When you’re looking for things to do in Altanta with kids, the incredible Atlanta aquarium, Atlanta Zoo, and High Museum of Art come to mind. But you don’t have to look too hard to find free and cheap activities (even at our city’s most notable attractions), as well. Keep reading for our list of favorite affordable things to do with kids in the ATL.
1. Explore the ‘Hooch (or even shoot it…which is Atlanta speak for float down it) on one of the accessible trails and parks. Or rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and tubes to make a splash in its icy water.
2. Catch a free public tour of the Governor’s Mansion through November on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10-11:30 a.m., complete with docents stationed throughout the mansion who can explain what you’re looking at and answer questions.
3. Watch a $1 movie at Regal Movie Cinemas all summer long as part of their annual Summer Movie Express.
4. Visit a replica of Anne Frank’s room and view other items from her life at Atlanta’s Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945 museum, which is always free.
5. Stroll around an Atlanta-area Farmer’s Market (some are even year-round) and check out live music, chef demos, special kid zones, and more while you’re picking your produce for the week. Some of our favorites include Ponce City Farmer’s Market, the Green Market at Piedmont Park, and the Freedom Farmer’s Market at the Carter Center.
6. Pay a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site, which is managed by the National Parks Service and houses his burial place, boyhood home, and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he often preached. Entrance is free for all ages.
7. Enjoy free admission to The High on Second Sundays each month until 5 p.m., and check out family-friendly programming in addition to the latest exhibit.
Photo: Children’s Museum of Atlanta
8. Head to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s Fulton County Days, which give residents BOGO admission on the opening day of a new exhibit.
9. Foster an interest in finance at Atlanta’s Monetary Museum, where free self-led tours every weekday show the history of money, and you can watch a giant money-counting robot in action.
11. Nab free admission to Museum of Design Atlanta on the second Sundays of most months. Previously known as Family Free Day, the event has been renamed Design Club Day, and while admission and special programming are free, you must pre-register to attend.
12. Pack a picnic for Centennial Olympic Park, and plan on a run through the Fountain of Rings—formed in the shape of the Olympic rings symbol—if it’s hot outside.
13. Check out the Carlos Museum—one of Emory’s most interesting and accessible public collections—for free from 1-4 p.m. on select dates as part of the 100 Free Days promotion. Regularly $8 per adult, and free for kids 5 & under, you can also gain free admission through the Georgia Public Library Family Pass.
14. Pick up a Zoo Atlanta Library Pass with your library card for a family of four to gain free admission to the zoo once a year.
Photo: Erik Scheel via Pexels
16. Head to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market for local and international foods. While the food isn’t free, there’s no admission charge and your crew will love wandering through colorful rows of fresh fruits and vegetables—many exotic—smelling spices from around the globe, examining huge displays of seafood, and wondering at the bins of brightly colored flowers. Lunch, available for purchase, ranges from Greek to Italian, Asian to Alaskan.
17. Explore Piedmont Park‘s 189-acres, filled with playgrounds, paved paths, picnic areas, ponds, green spaces, and host to some of Atlanta’s best festivals and fairs (many of which, like the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival and the Atlanta Dogwood Arts Festival are free).
18. Learn about Atlanta’s history by paying a visit to the free Oakland Cemetery, where you’ll find the final resting place of Civil War soldiers, Margaret Mitchell, Bobby Jones, and other notable Atlantans. It’s also home to some fun events (but many require admission), such as Tunes from the Tombs, and a fall 5K run (spectators can enjoy checking out racers Halloween costumes for free).
19. Pack a picnic and head to one of Atlanta’s best playgrounds.
21. The Woodruff Arts Center, home to the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre, the Grammy Award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art, offers a spectacular day of playing music, interactive theater, kid-friendly games and crafts, instrument exploration, and more every Sunday from 1-4 p.m., and it’s completely free.
22. Spiff up your social media accounts with photos with the kids in front of Atlanta’s most epic murals.
23. Catch free movies in the park at Atlantic Station, Town Brookhaven, Bobby Dodd Stadium, The Battery, and other spots. Just don’t forget your bug spray and blanket!
24. Do some shopping with tots in tow (really) at Atlantic Station (beginning again in 2020) and Avalon, where they offer some variation of Tot Spots. With crafts, entertainment, and games (plus nearby special menus from participating restaurants), these are sure-bets for successful mornings.
Photo: blickpixel via Pixabay
25. Head to the BeltLine, where you can pick from loads of free fitness classes, including a free skateboard class, free family pick-up soccer games, stretch it out at a free Yoga class on Sunday evenings during warm weather, or explore Ponce City Market in between a walk, run, or bike ride on the BeltLine.
26. Bring your little artists to Atlanta Contemporary’s Contemporary Kids program—featuring hands-on activities for kids and their grownups.
27. Head to Smyrna for Food Truck Tuesdays through October at Taylor-Brawner Park from 5-9 p.m. Food is available for purchase, but the event is held adjacent to the playground and amphitheater, where live music is completely free. Or, mosey over to Blackburn Park in Brookhaven from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesdays through October 2 for food trucks, a beer and wine (for purchase) tent, live music, bounce house, and kids games. Admission is free.
Photo: Michael Stokes via Flickr
28. Hit the Silver Comet Trail‘s paved stretch of 61.5 non-motorized miles, beginning in Smyna and ending at the Georgia-Alabama state line.
29. Join King of Pops in a free All-Ages Run Club on Tuesday evenings. The group meets by the King of Pops walk-up window on Elizabeth Street in Inman Park, accessible from the Beltline, the Freedom Trail, and city streets. Each week, the run club will take on a different trail, through October 29, 2019.
30. Head to Fernbank Science Center (not to be confused with the admission-charging Fernbank Muesum of Natural Science) for talks, documentaries, and planetarium shows. The only thing you’ll pay for is the planetarium shows, which frequently run specials on Groupon and other discount sites.
Photo: Terren in Virginia via Flickr
31. For discounted rates to the Georgia Aquarium, check out a Me & Mommy time, which gives you one adult general admission ticket plus up to four FREE admissions for children age five and under. The deal is good on weekdays only, Monday through Thursday. Keep an eye out for its return during the fall. Or, head to the aquarium after 4 p.m. for a 30% discount off regular ticket prices. And if it’s your birthday and you’re a Georgia resident, you get in completely free (with a valid ID).
32. If you’re planning to visit multiple attractions in Atlanta, the Atlanta CityPASS can help you save about 40% on admission to five Atlanta-area attraction: The Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the Inside CNN Studio Tour, Zoo Atlanta OR the Center for Civil & Human Rights, and Fernbank Museum of Natural History OR the College Football Hall of Fame. It’s valid for nine days, so you can feasibly hit all of these favorite spots for an affordable price over two weekends and the week in between.
All photos by S. Massey unless noted.