How to Visit Atlanta Like a Local: 5 Must-See Places in ATL

Updated on April 22, 2019
Diane Lockridge profile image

Diane is a transplant southerner who has lived in the South about half her life. She moved to the Atlanta area about 10 years ago.

The beautiful Atlanta skyline at night.
The beautiful Atlanta skyline at night.

The unofficial capital of the South, Atlanta has just about everything you could look for when planning a vacation. But if getting caught in the quintessential tourist trap isn’t for you, consider taking in the area like the locals do by visiting some of the top five places in the metro-Atlanta area. Whether you have young children or you are a couple without kids, there is a special destination sure to interest you.

1. The Atlanta Botanical Garden

What has been ranked of the top 10 botanical gardens by USA Today and named one of the most beautifully designed botanical gardens in America? The Atlanta Botanical Gardens of course! It is open rain or shine, so don’t be afraid that inclement weather may ruin your plans.

If you’ll be in town for an extended stay, consider registering your child for a summer camp. Classes are available for children ages 4–12, and include activities such as creating art, how to grow and prepare snacks and meals from fruits and veggies, and more.

Non-camp activities include things such as storybook time, dancing in the garden, viewing art exhibits, and plenty of trails and spectacular garden sculptures.

Spring and summer concerts in the garden offer some local talent as well as big-named artists including the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Mandolin Orange and Melissa Etheridge.

2. Piedmont Park

Although Piedmont Park is a great place for tourists to visit, locals know there are great things to do there for free year-round.

Looking for activities for the kids? Piedmont Park offers paved roads perfect for traditional walking, pushing strollers, and riding bikes. The park also features the Noguchi Playground and Lake Clara Meer, where you can feed ducks. Or take a stroll over to the Legacy Fountain where you can see a LED-lighted fountain that shoots up to 30 feet in the air. When the show is over, let your kids play around on the splash pad. Or visit the Piedmont Park Pool, open from 3 to 5pm, Monday through Friday for free!

Older visitors may enjoy the Bocce Ball area, or taking a free bird walk with the Atlanta Audubon Society the first Saturday of every month. Consider taking a self-guided tree tour where you see some of the largest species in the state of Georgia.

3. College Football Hall of Fame

You don’t have to be a die-hard college football fan to enjoy your time at the College Football Hall of Fame. This museum offers interactive displays where you can play football and run the field, or tech-savvy things such as creating your own mascot.

At the beginning of your CFHOF trip, you’ll customize your experience with an all-access pass on a lanyard. After your trip, your all-access pass lets you download interactive segments, TV or radio broadcasts, and more.

Learn the science of football, see the various types of gear football players have worn throughout the years, and even learn about the more technical aspects of the games such as strategy.

Take a few things into account when visiting the Hall of Fame. The location itself is downtown, which means you may have a lot of traffic downtown, particularly if a sporting event or convention is going on the same day. Although Chic-Fil-A sponsors the Hall of Fame, it doesn’t serve food on Sundays (even when the museum is open), so plan accordingly.

Just some of the urban artwork featured along the BeltLine.
Just some of the urban artwork featured along the BeltLine.

4. The BeltLine

The BeltLine is a 33-mile stretch of trails that winds through the Atlanta area. Not only does the Beltline offer green space to the metro, but you’ll also find shopping experiences, eateries, and an overall good place to walk, bike or hike. And if you like artwork, you’ll find the Beltline offers a variety of artwork along the trails.

Along the BeltLine is Ponce City Market, a thriving community of upscale shops and one-of-a-kind restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the rooftop, where you can see great views of the city, play on an 18-hole miniature golf course, or amuse yourself with boardwalk-style games

Krog Street Market is also a great destination along the beltline. There you will find local produce, prepared foods, boutiques, and top-notch cuisine. Krog Street Market also holds fun events such as tasting events, sports viewing, and other seasonal events, such as an Easter Egg Hunt.


5. Lanier Islands

If you aren’t afraid of traveling about 45 minutes north of Atlanta to the Gainesville area, consider visiting the lakes at Lanier Islands.

The activities available at Lanier Islands are dependent on the season, but you’re likely to find something that catches your attention. If you like outdoor adventure Lanier islands offers hiking and walking trails, cruises, horseback riding, ziplines, boating, water sports, a water park, beach volleyball and swimming.

The area offers a variety of accommodations, including campgrounds, lake houses, and luxury villas and suites. If you visit around a holiday, Lanier Island likely has a coordinating activity. For example, during the Christmas season, you can go on a miles-long Christmas light tour and during the summer you can view fireworks over the water.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Diane Lockridge


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        13 months ago from UK

        This gives a good introduction to Atlanta, highlighting places of interest.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)