The Michael C. Carlos Museum collects, preserves, and interprets art and artifacts from antiquity to the present.

The Delta Flight Museum tells the story of Delta Air Lines and the history of commercial aviation.

Oakland Cemetery offers a variety of tours in the beautiful final resting grounds for many notable Atlantans.

15 Budget-Friendly Things to Do for Weekend Getaways in Atlanta

One of the many outstanding attributes about Atlanta is that you can do a lot of things that don’t cost too much. Not only are there plenty things to do that are free, but if you check around, many of the museums and other sights have specials that reduce ticket prices. Another way to save money and see five museums at a discounted price is with an Atlanta CityPASS. Here are 15 of our favorite weekend activities in Atlanta — that cost little or nothing.

1. Visit Piedmont Park

Spend an afternoon at Piedmont Park. There frequently is a festival of some sort going on, and every Saturday from March to November there is a green market. In the summer, you can swim in the pool. Twice a month there are free yoga and group fitness classes (there also are paid classes). There are plenty of outdoor activities including biking, walking or inline skating on the paths that meander through the park’s 200 acres, and you can join a game of pick-up basketball or sand volleyball. Bring you dog and let Fido meet new friends at the dog park. Or, did we forget the best part? Bring some food, a blanket and just people-watch. You can do that all day and not get bored.

2. The Best Atlanta Shopping

Window shopping can be a lot of fun, and Atlanta has some of the best malls perfect for indulging in wishful thinking. Visit Lenox Square or Phipps Plaza to see the latest styles, make-up, electronics and everything in between. You will be tempted to buy, but remember — looking is at least half the fun.

3. Spend Time at Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park is a lasting reminder of the Summer Olympic Games that took place in Atlanta in 1996. The Fountain of Rings is a favorite of children (and more than a few adults) who like to splash around in the fountain. Similar to Piedmont Park, Centennial Olympic Park is often host to festivals. The park is adjacent to some of the city’s best attractions such as the World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, the Children’s Museum, SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel, the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.

4. Stroll down Sweet Auburn

Sweet Auburn arguably can be called the heart of the civil rights movement in Atlanta. Located on several blocks in downtown Atlanta, you can walk and visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his father  and grandfather preached, Dr. King’s childhood home and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, where you’ll find his tomb and that of his wife, Coretta Scott King. There are many historical buildings here as well as street art, musicians, local shops and restaurants. 

5. Delta Flight Museum

Atlanta is the home to Delta Air Lines, and near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the Delta Flight Museum where guests can explore rare aviation artifacts and airplanes, enjoy interactive exhibits and test their flying skills on a flight simulator. There are discounts for military and employees of Delta as well as other airlines. Tickets are reasonable with admission for 5- to 17-year-olds costing $10; adults $15; seniors $12.50; and children younger than 4 are free.

6. Experience Little Five Points

Little Five Points is one of the best areas for people watching. L5P is a funky neighborhood that features counter-culture shops, fantastic vintage clothing shops, some of the best dive bars in the city as well as two awesome record shops, Criminal Records and Wax ’N’ Facts. Both stores are like a lesson in music and you can see bins and bins of records from little-known to well-known musicians known for rock, jazz, blues, folk, acid rock and hip-hop. Frankly, you probably can find the music of anyone who ever put out a vinyl record. Criminal also has one of the best comics archives in the city. If you’re looking for those hard-to-find albums by Tony Danza, Scott Baio or Chuck Norris, don’t worry, one of these stores probably has them.

7. Brewery Tours

Brewery tours are a fun activity for the over-21 crowd, and Atlanta’s craft brewery scene is flourishing and growing fast. Some of the breweries that give tours include SweetWater, Second Self Beer Co., Orpheus Brewing, Red Hare Brewing Co. and Money Night Brewing. Most cost between $8 and $15, which includes about five samples as well as a branded souvenir glass.

8. Shop, Dine and Play

Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market are renovated buildings that feature food halls with local and national restaurants, great shopping and people watching. Ponce City Market’s roof has a variety of activities, including Skyline Park with games such a minigolf, Skyline Slides, a Heege Tower and games of skill. Krog has market stalls that sell produce, goods and prepared foods along with restaurants. Zagat named it one of the top 11 must-visit food halls in the United States.

9. The Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts is a cultural treasure both adults and children will love. Visitors can choose a museum-only or all-inclusive ticket, which includes museum entry, a Family Series show and a Create-A- Puppet Workshop. The museum includes the Jim Henson Collection, an interactive exhibition that follows the Sesame Street master throughout his career, the Global Collection that celebrates puppetry traditions from around the world, as well as special exhibits. There are puppet shows for children as well as those more appropriate for adults and teens. Here’s a great tip. Check out the Georgia Public Libraries’ Passport to Puppetry. Anyone with a valid library card from any library in Georgia will get free admission to the museum and 25-percent off the all-inclusive ticket.

10. Budget-Friendly Dining

Eat! Atlanta has some world-class restaurants, and it also is home to two of the best places to eat without busting your budget — Chick-fil-A and The Varsity. Chick-fil-A says it invented the chicken sandwich, and once you taste it, you’ll agree that it is in a category of its own. If you want to learn more about Chick-fil-A, go a little south of the city to the headquarters and take the Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour where you’ll enjoy an hour-long fun and storytelling experience about the history, culture and values of founder S. Truett Cathy. Half the fun of going to the Varsity is the restaurant itself. The world’s largest drive-in restaurant, the Varsity serves up hot dogs, hamburgers, fried pies and Coca-Cola — lots of it. You’ll dine with everyone from Georgia Tech students to office workers to politicians and world-famous musicians. When you leave you’ll hear its famous “What’ll ya have?” question ringing in your head.

11. Explore the Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is a former railway corridor around the core of the city, which is gradually being developed as a multi-use trail. Each day hundreds bike, run, stroll and walk their dogs along the BeltLine and maybe grab a bite to eat or sit and look at the artwork that’s along the way.

12. Atlanta Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Markets are a great place to get fresh produce, crafts, prepared foods and also get a neighborhood’s real feel and vibe. Luckily, Atlanta has a wealth of farmers markets including the East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, the Freedom Farmer’s markets (by the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library), as well as markets in Grant Park, Municipal (by Sweet Auburn), Morningside, Peachtree Road, Westside Provisions District, Piedmont Park and the Georgia Tech Farmer’s Market.

13. Visit the Historic Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery is a garden cemetery that is the final resting place of many of Atlanta’s settlers, builders and noted citizens such as golfer Bobby Jones, author Margaret Mitchell and Mayor Maynard Jackson. The cemetery offers a variety of tours including the Civil War, Women of Oakland, and Sights, Symbols and Stories of Oakland. Oakland also has special events such as the Tombstones & Tacos, Malts & Vaults, Run Like Hell 5K and Autumn Equinox Yoga.

14. SCAD FASH | Museum of Fashion + Film

The SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film celebrates fashion and film and offers diverse exhibitions, films, installations, performances and events on subjects as varied as textiles, jewelry, photography and film.

15. Michael C. Carlos Museum

The Michael C. Carlos Museum, on the campus of Emory University, collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets art and artifacts from antiquity to the present. It is well known for its collections of Egyptian, Near Eastern, Classical, ancient American, African and Asian art as well as important bodies of works on paper from the Renaissance to the present. Adults: $8; students, seniors and children: $6.

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and lifestyle stories for local and national publications. 

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