If you are travelling to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – more commonly known as simply Hartsfield Airport – you certainly won’t be alone. This is because the airport is the busiest in the world in terms of total passengers, meaning that there are loads of people looking for something to do on their layover in Atlanta every single day. In fact, “loads of people” doesn’t do the airport justice, as it handles a gargantuan figure of 92 million passengers every year.
The exact location of the airport is about seven miles south of the city of Atlanta, and it is easily possible to get to the city thanks to the good transport links provided. Passengers on a layover in Atlanta can obviously use more traditional methods to reach the city, such as buses and taxis, but the most convenient is to use the train, as the airport has a station on the rapid transit system, known as MARTA to locals. This journey by MARTA to the center of Atlanta only takes a few minutes and is a good way to see some of the sights and sounds of this charismatic Southern city. Of course, as with most American airports, leaving the airport can often take a long time though, so you should leave at least three hours for this task.
If you are on a shorter layover in Atlanta and therefore don’t really have the chance to out of the airport, you will still find plenty to do. Hartsfield Airport has plenty of different places to relax and all types of people will find something to take their fancy here. There are restaurants ranging from haute-cuisine through to fast food, plenty of opportunities for shopping and even art exhibitions to browse. Do be warned though: the airport is very busy so finding a quiet place to relax can be an extremely challenging task when on an Atlanta layover!
Set in the center of Atlanta, you’ll find the world’s largest aquarium, which is perhaps an odd thing to find in a city not located on the coast. Regardless of this though, you won’t fail to be impressed by this tourist attraction though, which boasts 500 different species housed in 8 million gallons of tank space. You’ll find everything from massive Whale Sharks through to the tiniest and most exquisite Clown Fish, and you’ll even get the chance to get up close to the fearsome Great Hammerhead Shark.
When you are at the aquarium, it isn’t just a case of looking around though, as there are loads of interactive exhibits and special events are always occurring as well. You could even get the chance to dive with the Whale Sharks if you are lucky – don’t worry, they are completely harmless! There’s also a great 4D theatre housing some great shows, which will amaze adults and kids alike. There’s even a kid’s corner where the smaller members of your family can have fun and entertain themselves. After all this action, you can then refresh yourself at one of the restaurants on site, although don’t expect the best food around – burgers and fries are definitely on the menu though!
Getting to the Georgia Aquarium is simple once you are in the city, as it is located in the downtown area. This means that you can walk there from most other tourist destinations in the city or that, at most, it is a short cab journey away. Ticket prices are about $30 for adults and $25 for children, and the aquarium is open from 10am to 9pm. To avoid disappointment, it is best to book tickets online before you land for your Atlanta layover, and this can be done by visiting the Georgia Aquarium website.
If plants and flowers are more your thing, then a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens should be at the top of your list. This collection houses many weird and wonderful species to feast your eyes on, but the main attraction is the location itself, as you are able to relax and unwind after your long flight and potter around the gardens at your own pace. There is no better way to spend your Atlanta layover if you need to destress!
As well as the spectacular collection of flora, you’ll also be able to see a large collection of art from all parts of the world, interspersed with the plants as you walk round. There are also facilities for eating and drinking and the food is certainly better than you might expect, although it can be slightly pricey. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can taste some of the plants themselves and learn about edible plants and flowers with one of their experts.
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are located a short drive from the center of Atlanta and are best reached using a cab or hire car. Tickets cost $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children. Those under the age of 3 get in for free.
If you were to poll Americans to find out who they think is the most influential man of the Twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr. would probably come out in the top three, if not at the actual top. As this world famous civil rights leader was born in Atlanta, it is only right that he should be celebrated here, and for those interested in learning about his life when on an Atlanta layover, this historic site is the perfect place.
Before arriving, you should be prepared for the fact that it is an incredibly busy attraction, with over 500,000 people coming here every single year. It’s worth the crowds though, as you’ll be able to see his place of birth, the church that he spent his early life preaching in and the memorial itself. It’s a great place to educate both yourself and your children about the important role that this charismatic leader played in forming the America that we know today.
It is found close to the center of Atlanta and can be reached by bus or by hiring a cab, although the latter is the more comfortable and quicker method of transportation. It’s open from 10am-5pm in the winter and 9am-6pm in the summer and admission is completely free, making it a great choice for travellers on a small budget!
Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most recognizable brands and it is more than likely that you’ll have had a glass, bottle or can at some point on your journey. Although this day out might not be to everyone’s liking, the World of Coca-Cola is massive and will easily take up a whole day, as well as having plenty for both adults and children alike to do.
As you might expect, all of the exhibits and activities are based around this drink, but they have really managed to push the boat out in terms of originality. You can visit the museum and learn about the history of this drink, get closer to knowing the secrets of how it’s made and even serve yourself a drink from the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine – a machine that allows you to choose from over 100 different drinks!
We know that this might not be the most exciting of places for some, but we had to mention it as for others, it is an opportunity to learn about an integral part of American culture. Admission is $16 for adults and $12 for children, with those aged 2 and under getting in free.
Atlanta is an intriguing city with loads to see, but when you are on an Atlanta layover you might not think you have enough time to see everything. This problem can be solved by heading out on a planned tour, with the Atlanta Segway Tour being one of the most popular around. As an added bonus, you won’t have aching feet at the end either!
The Atlanta Segway Tour will show you sights such as the Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Park and the Woodruff Arts Center, and will provide many opportunities for photos. If you only have a day in this fascinating city, a tour such as this will be the best way to see all the main sights. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of zooming around on a Segway, there are more traditional walking or bus tours as well!