Whether you’re from Atlanta or visiting for the first time, this list will give you ideas on things to do in Downtown Atlanta in 2021. Downtown is a thriving part of the city. Full of history, bright lights, and beautiful architecture, there’s plenty to explore downtown. In this post, you’ll discover unique things to do, see, and eat in Downtown Atlanta.
This article starts with some of our favorite under-the-radar Downtown Atlanta spots. Then, read about some of the most popular tourist hotspots. Be sure to view each venue’s website for the most up-to-date information, safety precautions, pricing, and more.
TL;DR – in this post, you will learn:
- Family-Friendly Activities in Downtown Atlanta
- Under-the-Radar Things to do in Downtown Atlanta
- Downtown Atlanta Activities with Work Colleagues
- Fun Things to do in Downtown Atlanta
- Date Night Ideas in Downtown Atlanta
- Where to Eat in Downtown Atlanta
- Can’t-Miss Things to do in Downtown Atlanta
- Downtown Atlanta’s Top Tourist Activities
Under-The-Radar Downtown Atlanta Activities
King Historic District Walking Tour – One of Our Favorite Downtown Atlanta Activities
In case you missed it, Downtown Atlanta is where Martin Luther King, Jr. was born and raised. On this tour, you’ll follow in his footsteps through the neighborhood. Explore firsthand the places in Atlanta that inspired this Civil Rights leader.
This walking tour of the Civil Rights Movement is one you won’t forget. Perfect for all ages, appropriate for friends, family, and colleagues. We highly recommend this experience if you want to truly understand and appreciate Downtown Atlanta!
Fun Fact: Conde Nast listed this tour in their list of top 16 things to do in Atlanta!
Eat Well at Sweet Auburn Curb Market
The historic Municipal Market (now called Sweet Auburn Curb Market) is close to the King Historic Walking Tour. The history of the building has been preserved from top to bottom.
Here, you’ll find plenty of community and camaraderie. Delicious aromas and laughter fill the food stalls, warming the whole space. With so many food and drink options, you can pop in for a quick lunch.
If you need an evening option, other urban food halls include Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market.
Experience the Awe-Inspiring ZuCot Gallery
The ZuCot Gallery in the Castleberry Hill area is a true gem. This is the largest African-American-owned fine art gallery in the Southeast. The chic space is filled with beautiful work by living artists. The owners enthusiastically celebrate living African-American artists and culture.
Fun Fact: This gallery isn’t just a place to experience. You can also purchase artwork for your home, or as a memorable souvenir.
Catch a Show at the Tabernacle
The Tabernacle is a beloved Downtown Atlanta concert and comedy venue that’s more than 100 years old. Upcoming shows in 2021 include Dr. Dog, Seether, Patton Oswalt, Twenty One Pilots, Milky Chance, and more. Plus, you can catch Doja Cat here in spring 2022!
Fun Fact: The Tabernacle’s building has served as a church, medical center, and nursing school!
Admire the Brilliance of the O4W Distillery – a Local Favorite!
Whether or not alcohol is your thing, this spot is sure to impress. The O4W Distillery makes a variety of award-winning spirits including gin, vodka, and bourbon. They also provide tours of their in-house operation Thursday-Sunday.
The O4W Distillery bottle shop is open Monday to Wednesday. Check their website for exact timing.
Fun Fact: When COVID-19 first hit, O4W Distillery made and distributed hand sanitizer!
Expand your Mind at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
You’re sure to walk away from this experience with a fresh perspective! The unique artwork displayed at ACAC pushes the audiences’ viewpoints.
Plus, visiting the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is free! Check out ACAC’s impressive event lineup for a more interactive experience.
Get Saucy at Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt – One of Our Favorite Downtown Atlanta Spots
You can’t visit the south without eating some BBQ! Even folks who don’t eat meat will appreciate Daddy D’z mouthwatering sides and desserts. Try the fried green tomatoes, collard greens, and a mini sweet potato pie.
Their motto says it all: “We ain’t pretty, but we’re good.” And once you know – you know!
Stroll through the Summerhill Neighborhood
Summerhill is one of Atlanta’s hottest “new” neighborhoods. Like much of Atlanta, Summerhill has been around for a long time. But, it looks a little different these days. Check out restored historic buildings, colorful murals, and a variety of places to eat and drink.
For example, try authentic Thai food at Talat Market. Then, get some ice cream and baked goods at Big Softie or Little Tart. Last but not least, enjoy sips at Halfway Crooks Brewery. Summerhill is an Instagram-worthy hotspot with a lot to see, eat, and do!
Appreciate Graffiti at The Met
Speaking of Instagrammable spots, The Met is home to many pioneering artists, makers, and innovative businesses. When you arrive, you will instantly feel the creative energy that’s central to this community.
With a rotating list of eateries onsite, you can plan to spend a few hours walking through the alleys and shops. You’ll find retail spots, film studios, media labs, and more. Or if you’re in a hurry, cruising through to admire the artwork is an option too!
Eat in the Clouds at Sundial (Seriously, it’s like eating in the clouds!)
The experience starts off with a thrilling glass elevator ride that makes you feel like a giddy child in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The 73-story glass tower is a staple of the Atlanta Skyline you can’t miss! With unbeatable views of the city and a full delicious menu, Sundial is a spot that is sure to impress tourists and locals alike.
Fun Fact: If you don’t plan to eat at the Sundial, they also allow spectators to ride the glass elevator and gawk at the 360-degree views for a small fee. Do it for the ‘gram!
Be Dazzled at the Atlanta Magic Theater
Located inside the Embassy Suites at Centennial Olympic Park, this experience will leave you in awe! That’s because Magician Peter Morrison will entertain you with 75 minutes of unbelievable magic and clean, upbeat comedy. Perfect for a family outing or a unique date!
Fun Fact: Magician Peter Morrison has performed more than 6,000 shows across the country over the past 20 years. And, that includes 80 shows at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood!
Stay in the Loop with the Special Events in Downtown Atlanta
With so many exciting destinations, this list of Downtown Atlanta events will provide you with a wide variety of activities during your stay. Plus, the Downtown Atlanta district’s website has a full list of the area’s restaurants, events, and activities. Additionally, their website includes a detailed history of Downtown Atlanta. You can also read about their innovative vision for the future of Downtown Atlanta!
Top Tourist Spots in Downtown Atlanta
We’ve compiled a list of must-see tourist activities to do in Downtown Atlanta for your staycation or vacation. The sites below are perfect to enjoy alone, with friends, family, or colleagues. These are all popular Atlanta spots you can’t miss!
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights – A truly moving experience that will stay with you forever. Perfect for preteen and teenage children as well as adults.
- Centennial Olympic Park – This park honors the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Be sure to also check out the park’s lineup of concerts and festivals!
- SkyView Atlanta – Soaring to the top of this ferris wheel is the most romantic way to spend an evening in Downtown Atlanta!
- Georgia Aquarium – The aquarium will make you feel like a kid again! This is the largest aquarium in North America.
- The World of Coca-Cola – Our favorite part of this experience is tasting the flavors of Coke from around the world! A must do in the United States.
- College Football Hall of Fame– Sports fanatic or not, this is an experience that will score you some points!
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta – Your kids will want to spend the whole day here. And the best part is, parents will have just as much fun as the little ones!
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium – This new sleek and shiny stadium is a great place to catch an Atlanta United soccer game!
- CNN Center Tours – This experience is closed at the time of writing. But, during normal times, this tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the world’s largest news outlets!
- Zoo Atlanta – Wonderful exhibits of animals from across the world.
Stay tuned for an article on all of the fun that Midtown Atlanta has from the Botanical Gardens, Georgia Tech, Piedmont Park, the Fox Theatre and much more.
Have fun exploring all that Downtown Atlanta has to offer! To make the most of your experience, be sure to sign up for a tour with Unexpected Atlanta. You’ll experience some of the city’s best food. Plus you’ll visit memorable local landmarks and historic sites!