So you’re planning a trip to Atlanta and researching at the top sights and things to do (or you’re looking for ways to entertain your out-of-town guests). Fortunately, many attractions are easy to get to on MARTA. Others… well, let’s just say a car or requesting Uber is the better way to go. Check out the list below to see which Atlanta tourist destinations aren’t very transit-friendly so you can plan ahead for an alternate commute or spend more time exploring destinations near rail stations.
1. Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain Park is probably the hardest Atlanta attraction to get to on transit. The park is a long bus ride from a MARTA station and far away from most Atlanta hotels. Even if you do take the bus, there’s still a long walk from the bus stop to get into the park, and lots of walking once inside. Unfortunately, the Stone Mountain Railroad pictured above just goes around the park and not into the city.
2. Atlanta History Center
A great museum with a library and gardens, the Atlanta History Center is a wonderful place to visit, but does require a bus commute or 25-minute walk along busy Peachtree Road in Buckhead. The bus ride isn’t long if you are willing to try the commute, and the same bus travels to other top tourist destinations including the High Museum of Art, Margaret Mitchell House and the Fox Theatre.
3. Zoo Atlanta
Like the Atlanta History Center, Zoo Atlanta is about a 25-30 minute walk away from the closest MARTA station, which is great if you want to urban hike and see some of the historic Grant Park neighborhood. One bus route also travels to the zoo from downtown Atlanta, but you’ll need to monitor schedules and real-time arrivals (via OneBusAway) because missing the bus means waiting awhile for the next one to arrive. The bus commute might be a difficult if you have children in tow, and you’ll have to wait at the Five Points station in a not-so-nice area to connect with the bus. Some area hotels do provide a free taxi to the zoo, so be sure to check out the list and confirm service with the hotel.
4. Fernbank Museum and Science Center
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is another 30-minute neighborhood walk away from MARTA rail in a wooded area near Emory University. One bus stops near the museum, which you can combine with sightseeing at the Fox Theatre and downtown Decatur. Be sure to have apps handy with bus information to not miss your ride or have walking shoes to enjoy a stroll through the Candler Park neighborhood on the way to the museum. The related and nearby Fernbank Science Center is even harder to get to on MARTA, and best to have Uber or a rental car for that commute.
5. Michael C. Carlos Museum
Ancient wonders await at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, but walking from MARTA rail isn’t really an option. If you are comfortable riding a bus for about 20 minutes, there are two to choose from, which expands your options getting to and from the museum on Emory’s campus. Besides the university, a CDC museum is also nearby, otherwise, the area is a bit isolated due to being surrounded by neighborhoods.
6. Chastain Park
Similar to Stone Mountain Park, Chastain Park is only accessible by bus and walking isn’t an option. In Buckhead, the park is in a residential area and you’ll have to plan carefully for the bus commute. Uber or Lyft are good options, especially for the concerts in the Chastain Park amphitheater when parking is expensive and traffic heavy. The Buckhead and Medical Center MARTA stations on the red line are the best places to request a ride.
7. Atlanta Movie Tours
Atlanta Movie Tours offer a variety of fun adventures from their home base in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood. Just southwest of downtown Atlanta, the neighborhood isn’t very safe to walk to from MARTA, and while there are two buses that travel to the neighborhood, a car service or rental is the better way to go. ATL-Cruzers offers tours more convenient to MARTA near the Peachtree Center station, though the tours do not focus on Atlanta’s movie scene.