Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site

Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historical Park

20 Free Things to Do in Metro Atlanta

Some of metro Atlanta's most well-known attractions are also some of its most affordable. Below are 20 free things to do the whole family will enjoy.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Roam the mountain, farmland, lakes, hiking trails and a nature preserve on more than 2,000 acres.

Atlanta BeltLine Tours. Take a guided walking tour of the BeltLine, a transit, trails and parks project connecting Atlanta's neighborhoods. Fridays and Saturdays. Bus tours also are available on Saturdays for $25 per person.

Atlanta Monetary Museum. Self-guided tours explain the history of money and the Federal Reserve’s role.

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center. Walk two miles of trails, see animal exhibits, and tour buildings reminiscent of rural Georgia in Heritage Village.

Carter CenterTake a free stroll through the grounds to see the Circle of Flags from all 50 states, a rose garden, Japanese garden and koi pond. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum costs $8 for adults; children under 16 are free.

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park. On warm days, kids cool off by cavorting in the Fountain of Rings. Relax in the well-groomed park that pays homage to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Free events all year.

Center for Puppetry Arts. Georgia residents with library cards can check out the "Passport to Puppetry" at any participating public library to receive free admission for four people to museum exhibits. The passport also can be used to receive 25% off an all-inclusive ticket, which includes a Family Series Performance, a Create-A-Puppet Workshop, and the museum. Fulton County residents also receive free museum admission on select dates. Read complete details online.

David J. Sencer CDC Museum. Learn about the history of the Centers for Disease Control and how scientists work to crack the cases of mystery diseases. Admission and parking are free on weekdays.

Fernbank Science Center. Visit the observatory and exhibits for free; planetarium shows are $7 adults, $5 students.

Georgia Capitol Museum and Tour Program. See government in action under the Gold Dome, constructed from 1884-1889. The museum includes historic flags and artifacts.

Governor's Mansion. Tours of the 18-acre estate and 24,000-square-foot mansion with antique furnishings offer lessons in history, from 1780-1820.

With architecture by Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, and a renowned art collection, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta is stunning inside and out. - GDECD Photography

High Museum of Art. Atlanta’s premier art museum has more than 11,000 pieces, from African and folk art to photography and decorative art. Admission is free for everyone on the second Sunday of each month from 12 - 5 p.m. All active and veteran military personnel along with one guest are free every day.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Seventeen miles of interpretive trails, monuments and a museum help visitors understand the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War.

Marietta Fire Museum. Antique firefighting equipment and five trucks are on display, including an 1879 Silsby Steamer.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park. The great civil rights leader grew up in a modest two-story home, preserved closely to as it was when he was a child.

Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary. See animals of all stripes in this wildlife rehabilitation center. Tuesday through Saturday 12 - 3 p.m. Call before visiting.

Piedmont Park in springtime

Piedmont Park. Children can play on a work of art or the restored Noguchi Playscape with slides, swings and seesaws. Take Fido for off-leash fun in the dog park area. Cool off in the free Legacy Fountain Splash Pad, and swim for free in the swimming pool 3-5 p.m. weekdays Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Roswell Fire Museum. See a 1945 Ford American LaFrance Pumper Truck and learn about the city’s firefighting history.

Silver Comet Trail. Joggers, walkers, in-line skaters, horse riders and bicyclers flock to this 61-mile paved trail, which begins in Smyrna and extends through Polk County. It then connects with Alabama’s 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail. Keep an eye out for these seven surprising sights along the way. 

Yellow River Park. Explore 566 acres of forests and wildflowers along the Yellow River; also mountain biking, hiking and horse trails.

Published: January 2018