Atlanta is a big city in the state of Georgia that has a charming small town feel. The city offers a diverse selection of attractions and activities that bring in tourists including a fascinating history, a marvelous shopping scene, and fantastic food. You might not know that this city has actually been featured in many big blockbuster films including The Avengers, Spiderman, and Black Panther!
If you travel a lot, chances are that you may have been here before, since it is home to the world's busiest airport and often connects flights traveling from the United States of America to other countries found across the Atlantic Ocean.
If you have never been here before or were just passing through then it is about time that you plan a weekend getaway to see what the city is really about. There is much that you can do with just 3 days in Atlanta but with the limited time, you will definitely need to plan your trip out.
Below, we've created the perfect schedule so you don't have to worry about missing the city's best sights. If you are making the most of your time and find yourself slowed down by heavy bags or armfuls of shopping purchases, stop by an Atlanta suitcase locker so you don't have to drag your belongings around with you.
Atlanta itinerary - Day 1
Morning: Walk in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Definitely one of the best ways to start your vacation in Atlanta is to stroll through the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. It is one of the most beautiful greenspaces in the city with some really impressive sculptures and fountains.
The grounds are well kept and a great place to take an early morning walk. There are some permanent collections that you can visit anytime as well as temporary exhibits that come and go, so there could be something really interesting going on while you are there! If you want to come back at night they light up the park making it a truly magical experience.
Hungry for breakfast? The city has some tasty street food and this is a good opportunity to try some after your morning in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Make your way to Sean's Harvest Market near Piedmont Park and grab a Farmer's Breakfast Panini or Solstice Omelette Wrap.
Afternoon: World of Coca-Cola
Did you know that the world famous soft drink Coca-Cola was actually invented right here in Atlanta, Georgia? Step inside the Coca-Cola world to learn all about the drink, how it was made and the different flavors available. This attraction is a museum, movie theatre, refreshment area and factory all in one so there will definitely be lots to see.
You will be given a free can of coke when you arrive and then they will show you a short film about the drink. Afterward, you can take your time exploring all of the other areas that interest you most. Do you want to see how the drinks are bottled, or maybe visit the vault where the secret recipe is held? You will definitely want to explore the tasting room where you can try over 100 different versions of the drink!
Time for lunch! What goes better with Coca-Cola than a tasty pizza? Head to Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria for some delicious cheesy pizzas made in a coal-burning oven. They offer all sorts of flavor combinations or you can choose to build your own pizza by selecting the toppings that you want.
Evening: Discovering the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Located within walking distance from the World of Coca-Cola is one of the city's best museums. Some pretty incredible people were born in Atlanta, including Martin Luther King Jr. This is why the civil rights movement holds such an important spot in Atlanta's history and you can learn a lot from the different exhibits at the center.
The main focus of the museum is to acknowledge and inform people about the Civil Rights Movement and other issues involving human rights from the past to the present. In the main exhibit called "Rolls Down Like Water: US Civil Rights Movement" you can gain a greater understanding of what life was like for African Americans living in cities like this one during the 1950s and 1960s.
The museum closes at 5 pm so if you visit in the evening then it will be just about time for dinner once you finish. Head to the Johnny Rockets burger joint for some great hamburgers and other comfort foods like cheese fries and milkshakes! The restaurant has a sort of retro old-school diner vibe which can be super fun.
Atlanta itinerary - Day 2
Morning: Ride on Skyview Atlanta
The city of Atlanta is quite beautiful from the ground but the views from above are stunning. You can see for yourself if you take a trip to Skyview Atlanta, a huge Ferris wheel found right in the heart of the city. You can comfortably fit up to 6 people in each pod so you can admire the city skyline with your friends or family!
This is also a good way to learn a bit more about the city and its layout. Try to spot some of the places that you visited yesterday from above! If you are afraid of heights then this activity might not be for you, but you have nothing to be afraid of since it is completely safe.
There are lots of restaurants serving delicious food around the area so you can really eat anywhere. One place that serves yummy breakfast is The Food Shoppe. Try a veggie or shrimp creole omelet, a croissant sandwich, or just some classic oatmeal. Afterward, take a walk around the Centennial Olympic Park and maybe even visit the College Football Hall of Fame interactive museum before heading out to our next stop on the schedule.
Afternoon: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Our next stop is the Fernbank Museum which is the perfect activity for people of all ages and a fantastic outing for families. If you have an interest in science then you will love it here and even if that isn't your thing, you will still have the chance to learn something new!
There are already lots of permanent exhibits to keep you occupied and temporary displays are constantly being added. Some of the attractions include the Dinosaur Plaza or the Walk Through Time in Georgia which can teach you all about the state that you are visiting.
For lunch, you can go to Dragon Bowl which is a health food restaurant serving Asian fare and colorful dishes. You can order meals from the menu or make your own bowl by choosing a base, protein, veggies, sauce and garnish!
Evening: Tours at the CNN Center
One of the best tourist attractions in the city is the CNN Center. As we mentioned before, Atlanta has actually been used as a filming location for several different shows and movies. We already mentioned that The Avengers and other Marvel superhero movies were shot here, but did you know that this is also where The Walking Dead was filmed?
If you are a fan of the show then this activity is definitely necessary for you. You can tour the offices in the building and get a behind-the-scenes sneak peak into how movies and shows are made. Come see the filming location of your favorite franchises like The Hunger Games and Stranger Things!
There is a food court inside the CNN Center but we suggest going out to eat somewhere else. The Hudson Grille is a good choice and not too far away. They have lots of great options like burgers, salads and chicken as well as vegetarian dishes. They close at midnight so why not stay a while and have a couple of drinks?
Atlanta itinerary - Day 3
Morning: Visit to the Georgia Aquarium
For your last morning in Atlanta, it's time to head back to Pemberton Place where we spent the first day of the vacation. This is where you will find the Georgia Aquarium which is something that you won't want to miss out on during your stay! It opens at 8 am or 9 am every day so you can get there early to leave more time for other activities in this great city.
The aquarium is actually a non-profit organization aiming to research and preserve aquatic wildlife, and each creature is treated well and with care. It is also the largest aquarium in the entire USA! You can sit in a room and just watch the amazing marine life swim by or attend an entertaining sea lion or dolphin show.
For breakfast, you don't even have to leave the aquarium since it has its own café situated right inside the building. However, if you want to go somewhere else, lots of people recommend the Atlanta Breakfast Club and they offer basically anything that you could think of for breakfast. They open early at 6:30 am so feel free to stop by before or after going to the aquarium!
Afternoon: Exploring the Atlanta History Center
It is always fun to learn about the city that you are visiting. This is why we recommend stopping by the Atlanta History Center before you leave, especially since it is one of the best history museums in the United States!
The area is huge so you will have lots of activities to keep you occupied. The museum itself is big but there are also gardens with walking trails, a farm, and some historic buildings found on the 33 acre property. Make sure you visit the Swan House while you are here, and your tickets will also give you access to the Margaret Mitchell House.
If you want a quick lunch, the closest restaurant is a small café called Souper Jenny. It is a very friendly and welcoming restaurant where you can order yummy salads, soups and sandwiches.
Evening: Exploring the Ponce City Market
After getting refreshed at your hotel room, your last stop on our Atlanta weekend itinerary is the Ponce City Market. This place is open until 9 pm almost every day and there is quite a lot to do, so it is a nice and relaxing way to end your vacation.
The mixed-use space has some cute shops, an amusement park, mini golf and social gathering areas where you can meet new friends. If you get there early enough you should definitely check out the rooftop Atlanta Skyline Park!
One of the things that attract people the most is the food hall. You won't even have to leave to find dinner since there are so many options right here! It can be hard to choose what to eat with so many fantastic choices but each one is worth trying. Take a walk around and see what interests you.
Visiting Atlanta in 3 Days
From Downtown Atlanta to Midtown Atlanta, this incredible city is filled with interesting attractions, beautiful parks, and an important history. What we've mentioned above is only one option for a 3 day Atlanta itinerary and if any of the activities don't interest you then feel free to change them out, or even better, visit Atlanta for longer! You can easily spend a week or more here and still have lots to do inside the city, or take a day trip beyond the city limits to places like Stone Mountain Park.
Thanks to the city's public transportation getting around is easy, but there are also bike rentals available around town which are also excellent options for getting from place to place. If you are looking for more things to do between attractions try going for a bike ride around the National Historical Park, walking along the Freedom Park Trail at the Historic Fourth Ward Park, or exploring Centennial Olympic Park. Are you a fan of sports? Head to the Mercedes Benz Stadium to catch a game!
Still planning your visit to Atlanta? Check out these guides for more ideas!