New Things to Do in Atlanta in 2019

Atlanta's favorite attractions have plenty new exhibits and shows on tap for 2019. Take your pick -- or see them all.
  • The outlook is bright for 2019, with loads of new things to do in ATL. (Gene Phillips,
    The outlook is bright for 2019, with loads of new things to do in ATL. (Gene Phillips,

The long-awaited reopening of the Cyclorama in its brand new home at Atlanta History Center finally occurs in 2019. Atlanta Botanical Garden brings back Imaginary Worlds, this time with "Alice in Wonderland" as the theme. Harold brings his purple crayon to Center for Puppetry Arts, and pterosaurs fly into Fernbank. Read on to find out more new things to do in Atlanta in 2019.

Alliance Theatre

Alliance Theatre

The cast of "Ever After" was hard at work rehearsing in December 2018. 

Opening Jan. 15 and running through Feb. 17, the Alliance presents “Ever After: A Musical for the Ages,” based on the movie, “Ever After.” The production will be the first on the Alliance’s brand new Coca-Cola stage.

On March 20, the theater presents “Angry, Raucous and Shamefully Gorgeous,” through April 14. When two former activists set out to find a candidate they can back in an upcoming congressional race, they find a political landscape very different from the one they remember from their 1970s' "glory days."

And from May 1 through 26, the Midtown theater stages “Ride the Cyclone.” Recommended for audiences age 13 and up, “Ride the Cyclone” tells the story of the Saint Cassian High School Chamber Choir that boards the Cyclone roller coaster at 8:17 p.m. At 8:19 the front axle breaks, sending them to their tragic demise. A mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell the story of a life interrupted -- with the promise of a prize like no other.

Atlanta Ballet
Atlanta Ballet starts the new year with “La Sylphide,” Feb. 15 through 23, then moves onto “Beauty & the Beast,” Feb. 21 through 24; “Look/Don’t Touch,” March 22 through 24; “City Springs,” April 12 and 13; and Director’s Choice, May 10 through 12.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden 

An all-new Imaginary Worlds exhibit comes to Atlanta Botanical Garden in 2019, this new one built around "Alice in Wonderland." 

The Atlanta Botanical Garden presents the work of three generations of Atlanta artists internationally acclaimed for their woodturning Feb. 9 through April 27.

“Conservation through Creation: The Works of Ed, Philip and Matt Moulthrop” features the connection between art and nature by showcasing how the artists work with the natural beauty of a tree. The exhibition, presented in the Gardenhouse Gallery, includes the Moulthrops’ iconic bowls, examples of tree material in its natural form and the tools used to produce the bowls. Among the work will be the artists’ new Atlanta Botanical Garden series created from tree material supplied by the Midtown garden and the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville.

And there’s more coming from the garden. If you’ve seen past Imaginary Worlds exhibits at Atlanta Botanical Garden – the shows where giant topiary-like sculptures are constructed out of live plants – you won’t want to miss this year’s version in which Imaginary Worlds salutes “Alice in Wonderland.”

Coming in the spring, the new exhibit runs from May 11 through Oct. 27. The beloved children’s tale plays out with a sleeping Alice sprawling in the garden, while an enormous chess board and oversized card characters occupy the event lawn, with Cheshire Cat poised nearby. A giant White Rabbit floats in in the pond in an upside-down umbrella – among the sculptures that loom even taller than last summer’s Dragon. In addition, many of the 2018 sculptures will be outfitted with different plants, staged in surprisingly new locations or both.

Atlanta History Center

Atlanta History CenterMoving the Cyclorama from Grant Park to its new home at Atlanta History Center has been a long and painstaking process, and the new and restored Cyclorama finally opens in 2019. 

The much-anticipated opening of the all-new Cyclorama building – and the reinstalled and improved famous painting in the round of the Battle of Atlanta – finally occurs early in 2019.

“The Battle of Atlanta” is one of only 17 surviving cycloramas worldwide. These massive paintings predated Hollywood talkies and are sometimes described as the 3-D IMAX movies of their time. Of the 11 still on exhibit, only three reside in North America -- one in Quebec, one in Pennsylvania and, of course, Atlanta’s own “The Battle of Atlanta.”

Standing 42-feet tall with a circumference of 371 feet, the painting weighs in the neighborhood of 10,000 pounds. Moving it from Grant Park, where it has resided since 1921, was a feat of engineering.

Once the team of experts completed the move, which took two full days, they began restoring the painting, a process that included the re-creation of seven feet of sky across the top.

The other big exhibit opening at Atlanta History Center in 2019 is "Any Great Change: The Centennial of the 19th Amendment," which gave women the right to vote. It opens June 4.

Atlanta Opera
"Maria de Buenos Aires," back by popular demand, takes the stage March 28 through April 6 at Paris on Ponce in Midtown. This show sold out when the Atlanta Opera performed it in February 2017, also at Paris on Ponce.

Center for Puppetry Arts

Harold and the Purple Crayon - Center for Puppetry Arts
Harold and his purple crayon are headed to Center for Puppetry Arts.

The Center for Puppetry Arts stages “Harold and the Purple Crayon" for the first time starting April 2 and running through May 26.

A curious young boy has the power to create anything he can imagine, simply by drawing it with his oversized purple crayon. This production is the world premiere of the center’s original adaptation of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” based on the beloved book series by Crockett Johnson. The production combines the latest in projection technology with black light puppetry to enable Harold to create his world live on stage  -- in real time. From enchanted gardens to a circus and wild ride to the moon, kids see where Harold and his crayon can take them.

Children’s Museum of Atlanta

Surf Snow - Children’s Museum of Atlanta 

Kids enjoy snow surfing at the Run! Jump! Fly! exhibit coming to Children's Museum. (Minnesota Children's Museum)  

Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action opens at Children’s Museum of Atlanta Jan. 19 and runs through May 27. Designed to get children moving by playing and doing things they enjoy, the exhibit gives families the opportunity to try activities such as kung fu, surfing, snowboarding, yoga and horizontal climbing to build strength, coordination, balance and endurance.

Doc McStuffins Exhibit at Children’s MuseumYoung folks learn about the medical field in the Children's Museum's Doc McStuffins exhibit. (Children's Museum of Indianapolis) 

Opening June 8, the Doc McStuffins exhibit immerses children and families in the Doc McStuffins’ universe of stories and characters. It features the McStuffins’ Toy Hospital environment and offers families an opportunity to explore the hospital, assume doctor play roles and help solve problems, all while learning lessons about healthy habits, empathy and nurturing care. Doc will be in town through Sept. 8. 

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Pterosaurs exhibit coming to Fernbank

This Scaphognathus fossil is part of the Pterosaurs exhibit coming to Fernbank in 2019.

Big things are coming to Fernbank in 2019. Big things like the pterosaurs. “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of the Dinosaurs,” a special exhibit, runs Feb. 9 through May 5.

Neither dinosaur nor bird, pterosaurs flew with their fingers, walked on their wings and ruled the skies. Visit this exhibit and journey through the Mesozoic Era with the largest flying animals that ever lived. This immersive exhibit includes remarkable rare fossils and casts, hands-on and digital interactives, enormous life-sized models, stunning dioramas and iPad stations with a custom app allowing guests to personalize their experience.

Great Barrier Reef shows at Fernbank

A 3D film about the Great Barrier Reef shows at Fernbank through May 2.

Open at Fernbank and running through May 2 is 3D film, “Great Barrier Reef.” Through the film, visitors learn how this living treasure trove of biodiversity, home to a thriving metropolis of creatures, has endured for thousands of years off the coast of Australia -- and how it will continue to do so far into the future.

Another 3D film, “Flying Monsters,” runs Jan. 11 through June 1. Via this film, visitors travel back in time to a world where pterosaurs ruled the sky. Naturalist David Attenborough takes viewers on a journey to explore why these prehistoric reptiles took flight, how they changed over time and why they went extinct.

High Museum of Art

Georgia artist Howard Finster is part of a show coming to the High MuseumGeorgia artist Howard Finster is part of a show coming to the High Museum in 2019. Above: Howard Finster (American, 1916–2001),The Angel of the Lord, #10,000, 1987 –1989, paint on plywood. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, T. Marshall Hahn Collection, 1997.75. © Howard Finster/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Coming in the spring to the High Museum is “Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads,” an exhibition that explores the unconventional character of the Southern avant-garde and marks the first collaboration between the High Museum’s folk and self-taught art and photography departments.

Curators Katherine Jentleson and Gregory Harris drew inspiration for the show from an unpublished manuscript for a guidebook of Southern self-taught artists by late poet and publisher Jonathan Williams, who had road-tripped around the South with photographers Guy Mendes and Roger Manley in the 1980s and ’90s. The exhibition brings the spirit of Williams’ book to life with more than 50 sculptures, paintings and other works from the High’s collection presented alongside approximately 100 of Mendes’ and Manley’s photographs, many on view for the very first time. Artists featured include Howard Finster, Eddie Owens Martin (“St. EOM”), Sam Doyle, Mose Tolliver, Thornton Dial, Edgar Tolson, Georgia Blizzard, Sister Gertrude Morgan and many others.

Zoo Atlanta
Construction has begun on a new project in the historic Cyclorama building (vacated when the Cyclorama moved to Atlanta History Center). The building will be revitalized and reborn as Savanna Hall, a one-of-a-kind event destination overlooking the wonders of an all-new African Savanna, where African elephants and other wildlife will roam new and significantly expanded habitats. Other highlights will include a new grand entry plaza and more. Savanna Hall opens in 2020, and African Savanna opens in 2019.

Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.


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