You don’t have to bust your budget to experience Southern hospitality. With interesting history, excellent parks and museums, and tons of free things to do, Atlanta is the perfect family getaway.
Whether you’re looking for free things to do in Atlanta this weekend or planning a trip months in advance, you’ll find plenty of activities for all ages. We have the inside info on all the best parks, museums, and more—and they’ll never cost you a thing. These nine spots are all free, all the time.
1. Centennial Olympic Park
Built for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Centennial Olympic Park is home to the famous Fountain of Rings, where kids can splash and families can enjoy the free water shows, which happen four times a day. Take a free audio tour or just stroll through the gardens for some of the city’s best group photo ops.
2. Historic Fourth Ward Park
There’s no shortage of fun free things to do in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward, and this park is one of the ultra-hip neighborhood’s hidden gems. Explore its 17 acres and you’ll find a sparkling pond, a brand-new playground with a ropes course and rock walls, a splashpad, and plenty of green lawns for picnicking and relaxing.
3. Blue Heron Nature Preserve
Discover outdoor adventure at this nature area, located in the Buckhead neighborhood. The nature trails are free to the public year-round, so bring a picnic and let the little ones run free. There are wooden boardwalks, ponds, and forests to explore, plus a butterfly garden. Spend the day spotting birds and wildlife—you’re sure to have tuckered out kids that night.
4. Atlanta Monetary Museum
The whole family will feel like a million bucks on a visit to this free museum at the Federal Reserve of Atlanta. Learn about the history of money, get a glimpse as millions of dollars are processed, and watch robots at work in the automated vault. Your kids won’t even know they’re also getting an education along with all the fun they’re having.
5. Fernbank Science Center
Fernbank Science Center is always fascinating. The 9,000-square-foot exhibition hall houses permanent exhibits like a live beehive and reptiles (all safely behind glass, of course). The lower level has space exhibits, including a meteorite collection and a real Apollo 6 space capsule. Visit the Observatory on Thursday and Friday from 9:00–10:30 p.m. for free viewings of the stars.
6. Capitol Museum
The gold-domed state capitol is an essential stop for families in search of free things to do in Atlanta. Stop by the tour desk to pick up a Family Fun with Miss Freedom worksheet, which takes you through the museum with educational questions. Or delve into the exhibits on your own terms, inspecting flags, artwork, and other artifacts. It’s never too early to instill a love of history.
7. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain is an excellent choice for a day out with the family. Start at the visitor center to learn about the park and pick up Junior Ranger booklets for the kids—they’ll get a badge if they complete all the activities. Take a drive from Cheatham Hill to Kolb Farm to uncover the park’s history, then drive to the top of the mountain (or take the shuttle on weekends) for a great family photo.
8. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
Older kids will love the MLK Jr. National Historic Site. Visit Fire Station No. 6, the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church—where Dr. King was a pastor—and the beautiful World Peace Rose Garden. Get there early to sign up for a ranger-led tour of Dr. King’s Birth Home; the tour is free on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is in high demand. For kids ages 9–12, the Junior Ranger program is available at this park as well.
9. Tiny Doors
Looking for kid-friendly things to do in Atlanta this weekend? Go on a scavenger hunt for the city’s Tiny Doors! The doors are located throughout the city, but the Little Five Points neighborhood is a great place to start. Find the colorful rainbow door and the “doggie door,” plus a tiny sandwich shop complete with a tiny mural. It’s whimsical fun the whole family will love.
There you have it: the best budget-friendly things to do in Atlanta on your next family vacation. You can find even more tips for all types of travelers in our Atlanta budget travel guide. It’s time to get exploring!