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I originally shared this bucket list of things to do in Atlanta in 2014, when our son was just a toddler. I thought it was time to clean it up a little and add several new activities to the list. I have decided to divide the list up into categories for easier perusing. Whether you live in Atlanta or are planning your very first visit, here is the ultimate bucket list of things to do in Atlanta.
Today marks my 8th anniversary in Atlanta. I can hardly believe it. I was newly single when I moved here from California for a big change, and boy, did I find it. I met my husband within the first few months and we had our son a year later. I never could have imagined how incredible my life would be here!
Over the years I have become somewhat of an expert of family-friendly things to do in Atlanta. I’ve had awesome experiences within the city and outside the perimeter, and have had the opportunity to share them with readers of Love, Joleen, the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau’s ATL Insiders Blog, 365 Atlanta Family, and on Mommy Nearest. I love this city I’ve come to call home, but there are still so many things I’ve yet to do!
Atlanta can throw a party! If you’re into music, food, arts and crafts, books, and community, you can find a fun festival to celebrate it here. Here is a great list of the best family festivals for kids in Atlanta.
- Duluth Fall Festival ✓
- Dogwood Festival ✓
- Yellow Daisy Festival ✓
- AJC Decatur Book Festival ✓
An Atlanta bucket list wouldn’t be complete without southern fare, and you can bet I’ve got a ton of sweet spots on here too!
- Brunch at Chick-a-Biddy ✓
- Dunwoody Food Truck Thursday
- Duluth Food Truck Friday ✓
- Simply Done Donuts ✓
- Taste of Atlanta
- Gladys Knight Chicken and Waffles
- Eat ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams ✓
- Mac Lab Bakery ✓
- The Varsity ✓
- Go to the original Chick-fil-a in Hapeville, Georgia
- Decatur Farmers’ Market
- Dekalb Farmers’ Market
- Purchase a cupcake from the Sprinkles ATM ✓
- Fried Chicken at Watershed
- Eat at Mary Mac’s ✓
- Afternoon Tea at the Swan Coach House ✓
Date Day or Date Night
Maybe you’re planning your next Moms Night Out or a date day with your significant other. Here are some of the things on our list—including a few we’ve checked off and several we still want to do ourselves. For more ideas check out this ultimate list of date night ideas in Atlanta.
- Braves game date night at SunTrust Park
- Visit and photograph the Goat Farm ✓
- Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
- Skyline Park at Ponce City Market
- The Painted Pin
- Jackson Street Bridge ✓ (This is honestly just a popular spot to photograph! Super fun when you both are into that kinda thing.)
- Atlanta Movie Tours
- Porsche Experience Center
- Chamblee Antique Row ✓
- Paris on Ponce ✓
- Tour Oakland Cemetery ✓ (We’ve visited on our own, but I’d love to take an official tour someday.)
- Scott’s Antique Show
- Concert at Chastain Amphitheater
- Serenbe Farm for brunch and exploring
- Sweetwater Brewery Tour
- Ponce City Market ✓
- Krog Street Market
- The Escape Game at The Battery
- Tailgate with friends
- Dad’s Garage Theatre
- Margaret Mitchell House
I feel truly blessed for the opportunities my family has had in exploring our city. We love a good adventure. If you’re looking for family-friendly fun in Atlanta, this portion of the list is for you.
- Summit SkyRide at Stone Mountain Park ✓
- Braves game with Benjamin ✓ (Daddy/son)
- Visit Lake Lanier
- Laser show at Stone Mountain
- Play in the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park ✓
- The Nutcracker at Fox Theatre
- Southeastern Railway Museum ✓
- Old Mill Park Roswell ✓
- Explore the BeltLine ✓
- Ice Skate at Centennial Olympic Park
- Shoot the “Hooch” ✓ Summer 2016 (want to do as family still)
- Sweetwater Creek State Park
- Butterfly Festival at the Chattahoochee Nature Center ✓
- Family Night Hike at the Chattahoochee Nature Center
- Pink Pig at Lenox Square
- Tiny Towne
- Woodruff Arts Center Second Sunday Family Fun Day ✓
- Annual Toddler Takeover event at Woodruff Arts Center ✓ (We’ve gone to Toddler Takeover twice, and had the best time! Read about it here.)
- Medieval Times ✓
- Cabbage Patch Factory Tour in Cleveland, Georgia
- Atlanta Hawks game
- ATL Playground at Woodruff Park ✓
- Tiny Doors ATL Tour (We have visited several, but I’d love to see and photograph them all.)
- Dragon Con Parade ✓
- Piedmont Park ✓
- Center for Puppetry Arts ✓
- The Art Barn
- Outdoor Movie or Concert at Suwanee Town Center
- Mercedes Benz Stadium for Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta United game
- The National Center for Civil and Human Rights: Civil Rights Museum
- Visit MLK’s Home
- Hike Stone Mountain ✓
- The Wren’s Nest
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta ✓
- Peachtree Road Race and Kids Fun Run (My husband runs this nearly every year. I think it would be fun to do together as a family one year.)
- Peachtree DeKalb Airport
- “Public art scavenger hunt” — visit the Living Walls installations ✓
- Delta Flight Museum
- Starlight Six Drive-in Theatre
- Governor’s Mansion at Christmas
Atlanta is a major metropolitan city, and with that comes major attractions. Since I have lived here, I have seen so much of the city renovate or make plans to. So many of our favorite locations and venues have added entire new buildings and exhibitions. Here are the major Atlanta attractions that should definitely be on your list of things to do:
World of Coca-Cola Museum
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a huge Coke fan. Being from California, I’ve always been a Pepsi girl. We recently had some friends visit and my friend’s teenage daughter had her heart set on visiting the World of Coco-Cola. I was delighted because we’d never been. I have an entire post coming soon about our experience, but I definitely think it should be added to your list!
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Fernbank is an absolute gem of a natural museum, located right in the middle of an old-growth forest in Atlanta. There are exhibits for all ages, an indoor children’s wing, and 75-acres of epic outdoor adventure.
Atlanta History Center and Cyclorama
Earlier this year the Cyclorama was moved and restored at the Atlanta History Center. It is an awe-inspiring painting of the Civil War, that is worth checking out. I would categorize the History Center as mostly attracting teens and adults, although they do offer special programming for children. Here are some great tips/reasons for visiting the Atlanta History Center with kids.
We love the Aquarium, and have even held season passes in years past. Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the U.S. The exhibits are breathtaking and the shows are fun. This is one of the more expensive things to do in Atlanta, but you can save 40% by purchasing a CityPASS.
High Museum of Art
The High holds a very special place in my heart. I remember the first time my grandma took me and my sister there, well over a decade ago, while we were visiting. My husband and I had our first date there, and it’s also where he proposed to me. We’ve enjoyed several events and have seen many exhibits over the years. I absolutely adore their children’s author exhibits especially. There really is never a bad time to visit, and it’s definitely budget-friendly.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta Botanical Garden is a must-see for all Atlanta visitors. There is almost always a special event or exhibit happening. Kids will love the children’s garden. This is a great location for Mom and Dad to getaway for a date night. Every Thursday evening, May through October, you can enjoy cocktails in the garden until 10 p.m., and a beautiful view of the Atlanta skyline. Totally on my list!
Zoo Atlanta is home to over 1,000 animals and just today opened the all-new African Savanna. Here you’ll find African elephants, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, meerkats, and warthogs. Move over “Timon and Pumba”, a new mob of meerkats will be visible in the new habitat soon. The zoo offers so many fun things to do for kids, including playgrounds, spray pad, and other attractions. Pack a lunch and stay the day. Parking is free.
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta ✓
- Six Flags Over Georgia
- Alliance Theatre ✓
- Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
- Chick-fil-a College Football Hall of Fame
Day Trip or Weekend Getaway
Georgia is a gorgeous state. I never get tired of the greenery. I honestly don’t even mind all the rain! Sometimes it’s good to get away from all the people though, let’s be real. There is lots to do in Georgia if you’re looking to take a day trip or have a weekend getaway.
- Apple picking at Hillcrest Orchards ✓
- Visit Savannah, Georgia
- Tallulah Falls, Georgia ✓
- Buck’s Corn Maze
- Great Wolf Lodge (LaGrange, GA) ✓ Check out my post on our experience at Great Wolf Lodge!
- Consolidated Gold Mine
- Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia
- Château Élan
- Atlanta Getaway House
This is really just a glimpse of all there is to do in Atlanta and surrounding, on any given day. To plan for your visit, I highly recommend checking out this Atlanta events calendar.