one day Atlanta Itinerary
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How to Spend One Day in Atlanta: Itinerary from a Local

If you’re visiting Peach State Georgia and have one day in Atlanta or have a long layover in the city, check out the best spots in this travel guide. This one-day itinerary will guide you through must-see attractions, iconic eats, and hidden gems, ensuring you experience the best of Atlanta in just 24 hours.

The capital of Georgia is a busy metropolis, you may think there isn’t much to do in the city but there are so many amazing things to do in this electric city for everyone!

I am living just an hour away from Atlanta and keep returning to visit new sights! Though traffic can be horrific at a time, overall the city is one of the best in Southeast USA and my favorite in the USA after Washington DC.

Keep reading for the ultimate guide on how to spend one day in Atlanta. You’ll surely have an unforgettable memory with many things to do in Atlanta!

How to Get Around Atlanta in One Day Visit

If you have only one day in Atlanta, it is not wise to rent a car for a day! But if you’re driving in and visiting a few more nearby destinations on a road trip, it is good to rent a car. But make sure to compare the rental fees and parking costs, you’ll be better off using a ride-share.

There is also Public transportation (MARTA) but with only one day in the city, you’ll want to get around quickly and without any stress, so I highly recommend using the ride share like Uber or Lyft instead.

If you like to visit the city with guided tours without lots of stress, book the Sightseeing Trolley Tour which covers the city’s most important attractions and runs daily!

Book your Narrated Sightseeing Trolley Tour in Atlanta in advance here!


Stop-1: Morning – Southern Breakfast

First things first: fuel up for a fun-filled day! Atlanta’s breakfast scene is legendary. Indulge in fluffy buttermilk pancakes smothered in pecan syrup at a classic diner, or savor soulful southern breakfast.

Head over to iconic the Flying Biscuit Cafe, famous for serving Southern-inspired breakfast comfort food for 20 years. They have many locations throughout the city, but Candler Park is its original location. Their menu offers a delicious array of southern-style breakfast and brunch options including vegetarian and vegan.

For a lighter option, grab a fresh pastry and a cup of locally roasted coffee at a trendy cafe – the perfect pick-me-up before hitting the streets.

I highly recommend The Little Tart Bakeshop. They serve the best coffee and croissants in Atlanta. I love their Pistachio and chocolate Croissants. It is must must-try when you visit Atlanta for one day!

Once you’re done with the breakfast, move on to your next location, it’s off to The World of Coca-Cola, a museum dedicated specifically to Coca-Cola.

Stop-2: Experience the World of Coca-Cola

After living in the United States, I came to know how much Coca-Cola is being loved by Americans! But Coca-Cola is more than a beverage in Atlanta, it is the pride and culture of the city!

The World of Coca-Cola is an ode to world-famous soda and of course Atlanta’s favorite drink!

Once you get inside, be prepared to learn more about this drink from tasting lots of samples to knowing its secret formula and more fun facts! This is a perfect start for your 24 hours in Atlanta Itinerary.

The World of Coca-Cola has an array of immersive exhibits to explore in the form of the Museum! The Taste It exhibit allows you to sample Coke from different countries while learning fun tidbits about what you’re sipping. This was my favorite activity and I liked it most!

There are also the Pop Culture Gallery, which shows pieces from famous Coca-Cola advertising campaigns, and other historic memorabilia.

The Vault of the Secret Formula is a fun exhibit where you’ll learn the backstory of the famously top-secret formula for Coca-Cola.

The other exhibits include Scent Discovery, Coca-Cola Polar Bear, The Loft, The Coca-Cola Theater, Milestones of Refreshment, and Bottle Works.

And not to be forgotten, the Coca-Cola Store is perfect to stock up on souvenirs to remember your one day in Atlanta!

Tickets can be purchased online before your visit and then shown with a mobile voucher — this is what I recommend doing to avoid waiting in line, as this is one of the most popular attractions for people visiting Atlanta!

Book your Skip the Line tickets online here!

You can expect to spend about two hours exploring the World of Coca-Cola from your one-day Atlanta Itinerary.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Florida 30A

Stop-3: Georgia Aquarium

After exploring the World of Coca-Cola, take a short walk toward the world-famous Georgia Aquarium.

So, what makes this aquarium so famous? The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the United States and one of the largest in the world!

They have more than 60 different habitats, which house hundreds of species that come from all over the planet. Sounds amazing right?

Some of the species you will find at the aquarium include African penguins, beluga whales, California sea lions, common bottlenose dolphins, green moray eels, manta rays, tiger sharks, and whale sharks.

In particular, there are only a few aquariums in the world where you can see whale sharks. And the only Western aquarium to have whale sharks is, the Georgia Aquarium!

how to spend one day in Atanta

Once you’re inside, there are many different galleries to tour, and each gallery has a distinctive habitat and marine creatures.

I loved The Truist Pier 225 where you can watch the sea lions from California! They are mostly rescued from California and brought here! You’ll see a timed entry show daily where trainers connect with California sea lions and learn about issues facing this species along with fun movements of the little creatures.

You can easily spend a couple of hours at the Georgia Aquarium exploring all the mesmerizing galleries and exhibits! I highly recommend buying your tickets online, it’ll also save you money, as there is an additional charge if you book on-site vs. online!

Stop-4: walk through Centennial Olympic Park

After the Georgia Aquarium, take a quick walk through Centennial Olympic Park, since it’s located right next to the Aquarium.

This historical site of the 1996 Olympics is now a beloved park and landmark in the city, where local families and tourists spend their time. There is a SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel in the park and a Fountain of Rings as its centerpiece.

one day Atlanta Itinerary

It is always pleasant to walk through this park in every season. I visited during the winter and taking a moment to sit here was blissful in the winter sun!

Stop-5: Lunch at Ponce City Market

After all the exploration, head to Ponce City Market, a historic building turned trendy food hall. You can enjoy diverse culinary options ranging from Southern comfort food to international cuisine here. This is the best option for lunch during your one-day in Atlanta Itinerary.

There are tons of great options including Botiwalla, which serves Indian street food, El Super Pan Latino Sandwiches, and Italian food at Bellina Alimentari. I also recommend checking out the dessert options as there is a location of Five Daughters Bakery serving 100-layer donuts, Batter Cookie Dough Counter, and Honeysuckle Gelato.

The Roof of Ponce City Market has vintage midway games, carnival-style amusement rides, and mini golf. It costs $10 for entry and $15 for unlimited gameplay. If you’re looking for an unconventional night on the town for 21+ adults, visit The Roof on Friday or Saturday after 5 PM. There is a bar up there! Enjoy drinks, games, and live music in this vibrant rooftop setting.

Stop-6: Walk Atlanta Beltline

After lunch, take a stroll along the Atlanta BeltLine, a former railway corridor transformed into a network of parks and trails. This paved pathway circles Atlanta and you can walk, run, or bike along the path for as long or as little as you like.

The Beltline is very popular with Atlanta residents because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors!

For this itinerary for one day in Atlanta, I recommend walking along the Beltline from Ponce City Market to Piedmont Park. The distance from the Ponce City Market to Park is 0.7 miles. 

Atlanta Itinerary one day

Within Ponce City Market, you will see signs for the Beltline. Once you’re on the Beltline, head south. Take it slow, and enjoy street art, outdoor installations, and beautiful views of the city skyline.

You’ll see beautiful murals along the path as well as fun art installations like the Tiny Doors of Atlanta. If you don’t feel like walking to the Park, you can walk to the historic Fourth Ward Skatepark and then take an Uber for your next destination!

If you’re feeling full from your meals, or looking to work up an appetite, this is a great afternoon activity during your one day in Atlanta Georgia.

You can book this guided 2-Hour Food, History, and Street Art Tour of Ponce City Market that includes a guided tour of Ponce City Market, Stops for tastings from local, award-winning restaurants, and a Walk along Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail!

Stop-7: Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden

During the afternoon, spend your time till evening at Atlanta Botanical Garden and Piedmont Park. The garden features a stunning conservatory as well as 30 acres of beautiful gardens and fountains.

The main feature of the Garden is large topiary sculptures – they’re famous for their past Alice in Wonderland exhibit and annual holiday lights on Christmas. Be sure to visit the orchid garden too, it’s beautiful! I visited during the Spring, it was perfect for blooming flowers, Tulips, and orchid displays. There are so many photo opportunities for you when you visit!

24 hrs in Atlanta

If you’re traveling with kids, make sure to check out the Children’s Garden. It features interactive exhibits, splash pads, and play areas designed to engage children with nature.

You can easily spend 1.5-2 hours visiting this beautiful Garden before making your way to the next site.

The botanical garden is open every day but Monday from 9 AM to 8 PM and costs $25-28 (higher side on weekends) for an adult ticket.

One day in Atlanta

Also Read: Weekend Trip from Atlanta- Crab Island, Destin

Stop-8: Walk the Piedmont Park in the evening

After visiting the Garden, make your way to the beautiful Piedmont Park for the ultimate views of the city! If you don’t want to shell out your money on Garden, you can skip the botanical gardens and go straight to Piedmont Park.

You’ll find a picturesque view of the city at the southeast corner of the lake. There’s also an “active oval” with ball fields, soccer fields, and volleyball courts. There is even a dog Park here, perfect if you have your furry friend with you!

spend 24 hrs in atlanta

Stop-9: Jackson Street Bridge

For one final stop, take MARTA and visit the Jackson Street Bridge. This is the iconic Atlanta skyline view that you probably recognize from Walking Dead posters. It’s a beautiful spot to watch the Sunset and you’ll probably run into some photographers at this time!

Stop-10: Visit the Rooftop Lounge with Views & have Dinner

After a whole day of exploration and walking, treat yourself to good local beers and craft cocktails while enjoying the beautiful views of the city! Here are a few recommendations to end your one day in Atlanta with great food and drinks:

SkyLounge Atlanta: Situated atop the Glenn Hotel, SkyLounge Atlanta offers sweeping views of downtown Atlanta, including landmarks like Centennial Olympic Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Relax with a cocktail in hand and watch the sunset over the city.

Whiskey Blue: Located on the rooftop of the W Atlanta – Buckhead, Whiskey Blue offers a chic atmosphere with breathtaking views of Buckhead’s skyline. Sip on handcrafted cocktails and enjoy the upscale ambiance of this stylish rooftop lounge.

The Regent Cocktail Club: Nestled in the heart of Buckhead, The Regent Cocktail Club offers an intimate rooftop setting with views of the surrounding neighborhood. Savor expertly crafted cocktails and live music while soaking in the city views.

Be sure to check the opening hours and any reservation requirements before visiting.

This concludes my itinerary for one day in Atlanta. I hope this gives you some ideas for what you can do in a day and all that you can see and eat even if you’re short on time! I hope this helps you to plan your one day in Atlanta.

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