Centennial Olympic Park, the beautiful centerpiece of downtown Atlanta and beloved legacy of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games is a public park, free for everyone to enjoy. It doesn't cost a penny to enter the park and stroll around among the water features, green space and Fountain of Rings.
However, if you want to visit the many popular attractions surrounding the park, there are admission charges.
This year, some areas of the park are under construction as new features are added and others are improved, but that doesn’t prohibit a walk through the park. The construction has limited activities like festivals inside the park, but once construction is complete later this year, park-based activities will amp up once again.
Even when there isn’t a festival or another event occurring inside the park, there is plenty to do around the park. Located right next to each other and just off the perimeter of the park are Georgia Aquarium, home to whale sharks, dolphins, beluga whales and so much more; and World of Coca-Cola, a fun romp through the history of the world's most famous soft drink. A few steps away, find the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, where you can register in order to customize your visit around your favorite team; and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, where you will be moved as you explore the history of the American civil rights movement and learn about worldwide human rights campaigns.
Just across Marietta Street is CNN Center where you can take a CNN Studio Tour. And just across Centennial Olympic Park Drive, find the Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Also nearby are Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks; and Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United FC.
On Luckie Street, just across the street from the park, see Atlanta from 20 stories up when you take a spin on the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel. Stop in Game X on Baker Street for a bite, a drink and lots and lots of games. The Tabernacle on Luckie Street is the venue for plenty top musical acts. If a big name is playing there, don’t be surprised to see a very long line that forms early.
Within walking distance of the park, find Atlanta’s top hotels and restaurants galore.
Among the new attractions currently under construction in the park are Olympic-themed features including an interactive medal podium plaza and an Olympic sport promenade, an interactive Olympic ring feature and extended water features.
Centennial Olympic Park, during the 1996 Games, was the gathering spot both for people attending various Olympic events or for people who didn’t necessarily have tickets to an event, but just wanted to be a part of the Olympic excitement in Atlanta. Today, it is a wonderful place that welcomes everyone.
Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.