Looking for the best things to do in Atlanta in 2022? In this list, you’ll find more than 22 amazing activities and events to enjoy in 2022, including 6 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 in 2022 and make this 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.
TLDR: What you’ll find in this post:
- best things to do in Atlanta, Georgia in 2022
- 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
- and much more!
1. Visit the National Parks on one of fee-free days – FREE!
To kick off our list of the best things to do in Atlanta in 2022, 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.
2022 fee-free dates are: have not yet been announced. Typically, they include January 18 (birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) as well as dates in April, August, September 25 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park’s indoor facilities are currently closed, but visitors are welcome to park and enjoy a self-guided campus tour. 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. Explore Atlanta’s historic cemeteries – FREE!
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 (see #3).
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.
3. Celebrate marginalized filmmakers at the Renegade Film Festival
From March 3-5, 2022, 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, with additional events at the Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center.
4. Make some street art – FREE!
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 with your spray paint can and create some of your very own artwork.
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.
5. Catch a movie at the 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. Or, check out the Plaza Theatre’s drive-in as well as indoor screenings in Poncey Highlands.
Both theaters are showing classic favorite movies along with newer releases, and you can bring your own food and drinks to both drive-in theaters!
6. Eat your way through the city with an experience or festival
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. You’ll experience 9 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!
Or, check out Taste of Atlanta 2022. This beloved annual event serves up delicious bites from the best chefs and restaurants in town.
7. Learn about Atlanta’s rich African American history and 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 2022. 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.
8. See the Obama portraits at the High Museum
From January 14 through March 13, 2022, you can view portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama at the High Museum of Art in Midtown Atlanta. (Pictured above, from High Museum of Art website).
These paintings were first unveiled in 2018 at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Since then, they have become iconic images of the former President and First Lady. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama have been received with widespread admiration and excitement.
The portraits will be on a five-city tour, including Atlanta. The High will also offer workshops, curatorial presentations, and other special events as part of the exhibition.
9. 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!
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. Or, join local nonprofit Concrete Jungle (pictured) year-round on a volunteer fruit picking day to spend time outdoors while helping provide food for people in need.
11. 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. Want to make a difference in an animal’s life but don’t want to commit to fostering? Lend a hand with one of Lifeline’s volunteer opportunities!
12. Get a taste of history and 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.
13. 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 2022 or any time!
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.
14. Explore the 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 2022 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.
Another idea: join REI for an outdoor skills class. This outdoors retailer offers classes on kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking, stargazing, backcountry navigation, rock climbing, and more. Most offerings are fee-based, and REI occasionally hosts free classes.
15. Sway to classical and modern music with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra always puts on a fantastic show, and 2022 looks to be no exception. The ASO will perform classics like Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Notably, Yo-Yo Ma will perform with the symphony for one night only in April 2022.
Additional highlights this year include the sounds of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Celtic Thunder, Postmodern Jukebox, and Kenny G. Plus, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi 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.
16. Go for a walk beyond the Beltline – FREE!
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), with easy access from Mason Mill Park.
17. Travel to the safari(ish)
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. 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 (see #19). Or, stay at the Decatur Alpaca Cottage!
18. Stop and 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.
19. Move from fear to fascination with SHARKS!
Have you seen the newest addition to the Georgia Aquarium? It’s a new shark gallery 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.
20. Unlock your inner artist with a painting party
These days, you’re probably still spending a lot of time at home – and maybe you’ve noticed that your living space could use some new artwork.
Enter The Paint Factory, 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.
21. Pack the ultimate picnic
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.
22. Find your groove at a live concert
Concerts are back! And, there will be plenty of Atlanta shows to enjoy in 2022. Here are just a few of the big names coming to Atlanta during the year:
- Kacey Musgraves: Feb 3 at State Farm Arena
- Billie Eilish: Feb 5 at State Farm Arena
- Dua Lipa: Feb 12 at State Farm Arena
- Justin Bieber: March 21 at State Farm Arena
- Bad Bunny: March 27 at State Farm Arena
- Kenny Chesney: May 21 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
- Steely Dan with Steve Winwood: June 14 at Chastain Park
- Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, and Poison: June 16 at Truist Park
- Matchbox Twenty: July 3 at Lakewood
- Santana with Earth Wind and Fire: Aug 24-25 at Lakewood
- The Killers: Sept 16 at State Farm Arena
However you’re spending 2022, we hope you’re staying safe and enjoying life to the fullest!