While Atlanta is surely a commercial hub, it also presents a diverse scene when it comes to art and culture. The city offers numerous opportunities for entertainment, such as live concerts and shows. But with so many available options, planning the best trip can become a challenging task. Continue reading for a list of the 10 best cultural things to do in Atlanta.
In fact, the cultural activities in Atlanta offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a shopaholic or a geek, Atlanta will not disappoint. Not to mention, it is also a great city for people who are looking to enjoy excellent nightlife. All in all, Atlanta has you covered regardless of your choices and preferences.
From zoo exhibits and green spaces like Piedmont Park to unique venues like the Fox Theater, Atlanta is full of fun places to visit. There is definitely a lot to explore in Atlanta so let’s have a look at some of your best options.
1. Atlanta Film Festival
One of the longest-running film festivals in Atlanta, the Atlanta Film Festival receives more than 25,000 people every year. The audience is a wild combination of movie fans, filmmakers, and enthusiasts from around the world.
The Atlanta Film Society holds the largest international film festival every spring. During this festival which started back in 1976, a vast range of films played during the seven-day festival. So if you’re a film enthusiast, be sure to visit Atlanta during springtime to be able to see over 150 films.
The great thing about this film festival is that it pays special attention to LGBTQIA+ films, women-directed films, black films, and a range of independent films. And if you’re looking to enjoy a film festival that features American Southeast and Latin American films, then the ATLFF is just the place to visit.
2. Atlanta Jazz Festival
The Atlanta Jazz Festival is one of the largest jazz festivals in the US that offer free-of-cost entry. Held in the Piedmont Park every year, the Jazz Festival is a true celebration of the art, music, and culture of Atlanta. Make sure to not miss this opportunity of having fun with friends if you’re visiting Atlanta during the festival.
Beginning in the month of April, the Jazz Festival also culminates each weekend of Memorial Day. The celebration of music and culture is incomplete without a number of jazz artists visiting the outdoor festival from around the world.
Free and open to the public, the Atlanta Jazz Festival seeks to showcase the Jazz genre of music. And the festival very well exposes and entertains a huge audience. Visitors of the festival typically include young Jazz enthusiasts and aspiring musicians.
Make sure to visit the Jazz Festival in Atlanta if you’re interested in enjoying and exploring the variety and rich heritage of this form of American music.
3. High Museum of Art
You haven’t really experienced Atlanta if you haven’t experienced its art. In fact, many tourists visit Atlanta only to explore the diverse variety of art and culture. If you’re planning your trip for the same reasons, then make sure to visit the High Museum of Art.
As the name already suggests, the High Museum of Art allows you to explore art. The best thing about this museum in Atlanta is that it features African, European, and American art altogether. Richard Meier designed this renowned art museum in Southeastern US, displaying all forms of art from modern photography to Monet paintings.
In its permanent collection, you will find more than 17000 artworks. These include notable contemporary and classic pieces, even some from the 19th century. On the other hand, the growing collection of modern and contemporary art also brings in a huge crowd. The museum, which comprises several buildings and is an art gallery, is definitely worth paying a visit.
4. Georgia Aquarium
One of the world’s largest aquariums, the Georgia aquarium located in Atlanta, houses over 1 million sea animals. Visiting the Georgia Aquarium on your next trip to Atlanta will give you the opportunity of exploring over 500 species in seven different galleries in the aquarium museum. The underwater animals make for a spectacular show that you wouldn’t want to miss.
If you’re interested in learning more about nature, the Georgia Aquarium offers the best opportunity to do so in a fun, interactive way. At the aquarium, you can see all kinds of water animals, from freshwater habitats to a wide range of marine life.
You can visit the Southern Company River Scout at Georgia Aquarium to have a look at freshwater fish, while you will also find a giant whale shark tank in the gallery named ‘Ocean Voyager.’ For a more immersive experience, you can also peek at penguins and feed dolphins after a live show.
5. Bicycle Tours of Atlanta
Atlanta is the perfect city for people who enjoy sightseeing activities. While you can visit historical landmarks, museums, etc., renting a scooter to experience the great city is also a fantastic option. Bicycle Tours of Atlanta offers tourists and visitors the opportunity to see the city on a 2h 30m tour.
On this 8 miles long guided tour, you can have an informative look at historic landmarks, gorgeous neighborhoods, and local artists. It is one of the unique ways of touring a city like Atlanta, where culture and history are at their finest.
During the tour, the guide introduces you to historic sites and in-town neighborhoods, while you will also get to experience beautiful street art and a popular graffiti hotspot.
6. Atlanta State Farmer’s Market
Atlanta Farm Market, or Atlanta State Farmer’s Market, located in Forest Park, is one of the largest outdoor markets in the US. Sprawling over 150 acres, the market was operational for a total of 18 years, from 1941 to 1959. Today, it is also often referred to as the Murphy Triangle as it is surrounded by industrial buildings.
However, the lush green garden is a wholesale and retail activities center even today. If you want to have a casual time in the city and experience Atlanta as a local, the Atlanta State Farmer’s Market is the ideal outdoor space to visit.
The major hub of marketing distributes fresh produce throughout the Southeast area and throughout the country. Open 24/7, the Oakwood Café in the market is also a must-visit spot that serves barbecue, desserts, and various meats and vegetable recipes.
7. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park presents the childhood home of one of the most important historical figures. Not only this, but the venue also shows the church where the King would pastor in the footsteps of his father.
If you’re someone who is interested in reading history, you will surely love to experience it so closely. Here, you can walk into the same home where the leader took birth and was raised. All you need to visit this amazing place is to book a free ticket and get a free tour. It is important for visitors to get their free ticket from the Visitor’s Center before heading to join the guided tour of King Luther’s childhood house.
Inside the historic property, you can walk through the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. This part of the museum is specially made to honor people that fought for equality in the past. You can also see the King and his wife’s tomb on an island n the center of a reflecting pool.
8. Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park is located adjacent to the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown Atlanta. It is the perfect place for spending quality time with your family. Or, you can also visit if you want to spend a lazy afternoon in the park all by yourself.
While it offers the perfect spot in the city to cozy up, you can also walk in with your friends to have a fun, adventurous time. Spanning more than 200 acres, there is a lot you can do at the park.
With no shortage of things to do, Piedmont Park offers tennis courts, playgrounds, dog parks, paths for jogging and walking, picnic facilities as well as a public swimming pool. Not to mention, you can also shop from a farmers market if you visit Piedmont on a Saturday.
Due to the massive space it is built on, several huge festivals of Atlanta also take place in Piedmont Park. Some top events that you might want to experience include Atlanta Jazz Festival, Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, Music Midtown, Atlanta Pride, and Atlanta Dogwood Festival.
9. Zoo Atlanta
The Zoo Atlanta is among the best zoos in the country that never go out of operation. It was founded in the year 1889 and is, therefore, one of the city’s oldest zoos and cultural destinations.
Most popular for its exhibition of Gorillas, local residents of the city and tourists equally make up the crowd. So, don’t miss out on this tourist attraction, especially if you want to have a look at the oldest living gorilla in the world, Ozzie.
You can visit a 40-acres huge Zoo Atlanta with friends or family to see over a thousand animals from up close. The zoo houses more than 200 species of animals and allows you to have personal experiences with all kinds of animals, including lizards, alpacas, bears, giraffes, and elephants. Not forget, the zoo is most popular for having a giant panda habitat and the largest population of Apes.
10. Fox Theater
Originally built in the 1920s, the Fox Theater was initially known as the Yaarab Temple Shrine Mosque. With its Arabian-inspired theme and design, the Fox Theater has a diverse history. Even though Yaarab faced the consequences during the period of the Great Depression, the problems couldn’t erase.
Ever since its construction, the Fox Theater has been a popular and loved landmark in the history of Atlanta. In fact, it is also part of the list in the National Register of Historic Places.
While the remarkable and elegant interior is to die for, the Fox also offers many options for entertainment. It holds hundreds of performances every year, including rock concerts, ballet, movies, and operas.
Atlanta is a great city to visit for people who are all about cultural and artistic spots and historical landmarks. With such diversity in options, it can be hard to plan the perfect trip. If you’re struggling to decide what places you must visit, the list above should help.