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Things to Do in Atlanta

15+ Atlanta Activities for History Lovers

By November 29, 2021November 14th, 2023No Comments
Atlanta Activities for History Lovers

Discover 15+ Atlanta activities for history lovers. From engaging tours to museum exhibits, food tastings, and more. This list is full of ideas for anyone who wants to learn more about Atlanta’s unique history.

Atlanta Activities for History Lovers:

  • Take a walking food tour with Unexpected Atlanta
  • Learn about Atlanta’s Civil Rights legacy and African American history
  • Explore natural history and dinosaurs
  • Eat at a historic restaurant or bar
  • Try a bicycle or Segway tour of Atlanta

In this post, you’ll find:

  • Atlanta history tours and experiences
  • activities in Atlanta for history lovers
  • Atlanta Black history sites and museums
  • activities to understand Atlanta’s history and natural history
  • family-friendly Atlanta history activities
  • Atlanta activities for corporate teams and field trips

1. Taste History with a Walking Food Tour of Grant Park

On this Unexpected Atlanta walking tour, you’ll explore the historic Grant Park neighborhood. Your expert guide will teach you about Atlanta’s history along the 1.2 mile journey. The tour goes through Historic Oakland Cemetery, where many well-known Atlantans were laid to rest.

During this experience, you’ll taste 8 dishes at 3 local food stops. Let us know about your dietary restrictions in advance. Then, our restaurant partners can adjust the tasting to your needs. Public and private tours are available.

Get all the details for the Grant Park Past & Future Food Walk.

MLK Atlanta King Historic District Tour

2. Learn MLK’s Atlanta Legacy with the King Historic District Tour

On Unexpected Atlanta’s King Historic District tour, you’ll learn all about the MLK Atlanta legacy. As a result, this 1.7 walking tour is a great way to explore Atlanta and learn about its history and the history of the Civil Rights movement.

During this experience, you’ll see Dr. and Mrs. King’s memorials and hear immersive stories of Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders. Additionally, we’ll stop by the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and see Dr. King’s office in the Prince Hall Grand Lodge. As a result, this tour is perfect for groups interested in history, Civil Rights, social justice, and related topics.

Learn more and book your King Historic District tour.

3. Explore Southern Flavors on the Historic Market Food Tour + Biscuit Class

On this indoor Unexpected Atlanta food tour, you’ll learn the fascinating history of Atlanta’s oldest market. Plus, learn how today’s most common foods traveled and evolved around the world while you try 11 delicious tastings from 5 food vendors.

Then, get a close look at Southern cooking and Georgia’s most famous foods, including peaches, collards, and pecans. The fun doesn’t stop there – become a Southern cook yourself with a hands-on biscuit cooking class.

This tour is perfect for history lovers at every age, with limited walking, enough delicious food for a hearty lunch, and a hands-on experience! Public and private tours are available.

Explore all the Historic Market Food Tour + Biscuit Class has to offer.

4. Visit the Atlanta History Center

Located in Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center is a popular destination to learn about our city’s and region’s history. This museum is home to permanent and rotating exhibitions, historic houses, and 33 acres of gardens.

Additionally, scholars will be interested in visiting the Kenan Research Center, which preserves extensive primary source documents related to Atlanta’s history.

Learn more and plan your visit to the Atlanta History Center here.

5. Learn About African American History at the APEX Museum

The mission of the APEX Museum is to interpret and present history from an African American perspective to help all visitors better understand and appreciate the contributions of African Americans to America and the world.

Founded in 1978, this downtown Atlanta spot is the oldest Black history museum in the city of Atlanta. Rotating quarterly exhibits give visitors a reason to return and learn something new.

Plan your visit to the APEX Museum.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History

6. Explore Natural History at Fernbank Museum

Calling all lovers of natural history! At Fernbank Museum of Natural History, children will be dazzled by dinosaurs, crystals, an interactive indoor play area, and outdoor exhibits. Here, you can also learn about Georgia’s indigenous peoples and cultural history.

This Druid Hills museum offers free on-site parking as well as indoor and outdoor activities.

Fernbank’s Giant Screen Theater helps learning come alive with vivid, award-winning science documentaries. In addition, Fernbank regularly hosts story time sessions, lectures, animal encounters, and more.

Explore Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

7. Take a Tour with the Atlanta Preservation Center

The Atlanta Preservation Center is dedicated to promoting the preservation of Atlanta’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes.

The APC offers walking tours of a variety of Atlanta neighborhoods. For example, topics include:

  • Flatirons, Gargoyles, and Early Atlanta: Historic Downtown Atlanta
  • Grant Park: Trees, Trails, History and Architecture (pair with our Grant Park Past & Future Food Walk for a full day!)
  • Creation of Modern Midtown
  • Hidden Neighborhood: A Walking Tour of Peachtree Heights East
  • From 1896 to Today: Explore the Atlanta Stockade/GlenCastle

Browse upcoming Atlanta Preservation Center tours.

8. Dine at Atlanta’s Oldest Tavern, Atkins Park

Atkins Park is Atlanta’s oldest continually licensed tavern, located in Virginia Highlands. Stop by for weekend brunch, a late-night drink, or a family meal with the kids.

Atkins Park began as a delicatessen in 1922. Today, it’s a “smart-casual” restaurant offering upscale comfort cuisine. They also have a Smyrna location.

Try the bacon wrapped dates, the double park burger, pan seared georgia trout, or a local vegetable plate. Brunch options include classic Southern favorites alongside modern staples like avocado toast – and even a fried chicken pancake sandwich!

Explore Atkins Park. Another fun option nearby: Kimball House is an upscale restaurant and bar located in a former train depot in Decatur.

Historic Oakland Cemetery

9. Visit Historic Oakland Cemetery

Located in Grant Park, this cemetery is the final resting place for many noteworthy Atlantans.

Historic Oakland Cemetery’s grounds include the graves of Maynard Jackson, Bishop Wesley John Gaines, Carrie Steele Logan, and others.

Additionally, Oakland’s African American Grounds project surveys and restores unmarked burial sites. This work aims to restore a sense of dignity and identity to the people buried here.

Note: you can stroll through Oakland Cemetery and learn about its history on our Grant Part Past & Future Food Walk.

10. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park

Take a self-guided tour of the MLK National Historic Park in downtown Atlanta. This site is operated by the National Park Service.

Park in the on-site lot. While the Visitor Center is currently closed, you can stroll through the park’s grounds. For example, visit the “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden and be inspired. This garden was planted in 1992 as a lasting legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King’s life.

Additionally, view the tombs of Dr. and Mrs. King. This site is a peaceful place to honor their legacy and work. MLK, Jr. was first laid to rest at Southview Cemetery but was relocated to this site in 1982. An eternal flame in front of the tomb represents the ongoing work to fulfill Dr. King’s dreams of justice, peace and equality.

Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome on the outdoor grounds, making this a great spot for a picnic.

Plan your visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. Or, get a guided experience with our King Historic District tour.

Manuel's Tavern Atlanta Activities for History Lovers

11. Eat at Manuel’s Tavern

Founded in 1956, Manuel’s Tavern has long been a gathering spot for political figures and blue-collar workers. It was founded by Manuel Maloof, a veteran who eventually became CEO of DeKalb County. It’s been named the “Best Bar in Atlanta” by Atlanta Magazine as well as “One of the Best Bars in the US” by Esquire.

Maloof, who passed away in 2004, is referred to as the “Godfather” of Georgia Democratic politics. As a result, this family-owned-and-operated spot remains popular with major political figures visiting town.

Stop by for classic pub and deli fare, weekend brunch, and a lengthy draft beer list.

Learn more about Manuel’s Tavern.

12. Take a Segway Tour

Learn about Atlanta’s history while zipping around on a segway! With ATL-Cruzers, your group can choose from several guided tour options.

The Eastside Atlanta Segway Tour will take you through Inman Park and Grant Park, with incredible views of the city along the way. You can even zoom by Oakland Cemetery, Martin Luther King National Park, and more.

This experience is perfect for groups ages 14+.

13. Experience Mary Mac’s Tea Room

You won’t find finger sandwiches and high tea service here! Instead, this “tea room” is a full restaurant serving from-scratch Southern foods. Think: fried chicken, pot likker, grits, hoppin’ john, and more.

In 1945, Mary MacKenzie opened Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Back in those days, women couldn’t just open up a restaurant. Instead, after WWII, many female proprietors used the term “tea room” to describe their establishment. That’s because the term was more socially acceptable and considered refined.

Mary Mac’s was one of 16 tea rooms at that time. Now, it is the only one remaining. Today, Mary Mac’s has 6 bustling dining rooms, a full bar, and 13,000 square feet. Over the years, the restaurant has welcomed figures such as the Dalai Lama, Beyoncé, Congressman John Lewis, and more.

Plan your trip to Mary Mac’s Team Room.

14. Take a Bicycle Tour of Atlanta

Take a guided bicycle tour of Atlanta – with a bike rental included! During a ride with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta, you’ll see the city in a unique way. You’ll also get use of a bike, helmet, and a snack and water bottle.

Additionally, you can choose from fascinating tour themes like Civil Rights, queer history, sustainability, and more. See Atlanta in a new way – on two wheels!

15. Honor the Memory of Civil Rights Leader John Lewis

Honor the memory of Civil Rights hero and Congressman John Lewis at these sites around Atlanta.

Throughout his life, Lewis led important Civil Rights protests like the Selma to Montgomery bus marches and the 1963 March on Washington. He also created meaningful change during his years in Congress, from 1987 until his passing in 2020.

At the Atlanta sites in the video above, you can learn more about John Lewis and his incredible legacy.

Add More Fun to Your Atlanta Group Outing

Atlanta Gift Box Georgia Gift Box

Are you looking for a fun way to enhance your Atlanta group activity? If so, gift everyone a memorable keepsake to remember the day! For instance, our Unexpected Atlanta gift boxes come packed with unique goodies from women-owned and BIPOC-owned small businesses. From tasty treats to self-care products and more, our boxes make it easy to gift memorably.

We wish you well as you explore Atlanta’s rich and complex history.