EPIC Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: First-Timers Guide for 2-3 Days in Atlanta
Welcome to Atlanta, or as the locals say, ATL, the peach state of Georgia’s capital! Whether you have a short layover or looking for a fun weekend in Atlanta Itinerary, I have you covered!
During our weekend in Atlanta, I was lucky to have my born-and-raised Atlanta cousins show us the best things to do around town. So in this Atlanta weekend itinerary, I will be going over how to spend up to 3 days in Atlanta with the help of my local guides (AKA family).
While I titled this a “weekend in Atlanta Itinerary,” you can easily use these 3 days in Atlanta during any point of the week, not just the weekend.
Additionally, this guide also works as a 2 day itinerary. Just cherry-pick the activities you want. If you do cherry-pick, keep in mind I organized this Atlanta itinerary with attractions that are near one another. Therefore, you don’t have to do a lot of back and forth!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- EPIC Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: First-Timers Guide for 2-3 Days in Atlanta
- Is a Weekend (3 Days) in Atlanta Enough Time
- How to Get Around Atlanta in this Weekend Itinerary
- Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary
- Day 1 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary
- Day 2 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: Downtown Atlanta
- Day 3 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: Stone Mountain, Swan House or Six Flags
- Best Way to Get To Atlanta
- Where to Eat in Atlanta
- When is a Good Time to Visit Atlanta
- Where to Stay in Atlanta for 2-3 Days
- Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary (2-3 Day) Wrap-up
Is a Weekend (3 Days) in Atlanta Enough Time
The first question I always get is, “is a weekend Atlanta itinerary enough time to spend?” In my option, 3 full days or a weekend in Atlanta will allow you to see some of the best things Atlanta has to offer.
If you only have 2 days in Atlanta, I still believe you can do a ton on your Atlanta itinerary. I would just start your mornings early and visit during the late Spring or Summer when there is more daylight.
Keep in mind, with any larger city in the USA, 3 to even 7 days won’t allow you to see EVERYTHING. But, after a weekend in Atlanta, if you really enjoy yourself, you can always go back!
We personally love sampling cities with just 2-4 days, and then if we like it, we make a plan to go back. This way, if we don’t like the city, we don’t spend extra money on a place we don’t like.
So, I think a weekend Atlanta itinerary will give you a great taste of the peach state, so let’s get into it!
How to Get Around Atlanta in this Weekend Itinerary
Before jumping right in, I want to quickly share how to get around Atlanta, so this itinerary makes sense.
Atlanta is a pretty large city, and we found the Atlanta attractions are pretty spread out. With that being said, parking is challenging in Atlanta.
There are definitely benefits to having a car if you stay just outside the city. Overall, we were happy that we had a car to get around in the short amount of time we were in Atlanta, but it took patience when looking for a spot. If you don’t have patience, having a car in Atlanta might not suit you.
If you don’t rent a car, you can easily Uber everywhere. It can get a little expensive, but this is probably the best way to get around, in my opinion. There is also the MARTA bus line you can look into. Because we were traveling with our dog, having a car was necessary.
Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary
Day 1 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary
Your first day during your weekend or 2 – 3 days in Atlanta will be a busy one. Some of the top attractions you will be visiting include:
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Piedmont Park
- Ponce City Market
- Krog Street Market (Krog Street Tunnel)
- Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Start the morning at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. First opening in 1976, this 30-acre garden has become a symbol of Atlanta and a must-visit during a weekend in Atlanta. Throughout the year, this garden does unique displays, which makes it a new experience every time you visit.
Some of my favorite garden exhibits include the Cascades Garden, Levy Parterre, Rose Garden, Fuqua Orchid Center (really nice), and the Fuqua Conservatory.
If you drive, the parking garage fee is relatively inexpensive at $3 for an hour and $2 additional for every 30 minutes. You can also pay a flat rate fee of $30, to leave your car parked for the day and explore the rest of Atlanta.
Additionally, the garden requires you to get a timed ticket online for entry. You can do this directly on the Atlanta Botanical Garden official website here.
You can expect to spend around 1 hour at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and they do not accept cash.
Admission: Tuesday – Friday base ticket starts at $24.95; Weekend starts at $27.95
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 6 PM (last entry is 5 PM)
Address: 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
If you didn’t already know, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is located in a part of Piemont Park, so it only makes sense to head here next! This park has over 200 acres and is considered a focal point for locals to hang out, especially on a nice day.
One of my favorite areas in Piedmont Park is Midtown Reflection. From here, you can see the Atlanta Skyline, and if there is no wind, it will reflect in the lake.
The park’s design was influenced by the famous Olmsted Brothers, the very same ones who designed Central Park and many other prominent parks. During the weekend in Atlanta, you can expect to find people from all walks of life enjoying the park.
You simply can’t visit Atlanta without having Piedmont Park on your itinerary. If you drove, I’d recommend leaving your car in the Botanical Garden garage to visit Piedmont.
Ponce City Market
Next, make your way over to Ponce City Market. This is a great place to grab lunch and visit Skyline Park, which is one of the coolest features of this market. Skyline Park is on the roof and offers fun vintage amusement games, mini golf, food, and drinks, and is actually one of the best things to do during a weekend in Atlanta.
Additionally, from Skyline Park (also known as The Roof), you can see some of the best views of the Atlanta skyline, which is perfect for photos! On the weekends, after 5 PM is 21+. This is a great spot to enjoy some nightlife once the sun goes down.
It starts at $7 dollars to go up to Skyline Park. You can get your tickets ahead of time here! If you don’t feel like going to the top, visiting Ponce City Market is completely free. The market itself has tons of eateries and shopping stores.
There is a ton of parking here, however, the parking lot fills up quickly, so you may be waiting a while for a spot.
You could Uber from Piedmont Park or walk. It is a little over a mile from The Meadow in Piedmont (about 25 minute walk).
Address: 675 Ponce De Leon Avenue Northeast Atlanta, GA 30308
Stroll the Atlanta Beltline
Next, stroll some of the Beltline. This is a must on any weekend Atlanta itinerary. This is one of the most popular activities locals and tourists visit in Atlanta. So what is the Beltline? It is essentially an urban greenway bringing you through Atlanta.
One of my favorite parts of the Beltline is all the art murals that can be found throughout the 22 miles. You can even rent a bike near Ponce City Market, which is right next to the Beltline.
Krog Street Market & Krog Street Tunnel
From Ponce City Market, you can take the Beltline down to Krog Street Market and tunnel. What makes Krog Street Market unique is that it was built in a historic 1889 building. You will find a ton of awesome food vendors serving up unique and classic southern fare.
If you are a foodie, you should definitely add Krog Street Market to your Atlanta itinerary! Some even consider it one of the best food halls in the states.
They offer valet parking here, but the lot is not very big and was completely full when we visited. I wouldn’t suggest driving here.
After you have checked out the market, make sure to take the 5-minute walk to see Krog Street Tunnel. This iconic tunnel is famous for graffiti artists. It is forever changing, with new artists coming to put up their tags. This is also a super popular place for people to come to take photos in Atlanta.
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 7 AM – 9 PM; Friday & Saturday 8 AM – 10 PM
Address: 99 Krog St NE, Atlanta, GA 30307
If you find cemeteries fascinating, you should definitely add the Oakland Cemetery to your weekend in Atlanta itinerary. It is just over a mile from Krog Street Market, making it walkable. The cemetery is comprised of 48 acres and is actually considered Atlanta’s oldest park.
Oakland Cemetery is so much more than just a cemetery, which is why it is one of the most popular places to visit in Atlanta. The green space acts as a garden, especially during Spring and Summer.
From stunning oak and magnolia trees to art galleries, you are experiencing more than just the resting place of some of the most influential people in Atlanta.
One of the most popular events at Oakland Cemetery actually happens at night. The Illumine 2023 is happening on April 27th and lasts for 8 nights. During this time, you can explore the illuminated cemetery. Find more information and tickets here.
Aside from events, the cemetery is free to visit.
Address: 248 Oakland Ave, SE Atlanta, GA 30312
Nightlife in Atlanta
If you plan on hitting up some nightlife during your weekend in Atlanta, you will find some of the hottest clubs and bars in Buckhead. Midtown Atlanta also comes alive at night and has a variety of bars and clubs as well.
Day 2 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: Downtown Atlanta
After getting a pretty good taste of Atlanta, get ready for another full day of activities. On day 2 of your Atlanta weekend itinerary, we will explore the downtown area.
You don’t need a car for this portion of your trip, since downtown is within walking distance. Some of the day 2 Atlanta highlights include:
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Skyview Atlanta
- World of Coca Cola
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
- Georgia Aquarium
- High Museum of Art
While these are easily the top attractions around the downtown Atlanta area, they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, cue in Pepsi drinkers, and people who don’t care about football, so you may want to spend less time downtown.
If you feel like you fall into this bucket, check out the additional options I added at the end of day 2 in Atlanta and day 3 for some additional activities to fill in your weekend in Atlanta itinerary!
Centennial Olympic Park
One of the most iconic places to visit in downtown Atlanta is the Centennial Olympic Park. Built in 1996 for the Summer Olympics, this public park offers 22 acres to enjoy.
Not only does it offer lovely views of Atlanta’s skyline, but it also has events all the time, fun art, and a giant splash pad, which is very popular during the summer months.
During our time in Atlanta, the park was closed for a private event, so we didn’t get to go in, but it is easily a focal point of downtown Atlanta, so you should definitely see it!
Address: 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW Atlanta, GA 30313
One of the most iconic landmarks of Atlanta has to be the Skyview Atlanta Ferris Wheel. Enjoy incredible city views almost 20 stories up in private gondola carts. Oh, and they are even climate-controlled since we all know Atlanta is known for being hot and sticky in those summer months.
Tickets to enjoy a ride on the Skyview Atlanta Ferris Wheel start at $14.75 per adult and $12.75 per child (free for children under 2).
They do not accept cash as a form of payment, but you can get your tickets ahead of time on their website. If you don’t wish to take the ride, it is still right across from Centennial Olympic Park, so make sure to snap a pic!
Atlanta Itinerary Tip: If you do want to take the ride, take note of the operating hours since they open later than most attractions during the weekday.
Hours: Monday – Thursday 12 PM – 10 PM; Friday 12 PM – 11 PM; Saturday 10 AM – 11 PM; Sunday 10 AM – 10 PM
Address: 168 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
World of Coca-Cola (Optional -but very popular)
Another fun place to include on your weekend Atlanta itinerary is the World of Coca-Cola. If you are a Coke lover, you shouldn’t miss out on this experience. Think of it like a Coca-Cola museum. With dozens of exhibits and tons of Coca-Cola to drink, you are in for a real sugary treat.
This can be fun for both adults and children, but if you are team Pepsi, then maybe not so much. Coca-Cola was born in Georgia, so it only makes sense they have a whole museum right in the Capital.
Getting tickets online is recommended since they are sold at a less expensive price. Additionally, this is a very popular attraction, so if you really want to go, I’d recommend getting here around opening time.
Atlanta Weekend Itinerary Tip: If you plan on doing a lot of paid attractions, getting the Atlanta CityPASS online can save you money! Atlanta was actually more expensive than I thought. The pass will give you access to 5 attractions, but it only saves you if you plan to visit the 5. Check out the CityPASS here.
Admission: General Admission starts at $19 per adult and $15 for children (free for children under 2).
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 AM – 5 PM; Friday 10 AM – 6 PM; Saturday & Sunday 10 AM – 7 PM. Double-check, as they sometimes change.
Address: 121 Baker St. NW Atlanta, GA 30131
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Next, located right across from World of Coca-Cola, is the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, an important museum in Atlanta. The museum first opened in 2014 and focuses on the history of human rights leading up to the present time.
One of the most iconic exhibits you can explore is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit, where you can learn more about the civil rights movement. It is common for the Center to host events. Most people spend a little over an hour visiting the museum.
Like many of the attractions in Atlanta, tickets are recommended to be purchased in advance on their website.
Admission: General Admission starts at $19 per adult and $15 for children (free for children under 2).
Hours: Thursday, Friday, Sunday 12 PM to 5 PM; Saturdays: 10 AM – 5 PM
Address: 100 Ivan Allan Jr. Blvd. Atlanta, GA 30313
Also, in the same area, you will find the Georgia Aquarium. I am going to be honest, I am not an aquarium fan, so I didn’t go in, but my cousin said it is really nice. In fact, it is one of the largest aquariums in the world!
The Georgia Aquarium offers dozens of exhibits and includes whale sharks, California sea lions, bottlenose dolphins, African penguins, and more!
Additionally, they have animal encounters, including shark cages.
Tickets: Start at $42.99 per adult. You can save when you buy your tickets in advance online.
Hours: Monday 9 AM – 5 PM; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9 AM – 6 PM; Friday & Saturday 8 AM – 9 PM; Sunday 9 AM – 9 PM
Address:225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313
Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame (Optional)
Visiting the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame is an easy yes for football fans. However, if you are traveling with your girl squad or you’re not really interested in football, I won’t blame you for passing on this attraction during your 3 days in Atlanta.
For those that are interested, it is a super popular attraction in Atlanta for sports fans. They have interactive exhibits (including things for kids) and tons of memorabilia.
Keep in mind that they are only open Thursday – Monday. If you are not in Atlanta during these days, you will have to skip this.
Tickets: $30.25 per adult and children $22.75 (under 2 years old is free).
Hours: Thursday – Monday
Address: 250 Marietta St., N.W Atlanta, GA 30313
High Museum of Art
If you love art, be sure to visit the High Museum of Art, which features over 18,000 works of art.
The High Museum of Art is not downtown, so you will need to go up to Midtown Atlanta. This is the only attraction you will really need to go far from downtown. Therefore, save it for the end or the beginning of the day.
You can expect to find artworks including 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts, modern and contemporary art, African art, and European art.
Commonly known as “the High,” was initially founded in 1905. Since then, it has switched to several locations until its new state-of-the-art building was built. This museum has events, collections, and exhibitions quite often, as well!
Tickets: $16.50; Children under six years old are free
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM; Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM
Address: 1280 Peachtree St NE Atlanta, GA 30309
Optional Day 2 Atlanta Itinerary Activities
Just to give you some additional options for your day 2 Atlanta itinerary if some of the above don’t interest you.
- See the Jackson Street Bridge, which provides a nice view of the Atlanta Skyline and the highway below. This is a popular spot for Instagrammers.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park (near Jackson Street Bridge). You can see his birth home and more!
- CNN Studio Tours
- Delta Flight Museum
Additionally, depending on the time of year you visit Atlanta, you can attend a sporting event or check out some of the guided tours and activities going on around the city. We always take a look to see if there are any interesting experiences!
During our visit, we went to an Atlanta Hawks Basketball game at the State Farm Arena, which was a lot of fun! The Falcons Football team, Atlanta Braves Baseball, and Atlanta Thrashers Hockey are located in Atlanta. Additionally, there are college sports games you can attend as well!
If you plan on going to any sporting events, most arenas want you to have small see-through bags. You can always double-check the stadium’s website.
Day 3 Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary: Stone Mountain, Swan House or Six Flags
The last and final day of your Atlanta itinerary will include some day trip options.
- Swan House
- Stone Mountain
- Or Six Flags
Swan House – Atlanta History Center
Are you a Hunger Games fan, or just love historic mansions? Then the Swan House is a must on any Atlanta weekend itinerary. Built in 1928, this stunning mansion is located in Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta.
The Inmans built and lived in the house until 1965. After, it was purchased by the Atlanta Historical Society and opened up as a museum with most of the original furnishing.
When you purchase a ticket, you get more than just the Swan House, although it is “the main attraction,” in my opinion. Aside from the house itself, you can check out the lush gardens, walking trails, and some exhibits that you will pass before making your way over to the house.
I must admit, as a content creator and writer, I did not have the best experience while trying to take photos. If you are not showing up with a professional camera, you should not have an issue. Basically, they don’t want content creators making content on the property.
Outside the property entrance, you can see two vintage cars, and then inside, the decor is just beautiful. I absolutely loved the staircase.
Aside from being harassed about the photos, it was a cool place to visit. You can expect to spend at least 1 hour touring the grounds of the Swan House.
Tickets: $24 per adult; Children 4-12 are $10
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 4 PM (but the Swan House does not open until 11 AM)
Address: 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305
Stone Mountain Day Trip
You can easily do both Stone Mountain and the Swan House on the same day, but you will want to have a car. It is a little over 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta. Take the Summit Skyride gondola up to the top of the giant granite boulder and explore around.
During our visit, we decided to walk all the way back down, but apparently, it was nowhere close to our car, so we had to do quite a bit of walking around the parking lot, whoops.
The stone is unique in that it has one of the highest relief sculptures in the world. The carving itself is a Confederate Memorial that depicts President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The entire carved surface is larger than Mount Rushmore! My favorite part about Stone Mountain was seeing the sun start to set from the top.
There are additional attractions around Stone Mountain Park for children as well like Dinasour explore. You can see more attractions here. The Stone Mountain ticket prices also vary depending on what you want to do and see.
Hours: 5 AM – 12 AM (not all attractions stay open this late).
Address: 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.Stone Mountain, GA 30083
Six Flags Over Georgia
If you don’t have any local amusement parks near you, a fun and thrilling day trip to Six Flags Over Georgia can be the perfect way to end your weekend in Atlanta!
Located about 30 minutes west of Atlanta, you can enjoy this 290-acre theme park. Since I have been to Six Flags in New Jersey more times than I can count, we skipped the Georgia location.
However, I can attest that Six Flags is a ton of fun, especially if you like roller coasters and amusement games. You can see all the rides the Six Flags Over Georgia offers and tickets here.
Best Way to Get To Atlanta
Now that you know all the best things to do with 3 days or a weekend in Atlanta, here is the best way to get here. If you live in any of the more Southern States, you can definitely consider a road trip, which is exactly what we did coming from Raleigh, North Carolina. The drive was about 6 hours.
If you don’t want to drive, you should fly into the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
Fun Fact: This is known as the busiest airport in the world.
Make sure to check Skyscanner for the best flights leaving from your main city.
From the airport, if you don’t decide to rent a car, you can take the MARTA trains, which is next to the baggage claim. The trains run frequently and takes about 15 minutes to get to downtown Atlanta.
Where to Eat in Atlanta
Aside from the food markets I added as stops within this Atlanta weekend itinerary, there are definitely some additional food spots you can check out. Some of the most popular places to try in Atlanta include:
- The Vortex Bar & Grill located in Little 5 Points | Menu
- The Varsity (An Atlanta classic drive-in chain and over 19k reviews on google) | Menu
- Julianna’s Coffee & Crepes | Menu
- Mary Mac’s Tea Room | Menu
- Atlanta Breakfast Club | Menu
If you are looking to add some brunch spots to your Atlanta weekend itinerary, some of the top spots include:
When is a Good Time to Visit Atlanta
The best time to visit Atlanta is during the Spring and Fall when the temperatures are milder. The summer in Atlanta is humid and hot. If that doesn’t scare you away, then summer can also be a good time to visit. Winter is considered low-season in Atlanta because although the city is in the South, it still gets cold. It can even snow.
You will see the lowest prices during the winter in Atlanta, however. So, if you are looking to take a budget trip, planning your Atlanta weekend trip during the winter months might be a good option for you.
Atlanta’s average Winter temperatures are between 33 degrees to 55 degrees.
The Spring temperatures in Atlanta are between 42 degrees to 80 degrees.
During the Summer, Atlanta can see temperatures from 70 degrees to over 90 degrees.
Atlanta’s average Fall temperatures are between 42 degrees to 83 degrees.
Where to Stay in Atlanta for 2-3 Days
If you haven’t decided where to stay during your weekend in Atlanta, let me help you out! First, I can tell you that we stayed outside of the city, and I seriously regret that we did that.
Moving forward, I would only stay in a hotel in the city (unless it’s Buckhead). If you don’t have a car, then it is imperative you stay inside the city, or else it will be annoying getting around.
Anyway, here are some hotels I would recommend checking out for 2-3 days in Atlanta! I personally use Bookingdotcom for all my hotel stays because I have no issues canceling, and I get discounts for always using them.
Travel Tip: Make sure you always make an account for everything, especially travel. The points add up!
The Hotel District is located downtown, and this is where most people choose to stay.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta: 4 Star hotel with over 4k reviews. $$$
The Westin Peachtree Plaza: 4 Star hotel with over 2.5k reviews. $$$
Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown: 3 Star hotel with 1.1k reviews. $$
AC Hotel Atlanta Downtown: 3 Star hotel with over 1.8k reviews. $$
Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary (2-3 Day) Wrap-up
This concludes 2 – 3 days in your Atlanta itinerary! I hope you enjoy your weekend exploring all that Atlanta, Georgia has to offer.
Atlanta Fun Fact: Over 70 streets in Atlanta have Peachtree in them!
To sum up your Atlanta Weekend itinerary:
Day 1: Botanical Garden, Piedmont Park, Ponce City Market, Beltline, and Krog Street Market.
Day 2: Exploring Downtown Atlanta: Centennial Olympic Park, Skyview Atlanta, World of Coca-Cola, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium.
Day 3: Day trips from Atlanta to Swan House and Stone Mountain or Six Flags.
See more Georgia Travel Guides here!
Additional travel guides you may enjoy include:
Have any questions or feel like I am missing something from this weekend in Atlanta itinerary? Let me know in the comments below, or shoot me a DM!