Looking for the best things to do in Atlanta in 2023? In this list, you’ll find more than 35 amazing activities and events to enjoy in 2023, including some of our favorite must-do FREE activities!
Let’s dive into a year filled with adventures, creativity, delicious food, and awe-inspiring experiences.
Read on to discover the best things to do in Atlanta; 2023 will be an amazing year ahead!
All information below is correct at the time of publishing. Be sure to visit each venue or activity’s website in advance to get the most up-to-date information about hours, pricing, safety protocols or requirements, and other details.
Best Things to Do: Atlanta 2023
Read on for more details on these activities and more!
- Explore Atlanta’s street art
- Eat your way through Atlanta with a food experience or festival
- Learn about Black History & Civil Rights
- Explore Atlanta’s historic cemeteries
- Attend a film festival
- Find your new favorite brewery
- Enjoy Atlanta sports experiences and games
In this post, you’ll find:
- Best things to do in Atlanta, Georgia in 2023
- Can’t miss Atlanta attractions
- Family-friendly activities in Atlanta
- Atlanta date night ideas
- COVID-safe things to do in Atlanta
- Birthday ideas, Atlanta style
- Atlanta tourist spots and sightseeing ideas
- And much more!
1. Visit the National Parks on a Fee-Free Day – FREE Atlanta Activity!
To kick off our list of the best things to do in Atlanta in 2023, check out America’s National Park System’s fee-free days this year. On these special days, you can visit any of the United States’ 400+ National Parks for free, including places in and around Georgia. This is a perfect time to explore the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park near Macon, GA and the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, AL.
While the National Park Service does not publicize free days until early in the new year, these are the fee-free dates we anticipate for 2023:
- January 16, 2023: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
- April 15, 2023: First day of National Park Week
- August 4, 2023: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- September 24, 2023: National Public Lands Day
- November 11, 2023: Veterans Day
In Atlanta, you can see the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. To go along with your experience, we recommend trying our King Historic District Tour, rated by Conde Nast as one of the top ways to experience Atlanta!
This walking tour allows you to see the places that inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. See his Atlanta legacy, visit the King birth home, and more.
2. Eat Your Way through Atlanta with a Walking Food Tour!
Take in some of the city’s most fascinating and unique food experiences.
For example, try our very own Grant Park Past & Future Food Walk from Unexpected Atlanta.
During this experience, you’ll taste 8 modern and Southern fusion tastings from 3 locally-owned food stops on this 2.5-hour small group tour. The experience includes a jaunt through historic Oakland Cemetery. Perfect for out-of-town visitors and locals alike!
3. Head to the College Football Hall of Fame
The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame should be at the top of the list of Atlanta things to see for college football fans! At this downtown spot, you can explore more than fifty engaging and interactive exhibits, run through the Touchstone tunnel, and put your skills to the test on an indoor playing field.
Did you know? Only 0.02% of college football players and coaches have had the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Celebrate the best of the best – as well as the passion and traditions of the game.
4. Learn about Atlanta’s Rich African American History & Culture
Atlanta has been America’s hub for Black movements and culture for more than a century, with significant impact from many African American figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Jackson Young, Jr., Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr., and many others.
Delve into Dr. King’s legacy with our King Historic District Tour. This Atlanta experience isn’t just one of our best things to do in Atlanta in 2023. This is one of our favorite activities, ALWAYS!
Other ideas? Check out the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, or explore the museum’s virtual tour. While you’re in Centennial Olympic Park, you can also visit other attractions like The World of Coca-Cola and Georgia Aquarium.
In addition, the Sweet Auburn neighborhood has new interpretive and historical markers along Auburn Avenue. Wander and read along on one of Atlanta’s sunny days!
We also recommend the Atlanta History Center’s online exhibition: Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow.
5. Celebrate Marginalized Filmmakers at the Renegade Film Festival
From March 2-4, 2023, the Renegade Film Festival will celebrate women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ filmmakers and screenwriters in the horror genre.
Screenings will take place at the historic Earl Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta. Turn spooky season into a springtime affair at this fun and unique festival!
6. Attend a German-Style Arts Festival – FREE Atlanta Activity!
Explore German culture, food, art, and more at the Goethe Frühlingsfest in Avondale Estates. In 2023, the festival will take place on Saturday, March 18, and admission is free!
“Frühlingsfest” is German for “spring festival.” The Goethe Frühlingsfest website shares, “An annual family-friendly celebration of the spring season, Frühlingsfest takes place in cities all over Germany, such as München and Stuttgart. With over 1.2 million participants each year, Frühlingsfest makes its name as the largest spring festival in Europe.”
At this Atlanta festival, you can see work from local artists, hear live musical performances, and learn about German culture and language. Additionally, traditional German dishes, drinks, and beer will be available for purchase. Cheers!
7. Check out Local Street Art – FREE Atlanta Activity!
Atlanta GA has a vibrant street art scene, and it’s so much fun to immerse yourself in it. Walk down to Krog Street tunnel to check out a vibrant display of Atlanta street art.
While you’re there, check out (but don’t paint over!) the gorgeous murals from the Forward Warrior project and on the Beltline. Other locations we love for viewing street art include Downtown Atlanta, Cabbagetown (pictured, by @lelabrunetart for Forward Warrior), and Edgewood Avenue in the Old Fourth Ward.
8. Find Your Favorite ATL Brewery Patio
Many of Atlanta’s favorite breweries offer outdoor patios, food trucks, and even live outdoor music. With a focus on German-inspired lagers, Tucker Brewing Company, pictured, offers a family-friendly and pet-friendly beer garden – the largest in Georgia! They also have an on-site kitchen and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
On the West Side, Reformation Brewery (Smyrna, Woodstock, and Canton) offers outdoor seating and tasty brews. They also occasionally offer food trucks, trivia, social events, and more. Plus, you can also bring your own food to enjoy!
Make 2023 the year you find your favorite brewery patio in Atlanta. With plenty of options to choose from, our city is a great destination for craft beer lovers!
9. Catch a Movie at the Starlight Six Drive-In
Drive-in movie theaters have made a big comeback – and for good reason! Catching a flick on the big screen outdoors is a fun, retro way to enjoy a night out.
The Starlight 6 Drive-In is Atlanta’s quintessential drive-in experience! Opened in 1949, this spot has four screens with an all-new digital projection system.
Here, you can see classic favorite movies along with newer releases. Starlight’s snack bar offers candy, confections, and more. Additionally, you can bring your own food and drinks! Pro tip: visit Starlight’s website for snack bar coupons.
On weekends, the Starlight 6 Flea Market offers 50-cent admission to browse a variety of unique wares.
10. Enjoy Fresh-Picked Fruit Straight From the Ground
There are so many places where you can pick produce around Atlanta. One of our favorites is Southern Belle Farms, about 45 minutes outside the city. Their picking season generally begins in April with strawberry-picking. During the rest of the year, you can also pick blueberries, blackberries, peaches, muscadines, and pumpkins.
Another great option in the Lawrenceville area is DJ’s UPick Blueberries for picking in June and July.
Alternatively, you can join local nonprofit Concrete Jungle (pictured) year-round on a volunteer fruit picking day. Spend time outdoors while helping provide food for people in need and meeting new, like-minded friends.
11. Explore Atlanta’s Historic Cemeteries – FREE Atlanta Activity!
In Victorian times, cemeteries also functioned as public parks. They were meant to be a place for locals to gather, chat, picnic, and commune with the dead.
Oakland Cemetery (est. 1850, pictured) is the City of Atlanta’s oldest public cemetery and a popular spot for an afternoon stroll. They offer guided tours. Or, stroll through Oakland Cemetery during our Grant Park Food Walk.
Other great cemeteries around Atlanta include the Decatur City Cemetery (est. 1823), Westview Cemetery (est. 1884), and South-View Cemetery (est. 1886).
All four are peaceful and beautiful green spaces with walking trails, stunning mausoleums, and many important Atlanta leaders and citizens buried within their grounds.
12. Shop & Dine in a Historic Building at Ponce City Market
Located in Atlanta’s Old 4th Ward neighborhood, Ponce City Market is a unique destination for shopping and dining. That’s because its historic structure is the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. retail store and warehouse distribution center. Now, it’s more to more than 300,000 square feet of retail and dining space. Additionally, PCM is home to residential units and offices.
Ponce City Market’s beautiful brick exterior, antique floors and windows, original freight elevators, and high ceilings transport visitors into an industrial-chic wonderland of tasty dishes and chic shopping.
On the roof, you’ll find a vintage-style amusement park called Skyline Park. Play mini golf and skee ball, ride a three-story slide, and take in sweeping views of Atlanta’s skyline.
While you’re in the area, check out the Beltline Eastside Trail nearby. This paved intown trail is perfect for walking, biking, skateboarding, and more. But, be warned – it can get crowded on weekends!
13. Make a New Four-Legged Friend
Now that remote work is the new normal, it’s the perfect time to foster a furry friend. It’s a win-win: you’ll enjoy the unconditional love and company of an animal while providing them with some much-needed attention, care, and comfort.
Lifeline Animal Project is the largest sheltering organization in Atlanta, caring for more than 16,000 homeless animals each year. Additional animal rescues include the Atlanta Humane Society, PAWS Atlanta, Furkids Atlanta, Adopt a Golden Atlanta, and more.
Want to make a difference in an animal’s life but don’t want to commit to fostering? Lend a hand by volunteering at a local shelter!
14. Get a Taste of History & Homestyle Food at Manuel’s Tavern
Founded in 1956, Manuel’s Tavern has become known as Atlanta’s most famous political bar. Its founder, prominent DeKalb politician Manuel Maloof, created the tavern specifically to focus on conversation. He even went so far as to ban live music or a jukebox. The bar is an almost-required stop for Democratic candidates, and Jimmy Carter announced his 1970 gubernatorial bid at Manuel’s.
The tavern is still the place in the city to talk politics, or just enjoy a beer and delicious food. Get some take-out, or swing by for a distanced bite. To explore Manuel’s virtually, check out the website Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern, which details all of the historical artifacts at the tavern.
15. Attend the Atlanta Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park – FREE Atlanta Activity!
Atlanta is home to countless festivals – but the Atlanta Dogwood Festival has been one of the most popular and beloved ones for over 80 years! This spring festival takes place in the popular Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.
In 2023, the Dogwood Festival will be held on April 14-16. With live music, a nationally renowned artist market, food and drinks for purchase, a kids’ village, 5k runs, and more – there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
16. Entertain the Young at Heart with Puppetry Programs
The Center for Puppetry Arts is a unique Atlanta treasure for all ages. They offer stunning live puppetry performances, with family programming as well as adults-only shows! The Center also has a museum with the world’s largest collection of Jim Henson puppets and artifacts. Plus, they host hands-on educational workshops for all ages.
The Center’s jaw-dropping museum collection and the whimsy, creativity, and fun of its programming makes this spot one of the best things to do in 2023 or any time! During this year, the Center will perform and present a variety of puppet shows. Some of our favorite 2023 performances include The Little Pirate Mermaid, Duke Ellington’s Cat, and Charlotte’s Web. For adults, check out The Ghastly Dreadfuls, a popular Halloween show that uses puppetry as a means to share frightening, poignant, funny, and moving stories.
You can also catch the Center for Puppetry Arts’ virtual programming at home, which includes both live and streaming online puppet shows as well as curriculum-based workshops.
17. Explore Atlanta’s Great Outdoors
Exercising is a great way to boost endorphins, de-stress, and build your confidence. Atlanta is known as the “city in a forest” because we have so many beautiful outdoors spaces and trees. Exploring our great outdoors is one of the best things to do in Atlanta in 2023 and for years to come!
There are plenty of ways to exercise outdoors, especially when our weather makes outdoor activities possible year-round. Rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard with High Country Outfitters and paddle along the Chattahoochee. You can also rent tents and backpacks for all your outdoor adventures in Georgia’s state parks.
Another idea: join REI for an outdoor skills class. This outdoors retailer offers classes around metro Atlanta on kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking, stargazing, backcountry navigation, rock climbing, and more. Most offerings are fee-based, and REI occasionally hosts free classes.
18. Tickle Your Funny Bone with a Comedy Show
Did you hear the joke about the peach? It was “pit”-iful! Tickle your funny bone at an Atlanta comedy show in 2023. From improv to stand-up, Atlanta has a variety of comedy options!
Atlanta comedy shows in 2023 include big names like Jim Gaffigan, who will perform on February 3, 2023 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Additionally, catch Nick Swardson on February 11, 2023 at the Buckhead Theatre. Another standout option is Sasheer Zamata at City Winery on April 14, 2023.
19. Sway to Classical & Modern Music with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra always puts on a fantastic show, and 2023 looks to be no exception. The ASO will perform classics like Vivaldi, Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven.
Additional highlights this year include: William Shatner and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert.
The ASO also has a digital library of past performances, livestreams, and recordings to get the feel of being at the symphony at home. And, while you’re in the area, consider taking a quick trip to visit the High Museum of Art, another Atlanta gem.
20. Go for a Walk, Hike, or Ride on Atlanta’s Trails – FREE Atlanta Activity!
The Beltline is Atlanta’s most famous walking path, but there are many other incredible walking locations in the city that are much less crowded.
Try the Atlanta Freedom Trail that connects the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Park with The Carter Center and includes the beautiful Freedom Park.
Or, opt for the beautiful Silver Comet Trail, which spans more than 60 miles and connects the west side of Atlanta to Alabama. For something unique, explore the creepy-but-beloved Doll’s Head Trail at Constitution Lakes Park. Or, head to Decatur’s South Peachtree Creek Trail (pictured above), with easy access from Mason Mill Park.
21. Catch an Atlanta Sports Game
Cheer on the Falcons (football), Hawks (basketball), Atlanta United (soccer), Braves (baseball), and more! With a variety of professional and collegiate teams, Atlanta has no shortage of heart-pumping sports games.
Cheer on the home team and show your ATL pride! Check out the Sports Guide from Discover Atlanta to find a game you’re interested in.
22. Take a Walk on the Wild Side with Animal Experiences
For people who are visiting Atlanta, our animal-focused attractions are a must-do. Zoo Atlanta is the perfect spot for outdoor exploration. The African Savanna habitat is beautiful with elephants, giraffes, lions, ostriches, and meerkats surrounding several interconnected watering holes.
The Savanna space opened a few years ago and more than tripled the space that the zoo’s elephants have to roam. Zoo Atlanta is also home to giant pandas, monkeys, a goat petting zoo, and more. Be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time. Zoo Atlanta frequently sells out since it’s a popular outdoor-only experience.
For more animal fun, head to the Georgia Aquarium downtown. Or, stay at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage for a unforgettable and unique animal experience!
23. Stop & Smell the Orchids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the most creative and unique botanical gardens in the country. During Orchid Daze in February, the garden’s Fuqua Orchid Center is home to an annual exhibition with thousands of fragrant orchids in bloom. The garden also hosts outdoor children’s activities on designated days.
For adults, the garden offers classes on floral design, baking, container gardening, drawing, and more.
Enjoy the Atlanta Botanical Garden in all seasons. Delight in spring flowers, have a picnic in the summer shade, admire the scarecrows in the fall, and be mesmerized by the beautiful garden lights during winter.
Another fun outdoor idea: take a quick day trip and head to Lake Lanier Island or Callaway Gardens.
24. See the Trap House Museum
Proudly claiming the title of the world’s first hip-hop museum, The Trap House Museum is a uniquely ATL destination. National Geographic called it “one of the best musical landmarks in the Deep South.”
The interactive museum is home to a variety of exhibits that explore the rich culture of trap music. Additionally, The Trap House hosts a variety of special events and also has an escape room called Escape the Trap.
25. Unlock your Inner Artist with a Painting Party
The Paint Factory is a local, Black-owned mobile “sip and paint” company that offers private art sessions as well as virtual party options. With a two-hour guided lesson, you and your friends, family, or coworkers will be able to create the canvas of your dreams!
Or, go the DIY route and buy some supplies from your favorite local art store while streaming a YouTube painting tutorial. Either way, you’ll be able to hang your finished piece of artwork with pride.
26. Pack the Ultimate Picnic & Make the Most of Atlanta’s Beautiful Weather
TikTok has made picnicking an art form. And, the perfect picnic starts with a great picnicking location. Luckily, there are loads of these in the city. You could head to Lullwater Preserve, Grant Park, Piedmont Park, or your favorite grassy neighborhood area.
Next, you’ll need some delicious snacks and treats for your picnic. One popular option is to head to Alon’s and pick up some easy, ready-to-eat options like sandwiches, pasta salad, specialty sodas, and much more.
If you’re feeling fancy, order amazing charcuterie-to-go boxes from Graze Atlanta. Boxes can be customized to your snacking preferences and dietary needs.
27. Get Your Hash Browns Scattered, Smothered, & Covered at Waffle House
If you’re visiting Atlanta from out of town, be sure to eat at a Waffle House while you’re here! This chain of breakfast food restaurants is popular with late-night club-goers, families, and everyone in between. Since 1955, Waffle House has been serving hungry diners in Atlanta and well beyond.
Waffle House’s most popular dishes include the All-Star Special breakfast combo, hash browns (scattered, “smothered” with grilled onions, and “covered” with American cheese), and of course, waffles.
Additionally, the Waffle House Museum is open on very select days for tours. Tours can also be requested for groups of 10 or more. Be aware – this small museum is typically closed, and it opens only on specially selected days, so be sure to make arrangements before going!
28. Find your Groove at a Live Concert
There are plenty of concerts coming up in Atlanta in 2023 – even if you didn’t score tickets to Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour at Mercedes-Benz in April! Check out one of the major concerts below. Or, hit up a local establishment for live music. For instance, we love The EARL in East Atlanta Village and Eddie’s Attic in Decatur.
Atlanta concerts in 2023:
- Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: Jan. 13 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
- Carrie Underwood: Feb. 7 at State Farm Arena
- Fitz and the Tantrums: Feb. 13 at Buckhead Theatre
- Maggie Rogers: Feb. 21 at The Eastern
- Regina Spektor: March 11 at the Tabernacle
- Eric Johnson: March 23 at Variety Playhouse
- Ben Folds with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: April 23 at Atlanta Symphony Hall
- Paramore: May 25 at State Farm Arena
- Ed Sheeran: May 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Matchbox Twenty: July 2 at Lakewood Amphitheatre
- Foreigner: July 6 at Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
29. Explore Under the Sea at Georgia Aquarium
Georgia Aquarium is home to over eleven million gallons of water and all kinds of amazing sea life. This Downtown Atlanta destination is fun for the whole family. Additionally, the aquarium is open 365 days a year!
One of the newest additions to Georgia Aquarium is called Sharks! Predator of the Deep. In one of the largest and most dynamic shark exhibits in North America, guests can gain a deeper appreciation for the important role that sharks play in the ocean. The saltwater gallery features floor-to-ceiling glass windows plus interactive stations and a shark cage dive area.
30. Embrace Your Alternative Side in Little 5 Points
Nose rings, tattoos, Doc Martens, and a side of attitude – Little 5 Points is Atlanta’s home for counterculture and everything alternative!
From thrift shops to boutiques, restaurants and dive bars, live music, and so much more – Little 5 Points is worth exploring, whether you’re a local or tourist.
Stop into the Junkman’s Daughter for unique clothing and memorabilia items. Then, head to The Vortex (21+ only!) for burgers and brews. Other great L5P restaurants include Thai Five, Wrecking Bar Brewpub, and Savage Pizza. Stock up and refuel at Sevananda Natural Foods Market, and grab a caffeinated drink from local spot Aurora Coffee while you’re in the area!
31. Run a 5k or Beyond with Atlanta Track Club
The Atlanta Track Club has declared Atlanta as “Running City USA” – and for good reason! An active, inclusive running community combined with beautiful weather and plenty of scenic trails make Atlanta a great place to run.
Locals will jokingly complain about “heat, hills, and humidity” – but if you take it slow and aim for a fun time, running in Atlanta can be a joyful experience! The Atlanta Track Club offers a variety of races throughout the year, from short track distances to 5k fun runs and marathons. Challenge yourself in 2023 to complete a race – you can even get a friend to join in with you to make it social!
32. Satisfy Your Need for Speed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway
Located 25 miles south of Atlanta, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is a world-class NASCAR race track and event space made up of over 840 acres.
Here, you can watch incredible racing events – including Monster Jam® in April. This adrenaline-filled family event will show off some of the most famous trucks in the world. You can also book a tour of the track to learn all about the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the fascinating, fun world of professional car racing.
33. Get Creative with the Kiddos at LEGO® Discovery Center
LEGO® Discovery Center is an imaginative haven for creative, curios kiddos and their families, located in Phipps Plaza Shopping Center in Buckhead. Adults must be accompanied by children.
Best of all, a brand-new LEGOLand will open in spring 2023! A $5 million renovation will reimagine the space into a “Next-Gen” LEGO® Discovery Center, the First to Arrive in Southeast U.S. The immersive experience will allow children to learn through play.
Build a custom companion at the new Minifigure Creator, see a new digital space where you can build your very own space rocket and launch it into cyberspace, explore a space built just for the youngest guests, and more!
Additionally, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is home to a campground with water, power, and sewer hookups. Make it a weekend experience, or longer!
34. Tap Into Your Science Side at the CDC Museum
After the last few years, many of us have realized the importance of infectious disease experts and the people who are working to eradicate disease around the world. To explore this topic in more depth, check out the CDC Museum at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters!
Located near Emory University’s campus in the Druid Hills area of Atlanta, the David J. Sencer CDC Museum offers a fascinating look at infectious disease history.
CDC Museum exhibits coming in 2023:
- CDC at 75. To honor the CDC’s 75th anniversary, the CDC Museum has curated a collection of rarely seen objects, documents, and media for this exhibit. Delve into the CDC’s history and accomplishments over the decades.
- Ghosts of Segregation: Photographs by Richard Frishman. This traveling exhibition looks at the ongoing presence of segregation, slavery, and institutional racism in American architecture. According to the CDC Museum’s website, this exhibit will “cast light on generations of painful inequality and social turmoil.”
- Additional permanent exhibits, programs, and events will also take place in 2023.
35. Take Off with the Delta Flight Museum
Atlanta is home to Delta Air Lines as well as the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
At the Delta Flight Museum, you can explore the history of this globally renowned company – and all things aeronautic! Located just seconds away from the airport, the Delta Flight Museum is newly renovated for an unforgettable experience.
Explore interactive exhibits, see rare artifacts, and learn about the future of aviation. Plus, the museum also sells unique flight-themed souvenirs and keepsakes!
As a special add-on, you can even add a simulator experience to your ticket! This is a high-end, realistic experience. In fact, Delta pilots trained on this $12 million machine for years while flying the B737-200 planes!
However you’re spending 2023, we hope you’re staying safe and enjoying life to the fullest! For a memorable Atlanta experience, book one of our unique walking tours. We can’t wait to see you there!