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Why You Should Visit Downtown Atlanta for Your Next Urban Adventure

November 15, 2022 By CityPASS

When it comes to organizing a city break in the United States, the options are almost endless. Today, though, we would like to invite you to look beyond a traditional trip to cities like New York and San Francisco and discover the amazing sights that Atlanta, Georgia, has to offer.

With its rich history, diverse culture, and thriving economic development, Atlanta is an American city like no other. It combines the quiet, unspoiled beauty of the local Georgian nature with a vibrant, exciting urban life and unique-looking buildings. From boutique hotels to vintage shops, from manicured green areas to mouth-watering food, the Big Peach is the ideal location for your next trip. Let’s discover the can't-miss spots in Atlanta's downtown in this guide.

Experiencing Its Unparalleled History from MLK to Coca-Cola

In 2014, Atlanta welcomed a new downtown attraction: the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. This bright, airy, contemporary building features a glass exterior and smooth, curved walls to provide a sense of positive, open-minded attitude — and that’s exactly what the vibe is like once you enter the venue.

In the museum, you will be able to explore several halls and galleries located across three different levels. In each room, you will be taken on a tour throughout the history of the American Civil Rights Movement and the global Human Rights Movement, which makes for a powerful, inspiring, and eye-opening experience.

And because one of the world’s most famous and influential civil rights activists, Martin Luther King, Jr., was born right in the heart of this city, Atlanta is also home to the MLK Junior National Historical Park. Covering around 35 acres of land, this park includes MLK’s childhood home, the church where he was baptized, and the cemetery where both he and his wife rest.

After such an intense, yet very important, day spent walking through history, you might want to chill out — and there’s nowhere better to chill out in Atlanta than a visit to the World of Coca-Cola! Super-fun, interactive, and informative, this museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibits on one of the world’s most famous and loved beverages.

Dining at Restaurants with Rave Reviews

So much walking around might end up making you peckish; no worries, the options here are virtually endless, and the restaurants in downtown Atlanta are sure to please everyone’s taste! Head on to culinary heaven Buford Highway for some of the best restaurants with impeccable service.

The food doesn’t get any tastier, more varied, and more exciting than here. You will be spoiled for choice with cuisines spanning Chinese, Peruvian, Malaysian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Korean, and more, as well as eateries that always hit the spot, whether you want to grab a quick — yet delicious — bite or have a more luxurious sit-down meal at a cool rooftop bar.

Spending Time at the Legendary 22-Acre Centennial Olympic Park

Fancy a bit of sport-related sightseeing? The downtown entertainment district does not disappoint. Just head over to the Centennial Olympic Park, where you will be able to revel in the famous dancing fountain, take in the breath-taking Atlanta skyline, and jump on the SkyView Ferris Wheel for a fun trip with the whole family.

During the week, you can visit the park for a community event or free concert. During Christmas it dresses up in sparkles and gold to transform into a buzzing Christmas Market.

Stop at the College Football Hall of Fame for Sports Enthusiasts

For more sport-inspired touring of Atlanta, do not miss the College Football Hall of Fame. Inaugurated in 1951 and located just next door to the Centennial Olympic Park, this venue is shaped like a football and features plenty of interactive exhibits and events for adults and children alike. And if the season is right, you could visit Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an Atlanta Falcons game.

Speaking of children — if you have very energetic little ones in tow, try letting them blow off some steam by running around the indoor football field. You can thank us later!

Getting in Touch With Nature at Fernbank Museum or Zoo Atlanta

Atlanta is a city that’s BIG on nature and conservation, and this commitment is shown in both its fantastic zoo and its natural history museum. The Fernbank Museum of Natural History, established back in 1992, gives visitors lots of cool insights into local Georgian nature, and is home to fun, interactive exhibits — including the giant dinosaurs that greet you at the entrance!

If you want to get up close and personal with some pretty amazing creatures, then don’t miss Zoo Atlanta. First open to the public in 1889, it’s one of the oldest and most popular cultural spots in the whole city. Occupying 40 acres in the neighborhood of Grand Park, the zoo hosts over 1,000 different animals belonging to more than 200 species. As you might expect, the usual animals will be there, including lions, giraffes, elephants, bears, and flamingos, together with some truly unique residents: giant pandas and great apes.

Exploring Creatures of the Deep at the Largest Aquarium in the United States

Did you know that Atlanta is also home to the biggest aquarium in the country? This instantly makes it an unmissable attraction if you're planning to spend a few days here. The Georgia Aquarium features lots of beautiful, colorful, and extremely varied marine life, including predators such as whale sharks and albino alligators.

And if you fancy something truly extraordinary, then why not book yourself in for a dive or snorkel with the sharks? If you hold a SCUBA diving certification, you can access what is probably going to be one of the most incredible experiences of your life.

Save Big While Exploring Downtown Atlanta

There are so many fun things to do in downtown Atlanta, from exploring its rich city history to finding out more about its natural landscape, and from checking out its sports venues to trying delicious food at your bucket list restaurants. What if you could do it for less?

With Atlanta CityPASS® tickets, you can get fast, easy, and discounted access to lots of must-see attractions in the area, to make your Atlanta stay a truly unforgettable experience – without breaking the bank!

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:

Header Image Courtesy of World of Coca-Cola

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