The perfect 3 days in Atlanta itinerary for travelers in Georgia, USA!
Georgia has a rich history and a plentiful number of great things to do.
Having spent the first 18 years of my life in this great state, I’m glad to call it home.
While I could tell you all about the amazing outdoor adventures you’ll find in Savannah, we’re going to be venturing to Georgia’s more metropolitan region of Atlanta!
Atlanta is well known for having the busiest airport in the world (which is the size of a small city in itself).
But the city has so many experiences to offer aside from its aviation traffic jams.
Take your pick between delving into the southern culture with museums, delicious food, and historical sites, or taking an outdoor adventure in the neighboring areas.
So, let’s look at some of these experiences and how to spend 3 days in Atlanta!
Looking for other amazing activities in Atlanta? Check out this post on all the best things to do in Atlanta!
Table of Contents
- My Perfect 3 Day Atlanta Itinerary
- Day 1 – The Highlights
- Day 2 – Parks and Museums
- Day 3 – Nature and Culture
- Overall: Enjoy Your 3 Days In Atlanta Itinerary
- FAQ’s & Tips for an Atlanta Itinerary
My Perfect 3 Day Atlanta Itinerary
The very first thing you should do is purchase the official CityPass, which gives you access to all the best attractions in Atlanta at a 45% discount.
This includes the World of Coca Cola Museum, the Zoo, the Aquarium and a bunch of other options.
Now that you’ve grabbed that and can start saving some cash, let’s dive into the article.
NOTE: No need to follow this itinerary to the letter. Just be sure to check out these places when you visit Atlanta!
Day 1 – The Highlights
I always recommend starting early when planning an Atlanta itinerary, because there’s a lot to do here!
Today we’ll be focusing on the attractions in downtown Atlanta.
Atlanta Breakfast Club
You must start the day right, and a tasty southern breakfast is like no other!
The first place recommended is the Atlanta Breakfast Club.
They offer some of the most delectable options you could think of, starting from a simple Southern Breakfast (2 eggs, bacon or sausage, potatoes or grits, toast or biscuits) to southern-style biscuits and gravy.
The best part is they’re open 7 days a week, starting at 6:30 am every day!
So, if you’re an early riser like me, you can start your day sooner and still catch a delicious breakfast.
READ MORE: Plan the perfect trip to NYC with our 3-days in NYC itinerary!
The first day starts off by getting the best view in the city at Skyview Atlanta! A gigantic Ferris Wheel in the heart of Atlanta, Skyview is analogous to the London Eye.
From here, you’ll be able to take in the Atlanta skyline and become much better acquainted with the layout of the city.
Obviously, if you’re deathly afraid of heights, this might not be for you.
But if you’re like me and only exposed heights are a problem, then don’t fret on Skyview. The gondolas are perfectly safe, confined, and comfortably fit 6 people!
As a bonus, it’s only a 15-minute walk from Atlanta’s Breakfast Club.
So, it’s the perfect first stop to stretch your legs and let your food settle.
World of Coca Cola
After enjoying the sights in Skyview, take a short 10-minute stroll down the street in downtown Atlanta to Coca Cola World!
If you grew up in Georgia (America for that matter), you know how big of an impact this company has had on our culture.
Spend the afternoon exploring this museum filled with interesting exhibits about the company’s history and tasting 100’s of different flavors of Coke beverages.
The entire museum is also very easy to navigate and relaxing!
Any trouble or questions you might have aren’t a problem, as there are staff everywhere to help.
If you have your CityPass already, entrance to the museum is included with your ticket.
Otherwise, you can book your skip-the-line entry ticket here!
Another activity you could do in the afternoon is visiting the Georgia Aquarium. It’s located in downtown Atlanta right near Coca Cola World, so you could visit both or just hit one or the other.
But if you’re interested in marine life, the Georgia Aquarium is a non profit organization dedicated to research, education, and conservation.
There is so much unique aquatic life to see and learn about at the Georgia Aquarium, and they really do focus on the well being of the organisms and the preservation of species.
It’s a family-friendly place to visit, and is open daily from 9am – 6pm.
Visit the official website of the Georgia Aquarium for more info!
If you’re up for more sightseeing after the aquarium and the Coca Cola Museum, the famous College Football Hall of Fame is right in the area.
This stop is only worth it if you’re a huge sports fan. But if you are, the College Football Hall of Fame is pretty cool to check out.
Read Next: While planning your trip to Atlanta, be sure to check out all the great things to do in Savannah!
The first dinner in Atlanta isn’t going to be a romantic fine dining restaurant, but a hidden gem known as “Just Around The Corner.”
Offering a selection of burgers, subs, and even a few seafood dishes, Just Around The Corner is a quick but tasty stop.
On top of being mouthwatering, this place is perfect for the first evening in Atlanta, since it’s almost fast food with how quick they fill the order.
Having a quick filled order means you can spend more time exploring the area and relaxing if you’re into exploring the local nightlife.
If you’re looking for a specific meal, try their Bacon Cheddar Burger. It’s simple and I find that southern made food drenched in bacon to be a personal delicacy!
READ MORE: Plan the perfect trip to Chicago with our 3-days in Chicago itinerary!
Day 2 – Parks and Museums
Hope you got some sleep last night, because day 2 is going to be jam-packed!
The second day of this adventure starts at The Flying Biscuit Café!
There are a few in Atlanta though, so make sure you go to the one on Piedmont Avenue in Midtown, as it’s close to the first destination.
The menu can be overwhelming with so many options, all of which sound delicious.
But my two recommendations are the Southern Style Biscuit Benedict or any of their breakfast sandwiches.
The Biscuit Benedict comes with eggs, bacon, a biscuit of course, and grits!
I know grits aren’t for everyone, but if you don’t visit the Southern U.S. often, I highly suggest giving them a chance.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Just across from Piedmont Park, (a short walk from Flying Biscuit) is the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The garden is a full 30 acres of beautiful flora and on-site lectures!
I know, most people don’t go on vacation to take a class or lecture, but the numerous lectures offered are very insightful and give a deep appreciation for the garden and the plants that occupy it.
If you manage to be in Atlanta during the holiday season, then this botanical garden should go to the top of your to-do list.
After roughly 2-3 hours at the Atlanta Botanical gardens, it’s time to embark on a short 15-minute drive to the Fernbank Museum!
Piedmont Park is what surrounds the botanical gardens, so it’s the shortest walk possible from our last destination.
Piedmont Park is a nice and relaxing place to continue appreciating Georgia flora.
There are numerous paths to stroll through with a small lake in the middle of the park.
I’d recommend making this a lunch spot and planning a picnic.
What is on the menu is up to you, but on a sunny Georgia day, Piedmont Park ignites in beauty.
Be sure to stop by the Piedmont Park Welcome Center to get a good lay of the land!
If you’re getting hungry while sightseeing, definitely check out the Ponce City Market Hall. It’s only a 4-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from Piedmont Park.
The Ponce City Market is a historic building converted into a food hall. There are lots of food stalls where you can grab a quick and delicious lunch.
Read Next: Consider this post for information on the best Atlanta day trips!
The Fernbank Museum is underrated in my opinion, and even that’s after all of the 5-star reviews you’ll find on it.
This place is great to experience and is perfect for families with kids, especially if they have an interest in the sciences.
The museum has quite a few exhibits and they are constantly adding temporary exhibits.
So be prepared when you get there, because some people may want to see their Walk Through Time in Georgia, while others might rush to their entrancing Dinosaur Plaza!
I guarantee that there is something here for everyone and will make everyone you’re traveling with happy.
Just make sure you plan ahead and have an idea of what you want to prioritize seeing.
READ MORE: Plan the perfect trip to Boston with our 3-days in Boston itinerary!
It’s been an exciting day at the Atlanta botanical garden and the number of things to do at Fernbank has you wore out, time for a relaxing meal!
The dinner for the second night while visiting Atlanta is the locally adored, Woody’s CheeseSteaks.
It’s perfect for a quick dinner after a taxing day, and it probably isn’t a surprise what they specialize in making.
I know the dinner places so far haven’t been fine dining, but you won’t get the true Atlanta experience at most of those places.
The heart of the southern experience is in the food, and there’s nothing like a meal made by a local restaurant!
As an extra, they have phenomenal milkshakes! While the strawberry is a real treat, you can never go wrong with their vanilla bean shake.
Want to do something different? Tour Atlanta on a Segway!
Day 3 – Nature and Culture
You’re up to the final stretch in our 3 days in Atlanta itinerary, so let’s go out with a bang! Also, consider visiting some other gorgeous places in Georgia when you’ve finished exploring Atlanta!
The third day will be on the outskirts of Atlanta, with an outdoor adventure to Stone Mountain.
The best option for breakfast is to find someplace in the area and I know just the spot, Huskers Café!
This quaint spot is just a short 8-minute drive from Stone Mountain Park.
The café’s simple but tasteful menu, and proximity to the next destination, make it the perfect place to grab a healthy morning breakfast!
I gave recommendations for the other places, but honestly, I think all of the food here is a treat and think you should pick what sounds best for you!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get around, I suggest getting a trolley tour.
As far as I’m concerned, I’ve saved the best for last.
Stone Mountain was one of my favorite parts of being in Atlanta, but I’m also a big fan of any outdoor activities.
Stone Mountain is an interesting geological site and you’ll find a lot of information on its formation while you’re there.
The mountain has a carving on one side depicting notable confederate members, and while it’s nice to look at, it’s not the reason I’m recommending it.
The surrounding park is quite peaceful to hike through and the top of the mountain provides a powerful view of the park.
If you love the outdoors but don’t want to hike to the top, no worries since there’s a cable car that will take you straight to the peak!
I do have some tips for this “site to see.”
Since it’s almost a half-day trip, make sure you bring a small backpack for carrying snacks and drinks.
You won’t need to pack a ton. Even a medium-sized bottle of water and some trail mix is enough.
But please don’t litter or leave anything behind, especially if you decide to walk some trails.
CNN Center Studio Tours or Movie Filming Locations Tours
Not the most conventional travel idea, but still worth the time!
CNN Center offers studio tours of their offices and gives an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes of one of the biggest news networks on the planet!
They have a few different packages, including one where you get to meet Robin Meade through your tour.
Regardless of the package you choose, it’s a very informative tour and you’ll learn a lot about what goes into creating a successful news organization.
Alternatively, Atlanta has been the filming location for lots of popular movies and tv shows, including “The Walking Dead”, “Hunger Games”, “Stranger Things” and some Marvel films.
If you’re passionate about film and movies, a movie filming location tour is a fun way to spend the last afternoon of your Atlanta itinerary.
The place for dinner for the last night isn’t like the past two, and in all honesty, not very southern.
Instead, we’re going to the Village Corner German Restaurant!
You’ve been delving in southern style food the past few days, now it’s time for some genuine foreign cuisine.
This German restaurant specializes in their native dishes and brings a rich part of German culture all the way to Georgia.
If you get excited as I do about German food, then I recommend trying their Jaeger Schnitzel!
They have a very good menu that has plenty to offer, but my mouth always waters at the smell of German Schnitzel.
Overall: Enjoy Your 3 Days In Atlanta Itinerary
Georgia is the place I grew up and I’m happy to call it my home. I hope anyone who reads this finds it useful, as it offers some of the best things to see and eat that I could recommend.
The 3 days in Atlanta itinerary above gives a list of things to do if you’re a casual traveler who takes their time.
If you’re faster and have the energy for more, there’s plenty to do at night when the party’s start and still see the destinations above.
There are also more Atlanta attractions that I didn’t include, simply because there’s only so much you can squeeze into 3 days. Many of the attractions are also related to Atlanta’s history, especially involving the civil war history and the development of civil and human rights.
If you have more time and you’re interested in Atlanta’s history, consider checking out the Atlanta History Center, Atlanta History Museum, the Margaret Mitchell House, the Martin Luther King Jr National Historical Park, and the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr.
You can also explore Centennial Olympic Park and the Historic Fourth Ward Park.
There is so much to do and so much to learn about, so choose the attractions that interest you the most and don’t worry if you can’t get to everything!
Be sure to keep reading for the FAQ’s and Tips section to help make your trip a little more enjoyable.
FAQ’s & Tips for an Atlanta Itinerary
Being a local I have lots of tips to help you make the most of your Atlanta travel plans.
What time of the year is best to visit?
Georgia has an easy-going climate most of the year, but I recommend avoiding visiting in the hot summer months such as July to August.
It doesn’t necessarily get unbearably hot, but the high humidity in combination with the heat is horrific.
So, I recommend going in the Fall (April to June) or Spring (September to November) timeframes.
What Are the Best Places to Stay?
I usually choose Airbnb, as I always get a comfy place and great tourist tips from the host, all for a good price.
However, the cost of living in Georgia is much lower than most of the U.S., so you can expect to get a very good hotel for as low as $65 per night.
As Atlanta is a large metropolitan area, it has numerous options and you can take your pick based off preference based on a quick search in booking.com. You can even find affordable places right in downtown Atlanta.Booking.com
Is it Safe to Visit Atlanta?
There aren’t any worries when traveling in Atlanta, especially if you’re only visiting the sites in this guide.
Public transportation is safe and easy, as is exploring on foot. Just be smart and try not to walk alone at night, as you should in any city.
You’ll be in a well-populated and safe area in Atlanta, and there are no worries about wildlife at Stone Mountain as it’s all a controlled area.
You won’t be hiking through thick forest with no map or anything, it’s a very open and a frequently walked park.
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