Atlanta United game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Photo by Ben Galland
Best Things to Do in Atlanta
You haven't really seen Atlanta until you've been to these places.
It's enough to give almost anyone chills — the thunderous chant, in unison, of "A! T! L!" from tens of thousands of Atlanta United soccer fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — and it speaks to the enthusiasm for Atlanta Metro's status as a cultural, economic, and sports powerhouse, home to some 6 million strong and growing.
Get to know metro Atlanta by exploring some of these neighborhoods and hot spots. And, keep reading for a few tips from a local about what to do, where to eat and great places to take kids in the city.
Explore Atlanta's niche neighborhoods
Atlanta is rich with unique neighborhoods that are inimitable and world-class. Locals talk about ITP (Inside the Perimeter, or Interstate 285) versus OTP (everything beyond) a lot, and both are loaded with special destinations.
Take, for example, transit-connected College Park, just south of downtown, which is experiencing the sort of culinary and housing revival that walkable Decatur, just east of Atlanta, has long been known for.
Closer to the intown core, funky Cabbagetown is perfectly suited for a walk among its cottages and restored shotgun houses, before dropping by Carroll Street Cafe for a burger and brew.
On the flip-side of downtown, Westside neighborhoods Westview, West End, Adair Park, and others are experiencing newfound popularity thanks to the Atlanta BeltLine's art-laden Westside Trail.
Be sure to visit the suburbs, too. Roswell in north Fulton County has emerged as a regional destination, with easygoing open-container laws in its beautiful downtown.
Gwinnett County's Duluth has fashioned its own happening downtown, seemingly overnight.
And on the metro area's southside, don’t miss Peachtree City, famous for its golf-cart paths and gorgeous greenspaces, and the live-work-play community of Serenbe, which has earned national praise as a smartly executed, agrarian wonderland.
Things to see & do
Atlanta artist Greg Mike's signature character — Larry Loudmouf, rendered in various chipped-tooth forms — has become more ubiquitous than streets named Peachtree. It's just one example of hundreds of public art pieces, from multicultural Buford Highway to cities near the airport and far beyond, that have made the region among the country's best for eyecatching art. Don’t miss the Krog Street Tunnel and the walls along Wylie Street, in the Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown neighborhoods. The area is widely considered the city’s mecca for murals.
Rings Sculpture at Centennial Olympic Park
Climb all over this interactive installation — and snap away — at downtown’s marquee greenspace, Centennial Olympic Park, an homage to the only Olympics held in the South.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area's 10,000 acres wending across the northern metro area are loaded with gorgeous photo ops. Visit the East Palisades Trail for backdrops of rapids and creek waterfalls.
Head to Gwinnett County’s Infinite Energy Center in Duluth to help the Georgia Swarm "Bring the Sting." The popular lacrosse team won the top trophy of the National Lacrosse League in 2017, giving Atlanta its first professional world championship in 22 years. The season takes place in the winter and spring.
New Realm Brewing Company
Opened in 2018 and constantly hopping, New Realm Brewing’s original, sprawling brewery on the Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail is an Eden for lovers of IPAs, Belgian blondes, and grade-A burgers. Enjoy the terraced patio, and check out the impressive views from its rooftop bar. The brewery has some of the city’s best people-watching.
Marietta Square Market
Atlanta's food hall craze has made it to Cobb County with Marietta Square Market, a block from the city’s famed historic courthouse square. The meticulously revitalized warehouse plays host to 20 restaurant and retail offerings, with everything from bulgogi and po’ boys to Maine lobster. Don’t miss the display of a 1922 curved-side streetcar, which now serves as a smoothie bar.
More: Guide to Marietta
Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Snag a seat on the lawn and enjoy listening to music under the stars at Alpharetta’s 12,000-seat outdoor Ameris Bank Amphitheater. The venue, formerly known as the Verizon Amphitheatre, is a perennial destination for music lovers and fans of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Recent shows have run the gamut, from Kid Rock and Smashing Pumpkins to Brad Paisley and the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience.
This recently renovated 1924 landmark, with a famous dive bar and strip club in the basement, is iconic from the street. Don’t miss Hotel Clermont's panoramic, rooftop skyline views.
Ask a local
What’s one thing all visitors to your region should do?
My absolute favorite thing is the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Nothing that happens in Atlanta is as much of a representation of the city's unique makeup. It’s really beautiful, and it’s free.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Where would you recommend someone go with kids?
Historic Fourth Ward Park. There's a splash pad, plenty of monkey bar action, and the playground has that soft foam ground.
What’s something surprising about your region?
There are awesome things happening that you can find out about through word-of-mouth, if you look in the right places and ask the right people.
What do you love most about living here?
Atlanta shows the world a beautiful spectrum of African American life.