Things to do on a Budget in Atlanta this Spring


Spring is one of the best times of year to visit Atlanta, with a huge amount of great – and affordable – things to see and do.

A print featured in the ‘And I Must Scream’ exhibition (Photo: Fabrice Monteiro, Prophecy #8, 2014, color inkjet print, © Fabrice Monteiro, courtesy MAGNIN-A Gallery, Paris.)

Thanks to the city’s southern location, spring usually reaches Atlanta earlier than many of its counterparts across the country. Blooming flowers, warm weather and a glut of top-class events see visitors descend here in their droves as the city emerges from its winter hibernation. If you’re coming to Atlanta this spring, here are 12 of the best events taking place to look out for.

Michael C. Carlos Museum

Located at Emory University, the Michael C. Carlos Museum houses the largest collection of ancient art in the Southeast with objects spanning ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Americas. Among their spring exhibitions is ‘And I Must Scream: The Monstrous Expression of our Global Crises’, a thought-provoking exploration of corruption and human rights violations, displacement, environmental destruction, and renewal. The exhibition features photographs, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and site-specific installations depicting grotesque, humanoid figures and forms from ten contemporary artists. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children aged 6-17.

571 South Kilgo Circle / Through 15 May 2022

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum

The pretty courtyard at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum (Photo: Shannon McGee via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Set amid 35 acres of pristinely landscaped grounds, the Carter Presidential Library is one of 13 presidential libraries in the United States administered by the National Archives. The award-winning museum features a handful of national travelling exhibits a year, while permanent exhibits highlight Carter’s distinguished life and career. Highly immersive and fun, visitors can step into an exact replica of the Oval Office, experience a day in the life of the president, see exquisite state gifts, and take a virtual trip on an interactive computer table. Adults are $12 and kids 16 and under go free.

441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway

Museum of Design Atlanta

(Photo: Courtesy of Delos)

Devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design, this museum plays host to a wide range of design-related exhibitions throughout the year. An eagerly awaited one currently on display is ‘Full Circle: Design Without End’, which explores how changing our approach to making things can help solve environmental degradation and climate change. It showcases the work of designers who are using and experimenting with regenerative approaches – which are centred around designing in ways that strengthen and replenish natural systems instead of depleting them – to realise works ranging from large-scale architectural projects to everyday products; and provide real-world actions that everyone can take to address the climate change challenge we are facing. Entrance to the museum is $10 for adults and kids up to 11 are free.

1315 Peachtree Street / Through 25 September 2022

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

One of the region’s leading contemporary art institutions, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center presents up to 10 annual exhibitions. Through to mid-May this year,  ‘This Is America: The Unsettling Contradictions in American Identity’ by American artist Genevieve Gaignard addresses the inequities of racial perceptions. Through a series of collages, installations and photographic portraiture, she strives to confront the sensitive issues of race, stereotypes, beauty standards, consumption, and identity.

535 Means Street / Through 15 May 2022

Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Crowds gathered on the grass at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival (Photo: The Zender Agenda via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

One of the highlights of spring in Atlanta, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is an annual celebration of the blooming of the city’s native dogwood trees. For more than seven decades, the festival has seen Piedmont Park filled with live music, arts and crafts, food booths and family-friendly activities. A juried art competition recognises artistic achievement across sculpture, painting, jewellery and photography, and there’s also a dedicated Kid’s Village featuring arts and crafts, face painting, rock climbing and huge inflatables. Entrance is free for all.

Piedmont Park, 1320 Monroe Drive / 8-10 April 2022

Fernbank Science Center

A museum, classroom, and woodland complex all in one, the Fernbank Science Center is one of Atlanta’s most popular attractions. Each year it puts on a range of events and exhibitions, and one of the best running through this spring is Knights In Armor’. Through more than 100 examples of European arms and armour, the exhibition tells the tale of the European knight from the medieval and Renaissance periods through the Medieval Revival of the 19th century, bringing the history and culture of knights to life while displaying the evolution, artistry and beauty of their arms and armour. Entrance is $24.95 for adults and $22.95 for kids aged between 3 and 12.

156 Heaton Park Drive / Through 15 May 2022

SweetWater 420 Fest 

A stage performance at the SweetWater 420 Fest (Photo: Shannon McGee via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sponsored by the Sweetwater Brewing Company who are headquartered in Atlanta, this fun-packed annual festival showcases a stellar line-up of musicians, comedians and other artists from around the country to celebrate beer, food, and fun. Held over three full days in the scenic environs of Centennial Olympic Park, more than 25 styles of SweetWater beers are available for imbibing. Other perpetual highlights include an artist market, a food court, and a 5k race. General admission starts at $89 per day.

Centennial Olympic Park, 265 Park Avenue / 29 April-1 May 2022

Neighbourhood art stroll

Atlanta has a vibrant arts scene and on the 2nd Friday of every month locals and visitors can take part in a free neighbourhood art stroll. Taking place in Castleberry Hill, Atlanta’s Historic & Arts District southwest of downtown, the self-guided tour invites you to visit diverse galleries and enjoy works by a range of local artists. Info sheets and maps are made available to help you navigate the area. As well as the art to explore, neighbourhood businesses and restaurants enter the spirit of things, opening their doors with a smile to those participating in the stroll.

2nd Friday of every month

Inman Park Spring Festival

Familiar looking costumes at Inman Park Spring Festival (Photo: NateTheApe21 via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Taking place in one of the city’s oldest and most distinctive neighbourhoods, this free-to-enter eponymous festival is a high-energy, eclectic event that draws Atlanta’s bohemian residents along with plenty of visitors keen to experience the magical occasion for themselves. Among the entertainment are the city’s biggest street market, a quirky parade, a juried art show, and live dance shows. There’s also a chance for revellers to take part in the Inman Park Tour of Homes which showcases the district’s stunning Victorian residences built in the late 1800s.

Inman Park / 23-24 April 2022

Piedmont Park

Take in picture-postcard springtime views of Midtown from Piedmont Park, one of the largest public green spaces in Atlanta. During spring, the park’s abundance of greenery takes on its characteristic seasonal appearance, with dormant plants beginning to grow again, new seedlings sprouting out of the ground, and birds building nests in the reinvigorated trees. There are plenty of playspaces for children of all ages, plus baseball, soccer and football fields, and public tennis courts, while strolling, biking, jogging or blading along the numerous PATH trails are also popular park activities.

1320 Monroe Drive 

By Paul Joseph