Atlanta travel guide

Atlanta Tourism | Atlanta Guide

You're Going to Love Atlanta

Atlanta is easy to fall in love with. One of the jewels of the American South, Atlanta is large enough to have everything tourists could wish for – great food, theater, festivals, stores, and major sports teams. But the center is compact enough to make it easy to walk or cycle around. Few cities in America have both that kind of big city and small town vibe.

Imagine being there to watch the Braves hit a home run to clinch a home game, sparking the famous Turner Field fireworks into life, and lighting up the Atlanta skyline.

Smell the enticing aroma of pork and beef slow cooking over an Atlanta BBQ, then dine until your heart’s content on beautifully cooked meat. Sample gourmet soul food at Busy Bee, before trying out local brews at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub or cocktails at classy bars like the Pinewood.

You can also be transported back in time. Stand where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind. See where Martin Luther King, the famous leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, was born. Relive the 1996 Olympics.

Only Atlanta blends history, food, and sporting experiences in this way. That’s why you’ll soon fall for its charms.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Atlanta

1. Sport

Whether you want to watch the Atlanta Braves compete in Major League Baseball, the Hawks in the NBA, or the Falcons playing in the NFL, Atlanta is a great sporting destination. You can also visit Centennial Park to see the Olympic Games Museum, commemorating the 1996 event hosted by Atlanta.

2. Food

Atlanta is a fantastic place for food lovers to visit. Dine on soul food and BBQ at Fox Bros, try the seafood at the Optimist, or binge on superb pizzas at Ammazza or Varasano’s.

3. History

Atlanta has seen a lot of history since its founding in 1847. Visitors can see the home of Margaret Mitchell, writer of Gone With the Wind, see the birthplace of Martin Luther King, find out about Coca-Cola, the city’s most famous company, or take tours of Civil War battle sites like Kennesaw Mountain.

4. Shopping

Modern Atlanta is a retail center, drawing people from all over the South to its malls, markets, and boulevards. Window shop at the up-market boutiques and craft stores in Buckhead, head to Underground Atlanta in Downtown or visit major local department stores like Dillard’s.

5. Festivals

Atlanta is a city of festivals, with a constant stream of exciting events to enjoy. April sees the Atlanta Film Festival showcase more than 200 movies from around the world. In June, you can head to the Atlanta Street Food Festival, while in August, Kennesaw hosts the Great Southern Food Truck Rally. Whatever your passion, Atlanta has an event for you.

What to do in Atlanta

1. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site: The Dream Started Here

The birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. in Downtown Atlanta is one of the great historical monuments in the South. This is the ultimate place to explore the origins of America's 20th-century civil rights leader, now restored for educational purposes. Countless monuments walk visitors through this man's important history - from the childhood home, and the church where he preached to a memorial rose garden, to a Welcome Center with exhibitions that fill in the gaps in a detailed manner.

2. Atlanta History Center: Walk through Time

Once a 19th-century farm, this History Center sits on 33 acres of gorgeous grounds. Surrounded by gardens and restored buildings, the Center itself boasts a variety of permanent exhibitions - from the country's largest collection of Civil War artifacts to a chronicling of the Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996. Smaller museums dot the rest of the property, from the lavish Swan House to the homely Wood Family Cabin.

3. Fox Theatre: The Fabulous Fox

Transformed from a movie palace into a popular performing arts center, the Fox Theater has an Atlanta staple for decades. The 1929 construction is a historic relic, recalling a time in the United States when exotic influences overtook architectural trends. Islamic style adorns the exterior, while the over-the-top interior adopts many themes from Egyptian art. This combination of cultures in such an unlikely place continues to enthrall visitors, along with the epic shows year-round.

4. World of Coca-Cola: Welcome to HQ

The original World of Coca-Cola is the most comprehensive place in which to learn about this all-American soda dynasty. Tours highlight the internationalization of the brand, showing visitors Coca-Cola in all its forms around the world. Find retro soda machines, taste-testing stations, art galleries, and everything you ever wanted to know about this iconic soda on your visit. Nearby, check out the Centennial Olympic Park, which now hosts the Georgia Aquarium and Center for Civil & Human Rights.

5. Piedmont Park: R&R at its Best

Atlanta's greatest public space invites residents and tourists from all over the city to bask in the glory of the green grass. Whether you prefer picnicking along the waterside of Lake Clara Meer, or jogging past fields dotted by picturesque gazebos and park benches, there is plenty of space for everyone. Don't miss a soothing stroll through the Atlanta Botanical Gardens either, where diverse flora are planted in different international styles.

1. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site: The Dream Started Here

The birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. in Downtown Atlanta is one of the great historical monuments in the South. This is the ultimate place to explore the origins of America's 20th-century civil rights leader, now restored for educational purposes. Countless monuments walk visitors through this man's important history - from the childhood home, and the church where he preached to a memorial rose garden, to a Welcome Center with exhibitions that fill in the gaps in a detailed manner.

2. Atlanta History Center: Walk through Time

Once a 19th-century farm, this History Center sits on 33 acres of gorgeous grounds. Surrounded by gardens and restored buildings, the Center itself boasts a variety of permanent exhibitions - from the country's largest collection of Civil War artifacts to a chronicling of the Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996. Smaller museums dot the rest of the property, from the lavish Swan House to the homely Wood Family Cabin.

3. Fox Theatre: The Fabulous Fox

Transformed from a movie palace into a popular performing arts center, the Fox Theater has an Atlanta staple for decades. The 1929 construction is a historic relic, recalling a time in the United States when exotic influences overtook architectural trends. Islamic style adorns the exterior, while the over-the-top interior adopts many themes from Egyptian art. This combination of cultures in such an unlikely place continues to enthrall visitors, along with the epic shows year-round.

4. World of Coca-Cola: Welcome to HQ

The original World of Coca-Cola is the most comprehensive place in which to learn about this all-American soda dynasty. Tours highlight the internationalization of the brand, showing visitors Coca-Cola in all its forms around the world. Find retro soda machines, taste-testing stations, art galleries, and everything you ever wanted to know about this iconic soda on your visit. Nearby, check out the Centennial Olympic Park, which now hosts the Georgia Aquarium and Center for Civil & Human Rights.

5. Piedmont Park: R&R at its Best

Atlanta's greatest public space invites residents and tourists from all over the city to bask in the glory of the green grass. Whether you prefer picnicking along the waterside of Lake Clara Meer, or jogging past fields dotted by picturesque gazebos and park benches, there is plenty of space for everyone. Don't miss a soothing stroll through the Atlanta Botanical Gardens either, where diverse flora are planted in different international styles.

Where to Eat in Atlanta

If you are looking for barbecue, soul food, seafood and Asian restaurants, Atlanta is as good as anywhere in the U.S.A. Great soul food joints include K&K or Paschal’s (both slightly outside Downtown), while fresh seafood is served up at the Optimist on Howell Mill Road. For a traditional Georgia slow roast barbecue meal, try Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q. Food from around the world is also represented, with superb Japanese options like Nakato, fiery curries from Tabla and Thai specialities at Nan Thai.

When to visit Atlanta

Atlanta in November
Estimated hotel price
£45
1 night at 3-star hotel
Atlanta in November
Estimated hotel price
£45
1 night at 3-star hotel

The best time of year to visit Atlanta depends on whether you can deal with hot, sticky summer weather. If you visit in the heat of summer, you can enjoy the city at its most beautiful and visit events like the Atlanta Barbecue Festival, held in August. But for most people, the shoulder seasons are more inviting. Between April and June and September and November, Atlanta is warm but not too warm, and there’s plenty to do. Even the winters are mild, so a festive sight-seeing break isn’t out of the question.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Atlanta

Plane

The easiest way to get to Atlanta is by flying into Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is around 8 miles south of the Downtown district. To reach the center of town you can catch the MARTA rail system, which costs just $2.50. If you need to take a taxi, expect it to cost around $30 to reach central hotels.

Train

Atlanta’s Amtrak station is served by the Crescent route, which links the city to New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia to the north-east, and New Orleans to the southwest. The station is located at 1688 Peachtree St. N.W, a short distance out of town. To get into the city center, take bus number 110 (at a cost of $2.50).

Car

Atlanta has excellent road connections to the rest of the country. If you are coming from the eastern seaboard, take either I-85 or I-20. From Florida, you can follow I-75 straight to Atlanta, while it also links the city to Detroit and Chicago to the north. If you are coming from Texas, take I-20.

Bus

Greyhound is the major bus operator in Atlanta and runs services from many major U.S. cities into their terminal at 232 Forsyth Street. That stop is on the MARTA train system, so it’s easy to get into town after your bus arrives. Megabus also serves Atlanta, with regular connections to cities like Birmingham, Miami, Cleveland and New Orleans.

Airlines serving Atlanta

Lufthansa
Good (1,359 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (2,452 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,899 reviews)
KLM
Good (293 reviews)
Air France
Good (290 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,070 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,656 reviews)
British Airways
Good (933 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (353 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (922 reviews)
Iberia
Good (652 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (623 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (655 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (195 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (365 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (74 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (301 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (201 reviews)
Finnair
Good (441 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Good (151 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Atlanta

Atlanta has hotels and guest houses to fit almost everyone’s budget and needs. The most convenient and safest places to stay are in the Five Points and Midtown area, where you’ll find popular hotels like the Georgian Terrace Hotel and the Hotel Palomar. If you need to be Downtown, the Hilton Garden Inn is an efficient, comfortable mid-range option near most of the attractions. Options near the Atlanta Braves Stadium in South Atlanta include the stylish Wyndham Atlanta Galleria and the Courtyard, which is a short distance from the airport.

Popular neighbourhoods in Atlanta

Downtown – Downtown is where you’ll find Atlanta’s thriving business core, including the head offices of Coca-Cola. You can hit the city’s liveliest nightclubs at Underground Atlanta, take a tour of CNN’s world HQ or see the iconic advertisements at World of Coca-Cola. It’s also an area with plenty of eating options, including local favorites like Rosa's Pizza.

Midtown – Located a short walk north of Downtown, Midtown is a relaxed area full of stores, restaurants, and bars. It contains Atlanta’s main shopping drag, the Midtown Mile as well as the city’s main cultural institutions, including the Museum of Design and the home of Gone With the Wind authoress Margaret Mitchell.

East Atlanta – For a more alternative experience, look for lodging in East Atlanta, the city’s indie hub. Check out the bars in Little Five Points, shop for food and clothes at Ponce City Market, and see Atlanta’s most renowned graffiti artists in action at the Krog Street Tunnel.

Most popular hotel in Atlanta by neighbourhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Atlanta

Most booked hotels in Atlanta

Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
£153+
Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
£157+
Hyatt Place Atlanta Duluth Johns Creek
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
£89+
Atlanta Airport Marriott
Excellent (8, Excellent reviews)
£167+
The Westin Atlanta Airport
Good (7.8, Good reviews)
£166+
Atlanta Marriott Marquis
Good (7.7, Good reviews)
£111+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Atlanta

Public Transportation

MARTA runs a comprehensive bus and rail network that should get you wherever you need to go. It’s also affordable, with single fares only $2.50. Before you ride, you’ll need to get hold of a rechargeable Breeze Card at the cost of $1 which you can buy from vending machines at the airport and rail stations. Day passes cost $9.

Taxis

Taxis in central Atlanta have flat fares of $2.50 for the first eighth of a mile, then $0.25 for every subsequent eighth of a mile ($2 per mile), as well as a waiting charge of $21 per hour and a $2 surcharge for every extra passenger. Uber can work out much cheaper, with a basic fare of $1, then $0.75 per mile after that.

Car

Outside rush hour (which ends at 9:30 a.m. and then runs from around 3:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.) driving around Atlanta shouldn’t be a problem. However, parking garages in Midtown and Downtown can be expensive ($6 for two hours), so consider parking at a MARTA station further out if you are looking to save money.

The Cost of Living in Atlanta

Shopping Streets

Atlanta has a huge retail scene and there are several districts for shoppers to check out. For upscale boutiques, head to Buckhead neighborhoods like Phipps Plaza, where you’ll find designer stores like Bally, Hugo Boss, and Omega. The Midtown Mile is fast becoming the premier shopping district in the city, with new stores appearing all the time. In the Downtown District, the six blocks of Underground Atlanta offer craft markets, street food, and specialist stores like Art of Makeup, Jeweler’s Choice, and Urban Outlet.

Groceries and Other

Finding supermarkets in Atlanta is never hard. There’s a wealth of places to buy groceries, including major names like Whole Foods, Publix, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Kroger, and Costco. You can also pick up specialist foods at delis like Reuben’s and the Morningside Farmers Market. Food tends to be cheaper than most cities, with 12 eggs costing around $2.40 and a bottle of wine about $13.

Cheap meal
£9.94
A pair of jeans
£35.01
Single public transport ticket
£2.08
Cappuccino
£3.10
Other popular cities in Georgia