Experience Atlanta Like a Local Family

Home to the busiest airport in the United States, Atlanta is a top travel destination for millennials. Rich in history, food culture, and music—we’ve enlisted the expert advice of locals to help you make the most of your time in “Hotlanta” as the locals call it!

Local parents share their favorite Atlanta hotspots and attractions for little ones. From trails, to trains, to theaters—check out how Atlanta families like to experience this vibrant city.

Get outside!

Atlanta-- Stone Mountain State Park

If you’re familiar with Atlanta, you’ll understand what people mean when they say “inside the perimeter” or “outside the perimeter.” For the uninitiated, there’s a 60-plus-mile stretch of Interstate 285 that encircles the city of Atlanta. Everything within that circle is inside the perimeter (ITP). Everything else is outside the perimeter (OTP).

For OTP excursions, Atlanta mother Dr. Katy Huie Harrison recommends these three trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area to keep families active while enjoying beautiful scenery: Vickery Creek Trail (Roswell), Sope Creek Trail (Marietta), and Cochran Shoals Trail (Sandy Springs).

Atlanta BabyQuip Quality Provider Bethany Baker and her family likes to venture OTP to explore the community squares. ”Marietta Square has the biggest, best farmers’ market on the weekends, a beautiful fountain and play area, and really great food and shops all along the square. They also have fun festivals there all the time.”

Unique little spots for the little ones.

child playing at buddy's indoor playhouse in atlanta
Image courtesy of Katy Huie Harrison

Every city has them, those unassuming little gems that only locals know about. They don’t make TripAdvisor top ten lists, so how do visitors find them? Dr. Katy Huie Harrison shared this recommendation with us, “My favorite hidden gem for the smallest littles is Buddy’s Indoor Playhouse, a playspace tucked away in the suburb of Smyrna that’s specifically geared for children under the age of seven.”

Another uniquely Atlanta spot for the kiddos is Intown Tumbling. This yoga studio just for kids comes highly recommended by Aaronica of @thecrunchymommy and offers classes and programs for infants to teens.

For choo-choo fanatics.

mytwodads at MARTA in atlanta
Image courtesy of Doug Abbott

The history of Atlanta is intertwined with that of railroads on the Southern Atlantic Seaboard. The present-day city center was chosen in 1837 as the southern terminus for a line that would run 120 miles north to Chattanooga.

If you have a train-obsessed little one, you’ll appreciate this weekly tradition from Rod and Doug of @mytwodads. “We take part in a somewhat unique ritual every Friday. That is to say, unique by Atlanta standards. We drive to the MARTA train station closest to us and take the train to downtown, midtown, or Buckhead and walk to dinner. Jackson (our son) loves trains and so looks forward to our Friday night train rides.”

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For the foodies.

happy girl eating in atlanta

Atlanta BabyQuip Quality Provider Bethany Baker confesses, “My daughter asks for Revolution Doughnuts and Yeah! Burger everyday!” For farm-to-table enthusiasts, there’s the aptly named Farm Burger where the lil farmers menu includes a grassfed lil cheeseburger and grassfed beef hot dog. Miss Gogi offers diners of all ages a family-style Korean Barbeque experience. For BBQ lovers, B’s Cracklin BBQ is one of The 10 Best Barbecue Restaurants in Atlanta by Atlanta Magazine. AND it is on Southern Living Magazine’s 2018 roundup of The South’s Top 50 BBQ Joints. Bethany rightly concludes, “foodies do well here.”

For adults and the kiddos they love.

botanical garden in atlanta

A recent blog post by Undefining Motherhood founder Dr. Katy Huie Harrison grabbed our attention with this confession: “I think places made for children are their own special level of hell.” We can relate! Whether it’s the bright lights or high pitched screams of excitement and anger, sometimes parents just want a kid-friendly place that’s not exploding with primary colors and blaring nursery rhymes.

Katy reassures us that “Atlanta is full of fun spaces for little ones that don’t require the overwhelming stimulation of ‘places made for kids’.  Stroll along the BeltLine and stop anywhere that catches your fancy. Enjoy a play day in Piedmont Park or wander through the Botanical Gardens. The Skyline Park atop Ponce City Market is a fan favorite for our whole family.”

Main attractions.

georgia aquarium in atlanta
Image courtesy of Katy Huie Harrison

There are a few well-known Atlanta spots we just have to highlight here, because they were recommended by numerous locals. A homeschooling mama of three, Aaronica of @thecrunchymommy likes places that engage kids of different ages. She says, “We love to go to the Children’s Museum and let the kids really run free. There’s spaces at the museum specific to toddlers and I love that. Even the smallest littles enjoy the renowned Georgia Aquarium and the toddler exhibits at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.”

BabyQuip QP Bethany shares that “Woodruff Arts Center has the BEST programs for kids”. The Theater for the Very Young and the High Museum of Art—especially Toddler Thursdays—both make her best-of list.

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