the other half lived at the Smith Family Farm, a plantation house from the mid-1800s. Meanwhile, bookworms won't want to miss a tour of the Margaret Mitchell House, where the author penned her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Gone With the Wind."

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