Atlanta Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in Georgia
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Courtesy of ferrantraite/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Atlanta

If you have extra time, Atlanta BeltLine is worthwhile.
  • #2
    Things to do in Atlanta
    View all Photos
    #2 in Atlanta
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Most agree a trip to Atlanta must include time spent at this historic site. Many travelers recommend arriving early to take a free 30-minute guided tour of King's birth home. Tours start at 10 a.m. and are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Weekdays and Sunday mornings are the least crowded, according to the National Park Service. Also, remember to wear comfy shoes since the entire complex is spread across several city blocks.

  • #3
    Piedmont Park
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    #3 in Atlanta
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    Previous travelers highly recommended visiting this park, calling it "a little piece of peace in the city" and one of Atlanta's best parks. Some even said that it reminded them of New York City's Central Park. Many loved picnicking, swimming and playing tennis here, but some recent visitors warned that parking spots can be sparse, especially on weekends, so consider taking public transportation to and from the park.

  • #5
    Atlanta BeltLine
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    #5 in Atlanta
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Tours, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, Tours, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Atlanta BeltLine is an in-progress, citywide network of 22 miles of streetcar rails, 33 miles of trails (for walking, biking and more) and roughly 2,000 acres of parks. The city is opening the BeltLine in phases and plans to finish the entire system by 2030. As of summer 2019, visitors are welcome to enjoy seven parks and five trails along the BeltLine. Some of the parks include Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark, Atlanta's first public skate park which offers obstacles for skateboarders of all abilities; Gordon White Park, which hosts music events, farmers markets and offers free fitness classes; and Perkerson Park, which boasts tennis courts, softball fields and an 18-hole disc golf course. The five paved trails are perfect for bike riding, taking a stroll through nature or walking by places like Ponce City Market and Piedmont Park. You can also take a free tour of the Atlanta BeltLine to learn more about the network and the communities surrounding it.

    Travelers appreciate the BeltLine paths that are currently open, saying that it is an excellent place to get out and exercise. Visitors particularly enjoy the Eastside Trail for its easy access to bars, restaurants and abundant street art.

  • #7
    Oakland Cemetery
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    #7 in Atlanta
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

    You are welcome to explore the grounds on your own, although many recent visitors recommended joining a guided tour. If you do decide to venture out on your own, previous travelers suggested buying a map from the Visitors Center and Museum Shop for $5 or downloading a free self-guided tour from Google or Apple's app store. To add to the ambiance, consider arriving in October when the cemetery offers Halloween-themed ghost tours.

  • #8
    Centennial Olympic Park
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    #8 in Atlanta
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

  • #10
    Ponce City Market
    View all Photos
    #10 in Atlanta
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Once home to the Southern headquarters for Sears, Roebuck & Co., the Ponce City Market is now a massive mixed-use facility featuring offices, education centers, coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shopping and more. The building's roof is also an attraction itself, home to two unique draws: Skyline Park, where visitors can play games like Skee-Ball and mini-golf or go for a ride down a slide, and 9 Mile Station, a rooftop beer garden.

    Visitors generally enjoy Ponce City Market, saying they appreciated the varied and delicious food options. The roof and its attractions also earn high praise from travelers. Others were not impressed with the complex and complain of overpriced food and difficult, expensive parking.  

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