Atlanta, Georgia is where the Old South meets the New South. Antebellum mansions may be few and far between but there are plenty of historical buildings standing just streets away from post-modern skyscrapers. With more than 5 and a half million people calling the Atlanta metro area home and millions of travelers booking flights to Atlanta every year, the city maintains its “homey”, small-town Southern hospitality and charm with all the glamour and sophistication of an international city that you’d expect.
One of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S., Atlanta has several claims to fame. It is home to the world’s busiest airport in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL); one of the world’s largest aquariums in the Georgia Aquarium; the world’s largest open air, roadside fruit and vegetable stand; the oldest professional dance company in the United States in the Atlanta Ballet); and it is also the birthplace of the late Martin Luther King Jr.
Bring a tour guide with you on your Atlanta flight and read up on the city’s top tourist destinations before you arrive. Popular attractions include the World of Coca-Cola, Centennial Olympic Park (originally built for the Summer Olympics in 1996), and the CNN Center. Atlanta also has a rich history that is lost on many first-time visitors. The Road to Tara Museum, where Margaret Mitchell handed over the manuscript of Gone with the Wind to her publisher, draws many visitors each year as does the Sweet Auburn Historic District which reflects the history and achievements of Atlanta’s African Americans. You’ll also want to be sure to visit the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site which consists of several buildings including the Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was a pastor, and his gravesite.
Also, don’t forget to bring your appetite. Many establishments serve a traditional Southern breakfast of biscuits with gravy, eggs, grits, and meat while there are plenty of restaurants serving cuisines from around the world. The nightlife scene is also bustling in downtown Atlanta if you feel like dancing the night away to today’s hottest tunes. If sports happen to be more your thing, you can take in a Braves game at the ballpark or a game of pigskin featuring the hometown Falcons. Heck, even hockey has made its way to Atlanta, so you’d be remiss not to catch a Thrashers contest.
Book a cheap flight to Atlanta, the economic and cultural capital of the American South, and experience this great city for yourself. There is so much to see and do that you may end up sticking around longer than you planned for. No matter how long you are planning to stay in Atlanta, here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy the smoothest possible trip.
It isn’t called “Hotlanta” for nothing. Tourists booking flights to Atlanta during the summer months should be prepared for stifling hot and humid weather. The good news is that many travelers opt to visit Atlanta during cooler months, so you’re likely to find cheap plane tickets to Atlanta along with cheap hotels. Spring and fall are the best times to travel to Atlanta if you are concerned about the humid summer weather, as the temps are a bit more comfortable for sightseeing. Be forewarned, however, that thousands of college students gather for the start of a new school year in late August. Finding a hotel room can be tough during this time. Winter can be quite chilly, and the city occasionally experiences some light snowfall, though the average annual snowfall for the past few decades is less than 3 inches. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year.
People visit Atlanta all year round although March to May and September to November are the busiest in terms of tourism. The weather is dry and hot, but it’s not too humid that it can become uncomfortable. Finding cheap flights to Atlanta around this period can be difficult and you’ll need to book your flight tickets in advance for any chance of saving money. August is a very busy month due to thousands of college students arriving for the school year so you might find accommodation very difficult to find. It’s in your best interest to book your flights to Atlanta and your accommodation well in advance if you find yourself wanting to visit during August.
Winter is generally the quietest time of year as the temperature drops. That said you can find the cheapest flights to Atlanta around this period. Check for any events or festivals that might be on though as this will increase the cost of your flight tickets, and be prepared to pay more if you book your flights to Atlanta for Christmas time. The peak of Summer is also a low season for Atlanta as the humidity is very high, and it can be quite stifling. You can find cheap flights to Atlanta then if you book early enough but the heat can be very uncomfortable.
You’ll find the cheapest flights to Atlanta from December to February. Book your flight tickets well in advance if you plan to visit over Christmas though as the price of flights to Atlanta increase a lot. If you are flexible you can normally find cheap flights to Atlanta throughout the year, with the exception of the peak season. Make sure to secure your flight tickets as soon as you can in order to save money, as flights to Atlanta will only increase in price as the dates draw closer.
Ranking as the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has a constant stream of flights arriving and departing. Flights originating in Chicago take about one and a half hours. New York to Atlanta flights last about two hours. Traveling from London takes just over eight hours.
Atlanta serves as the main hub for Delta Airlines and all of its partner carriers, but the airline options include all major carriers for both domestic and international flights. Other airlines flying into the airport include Air Canada, Air France, Frontier, United, Virgin Atlantic, American, Lufthansa, British Airways, Southwest and Alaska Airlines. Several regional airlines also regularly land in Atlanta, including US Airways Express, American Connection, Delta Connection and United Express. With so much traffic in and out of Atlanta, chances are good that your favorite airline is an option.
Hotlanta doesn’t just refer to the vibrant nightlife in Atlanta. If you visit in the summer, pack clothes that keep you cool. Heat and humidity make for an uncomfortable combination. Despite the hot summers and southern location, Atlanta gets pretty chilly in the winter. Pack a warm coat, hat and mittens in case temperatures dip. Spring and fall offer mild to hot temperatures. Pack layering clothes with a light jacket to adjust to the temperature.
After your flight to Atlanta lands you might not want the hassle of trying to find a way to the city. The best option is to check with your hotel before you leave and see if they offer airport transfers in with the price of the room. Many do, so it’s definitely worth asking the question. You can also hop on the subway, which is operated by the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA for short), from directly inside the airport and ride it all the way to the city; it’s cheaper than a taxi and you won’t need to worry about traffic. Taxis are also available from outside the Terminal, but they aren’t cheap. However, if you’re in a rush and need to get to your accommodation without waiting for public transport then a taxi could be your way of doing it.
Once you are ready to explore the city, hop on Atlanta’s subway and you’ll be able to get around town quite easily. The Transit Authority also runs the buses. Atlanta has notoriously bad traffic, some of the worst in the world, so you’ll want to avoid driving if you can. A nice way to avoid traffic is biking the 15-mile loop in Piedmont Park, or head a few miles northeast of Atlanta’s downtown to hike through Fernbank Forest.
Atlanta serves as a hub for business, but the city packs plenty of fun for leisure travelers. Explore the rich history of the area with a trip to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Here you can see the birthplace and childhood home of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Atlanta History Center houses artifacts representing the city’s history.
Stay active in Atlanta at Stone Mountain, a quartz monzonite mountain featuring etchings of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Hike up the mountain, or ride the sky ride for sweeping views of the area. Continue your active Atlanta tour at Centennial Olympic Park. Cool off in the Fountain of Rings, or pretend you’re an Olympic athlete as you explore the grounds.
Family-friendly activities abound in Atlanta. Learn about the history of Coke, and sample flavors from around the globe at the World of Coca-Cola. Here you can find out how the famous drink went from humble origins to being the world’s largest brand. The nearby Georgia Aquarium houses dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays, beluga whales and hundreds of other ocean species. Let the kids burn off energy at Children’s Museum of Atlanta, the largest children’s museum in the state. See Atlanta from above on the 20-story-high SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel.
Sports lovers find numerous options in the city. Take in a Braves or Falcons game during the respective seasons. If you prefer college football, don’t miss the College Football Hall of Fame. It’s a truly interactive experience honoring the game.
Take the Atlanta Streetcar between some of the most popular attractions. The Historic Marietta Trolley is a great way to see lots of attractions during a ninety-minute narrated tour.
Heading away from Atlanta? Find the best deals on outbound flights at Cheapflights. The majority of U.S. air carriers that fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport also fly out of it, including Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue.
Here are some of the most popular routes from Atlanta, where you will find some great flight deals:
With about 260,000 passengers traveling through Atlanta on an average day, it’s always a good idea to show up early to the airport, so you clear security in time. Avoid traffic by taking the MARTA Gold or Red line to the airport.
For more detailed airport information, our Atlanta airport guides include all the information you need to know before you go.