Best places to visit in Atlanta: top attractions you don't want to miss

From seeing civil rights history at Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Park to the foodie Ponce City Market or the 22-mile trail of the Beltline, these are the 20 best places to go in Atlanta.

Atlanta isn't just about peaches and traffic; it's a cultural goldmine waiting for you to strike it rich.

Ever fancied sipping on a craft brew in a historic speakeasy? Or maybe you're itching to groove to live jazz in a tucked-away alley? Atlanta's got you. From vibrant street art to soulful Southern kitchens, this city is a mosaic of authentic experiences.

If you’re here with kids, check out Zoo Atlanta or a dolphin show at Georgia Aquarium, while foodies should make a beeline for Ponce City Market. Art museums are popular too, like the High Museum of Art or the Michael C. Carlos museum.

The 22-mile BeltLine, similar to New York’s Highline, is a great place to be outdoors in summer, lined with art installations and walking trails, while history buffs will love exploring the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park.

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to do and see with this list of the 20 best places in Atlanta.

Best places in Atlanta for history

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1. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

Covering 35 acres and featuring several sites related to the life and work of one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the world, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is the best place to learn about him. You’ll see his boyhood home, the church where he was baptized, and his final resting place.

Highlights:

A guided tour will point out interesting facts and locations, such as the Baptist Church where Luther King, Jr. was a pastor.

Address and opening hours:

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

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2. Atlanta History Center

Explore Georgia’s past through a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions and walk through miles of gardens and trails. The Atlanta History Center is spread across 33 acres, where you’ll find historic buildings such as Atlanta’s oldest-surviving farmhouse, the elegant Swan House mansion, and a reproduction wood cabin.

Highlights:

Stop by the house of “Gone with the Wind” author, Margaret Mitchell, for a brief film and exhibition or stroll around the six beautiful gardens.

Address and opening hours:

130 West Paces Ferry Road NW. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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3. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, set on 30 acres of land between two lakes, is dedicated to the life and work of the 39th U.S. president. Catch a glimpse of the replica of the Oval Office and stop by the cabin used for Camp David meetings.

Highlights:

Learn more as part of a private city highlights tour, where you’ll get expert insight into Carter’s administration and see exhibits such as his Nobel Peace Prize.

Address and opening hours:

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

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4. National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Get an in-depth look at the civil rights movement and global human rights struggles at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. The 42,000-square-foot complex explores history through exhibits and artifacts – some interactive – with three permanent exhibitions on–site.

Highlights:

After you’ve visited the center, discover more about African-American heritage and learn about the fight for civil rights on a dedicated tour.

Address and opening hours:

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

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5. Historic Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery may have over 70,000 graves, but it also showcases the history of Georgia. It's one of the best places to visit in Atlanta to learn about the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement as you can still see the segregated “Black” section. You can also spot the graves of well-known Atlantans like author Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones, the golfer.

Highlights:

The cemetery is a great place to explore history, art, and nature. Find intricate statues and architecture among the trees, winding paths, and shrubs.

Address and opening hours:

248 Oakland Ave E. The cemetery is open daily 6:00 AM-6:00 PM while the visitor center and museum are open 10:00 AM-2:00 PM Monday-Friday and 9:00 AM-5:00 PM on weekends.

Best places in Atlanta for art

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6. High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art has impressive architecture and aesthetics making it an art-lover’s paradise. Designed by Richard Meier, the white porcelain exterior is mirrored on its interior. The roof filters sunlight inside, illuminating the exhibitions; there are over 18,000 works within.

Highlights:

Explore noteworthy collections from 19th- and 20th-century American art and an impressive collection of European works from the 1300s.

Address and opening hours:

1280 Peachtree St NE. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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7. Michael C. Carlos Museum

With the largest collection of ancient art in Southeast, the Michael C. Carlos Museum is a must-visit attraction in Atlanta. Explore over 17,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome, Asia, and Greece.

Explore Greek and Egyptian Art at the

Highlights:

The elaborately decorated ancient coffins and mummies of both humans and animals form the centerpiece of the permanent exhibition of ancient Egyptian art.

Address and opening hours:

571 South Kilgo Cir NE. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. The opening hours vary on weekends.

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8. Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts is the largest organization in the U.S. dedicated to the art form of puppetry. The hands-on museum showcases examples as diverse as African rod and Chinese hand puppets and a gallery devoted to the works of master–puppeteer, Jim Henson.

Highlights:

Sesame Street enthusiasts will be delighted by the largest collection of their favorite characters. Enjoy workshops, exhibits, and events, or attend live shows.

Address and opening hours:

1404 Spring Street NW, Atlanta. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM, and Sunday, 12:00 PM-5:00 PM.

Best places in Atlanta for families

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9. Georgia Aquarium

If your little ones love animals, don't miss the chance to visit one of the top attractions in Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium houses thousands of animals to explore across seven major galleries. Your kids will enjoy seeing the freshwater animals or swimming with sharks and manta rays in the Ocean Voyager gallery.

Highlights:

The aquarium's dolphin show is a must-attend if you love sea lions and dolphins. Your kids will love watching the presentation and other exciting shows at the 4D theater.

Address and opening hours:

225 Baker St. NW. Open daily, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM, and an hour early on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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10. Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta allows you to spend time with giant pandas and other wildlife species. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot giraffes, zebras, sloths, lions, reptiles and more. The Zoo houses 1,500 animals, but you can easily navigate due to its manageable size.

Highlights:

Aside from animals, kids can enjoy a train ride, ropes course, and carousel.

Address and opening hours:

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

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11. World of Coca-Cola

Adults can learn about the history of the famous soda – it was invented in the city by pharmacist John S. Pemberton in 1886 – and kids can sample the drinks at World of Coca-Cola. Explore the two-level museum to learn the impact of Coca-Cola on pop culture and its contributions as a global brand.

Highlights:

Allow your children to sample some of the various types, enjoy the 3D theater, and don't forget to grab various Coke memorabilia at the gift shop.

Address and opening hours:

121 Baker St. NW. Open daily 10:00 AM-7:00 PM.

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12. Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park is a great place to visit in Atlanta. Sprawling over 200 acres, the park has something for everyone. Pups can play in the dog parks while kids enjoy the playgrounds. Spend your afternoon at one of the picnic facilities or walk along the jogging paths as your kids play.

Highlights:

If you love tennis, there’s a tennis court for adults. Alternatively, enjoy a dip in the swimming pool or attend the Saturday farmers market.

Address and opening hours:

400 Park Drive NE. Open daily, 6:00 AM-11:00 PM.

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13. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Bond with nature at the Atlanta Botanical Garden as your kids play in the green spaces. Some unique gardens here include the Edible Garden and Tropical High Elevation House.

Highlights:

Stop by the Lou Glenn Children's Garden and let the kids play on the climbing frames. You can't miss the Fuqua Orchid Center, which features unique high-elevation orchids.

Address and opening hours:

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

Best places in Atlanta for culture

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14. Ponce City Market

Experience the culture of Atlanta through its delicious cuisine at Ponce City Market. Set in a former Sears warehouse, it is one of the best food halls in th country, with shopping and entertainment venues. Explore a variety of boutique shops and galleries for souvenirs and vintage designs.

Highlights:

Enjoy various food experiences, from casual cafes to elegant dining restaurants, and don’t miss Oprah Winfrey’s favorite gelato, Brown Butter Toffee.

Address and opening hours:

675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE. Open daily, 10:00 AM-9:00 PM.

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15. Krog Street Market

Experience the best of Atlanta at the Krog Street Market. Besides the fresh produce stalls and enticing restaurants, it’s a lively, laid-back market packed with specialty shops.

Highlights:

The market is located in a historic 1920s warehouse giving it a unique vibe. You can get souvenirs, specialty chocolate, and craft beer retailers or find vintage clothing and home and garden essentials.

Address and opening hours:

99 Krog Street NE. Open daily, 7:00 AM-9:00 PM.

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16. 22-mile BeltLine

Experience the culture and diversity of Atlanta through its redeveloped BeltLine area, a 22–mile stretch of hiking trails, street art and more.

Highlights:

Stop by the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark to enjoy watching the skaters in action. Learn the culture of the natives through music events and temporary art installations.

Address and opening hours:

619 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312. The BeltLine is accessible 24 hours daily.

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17. Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia is a great spot for relaxing and playing. Try out the roller coaster rides that send you flying at 70 miles per hour with a 12-story drop. If you visit during the summer, you can cool off at the on-site water park.

Highlights:

The highlight of the Thrill Capital of the South is the live shows and other entertainment events. One famous live show is the Looney Tunes meet–and–greet, where you can interact with other visitors.

Address and opening hours:

275 Riverside Parkway, Austell. Open daily, 11:00 AM-8:00 PM.

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18. SkyView Atlanta

Get on the 20-story Ferris wheel in Centennial Park for a beautiful view of the city's skyscraper-studded skyline. SkyView Atlanta is on the south end of the park and is strategically positioned to provide panoramic views.

Highlights:

Once on board, you’ll be able to spot the top attractions in Atlanta; watch the famous Fountain of Rings show from your dizzying vantage point.

Address and opening hours:

168 Luckie St NW. Open daily, 12:00 PM-10:00 PM, and two hours earlier on weekends.

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19. Fox Theatre

After spending the day sightseeing, catch a performance at the Fox Theatre. Diverse entertainment options include ballet, rock concerts, operas, and movies. The ballrooms are reserved for special events.

Highlights:

The Fox Theatre isn't just a performance room but is also a historic place. Built in the 1920s as the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque, the Arabian-themed design has been retained through its restoration.

Address and opening hours:

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

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20. Fernbank Museum of Natural History

The huge dinosaur statues and skeletons make Fernbank Museum one of the top tourist attractions in Atlanta. You are greeted by the dinosaur statues at the entrance, drawing attention to the sight.

Highlights:

The most entertaining display worth visiting at Fernbank Museum of Natural History is the interactive display of Sensing Nature. It explores the natural history and local landscape combined with IMAX theater and nature-related films.

Address and opening hours:

767 Clifton Road NE. Open daily, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

FAQs

How many days should I spend in Atlanta?

Atlanta city unveils itself in many layers and provides a community feel. Spending three days in Atlanta allows you to explore the attractions that make the city tick. However, longer trips allow you to explore the city's surrounding areas and take day trips elsewhere. Most attractions don’t feel like tourist traps, and you will have memorable moments in the strong dining scene and historical exhibits.

What is the best time of year to visit Atlanta?

Atlanta summers can be extremely hot and humid, making spring the perfect time to visit the city. Plan your trip between March and May to enjoy the mild weather. Most outdoor activities and concerts happen in spring, allowing you to enjoy the holiday. To save a few bucks, visit during winter or in September, October, and November, where you can get good deals.

How do I get around Atlanta?

Exploring Atlanta is easy due to the varied transit options. The popular mode of transport is the MARTA transit rail system that traverses the city and various neighborhoods. If you prefer to cruise by car, consider rideshare, shuttle, or hop in a taxicab. The best mode of transport around the entertainment district is the Atlanta Streetcar.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Atlanta?

Each neighborhood resembles a mini metropolis serving lively night destinations, eclectic restaurants, and history. Downtown Duluth is a small getaway from the bustling city that hosts multiple touring events. If you want versatility, the Old Fourth Ward provides a little of everything. It is home to Ponce City Market, the BeltLine, and the historic childhood residence of Dr. Martin Luther King.

What are the best places to go shopping in Atlanta?

Atlanta offers fantastic shopping destinations, from retail districts to shopping centers. Visit the sprawling malls for your favorite designer pieces and exclusive items. Ponce City Market is a popular shopping destination, while the Atlantic Station open-air mall provides laid-back outdoor shopping.