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Things to Do in Atlanta

The Ultimate 3-Day Atlanta Itinerary

By June 10, 2024No Comments
The Ultimate 3-Day Atlanta Itinerary

Plan the perfect getaway with the Ultimate 3-Day Atlanta Itinerary! In this post, you’ll find the best “can’t-miss” Atlanta spots. From an insider’s scoop on popular tourist attractions to under-the-radar hidden gems, it’s all here!

Come see the capital of the South and explore our city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and culinary delights.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor, a seasoned traveler, or even a local looking to explore more of your own city – this itinerary will give you an unforgettable taste of Atlanta’s unique charm and Southern hospitality!

In this post, you’ll find:

  • The ultimate 3-day Atlanta itinerary
  • Ideas to experience the best of Atlanta’s history, food, art, culture, and outdoors
  • Your perfect Atlanta weekend itinerary
  • Family-friendly Atlanta ideas
  • Things to do in Atlanta this weekend

A few of our favorite ideas when visiting Atlanta:

Day 1: Explore Downtown Atlanta & Southern Food

Breakfast: Atlanta Breakfast Club

First things first – breakfast! Experience a classic Southern breakfast at the Atlanta Breakfast Club in Downtown.

Treat yourself to the fried chicken and waffles. Or, try the “Georgia Peach:” crispy all-natural chicken breasts, Belgian-style waffle, fresh peach cobbler sauce, shortbread crumble, powdered sugar, and vanilla butter.

Looking for something a little more run-of-the-mill? They also offer classic breakfast sandwiches, omelettes, pancakes, French toast, a kids menu, and more – with vegetarian sausage available. Pro tip: you may want to avoid biscuits for breakfast, as you’ll be eating biscuits during the lunch food tour and cooking class!

Morning Activity: Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium Things to Do in Atlanta

Nearby, the Georgia Aquarium in Downtown Atlanta offers 11+ million gallons of fun! Here, you’ll find everything from African penguins to tiger sharks and whale sharks, bottlenose dolphins, and more. A Sea Lion presentation is included with general admission. For an extra-special experience, book an animal encounter or diving experience!

Afterward, relax (or let the kids burn off energy!) running around Centennial Olympic Park nearby. This 21-acre park commemorates Atlanta’s hosting of the 1996 games. Other attractions in the area include the World of Coca-Cola, National Center for Civil & Human Rights, College Football Hall of Fame, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Lunch: Historic Market Food Tour + Biscuit Class

This two-hour Historic Market Food Tour + Biscuit Class is a tasting session, history tour, and cooking class – all in one! During this family-friendly outing, you’ll try 9 delicious tastings from 5 vendors in Atlanta’s oldest market. The Sweet Auburn Curb Market, also referred to as “The Municipal Market,” is a dream for foodies and food lovers!

Get an insider’s look at this historic Atlanta food market with our expert guides. You’ll hear fascinating stories of Atlanta’s history as you taste your way through the market!

This indoor experience is perfect for the family, rain or shine. During the hands-on portion, you’ll become Southern cooks and make your own big, fluffy biscuits! Try them with local jam and discover the history of biscuits and bread-making as you sample your creations.

Reservations are required for this experience! Learn more and book your spot here.

Afternoon Activity: Martin Luther King, Jr. History Tour

From the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, hop on the Atlanta Streetcar! This climate-controlled streetcar connects a dozen stops Downtown, including Sweet Auburn Market and King Historic District (your next stop!). Buy the $1 fare or $3 day pass at Streetcar stops. The Streetcar is accessible for wheelchairs, bicycles, strollers, and even Segways!

Get off at the King Historic District stop to join the Martin Luther King, Jr. History Tour. This unforgettable walking tour shares the story of Dr. King’s life and legacy. Get a local’s look at the people and places that inspired him, while literally walking in the footsteps of Civil Rights leaders like Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, and many others.

See popular tourists spots as well as hidden gems you would never even notice, in just 2.5 amazing hours! You’ll never see Atlanta the same way again after this tour. Includes a visit to Dr. and Mrs. King’s memorials, exploring Ebenezer Baptist Church (when open), amazing skyline views of Atlanta, and more.

Reservations are required for this experience! Learn more and book your spot here.

Dinner: Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Mary Mac’s Tea Room is a popular spot for lunch and dinner in Atlanta. If you’re thinking of fine china, hot tea, and little pastries, think again! This “tea room” is a full-service restaurant, serving from-scratch Southern cuisine.

The restaurant’s name comes from 1945, when (the restaurant shares), “a woman couldn’t just open up a restaurant. Instead, many female proprietors [including Mary MacKenzie] used the more refined Southern name of ‘Tea Room.'” Today, the 13,000-square foot restaurant is one of the city’s five-largest restaurants!

Head here for Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, fried chicken, and tomato pie. You’ll also find comfort food staples like meatloaf, mac and cheese, potato salad, and banana pudding. The menu’s key indicates which items are gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian, to keep everyone happy and full.

Evening: SkyView Ferris Wheel

Atlanta Wheelchair Friendly Activities SkyView Ferris Wheel

After dinner, create a special family memory or a romantic moment. The SkyView ferris wheel in Downtown Atlanta features 42 climate-controlled private gondolas, making this an exciting and comfortable way to soar above the city! Each gondola fits 6 people, so this is a fun experience for families and groups as well as couples.

Soar nearly 20 stories above Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. Try this experience around dusk to catch the sunset, or go after dark for twinkling skyline views!

Amp up your experience with a package including two adult tickets and a box of chocolates. Or, book an advance VIP reservation! VIPs skip the line and enjoy a longer ride in a gondola with Ferrari-style seats and a glass floor. (VIP gondolas fit 5 people).

Day 2: Experience the Best of Atlanta’s Art & Culture

Breakfast: Revolution Doughnuts & Coffee

Revolution Doughnuts Atlanta Itinerary

Make a doughnut stop to fuel your morning! Revolution Doughnuts serves delicious doughnuts in Decatur and Inman Park. Head to the Inman Park (Edgewood Ave) location to kick off your Day 2 outing.

Choose from yeast or cake-based doughnuts in standby flavors like chocolate glazed, vanilla bean glazed, raspberry sprinkle (pictured), and cinnamon sugar. Additionally, try creative flavors like toasted almond cake, Samoa, cooke dough, and more. You’d never know it by their flavor, but many of Revolution’s doughnuts are vegan!

Revolution’s name refers to a “revolution” against machine-made food. This local shop prides themselves on making “all of our doughs, glazes and fillings from scratch and [using] real ingredients…organic flour, local dairy, fresh fruit, natural flavor extracts, and 100% trans-fat free vegetable oil.”

Morning Activity: Cabbagetown BeltLine Street Art Tour

Atlanta is a city buzzing with a vibrant creative community. In fact, when engaging with Atlanta’s art scene, it can be difficult to know where to begin! Fortunately, the guides on our Cabbagetown BeltLine Street Art Tour are experts when it comes to sharing about Atlanta’s art scene and its history and answering your questions.

During this 2.5 hour tour, you’ll explore the eclectic, tight-knit Cabbagetown neighborhood, delve into the depths of the Krog Street Tunnel, and even make your own art along the Atlanta BeltLine trail! Beginners welcome.

Hear fascinating stories of prominent Atlanta street artists, see famous Atlanta murals (including Civil Rights-themed murals), and learn how street art can change the world.

Reservations are required for this experience! Learn more and sign up here.

Lunch: Ponce City Market

El Super Pan Ponce City Market

Head to Ponce City Market (PCM), a popular shopping center and food hall, for lunch! Here, you’ll find a wide variety of elevated food court-style dining options perfect for families and groups.

Choose from Indian street food, Cuban sandwiches (at El Super Pan, pictured), burgers, pizza, pho, sushi, Chinese food, salads, vegan specialties, pastries, gelato, coffee, candy shops, and more. PCM also includes retail shops and fun amusement-park style games on The Roof (admission required).

PCM is located along the Eastside Atlanta BeltLine Trail. Stroll this section of the BeltLine to see more public art or check out the Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park nearby!

Afternoon Activity: Explore Midtown’s Museums & Gardens

Atlanta Botanical Garden Ultimate Atlanta Itinerary

Near Ponce City Market, Midtown is the heart of Atlanta’s arts district. With a variety of museums and cultural attractions to explore, you might find it hard to pick your favorite! Choose one or two activities from the list below to see this afternoon.

Atlanta Botanical Garden: Explore 30 lush intown acres at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Little ones will especially love exploring the children’s garden. Nearly all areas of the garden are accessible via wheelchair and scooter.

High Museum of Art: As part of the Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum of Art boasts noteworthy collections from around the world and rotating special exhibitions. The High regularly hosts events for children and families. On the first and third Friday of each month, the museum is open late for adults-only events, including live DJs and music.

Center for Puppetry Arts: A museum, theater, and educational workshop venue, the Center for Puppetry Arts is for all those who are young at heart! A must-visit for fans of Jim Henson, Sesame Street, and The Muppets. Performances are offered for all ages, including “theatre for the very young” for toddlers and 18+ shows for adults.

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA): MODA is home to exhibitions on all things design. This museum goes beyond typical art and architecture. For instance, “Al Dente: The Design of Pasta” is currently on exhibit! Exploring design in all its forms, MODA’s exhibitions are often thought-provoking and unique. The museum also hosts classes on design-related topics.

SCAD FASH Museum: An initiative of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film collaborates with renowned designers, photographers, and artists on elaborate exhibitions. For example, past exhibitions have featured works from Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Guo Pei, and more.

Dinner: Miller Union

In West Midtown, Miller Union has been an Atlanta favorite for 15+ years. Founded by Steven Satterfield and Neal McCarthy, this restaurant’s name comes from the Miller Union Stockyards that once occupied a block in Atlanta’s 1880s meatpacking district. After the building suffered a fire, it was replaced with an industrial warehouse. Today, the refurbished warehouse is the home of this restaurant – and a living piece of Atlanta’s history.

The ingredient-driven dishes change by the season; while the menu has Southern influences, the fare is light (but still satisfying) rather than heavy or overly indulgent. Here, you can expect impeccable service and upscale presentation.

Looking for a more casual Midtown dinner spot? Head to Tin Lizzy’s for Mexican, The Varsity (an iconic Atlanta burger spot near south Midtown), or explore a variety of restaurants at Colony Square!

Evening: The Fox Theatre

Catch a show at the fabulous Fox Theatre! This iconic Midtown Atlanta spot, recognizable by its red marquee, has played host to some of the world’s most legendary acts. Be sure to allow plenty of time for travel and parking during weekend evenings and popular events.

Inside the Fox, you’ll feel transported to another time and place. Originally conceived as a home for the Atlanta Shriners, the Fox boasts unique architecture that was heavily influenced by temples in Spain and Egypt. When you enter the 4,665-seat theatre, look up, and you’ll see a stunning ceiling illuminated to look like a star-filled evening sky.

Browse upcoming events at the Fox and you’re sure to find a theatre, music, family, or comedy event you’ll love. The Fox also offers guided tours!

Day 3: Get Outdoors

Breakfast: Ria’s Bluebird

Ria's Bluebird Atlanta Brunch Spots

Dine al fresco on one of Atlanta’s many breakfast or brunch patios. We’re fans of Ria’s Bluebird in Grant Park. Snag a covered patio table in the back of the restaurant, where colorful murals adorn the walls (pictured) and delicious breakfast and lunch options await!

Founded by the late beloved chef Ria Pell in 2000, this bustling Atlanta brunch spot typically has an out-the-door crowd on weekends. Plan to visit early, or on a weekday if you’re in a rush!

Try the from-scratch buttermilk pancakes, vegetarian biscuits & gravy, or the Bluebird (breakfast) Burrito. For lunch, enjoy  Rosemary Chicken Salad and Pepper Turkey Melt alongside fresh choices like a Tempeh Ruben and Grande Salad.

Morning Activity & Lunch: Grant Park Food and Cemetery Tour

This 2.5-hour Grant Park Food and Cemetery Tour delves into the history and food behind Atlanta’s charming Grant Park neighborhood! During this tour, you’ll learn about the innovators, movers, and shakers who shaped Atlanta into an international hub and top-notch foodie destination.

Additionally, this experience includes a jaunt through Historic Oakland Cemetery, where many noteworthy Atlantans are laid to rest.

Reservations are required for this experience! Learn more and sign up here.

Afternoon Activity: Hit the Trail – or Rest Instead!

Still have energy to burn? Explore one of the many trails in the metro Atlanta area for a leisurely stroll, hike, bike ride, or trail run! A few of our favorites include:

Or, if you’re feeling your adventures catching up to you, take the afternoon off. Instead, enjoy a nap or treat yourself to a massage at one of Atlanta’s many spas and salons!

Dinner: JenChan’s Supper Club

On your last night in Atlanta, take it easy while still experiencing the best of Atlanta’s cuisine! JenChan’s in Cabbagetown offers delicious dine-in, takeout, and delivery.

Through JenChan’s online market, you can get take-and-bake casseroles – perfect for an Airbnb with an oven! They also have prepared lunches and dinners, pizzas, desserts, and more. Make the most of your day outdoors by taking your food to a nearby park for a scenic picnic!

Evening: Starlight Drive-In Theatre

Starlight Drive-In Atlanta

Cap off your your trip with a movie at the Starlight Drive-In! Located in Southeast Atlanta, this drive-in theatre is open 7 days a week, with 4 screens and an all-new digital projection system.

Head here to see new releases and experience the nostalgic fun of a drive-in! Your admission grants you entry to a double feature. Bring your own food and drinks, or head to the Snack Bar. Pro tip: submit a brief form on the drive-in’s website to get a Snack Bar coupon!

On the weekends, the Starlight Drive-In is home to a flea market where you can find unique vintage treasures.

Visiting Atlanta with teenagers? Check out our post on Things to Do with Teenagers & Pre-Teens in Atlanta! Plus, take the path less traveled with our post on Non-Touristy Things to Do in Atlanta.

To make the most of your time in the city, be sure to join us on a unique experience with Unexpected Atlanta – the top-rated Atlanta activity on TripAdvisor!