It's something I say quite often: Atlanta may not offer a ton in terms of “tourist attractions,” but it's a great place to live. While many may come through our city just for conferences or a flight layover, there's actually a ton to do here in terms of an Atlanta trip itinerary. The trick is, to do it up like a local. This is the best way to get a taste of all the charms Atlanta has to offer.
When I polled my Facebook friends about things to do in Atlanta, I was so overwhelmed by responses and I didn't want these gems to go to waste. With this in mind, I pulled together five separate itineraries, depending upon what you or your out of town guest like to do. Or, get crazy and do a mix of all three. Each itinerary covers a weekend, but these work for multi-day trips as well.
Or y'all can just come back and visit some more.
Weekend trip to Atlanta? Here are five done-for-you Atlanta trip itineraries
Depending upon your personality type (or the personality type of your guests!) You're welcome.
#1 – An Atlanta trip itinerary for the outdoors enthusiast
Friday PM: If the weather is pleasant, take advantage of an evening visit to Piedmont Park.
The Atlanta Beltline connects right at Piedmont Park (you literally can't miss it.) Bike, scooter, or stroll along the Atlanta Beltline, grab dinner and try a beer at beltline adjacent New Realm Brewing Company.
Fun fact about Piedmont park – it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. He's the same guy who did the grounds of the White House and the National Mall. His Dad designed Central Park!
Saturday Morning: Do a morning hike before it gets too hot at Stone Mountain Park in Decatur.
The trails are beautiful and offer a great workout and scenic lake and mountain views at Stone Mountain Park (there's also a large etching of confederate war heroes in the side of stone mountain, but go for the park, not the racist history.) Or you can be adventurous and head to the top! (Try Kennesaw Mountain if you are north of the City!) After the hike, you'll probably have an appetite so hit up Community Q in Decatur or one of the restaurants in downtown Decatur (you really can't go wrong).
Saturday Afternoon: After lunch, head back in town and meet up with a Segway tour to learn all about the city's highlights and history from a knowledgeable guide.
After your tour, try dinner in Midtown. Dinner spots to try include Tiny Lou's, Bon Ton, Eats, and Wrecking Bar Brewpub.
If Segways aren't your thing, and the weather is nice, you can always float or kayak down the Chattahoochee River. It's one of the more enjoyable ways to spend a few hours in Atlanta. Floating the river takes about 3-4 hours depending on how high the water is. (Could also sub this in for Sunday morning as well!)
Saturday Evening: Cool off and get indoors and tickle your funny bone with a show at Dad's Garage in the Old Fourth Ward (O4W).
There are many improv theatres in Atlanta, but this one is HEAD AND SHOULDERS better than everywhere else. Seriously, just go. You can drink while you're there too.
Sunday AM: Brunch at Egg Harbor Cafe on Peachtree Street (go before 10 AM to skip the wait) then visit the Botanical Gardens nearby.
It's not a big garden so it should only take about 1-2 hours to complete.
#2 – Atlanta trip itinerary for the history buff
Atlanta has an abundance of cool things to see and do for those who are into seeing the historical sights of our city. This Atlanta weekend itinerary is perfect for someone who enjoys old buildings, southern history, and museums.
Friday PM: Try and sneak in a tour at the Fabulous Fox Theatre (or if something is in town, see a show there.)
This is in Midtown (the neighborhood where I and my husband live) and it's one of the most bustling (and walkable) neighborhoods in the city. Find parking early and then walk to a nearby restaurant or bar, then hit up the theatre. Noteworth nearby restaurants include: Publik Draft House, The Lawrence, Proof + Provision (across the street inside the Georgian Terrace Hotel, and Ecco.
Saturday AM: Start with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Then hit up the nearby museum of the childhood home of Martin Luther King. Afterward, walk to nearby Edgewood Avenue and avail of one of their many lunch spots:
Saturday Afternoon/Evening: Skip over to the Grant Park neighborhood (about 5-10 mins by car from Edgewood Ave.)
While you're there, do a FREE walking tour of Oakland Cemetery, take in the Cyclorama and then do dinner nearby. Dinner suggestions: Agave, Carol Street Cafe, Grindhouse Killer Burgers (great patio!)
Sunday AM: Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market (or PCM to locals) is a converted old Sears and Roebuck department store. It's got such a cool vibe, very upscale. Atlanta's version of a European food hall or Seattle's Pike Market. Only restaurant stalls and stores in this bad boy but it is fun and a casual way to get out and do something without putting in too much effort. In the morning, try breakfast at Pancake Social.
Then go to nearby Margaret Mitchell House and Museum (she wrote the novel “Gone With the Wind” at this house!) and then close your trip with a quick lunch at the iconic Varsity Restaurant.
#3 – Atlanta trip itinerary for the Sports fan
So it is SUPER RARE for all of the Atlanta sports teams to be in town on the same weekend. With that said, there's still plenty to do if you have an out of town guests who is a BIG sports fan.
- Friday: Head to Battery Park off Cobb Parkway. It's a little outside Atlanta proper (only 20 minutes). This is the home of our MLB team the Atlanta Braves. Even if the Braves aren't playing, the Battery Park is full of restaurants and shops that will allow you to scratch your itch for sports without having to watch a game. If a game is in town, you can go, or just watch from any one of the nearby bars.
- Saturday: If they're in town and playing, seeing an Atlanta United game cannot be missed. We're super proud of our soccer team here and the fans go nuts! Otherwise, sub in any one of the above activities for this time: a stroll on the Beltline, or a comedy show at Dad's Garage.
- Sunday: Start with breakfast downtown at The Atlanta Breakfast Club. Then, before heading to the airport, try out The College Football Hall of Fame (also downtown.)
#4 – A family-friendly Atlanta trip itinerary
If you're hoping to come to town and live like a true local, I wouldn't recommend this itinerary (especially to those without kids). BUT if you have young-uns, these are all great, family-friendly options. They're just in the most touristy part of town and not indicative of what it's like to live here.
- Friday: Head to The Fernbank Museum before it closes at 5 (you won't regret the extra hassle to get there.) Then, afterward, try L5P or nearby East Atlanta Village is good for dinner (FIGO is a popular fast-casual spot for families). Then head to the Fernbank. They close a little bit later on Fridays, but this is a super cool Science museum both kids and adults will like.
- Saturday: The Aquarium, World of Coke, and Atlanta Children's Museum are all downtown and within reasonable walking distance of one another. Bring your walking shoes. Depending on how ambitious you'd like to be, (and the age of your kids) you could probably do 2/3 of these options.
- Sunday: Zoo Atlanta is awesome, or if you feel you missed something from the day before, feel free to add it to this slot.
- P.S. Be sure to save some time to do the Ferris Wheel in the evening for great Atlanta skyline views.
#5 – For the foodie
Friday PM: Krog Street Market (which I prefer to Ponce City Market for food).
Got lots of different stalls here of varying cuisines, plus some stand-out sit-down restaurants like Superica, Camp Ticonderoga, and (X) There's also Jeni's Ice Cream for Dessert and (x) for after-dinner drinks.
Saturday: A Buford Highway Food Tour.
Thanks to Atlanta’s cultural diversity, there’s a wealth of restaurants to choose from — no matter what cuisine you’re craving. If you prefer wine tasting to food crawls, you can also sub in a Northwest Georgia wine tour. It's like Napa Valley but in Northwest Georgia (spoiler alert, the wines aren't nearly as yummy, but it's still a lot of fun with gorgeous scenery.)
Saturday Evening: Fancy Dinner
If you know well in advance of when you're coming, you can try to snag reservations at Staplehouse, which is one of the top-rated restaurants in America right now. I also like Restaurant Eugene (super fancy) in Buckhead or Boccalupo in Inman Park if you're looking for a truly elevated dining experience.
Sunday AM: The Best Brunch in the City
Atlanta is a big brunch town, but personally, I think there's no better brunch in town than what they offer at Local Three on Sundays. Yes, it's a buffet. Yes, it's all small bites so there's a lot of different flavors you get to try. Super fun. So, go there. Honestly, it's one of the few brunches in the city that hasn't disappointed me. There's a lot of overhyped (and overpriced brunch options in the A.)
Also, if you know the weekend of your trip in advance, you may arrive during one of Atlanta's big food festival weekends:
- Taste of Atlanta (October) showcases dishes and drinks from 100 restaurants as well as on-stage cooking demos, cooking classes and new this year, Food Districts, a more expansive VIP Experience and a Saturday night concert.
- The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (May/June), a weekend of rich food and drinks complete with tasting tents and a marketplace of goodies to take home.
- Atlanta Brunch Festival (March) Enough said.
More Atlanta Attractions from GetYourGuide
Thinking of moving to Atlanta?
- I think what I love most about Atlanta is the fact that it doesn't feel like a tourist destination, even though it's one of the biggest cities in the south.
- If you're considering an Atlanta weekend trip to scout it as a new place to live, you'll have fun, for sure. But let me also tell you why it's a good idea to consider moving to “The A” as well as some “Fast facts” you may not have known.
- Your wallet will feel good here: a $50,000 annual salary in Atlanta requires $117,000 to maintain the same lifestyle in New York, a 57% percent difference.
- Atlanta is the third fastest-growing metro area in the nation (behind Dallas, and Houston respectively.) A booming city means there are always lots of opportunities: for fun, for housing, for good food, for jobs.
- Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta: Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, UPS, and CNN.
- Thanks to the film industry's arrival in Atlanta, the unemployment rate is currently at a record low (4.5%)
- We have weather where you can experience the outdoors in all four seasons. Our winter temps range between 35-55 degrees. In the Summer it can get pretty hot (between 80-90 degrees), but this is why you make friends with someone who has a pool.
- The nickname of our city is “the city in the forest.” This is because ATL is the most densely forested major city in the United States, with 47.9% of the city covered in tree canopy.
We have 343 parks and public spaces in the Atlanta metro area.
- It's easy to make friends here: nearly 40% of the population are transplants so everyone is looking to “find their tribe.”
- Atlanta housing is less affordable than it used to be, but if you're comparing Atlanta to other heavy-hitters like New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., housing is still more affordable. And we have all the big attractions and amenities as any other major city in the U.S. Go “OTP” and median home prices are much more affordable (median $240k.)
- For those who desire to live in town, the City of Atlanta is committed to increasing affordable housing and recently passed legislation ensuring new developments are set aside for those who make less than the median income.
- Something I didn't know when I moved here, and now truly appreciate is how truly diverse our city is. Three of our metro neighborhoods recently ranked in the top 30 most diverse small cities.