Things to do in Atlanta

Canvas of the South: A Vibrant Tour of Atlanta's Art Scene

We’re painting a picture of Atlanta’s art scene with a dynamic color palette that blends tradition and innovation with a theatrical flourish.

Our visual explorations may take center stage as far as acrobatics go, but artistic exploration is one of the many things to do in Atlanta. From street art to collections mounted on pristine gallery walls, this city is bound to amaze.

1. The High Museum of Art

Begin your exploration of Atlanta’s arts and culture scene with the eye-opening High Museum of Art. More than 19,000 artifacts await you at this hub of creativity, including works from artists of all backgrounds.

Classic 19th- and 20th-century American art adorns the walls. Decorative artifacts, African art, folk art, European art, modern and contemporary art, and photography join it.

Founded as the Atlanta Art Association in 1905, abstract artist and architect Richard Meier designed the exquisite geometric building housing the collection today. Stand face-to-face with time-honored pieces, such as Claude Monet’s masterpiece, Autumn on the Seine, and Atlanta native Nellie Mae Rowe’s thought-provoking, symbolic drawing, God is not Dead.

Pop in on Fridays for late-night, DJ-led, cocktail-fueled art museum parties, contemplative evenings of imagination and self-love, or smooth jazz nights where dizzying beats accompany guided art tours.

Photographer: Erin Doering

2. Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

Escape to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, where the spoken language is innovation and the accepted currency is wonder. That’s right, your curiosity is the only payment required to enter this bustling contemporary gallery. Interactive exhibits, programs, and project spaces showcase art from near and far. Even the coffee is free.

This is more than a place to ponder artistic marvels. This art center is a cornerstone of Atlanta’s cultural landscape and a gallant commissioner of local art.

Staying true to its heritage as a grassroots artists' cooperative, it provides 13 subsidized on-site studio spaces for creatives to sculpt and refine their skills, breaking down barriers and democratizing the artistic process. The gallery itself is a small yet perfectly formed and curated space that features rotating exhibits regularly.

Une publication partagée par Atlanta Contemporary (@atlantacontemporary)

3. The Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)

One of the most famous museums in Atlanta, MODA is the only museum in the southeast that commemorates design as an art form. Its spectacular exhibits cover architecture, product design, furniture, fashion, graphics, and miscellaneous inventions.

Like us, the MODA team dreams of making the world a better place. They view design as a transformative force where artistic whimsy meets practical functionality. And its influence makes every element of our lives sparkle a little brighter.

We believe in art’s power to open minds, forge connections, and facilitate positive change — and it’s obvious the folks here do too.

4. Castleberry Hill Art Stroll

Join fellow art lovers on a free self-guided art tour, courtesy of Castleberry Hill Art Stroll. Every second Friday, from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., the art’s vibrancy is accompanied by delicious street food, colorful cocktails, heart-pounding live music, and endlessly fun karaoke. Beloved by locals as the trendy historic art district, the vibes at Castleberry Hill are always immaculate.

Walk along a trail of vibrant dreamscapes. Take in the tapestry of street art, featuring works by Faatimah Stevens, Mike Nice, Molly Rose Freeman, Sam Parker, Miya Bailey, and Will Mitchell. Stop at ZuCot, the largest African American art gallery in the Southeast, and finish off with tapas and a Hennessy cocktail at 2 Chainz’s Esco Restaurant.

5. The Goat Farm Arts Center

The Goats Farm Arts Center is a renowned Atlanta institution, an incubator for local artistic talent. It’s also an on-screen backdrop for The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead.

This former 10-acre goat farm is under redevelopment to become The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s latest outpost.

Restaurants, a commercial building, a hotel, and office space are set to coexist alongside the refurbished gallery, providing much-needed ongoing funding to help artists thrive in a boujee part of town.

Goat Farm 2.0 will have even more studio space for aspiring and seasoned artists — but developers have no intention of increasing rent.

6. Buckhead Murals

Gaze in art-induced joy at the works of Buckhead Murals. The team hand-paints signs and murals in the classic American tradition.

Owned and operated by Lenia and Ernesto Torres, the company’s artwork is a smash hit with local brands. The duo adds a touch of individuality to residential streets, businesses, schools, and corridors around A-Town.

7. Little Five Points Street Art

Boho chic, hippie hood, subversive counterculture district. However you describe it, Little Five Points’ street art helps bring this place to life.

Brimming with edginess and daring to be different, Little Five (as the locals call it) has been on a transformative journey. It was one of the first major regional shopping centers in America between 1890 and 1960.

Now, it’s home to a natural food market, vintage clothing stores, tattoo parlors, independent bookstores, and trendy pubs and restaurants. For the free-spirited, lovers of subculture, and the rebellious at heart, Little Five is the place to be.

Every building, wall, and side street is a canvas for local artists, adorned with shapes and colors reflecting the city’s heart and soul. Popular murals include an ode to ATL alumni, OutKast, by Jarrett Becke, and the resplendent Fairtrade America sign by Muhammad Yungai — both proud local artists.

Photographer: Dare Omowale

8. The BeltLine Public Art Installations

Get lost in a mirage of spectacle at Art on the Atlanta BeltLine, where the voices of marginalized populations are amplified and celebrated. Discover the elegance of chaos in a vibrant street performance or admire the mastery of a well-crafted sculpture.

Come here to see how art embodies humanity’s awe-inspiring ability to fill empty spaces with purpose, meaning, and beauty.

The BeltLine trail is a part of the community. Folks can go about their everyday business immersed in art and culture instead of going out of their way to find it. If you’re like us, you’ll love how its murals' flamboyant colors form a ready-made, luminous backdrop, lifting your spirits even on the cloudiest days.

9. Westside Cultural Arts Center

Head over to West Midtown Atlanta for a warehouse party — or host one yourself — at the Westside Cultural Arts Center, one of the city’s most sought-after and versatile event spaces. Moonlighting spine surgeon, Dr. James Chappuis, brought his vision of an event venue/art gallery to life in 2014 to inspire activism and increase social awareness.

With its focus on abstract and contemporary art, this self-funding gallery and studio space is a futuristic dream made real. Its full-service kitchen, sleek bar, custom light and sound system, and art gallery make it a place where trendsetters and jet-setters celebrate in true Atlanta style.

10. East Atlanta Village Murals

The Civil War’s Battle of Atlanta was once a battleground, but East Atlanta Village has changed a lot in 160 years.

Now a refuge of relaxation, its beer halls, hip restaurants, music venues, and designer stores attract discerning shoppers and diners seeking the authenticity of independent businesses you won’t find on the high street. Its unconventional spirit is accented by a myriad of hypnotic street art.

Take the mural depicting two flamingos against a regal purple industrial background by local Matt Letrs or the surreal fish-crowned man painted by Ukrainian artists Aleksei Bordusov and Vladimir Manzhos.

Another notable mention in East Atlanta Village goes to the newly renovated altar of artistry on Metropolitan Avenue. Here, Greg Mike converted a former church into an ultra-modern, matte-black event space, studio, and gallery.

11. Piedmont Park Art Festival

Every summer in the largest park in Atlanta, the Piedmont Park Arts Festival showcases the visions of around 250 artists. It’s a welcoming and inclusive two-day event. Astounding paintings, photographs, sculptures, metalwork, blown glass, and jewelry surround attendees.

The Atlanta Foundation for Public Spaces hosts the free event, in addition to the Chastain Park Arts Festival in the fall.

Join Atlanta’s most carefree residents, lose yourself in artistic sorcery, and feel the spirit of community firsthand.

12. Midtown’s Art District

Art is Atlanta's lifeblood — and it’s ours, too! Creativity and exploration filter through every street, and the Midtown Art District is the epicenter of the city’s out-of-this-world art scene. Every day, ever-changing exhibits line the streets in the "Heart of the Arts." Award-winning performances take place and international performing artists captivate audiences.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alliance Theatre, and Fox Theatre are within a stone’s throw of each other. In the Midtown Art District, you’ll always find live entertainment to get your heart singing with the joy of experiencing art up close.

13. Ponce City Market's Art Scene

Ponce City Market is a local hero in A-Town, situated on Ponce de Leon Avenue,a site that dates back to the 1860s. Named after Juan Ponce de León’s quest to find the Fountain of Youth, the area has attracted visitors from far and wide ever since.

Over time, the area now known as Ponce City Market has been an amusement park, ballpark, retail store, warehouse distribution site, and office space. Today, experience history with shops, restaurants, offices, pop-up art galleries, and studios. There’s even an amusement park on the roof.

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Une publication partagée par Ponce City Market (@poncecitymarket)

14. Atlanta Art Week

Atlanta Art Week was founded by art advisor and writer Kendra Walker, who aims to nourish the local art scene with an annual event commemorating creativity. It’s a heady blend of art tours, pop-up exhibits, gallery exhibitions, and lectures. Whether you’re a seeker of cultural experiences, an art collector, or an artist, you’ll want to experience Art Week for yourself.

15. Cabbagetown's Street Art Displays

Atlanta’s Cabbagetown is an ex-mill town and current pillar of the ATL street art community — a neighborhood where the barrier between life and art is blurred. Its walls feature everything from the hyperrealistic to the cartoonish.

Always-changing murals reflect the ebb and flow of inner-city living. Krog Street Tunnel is a local favorite and one of the best selfie backdrops in Atlanta with its brilliant and colorful graffiti.

The neighborhood’s origin story is steeped in myth. Legend says it got its name from cabbage being the main source of food for workers at the old mill. With so much cabbage growing in the area, the air was always ripe with a vegetal whiff — and the name, Cabbagetown, was born.

Explore Atlanta — An Arts & Culture Wonderland

A walkthrough of Atlanta’s glimmering art scene is an expedition of expression, symbolism, and history. There's the unmissable High Museum of Art and the Bohemian charm of Little Five Points. Every corner reveals a unique side of artistry, blending the old and new into something that’s always fresh and invigorating.

Experience the intersection of mind-bending art and physical prowess at one of our shows in Atlanta. They’re world-renowned performances that will defy logic, reason, and even gravity. The impossible manifests and unfolds before your very eyes.

Spellbinding acrobatics and melodious poetry come together as we uncover a compelling and mystical story.

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