If the best things in life are free then Atlanta is your town. While known for housing the CNN Studios, the World of Coca-Cola and other notable paid attractions, the city overflows with activities that come with no admission fee. We rounded up some of the top freebies in Atlanta that won’t break your piggy bank.
Splash Through the Fountain of Rings at Centennial Olympic Park
Easily one of Georgia’s most recognizable landmarks, Centennial Olympic Park is a remnant of the 1996 Olympic Games. Luckily for visitors and locals of Atlanta, the former Olympic Games site is kept alive with concerts, festivals, and events. Take a splash through the Fountain of Rings, the park’s centerpiece featuring the Olympic Ring symbol and also the world’s largest interactive fountain. Water jets create a zero-depth pool area for little ones to enjoy, but us big kids don’t mind playing here too. You can catch a water show four times a day. In addition to the fountain, the park also offers several seasonal attractions like the Music at Noon concert series in the summer and ice-skating in the winter.
Roam Atlanta’s Art Scene on First Thursday’s-ArtsWalk
Every first Thursday of the month from 5PM to 8PM, Atlanta hosts its ArtsWalk. The free event provides the opportunity to stroll through the buildings and streets of downtown Atlanta, appreciating local and international art along the way. We jump at the chance to take a self-guided tour of Atlanta’s art galleries and historic districts without having to fork over a pretty penny. The ArtsWalk website includes maps of routes to follow and galleries you might want to pop into for a peek.
Bike the Atlanta Beltline
You can roam Atlanta’s unused railroad tracks, connecting the city’s popular neighborhoods. No, these aren’t rough around the edges tracks. Atlanta’s Beltline is a slick transit, trails, and parks project connecting Atlanta’s neighborhoods, all while providing fine and free activity for visitors while in town. Right now over 8 miles of multi-use trails and several parks are finished, open and already popular. At completion, the loop will include 22 miles of transit and 33 miles of multi-use parks. We recommend their arboretum tour which comes with a guided expert. We also love the bike rental option for catching a bit of fresh air while exploring Atlanta’s neighborhoods by way of the Beltline.
Walk in MLK’s Footsteps at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Perhaps Atlanta’s most historically recognized figure, Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised in a Queen Anne style home in the city. Be inspired by this Civil Rights leader when you visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Begin with the Visitor Center to view memorabilia of his life and work, then learn how to tour the home of the Civil Rights leader for free. The home has been preserved as it was when King was a child. Part of the National Park Service, the historic site also includes the famous Fire station No. 6 and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where King’s father and grandfather preached. Commemorating the life, work and legacy of the Civil Rights leader, the home contains a detailed exhibit on the Civil Rights Movement.
Nestled in the nationally historic landmark Sweet Auburn District the entire neighborhood, in fact, is a must-see. Just a short distance from the King home, you can stroll through the MLK Jr. World Peace Rose Garden for sweet inspiration. The garden features over 185 roses and includes an annual selection of poems reflecting principles of peace. Continue your trek through the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame where you’ll find actual foot imprints of human rights trailblazers. Its tree-lined promenade, artful monuments, and bronze statue of Mohandas Gandhi are majestic symbols of hope that will leave you feeling upbeat.
Marvel at the Atlanta Skyline From Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park is a great place to appreciate the outdoors while in town, but the free park is also a prime spot to play tennis, swim or take your dog for a walk. With paths for walking, jogging and rollerblading, Piedmont Park wins high marks with us for its beautiful landscape. On the first Saturday of each month swoop over to the Piedmont Conservancy and join the guided Bird Walk. The early bird gets the worm, so rise and shine for the typical 8AM start time. You’ll get to explore the varied habitats for about 2 hours with an expert. Don’t worry, if you miss first Saturday you can grab a checklist from their website anytime and complete a self-guided tour.
When you’re done take a break from spreading your wings and grab a picnic lunch by the lake. Sit dockside facing the lake for a view with serenity or sprawl on the southeast side to score an impressive view of the Midtown Skyline. If packing a picnic is not your thing, head over to Piedmont Park’s Green Market for the freshest in market fare. From spring through early winter the market serves up fresh farmer’s picks, bakers’ delights and handmade goodies. Enjoy live music and chef demonstrations where you can fill up on samples or nab reasonably priced prepared food and drinks.
Try out these no-cost adventures, then let us know if you stumble on other penniless ways to explore. Have you ventured in Atlanta before? Share your favorite freebies in town with us in the comments below.