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Why Atlanta Is a Top Destination for Sports Enthusiasts
February 6, 2023 By CityPASS
Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, oh my! Atlanta is home to three teams in the country's most popular sports, as well as many other teams in other organizations. For any enthusiast visiting the city, read on to learn more about sports in Atlanta and what you can't miss when you're in town.
5 Reasons Why Atlanta Is an Appealing Destination for Sports Fans
Rich Tradition in Collegiate Athletics
Collegiate athletics are a celebrated tradition in Atlanta sports, and Atlanta is home to four colleges with athletic departments and several state-of-the-art sports venues and facilities. The Georgia Institute of Technology is home to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and participates in 17 collegiate sports, including football and both men’s and women’s basketball. Notably, Georgia Tech is home to the Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, the oldest on-campus NCAA Division 1 football stadium, which was built by Georgia Tech students in 1913.
Atlanta also had a hand in starting one of the oldest rivalries in college athletics. In 1892, Piedmont Park was home to the second-ever intercollegiate football game in the South, played by the University of Georgia and Auburn University, causing the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry to blossom.
The Yellow Jackets hold 15 conference titles and have played in 35 bowl games. They have a longstanding rivalry with the University of Georgia, whom they play each year in an annual game called “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” Don’t mess with the “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech!”
Georgia State University is home to the Georgia State Panthers and hosts 16 varsity athletics programs. Georgia State’s young football team, formed in 2008, plays in the Center Parc Stadium.
Kennesaw State University has a short but exciting history. Its athletic department was founded in 1983 and upon breaking into collegiate athletics at a breakneck pace, Kennesaw became a Division 1 school in just 23 years. Kennesaw has seen 32 of their baseball players be drafted to the MLB, and five of their alumni have gone on to play in the Majors, including Willie Harris, who earned a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005.
Finally, Atlanta’s Druid Hills community is home to Emory University, a Division 3 collegiate superpower. The Emory Eagles boast 31 NCAA D-III National Championships, notably with 14 each in tennis and swimming and diving. Andrew White, 2021 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100m medley relay, was an Eagle.
Across many sports, conferences, and divisions, Atlanta collegiate sports carry a great legacy and are celebrated by Atlantans.
Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
Atlanta is home to the famed Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, a testament to the city’s devotion to the great tradition of collegiate athletics. This massive 94,256-square-foot attraction is a dazzling sight to behold. Located adjacent to the Centennial Olympic park, another major historic attraction in Atlanta sports history, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is an absolute can’t-miss experience for any football fan.
When you enter the Hall of Fame, you’re greeted by a three-story high wall covered in 770 football helmets, representing all of the college football teams in the United States, from the NAIA to the Power 5. You can then enter your information, including your favorite team, into a kiosk, which causes your team’s helmet to light up on the wall until you leave. Once inside, make sure you visit the 45-yard indoor football field!
There’s never a dull moment here. The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is home to galleries, exhibits, and contemporary and historic memorabilia. Learn about football stadiums, legendary coaches, and star players, and visit the Hall of Fame itself. Each and every one of the over 1200 inductees’ names is etched into the glass and 10 augmented reality screens hold video profiles on all of them, marrying technology and history in a truly memorable way. Try and spot the 14 inductees from Georgia Tech!
The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta is family-friendly, interactive, and unmissable. We highly recommend you take a visit to learn about your favorite college football legend or team.
Top Professional Sports Teams
There are many historic Atlanta sports teams, but among the most notable are the Atlanta Braves of the MLB, the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL, the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA, and Atlanta United FC of the MLS.
The Atlanta Braves became an MLB team in 1966 but had become a National Association club in 1871, making the Braves the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North American sports. With four World Series titles and 18 National League pennants under their belts, the Atlanta Braves are the only team that has played in every single season since the inception of professional baseball, making them truly worth celebrating. Come by Truist Stadium, the baseball stadium, to see this NL-East team play a game of America’s beloved pastime.
With an average attendance of over 17,000 spectators, the Atlanta Hawks are a force in American sports and a popular team in Atlanta. Despite having only won one championship in 1958, Atlantans love the Hawks and are hungry for their eventual success. Catch a thrilling game at State Farm Arena during the season.
The Atlanta Dream, Atlanta’s WNBA team, was founded in 2008 and named after Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech. They play at the Gateway Center Arena in College Park. Despite their short history, they’ve already racked up quite the resume, qualifying for eight playoffs and making three finals. Maybe a championship is on the way soon.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta’s NFL football team. The Falcons play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium and have made two Super Bowl appearances. There is no experience more exciting than seeing the Falcons play their ultimate rivals, the New Orleans Saints.
Finally, one of the most popular and exciting Atlanta sports teams is the Atlanta United soccer team. Atlanta United shares a stadium with the Falcons and boasts a single-game ticket sale record of 72,548. Soccer is a beloved sport in Atlanta, so if you’re a soccer fan, you’ll be in good company.
International Sports History at Centennial Olympic Park
Centennial Olympic Park is a 22-acre park in Atlanta that was conceived and built by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) in preparation for Atlanta to host the Olympic Games in 1996. Today, it is visited by millions each year. Centennial Olympic Park is completely surrounded by historic landmarks and significant places — the Georgia World Congress Center, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, State Farm Arena, the CNN Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Georgia Aquarium, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the World of Coca-Cola all border the park. You must see this incredible marker of history!
Amazing Stadiums Like Truist Park
Another incredible remnant of Atlanta sports history is Truist Park. Originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium to host the 1996 Olympic Games, the stadium was converted into Truist Park in 1997. The Atlanta Braves, who had played baseball at Turner Field from 1997 until 2016, moved to Truist Park in 2017, while Turner Field became home to the Georgia State University Panthers. Today, Truist Park is a lively sports site in Atlanta.
Experience Atlanta Sports History and Attractions for Less
With so much to offer sports fans, Atlanta is an American city that can’t be missed. So why not experience it at a discount? Atlanta CityPASS® tickets offer a discount when you purchase bundled admission to five attractions. Atlanta is a sports city like no other, and its rich history and diverse amount of teams makes it a worthwhile place to visit.
Lodging in Atlanta
To get the most out of your stay in Atlanta, we recommend finding lodging near Atlanta's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: