Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. Piedmont Park
- 2. Shoot the Hooch
- 3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
- 4. Chattahoochee Nature Center
- 5. Centennial Olympic Park
- 6. Zoo Atlanta
- 7. Center for Puppetry Arts
- 8. The Battery Atlanta
- 9. World of Coca-Cola
- 10. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta
- 11. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- 12. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- 13. Atlanta History Center
- 14. Atlanta Botanical Gardens
- 15. Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
- 16. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
- 17. High Museum of Art
- 18. Krog Street Market
- 19. Oakland Cemetery
- 20. The Atlanta Beltline
- 21. Porsche Experience Center Atlanta
- 22. Ponce City Market and Skyline Park
- 23. Skyview Atlanta
- 24. Georgia Aquarium
- 25. Children's Museum of Atlanta
- Where to Stay in Atlanta?
Atlanta is one of the most affordable major cities in the country; it’s no wonder families flock here. There are tons of museums, attractions, parks and other fun things to do in Atlanta with kids that are designed for some making awesome family memories. Here, an Atlanta TravelingMom of four kids shares her family’s favorite things to do.
Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the most family-friendly big cities in America. You’ll find lots of green spaces, a chill lifestyle, and gallons and gallons of the best sweet tea you’ve ever tasted.
This very diverse city is home to the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Dream and Atlanta Falcons professional sports teams. Depending on the time of year you visit, you wouldn’t go wrong trying to snag tickets to watch any of these teams.
There are some great road trips in Georgia and road trips to nearby states. But there honestly are so many reasons to bring kids to Atlanta that you don’t need to leave to have fun with the family. (And if you want to ditch the kids for a day or a date night, these are the best things to do in Atlanta for adults!)
These 25 fun things to do in Atlanta with kids include my family’s favorites!
1. Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park is the largest park in the city of Atlanta. It is full of history and one of the few places in the city that can boast pre-Civil War architecture. The park covers 185 acres in the middle of Midtown. Families have been gathering here for picnics, concerts and recreational events for over 200 years!
Piedmont Park offers tennis courts, a community pool, an adorable splash pad, two gigantic playgrounds, sand volleyball courts and baseball fields. Plus, check out the green farmer’s market located at the park on Saturday mornings in the warm weather months. It could be a great place for a kid-friendly scavenger hunt if you want to get creative.
Whether you want to just relax or be super active, there really is something for everyone here. The parking structures added in the last few years make parking super easy.
TravwlingMom Tip: The Aquatic Center features a beach entry and lazy river, along with plenty of space to relax and stay cool on a sultry summer day. They call this Hotlanta for a reason!
2. Shoot the Hooch
One of the most “ATL” things to do is to go tubing on the Chattahoochee River, also called “shooting the Hooch.” If you are visiting in the summer, spending a day floating gently down the beautiful river is one of the best things you can do.
If tubing is not your speed or if you aren’t visiting in the hot summer months, The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area offers tons of other fun opportunities. The Chattahoochee River is the main source of water recreation in the Atlanta area. The city may be 3 or 4 hours from the ocean, but you can still experience tons of water fun.
TravelingMom Tip: My kids and I love to take off our shoes and socks and wade into the river. Visitors can also skip stones, go stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, or take a walk on the shaded trails which frame the river for miles.
3. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
If you are visiting Atlanta, you must take advantage of the many opportunities to learn more about Dr. King. And, one of the best places to do that is at the national park named in his honor. The 35-acre site is actually home to several indoor and outdoor spaces to visit. Formerly a National Historic Site, in 2018, it was given a National Historical Park designation.
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One of my family’s favorite places to visit within the boundaries of this national historic park is the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. It is filled with reverence and some of the most important history of the Civil Rights Movement. This is where Dr. King’s father was a pastor and where Dr. King himself was a pastor. Dr. King was baptized here and 39 years later, the church hosted his funeral.
We like to sit on the richly-restored pews and listen to Dr. King’s live sermons as they are broadcast through an impressive sound system. Let the kids experience what it might have felt like to sit in this church in the 1960s. It is one of the things to do in Atlanta with kids that is completely awe-inspiring.
TravelingMom Tip: The MLK Park is located downtown and includes The King Center, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the meticulously restored birth home of Martin Luther King Jr., gardens and monuments, as well as a fun playground and recreation areas. Take the downtown trolley over for an easy ride from downtown hotels. Note that the buildings are currently closed due to Covid-19.
4. Chattahoochee Nature Center
One of the best things to do in Atlanta with kids in nature can be found at Chattahoochee Nature Center. We love to walk the many trails and make a point to visit the exhibits, programs and events offered throughout the 127 acres of forest, wetland, and river habitat.
My kids love the Butterfly Gardens in the summer and we have rented canoes for a trip down the river with the whole family. The Chattahoochee Nature Center is located just outside of the city of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, and is adjacent to the Chattahoochee River.
TravelingMom Tip: The Chattahoochee Nature Center offers amazing camps and one-day events for kids as young as 5 throughout the year. Check out the event calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.
5. Centennial Olympic Park
In 1996, the Olympics came to Atlanta. Centennial Olympic Park is the green space left behind to commemorate the time when the whole world was watching…for good and for bad.
It offers a gigantic playground, event space and the famed Fountain of Rings, which is one of the best places to cool off in the city. This is a great location to choose as your home base when exploring the city, with plenty of kid-friendly hotels available. With so many tourist attractions bordering the park, you can easily spend the day in this area. Plus, this attraction is free!
TravelingMom Tip: Grab lunch from a nearby deli or restaurant and have a picnic here. Grab one of the picnic tables under the Magnolia trees.
6. Zoo Atlanta
For those who want to experience wildlife in all its glory, my family heads to Zoo Atlanta, one of the best zoos in the USA. Home to more than 1,000 animals, Zoo Atlanta has been impressing visitors since 1889. The zoo assists with the preservation of many different kinds of wildlife and their habitats through research, conservation, and education.
Don’t miss a stop at the Outback Station Children’s Zoo which typically offers a petting zoo, a playground, rides (including a train) and a splash pad during the warmer months. You could easily spend the day here.
TravelingMom Tip: Don’t miss the adorable giant pandas, Mei Lan, Yang Yang and Lun Lun, as well as the many descendants of Atlanta’s most famous gorilla, Willie B, who lived at the zoo for over 40 years.
7. Center for Puppetry Arts
Seeing a puppet show at the Center for Puppetry Arts is an event. It is the largest institution dedicated to the art of puppetry in the US. It also houses an impressive collection of Jim Henson puppets you can see nowhere else. The center offers a myriad of productions from some of the best puppeteers, actors and singers in the country.
My family’s favorite part of seeing a show here is the post-show conversation with the actors. Kids (and adults) get to learn more about puppetry and how the sights and sounds we experienced were actually made. The Center for Puppetry Arts is located in Midtown Atlanta.
TravelingMom Tip: While the Center focuses on shows for children, there are also ones specifically designed for adults too. And they are hilarious!
8. The Battery Atlanta
Home to Truist Park and the Atlanta Braves, The Battery is much more than a destination to go watch a baseball game. There are restaurants, attractions and even an outdoor walking trail for those who want to get some exercise. There is also a splash pad and many free kids activities throughout the year. Look for movies in the park, fitness classes and the cornhole league if you want to attend an event.
Since most streets in The Battery are closed to traffic, parents can feel a little more comfortable walking around with little ones. I think walking around The Battery is one of the most relaxing things to do in Atlanta with kids. It’s just fun to meander and see what there is to see each time we go.
TravelingMom Tip: Try to visit on a day when there is not a Braves game as the crowds are much smaller. Plus, parking is free on non-game days.
9. World of Coca-Cola
The World of Coca-Cola shares the green space at Pemberton Plaza with the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This attraction is a family favorite because of the famous “Tasting Room” which allows visitors to taste Coca-Cola products from around the world. (If you haven’t already, you MUST try the Beverly drink from Italy. It will be memorable for sure.)
As you work your way through this attraction, you also can learn more about the iconic company and the place it has had in American commerce since it was founded in Atlanta in 1892. This is definitely one of the most popular things to do in Atlanta with kids.
TravelingMom Tip: You don’t have to buy souvenirs because everyone leaves with a Coke of their own!
10. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta
This is a must-do for families with LEGO lovers. This LEGO-themed attraction is located in heart of Buckhead within the posh Phipps Plaza mall.
While LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is designed for younger kids, there are experiences for everyone here including the 4-D movie and the pedal-powered ride Merlin’s Apprentice. You can also help save the LEGO princess on the Kingdom Quest ride. If the kids get hungry, there is a super cute LEGO cafe inside the attraction for a quick bite.
TravelingMom Tip: Since LEGOLAND Discovery Center is located within the mall, there are several restaurants and an AMC movie theater for you to enjoy before or after your visit.
11. National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Atlanta has been known as the home of the Civil Rights Movement, but there is so much more to this museum than just rehashing the 1960s. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights inspires visitors with a variety of thought-provoking and interactive exhibitions, events, and educational programs throughout the year.
This Atlanta museum is located in a magnificent building bookended by the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium. The museum is dedicated not just to telling the story of the fight for civil rights for African-Americans, but it also honors the struggle for human rights around the world. It is at times sobering and inspirational and is one of the most important and meaningful things to do in Atlanta with kids.
TravelingMom Tip: The Center for Civil and Human Rights is great for all ages but has some exhibits best viewed by kids over age 12. For example, the Lunch Counter interactive exhibit immerses you into what it felt and sounded like during the protests to desegregate restaurants in the 1960s. The simulation feels so real even adults are sometimes reduced to tears.
12. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Visitors come to Fernbank Museum to learn more about natural history and engage in some hands-on fun while understanding more about our world. Fernbank is located near Atlanta’s historic and stately Druid Hills neighborhood.
Offering much more than a typical museum, Fernbank has 75 acres full of outdoor adventures as well as 3 floors of indoor exhibits. The museum is also home to the giant 4-story IMAX movie screen. My kids also liked/were scared of the life-size replicas of dinosaurs in the massive atrium. There are daily programs and events offered for both kids and adults too.
TravelingMom Tip: Parking is free at Fernbank Museum but there is an additional charge for IMAX movies.
13. Atlanta History Center
Founded in 1926, the Atlanta History Center tells the story of the importance of Atlanta to the country over the last 250 years. The indoor exhibits are interesting and intriguing, but the beauty of the Atlanta History Center lies in its outdoor grounds.
The center, located in Buckhead, boasts 33 acres with historic houses, luscious gardens, a replica of a working southern farm (with workers) and one of the best places for a truly southern lunch, the Swan Coach House. My husband and I got married on the grounds here, so this attraction will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
TravelingMom Tip: If possible visit during the week. It gets quite crowded on the weekends.
14. Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Visitors can immerse themselves year-round in the awesome beauty of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is located in Midtown, adjacent to Piedmont Park. Since opening in 1976, it has become a crown jewel in the city.
The Garden is an ever-evolving destination filled with a huge variety of plants and flowers spread over 33 acres. It is a fantastic place for unstructured wandering as there is always something new to see, especially as the seasons change.
TravelingMom Tip: Parents will want to be sure to visit the Children’s Garden which includes interactive elements and a fun treehouse-themed playground.
15. Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
Are you ready for some football??? Whether you are a rabid fan or a fair-weather follower, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is for you. It is located in downtown Atlanta, a short walk from many of the attractions on this list. The famed Saturday pastime can now be enjoyed any day of the week too! We have visited the Hall many times and always find something new to see and do!
There are more than 50 interactive exhibits and a 45-yard football field that allows everyone to get a little active. There is also a shrine to the greatest college football players in our country’s history. Exhibits include a look at tailgating through the years, school song sing-offs, and even an intro to sports broadcasting.
TravelingMom Tip: If you visit on a Saturday in the Fall, you may be able to watch the day’s best college football games on a giant TV.
16. Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum
The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum is located next to John Lewis Freedom Park in downtown Atlanta. It houses President Jimmy Carter’s papers and other material and memorabilia relating to the Carter administration and the Carter family. Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize is housed here as is a full-scale replica of the Oval Office as it looked when President Carter was in office.
The Presidential Library Store is a great place to get fun Atlanta souvenirs such as an actual peanut bush!
TravelingMom Tip: The library and museum are free to all students ages 16 and under. Note that they are currently only offering virtual programming as the library is closed to the public.
17. High Museum of Art
You might think an art museum would not be a good place to bring kids. However, you would be wrong! This is another of the best museums in Atlanta for families, with many hands-on, interactive elements to bring out the artistic side of kids of all ages. There are family-friendly museum tours, storytimes, and art-making opportunities.
When my kids were very little, we enjoyed Toddler Takeover on Thursdays and usually spent all our time in the Greene Family Learning Gallery where the kids can just be kids. The High Museum of Art is located in Midtown within the Woodruff Arts Center. Parking is available for a fee.
TravelingMom Tip: Admission is free on the second Sunday of each month from 1 pm to 4 pm. There are typically family-focused activities during this time as well.
18. Krog Street Market
I just love Krog Street Market. It is an eclectic food hall and a small shopping center with unique finds and eats. I had the best calzone I’ve ever eaten in my life from Varuni Napoli which can be found here. Located on The Atlanta Beltline, my family has stopped here for lunch during a walk.
TravelingMom Tip: A sweet hand-crafted treat from Jeni’s Ice Cream always helps to encourage the kids to keep walking. My family of six gets a pint to share and it is gone in a blink!
19. Oakland Cemetery
You may wonder why in the world a cemetery would be on a list of the best things to do in Atlanta with kids, but this is no ordinary gravesite. In fact, it is such a beautiful, historic place, people are dying to get in. (Dad joke intended.)
Oakland Cemetery is Atlanta’s oldest public park, dating back to 1850. Many of the city’s most noted citizens are buried here such as Maynard Jackson, Bobby Jones and Margaret Mitchell.
Less than a mile from downtown, it is 48 acres full of treasures. You will see families walking dogs, having picnics or exploring the stories of those buried here. Oakland Cemetery also hosts concerts, holiday celebrations, races and other fun events. This is definitely not a typical cemetery at all!
Traveling Tip: If you’re able, try to attend the Sunday in the Park events which have been occurring for more than 40 years. There is live music, food trucks, kid activities and more!
20. The Atlanta Beltline
Whenever we aren’t sure where to go but want to get out of the house, the Atlanta Beltline is our first destination. It is one of the newest outdoor trails in the city of Atlanta. The Atlanta Beltline is comprised of miles of trails and parks. It has become the place where Atlanta gathers. Once it is finished, the Beltline will connect 45 neighborhoods in Atlanta with a 22-mile loop.
The Beltline is part of a huge urban renewal project and is based on the railroad corridors that used to encircle Atlanta. In addition to the walking and biking trails, there is a Skate Park, fantastic murals and sculptures, beautiful natural surroundings and some of the most unique playgrounds in Atlanta.
TravelingMom Tip: Park for free on the streets rimming Old Fourth Ward Park and jump onto the Beltline from there.
21. Porsche Experience Center Atlanta
If you feel the need for speed and luxury mixed together, then the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta is the place you need to be. Located near the airport, south of the city, the car aficionados in my family (including me!) adore this experience.
You can explore the 1.6-mile track behind the wheel of some of the most magnificent vehicles on the market now. Or, you can ride along, like my husband did as part of a birthday outing I gifted him.
Children are welcome to visit Porsche Experience Center but visitors have to be 21 with a valid license to participate in the experience. There is a younger driver experience that looks amazing for kids 16-24. Driving a Porsche to learn how to drive correctly? Yes, please!
Kids aged 12 and over (and who weigh more than 80 pounds) can ride-along on a lap around the track, which is actually super cool. There is no age limit to book the Ride Simulator experience but participants have to be at least 5 feet tall.
Children (with adult supervision) can watch mom or dad take a spin on the track as a visitor, check out the Porsche Museum on-site, grab a snack at Camera Cafe overlooking the track or an upscale meal at Restaurant 356.
TravelingMom Tip: Reservations for drivers AND non-drivers are required to enter the building. You cannot simply walk up. Book early. Reservations go fast.
22. Ponce City Market and Skyline Park
If you plan to spend any time on the Atlanta Beltline, you may want to finish at Ponce City Market. Built-in an abandoned factory, this area is now a shopping destination and food hall for some of the hippest, coolest stores in Atlanta.
After you visit the awesome restaurants and shops, take the freight elevator up to the rooftop where skyline Park is located. There are carnival games, rides, miniature golf and tons of places to enjoy the amazing views of the city. In the winter, my family adores the ice skating rink they build here!
TravelingMom Tip: It is free to go in Ponce City Market but there is a cost to go up to the roof. And it’s kind of pricey. You can expect to pay $15 for adults and $7 for kids ages 4-12 (3 and under are free). Games, rides and mini-golf are additional fees. Parking is $10 for 4 to 8 hours. For a special occasion, such as a birthday or holiday, this is a terrific splurge. You may be able to save money having lunch while experiencing the rooftop if you make a reservation for the rooftop restaurant, 9 Mile Station. Keep in mind kids are only allowed before 5p.
23. Skyview Atlanta
Skyview Atlanta, a giant Ferris wheel, has become an icon in the city of Atlanta and is now part of the downtown skyline. The 20-story Ferris wheel in Centennial Park provides scenic views from the 42 climate-controlled gondolas. Up to 6 adults can fit into these gondolas for a ride that lasts 7 to 12 minutes. The breathtaking panoramic views of downtown Atlanta are truly impressive. My kids still talk about the time we got to go up in the VIP gondola!
TravelingMom Tip: Want to upgrade your experience? If you have a special occasion you are celebrating, book the VIP gondola which includes Ferrari-style seats, a cool (and scary) glass floor, a longer “flight” time, and skip the line access. Know that the VIP gondola only holds 5 people though. Cost: $50/person. The VIP ride could be a fun extra special outing but I recommend it more for adults with will better appreciate it.
24. Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta is home to the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium. It is an impressive indoor attraction to be sure! Located across the street from Centennial Olympic Park, World of Coca-Cola, CNN Center and other family attractions, it is not to be missed. You can spend the day checking out unique marine life from dolphins and manta rays to beluga whales and whale sharks. Plus, everything is kid-friendly!
More than 100,000 animals representing more than 500 species are housed at the Georgia Aquarium. With hands-on exhibits, a lovely cafe, and built-in play areas, my kids always have a great time here.
TravelingMom Tip: The parking deck attached to the Aquarium is the best place to park and typically costs $10. You can also park there if you are visiting other attractions in the area.
25. Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Children’s Museum of Atlanta is the only educational venue of its kind in Atlanta. The programs and both rotating and permanent exhibits are all hands-on and entertaining. My kids and I have adored this museum over the years. It never ceases to spark creativity, imagination and a sense of discovery. Kids get to learn through the power of play and not even know they are learning. Don’t miss the “piano stairs” in which kids can go up and down for what seems like hours to hear the music they are creating.
Children’s Museum of Atlanta is less than one block away from Centennial Olympic Park. It is a lovely indoor attraction to cool off, sit down and let your kids experience a place created just for them.
TravelingMom Tip: This venue is designed for children ages 0–8 so older kids might feel a little bored. However, a recent visit with my 9 and 11-year-olds was a hit. They both said they had tons of fun.
Where to Stay in Atlanta?
Want to turn your day trip into a weekend (or longer)? Atlanta has a variety of hotels that work well for families. Favorites include the hip and posh Hotel Colee in Buckhead. You can walk to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Lenox Square Mall, and dozens of the best restaurants in Atlanta from here. The connecting rooms are great for families and the new Bubbly Bar is a must for adults seeking a little romance. Other family-friendly hotels include Loews Atlanta, close to Piedmont Park, the Sheraton Atlanta downtown near Centennial Olympic Park, and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on the famous Peachtree Street. Check out more Atlanta hotels TravelingMom writers adore.
The only question is which of these things to do in Atlanta with kids will you do first?