16 Ways to Live It Up in Atlanta

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Families looking for a vacation destination that’s full of history, outdoor adventure and museums for every interest should put Atlanta on their list. From well-known destinations like the American Girl Store and the Georgia Aquarium, to discovery-worthy destinations like Ponce City Market’s rooftop amusement park, Atlanta is full of family fun. Keep reading for the inside scoop on where to go and where to stay—Marriott Bonvoy™ members enjoy exclusive perks and savings at over 40 hotels—for a next-level family getaway.

American Girl Store & Bistro, Alpharetta

Head to Northpoint Mall in Alpharetta where you'll find the American Girl Store & Bistro. Your super fans can have their dolls' ears pierced and hair styled at the salon, do a little shopping and then round out the visit with a trip to the bistro for lunch and cupcakes (they come in pint-sized ones for the dolls, too!).

photo: Marriott

Score bonus points by booking a stay at the nearby Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta, which offers an American Girl Store Atlanta Weekend Getaway Package complete with pink decor, a bed for your doll that you can take home and a special check-in.

photo: Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium, Downtown

The Georgia Aquarium—the world's largest aquarium—is growing even more! A new gallery featuring sharks will open in late fall of 2020, but right now you can catch a glimpse of the oh-so-cute beluga whales who always seem to be smiling at you. 

photo: Marriott

You can bypass parking fees by heading to the Georgia Aquarium on foot from the Westin Peachtree Plaza, one of Atlanta's iconic skyline buildings. Be sure to check out the hotel's Georgia Aquarium Package for Four, which comes with four anytime aquarium tickets and buffet breakfast to get you fueled up before you go.

Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, Downtown

Whether your team is Tennessee, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia or anyone else, you can head to the shrine of all things college football for a serious personal pep rally. Run a play on the indoor playing field, then check out the three-floor helmet wall in the Quad at the College Football Hall of Fame.

A stay at nearby Atlanta Marriott Marquis means that your downtown hotel is only a first down away.

Children's Museum of Atlanta, Downtown

This hands-on museum will keep the kids happy with hours of exploratory play (in the air conditioning!) and you'll find an all-new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer exhibit a huge draw. Kids will be able to explore their individual and group potential by training as a team both physically and mentally, and then taking on the villains of New York City for an action-packed adventure. After hitting the Children's Museum of Atlanta, be sure and hit the Centennial Park All Children's Playground, a favorite all-abilities playground!

SkyView Ferris Wheel, Downtown

Downtown is a whole lot cooler from one of SkyView's climate-controlled Ferris wheel compartments. Check out the downtown and midtown skylines from one of the wheel's private cabanas. Each ride lasts about 15 minutes and our favorite time to go is at night when you can see the lights of the nearby Centennial Park fountain from a bird's-eye view.

A stay at the Westin Peachtree Plaza means that you don't even need to worry about finding a coveted parking spot, since it's only a few blocks away.

World of Coca-Cola, Downtown

While the exhibits in World of Coca-Cola are fascinating for any history buff, it's the tasting room that will have your kids begging for a return trip. And, if the unlimited tastings of Coca-Cola products from around the world isn't enough to thrill them, the 3-D movie experience—illustrating the global reach of Coca-Cola—will. 

Center for Puppetry Arts, Midtown

Don't let a trip to Atlanta pass you by without a trip to the world-class Center for Puppetry Arts. Here you can learn about the history of puppetry and see a puppet show that brings to life your favorite stories. 

photo: Marriott

Sheraton Atlanta Hotel is literally around the corner; however, if you opt to stay downtown at Westin Peachtree Plaza you're just a MARTA ride away from the Center for Puppetry Arts.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Midtown

A visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden is fun for families as you can see what's in bloom and spend some time walking through the greenery. Head to the Lou Glenn Children's Garden to climb in the treehouse, visit the busy bees and learn about edible gardening. In the warmer months, this spot has a spray pad, perfect when you need to cool off. 

For a walkable (and ultra hip) stay, check out W Atlanta Midtown, or opt for a downtown location at Aloft Atlanta Downtown, and hop on MARTA for a short ride to Arts Center.

Treetop Quest and Mastermind Escape Games, Dunwoody

Whether you're zipping through the trees at Treetop Quest, or working your way out of an escape room at Mastermind Escape Games, you'll earn some serious parent points for planning weekend getaway to Atlanta.

Stay at nearby Courtyard Atlanta Perimeter Center for a central location to explore some OTP (that's outside-the-perimeter, to locals) fun.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Buckhead

See Atlanta’s top attractions made from LEGO bricks in this Buckhead institution's MINILAND®, then take a whirl on the Kingdom Quest Legacy Ride. And with an online advanced purchase option, you'll score discounted tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center and also skip the walk-up line upon arrival.

photo: Marriott

Stay at nearby Residence Inn Atlanta Buckhead—an extended-stay hotel offering free breakfast for the entire family— or JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead and take advantage of the nearby MARTA station if you plan to venture downtown.

Atlanta History Center, Buckhead

The Atlanta History Center is located in one of Atlanta’s most beautiful neighborhoods on 33 acres, and is made up of exhibitions, historic houses, manicured gardens and a variety of year-round family programs. Don't miss a fancy lunch at the Swan Coach House (go for the pimento cheese and chicken salad), and be sure to check out the Smith Family Farm, where you'll get a better understanding of life long ago.

For convenience, the Residence Inn Atlanta Buckhead (did someone say "free breakfast?") is a solid choice.

photo: Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market, East Atlanta

For a glimpse at the city's coolest brownfield project, head to Ponce City Market, where you'll find food stalls and restaurants from some of the city's most established as well as most up-and-coming chefs. Grab a banana puddin' popsicle from King of Pops and make your way to The Roof, where minigolf, a giant slide and boardwalk games await.

From a downtown stay at Westin Peachtree Plaza, catch a short Uber or Lyft east to PCM.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Druid Hills

Dinosaurs, a mind-blowing indoor playscape and an even more amazing outdoor exhibit, breathtaking walking trails, a canopy walk, native wildlife and nature playgrounds await you at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. If you need to catch your breath, be sure and get tickets to one of their 3D giant screen movies.

Located east of Midtown in the historic neighborhood of Druid Hills, your stay at Westin Peachtree Plaza will make getting there easy.

Six Flags Over Georgia, Austell

A trip to Six Flags Over Georgia means you're in for thrills and chills around every corner. There's something for all ages and when the temps creep up, head to Hurricane Harbor to cool off. This multi-million dollar water park inside Six Flags is included FREE with your Six Flags Over Georgia admission.

When you decide to head back to your room at the Sheraton Suites Galleria-Atlanta you'll really be able to relax, especially if you book a concierge-level suite. 

Zoo Atlanta, Grant Park

A trip to Zoo Atlanta is amazing for it's recently-renovated animal habitats, its state-of-the-art reptile and amphibian exhibit, and yes, for it's incredible amusement area (located after all of the exhibits if you follow the flow of visitors, but easily found if you veer right from the entrance instead of forging ahead). With a train, a treetop ropes course, a splash pad and more, your critters will want to make a day of this.

Stay at Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown, or take MARTA (prepare for a bit of a hike, but a stop for ice cream at Morelli's will make you forget your sore feet).

Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain

Soar to the top of Stone Mountain on Summit Skyride, take a ride on the Scenic Railroad, trek through the treetops on Skyhike® Adventure ropes course, and stay for the laser show.

A day (and night) at Stone Mountain Park is made even easier with reservations at Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Center, located right at Stone Mountain. It's the perfect place to recharge with a little pool time after a day at the park.

With Marriott Bonvoy, members can enjoy special rates, free in-room Wifi, mobile check-in and the ability to earn and redeem points at Marriott’s thousands of hotels. Not a Marriott Bonvoy member? Join for free when you book! Save on your trip to Atlanta here!

The Best Upcoming Events for Kids in Atlanta
If you’re looking for events and activities, don’t miss our local Atlanta events calendar, which has everything from story times to seasonal activities like ice skating, family festivals and outdoor movie nights.

—Shelley Massey