Atlanta, the capital city of Georgia, is home to a beautiful skyline that most tourists cannot resist. Apart from that, we can also find a lot of museums, trails, parks and shopping districts all over the place. Young or old, there’s always something for you here. So if you’re planning a trip to the “city in a forest”, this guide of top 20 fun free things to do in Atlanta might come handy.
Table Of Contents
- 1 1. Stroll around the Centennial Olympic Park
- 2 2. See exhibits at the High Museum of Art
- 3 3. See historical artifacts in Atlanta Monetary Museum
- 4 4. Get the basics of flying in the Museum of Aviation
- 5 5. Spend an afternoon at Morgan Falls Overlook Park
- 6 6. Take a glimpse of Atlanta’s history in Historic Oakland Cemetery
- 7 7. Spend a day with the animals in Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary
- 8 8.Get to know a great historical figure in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
- 9 9. Enter the world of rocket science at Fernbank Science Center
- 10 10. Bike through the Silver Comet Trail
- 11 11. Start your own adventure at Yellow River Park
- 12 12. Visit Piedmont Park and stay healthy while on the road
- 13 13. Learn about the city’s firefighting history in Roswell Fire Museum
- 14 14. Skate all day at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark
- 15 15. Explore Stone Mountain Park
- 16 16. Window shopping at Atlantic Station
- 17 17. Admire the architecture of Georgia State Capitol and Museum
- 18 18. Trace the history of paper in Robert C. Williams Museum of Paper Making
- 19 19. Explore the Atlanta Beltline by foot or wheels
- 20 20. Drive to Sandy Springs and visit the Big Trees Forest Preserve
1. Stroll around the Centennial Olympic Park
If you happen to be in Georgia Aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola, strolling around Centennial Olympic Park is one of the free things to do in Atlanta, Georgia. You can enjoy good lunchtime music from different local artists or the spectacular Fountain of Rings show. The Centennial Olympic Park is also a known venue for festivals and large events like Holiday in Lights and 4th of July Celebration. Who knows you might score one of the biggest and popular festivals while in the park?
2. See exhibits at the High Museum of Art
Free up your Sunday afternoon and head over to the High Museum of Art. This excellent art museum in the heart of Atlanta never disappoints. Although tickets usually come with a price, the museum opens its doors for free every second Sunday of the month. This is a great time to explore different art exhibits like Winnie the Pooh, Mark Steinmetz: Terminus and some seasonal exhibits. The museum is perfect for visitors of all ages.
3. See historical artifacts in Atlanta Monetary Museum
The Atlanta Monetary Museum holds rare coins and currencies, and the fascinating history of money. Take a quick tour of this museum to get to know the Federal Reserve’s role through various interactive games and exhibits. You can get the scheduled group tour or the self-guided tour for free and you can even take home shredded money as a souvenir. The security in the museum is tight so be prepared for it. Apart from that, lots of fun await inside.
4. Get the basics of flying in the Museum of Aviation
If you don’t mind going a bit further to the south from Atlanta, the Museum of Aviation is also a good addition to your itinerary of free things to do in Atlanta. Here you’ll get to spend more or less 4 hours to appreciate the history of aviation with its exhibits consisting of fighter planes, bomber planes, helicopters, target drones and etc. It is the perfect activity for history enthusiasts and for families traveling together.
5. Spend an afternoon at Morgan Falls Overlook Park
A little outside to the north of Atlanta, you can find the Morgan Falls Overlook Park which is a chill place for adults and kids to hang out for free. It has a hiking trail with a fantastic view for those who want an adventure. Children can also enjoy the playground and the picnic pavilion. You also don’t have to worry playing hide and seek with Mr. Sun because the park has enough shades for park-goers.
6. Take a glimpse of Atlanta’s history in Historic Oakland Cemetery
Who would have thought that you could find a large chunk of Atlanta’s history in this 48-acre land? The Historic Oakland Cemetery sounds like a strange addition to your itinerary but it surprisingly has a lot of interesting stuff for those who want to know more of Atlanta’s history. It has a variety of graves from Civil War soldiers, notable industry leaders, and even popular celebrities. You can also find the bell tower and the visitor center in one place where you can read some of Georgia’s spooky stories and urban legends.
7. Spend a day with the animals in Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary is a little bit on the outskirts of Atlanta, specifically in Locust Grove. A wide range of animals resides in this sanctuary including exotic kinds like parrots, cougars, monkeys, etc. The wonderful part of this sanctuary is that after these animals are rescued and rehabilitated they are returned to the wild every year to go back to their natural habitat. The sanctuary operates from Tuesday to Saturday. Natural trails lead you to the animals. Admission is free of charge but donations are highly appreciated.
8.Get to know a great historical figure in Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
There are lots of museums commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s contribution to humanity but this historic site in Atlanta is definitely one of the best. With a fun and family-friendly atmosphere, following Martin Luther King Jr.’s life story will never bore you out. Visit his birth home, the “I have a dream” world peace rose garden and his tomb without shelling out any bucks.
9. Enter the world of rocket science at Fernbank Science Center
Fancy the world of science? The Fernbank Science Center is a great place to awaken your inner Einstein. You can find live animal exhibits and the Apollo 6 Command Module. The Aviation Camp and the Planetarium are also very interesting activities in this facility. General admission is free. Entrance tickets may apply to some special exhibits though.
10. Bike through the Silver Comet Trail
Another adventurous and free thing to do in your Atlanta trip is to bike through the Silver Comet Trail. It is a free non-motorized trail in the western part of Georgia which stretches 99 kilometers long. Biking or cycling is the most popular activity here but horse-riding is also allowed. Be sure to look out for its 7 landmarks while on the trail.
11. Start your own adventure at Yellow River Park
Surely, you’ll never run out of adventures in Atlanta. The Yellow River Park in the Stone Mountain is the perfect adventure with trails that stretch 3.2-mile long. Lots of hikers, cyclists, and runners come here to enjoy the breath of fresh air, the forested landscape, and of course, the river. Lastly, did I say that pets are very welcome here?
12. Visit Piedmont Park and stay healthy while on the road
This lively park in the heart of Atlanta is also a must when planning to save a few bucks on your trip. Piedmont Park holds various activities for everyone like the sightseeing tour, farmers market, yoga, frisbee, summer camps, swimming, and even festivals or city events. While in the park, be sure not to miss the popular spots like Lake Clara Meer, Dockside, the Conservatory, the Aquatic Center, and the Dog Parks.
13. Learn about the city’s firefighting history in Roswell Fire Museum
Roswell Fire Museum is just a small local museum which contains interesting photos and historical information about the Roswell Volunteer Fire Department. The museum is open every day from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The highlight of the museum is the 1947 Ford American LaFrance Pumper which is still being well-maintained until this time. You can check it out with your group of friends and you can take the entire family too.
14. Skate all day at the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark
Daredevils will surely not hesitate to visit the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark located alongside the Atlanta Beltline. It is Atlanta’s first public skatepark with world-class facilities which does not only revolve around the skatepark. It has a park suitable for kids to play around or for a group who wants to have a picnic.
15. Explore Stone Mountain Park
Pretty sure you have heard a lot of incredible things to do in Stone Mountain and the expenses that come with it. However, who says you can’t enjoy it even when you’re on a tight budget? Stone Mountain Park has a “Bring a Friend” promotion which allows Mountain members to tag 1 friend with them and get an All Attractions Pass… for free! So grab your “Mountain member” friend and head over to the Stone Mountain Park for your free complimentary pass.
16. Window shopping at Atlantic Station
If you don’t feel like doing a nerve-wracking activity, you can also kill time hopping in and out the 35 stores in Atlantic Station. This commercial building has the perfect remedy for all the shopaholics out there. It also holds events like Open Mic Jazz Nights, Wellness Wednesday, Food Truck Fridays, and the likes.
17. Admire the architecture of Georgia State Capitol and Museum
This historical site in Atlanta deserves a spot in your itinerary. Aside from the free admission, the capitol also has an impressive dome and exhibits that you should not miss. Once inside, you’ll see lots of photos and traces of Georgia’s history. It is also a popular filming location for some historical films so don’t you think it’s a great addition to your Instagram feed?
18. Trace the history of paper in Robert C. Williams Museum of Paper Making
If you’re a big fan of arts and crafts, this museum is a hidden gem for you. The Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking is a specialty museum located in the heart of Atlanta. It contains exhibits related to papermaking. It even offers hands-on classes for those interested to learn the basics. Lastly, a gift shop is also open for visitors who want to take home souvenirs.
19. Explore the Atlanta Beltline by foot or wheels
Railroad tracks are usually popular in artsy Instagram posts so if you’re dying to get that shot for your social media reputation, you might want to explore the Atlanta Beltline. It is comprised of unused railroad tracks, green spaces, walkways, street markets and plethora of arts. Every day, thousands of visitors exercise, walk, bike, skate or just hang around here. Famous restaurants are also situated in this very chill place.
20. Drive to Sandy Springs and visit the Big Trees Forest Preserve
The Big Trees Forest Preserve is a tree, plant, and wildlife sanctuary that is being protected by large organizations in Georgia. There are various trails leading to the forest and it is a must that visitors stay in the trails at all times. Pretty sure it’s a holy grail for nature and wildlife photographers because this forest preserve is such a sight to see. If you want to visit, the forest is open from sunrise to sunset all days of the week.
Looking to visit Atlanta soon and don’t know where to stay yet? Check out the list of awesome hotels in Atlanta here.
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