Top 10 Attractions in Atlanta

September 03, 2019

From its humble beginnings as a railroad terminus in the mid-1800s to a starring role as an Olympics host city in 1996, Atlanta has grown through the decades. Whether traveling for business or looking for a city setting for your next family trip, you’ll find Georgia’s capital city the perfect place to explore. From TV studio tours, historical sites and a plethora of museums to amusement parks, nature parks and various sports arenas, the ATL truly offers something for everyone. Where should you go and what should you do during your visit? Here are 10 of our recommendations.

1. Enter the World of Coca-Cola

Dr. John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, created Coca-Cola back in 1886. The World of Coca-Cola celebrates the popular drink’s history with galleries of artifacts such as a replica soda fountain shop and a vintage delivery truck, interactive exhibits showcasing Coca-Cola’s trademark contour bottle, and its secret formula and tastings of more than 100 Coca-Cola drinks from around the globe. You’ll learn more about the world’s most popular soda brand than you ever thought possible.

2. Relax in Centennial Olympic Park

As its name suggests, Centennial Olympic Park was created when Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, and it continues to serve as a place to both play and relax in downtown Atlanta. Stroll through to see its many statues themed on the Olympic games, as well as its water features, especially the Fountain of Rings. Children (and adults) are permitted to play in the fountain, and at four times throughout the day its water display gets coordinated with a companion music and light show.

3. Learn History at the Breman Museum

This little gem of a museum teaches about the Holocaust in a small, but intense, gallery space that incorporates artifacts, photos, family records, first-person recollections and the gallery’s architecture itself. The Breman also has two galleries where it hosts temporary exhibits: Current and past displays have showcased Harry Houdini, the works of Dr. Seuss and the history of Jewish people in Atlanta.

4. Play at LEGOLand Discovery Center

You’re never too old to play with LEGOs, and LEGOLand Discovery Center gives you the perfect excuse to create, build and have fun with your kids. Learn how the ubiquitous plastic bricks are created during the LEGO factory tour, then head to the Earthquake Tables to see if you can create a quakeproof brick tower. Compete to build the fastest LEGO race car or immerse yourself in a virtual reality race experience. Save time to walk through MiniLand, ride one of the amusement rides and play at Pirate Adventure Island—this LEGO playland will have the whole family participating.

5. Get Lost in the Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a true urban oasis, offering an escape filled with trees, plants, flowers, garden paths and even fairytale topiaries in temporary exhibits. Its 30 acres house an assortment of display gardens, as well as the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, the Skyline Garden and Storza Woods. Come here to lose yourself in nature, sign up for a class or attend a lecture, a concert out on the grass or a weekend frog feeding. Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s online Garden Guide for interactive help planning your itinerary. Don’t miss the Earth Goddess for an Instagram-worthy photo!

6. Explore the Center for Civil and Human Rights

Located a block from Centennial Olympic Park, the Center for Civil and Human Rights presents a mix of permanent and temporary exhibits that educate about the American Civil Rights Movement and the Global Human Rights Movement. Displays include some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers and speeches and a powerful interactive “sit in reenactment” lunch counter.

7. Roam Through the Oakland Cemetery

While walking through a cemetery may sound like a strange activity, Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery is also the city’s oldest park, and it features more than just gravestones. You’ll see notable architecture, sculptures and gardens, as well as venerable old trees—many dating back to the pre-Civil War period. There are more than 70,000 people buried here, including golfer Bobby Jones, author Margaret Mitchell and Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor. Stop by the Visitors Center in the Bell Tower to pick up a self-guided tour map of the cemetery and/or to browse the Museum Shop’s Oakland-themed merchandise.

8. Spend Hours at the College Football Hall of Fame

College football fans should definitely not miss Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame, a celebration of all things college football. Spanning three floors, this venue features a 47-yard football field and floor-to-ceiling display of 760 college football team helmets. Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive exhibits, which include role-playing as a sportscaster, a skill zone to show off your football prowess and video boards to learn more about particular teams or players. Cool augmented reality displays tell you everything you want to know about all College Football Hall of Fame inductees.

9. Wander Through History at the Atlanta History Center

This is the place to go to immerse yourself in both the history of Atlanta and its broader surroundings. The Atlanta History Center includes the Atlanta History Museum, Swan House, the Smith Family Farm and an authentic wood cabin at its location at West Paces Ferry Road, as well as the Margaret Mitchell House five miles away on Crescent Avenue. Learn all about the life of Mitchell before and after she wrote Gone with the Wind, as well as the popular film based on the book. Back at the Center, explore the city’s history from the earliest settler days through to modern times with the help of museum exhibits and the buildings residents actually lived in. The different presentations and personal stories allow you to see history from a variety of viewpoints.

10. Experience the Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the U.S., with plans to expand further in the near future. Exhibits here include animals that live in both fresh- and saltwater, including otters, sea lions, penguins, Beluga whales, alligators, seahorses, stingrays, sharks and so much more. The dolphin show is a popular one—if you plan to see it, be sure to get in line 30-45 minutes before showtime. Visitors can pay extra to experience an assortment of animal “encounters,” including an up-close-and-personal experience with Beluga whales.

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