Wondering what to do in Atlanta? Whether you are a visiting the city for the first time or a resident looking to entertain guests or try something new, this list of 10 Atlanta attractions can help you narrow down your choices. Read on to learn about sightseeing options that are as close to MARTA for car-free adventure ideas.
10. Oakland Cemetery
It’s hard to miss Oakland Cemetery. One of Atlanta’s largest greenspaces, it is adjacent to the King Memorial MARTA station and is easily seen out the windows of the train. On the ground you’ll find graves of former Atlanta mayors, Gone With the Wind writer Margaret Mitchell and an entire area dedicated to the Confederate dead. Large trees and interesting architecture add to the ambiance. Special events also take place thoroughout the year including Tunes From the Tombs, Sunday in the Park, Run Like Hell 5K and Halloween tours. Several restaurants border the cemetery so you can combine your trip with something to eat.
You’ll find Atlanta’s heart of gold at the Georgia Capitol. A National Historic Landmark one block from the Georgia State MARTA station, the building was completed in 1889 and under budget, even with the gold dome. Tours and a museum are available to the public. A few other historic landmarks are nearby, including the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot and The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the oldest Catholic church in Atlanta. Dining options are limited, though there is a Waffle House and Willy’s Mexicana Grill next to the MARTA station and a food court in Underground Atlanta, which is just down the street.
The College Football Hall of Fame is one of Atlanta’s newer attractions near the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN station. The Hall of Fame has exhibits, a 45-yard indoor football field for testing your skills and other interactive activities. As a bonus, the surrounding area is full of other things to see and do, including Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia Aquarium and the CNN Center.
If you are a media fanatic or want to go behind the scenes of a major news network, head to the CNN Center (also near the Dome MARTA station) for the Inside CNN Studio Tour. A food court and shops are located in the building’s large atrium and several other restaurants are just outside, providing plenty of options to dine before or after the tour. Pair the visit with Centennial Olympic Park across the street or other area attractions such as the Georgia Aquarium, which is on the far side of the park.
Step back in time with a visit to the Fox Theatre, where you can take a 60-minute guided tour of the building’s stunning architecture or see a show — everything from Broadway performances to concerts and movies during the summer months. A special exit for the Fox Theatre is located inside the North Avenue MARTA station, and for an added excursion after visiting the theatre, take a walk north on Peachtree Street to view the sights or eat and return to MARTA via the Midtown or Arts Center stations at 10th and 15th Streets respectively.
A lesser known museum in Atlanta is the Federal Reserve Monetary Museum in the Federal Reserve building next to the Midtown MARTA station. Learn all the things you didn’t know about money, see inside a vault, view cash-counting operations and tour the building on your own or with a scheduled leader. The Margaret Mitchell House is across the street for an additional destination or combine the visit with a walk to the Woodruff Arts Center or Piedmont Park.
Literature buffs will enjoy the Margaret Mitchell House, where the famous book Gone With the Wind was written. The historic building is next to the Midtown MARTA station and offers tours of Mitchell’s apartment along with exhibits and special events. The Federal Reserve Monetary Museum is across the street or head north on Peachtree Street for the Woodruff Arts Center or south to tour the Fox Theatre.
Art, music and theatre, oh my! Next to the Arts Center MARTA station, the Woodruff Arts Center is the home to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Symphony Hall and the Alliance Theatre. Several other museums are also nearby, including the Museum of Design Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts and the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum. Or take the shuttle to Atlantic Station from MARTA to wrap up the trip with a movie, meal or the Bodies exhibit.
Instead of or in addition to walking through Underground Atlanta, take an urban hike to Atlanta’s zero mile marker. Inside a locked building below street level, a stone post marks the center of the city. Two of Atlanta’s former passenger train stations once stood nearby. Be sure to check out the Unseen Underground Atlanta tour for more behind-the-scenes views of the city.
The number one tourist attraction closest to MARTA? The narrated Atlanta BeltLine bus tour that departs from the Inman Park MARTA station. The three-hour tour provides history and progress updates of Atlanta’s popular rails to trails project. Reservations are required and seats fill up, so plan ahead or schedule a private tour.