What's summer without ice cream? This year is the Ninth annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival.

The AJC Peachtree Road Race is in its 50th year. (📷 Joleen Pete)

You'll want to visit one of Atlanta's best playgrounds. (📷 Joleen Pete)

20 Totally Free Things to Do This Summer in Atlanta

Ready for some summer fun in Atlanta? From music festivals and movie nights to fun in the park, there are plenty of cool things to do that don’t cost a thing. Here are 20 totally free things to do in Atlanta this summer.

1. Atlanta Jazz Festival

While the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival offers musical events all month during May, it culminates at the free Atlanta Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy two days of jazz in addition to vendors selling arts & crafts, food, beverages, music and more. May 25 and 26

2. Atlanta Caribbean Carnival

The Atlanta Caribbean Carnival provides families with an opportunity to understand and appreciate the Caribbean culture. Join in for music, dancing, food, children’s activities and more. May 24 and 25

3. Food Truck Friday

Every Friday from May through August, hang out in Downtown Duluth for Fridays-N-Duluth Presents Food Truck Friday, between 6 and 9 p.m. While you have to pay for your favorite food truck offerings, the entertainment and fun are free. 

4. Decatur Arts Festival

More than 150 quality artists and craftspeople showcase their wares in downtown Decatur during the Decatur Arts Festival. In addition there is a bigger and better entertainment stage featuring a variety of live entertainment. Shade, refreshments and fun are all available. May 24 and 25

5. Virginia Highland Summerfest

You know summer is coming when the Virginia Highland Summerfest comes around. The 35th annual event offers 250 fine artists, live music, KidsFest and lots of great food vendors. In addition there is a Peachtree Road Race-qualifying 5K run. June 1 and 2

6. Juneteenth Atlanta Pride & Music Festival

The Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival is a three-day celebration of black history, complete with music and a parade. Also on tap are shopping local black-owned business, clubs, vendors, marching bands, games and fashion shows. June 14 and 15

7. Sandy Springs Lantern Parade

Don’t miss this unique “Take it to the Rover” themed Sandy Springs Lantern Parade, featuring colorful lanterns lighting up the night and the river, along the route from Steel Canyon Golf Club to Morgan Falls Overlook Park. June 15 at 7:30 p.m.

8. AJC Peachtree Road Race

Head on down to watch the 50th Annual AJC Peachtree Road Race. Planners hope that this year’s race brings runners from every state. It’s fun, whether you’re running, walking or watching. July 4

9. Back to School Bubblepalooza

Kids love joining in the fun at Duluth Town Green for the Back-to-School Bubblepalooza. There are two hours of bubbles for the kids to enjoy, large games, a DJ for entertainment and more. July 24

10. Atlanta Ice Cream Festival

I scream, you scream, everyone loves ice cream, or gelato or Fro yo-all of which can be found at the annual Atlanta Ice Cream Festival at Piedmont Park. In addition to plenty of ice cream there are activities, games, wellness screenings and more. July 27 

11. Movies in the District

See free movies all summer long at Atlantic Station. Movies are held in a new location this year on District Avenue. Park near stairwell 11 (green).  Parking is free for the first two hours. Movies begin at dusk, typically around 8:30 p.m. Some seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs. Friendly dogs are welcome. Visit the website for dates and movies being screened.

12. Summer Arts Festival

It’s two days of fun focused on visual arts and family at the Piedmont Park Summer Arts Festival. In addition to up to 250 highly rated artists, the festival features a kids’ area, food vendors, musicians, art demos and more. Aug. 17 and 18

13. The Maker’s Market

Atlantic Station is hosting a fabulous Maker’s Market on District Avenue every weekend this summer. Get out and explore the unique offerings from craftspeople and local entrepreneurs as they offer up their wares. Shop soaps, couture, handmade jewelry, art, crafts, gourmet teas, candles, sweet treats and more. Vendors vary from weekend to weekend and offer a variety of merchandise not often found in shops. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays noon to 7 p.m, all summer

14. Free Yoga in Woodruff Park

Free yoga in Woodruff Park is a great way to kick start the weekend by getting out on Saturday mornings to stretch and enjoy nature. Bring your mat and water bottle and join others for free all-level vinyasa flow classes. RSVP online; ongoing through Nov.

15. Atlanta Street Art Tour

Love art? Love getting outside? The Self-Guided Atlanta Street Art Walking Tours are a great way to do both. Get one (or all) of the interactive, free online maps to unique and cool murals by local and international artists. It’s a great way to spend time out and about, explore new neighborhoods and snap some Instagram-worthy selfies and pics.

16. Scavenger Hunt at Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park is 185-acres of outdoor play space nestled in Midtown Atlanta, making it a convenient location to get the entire family outside. It has something for everyone in the family from playgrounds to bike trails, skating to fishing (you’ll need a fishing license). Kids love having a scavenger hunt or participating in other activities. Be sure to check out the Piedmont Park website for lots of resources and events.

17. Visit the Best Atlanta Playgrounds

Let’s face it, when the kids are home from school, they can drive us nuts. Fortunately the Atlanta area has a ton of great playgrounds. Here’s a list of the best playgrounds in Atlanta.

18. Free Admission Days at the High

If you’re like us, you find a ton of value in exposing kids of all ages to art. The High Museum makes it super easy and affordable to do that by offering free admission on the second Sunday of each month from noon to 5 p.m.

19. Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

Soak in artistic vibes in the art-centric neighborhood of Castleberry Hill every second Friday, from 7 to 10 p.m. during the Castleberry Hill Art Stroll. Galleries open their doors and artists fill the streets to showcase their work. You may even get lucky and experience one of Atlanta Metal Works’ iron pours, resulting in an explosion of molten fireworks.

20. Explore the Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is a great option for summer fun for kids, teens and adults alike. There is something to do for everyone. Feel like getting some exercise? Walk, bike or skate the trails. Visit any of the parks or splash pads off the trail. Take a stroll over to Ponce City Market for a little shopping and dining. Check out and photograph unique street art. Take in the view.

For more things to do this summer, check out the Atlanta Calendar of Events

Joleen Pete lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their son. On the weekends they enjoy going into the city for family fun and exploration. Joleen is the family travel and lifestyle blogger behind Love, Joleen.

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