History, culture and some darn good eating, Atlanta is the kind of city residents love to brag about. One visit to the bustling southern metropolis and you’ll surely agree. Feel the roots of the Civil Rights Movement, the eclectic Atlanta sound and a culinary scene that rivals the best of them.
Deciding the best time to visit may feel like an impossible task. Here’s our guide to deciding the best time to visit Atlanta.
Best time for food festivals
The only thing higher than the heat and humidity will be the hotel prices. Summer is Atlanta’s peak season with tourists from all over looking to get their fill of great southern cuisine. From The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival to the Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival, there’s no shortage of fantastic foodie options. Keep in mind this is hurricane season.
Best time for outdoor events
The crowds will definitely thin out a bit as the cooler temperatures start to creep into the city. Bring a jacket (rainbow of course) as you celebrate Atlanta’s Pride festival or grab the kiddies for some apple and pumpkin picking. Fall is convention time in the city, make sure to book your hotel accommodations well in advance.
Best time for visiting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Things quiet down a bit during the winter months in Atlanta. Of course, there is much fanfare during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with a bevy of events around the city. Winter is also when the hotel prices will be at their lowest. Always keep an eye on the forecast, Atlanta doesn’t handle snow very well.
Best time for music festivals
Get in town before the summer crowds descend with a visit during Atlanta’s most pleasant weather season (well for those who don’t suffer from seasonal allergies). Spring is all about toe-tapping music events like the Atlanta Jazz and Shaky Knees Music Festival. Hotels prices haven’t hit their peak so there may be room to snag a few deals if you plan ahead.
Things are pretty quiet around Atlanta for most of the month. Activity picks up for the city’s most beloved son – Martin Luther King Jr. There are a host of celebrations and festivals throughout the city around his birthday.
Key events: Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, The Honda Battle of the Bands.
With rain in check and temperatures hovering on the cool side, you'll need a jacket but spring is just around the corner. Black History Month is celebrated with all kinds of events around the city.
Key events: Black History month celebrations, Atlanta Winter Beer Festival, Uncorked Atlanta Wine Festival.
Grab a poncho – this is Atlanta's wettest month and it usually marks the start of pollen season, with infamous yellow dust covering vehicles like Mother Nature's dandruff. Allergy sufferers might consider elsewhere through April.
Key events: St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Atlanta Science Festival.
Conventioneers converge while Atlanta's famous dogwood trees should be in full bloom for their brief but showy coming out across the city. It's spring and the city is at its prettiest. Spring is also the perfect time to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Key events: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Sweetwater 420 Fest.
With temperatures getting warmer but still not muggy and unbearable, May provides a pleasant time to visit Georgia. It's ideal for sightseeing without overheating.
Key events: Atlanta Jazz Festival, Shaky Knees Music Festival.
With temperatures rising into legitimately balmy territory, Hotlanta emerges about the same time that the tourism season kicks in hot and fast – this is the city's busiest month. Expect higher hotel rates.
Key events: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Atlanta Fringe Festival.
The Atlanta summer is in full swing and there's little relief – there are only five to seven days of rain per month from June to August. High season continues, with increased hotel tariffs, longer attraction lines and many conventions.
Key events: Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, Peachtree Road Race, Fourth of July festivals.
The last of Atlanta's high-season months remains crazy from the heat and crowded with tourists. Hotels are still pricey and lines are long.
Key events: Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival, Dragon Con.
Temps begin to cool slightly but humidity is at its most brutal. Crowds begin to disappear as autumn moves in and hotel prices commence a slow move south.
Key events: Imagine Music Festival, Music Midtown, Yellow Daisy Festival.
It's one of Atlanta's big convention months, so book ahead for Downtown and Midtown hotels. Average daily temps revert to mild – an extremely pleasant time for a visit.
Key events: Atlanta Pride Festival, Oktoberfest Atlanta, Taste of Atlanta.
The holiday season officially kicks off with a bevy of celebrations throughout the city.
Key events: Winter Wonderland, Chastain Park Arts Festival, African American Arts and Culture Festival, Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5K.
Winter has come with frigid but manageable temps (low 50s) – pretty darn OK depending on where you're from. As the city is not a huge holiday destination, crowds have abated.
Key events: Wrecking Bar Strong Beer Fest, Peach drop.
Atlanta is on our 2022 Best of Travel list. For more stories from some of the world’s most exciting destinations click here.
Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance before traveling during Covid-19.
You might also like: