18 Fun Free Things to Do in Atlanta with Kids

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For free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta, Centennial Park is a great place to start.
Centennial Park is one of the most photographed places in Atlanta. Photo credit: Maria Smith
Looking for free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta? You’ve come to the right place! Atlanta is one of the most affordable places to live in the country and it can be one of the most affordable places to visit too. There are lots of museums and attractions that can cost families, especially those with lots of kids, a lot of money. However, there are many free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta.

With mild winters and sunny summers, Atlanta is a great place to get outdoors. There are many parks spread throughout the city, each with its own personality and activities. When looking for free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta, visitors just don’t have to look very far. Here are 18 of them to consider.

Playing chess on the giant chess board is free at Altantic Station!
Chess anyone? Photo credit: Maria Smith

18 Free Kid Friendly Things to Do in Atlanta

 1. See Olympic history in Centennial Park.

Centennial Olympic Park was the heartbeat of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. It was the site of many concerts, gatherings and Olympic attractions that year. It was also the site of the deadly bombing. Search out the markers in the park to commemorate that event. You can also find historic markers commemorating the wonderful events of the 1996 Olympic Games. Bring the whole family to check out the Olympic Rings and splash in the fountains that spurt up during hot days.

Centennial Park is located at the center of Atlanta’s downtown tourist belt. CNN Center, The World of Coca-Cola, The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Center for Civil and Human Rights are all located around its perimeter. Check out the schedule of events before heading down to see if you can catch a free concert, play or other activity during your visit.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Skip the line and purchase your attraction tickets ahead of time. You can often save a few dollars by booking it in advance with Get Your Guide.

2. Ride the Silver Comet Trail.

For those who want to experience the outdoor beauty that is the Atlanta, GA area, take a ride (or a walk) on the Silver Comet Trail. It  is located about 13 miles northwest of Atlanta, starting in the suburb of Smyrna. It’s free and is 61.5 miles long. Starting just outside the city of Atlanta, it goes all the way to the Georgia/Alabama state line near Cedartown and the Esom Hill Trailhead.

The Silver Comet Trail is a quiet, non-motorized, paved trail designed  for walkers, hikers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, horses and dog walkers. It is even wheelchair accessible. So grab your bikes (or rent some at nearby bike shops or city share rentals) or just your two feet and head out to explore nature in a serene yet totally family-friendly setting.

SheBuysTravel Tip: As this trail is wooded and at parts, very secluded, it is smart to travel in groups and avoid using the trail after dark.

 3. Climb Stone Mountain.

Climb Stone Mountain is a fun and free thing to do in Atlanta with kids.
Climb Stone Mountain if you can find the stamina! Photo credit: Maria Smith

There are lots of activities at Stone Mountain you can pay for; however, climbing to the top of this granite monstrosity is not one of them. It’s completely free! Burn some significant calories and challenge yourself to climb to the top. Bring a cooler with some cold treats to splurge on something delicious after you make it all the way up. This is a strenuous climb so children younger than six may have a difficult time.

Can’t make it all the way up? There are several look out points on the way up with fantastic views (and picnic tables) where you can stop.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Be sure to watch the weather though as it would not be safe to climb in the rain or very cold temperatures.

4. Check out historic Oakland Cemetery.

I understand that a cemetery is not usually on the list of family-friendly attractions, but Oakland Cemetery isn’t an ordinary graveyard. It is set up more like a park. The history here is amazing and so interesting. If you are lucky, you can take part in one of the cemeteries traditions or special tours. Golf fans often leave a golf tee at the gravesite of Bobby Jones or a coin at the grave of the author Margaret Mitchell. The segregated parts of the cemetery also tell a story of Atlanta that is important to hear. This may be the most unique free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta!

 5. Educate yourself at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.

Learn about Dr. Martin Luther King for free in Atlanta
Learn all about Dr. Martin Luther King for free in Atlanta. Photo credit: Maria Smith

Many people do not know that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, including the visitor’s center and the tours of Dr. King’s church and childhood home is totally free. The area is geared towards teaching everyone about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement he led. Through hands-on learning, videos and many photos and activities, visitors can be educated as well as entertained. Your family will leave the site feeling inspired and grateful. While the park  is completely free, you may be moved to donate something to keep this historic site running for the next generations.

6. Stroll through the lovely gardens at the Jimmy Carter Presidental Library.

Yes, there is an admission cost to get into the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, but you can explore the beautiful gardens for free. Stroll through the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Cut Flower Garden and the 3-acre Native Oak forest. Be sure to find the coral Rosalynn Carter rose which is of course named for the former First Lady.

 7. Hang out on the Atlanta Beltline.

For free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta, the Beltline has many options.
The murals on the Atlanta Beltline are amazing. Photo credit: Maria Smith

The Atlanta Beltline is a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta that is now a multi-use trail. According to Beltine.org, “The Atlanta Beltine is the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in the City of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs currently underway in the United States.” And there are TONS of activities for locals and visitors alike here that are free.

Check out the online calendar for free fitness classes, hiking and biking tours, kids activities and more. It is also one of my favorite spots for people watching! The cafes, wine bars and restaurants that have sprung up along side the Beltline make this a place where you could spend the whole day. There are also playgrounds, “spray” grounds, and even a skate park which are all well-maintained and free! When looking for activities that are free in Atlanta, the Beltine probably has something you’d enjoy.

8. Window-shop in Atlantic Station.

Yes, you could see a movie, basketball game, tennis match or a Cirque du Soleil show here, but those all cost money. What won’t cost you a dime is browsing the major shops as well as local boutiques in this outdoor, totally walkable shopping mecca.  Relax, people-watch, challenge your kids to a game of chess with giant chess pieces…all without opening your wallet! In warm weather, Atlantic Station offers free movies in the park and an open air market. In warmer weather, try free yoga on Wellness Wednesdays.

9. Have a picnic.

There is a ton of green space in and around Atlanta just waiting for you to plop down your picnic blanket. Parks are plentiful and always free. They are a great a great “add-on activity” to counterbalance paying for an attraction. Have a picnic on the grassy knoll in Centennial Park, overlooking the Active Oval in Piedmont Park or at any of the dozens of beautiful, dogwood-filled parks in the city. I think this is one of the most popular free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta.

10. Hit up a playground.

A fun playground is always a good idea when visiting Atlanta.
This playground is located in downtown Atlanta. Photo credit: Maria Smith

If your kids are under 14, a playground or two should definitely be on your list of things to do in Atlanta. There are some really unique ones that will help kids (and adults) burn off some extra energy while enjoying the fresh air. One of my absolute favorite playgrounds in Atlanta is at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. When you are through checking out the indoor visitor’s center, let the kids go at the attached outdoor Martin Luther King Playground. It’s typically never busy, well-maintained, offers accessible equipment and the covered seating for adults is much appreciated.

11. Visit Piedmont Park.

Piedmont Park is one of the largest open green spaces in the city. It is like Atlanta’s version of Central Park. There are several playgrounds, baseball, sports fields, tennis courts, a country-club-like pool, sprayground and so much more. If you don’t know what to do, just go to Piedmont Park. You will be surprised at how fast a whole day goes by here. You can even bring your four-legged friend too! Hang out at the Piedmont Park Dog Park, which is an enclosed area where dogs can run and play without being leashed.

12. Go on a scavenger hunt for Tiny Doors.

The Tiny Doors art installations around the city are part artistic creation and part detective game. It’s super fun to go on a hunt to find these six inches tall portals that are hidden around Atlanta. Make it a mission to find as many as you can during your visit. Get the clues as to where to find these micro masterpieces by visiting the Tiny Doors website.

13. Learn more about Atlanta’s HBCUs.

Walk through Morehouse College to see this inspiring statue.
Show your kids something to look up to! Photo credit: Maria Smith

Did you know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called Morehouse College his alma mater? Or that Alice Walker, of “The Color Purple” fame attended Spelman? Take some of your time to explore the paths of both the known and unknown heroes of Atlanta and the country by learning more about the historically Black colleges and universities that helped to make this city such a fantastic place for African Americans and all those who value diversity. It’s really inspiring to walk across the campuses to soak up the rich histories of the schools that make up the original Atlanta University Center Consortium including Morris Brown College, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University.

14. Go fish!

Yes, Atlanta is a metropolitan city, but there are still places where you can get out into nature. Fishing is one of those activities that you can do for free (as long as you have a valid Georgia fishing license or are under 16 years old). Lake Clara Meer at Piedmont Park is routinely stocked with a number of fish, including catfish, large mouth bass, crappie and bream. You will see anglers of all ages fishing here. You can also fish yearround in the Chattahoochee River for trout, bass, catfish and more. Another unique place to go fishing? The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library! Go ahead and see if you can catch a fish in the stocked ponds.

15. Play some old school games at Woodruff Park.

Woodruff Park is one of the coolest green spaces in downtown Atlanta. It’s a wonderful place to soak up some family fun. You can borrow board games, lawn games and sporting equipment for free from the Game Cart in the park. Kids can have fun at the ‘ATL’ playground and adults will enjoy working out at the ENERGI fitness station. Plus, as a bonus, there’s free wi-fi to stay connected. Woodruff Park may be a little smaller than other more famous ones, but they offer some of the best, uncrowded free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta

16. Explore one of the many festivals.

The live music shows at the many festivals in Atlanta are free!
Be sure to bring your own chair to the Atlanta Jazz Festival. Photo credit: Maria Smith

During the spring, summer, and fall, there are so many different festivals throughout Atlanta and its close suburbs. In April, head to the Atlanta Dogwood Festival or if you are visiting on Memorial Day weekend, you must check out the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The Virginia-Highland Summerfest and Atlanta Ice Cream Festival (no surprise) are two of my favorites. These festivals are really great examples of free outdoor fun throughout the year. Nearly every weekend during warm weather months there are arts, crafts, live music, dancing, parades, kid’s activities and much more!

17. Check out the Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum.

Want to prove that money doesn’t grow on trees? Visit the Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum in Midtown Atlanta.  Visitors can explore historical artifacts and discover the story of money including the turbulent history of banking in the US. There are also examples of rare coins and stacks of cash that are being counted and recirculated or destroyed.

18. Take a hike.

Atlanta doesn’t have any mountains but they do have plenty of trails that are perfect for novice and veteran hikers alike. Piedmont Park’s sidewalks are one of many PATH trails for pedestrians, bikers and rollerbladers. There are also other in-town PATH trails for hikers including the Westside Trail, the Atlanta Beltline and the Chastain Park Trail.

Although this city has some attractions that could be costly for families, there are many free kid friendly things to do in Atlanta too. Now get out and enjoy the Big Peach!

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