Traveling and looking for things to do in downtown Atlanta? Find 9 things to do in Atlanta with kids that are fun and family friendly.
A big thank you to all that hosted us for our stay in Atlanta: AC Hotel Buckhead, Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park, Zoo Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Children’s Museum – Atlanta
There are so many many many fun places to visit in the Atlanta area and especially spots that are family friendly with kids. Whenever we visit a new city I like to do my research and look up the best spots to visit, eat and tour. Many times that doesn’t mean we hit up every spot I find…it just gives us options once we get to that city and get a feel of where we will be, what we will like to do and of course if we’ll have time for everything.
The past few road trips I’ve learned a few things…usually we simply don’t have time for everything…but this three day trip to Atlanta we packed it out! Can I tell you how much fun this was…so fun and I feel like we totally maximized our time while in Atlanta. So if you are going for a three night/4 day stay in Atlanta you can pack out A LOT to do in a short amount of time.
So pick a date, pack up the family, grab your camera and go have fun!
Table of Contents
How to Plan an Atlanta Trip:
A few tips for visiting and planning things to do in Atlanta with kids!
Tip #1: TRAFFIC Can we talk about traffic? One of the first things everyone says about Atlanta is – “oh my the traffic, you’ll spend all of your time sitting in your car.” I get it…and when you drive through the city and see all of the lanes and crazy chaos – I can only imagine traffic during rush hour. So tip #1 – just avoid rush hour. In our entire stay not one time did we sit in traffic because we planned our locations and timing to avoid it all. We were quite proud of ourselves to say the least!
Tip #2: You can’t do it all – Just remember when you are planning you can’t do it all. That just gives you an excuse to come back and visit that city again!!! I got so many great recommendations on places to eat and things to do- we just simply couldn’t do it all this time…so remember plan, but don’t be disappointed if a restaurant you found that looked amazing happens to be too far out of the way to make it happen…keep the idea and recommendation tucked away for the next trip!
Tip #3: Food – Bring food with you wherever you go!!! Everything is in walking distance (well the things I’m going to recommend!!) So instead of having to go back and forth to the parking garage to get snacks/water from your car or even avoiding having to figure out where to buy it while out for the day – pack it! When our little family gets hungry we can tend to get hangry – so protein bars and water are a must to carry with this mama! Most of the attractions have cafe’s for your meal time, but for the in between – pack a backpack (that is mom or dad approved!!)
Tip #4: Purchase tickets ahead of time- If you are planning to visit a location that requires ticket purchase…get online and snag those ahead of time. It just saves you a lot of hassle in the moment as well as sometimes you can walk right up and enter without having to take time to purchase at the window. Sometimes you can get a little discount by pre-purchasing online – saving a few bucks always helps!
Tip #5: Parking – Plan on paying for parking wherever you go! If you are planning on doing things in downtown Atlanta and if you purchase tickets to museums/locations ahead of time they will sometimes offer you a discounted price on parking – go ahead and snag that as well and have it pre purchased. Again every little bit you can do ahead of time helps the chaos and saves time.
Tip #6: Weather – There is plenty to do indoors if your weather is hot, cold or rainy. I would however suggest throwing a poncho or rain jacket in a backpack (with those snacks I’ve mentioned!) incase someone has to get the car and it happens to be raining. Once you’ve walked all over you may be several blocks away from the parking garage or parking area – better to be safe than sorry – or wet rather!
Tip #7 Walking lots so you need –> Get everyone a good pair of walking shoes! You’ll thank me later on this one!
Tip #8 – Stroller- Each attraction was super stroller friendly. Some of the special shows at the Georgia Aquarium, you’d leave them parked outside of the show room…but other than that it’s a great way to carry around everything you need or for the littles to ride when they get tired or need to nap!! Definitely leave your monster strollers at home and get a good compact stroller – especially for in and out around people, aisles, ease of traveling in a car and for ease of weight when pushing it all day long!
Where to stay in Atlanta?
Buckhead is the place to stay! It’s north of the city, a safe area and quiet area compared to downtown Atlanta. We had the absolutey, hands down – best stay at the AC Hotel Buckhead – a nice walking distance to plenty of restaurants, shopping and a beautiful view facing the city! Among the things to do in Atlanta with kids, I’ve learned your stay is one of the most important, with kids this is where you decompress from busy days…choose your stay wisely!!!
Things to do in Atlanta with Kids
Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta – What mall is Legoland in Atlanta? The Legoland Discovery Center is located in Phipps Mall in Buckhead Atlanta. A perfect spot for an afternoon of fun, discovery and imagination. I’m not sure it’s just for the kids…as you can tell in my pictures my husband loved it just as much as our little one! There are bins and bins of legos everywhere, encouraging the visitors to build, create and imagine.
Plan on a visit for a couple of hours for sure! This is a great place too on a hot or rainy day if that happens during your Atlanta visit.
Stone Mountain Park – This is a spot not to miss out on! Among all of the fun and finding exciting things to do in Atlanta with kids this was a highlight of a day! It’s about a 30 minute drive from where we stayed but so worth it! A few things to know ahead of time:
- To enter the park (for the day unless you are staying there on the campground/hotels) is $20
- With just the entrance/parking fee you can have access to a lot of hiking trails, playground and fishing areas.
- If you want to enjoy other areas of the park be sure to snag the All Attractions Pass because there are so many fun attractions to do!
- Bring Sun Screen
- Bring Bug Spray
- There are places to eat and grab snacks – but again throw a few protein bars in your backpack so wherever you are in the park you can be fueled up! (can you tell I’m all about the snacks wherever we go!)
- Do all you can in a day – if rain is even remotely in the forecast be sure to do the Summit Skyride FIRST – because this is the first thing that shuts down with weather in the area. This is a spectacular view from the top of Stone Mountain – a must!
- Ride the train around the mountain – I think it departs every 30 minutes so plan on that
- Farm Yard – was a highlight with animals and petting “zoo” – while there you can walk around the Historic Square
- Geyser Towers – bring a swimsuit/towel/change of clothes!
- Saturday nights they have a Laser Show – which is a lot of fun, bring a blanket or chairs to sit on in the green lawn – the show is amazing and lasts a good hour! Don’t expect to get out of the parking lot quickly! Just take your time and know it will be a late night!
Zoo Atlanta– Our child heard there was a splash pad…so that’s pretty much all she was interested in! Although it’s towards the “end” of the zoo – she still was super anxious – so bring a towel and swimsuit mama’s!
The animals were out and it was a perfect morning at the zoo. A very fun place to get the wiggles out and explore! Grab a zoo map and head out on an adventure as a family. There was a fun playground to explore, animals to visit and see and of course the splash pad. Again pack those snacks and water bottles mama!!!
There is free parking but it’s a first come first serve basis. The zoo opens at 9:30 am so get there to get a good parking spot – Free parking is available in the lot on Cherokee Avenue, but it does fill quickly. Street parking is available as well!
Things to do in Downtown Atlanta
Georgia Aquarium– I promise you this is not one to miss. We’ve been to some great aquariums through our years, but hands down this was a ton of fun. A few tips when visiting the Georgia Aquarium.
Tip #1- Go early, this place is packed so be there when the doors open!! The summer months are the highest traffic time, but I still recommend to get there early!
Tip #2 – Download the Georgia Aquarium app so you can plan your time there better for shows and exhibits. Be sure to look forward at the time schedule on the shows and if you are interested in a show be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the show to get in line and be ensured a seat! Hitting up the dolphin or the sea lion show was a highlight for us!
Tip #3- It would take days to truly take in all that the Aquarium has to offer, so just do what interests you and move along.
Tip #4- Park and stay parked! If you are planning a downtown Atlanta day definitely plan on staying parked where you started off your day and then walk to your other locations. For us we parked, did the Georgia Aquarium, walked right next door to the World of Coca Cola, then walked one block to the Children’s Museum then walked down to dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill. Super convenient and easy to stay parked, plus cheaper for the day!
World of Coca-Cola– Since you are here in downtown Atlanta the World of Coca Cola is a really fun stop! If you are a Coke fan then it’s a must!!! Seeing all of the memorabilia was a ton of fun, walking through, taking your time, poking around is a nice break from the mad rush of the Aquarium!!!! As you enter you’ll be able to choose a drink, then you’ll enter into a brief tour and then you’ll lead onto a self guided tour and taking your own pace through the museum. How long does the tour last? It’s as long as you’d like to make it really, I’d say we stayed about two hours…which I had read was the average stay.
As you leave you’ll enter the last area of the museum where you can taste test all of the different Coca Cola products offered in other countries and around the world. This is super neat and intriguing to me!!! Some I liked some were gross!!!!
Children’s Museum – Atlanta – A great indoor spot for toddlers and children in the Atlanta area – visiting and it’s raining?…. this is one of the perfect things to do in Atlanta with kids! Visiting the Children’s museum was a highlight for our little one. It was like comfort food but comfort play for her! In the midst of the fun day at the Aquarium them Coca Cola museum, having toys and adventure that were just for her was a highlight! She ran around, explored, laughed, built, had fun, engaged and welcomed the play! We loved this museum. The Doc McStuffin exhibit was a true highlight and surprise too!
Skyview Atlanta – we were going to do the ferris wheel right here in downtown Atlanta but it was raining and they weren’t operating, but this would have been a really fun ending to our day in downtown Atlanta. Right across the street is…
Centennial Olympic Park – this is a really neat park and was great to see the Olympic rings and I remember the Olympics taking place in Atlanta and watching it on tv…so this was just a really neat spot to see.
Ted’s Montana Grill– Hit up dinner at Ted’s – you’ll be greeted by the finest and I promise you’ll eat the best Bison you’ve ever tasted…which was a first for me and so so so yummy. Like a steak that practically melts in your mouth kind of good!
That’s all we’ve got for the fun things to do in Atlanta with kids that we were able to pack into our three days. I know there are so many more great spots, if you’ve been or have suggestions please comment and let us know because I know for a fact we’ll be back to Atlanta!