Things To Do When It's Really, Really, Really, Really Hot In Atlanta

We know it gets, errr-warm-in ATL. Don't let that stop you. Here's where to start.
  • Cool off with our guide to things to do in Atlanta when it's hot, hot, hot. (📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)
    Cool off with our guide to things to do in Atlanta when it's hot, hot, hot. (📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Whether you can take the heat or you run toward the nearest AC, explore some of the best things to do when its hot in Atlanta. We’ve compiled a list of top attractions and places to cool off while still enjoying the city’s highlights. 

Key Atlanta Attractions

High Museum of Art

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(📷 Melissa McAlpine)

Wander through one of the leading art museums in the Southeast with more than 17,000 pieces on display from all around the world. There’s plenty to see, which means hours in the air conditioning. If you’ve already been a million times, then check out the most recent exhibition or go during one of the special events happening all the time. For even more reasons to visit, read 5 Reasons to Visit the High Museum of Art

Georgia Aquarium 

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(📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Georgia Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world, is perfect for hours of fun no matter how old you are. You simply can’t come to Atlanta without seeing the whale sharks for yourself. If you want to make your experience even better, check out additional experiences like interacting with belugas and Behind the Seas tours. Read more for insider tips and what to know before you go. 

CNN Studio Tour

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Go beyond just checking the news online and dive into the world behind the scenes. Ted Turner set up CNN’s world headquarters right here in Atlanta and lucky for us, it’s indoors. Stay cool and see for yourself how broadcast news happens every day. Read 5 Reasons to Take the CNN Studio Tour.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights

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(📷 Melissa McAlpine)

The civil rights movement was monumental in the history of our country. Step back in time and hear inspirational stories and learn something new about those tumultuous days. It’s an enriching few hours that you won't want to miss. Read five reasons to go to the Center for Civil and Human Rights

World of Coca-Cola 

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You don’t have to be a soft drink enthusiast to enjoy the World of Coca-Cola. Get a behind-the-scenes look into how Coca-Colas are bottled, watch a 4-D show and sample from more than 100 different Coca-Cola beverages from all around the world. The actual exhibits can take a few hours, but factor in time for the massive gift shop at the end with more Coca-Cola products than you have ever seen. Read five reasons to visit the World of Coca-Cola

Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame

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(📷 Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame)

Whether your’re a die-hard football fan or not even sure how it's played, the Hall of Fame has something for everybody. The 95,000-square-foot building is complete with more than 50 exhibits and a 45-yard indoor football field. You may not get inducted into the Hall of Fame while you’re there, but you can certainly enjoy a fun-filled and air-conditioned afternoon.

Fox Theatre 

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(📷 Melissa McAlpine)

You really shouldn't come to Atlanta without seeing a show at the fabulous Fox Theatre. With more than 150 performances every year, the venue is full of history and the perfect spot to see some of your favorite acts. Discover more about the heart of Atlanta theater here

The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse and Restaurant in Atlanta GA

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare fan to enjoy all that the playhouse has to offer. The performances feature hand-crafted period costumes, sword fights full of drama, as well as poetry and spoken word. To top off your experience, the tavern serves delicious food and has a drink menu complete with all kinds of different beers. 

Trendy Hot Spots

Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market

(📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)

If the Rooftop gets a little too hot, the Ponce City Market Food Hall is the perfect place to cool off and treat yourself to food from nearly every part of the world. No matter what you’re in the mood for, the Food Hall likely has it. If you’re just looking for a sweet treat, check out Five Daughters Bakery for drool-worthy doughnuts or Batter for edible cookie dough. You can’t go wrong with heading to Ponce City Market to stay cool and eat well. Read here for more. 

Krog Street Market 

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The recent food hall trend that’s sweeping the city made its big debut with Krog Street Market. Originally a 1920s' warehouse, the now-trendy food hall has enough food and shopping to keep crowds happy for hours (not to mention it has air conditioning)  Read 7 Best Stops for more places to see along the Atlanta BeltLine. 

Atlanta Beer Bus

Visit all of the Atlanta beer hot spots without worrying about driving or walking in the heat. The hop-on hop-off Atlanta Beer Bus will show you where some of the best beer in the city gets made. The Beer Bus makes for the perfect afternoon and also keeps you out of the sun. Read The Best Brewery Tours for more beer hot spots in the city. 

The Painted Pin 

Enjoy some classic bowling with a modern twist. The Painted Pin, formerly a warehouse, has a boutique bar to go with the bowling alley and games. Bowl with your friends and sip on some delicious cocktails all in one super trendy spot. For more bars and restaurants with games, read here to get your game on

Trap Music Museum and Escape Room

Dive into the history of trap music and the culture that goes along with it. The Trap Music Museum is a mixture of art galleries and interactive exhibits complete with an escape room. Make sure to reserve a time for the escape room in advance. Spend some time out of the heat and immerse yourself in the Atlanta trap scene like never before.

For the More Adventurous at Heart...

Chattahoochee River Experience 

There’s no better way to cool off than to float down the river. You can paddle, row or just float the 48 miles of river, making for the perfectly cool day trip. For more ways to keep cool near the river, check out the must-do adventures or fun things to do throughout the Chattahoochee Nature Center. 

Nitro Zone

Unleash your inner child and have a blast at the trampoline park, go-kart course, arcade, bowling alley and more. You are guaranteed hours of air conditioned fun all in one spot. Bring the kids or just enjoy being a kid at heart.

Escape Rooms

The city has several escape rooms that are sure to be a fun time. Downtown has Escape The Room with all kinds of  scenarios; The Battery has Escape Game perfectly designed for team-building. 

Indoor Skydiving 

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush but aren’t so sure about heights, then indoor skydiving is the perfect activity for you. Enjoy all of the excitement without actually jumping out of a plane. For more adrenaline-filled adventures in the city, read here


For the Museum Lover

Delta Flight Museum 

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(📷 Melissa McAlpine)

Right next door to one of the busiest airports in the world lies the Delta Flight Museum. You can learn all about aviation history and even see an aircraft from 1920s on display. The 68,000-square-foot museum is certainly unique. 

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

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(📷 Kevin Rose, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Wander through exhibits showcasing photos, videos, documents and more from Jimmy Carter’s presidential term and his life in general. Feel like a president in the life-size replica of the Oval Office and a walk through an exhibit about the Camp David Meetings. The museum gives you a glimpse into Jimmy Carter’s lifelong achievements. The museum also sits in the center of 30 acres of gardens and lakes to enjoy when it’s not so hot outside. Read more about the only presidential library in the Southeast

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University

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Nestled within Emory University’s campus is the Michael C. Carlos museum. Displaying pieces from ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Asia and much more, the museum focuses on literature, art and religion from civilizations all across the globe. Read here for more Things To Do Near Emory University

Tour the Federal Reserve 

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(📷 James Duckworth, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Have you ever wondered where money is made? Well, look no further. Visit the interactive museum and learn all about the history of money as well as the role of the Federal Reserve and banks in the nation’s economy. You’ll leave with an understanding of numerous economic policies and may even get to see some money being shredded. 

David J. Sencer CDC Museum 

The CDC museum teaches you all about public health and the incredible work of the Centers for Disease Control. A Smithsonian affiliate, the museum is full of history about everything from diseases to the numerous accomplishments of the CDC. It’s truly a unique learning experience that you can only find right here in Atlanta. There’s also the added bonus of air conditioning.

Atlanta History Center 

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One of the largest history museums in the Southeast, the Atlanta History Center is the perfect spot to learn about Atlanta history. With exhibits on the American civil war including the just-restored cyclorama of the Battle of Atlanta and stories from Atlanta’s past, the center is a must see. On site is the famous Swan House, plus the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

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(📷 Kevin Rose, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Visit the neighborhood where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, including the home where he was born, as well as Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he preached. You can also visit Fire Station No. 6, one of the first fire houses in the South to be desegregated. There is plenty to see as you walk in the footsteps of icons

SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film

Within the SCAD Atlanta campus lies the Museum of Fashion and Film. Immerse yourself in the world of fashion for the day with interactive exhibits and captivating films on display. See how fashion can extend far beyond just your everyday clothing and more. 

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

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(📷 Alecia Zackery & Melissa McAlpine)

Learn about all things design with interactive exhibits in the modern museum. Exhibits change periodically and include everything from architecture to product design and even fashion. For more fun museums to check out in Midtown, read Museum Hopping in Midtown

Bodies Exhibit 

The Bodies Exhibit shows off the human form in ways never thought possible. The museum has more than 200 real human bodies on display to learn from, and offers the chance to see inside the different biological systems like never before. It may not be your typical museum, but it’s certainly a fascinating learning experience. 

The Breman Museum 

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(📷 TJ Jackson)

Visit the Breman Museum and dive into the history of Jewish culture and tradition. In the Holocaust exhibit, hear stories from survivors and learn more about the Holocaust. The museum is also known for having a lot of events, so be sure and check out the website to see what’s happening before you arrive. 

With the Kids

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

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(📷 Melissa McAlpine)

Step into a world full of dinosaurs, artifacts, live animals and fun for the whole family. With plenty of interactive exhibits and endless things to learn, Fernbank truly has something for everyone.  

LEGOLAND 

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Step into a dreamland of all things LEGO. With attractions for various ages and even an indoor roller coaster, LEGOLAND is not something you want to miss.  Located inside Phipps Plaza, there’s also plenty to do afterward. Read 5 Things You Must Do At Phipps Plaza.

Center for Puppetry Arts

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(📷 TJ Jackson)

Explore the art of puppetry and walk through exhibits on its history, costumes and more. The Atlanta center is the largest organization dedicated to the art of puppetry in the country. It also makes for a great date night, even without the kids. 

Children’s Museum of Atlanta 

The Children’s Museum is the perfect place to watch your child’s mind grow. With all kinds of hands-on exhibits and fun learning opportunities, the museum sparks the imagination like no other. Your kids will have a blast and you’ll get to stay cool for hours. 

Centennial Olympic Park Splash Pad 

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(📷 Gene Phillips, AtlantaPhotos.com)

Cool off in the water right in the heart of Downtown. The park may be hot, but the water is nice and cool. For more parks to visit, some complete with splash pads, read here.

Alliance Theatre 

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See a show fit for the whole family at the flagship theater of the Southeast. Shows change frequently, so visit the website for the most up-to-date performances and read here for five reasons to visit. 

IKEA 

The Swedish furniture store is far more than your ordinary home store. With multiple floors and seemingly endless rooms, the store is built for hours of air-conditioned fun. There's even a kid drop-off so you can shop without watching your little ones. For more shopping at Atlantic Station, read here

Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour 

Have you ever wondered what’s behind the famous “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan? Well, take a tour behind-the-scenes and learn all about the Atlanta-based fast food chain. It all began with S. Truett Cathy in the 1960s, then quickly grew into one of the most popular chicken restaurant chains in the country. Learn all about the origin and history of the fast food chain we all love so much with a Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour.

When the weather finally cools down and winter rolls around, check these 17 Fun Indoor Play Locations For Kids in Atlanta

For Shoppers

Shops Buckhead Atlanta 

Treat yourself or just enjoy window shopping at some of the most luxurious stores in the city. Complete with a two-story Hermes, this home to designer shops is a fun place to stroll around and visit these outdoor shops

Phipps Plaza

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Whether you want to stroll through Gucci and Tiffany or just want to check out LEGOLAND and watch a movie, Phipps has it all. Stay cool and look cool at the upscale indoor mall. Read 5 things you must do at Phipps Plaza

Lenox Square Mall

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(📷 James Duckworth, AtlantaPhotos.com)

You can find nearly anything you could ever need at Lenox Square Mall. Whether you need more summer clothes or are dreaming of fall sweaters, Lenox has something for everyone. Spend the day shopping the nearly 250 stores and escape the Georgia heat. 

Looking for more shopping options? Read Shopping in Buckhead.

Ali Goodman is digital marketing intern for Atlanta Visitors & Convention Bureau. She is a strategic communications student at Elon University and will graduate in the spring of 2021.She loves all things marketing and communications, with writing being her favorite. Living in Atlanta while in high school made her love exploring the city, so working for the ACVB allows her to help others see all that the city has to offer.

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