Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta

Sightseeing and Dining Near Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park

When you're in downtown Atlanta for a convention at the Georgia World Congress Center, or a big game or concert at Philips Arena, there is plenty to do besides the event that brought you into town. No matter what you decide to do, be sure you pack comfortable shoes! Downtown Atlanta is walkable but hillier than you may think.

Where to go

Right in the heart of Atlanta are five attractions that can satisfy young children and those that are merely young at heart. They are all located within a few blocks of each other.

Georgia Aquarium – Sea lions, penguins and whale sharks - oh my! Come early or stay late for the least crowded visit experience. Be sure to check the Aquarium’s calendar for its frequent promotional events and to ensure that an animal show you want to see will be happening while you're there.

World of Coca-Cola – The most famous soft drink in the world got its start in Atlanta, right down the street from where the World of Coca-Cola now sits. Children and adults will love their stop at the venue, which boasts a fully interactive experience. Don’t miss out on the tasting room!

Photo courtesy of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

The Center for Civil and Human Rights – Discover how the struggle for civil rights has affected Atlanta, the United States and the world. Come with an open mind and prepare to leave with a different world view when you leave. This stop is best for teens and adults.

Children's Museum of Atlanta – Children ages 10 and younger will enjoy a stop at the Children's Museum of Atlanta. The interactive experience is all about teaching children through play. The museum recently opened a completely reimagined space specially designed for STEAM-focused learning.

College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience – You don't have to be a football fan to enjoy your time at the College Football Hall of Fame. But, if you are, you can check in to experience the exhibits with the focus on your favorite team. The Hall of Fame is best experienced by tweens, teens and adults.

What to eat

In the summer, grab a burger and milkshake at Googie Burger in Centennial Olympic Park and enjoy a picnic. Grab a beer and giant pretzel at Der Biergarten, coal oven-fired pizza at Max’s, or barbecue at Twin Smokers BBQ.

CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta

If you're in town for a big game, hit up Taco Mac or Dantanna’s at the CNN Center, where you can grab American fare while watching games on their big screens.

Get a taste of the South by ordering Savannah Spuds at Park Bar, a bison burger at Ted’s Montana Grill (owned by former CNN owner Ted Turner), or hash browns at Waffle House.

Don't forget to do this

Atlanta Movie Tours often stop for photos at the Jackson Street Bridge.

Atlanta Movie Tours offers visitors a great way to see the city through the eyes of some of Georgia's television and movie productions. They offer round-trip transportation to their tour check-in locations from their downtown office

Explore further

When you're not eating or experiencing one of downtown Atlanta’s more traditional attractions, you'll want to acquaint yourself better with the city. The Inside CNN Studio Tour is great for kids and adults, as is a ride on Skyview Atlanta (especially in the autumn or a night).

If you want to venture outside of the downtown area, take the Atlanta Streetcar to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site with a stop at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market or take a MARTA ride to Oakland Cemetery, where you can join a tour or download the app for self-initiated fun. You can also tour The Fox Theatre, one of the city’s historic gems.

The Atlanta BeltLine and Ponce City Market

If you don't mind taking an Uber, set off and explore Atlanta's BeltLine neighborhoods, especially Inman Park and the Old Fourth Ward. Bring comfortable clothes and book a food tour, take a walk or rent a bicycle to explore the path. The BeltLine has Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market on its north and south ends to satisfy your food, shopping and souvenir hunting needs.

Eileen is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Find more trip ideas from Eileen on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Published: March 2017