Atlanta is an amazing city with Southern charm and world-class sophistication. It offers world-class attractions, heart-racing sports, stunning theater performances, fine dining, and more. It’s easy to see why it is one of the most popular destinations in the Southeast to visit. It’s also easy to break the budget, but it doesn’t need to be. You’ll find plenty of free things to do in Atlanta. From museum exhibits to public art to tours of the state capitol, here are 7 of the best free things to do in Atlanta.
Completed in 1889, the Georgia Capitol remains one of the most impressive buildings in the state. Still a working government building, the Capitol’s recent renovation offers visitors a unique experience in exploring Georgia both past and present. The Georgia Capitol Museum is a public educational institution housed in the Capitol building under the administration of the Office of Secretary of State. The Museum collects, maintains, and exhibits artifacts, including historic flags and works of art.
View the government and learn how government works. Self-guided tours include a history of the building and lawmaking process, the public galleries of the House of Representatives and Senate and the Georgia Capitol Museum. The Georgia Capitol is open to the public 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and holidays.
Take a tour of the governor’s antique furnished 24,000-square-foot mansion. All of the furnishings in the house are considered to be museum quality and makes up one of the finest Federal Period collections in the United States. The Mansion, a three floor, 30-room, Greek Revival style home built in 1967, stands on approximately 18 acres in northeast Atlanta. Learn the history of the building from 1780-1820. Georgia’s Governor invites you to tour the mansion and learn the true meaning of Southern hospitality. Public tours are conducted throughout the year on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM.
If you are visiting Atlanta, I definitely recommend marking this as one of your must-go destinations! Located in the downtown area this lovely 21-acre park is easily accessible and offers a great walking tour. The Audio Walking Tour (downloadable via a smartphone) provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the Park at their own pace. You can enjoy and learn about Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park, and the continued legacy of the 1996 Olympic Games. The self-guided audio tour through the Park is packed with history, architecture, monuments, Olympic tributes, quirky trivia, original music, and interviews. The walking tour begins and ends at the Parks Visitor Center and is an hour long loop.
During the summer months, kids can be seen playing and splashing around in the fountain of rings (Olympic Logo.) The fountain is computer operated and synchronized with music. There are shows throughout the day (12:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM). In the winter months, the park has the holiday in lights display with thousands of lights and in the center of the park, they have a small ice skating rink.
The park also has a farmers market, free concerts, and many different festivals and fundraiser events as well (runs/walks), and a children’s garden and playground. A number of great attractions are within minutes (World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Civil Rights / Human Rights Museum and CNN Building.) This is a perfect place to spend a day.
Experience remarkable artwork by local, nationally and internationally recognized artists. The Atlanta Public Art Tour app combines GPS, audio, text, and images to guide users around the city’s public art world. Highlighting locally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists, the OCA Public Art Tour App creates a one-of-a-kind, interactive viewer experience that will lead users through downtown Atlanta corridors, historical sites, and monuments that speak to the heart of Atlanta’s character. This is a great way to learn about Atlanta’s place in history through our cultural and artistic heritage.
The Atlanta BeltLine is comprised of 22 miles of unused railroad tracks circling the core of the city’s in-town neighborhoods. You can bike, walk, or run along the trails and walkways stopping to enjoy the open green space and parks. The Atlanta BeltLine is also home to Art on the BeltLine, the Southeast’s largest temporary public art project.
Check the Atlanta BeltLine’s website for upcoming events. You’ll find everything from lantern parades to trail yoga and a sunrise hike.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site attracts large numbers of national and international visitors. Tour home where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up. This modest two-story home is preserved closely to as it was when he was a child.
The only ranger-led tour in the park is of Dr. King’s Birth Home. All other facilities such as the Visitor Center, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. and Mrs. King’s Gravesite, Freedom Hall, and Historic Fire Station No. 6 are self-guided. The tour is free and lasts approximately 30 minutes during which time you will learn about the life of a young M. L. King. The home is open for tours on a daily basis, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, with the first tour at 10:00 AM and the last tour at 4:00 PM.
Oakland is much more than an outstanding example of a Victorian garden cemetery. Pass through the gates of Oakland and you will discover Atlanta’s history, from the beginning.
This garden cemetery, founded in 1850, is the final resting place for many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders, and most noted citizens like, Bobby Jones, amateur golfer, Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, and Maynard Jackson, the first African-American mayor of Atlanta. It is also a magnificent sculpture garden, botanical garden, flourishing wildlife habitat, public park and picturesque setting for quiet reflection.
Less than a mile from the heart of Downtown Atlanta, this hidden treasure awaits you. Spend an hour or a day exploring Historic Oakland Cemetery on your own.
There are so many free things to do in Atlanta that you don’t need to go broke while having a great time on vacation.