Atlanta’s unmissable landmarks and historical sights

From Moorish-inspired architecture at Fox Theatre to the scenic Atlanta botanical gardens and the Centennial Olympic Park, these Atlanta landmarks are sites worth exploring.

Atlanta offers scenic skylines, a lively music scene, and a thriving art community, and has several impressive landmarks to boot.

You can marvel at the Moorish-inspired architecture of the Fox Theatre, explore the civil rights movement at Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Park, or enjoy beautiful displays of plant collections at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

If you’re on vacation with the whole family, kids will love seeing the animals at Atlanta Zoo, or getting up close with underwater creatures at the Georgia Aquarium. Some of the best places to visit include Historic Fourth Ward Park and Stone Mountain. Can’t decide which ones to include on your trip? Here are 15 of the best landmarks in Atlanta.

Historic and architectural landmarks in Atlanta

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1. National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Make a stop by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights on your as part of a Black history and civil rights driving tour. The 42,000-square-foot building is an architectural masterpiece with two curved walls symbolizing human connection and a plaza for community gatherings.

Highlights:

Learn all about the civil rights movement and African American heritage. Listen to stories of activities and leaders from your guide as you drive along Sweet Auburn Avenue, the home of important neighborhoods and iconic churches.

Address and opening hours:

100 Ivan Allen Jr Blvd NW, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM.

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2. Fox Theatre

Originally conceived as a home for Shriners, the Fox Theatre was transformed into a performance venue. The Moorish-inspired architecture was designed by Oliver Vinour and features an Indian courtyard. Its ornate decorations, intricate carvings, and soaring ceiling stand out in the Midtown neighborhood.

Highlights:

Attend a concert, comedy acts and Broadway shows, and live performances at The Fox Theatre. The ceiling reflects the night sky, so you can watch the performances under the stars.

Address and opening hours:

660 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta. Opening hours vary depending on the scheduled entertainment.

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3. The Swan House

Combining Renaissance revival and classical architectural styles, the magnificent Swan House was designed by Philip T. Shutze and built in 1928. An important landmark in Atlanta, its old-school glamor and Southern charm make it a must-visit attraction in the city.

Highlights:

Admire this, and other mansions that stand tall in the Buckhead neighborhood on a bus tour. Some of the scenes of the 2013 Hunger Games: Catching Fire film were shot in the house.

Address and opening hours:

130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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4. Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History will amaze you with its gigantic fortress-like walls. Dinosaur statues at the entrance look ready to stomp on you, and there’s even more to gawk at inside the walls. Exhibitions include something for everybody, such as dinosaur skeletons, fossils, a Star Gallery, World of Shells, and gemstone collections.

Highlights:

Grab your excavation kit and explore. The museum's centerpiece is the atrium, which houses the largest dinosaurs and displays the state's geology and wildlife.

Address and opening hours:

767 Clifton Rd, Atlanta. Open daily, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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5. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

As the only president from Georgia, the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is a special landmark. The museum complex houses the former US president's records, papers, and artifacts.

Highlights:

At the library and museum, you’ll find fascinating pieces of memorabilia, photographs, and documents in the 69,000-square-foot space.

Address and opening hours:

441 John Lewis Freedom Pkwy NE, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 AM-4:45 PM.

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6. Center For Puppetry Arts

The Center For Puppetry Arts started in a renovated church in Midtown Atlanta with a production of Rumpelstiltskin before being moved to a larger space in Inman Park Neighborhood. Enjoy a puppetry show at the arts center or participate in workshops and classroom activities, and don’t miss the Jim Henson Gallery, showcasing the legendary puppeteer’s work. It includes puppets, props, and costumes from the likes of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock.

Highlights:

With your entry ticket you can enjoy a live performance, explore the collection of puppets dating back to the 19th century, and more.

Address and opening hours:

1404 Spring St NW, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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7. Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center is a premier city landmark with museums and historic sites on the 33-acre campus. Inside the history center are historical collections and civil war memorabilia.

Highlights:

The history center houses the Kenan Research Center for analyzing documents and researching Atlanta's history. Margaret Mitchell House is also on campus, and avid readers regularly flock to the building to learn about the renowned “Gone with the Wind” author.

Address and opening hours:

130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

Scenic and natural landmarks in Atlanta

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8. Centennial Olympic Park

Georgia’s legacy from the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, you can visit the memorial site for the bombing that took place at the Centennial Olympic Park and see other sculptures. They include the Fountain of Rings interactive water installation and the Olympic Rings Statue.

Highlights:

Go on a fun scavenger hunt, where you’ll join a group to solve puzzles and complete challenges.

Address and opening hours:

285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta. Open daily, 7:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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9. Georgia Aquarium

The largest aquarium in the United States, Georgia Aquarium is home to an underwater paradise. Discover the world's largest fish, including dolphins, belugas, and whale sharks. The animal encounters include swimming with whale sharks or getting up close with penguins.

Highlights:

Take a self-guided narrated walking tour, which stops off at the Georgia Aquarium, where you can explore sea creatures.

Address and opening hours:

225 Baker St NW, Atlanta. Open daily, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM.

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10. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Explore beautiful displays and spectacular exhibitions in the Tropical Rotunda, Japanese Garden, and Children's Garden at Atlanta Botanical Garden. With the Canopy Walk, you can stroll on the walkway suspended 40 feet above the ground and walk among treetops.

Highlights:

Discover the green spaces in Atlanta as part of a nature tour; it includes a stop at Atlanta Botanical Garden and a 40-foot-tall canopy walk.

Address and opening hours:

1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM.

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11. Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Park

Learn about the Martin Luther King Jr. Park that covers 35 acres in Downtown Atlanta. The complex contains buildings important to the life and work of the civil rights icon, including his childhood home.

Highlights:

On an MLK historic district walking tour, you’ll walk the streets he once walked and enjoy stories from your guide abouts the civil rights movement.

Address and opening hours:

450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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12. Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta is unique due to its panda population. While the bears are a favorite among visitors in Atlanta, the zoo also boasts over 1,300 animals of more than 220 species; watch out for lions, zebras, giraffes, and reptiles.

Highlights:

Spend the day at the zoo visiting giant pandas, rare bears, and gorillas. Participate in other activities like a carousel, rope course, and train rides here too.

Address and opening hours:

800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta. Open daily, 9:00 AM-3:30 PM.

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13. Stone Mountain Park

A short drive east from central Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is spread across 3,200 acres and offers many fun activities. Stop by the Confederate Memorial Carving, or marvel at the world’s largest high-relief sculpture depicting Jefferson Davis.

Highlights:

Book a tour and enjoy a scenic cable car ride up the mountain. Visit the top attractions in the park and listen to stories behind the artifacts at the museums.

Address and opening hours:

1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain, GA. Open daily, 5:00 AM-12:00 AM.

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14. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

You'll discover numerous adventure activities along the 48-mile stretch of water at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. You can take part in a hike, go kayaking and canoeing on the river, cycle along the trails, or even go fishing.

Highlights:

Get ready for an adrenalin rush with the Chattahoochee River Tubing Experience. It’s a great way to beat the heat as you float, spin or surge along the water.

Address and opening hours:

3444 Cobb Pkwy, Atlanta. Open daily, 5:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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15. Historic Fourth Ward Park

The Historic Fourth Ward Park is a 17-acre green space in the center of the city. Connected by the BeltLine to Freedom Park and Piedmont Park, the park is nestled in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood near the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

At its heart sits a two-acre lake, with an amphitheater, a playground with slides, swings, rock walls, and climbing areas, and a skatepark.

Highlights:

Cool off at Old Fourth Ward at the splash pad, which features jets of streaming water that spout from the ground and overhead, or rent a bike to zoom around the park.

Address and opening hours:

680 Dallas St NE, Atlanta. Open daily, 6:00 AM-11:00 PM.

FAQs

What is the oldest historic landmark in Atlanta?

The oldest historic structure within the city limits is the Joseph Willis House, built in 1840. The 1840 Tullie Smith House at the Atlanta History Center is also one of the oldest landmarks and still stands tall.

What are some free landmarks to visit in Atlanta?

Relax in the well-groomed Centennial Olympic Park and cool off at the fountain rings or spend the day on the playgrounds. Some museums offer free entry during special events for families. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park doesn't require a ticket.

Are there any guided tours that focus on the architecture of Atlanta's landmarks?

Go on an architecture tour and admire the architectural gems that arose in the 19th and 20th centuries. Marvel at the architectural landmarks and admire pieces of art on Atlanta's streets.

How can I get the best views of scenic landmarks in Atlanta?

Visit Skyline Park and enjoy the view of the city, including the scenic landmarks. Alternatively, soar almost 20 stories above the Centennial Olympic Park on the Ferris Wheel for impressive views of the park and the skyscrapers in Atlanta.

What are some natural landmarks near Atlanta worth visiting?

Enjoy natural landmarks in the city and explore a variety of terrains, including mountains, rivers, and creeks. The top natural landmarks available in Atlanta include Stone Mountain Park, Chattahoochee River, and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.