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Visit Atlanta on a Budget

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By AAA Travel Editors
July 23, 2020
Georgia’s capital city, Atlanta, is a vibrant destination ripe for exploration. If you’re on a budget, consider the green spaces, events and budget-friendly attractions that make Atlanta a fun and affordable place to go.
Atlanta cityscape, trees, view, Centennial Olympic park, ferries wheel
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Centennial Olympic Park

265 Park Ave. West N.W.
(404) 223-4412
Created for the 1996 Olympics, this public park remains a prime destination for things to do in Atlanta. On the west side, local attractions include CNN Studio Tours at One CNN Center and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, while northward you’ll find Georgia Aquarium, National Center for Civil and Human Rights and the World of Coca-Cola. (Note: All charge admission.) Within the park, don’t miss the remarkable splash pad known as the Fountain of Rings and its 251 water jets that are surrounded by flags of the Olympics host countries prior to 1996. Special events, including fireworks on the Fourth of July, often are free (and well attended).
The Georgia Capitol in Atlanta
iStockphoto.com/klausbalzano

The Georgia Capitol

206 Washington St.
(404) 463-4536
With a style reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol, Georgia’s governmental seat catches the eye with a dome adorned with gold leaf from northern Georgia. Although the General Assembly only is in session January to March, visitors are welcome to explore the grounds, and free guided tours are available by appointment. The Georgia State Museum offers general information and displays on architecture and state history. (Note: Visitors over age 17 must have a photo ID.)
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photos including Jimmy Carter at the Martin Lutheran King Jr National Historic Site
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Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

450 Auburn Ave. N.E.
(404) 331-5190
Enter from 450 Auburn Ave. N.E. to learn about civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and his longtime neighborhood, which features some of the best places to visit in Atlanta. (Obtain your complimentary tickets on arrival since reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis.) Historical places to go include the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthplace and Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, an integral part of his life and ministry. Finish your visit at The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a campus with a memorial plaza and crypt made of Georgia marble.
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Piedmont Park in Atlanta Georgia
iStockphoto.com/SeanPavonePhoto

Piedmont Park

400 Park Dr. N.E.
(404) 875-7275
Enjoying the outdoors is a breeze at this urban park and conservancy, where bicycling and strolling are popular pastimes, as are special events throughout the year. One favorite is Piedmont Park Green Market, which occurs 9-1 each Saturday, late March to late November, at 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue Gate. Expect local produce, handcrafted goods and a children's activity center. Free tours of the grounds also are offered from the market's information booth. In spring, visitors should consider attending the free Atlanta Jazz Festival to experience a variety of jazz performances, art and children’s activities.
Hot Dog with Fries
iStockphoto.com/adavino

The Varsity

61 North Ave. N.E.
(404) 881-1706
“What’ll ya have?” is the customary opening at this historic drive-in that’s known for being both affordable—ranging from $2 to $6—and iconic. It’s been a must-visit restaurant in Atlanta for more than 75 years, but luckily there are other locations if you can’t visit the original one. Visitors line up for hot dogs, aka plain or “naked” to “heavyweight,” with fries or “strings,” or “sideways” with onions on the side. A heavyweight and “F.O.” (frozen orange drink) should be part of this vacation experience.
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