Travelers often believe trips to a big city require a big budget, but Atlanta proves that notion wrong. Atlanta is an ideal destination to enjoy a trip without breaking the bank, whether experiencing the city’s history, tasting its unique culinary scene or taking in the sights.
Taking in the history and sights
While visiting a city’s top attractions often comes with a hefty price tag, several of Atlanta’s museums and exhibits are free to see. Touring Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site allows visitors to hear a sermon in Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, walk through King’s birth home and see the famed civil rights leader’s final resting place. Tours of the birth home are first come, first serve, so it is recommended to be there at 9 a.m.
For a peek into Atlanta’s past, a stroll through Historic Oakland Cemetery introduces guests to some of the city’s famed residents including golfer Bobby Jones, author Margaret Mitchell and Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor. For just $5, visitors receive a self-guided tour map with marked, must-see spots of the gardens and grounds.
Admission to Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is always free, unlike other museums in large cities. The center’s exhibits rotate seasonally, so there is something new to see during each visit. Cocktail parties, children’s events and film screenings round out Atlanta Contemporary Art Center’s offerings.
Dining on a dime
Experiencing Atlanta’s staple eateries won’t require stressing over the bill. The world’s largest drive-in and Atlanta’s own, The Varsity, serves classic chili cheeseburgers, slaw dogs and the famous Frosted Orange, all for less than $5.
Sublime Doughnuts offers sweet deals and an affordable, yet tasty breakfast. Locals recommend the fresh strawberries and cream, aptly named A-town mocha and unique salt and vinegar treats.
Smaller bites at Taqueria del Sol and Victory Sandwich Bar give visitors the option to taste several menu offerings for just a few dollars each. Must tries at Taqueria del Sol include the Memphis and fried chicken tacos, while Victory is popular for its Tea Bird spicy sandwich and Han Cholo slider.
Ticket to ride
Getting around Atlanta is both budget-friendly and convenient. The city’s rapid area transit system, MARTA, connects several of Atlanta’s major neighborhoods directly to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Affordable one-trip tickets and day passes quickly link visitors to world-class attractions in Downtown, the heart of the arts in Midtown or high-end shopping in Buckhead.
To explore Downtown closely, trips on Atlanta Streetcar weave through the city’s Centennial Park District, Sweet Auburn Historic District and Edgewood Avenue, each containing spots of interest, restaurants and Instagram-worthy street art. A two-hour trip on the streetcar is $1.