Obviously, travel isn’t essential right now so if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, definitely stay home. But in terms of places that are safe to visit right now, Atlanta, Georgia is among them.
Atlanta and many of its surrounding communities have a mask mandate for public spaces and government buildings. All major attractions also require face coverings and have timed entry to control crowds. Most restaurants are taking measures like takeout meals, distanced tables, mask requirements, and temperature checks.
For more information about the precautions in place, visit Discover Atlanta‘s Coronavirus page. All information is accurate at the time of publication.
Art Museums and Public Art
The High Museum of Art is currently open to visitors with masks and timed tickets required. They are not currently offering coat check or stroller rentals. The cafe is also currently closed. The museum also has a wealth of virtual resources.
But you don’t have to enter a building to see art. Atlanta is full of murals, sculptures, and public artwork in nearly every corner of the city. Start on the Beltline trails for a free and socially distanced art experience.
Distanced Attractions and Experiences
Atlanta’s attractions are open with changes in place. The Georgia Aquarium requires masks and temperature scans upon entry. Tickets are timed to reduce capacity. The cafe is also using safety protocols.
Oakland Cemetery is one of Atlanta’s largest green spaces and the final resting place of the city’s most notable citizens. There’s plenty of room to roam and it’s free to visit. There are also QR code maps to help you get around. The visitors center and restroom are currently closed.
The air-conditioned pods of the SkyWheel Atlanta are pandemic-ready, limiting to one party per pod. Masks are required and enhanced cleaning measures are in place.
The experience at the World of Coca-Cola may look slightly different, but there’s still plenty to see. Masks and advanced tickets are required and they’ve recently opened a “Scent Discovery.”
Zoo Atlanta is Atlanta’s oldest attraction and has plenty of space to explore. Advanced tickets and masks are required. There are also additional hand sanitizing stations and indoor dining is unavailable. All transactions are cashless.
Drive-In Movies and Performances
This is also a great time to enjoy drive-in movies and experiences. Starlight Drive-In is Atlanta’s original, open since 1949. Tickets are $10 for adults and $1 for children and include two showings of new and old movies.
The Plaza Theatre, a popular arthouse cinema, also started offering drive-in movies at Dad’s Garage. They also reopened their indoor theatre. There’s also the Swan Drive-In in Blue Ridge.
Comedy troupes and musicians have also performed outdoors and virtually. Dad’s Garage has performed on Twitch. Big Night Out is one of the socially distanced concerts that popped up around Atlanta.
The Atlanta History Center is an incredible resource for visitors with a sprawling museum and historic home. Masks are required and hand sanitizing stations are available in the galleries. They also have virtual exhibits.
The Center for Civil and Human Rights educates visitors about the movement and equality struggles in recent years. Face coverings and temperature scans are required, along with advance ticket purchase.
The College Football Hall of Fame also requires temperature checks and masks for those looking to learn about the sport. Advance ticket purchases are also required.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is offering reduced and timed tickets for the indoor museum, where masks are required. There are also 75 acres of nature trails in the adjoining forest and “Museum at Home” offerings.
Trails and the Great Outdoors
Hit the trails of the Atlanta Beltline, a rails-to-trails path that winds all over the city. The Eastside trail is the most popular, so head to the Westside and Buckhead trails for smaller crowds.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden allows visitors to get up close with plant life in the heart of the city. Capacity is limited and masks are required. The splash pad and orchid house are closed and all transactions are cashless.
Running along the highway that cuts through Atlanta, Path 400 is one of the city’s lesser-known trails. Visitors can access it in Buckhead’s neighborhoods and continue past homes and restaurants before ending near Lindbergh.
Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s largest green space, sprawling across 185 acres and inspired by the design by the Olmsted Brothers. There’s plenty of room to have a picnic or go for a walk.
Virtual and Small-Group Tours
Unexpected Atlanta Tours, which includes Atlanta Food Walks, has pivoted during the pandemic to offer virtual tours, experience boxes, and small-group tours. Masks are required for in-person events.
ATL Cruzers operates Segway and electric golf cart tours of the city. Masks are requested and cart tours are open door for air circulation. Employees are also tested frequently.
While the company isn’t currently offering the in-person Chick-fil-a Backstage Tour, there is a free virtual tour of the company headquarters that dives into their history.
Where to Eat
Atlanta’s restaurant industry is in a precarious situation so it’s important to support these businesses. To-go is your best bet but if you are looking to dine at a restaurant, make sure that they require masks, offer QR menus, and cashless payments.
This is also a great time to try places you’ve never been to or to get special occasion meals from the city’s top restaurants. Some are pivoting to affordable meals while others have limited seatings for chef’s menus.
Busy Bee Cafe is known for its soul food, serving celebrities and college students. They’re offering to-go service, which is available for pre-order.
The Varsity, known as America’s largest drive-in, is back open for dining in its Atlanta location with plexiglass and separated tables. They’ve also transformed their carhop service into a drive-thru.
Nine Mile Station, located on the roof of Ponce City Market, and Ray’s on the River in Vinings has both outdoor and distanced indoor dining.
Fine dining restaurants like Empire State South are offering distanced and outdoor service along with to-go dishes. Staplehouse has a food market with meals and ingredients including wine.
Don’t forget about the breweries, many of which have outdoor dining. Wild Heaven on the West End has a morning coffee shop and taco menu in addition to the beer.
Where to Stay
The Stay Safe initiative has been adopted by many Atlanta hotels, including Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Omni, and Marriott branded properties.
Among them is the Candler Hotel, where I stayed, which required masks and limited elevators to single parties. Hotel Clermont is another favorite hotel with measures in place.
This is also a great time to rent an Airbnb, particularly one that is a separate building. Be sure to look for information in each listing about the cleaning protocols.
- 5 Reasons You Should Visit Atlanta Right Now (+ COVID Updates), 365 Atlanta Traveler
- A Complete List of Virtual Experiences in Georgia, Explore Georgia
- 20+ Best Things to Do in Atlanta in 2020 – All Are COVID-safe, Unexpected Atlanta
This post was created with assistance from Discover Atlanta.
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