Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the state of Georgia. It is a popular tourist destination, and it is ranked as the seventh most visited city in the United States. People often visit this city because of the history, culture, casinos, parks, and music scene. Regardless of your interests, you will find activities that appeal to you in this diverse city. While some of these are expensive, there are plenty of attractions that are suitable for those with a limited budget. In fact, there is an excellent choice of free activities you can enjoy during a visit, so you can keep your spending to a minimum. Here are 20 awesome free things to do in Atlanta during your next stay.
1. Enjoy Urban Space at the Atlanta BeltLine
22 miles of unused railway tracks were transformed into the Atlanta BeltLine. You can walk, run, or cycle this train. It is far more interesting than just a place to stretch your legs, as it is a great way to explore Atlanta and see the sights. There is also the Art on the Atlanta BeltLine exhibit, which is various outdoor art displays that you will see along the way.
2. Take an Art Stroll at Castleberry Hill
Castleberry Hill is the old transportation hub of Atlanta, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now an art destination where local artists put their work on display in the galleries. On regular days throughout the month, Castleberry Hill Art Stroll is free to members of the public. It is important to check when these are before setting off for this attraction. Not only is this a chance to see some outstanding pieces of art, but it is also an opportunity to learn more about the rich history of Atlanta.
3. Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta was the host city for the Summer Olympics of 1996. This park was created to commemorate this significant event in the city’s history. It covers a huge space where people walk, run, cycle, and skate. Centennial Olympic Park has some pretty areas and some attractions that are fun, such as the Fountain of Rings. Throughout the year, the park hosts various events and adds seasonal attractions. These include an ice rink in the winter and the Music at Noon concert series in the summer months.
4. Have Fun at the Free Festivals
Depending on when you visit Atlanta, you may find that there are free festivals and events taking place. The city hosts many fun and exciting festivals throughout the year, many of which are free. According to Thrillist, some example of the festivals that are held in Atlanta includes Festival on Ponce, Chastain Park Arts Festival, and Little 5 Points Halloween Parade. While some of the festivals will give you a cultural experience, there are some that are just about having some family fun. Find out what is taking place in the city before arriving for your vacation so that you can plan days at the festivals with which you would most like to get involved.
5. Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
This is actually several free attractions all on one site, so this is somewhere you can visit if you want to spend all day at one location. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is a commemoration of the life of this historically significant man and the contributions he made to modern America. The site consists of his birth home, his final resting place, the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the ‘I Have a Dream’ World Peace Rose Garden, and The King Center. The latter is where you can learn more about social justice via the various interesting exhibits.
6. Go to Atlanta Contemporary
For art lovers, one of the top destinations to visit is Atlanta Contemporary. This is one of the best art galleries in the city, and the focus is on modern art. In addition to the exhibits, there are lectures you can enjoy and special events take place throughout the year.
7. Get Free Samples at Underground Atlanta
Atlanta has a hidden gem known as Underground Atlanta. Also known as the city beneath the streets, this underground area covers 12-acres. Vendors gather in this underground city, and you can hang out and look at their wares for free. If you visit on a Wednesday lunchtime, more than 60 vendors give out free samples, so this is the best time to go to this attraction.
8. Visit the National Archives at Atlanta
If you have an interest in genealogy, then Southern Savers recommends a trip to the National Archives at Atlanta. There are some pretty cool historic records kept in this building, which you can look at during your free tour. You can also track down your family tree and find out about your ancestors.
9. Go to the Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum
A visit to the bank may not sound that interesting, so this attraction may come as a pleasant surprise. This is a surprisingly interesting place to visit, with one of the highlights being seeing one million dollars in one place. At the Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum you will have the chance to learn all about the importance of the federal reserve system, including what they do and how the money supply is controlled.
10. Spend Time at Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park is a fantastic place to enjoy the outdoors, take a walk, or relax with a picnic. Beyond the park, you can admire the impressive Atlanta skyline. There are plenty of things to keep you entertained at Piedmont Park, including tennis courts, a dog park, and a swimming pool. This is a good place to visit if you want to take a break from the urban buzz without actually leaving the city.
11. Take a Governor’s Mansion Tour
The Governor’s Mansion is one of the most historically significant buildings in Atlanta, so you should try to include it in your vacation itinerary. The tour is a self-guided one, but volunteers are on hand if you have any questions. If you visit during the holidays, the building is dressed up in holiday decorations. The free tours are available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.
12. Wonder at the Lasershow Spectacular
The Lasershow Spectacular is held at Stone Mountain. It is an amazing display of lights that is the perfect entertainment for the evening. Although getting into Stone Mountain Park is expensive, you can watch the Lasershow Spectacular from outside the park for free. The only cost is if you choose to park in the parking lot to watch the display, as the parking is quite expensive at this venue. You can take along a picnic to enjoy while you watch the light show, and if you arrive early, you can stroll around the surrounding area.
13. Picnic Along the Silver Comet Trail
The Silver Comet Trail runs along the outskirts of Atlanta. This pretty trail covers 61.5-miles, so it is impossible to complete the whole trail in one day. No matter which section of the trail you cover, you can enjoy some of the most beautiful countrysides in Georgia, so it is a fantastic place to take a break from city life. It is an excellent place to enjoy a picnic with the family.
14. Have a Fun Learning Experience at Fernbank Science Center
You can learn about many different aspects of science at the Fernbank Science Center, including space, nature, and technology. This attraction is fun, interesting, and educational, and it is suitable for people of all ages. Some of the highlights of this center, which is run by the DeKalb County School System, are the woodland center, live animals, dinosaur skeletons, and an authentic Apollo spacecraft. There are also seasonal attractions and displays throughout the year. Entrance is free, but there is a charge to visit the planetarium.
15. See the Memorials of the Sweet Auburn District
The civil rights movement has played an important role in the history of Atlanta, and you can find out all about this in the Sweet Auburn District of the city. The district is full of facts and history relating to the movement, and it has been dubbed the richest negro street in America, says Southern Savers. Sweet Auburn has many memorials and sculptures that relate to the history of the African American community in Atlanta.
16. Tour Georgia State Capitol
A trip to Georgia State Capitol is all about learning about the importance of democracy in the state of Georgia. It is modeled on the Washington D.C. State Capitol. The tour guide will take you on a 40-minute tour to show off the interesting features of the build and provide information about historic figureheads, the history of Georgia capitals, and many other interesting facts. This attraction is free, and it is open every day.
17. Have Fun at Chattahoochee River
Running through Atlanta is the Chattahoochee River, which is a natural playground for a range of outdoor activities. You can enjoy some of these with Shoot the Hooch. This company arranges free fun and activities that people can enjoy at the river during the summer months. There are activities that are just as suitable for adults and children, alike. This is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors and to cool off from the summer sun.
18. Go to the Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank Museum is located in Sandy Springs and it is dedicated to the life of Anne Frank and her family. The 8,000 words and 600 photographs that make up the exhibit take visitor’s through Frank’s life from when she and her family went into hiding in Amsterdam to their tragic death at the Bergen-Belson concentration camp. Despite being completely free, this is a moving, interesting, and educational attraction to visit.
19. Enjoy an Outdoor Movie
While many of the amazing free things to do in Atlanta are daytime activities, there are also things you can enjoy for free at night. A popular option is to enjoy an outdoor movie. These are held in Central Park throughout the summer months. Many people bring along a picnic or some popcorn and a blanket so they can settle down to watch the movie in comfort with snacks at hand. Sometimes, Central Park also has a firework display to enjoy. The movie program is constantly changing, so it is worth checking out what is on before choosing a day to enjoy this activity.
20. Explore Lake Allatoona
If you prefer outdoor activities, then one of the best places you can enjoy these is at Lake Allatoona. With more than 260 miles of shoreline, there is plenty to explore. Around the lake, there are 25,000 acres of public land, which is owned by the Army Corp. There are some recreational activities along the shoreline that are organized and maintained by the Army Corp, and there are other activities that are delivered by private companies who lease the land. Fishing and boating are two popular activities at the lake. Alternatively, you can simply enjoy walking around this beautiful setting and enjoy a picnic on the shoreline. There are camping facilities if you wish to spend the night away from the city, but you must pay for your pitch and use of facilities.