Atlanta is known for its Southern hospitality, but this capital city is home to some of the top museums and historical sites in the United States. Whether you’re in town for business or on a family vacation, there are numerous things to do in Downtown Atlanta (and Midtown too!) and several places to stay in both neighborhoods. These two Atlanta locales are literally … neighbors, so staying in either one is an easy walk or MARTA stop away to all the attractions.
Are your feet tired of walking? There’s a unique thing to do in Downtown Atlanta .. a giant ferris wheel! Give your feet a rest and see beautiful Downtown Atlanta from 20 stories in the air. SkyView Atlanta has 42 air-conditioned gondolas that can hold up to six people and lets you sit back and relax while seeing every aspect of the city.
While your in the area, walk across the street from SkyView to check out Centennial Olympic Park and the iconic Fountain of Rings commemorating the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Mary Mac’s Tea Room
Another great restaurant, located in midtown Atlanta, is Mary Mac’s Tea Room. It’s known as “Atlanta’s Dining Room” and is the only tea room left in Atlanta. This restaurant has been serving customers since 1945 and is the place to eat if you’re craving authentic made-from-scratch Southern foods.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
100 Ivan Allen Jr Boulevard NW
The Center hosts several permanent and temporary exhibitions that explain the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, and how it relates to the struggle of global human rights. One of the top things to do in Downtown Atlanta, the Center of Civil and Human Rights also showcases an exclusive rotating exhibition of more than 13,000 personal artifacts from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. The gallery features a photographed mural of Dr. King’s bookshelf as it was left following his assassination. Two miles away, you can also visit the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic site, one of the city’s top tourist destinations.
Where to stay in Downtown Atlanta Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown
One of the world’s most magical and largest aquariums is located in downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is home to tens of thousands of animals, including 500 species from all over the world, and features 60 different habitats for guests to explore. Take your family to see the Ocean Voyager exhibit with 6.3 million gallons of water or experience the all-new AT&T Dolphin Celebration that showcases talented dolphins and human actors.
Where to stay Hotels near the GA Aquarium
College Football Hall of Fame
The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience provides sports and history lovers with 94,256-square feet of historical relics and modern, interactive football exhibits. When you enter, you are greeted with a large wall of helmets (see photo above) for every college team in the United States. After buying the ticket, you select your favorite college team, and that team’s helmet lights up on the wall. Your ticket personalizes your visit throughout the museum with an immersive experience that shows exclusive videos and photos of your #1 team.
The Fox Theatre
Known as one of the best entertainment venues in Atlanta, The Fox Theatre has shows ranging from dance to opera and Broadway musicals to rock concerts. The National Historic Landmark is the cultural jewel of metro Atlanta and had early success as a movie theater. However in the late 70s, the Fox faced possible demolition after years of neglect until a nonprofit organization raised $3 million to save it. Enjoy a 60-minute guided tour or check the events calendar to see what shows or concerts can bring you to Atlanta.
Where to stay near the Fox Theatre Hotel Indigo Atlanta Midtown
The World of Coca-Cola
If you’re a Coke drinker or have any interest in the most famous beverage brand in the world, then stop by The World of Coca-Cola to have a lively thing to do in Downtown Atlanta. Tour the facility to see over 1,200 artifacts, a 4-D movie in moving seats and a bottling line that produces a complimentary glass bottle (the best way to drink a Coke) for every guest. And the best part — you get to sample over 100 different Coca-Cola beverages from around the world, giving your taste buds the ride of their life.
After touring the World of Coca-Cola, you can take a quick walk to Centennial Park, or if it’s a rainy day check out the hands-on exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta (great for kids aged 2-8).
Inside CNN Studio Tour
190 Marietta Street
Do you watch CNN? Are you curious how the news industry works? Then head over to the global headquarters of CNN located in downtown Atlanta. CNN offers daily-guided tours where guests get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look into the news and broadcasting world. Depending on your interest level in TV news, CNN offers three different tours: Inside CNN Studio Tour, VIP Tour and Morning Express Tour.
61 North Avenue NW
“What’ll ya have?” Famous words you’ll hear as soon as you enter the world’s largest drive-in restaurant in downtown Atlanta. This well-known restaurant has been pleasing taste buds since 1928, and those in Georgia love it so much that there are now eight locations in the greater Atlanta and Athens areas. The Varsity promises to deliver tasty foods fast and do so in a fun environment. If you’re in town for a football game at Georgia Tech, then The Varsity is one of the iconic stop-offs. Make sure to try a chili cheese dog, onion rings and a Frosted Orange. You wont’ be disappointed.