• Lisa

Atlanta, Georgia - City Guide

Updated: 6 days ago

I grew up in Georgia but never spent much time in downtown Atlanta. Now when I come back to visit I find myself spending all of my time in downtown Atlanta because there is so much to explore! Atlanta offers something fun for everyone.

Know Before You Go to Atlanta, Georgia

There are a few key things you need to know before visiting Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Atlanta is nicknamed HOT-lanta for a reason - summer months are hot and humid (especially in July and August).

  • There's a LOT of traffic. Drivers can be aggressive so be careful if you rent a car!

  • It's not the most walkable city... try MARTA (subway) or Lyft/Uber.

  • There are hundreds of "Peachtree" roads in downtown Atlanta. Don't get them mixed up!

  • Be mindful of your surroundings at night - the city does have a lot of crime unfortunately.

  • Consider buying an Atlanta CityPASS for 40% off the Top 5 Attractions in Atlanta.

Getting to Atlanta, Georgia

By Plane:

If you fly a lot (especially on Delta) you've probably been to the Atlanta Airport. It's known as the busiest airport in the world and it's easy to see why. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is located about 20 minutes south of downtown Atlanta. The cost of an Uber or Lyft is typically under $20 (but this varies significantly on traffic). Taxis have a flat rate of $30 from the airport into downtown.

By Car:

Atlanta is extremely accessible via car which is one of it's biggest perks! Located in the heart of the south, you're a short drive away from many large cities.

  • Birmingham, AL: 147 Miles (2 Hours and 14 Minutes)

  • Columbia, SC: 213 Miles (3 Hours and 9 Minutes)

  • Charlotte, NC: 244 Miles (3 Hours and 50 Minutes)

  • Nashville, TN: 249 Miles (3 Hours and 50 Minutes)

  • Orlando, FL: 441 Miles (6 Hours and 25 Minutes)

See below for a list of my

Top 15 Favorite Things To Do in Atlanta!

1. Snap a pic at the Johnston Street Bridge!

This iconic spot is perfect for a skyline view of Atlanta. It's fairly easy to access and has a little ledge for you to park your car quickly to hop out and snap a pic. You may recognize this view from the Walking Dead ads.

2. Enjoy a picnic at Piedmont Park

This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Atlanta. You can enjoy a picnic here, go for a run, or check out any of their Events in the Park here.

3. Shop till you drop at Ponce City Market

Locals and tourists will flock to the Ponce City Market to shop local trends and eat at unique restaurants! There is something here for everyone!

4. Spend the day with your favorite fishies at the Georgia Aquarium

Plan to spend most of your day here, there is so much to see and do! Don't miss the dolphin show, its so cute and fun for all ages. This is one of the included attractions in the Atlanta CityPASS.

Fun Fact - there is a hidden #TinyDoorsATL inside the Aquarium! Can you find it?

5. Date night at the Fox Theatre

Enjoy a little broadway action at the "Fabulous Fox" Theatre in Atlanta! Inside, the design is like no other theatre I've ever been to - it's inspired by Eastern Mosques and ornate Egyptian styles. Their upcoming shows are listed here!

6. Hike Stone Mountain and enjoy the view from the top

Stone Mountain Park features 15 miles of hiking and walking trails, including the 1 mile trail to the top of the mountain which starts at the Confederate Hall Historical & Environmental Education Center. Check out the trails here!

7. Watch the Bravos play at SunTrust Park

The New SunTrust Park is a site to see! Make sure to get to the game a few hour early and enjoy the outside of the Stadium at The Battery Atlanta. There are so many cool bars, breweries, and restaurants to try! Once you go inside the stadium, there are still tons of food options. Cheer on the Braves in one of the nicest stadiums in America!  

8. See Lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) at the Zoo

Spending a day at the zoo is a day well spent! The Atlanta Zoo has a wide variety of animals and plenty of educational experiences. This is one of the included activities in the Atlanta CityPASS.

9. Take a behind the scenes tour at CNN Studios

I love a good behind the scenes tour to see inside looks at how businesses and companies operate. CNN offers a fantastic 50 minute walking tour through their live broadcast set. It's well worth the $15 price and available 7 days a week! Don't sweat if you didn't buy a ticket in advance, they usually have them available day of!

This is one of the included activities in the Atlanta CityPASS.

10. Cool off with some Coca Cola beverages and a tour of their headquarters!

The best part about the World of Coca-Cola is the tastings! Try Coke's from around the World or retired recipes from over the years. They have over 100 options.

This is one of the included activities in the Atlanta CityPASS.

11. Eat at Varsity

"Whaddya have, whaddya have, whaddya have?!"

Chances are you'll hear that exact phrase the second you walk into Varsity. The Varsity is an Atlanta staple and a must try for new visitors! It's known for hot dogs, chili, and fries, but don't let that stop you from trying other things on the menu!

PS: Chick-Fil-A was also founded here in Georgia so you'll see plenty of those! Fun Fact: There is even a Hawaiian themed Chick-Fil-A south of Atlanta (called Truett's Luau).

12. Try a Beer at Sweet Water Brewery

When in Georgia, do as the Georgians do. Sweet Water Brewery is a watering hole here in Atlanta filled with locals and tourists alike! You'll love the variety of beers they have on tap!

PS: If you love the Sweet Water Mural pictured above, check out my full list for the best Instagram-Worthy murals in Atlanta HERE.

13. College Football Hall of Fame

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I don't love sports. BUT!! The College Football Hall of Fame is such a cool experience, even for those who don't adore the sport. There are plenty of immersive and interactive experiences that make it fun for adults and kids. You can watch video clips of your favorite athletes and coaches, check out famous trophies, or try one of the interactive experiences!

This is one of the included activities in the Atlanta CityPASS.

14. Have a Scavenger Hunt Around the City to find Tiny Doors ATL

#TinyDoorsATL is an art installation all over the city. You'll find 6" doors sprinkled around with fun decor and themes. I've created an entire guide HERE for the Tiny Doors ATL experience.

15. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

Georgia has had one President of the United States! Check out his Library to learn more about the history during his term. Tickets are $12 for adults and kids under the age of 16 are free!

16. Chateau Elan Winery

This might be 40 minutes north of the city, but it is worth the drive!! Chateau Elan Winery features a variety of red, white, and muscadine wines available to taste and purchase. It is part of a resort so you can make a weekend out of it or just go for the day to sample new wines. Either way, you will certainly fall in love with it!

Related Post: Review of Chateau Elan Wines

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Looking to book a trip soon? Check out my favorite resources below:

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  • Travelocity: Search for great deals on hotels, rental cars, fights, and more!

  • Contiki: Travel the world with 18-35 year olds!

  • CityPASS: Buy a CityPASS to save money on popular attractions!

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