Atlanta, our closest “big” city, is only 3 easy highway hours away. Coined the “New York of the South,” Atlanta has a very dynamic, multi-cultural feel with beautiful homes and more than a handful of lovely public parks. If you haven’t been lately, there are certainly plenty of places to go see – Zoo Atlanta, High Museum, Ponce City Market, Coca-Cola Museum, Georgia Aquarium, and Centennial Olympic Park, to name just a few more notable destinations. There is also the pedestrian Eastside BeltLine Trail, perfect for strolling or hopping on a scooter (like the ones in downtown Knoxville), that gives you easy access to many attractions along the way.

But what about the more unique things to do in Atlanta? Your next roadtrip with friends or family could include some (or all!) of the following interesting things to do:

1. CENTER FOR PUPPETRY ARTS • 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th • Tuesday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)

From the ancient to the contemporary, puppets and their puppeteers, artists, and techniques fill this museum. Their Global Gallery holds the history and traditions of puppetry from different regions across the world. The Jim Henson Gallery explores the imaginative mind and influential legacy of the animator, inventor, filmmaker, screenwriter, and puppeteer – including puppets from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and more. A special exhibit through June 18 explores adaptations of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, for the stage and screen. Get a behind-the-scenes peek into the 2009 film to learn how the wild things were created and adapted on set. There is also a downloadable museum Scavenger Hunt!

2. ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN • 1345 Piedmont Avenue • Tuesday – Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5 pm)

The Garden is an ever-evolving destination where nature-inspired and fun-seeking families come together to feel human again. An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a unique Canopy Walk, and the picturesque Skyline Garden. With fountains and pools, overhead walkways, garden sculpture, meandering trails, tropical plant greenhouses, and Dale Chihuly glass works, the Botanical Garden is worth a look. Their website will even plan your path based on your time-limit specifications! Orchid Daze runs through April 9, and the world premiere of “Trolls: Save the Humans” featuring enormous, reclaimed material sculptures is through September 17. Expanding another 7 acres along the BeltLine, the plan is to be completed in time to welcome 2026 FIFA World Cup visitors.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME • 250 Marietta Street NW • Thursday – Monday 10 am to 5 pm

The fan journey begins in The Quad, where you register your All-Access Pass and see your helmet light up on the 3-story helmet wall. Be sure to check out the 150 year plus history that is showcased in the 3-story painting. At the Indoor Playing Field, get caught up in the emotions that players experience by running through the TouchStone Tunnel. Put yourself to the test at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Zone. Do you have a QB arm? Can you kick a 20 yard field goal? Their newest exhibit highlights the 2022 College Football Hall of fame inductees.

4. HARRY POTTER™: THE EXHIBITION • 200 Peachtree Building at 155 Carnegie Way NW • Daily 10:30 am to 5:30

Celebrating the iconic moments, characters, and beasts, Harry Potter™: The Exhibition is a groundbreaking touring exhibition that celebrates all things from the Harry Potter™ film series, Fantastic Beasts, and the Wizarding World. This unique in-depth exhibition delights visitors through powerful storytelling and innovative and interactive technology with authentic props and costumes. Choose your favorite Hogwarts™ house, wand, and Patronus to begin a personalized journey through this immersive experience: Plop down in Hagrid’s giant chair, squeeze into the Cupboard Under The Stairs, pot a Mandrake, and practice your Quidditch™ skills by throwing a Quaffle, all while learning behind-the-scenes filmmaking details. This unforgettable experience is an absolute must-see for any age Harry Potter fan!

5. THE KROG DISTRICT • 99-124 Krog St NE •

The Krog District is a mixed-use collection of properties and gathering spaces that runs through Atlanta’s Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward. With more than 20 food options and large communal tables, there is sure to be something for everyone in your party! Right off the BeltLine, there is shopping, treats, pampering, and gear available, as well as food offerings from pizza to ice cream. This redevelopment and re-use project has well-crafted merchandising and elevates the historic neighborhood, creating a thriving destination for locals and visitors. Even Southern Living magazine said this district was “primed to become one of Atlanta’s favorite hang-outs.”

6. OAKLAND CEMETERY • 248 Oakland Ave SE • Open daily dawn to

Historic Oakland Cemetery is rich in history, art, architecture, and local lore. An important cultural resource, it also serves as an island of tranquility in the heart of the city. Created in 1850, Oakland Cemetery is composed of several distinct areas: Jewish Flat with its closely spaced markers, Bell Tower Ridge with its impressive mausoleums and grand magnolias, and African American Grounds with its graceful grounds and vernacular headstones. Each of Oakland’s unique character areas speaks to the era in which it developed and of the communities buried there. Take a guided tour or a self-guided stroll through the monuments and beautiful spring blooms.

7. FERNBANK MUSEUM OF SCIENCE CENTER • 767 Clifton Road • Daily from 10 am to 5

Travel around the world and back in time to discover amazing places, ancient fossils, prehistoric cultures, constellations, and new science discoveries in their indoor and outdoor exhibits. Explore combustion, aerodynamics, plate tectonics, and more in Fantastic Forces, a new STEAM exhibit. “The Nature of Color” exhibit runs through May 7, using hands-on interactives to analyze how colors make us feel and are perceived across cultures, as well as how plants and animals use color to help them survive. Activities also highlight the science of rockets, tornadoes, earthquakes, liquefaction, lightning, planetary orbits, gravity, centripetal force, and more. Learning and exploring has never been more fun!

Atlanta also boasts many murals, public art, and the Tiny Doors Hunt. (Find one at the Botanical Garden!) As with most larger cities, hotels can be found just outside the city limits for a more reasonable price. More information on Atlanta can be found at And don’t forget to stop at IKEA and Buc-ee’s on your way home! Happy travels!