With three days in Atlanta, you can cover key highlights, sample Southern fare, and see why the city's become a backdrop for everything from blockbuster movies to zombie attacks. But while Atlanta could easily fill your whole itinerary, it's also a great home base for exploring Georgia. Here's how to spend three days in Atlanta.
Day 1: Hotlanta Highlights
A long list of landmarks have helped Atlanta snag a spot as one of the South’s best destinations, so start by ticking off a few that interest you most. For wildlife lovers, the Georgia Aquarium and Zoo Atlanta are must-sees, with world-class animal collections that include giant pandas and whale sharks. Other favorites include the World of Coca-Cola, devoted to all things Coke, and the world headquarters of CNN; lucky visitors might even see anchors as they broadcast. For a glimpse of Atlanta’s civil rights heritage, stop by the Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights, which links a local history of activism to world issues.
At each of these sights, booking tickets in advance pays off in time savings and convenience. If you plan to visit more than one, combination tickets and passes can be budget-friendly options, often coming with added perks and discounts.
Day 2: Hollywood of the South
From the films of Tyler Perry to the TV show The Walking Dead, Atlanta's proved to be one of America’s most popular sets, snagging the title of the "Hollywood of the South." Even if you're not a movie buff, joining a film tour can be a fun way to see off-beat neighborhoods and scenic locations, ones you might recognize next time you’re at the theater. Die-hard fans should go for themed options, choosing from trips that explore The Walking Dead sites, locations used in the series Stranger Things, and historic landmarks from Gone With the Wind. If you’re looking for a general introduction to Atlanta's film industry, opt for a tour that samples a little bit of everything while hitting all the highlights.
Day 3: Best Day Trips from—and in—Atlanta
When you're ready for a day outside the city, the possibilities are endless: explore the Georgia mountains, visit a rural Amish community, or sip your way through local wineries. Since avoiding Atlanta’s traffic is something of a local art, tours with dedicated drivers take advantage of the best routes out of the city.
If you’d rather stick around, dedicate your last day in Atlanta to history; the city is home to mansions, landmarks from the civil rights era, and other fascinating sites. For an in-depth discussion of Atlanta history, consider a tour that's themed to your interests to ensure you don’t miss any key points.