Super Bowl LIII fans who converged on Atlanta not only saw the game from their perches inside the fabulous Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they also discovered that there are countless reasons that Atlanta is a great place to visit. Travel+Leisure rates Atlanta one of the 20 most fun cities in America; Food & Wine loves our barbecue; and Billboard cites East Atlanta as a mecca for singer-songwriters and musicians. Read on for more reasons to enjoy a trip to Atlanta.
It seems there’s a festival nearly every weekend somewhere in Atlanta. Some focus on the arts, some cook up tasty food. Others are the reason Atlanta music festivals are legendary.
- These 10 food festivals are sure to banish hunger pangs.
- In the fall, Music Midtown brings sounds ranging from rock to hip-hop to pop and electronic.
- ONE Musicfest at Cellairis Lakewood Amphitheatre caters to fans of urban progressive music. Hear what Janelle Monáe says about this festival.
- When spring rolls around, it's time for the Shaky Knees Music Festival (indie, folk, country and rock) and the Shaky Beats Music Festival (EDM focused) both held in the Old Fourth Ward’s Central Park.
Atlanta is the No. 1 filming location for movies and TV shows in the world, according to FilmL.A. Furthermore, our city is the setting for the hit FX television series “ATLANTA,” which also is filmed here. To top it all off, creator and star Donald Glover is right at home here because he grew up in metropolitan Atlanta.
- Hop aboard a bus with Atlanta Movie Tours and visit the sets for films and TV shows including “Black Panther” and “The Walking Dead” while actors doubling as guides share fascinating inside stories.
- Find out more about the “Hollywood of the South.”
- Plan your trip around the Atlanta Film Festival or the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Note that Atlanta also is home to a horror film festival and nine more.
- Keep your eyes open because all this filming in our city means that, on just about any day, there are celebrities in town, and this has given rise to that popular sport, celebrity sightings. Check here for the best Atlanta spots for seeing celebrities.
There are legendary restaurants around every corner, featuring everything from naked dogs walkin’ to Korean barbecue, steak, dim sum and, natch, fried chicken.
Atlanta is the shopping capital of the Southeast, with everything from designer wear to funky boutiques and one only-in-Atlanta store that defies description.
- Can’t live without designer labels? Head to Buckhead where you’ll find fancy labels at Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and Shops Buckhead Atlanta.
- Prefer outdoor shopping? Visit Westside Provisions District. And don’t miss Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market, Shops Around Lenox and Atlantic Station.
- Love to have your mind blown by outrageous, one-of-a-kind stores? Junkman’s Daughter in Little Five Points is crazy fun.
- Bennett Street is an enclave of art studios, galleries, beauty salons, renovation experts, decorative art shops and clothing boutiques.
- Miami Circle is where Atlantans in the know go for home decor.
The Yankees burned Atlanta during the Civil War, and we have the Margaret Mitchell house (and the Atlanta author’s famous book) to underscore our Civil War history. A century after the Civil War, Atlanta became the spiritual center of the civil rights movement.
- Block out plenty of time to visit Atlanta History Center, home of “Turning Point: the American Civil War,” one of the largest exhibits of its kind in the country. Early in 2019, the Atlanta Cyclorama, an enormous painting in the round of the Battle of Atlanta, reopens in its stunning new home at Atlanta History Center.
- Relive Atlanta's civil rights heritage as you stand beside the grave sites of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. Walk in the footsteps of civil rights icons at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. Relive the entire period at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Learn about President Jimmy Carter’s work to support human rights at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum.
One legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta is Centennial Olympic Park. Stand in this beautiful green space smack in the middle of Downtown and take a look around at all the things to do, just a few steps away.
- Stroll across Centennial Olympic Park to take an Inside CNN Studio Tour for a behind-the-scenes look at how news is produced.
- “Sea” the Georgia Aquarium for up-close looks at marine life ranging from whale sharks to beluga whales to puffins and dolphins.
- Walk just across the street from Centennial Olympic Park and into the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
- Celebrate our famous soft drink at World of Coca-Cola where you can meet the Coca-Cola polar bear, see the vault where the secret formula resides and have an all-around nostalgic experience as you view Coca-Cola history.
Arts & Culture
Whether it’s European art, street art or performing arts you love, find it in Atlanta.
- Discover more than 17,000 works of art in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection, where the galleries recently were reinstalled. Marvel at decorative arts and don’t miss European paintings, African-American art, modern art, folk art and photography.
- Be amazed at Atlanta’s fabulous street art.
- See a play before it hits Broadway at Alliance Theatre. Laugh your socks off at Dad’s Garage, an improv theater. Take in a puppet show at Center for Puppetry Arts. Check this list of 10 places to see live theatre in Atlanta.
- Tune into live music at these five top spots.
Outdoor Fun All Year Long
Atlanta is in the South y’all, and that means the weather is pretty nice most of the time. Even if you visit in wintertime, chances are good that you can get outside for a walk, a hike or a bike ride.
If that’s not enough to convince you to plan a trip to Atlanta, try these 50 fun things to do. If you have visited some or many of Atlanta's most popular attractions, here's a list of alternatives that we call Done That? Do This!
Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.