There is so much to do in Atlanta it can be mind-boggling! Where do you start? For me, I put together a list of free things to do in Atlanta to mix in with the attractions we were going to pay for. This makes me and my budget a lot happier.
39 Free Things to do in Atlanta, Georgia
We started by grabbing our Atlanta CityPASS and picking what we wanted to see first, like the Georgia Aquarium, and Zoo Atlanta. My kids love anything animal related, so these are always at the top of the list.
I also like to grab the Entertainment Book for the area this has additional savings like the Jimmy Carter Library I mention below and Legoland. It also gives discounts on local restaurants so we can try out local food.
Now on to the freebies!
Centennial Olympic Park – There is a splash park here for kids called the Fountain of Rings. Plus there are many free events all year and lots of great places for a picnic.
Right across the street in the SkyView Atlanta, which you can use my method for getting free Groupon Bucks and get a free year pass and ride for free all year or just purchase a family pack 1-time ride.
Marietta Fire Museum – You can view antique firefighting equipment and fire trucks on display, including an 1879 Silsby Steamer. This is a kid (and big kids) paradise.
Anne Frank Museum – Admission is free, but it is recommended for grades 5 and up due to the nature of the Holocaust. This exhibit has over 500 picture that helps tell the story of Anne Frank leading up to her death during the Holocaust.
Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center – Over 2 miles of trails to hike plus buildings reminiscent of rural Georgia in Heritage Village and animal exhibits.
Fernbank Science Center – You can visit the museum for free, but any shows are extra. Exhibits tend to change so every visit will be different. The Atlanta CityPASS has a ticket for all the extras at Fernbank in it!
Atlanta's Farmers Market – Walk the booth and take in the people. Talk to the farmers and vendors to really get to know the area and the people. You don't have to buy just looking and talking to the people is enough!
Governor's Mansion – Take a tour of the governor's antique furnished 24,000-square-foot mansion. This estate also has 18 acres to it. Learn the history of the building from 1780-1820.
Imagine It! – Get free admission the second Tuesday of every month. This is a children's museum with a ton of hands-on exhibits.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park – 17 miles of trails and a beautiful hike to the top of the mountain. There is normally a $5/day fee but the NPS offers free days so check their calendar. It's also free if you have your NPS pas. Kids can do their Junior Ranger Badge for free as well.
Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary – The self-guided tours are free. This is a wildlife rehabilitation center, so it's suggested you call before visiting.
Historic Oakland Cemetary – This 1850s cemetery holds the graves of many of Atlanta's Founders and most noted citizens like Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson.
You can take in the ornate headstones, amazing sculptures, and architecture along with the ancient oaks and magnolias. It's just beautiful… if you can get past the creepy aspect…
Carter Center – Take a free stroll through the grounds to see the Circle of Flags from all 50 states, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and koi pond. There is a fee to tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum but the Carter Center ground is free.
Woodruff Park Reading Room – An open-air reading room with carts of books that are free to read. Plus at lunchtime, there is a reading for kids.
Underground Atlanta – This one is hard for me to recommend. The history is incredible, the original streets of Atlanta before the Union Soldiers burned it to the ground. Many of the storefronts and an actual gas lamp that was struck by a cannonball.
There are signs for you to take a self-guided tour. But unfortunately, this beautiful piece of history has been turned into a trashy strip mall. Be safe and don't go alone.
Piedmont Park– Cool off in the splash park, let the dogs run in the dog park and the kids can play on a work of art or the restored Noguchi Playscape with slides, swings, and seesaws.
Wrecking Ball Brew Pub– Take in a few tours every Saturday at 4:30 PM. Find out how the beer is made.
Big Trees Forest Preserve – This is a hidden gem! It's a 30-acre retreat in the middle of the city. Tip: the entrance is in a parking lot of a local office building, so it can be a little hard to find.
Jackson Street Bridge – This bridge is one of the best-kept secrets. It has the best view of the downtown skyline. It's even more beautiful at night! Its the best of the free things to do in Atlanta.
Ponce City Market – This city market is HIGE and has all sorts of vendors. This used to be the old Sears, Roebuck & Co. but not holders vendors, offices and apartments.
Roswell Fire Museum – Another great fire museum this one has a 1945 Ford American LaFrance Pumper Truck and learn about the city’s firefighting history.
Atlanta Fed Monetary Museum – Take a self-guided tour and learn the history of money and the Federal Reserve’s role.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site – Tour the civil rights leader home where he grew up. This modest two-story home is preserved closely to as it was when he was a child.
Silver Comet Trail– This 61-mile paved trail runs through Atlanta and is open to joggers, walkers, in-line skaters, bicycles and horse riders. Lots of stopping points and things to see along the way and then connect with Alabama’s 33-mile Chief Ladiga Trail.
Play with Legos– Head to the Lego Store in Sugar Loaf center and your kids can play with some of the Lego sets for free.
American Girl Crafts – Watch the website for the free crafts and events at the local store. Your little girl will love you for it!
Georgia Capitol Museum and Tour Program– View the government and learn how government works. This capital is under the famous gold dome built 1884 – 1889 that includes a museum as well.
Yellow River Park – This park is 566 acres along the Yellow River and has so many trails and wildflowers.
Arts Clayton Gallery – The gallery is free to walk and enjoy. The artists are all local and depict local life. Open Tues – Fri 9am to 5pm, Sat 10am – 4pm.
African-American Heritage Museum and Research Center – This museum holds African-American artifacts and records while also serving as a genealogy workroom for African-American research.
Laser Show Spectacular at Stone Mountain – This show is an amazing light show on the famous Stone Mountain best of all it's free. Bring some chairs or a blanket to sit on and enjoy.
Beware parking is $10-$15 depending on the time of the year so bring some friends and split the cost!
Farmer Street Cemetery – You can also visit a restored shotgun-style house, is the Farmer Street Cemetery, which may be the largest slave cemetery in the South.
This cemetery was a 19th and 20th-century burial ground for African-Americans in Coweta County. Free parking and admission.
Castleberry Hill Art Stroll – Castleberry Hill is an art district that has a monthly art stroll on the 2nd Friday of every month. Art galleries open their doors, hair salons and anyplace with even a small art display is open for viewing. There are food and wine samples and more.
Grant Park – This is a historic park located near downtown. The park is home to many attractions including the Oakland Cemetary, Turner Stadium, and Zoo Atlanta. (you can get discount Zoo Tickets with your Atlanta CityPASS!) This is the oldest park in Atlanta.
Related: The Ultimate Georgia Vacation Guide
Center for Puppetry Arts – You can get in on Thursdays for free. The collection contains over 350 puppets, including the Myppet Show.
Atlanta Contemporary – Take a free stroll around some of Atlanta's great works of art.
Woodruff Reading Program – Located on the north side of the park there are carts of books to read and if you take your kids at lunchtime they can have a book read to them.
Sweet Auburn District – This neighborhood is full of monuments and memorials filled with facts on the Civil Rights Movement.
Which ones are your favorite or on your list to see?
Did I miss any of the free things to do in Atlanta Georgia? Let me know I'll add them.