August in Atlanta is all about getting in those last blasts of summer and, for many families, looking toward the start of the school year. In order to offset the BTS drain on your wallet, we’ve rounded up tons of events around the city that are free (or super cheap). It’s just one way you can create family memories and still teach your kids the value of the dollar. Keep reading for our favorite ways to play in Atlanta that won’t break the bank.

Free (or Cheap) Things to Do in August

photo: iStock

Dance like no one is watching
Bring a picnic or eat at a nearby restaurant then sit back and enjoy the sounds of summer on the Green at Halcyon on summer nights. Tue., Fri. & Sat. through Sep. 3. Event details.

Sit down for storytime
Sheri Dillard, author of Cowhide-And-Seek, will entertain kids with books and fun, making sure everyone is entertained. Tue. in Aug. Event details.

Say “namaste” to family yoga
Grab your yoga mat and head to this family yoga session where kids (3-7) and caregivers learn to breathe, stretch, dance, and do basic yoga poses. Wed. in Aug. Event details.

Head outside
Maybe the Great Smoky Mountains or the Cumberland Gap are on your list. Whatever national park you want to visit, you’ll get in for free with the kids. Aug. 4. Event details.

Visit the Booth Museum
Get your fill of Western Art with the kids when you get free entry to this local favorite. Aug. 4. Event details.

Sing along with a movie
Meet you at Midtown’s Living Room for this free summer movie series featuring High School Musical. Aug. 5. Event details.

Find food trucks and flicks
Bring your appetite to this outdoor summer movie because there will be food trucks a-plenty in the park. Aug. 5. Event details.

Kiss summer goodbye
This luau-themed street festival will also include live entertainment and BTS deals for families. Aug. 5. Event details.

Bust a move
Show off you best dance moves while DJ Jake spins family-friendly dance tunes. This party’s all about dancing, games and giveaways. Aug. 5. Event details.

Hunt for fungi
The hot, humid weather is perfect for finding mushrooms and fungi of all kinds. Bring the kids on this hike to learn the basics of mushroom hunting, the weird ways they grow, and a few of the different species you may find in the area. Aug. 6. Event details.

Listen to a Dixie band
Part of the Village Theatre’s summer variety show series, you and the kids will love this toe-tapping show. Aug. 7. Event details.

Let your tots play
It’s Storybook Day at Atlantic Station. Bring the kids for crafts, sing-a-longs, snacks and more. Best for ages 5 & under. Aug. 8. Event details.

Go Back to the Future
Screen on the Green at Atlantic Station is bringing one of everyone’s favorite ’80s hits to the big screen. Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and popcorn, it’s gonna be a good one. Aug. 11. Event details.

Get into the groove
Settle in for a summer concert just before school starts. This BTS bash features Josh Gilbert Band and is a great place to picnic too. Aug. 13. Event details.

Experience the Taste of Nigeria
Come experience the Nigerian culture through food, music, dance, fashion, art and history at this indoor event. Aug. 13. Event details.

Learn about animals
Meet Elachee’s Animal Ambassadors during a 45-minute presentation with a naturalist before touring the Live Animal Exhibit. Aug. 13. Event details.

kids sit and listen during storytime

photo: iStock

Sit for storytime
Ms. Nikita will lead children through stories, songs, and more during this library storytime. Wed. in Aug. Event details.

Attend a community festival
Head to Alive in Roswell to experience the best of life including music, food trucks, hundreds of interactive vendors, kids’ games and entertainment. Aug. 18. Event details.

Enjoy pigs and peaches
Now in its 21st year, Pigs & Peaches has grown into one of the region’s most beloved festivals attracting an estimated 30,000 attendees annually. It’s two days of non-stop music, good eats, cold beer and interactive family-fun. Aug. 19 & 20. Event details.

Find art in the park
The Piedmont Park Summer Arts Festival is a two-day outdoor event with an emphasis on the visual arts and family fun for people of all ages, customs and interests. Look for artist demonstrations, live music, a children’s play area and healthy festival food. Aug. 20 & 21. Event details.

An African American family rides bikes together on a sunny day

photo: iStock

Get on your bikes and ride
Join in on this casual 4.5 mile loop around Dunwoody and stick around for some post-ride socializing. It’s a great way for kids to learn biking safety pointers. Aug. 21. Event details.

Seek out shade
Join the crowd heading to Grant Park to say farewell to summer at the Summer Shade Festival. Families can enjoy the Kids Zone where they’ll find bouncy houses and other free games and activities. Aug. 27 & 28. Event details.

Attend the African American Culture & Art Festival
This open-air, family-friendly festival will feature live performances throughout the day by local artists, singers, poets and dancers so families can experience the talent and creativity of our local African American artists first hand. Aug. 27. Event details.

Always Free in Atlanta

Seek out street art. An art scavenger hunt is always a great way to get out with the kids and explore the city. Whether you’re looking for Tiny Door or the newest Lela Brunet masterpiece, bring your phone and strike a pose.

Walk on the BeltLine. This 22-mile loop gets better every year, with art installations to find and Atlanta’s tree canopy to enjoy. It’s as simple as hopping on at the nearest entry point and exploring as you go.

Give mountain biking a spin at a beginner course. A short drive from the heart of the city you’ll find multiple groomed mountain biking trails—most with beginner courses—for bikers who long to get off the beaten path.

Go skateboarding at a skatepark. Atlanta’s skateparks are spread out, which means accessing one is relatively easy, no matter where you live. The Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark is a local favorite, and the Brook Run Skate Park in Dunwoody, the largest skatepark in Atlanta, is surrounded by trees and close to trails for biking, walking, and running.

Spend a day in Piedmont Park. With paved paths perfect for biking, triking and boarding, plus a lake, fields and playgrounds, this Atlanta institution is a great place to spend a day.

Visit the Noah’s Arc Animal Sanctuary. Noah’s Ark is a 250-acre sanctuary for abused, unwanted and neglected animals in a park-like setting with paved pathways. Noah’s Ark is open Tuesday through Saturday. The Welcome Center, picnic area, and playground are open at 9 a.m. for visitors, and the animal habitat is open from 12-3 p.m.

Bike the Silver Comet Trail. Located 13 miles northwest of Atlanta, this 61.5-mile long path is free of charge and travels west through Cobb, Paulding and Polk counties. Expect a quiet, non-motorized, paved trail for walkers, hikers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, horses, dog walkers and strollers.

Explore Arabia Mountain. Once part of a quarry, Arabia Mountain is now protected as part of the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. This otherworldly rock outcrop is a monadnock, a geologic formation that has the seen the ground around it erode away, leaving the mountain we know and love today. Arabia Mountain also contains a variety of rare and endangered plants, such as Diamorpha, which grows in the fragile solution pit ecosystems that appear on the rock face. The Arabia Mountain PATH (AMP) is a 30+ mile recreational trail located just 20 minutes east of Atlanta. Walkers, cyclists and joggers share the multi-use trail. AWARE, or the Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort, has been operating at the base of Arabia Mountain since 2006. The nonprofit rescues sick or injured wild animals, rehabilitates them at their facility and returns them to the wild.

Check out the High Museum of Art on the second Sunday each month. That’s when The High offers free admission for all visitors from noon to 5 p.m. Right now you can enjoy the Oliver Jeffers exhibit before it heads elsewhere.

Check out Kennesaw Battlefield Park. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a 2,965 acre National Battlefield that preserves a Civil War battleground of the Atlanta Campaign. Opposing forces maneuvered and fought here from June 19, 1864 until July 2, 1864. Picnic and play in designated areas and then enjoy a hike on some of the over 22 miles of maintained interpretive trails.

Explore Historic Oakland Cemetery. Atlanta’s oldest public park and the final resting place of many of the city’s most noted citizens, Oakland is less than a mile from downtown on 48-acres. Explore history and gardens, sculpture and architecture, and play under the ancient oaks and magnolias.

Head to Zoo Atlanta with your library card. Gain free admission to the wonderful Zoo Atlanta through the Library Pass Program. If you have a library card, you can check out a family pass (for a family of four) at Georgia’s public libraries. The pass is available at participating branches in all 159 counties. It’s a great way to see Sean Kenney’s Nature POP! exhibit while you still can.

Pay a visit to the Marietta Fire Museum or the Roswell Fire Museum. Discover and learn the history of the firefighting through collections of antique fire apparatus, tools, and gear dating back to the 1800s. Learn how fire departments have changed over time through self-guided tours.

—Allison Sutcliffe & Shelley Massey

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