Things to do in North Atlanta

North Atlanta Guide to Attractions Outside The Perimeter

North Atlanta is a diverse and exciting region, located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta. With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful scenery, and vibrant community, there’s never a shortage of things to do and see in this bustling area. Whether you’re a local resident or a first-time visitor, you’ll find an endless array of local attractions and hidden gems to explore. From historic landmarks and museums to outdoor adventures and mouth-watering cuisine, this comprehensive guide will take you on a tour of some of the best spots in North Atlanta. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover the best that this amazing region has to offer.

Introduction to North Atlanta

This vibrant region of Georgia is rich in culture, history, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic experience.

North Atlanta is home to some of the most iconic attractions in the state, such as the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. However, what sets this region apart are the hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. From quaint towns like Roswell and Alpharetta to picturesque parks like Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Red Top Mountain State Park, North Atlanta has something for every type of traveler.

Northeast Georgia Mountains

Not only is North Atlanta a great place to visit, but it’s also a great place to live. The region is home to some of the best schools, hospitals, and businesses in the state, making it a desirable location for families and professionals alike. With its growing economy and diverse population, North Atlanta is a melting pot of cultures and ideas, making it a fascinating place to explore and immerse yourself in.

Best Local Attractions in North Atlanta

Do you have family and friends in Atlanta? Are you looking for a way to make them giggle? Well, here’s an idea – why not take them just outside the perimeter of the ATL and show them a good time? The locals call it the ‘OTP’!

Experience glorious forests and lakes that can’t be found inside that dreaded perimeter, savor moments from the past at historical sites or flex your mental muscles at numerous museums designed to stretch your kids’ brains. All these locations are sure to give your fam something to cackle about.

We’ve been visiting this area with our gang for over ten years, so we must be doing something right! So come on down, and if we run into one another, then you know what will happen – everyone will be laughing uproariously!

Tellus Science Museum

100 Tellus Dr, White, GA 30184

Get ready for the most outrageous and awe-inspiring learning experience of your life. Forget boring textbooks and tedious lectures – this is science as you’ve never seen it before.
As soon as you pull into the parking lot, prepare to be amazed. What’s that? An army of gigantic construction trucks with wheels taller than an adult? Yup, they’re here waiting for you. And don’t forget to grab tickets for the planetarium show – kids as young as three will be mesmerized!

Tellus Museum
image via

The permanent exhibits are so exciting that you won’t know where to start – Gemstones Gallery? Dinosaur Exhibit? Transportation Gallery? My Big Backyard?? Make sure to save time for some hands-on fun in the gem-grubbing and fossil-digging sections. But watch out – you might get a little wet!

So, if you’re ready to take your learning experience to the next level, check out Tellus Science Museum. It’ll blow your mind and leave you laughing your head off!

Southeastern Railway Museum

3595 Buford Hwy, Duluth, GA 30096

Welcome to the Southeast Railway Museum, where kids are encouraged to climb, explore, touch, and crawl like never before! This exciting museum is full of 35 acres of fun and features over 90 different vehicles, from antique Pullman cars to steam locomotives. Plus, there’s an entire collection of vintage buses, trams, fire trucks, and more that you can explore.

Southeastern Railway Museum
Southeastern Railway Museum; image via

Climb on board the amazing full-scale train with a pair of cabooses and a retired passenger car, and take a ride around the museum. It’s sure to be a blast! Or try out the miniature park train – just like stepping into the past – for even more fun.

Best of all? It won’t cost you an arm and a leg; just a few dollars is all it takes to get in on the action. So come on down to the Southeast Railway Museum and uncover your inner engineer today!

Amicalola Falls

418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Dr, Dawsonville, GA 30534

Adventure lovers and thrill-seekers rejoice – Amicalola Falls is ready and waiting to show you the time of your life! Start planning your overnight stay in the park now – or if you’re a little more spontaneous, make it an impromptu day trip. Either way, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi in all its glory!

Amicalola Falls
Amicalola Falls; image via

But don’t forget about the Lodge! Its floor-to-ceiling glass walls offer an unbeatable view of the mountains, so no matter what you do, make sure you take a peek. And if you’re up for a bit of learning as well as adventure, head over to the Visitors Center to pick up a map, check out the wildlife museum (complete with real live animals!), and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the tables.

Families are welcome too; no matter the age of your kids, they can still join in on the fun! If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, try the 8-mile hike from the Visitors Center to reach the top of the falls. If that’s a bit too far for your short legs, then drive to the mid-way point and only hike 425 steps to catch a stunning view of the Falls. And for those who really want to experience it all, get dropped off at the parking lot at the pinnacle and take a jaunt to look down over the waterfall in all its beauty and majesty. So what are you waiting for? Let nature be your guide – Amicalola Falls is here and ready to make your dreams come true!

Chattahoochee Nature Center

9135 Willeo Rd, Roswell, GA 30075

Hit the trails and explore a whole world of butterfly gardens and living wetlands. No matter how old or young you are, we’ve got five trails that are sure to fit any level of difficulty – even preschoolers can join in on the fun!

News at The Chattahoochee Nature Center
Chattahoochee Nature Center; image via

But if you really want to take things up a notch, take the boardwalk out into the marshlands of the Chattahoochee River. There’s nothing quite like searching for diverse plant and bug life or spotting an occasional kayaker on their expedition. Don’t forget to enjoy the many picnic areas, play areas, and gardens while you’re at it – and keep an eye out for any fascinating ruins!

At the Nature Exchange, kids can venture even deeper into learning about Georgia’s native plants and animals. With microscopes on hand, they can get up close and personal with rocks, leaves, insects… the list goes on! While you’re at it, check out one of our favorite activities: the backpack program! Free of charge, visitors can borrow a themed pack full of ideas for exploring the center. For example, the “bird-watching” backpack includes binoculars, a bird song recorder, cards with bird identification info, coloring sheets – and more goodies!

Once you’ve finished up at the Nature Center, why not take a stroll through Historic Roswell? Kids will love noshing on deep-fried pickle chips at Fickle Pickle, and parents can follow up with a trip to Morgan Falls playground – complete with additional trails and some of the best views of the Chattahoochee River. Have fun out there!

Georgia Aquarium

225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

This is in the loop, but we have to mention one of the most popular attractions. The Georgia Aquarium, is home to thousands of marine animals including whales, dolphins, sea otters, and penguins. Visitors can enjoy unique experiences like swimming with whale sharks or interacting with beluga whales. The aquarium also features a 4D theater and an underwater tunnel where you can get a close-up view of the marine life.

Atlanta Georgia Aquarium Whale Sharks

World of Coca-Cola

OK, this isn’t going outside the loop, but it’s nothing! Another great attraction in North Atlanta is the World of Coca-Cola, where you can learn about the history and legacy of the world-famous soft drink. The museum features interactive exhibits, a tasting room where you can sample different flavors of Coke from around the world, and a bottling line where you can see how the drink is made.

World of Coca-Cola Museum Atlanta

Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

For history buffs, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is a must-visit. Here you can learn about the life and legacy of one of America’s most influential civil rights leaders. The site includes King’s birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he preached, and the King Center which features exhibits and archives related to his life.

Other popular attractions in Atlanta include the Atlanta History Center, the High Museum of Art, and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. No matter what your interests may be, North Atlanta has something for everyone to enjoy and explore.

Secret Spots in North Atlanta

While North Atlanta offers many popular attractions and sights, there are also hidden gems and secret spots waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known places can provide a unique and special experience for visitors and residents alike.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

For example, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a stunning natural area that spans over 48 miles. It’s a beautiful place to go for a hike, have a picnic, or even go kayaking. The park features numerous trails and scenic overlooks that allow visitors to take in the beauty of the river and the surrounding forests.

Smith Plantation

935 Alpharetta Street, Roswell, GA 30075

Another hidden gem is the Smith Plantation, located in historic Roswell. This historic home is a beautifully preserved example of antebellum architecture and offers guided tours that give visitors insight into life in the 1800s. The house is furnished with original period pieces, and the gardens are a beautiful place to stroll and relax.

Smith Plantation
Smith Plantation; image via


For a unique shopping experience, head over to Avalon in Alpharetta. This outdoor shopping center has a variety of high-end shops and restaurants, as well as a beautiful central park area that’s perfect for people-watching and relaxing.

Explore North Atlanta’s Best Hiking Trails

North Atlanta has a plethora of hiking trails that are perfect for all ages and abilities. From easy strolls to challenging hikes, you can find a trail that fits your hiking level. One of the most popular trails in North Atlanta is the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. It’s a 48-mile park that offers hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing spots, and even paddling on the Chattahoochee River. The park has nine units, each with its own unique landscape, flora, and fauna.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr, Kennesaw, GA 30152

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, you can head to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. The park has over 18 miles of hiking trails that offer stunning views of the city. The hike up to the top of the mountain is a bit challenging, but the views from the top are well worth it.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park; image via

Stone Mountain Park

Another great hiking spot is Stone Mountain Park. It’s the largest exposed granite dome in North America and offers a variety of hiking trails for all levels. The 5-mile trail to the top of the mountain is a popular one that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Atlanta Stone Mountain Park

Big Creek Greenway

For those who want to explore North Atlanta nature, the Big Creek Greenway is a paved trail that runs along Big Creek, offering a scenic and peaceful walk or bike ride. The trail is 8 miles long and is perfect for those who want to enjoy the beauty of nature without the ruggedness of traditional hiking trails.

Experience North Atlanta’s culinary scene

North Atlanta boasts a diverse culinary scene that caters to every palate, with a wide range of cuisines on offer. From farm-to-table restaurants that serve locally sourced ingredients to international eateries that offer exotic flavors, there is something for every food lover in North Atlanta.

One of the must-visit places is Buford Highway, which is famously known as the “International Corridor” of Atlanta. It features a range of international restaurants that offer authentic cuisine from different countries, including Vietnamese, Korean, Mexican, Chinese, and many more.

Canoe Restaurant

4199 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30339

For those who are looking for a fine-dining experience, there are plenty of options available. The Canoe Restaurant, located on the Chattahoochee River, offers a unique dining experience with breathtaking views of the river and an extensive menu that includes fresh seafood, steaks, and locally grown produce.

Atlanta Canoe Restaurant
Canoe Restaurant; image via

If you are a fan of craft beer, then you’ll be happy to know that North Atlanta has a thriving craft beer scene. There are several breweries and taprooms in the area that offer a range of craft beers and delicious pub food.

For those with a sweet tooth, there are plenty of dessert options available as well. From artisanal ice cream shops to bakeries that offer fresh pastries and cakes, there is something for every dessert lover.

Top local breweries and bars in North Atlanta

North Atlanta is home to some of the best breweries and bars in the state of Georgia. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking for a fun night out, there’s a spot for everyone in this vibrant community.

Variant Brewing Company

66 Norcross St, Roswell, GA 30075

One of the top breweries in the area is Variant Brewing Company. Located in Roswell, Variant offers a variety of unique and flavorful beers, including their award-winning “In Bloom” sour ale. The brewery also hosts events throughout the year, such as live music and trivia nights, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative

6640 Town Square, Alpharetta, GA 30005

Another must-visit brewery in North Atlanta is Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative. With locations in Cumming and Alpharetta, this brewery offers a range of craft beers that are brewed in-house. In addition to its tasty brews, Cherry Street also has a full-service restaurant with a menu that pairs perfectly with its beers.

Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative
Cherry Street Brewing Alpheretta; aige via cherrystreetbrewing

The Painted Pin

If you’re looking for a lively bar scene, head to the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta and check out The Painted Pin. This upscale bowling alley and bar offer a unique experience that combines great drinks, delicious food, and a fun atmosphere. You’ll find classic cocktails, craft beers, and a rotating selection of local brews on tap.

The Nest Cafe

For a more laid-back vibe, visit The Nest Cafe in Kennesaw. This cozy cafe and bar is known for its welcoming atmosphere and live music performances. They also have a great selection of beer and wine, along with tasty snacks like charcuterie boards and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Art and Culture in North Atlanta

North Atlanta is home to a thriving arts and culture scene that offers visitors a range of experiences. From world-class museums to local art galleries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

High Museum of Art

The High Museum of Art is a must-visit for any art lover. Located in the heart of Midtown, it boasts an impressive collection of American art, decorative arts, and photography. The museum also hosts a range of exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the work of both established and up-and-coming artists.

High Museum of Art

Spruill Gallery

For those looking for a more intimate art experience, the Spruill Gallery is a hidden gem that’s worth seeking out. This local gallery features a rotating collection of contemporary art, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works.

Alliance Theatre

1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

If you’re interested in performing arts, the Alliance Theatre is a must-visit destination. Located in the Woodruff Arts Center, this theater is known for its innovative productions and commitment to showcasing new works. It’s also a great place to catch a performance by local actors and dancers.

Atlanta History Center

130 W Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

The cultural scene in North Atlanta is not just limited to art and theater. The Atlanta History Center is a fascinating museum that explores the rich history of the city and the state of Georgia. Visitors can wander through historic homes, view artifacts from the Civil War, and learn about the city’s pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Family-friendly activities in North Atlanta

North Atlanta is a great destination for families looking for fun-filled activities for adults and kids alike. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, or simply want to spend quality time with your loved ones, North Atlanta has something for everyone.

Outdoor adventures

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of parks and natural attractions to explore. Take a hike at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, where you can enjoy scenic views, fishing, and kayaking. Or head to Stone Mountain Park, where you can hike the trails, take in the stunning views from the top of the mountain, and enjoy the park’s many family-friendly attractions.

Georgia Appalachian Trail Hiking

Cultural experiences

For those interested in history and culture, North Atlanta offers a variety of museums and historic sites. The Atlanta History Center is a must-visit attraction, where you can learn about the city’s history and culture through a variety of interactive exhibits and programs. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is another popular destination, where you can explore the life and legacy of one of America’s most inspirational leaders.

Family-friendly activities

If you’re looking for family-friendly activities that are both entertaining and educational, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is a great option. This interactive museum features hands-on exhibits and programs that teach children about science, art, and culture in a fun and engaging way. And for animal lovers, the Georgia Aquarium is a must-see attraction, where you can get up close and personal with a variety of marine life from around the world.

Shopping and Entertainment Options in North Atlanta

North Atlanta offers a wide variety of shopping and entertainment options for locals and visitors alike. From high-end shopping malls to trendy boutiques, there is something for everyone in this bustling area.

Lenox Square Mall

For those who love luxury shopping, the upscale Lenox Square Mall in Buckhead is a must-visit destination. With over 250 stores, including designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Prada, Lenox Square is a shopper’s paradise. Nearby, the Phipps Plaza Mall offers even more high-end shopping options, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co.

Roswell, GA

If you are looking for a more unique shopping experience, then head to the charming city of Roswell. Here, you will find a variety of local boutiques and antique stores, perfect for finding one-of-a-kind treasures.

For a fun day out with the family, head to the Andretti Indoor Karting and Games in Roswell. This indoor entertainment complex offers a variety of activities, including go-karting, arcade games, and bowling.

Alpharetta, GA

When it comes to entertainment, North Atlanta has plenty to offer. Catch a movie at one of the many state-of-the-art theaters, such as the Regal Cinemas at Avalon in Alpharetta. For music lovers, the Ameris Bank Amphitheatre in Alpharetta hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the year.

Final Thoughts on Discovering North Atlanta

North Atlanta is a gem waiting to be discovered. With its plethora of attractions, hidden gems, and unique experiences, the region is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the best of the South. From the stunning natural beauty of Chattahoochee River to the vibrant art scene in Roswell, there’s something for everyone in North Atlanta.

Whether you’re a foodie looking to indulge in Southern cuisine or a history buff eager to learn about the region’s rich past, North Atlanta has it all. The warm hospitality of its people, the stunning landscapes, and the unique local culture make it a destination that should be on everyone’s travel list.

As you plan your trip to North Atlanta, make sure to take the time to explore the hidden gems that make the region so special. Whether it’s a charming coffee shop or a quiet park tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, these hidden gems offer a glimpse into the heart of North Atlanta.

We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive guide to the best local attractions and hidden gems of North Atlanta. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, we believe that our list of places to explore will help you discover new and exciting locations that you may not have known about before. From museums and parks to restaurants and shops, North Atlanta has something for everyone. So, grab a friend, family member, or significant other and explore all that North Atlanta has to offer. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed!