48 Surprisingly Free Things To Do In Atlanta
By Rachel George
Atlanta is full of attractions, eateries, relatively good weather, and a vibrant night and day entertainment scene, sometimes making it difficult to narrow down things you’d like to do. Luckily, you can do a lot without having to break the bank, like hiking up the mountains for a workout, catching a free outdoor movie, or hitting up a free concert.
Looking for some fun and free ways to enjoy ATL? Check out our list of 48 free things to do in Atlanta and let us know how many you’ve done.
1.Take a walk along the Atlanta Beltline.
Explore the city of Atlanta on a nice brisk walk through the Atlanta Beltline. There are plenty of walkable, bike-friendly trails and artistic graffiti walls.
2. See the Skyline from Jackson Street Bridge.
The Jackson Street Bridge has one of the best views of Downtown Atlanta. It serves as a great backdrop for photos too.
3. Go on a self-guided tour of The Walking Dead.
How cool would it be to tour your favorite scenes and locations from your favorite show? You can the exact locations here.
4. Hike up Stone Mountain Park.
After you’ve hiked five miles up a steep mountain, you’ll appreciate the view of the city from atop Stone Mountain. Plus, it gives you time to catch your breath before you head back down.
5. Yoga in the Park.
Grab a yoga mat, a water bottle, and your best friends for yoga in the park. The Piedmont Park Conservancy hosts a free yoga class every fourth Monday of the month, except December.
6. Learn about the history and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Start at the Visitors Center and work your way around this historical park honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visit the home he grew up and walk to Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached. Don’t forget to pay your respect to Dr. King and his wife Coretta at their tombs at the King Center.
7. Hang out with the skaters and athletes.
Famed skateboarder Tony Hawk made an appearance during the grand opening of the Old Fourth Ward Skatepark, Atlanta’s first public skatepark.
The trail runs from Smyrna, GA to the Georgia-Alabama state line. There’s over 60 miles of farmland and forest. Stay to the right and watch for pedestrians because the trains can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends.
9. Stroll through Atlanta’s Arts District.
The Art Stroll through Castleberry Hill is a self-guided tour of the neighborhood art every second Friday of the month.
10. Enjoy a free concert during lunch break.
Centennial Olympic Park is a premier outdoor location for Atlanta’s music scene and other outdoor activities like the fountain and the Ferris wheel. Check out the park’s Music at Noon lunchtime concert series featuring live performances by local artists. Be sure to check the park calendar or dates and times of other free events.
11. Free visit to Atlanta Contemporary.
Non-profit, non-collecting institution Atlanta Contemporary hosts discussions on the advancement of contemporary art and culture. There is even a program introducing kids to art and music through physical activities.
12. Visit the Reading Room.
Stop by this outdoor library pop up known as the Woodruff Park Reading Room. The park is best accessible via MARTA or streetcar if you’re closer. It beats having to park far away or having to pay $20 for parking.
You can’t have money if you don’t understand where it comes from. Learn about bank policies, explore an exhibit of historical artifacts, and get a glimpse inside a bank vault when you visit the Atlanta Fed’s Monetary Museum.
Atlanta offers free tours Tuesday- Thursday between 10 am and 11:30 am of the three-floor, 30 room Governor’s Mansion built-in 1967. It’s a great way to learn about past governors, the city, and learn about the mansion’s collection of Federal Period furnishings.
15. Tour the Capitol of Georgia.
Experience the magnificence of The Georgia Capitol. Guided tours offer visitors a first-hand look at Georgia’s history from inside the most important government building in the state.
16. Go on a date to the park.
I remember going on a date in Central Park. We walked around the park for about two hours, saw an unscheduled dance show on the lawn, a live concert from the sound of music orchestra, and a lively community of people in Downtown Atlanta.
Marrieta Square nurtures its eclectic art scene on the first Friday of every month with a community arts events. Experience live performances, music, cool art exhibits and a walking tour of local galleries, museums and more.
18. Spend family day at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta offers Family Free days four times a year, for pre-registered guests. Fulton County Days are also free, check the calendar for upcoming dates.
19. Support the local arts.
Local nonprofit Living Walls Atlanta is responsible for some of the thought-provoking art murals around Atlanta. Their mission is to inspire social change through art. Be on the lookout for the next mural at the East Lake MARTA station.
20. Stroll through the only free zoo in Athens.
About an hour outside of Atlanta is the Bear Hollow Zoo where you can get up close and personal with black bears, eagles, wild turkeys, owls, white-tailed deer, and other wildlife. The Reptile House is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays.
21. Visit Sweet Auburn District.
Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District reflects African American history and contributions. Dubbed the “richest negro street in America,” Sweet Auburn’s culture is maintained through an African diaspora museum, a research library, and murals of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights hero John Lewis.
22. Find folk art in Atlanta.
Wild Oats and Bill Goats is a folk art gallery and boutique carrying ceramic tile, glass sculptures, pottery, jewelry, paintings, and hand-sewn items from local and regional artists.
23. Preserve Georgia’s natural environment.
The Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center is open year-round and free for all. See animal exhibits, tour buildings and preserve the natural environment in Georgia.
24. Free visit to the art museum.
On the second Sunday of each month, admission at the High Museum of Art is free. Atlanta’s premier art museum overflowing with thousands of pieces of artwork, from photography and visual arts to African and contemporary art, like this piece by late artist Hale Woodruff.
24. Visit Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.
Walk around this wildlife rehabilitation center and see animals of all types like exotic cats, snakes, foxes, alligators, primates, birds and other livestock. Noah’s Ark is open 12 – 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
The beam laser show starts around 9:30 pm, so you may want to grab a blanket and pick your spot on Memorial Lawn at Stone Mountain early. The lasers are synced to a 45-minute visual with music. The show runs until Oct. 19 and only on Saturdays. Park on the street or nearby to avoid parking fees.
26. Go Fishing at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve.
Fishing is permitted at the Arabia Lake with a valid state license. You can bike or hike any of the many trails around Arabia Mountain Natural Heritage Area. There are no fees included, not even for parking.
27. Explore the world of science.
Plan your next visit to the live animal exhibit or Apollo 6 Command Module at the Fernbank Science Center. Both general admission and parking are free. Mark your calendars for the center’s plant sale on October 5th.
28. Free museum visits on Saturdays.
Under the local Arts Council, the Center for Puppetry Arts offers Fulton Country Free Museum Saturdays for residents, students, and government employees. The next upcoming day is Oct. 12 so be sure to bring proof of residency, enrollment or employment.
29. Attend a local farmers market.
Summer is almost over but it’s still a great time to check out some local farmer’s markets and experience fresh grown fruit and veggies, sample tastings, and demos by chefs. I recommend Ponce City Farmer’s Market, Lithonia Farmers Market, the Fresh MARTA Markets, the Peachtree Road Farmers Market or the Decatur Farmers Market.
Stop by Historic Oakland Cemetery and pay your respects to Civil War soldiers and notable Atlantans such as Maynard Jackson, the city’s first black mayor, founder of Morris Brown College, Bishop Wesley John Gaines, and Carrie Steele Logan, who established the first African American orphanage in Atlanta. The cemetery also hosts other family-friendly events such as a Fall 5k run, Halloween tours, and a new run club.
31. Journey through Atlantic Station.
During the sports season, it can get pretty rowdy with kick-off rallies and bar crawls. Stay up to date on their weekly events, such as yoga in the park on Wednesdays and the maker’s market on weekends for handcrafted jewelry, art, treats and more.
32. Head to Smyrna for Food Truck Tuesdays.
Through October, head to Food Truck Tuesdays at Taylor-Brawner Park from 5-9 p.m. Live music at the amphitheater, playgrounds, games, and fun. Food is available for purchase. Blaxican Food Truck and Chay J’s New Orleans Candies are regulars and quite tasty might I add.
33. Unlock the secrets behind Tiny Doors ATL
Tiny Doors ATL is an Atlanta-based art project bringing big wonder to tiny spaces. Tiny Doors ATL literally installs 7-inch tall doors in strategic places throughout the city. Each door is designed to look and feel like the surrounding neighborhood’s architecture and community spirit. Locate every door throughout the city, various neighborhoods, and various landmarks.
34. Discover the history of the Mariette Fire Department.
Learn about the history of the fire department through group or self-guided tours, and by digging through vintage fire gear and tools. Call ahead to arrange a memorable interactive experience.
There’s so much to explore inside this 120-acre park. Find peace and tranquility amongst nature’s playground and a beautiful waterfall and a creek. Visitors are advised not to climb, swim near or jump from any waterfall, as rocks can be slippery.
36. Attend a city block party.
Atlanta Streets Alive is part of an initiative by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition to close down Atlanta’s streets and open them for the community towards a healthier lifestyle. No cars allowed, just your feet or bring a bike.
Every October the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs hosts a public art program dedicated to elevating Atlanta’s art scene. Elevate ATL is a week-long celebration of art, live performances, and cultural events.
38. Look through Anne Frank’s room.
The Anne Frank House developed the Anne Frank in The World: 1929 -1945 exhibit featuring a replica of her room, self-guided tours, photo exhibits, and daily showings of The Short Life of Anne Frank film, available in Spanish, French, and Hebrew.
39. Attend an art festival.
In Atlanta, it’s not hard to find a nearby art/music festival or live music performance in the park. Fall Festival on Ponce, Lift Up Atlanta’s Fun Fall Festival, and Buckhead Fine Arts Festival are a few popular upcoming festivals to hit up.
40. Take an audio tour of Atlanta’s historic downtown right on your phone
Keep up with each destination by downloading the Geotourist app first. The audio tour starts on Peachtree St. and stops by the Flatiron building, Woodruff Park, the Hurt Building and other historical landmarks.
Creatives will love this place! Voted one of the top spots in Atlanta, the Goat Farm Arts Center is known for its eclectic and diverse contemporary art scene. Check out a community of performances, studios, event spaces, and a safe haven where artists can express and exchange ideas.
42. Catch a live concert in the park.
Woodruff Park hosts a variety of community events, performances, and live concerts throughout the year. Guided downtown tours and outdoor movie nights under the stars are also available.
43. Sharpen your cycling skills.
Enjoy a nice bike ride alongside the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. The group holds weekly bicycle group rides for beginners and advanced toe experience Atlanta’s bicycle facilities.
44. Explore Atlanta’s art scene.
Artists from all over the world come to make their mark on the walls of the Krog Street Tunnel near Inman Park. The columns and walls are filled with inspirational, cartoon, political messages, varied colors, and abstract patterns. New ones are being added as we speak.
45. Engage kids with interactive flight tour.
Walk on the wing of the first Boeing 747-400 ever produced. The Delta Museum offers guided tours that have a different focus each week. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy touring different planes and learning Delta’s history.
46. Visit the David J. Sencer CDC Museum.
Explore public health and how it affects diverse communities and cultures. One exhibit features a large stone sculpture by Zimbabwe artist Lameck Bonjisi.
For those with a green thumb, it’s never too late to spruce up your garden at home by learning new tips and techniques at a class.
48. Explore one of Atlanta’s most popular neighborhoods.
Little Five Points has everything you need – good food spots, gorgeous murals, and easily walkable streets. The neighborhood gets pretty lively at night during sports games or theater performances.