Travel With Kids: Atlanta

We spent 2 nights in Atlanta in mid-May. Nicknamed “Hotlanta” and home to the 1996 Olympics, the city is the capital of Georgia and the most populous city in the state with 430,000+ people (and over 5 million in the metro area).

Travel With Kids to Atlanta Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Our girls were delighted to ride the elevator to one of the top floors in the North Tower of the Omni Hotel at CNN Center. A 4-star TripAdvisor hotel, the Omni is located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta and rates in May run around $135/night. The location couldn’t be more perfect for a family wanting to take in the sights of the area.

Omni Hotel at CNN Center guest room Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Our room featured 2 double beds, a work desk, a mini fridge, and a spectacular view of Centennial Olympic Park and the city lights below us. We all loved spending time at the expansive window, watching the ebb and flow below us. Upon check-in, each of our children received a keepsake backpack with a few small mementos. Scrumptious chocolate chip cookies and milk on ice were also delivered on the first night of check-in – a wonderful amenity of the Omni Sensational Kids Program.

Omni Sensational Kids Program Backpack Travel With Kids: Atlanta

After our little ones drifted off to sleep at night, Tim would head down to the lobby to work on pending business deadlines – a happening place where guests mingled with appetizers and drinks until well into the night. Free WiFi is available to all Omni Select Guest members.

Parking is valet-only at a rate of $30 per day so be sure to plan that extra amount into your vacation budget. Prime Meridian Restaurant is on-site and offers a breakfast menu, including a full buffet for $24.95 – made-to-order omelets, bacon, sausage, cereals, fruits, and ridiculously delicious cream cheese pastries.

restaurant at Omni Hotel at CNN Center Travel With Kids: Atlanta

On our first morning, we walked to Georgia Aquarium, the World’s Largest Aquarium – home to 120,000 sea animals in 10 million gallons of water. The highlight of our day was watching the AT&T Dolphin Show. The aquatic musical features singing, strobe lights, an adventure story, and a wondrous display of dolphin tricks. Ticket prices range from $24-$30 per person; children 2 and under are free.

aquarium silhouettes Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium with baby Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Although neither Tim or I are soda-drinkers, the World of Coca-Cola provided an interesting glimpse into the brand’s past and its impact on our culture. As part of the self-guided tour, you can sample more than 60 different flavors from around the world and leave with a keepsake bottle at the end. Since the exhibits are more reading-focused and less hands-on, this is probably a better pick for families with older children (ages 6+).

World of Coca Cola Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Centennial Olympic Park (free!), right outside the hotel’s front doors, could also easily provide a day’s worth of entertainment for young children. There are 2 shaded playgrounds on-site – clean with soft surfaces. The Fountain of Rings is also a super way for little ones to cool off and get some exercise in the hotter months. If you enjoy running or walking on vacation, the park offers plentiful paths amidst elegantly manicured grass and mature trees.

family at Centennial Olympic Park Travel With Kids: Atlanta

While in the area, take a 13-minute drive to Osteria 832 for dinner. The intimate neighborhood joint features fresh pasta dishes, fun patio seating with twinkling lights, and a very cool “local” vibe. Our girls (ages 6, 4, and 1) agreed it was one of the best restaurants of our 3-week road trip. The Kid’s Menu features  7 different options – all for $4 (that price includes a drink). My vegetarian Spaghetti Pomodoro was magnifico and the girls licked their plates clean (Spaghetti with Butter & Cheese and Spaghetti Pomodoro). We recommend arriving early (at 5pm or so) if you have young children to avoid crowds.

Osteria 832 Pizza Pasta Travel With Kids: Atlanta

Osteria 832 in Atlanta Travel With Kids: Atlanta

On our next visit to the area, I’d be interested to take the CNN Studio Tour, to take a walk through the Chick-Fil-A headquarters, and/or to visit the boyhood home of Martin Luther King Jr.

Have you ever been to Atlanta with kids? What travel recommendations would you add?

* Special thanks to the Atlanta CVB and Osteria 832 for providing complimentary accommodations and attraction passes.

  • http://twitter.com/marriedlife Krista

    I went pre-kids, but had never been before. My husband lived there for 3 years before I met him so he was my tour guide. We went to the aquarium and it was awesome! Also we were there in June so that “Hotlanta” was appropriate and we enjoyed watching all the daycamp kids play at the Olympic Rings fountain!
    We also went to the inner city and saw the “graffiti” ART that was on the underpasses. It was amazing.
    We ate at The Vortex, which is in Little Five Points. To be honest I don’t remember the food, just the giant face a la “the Scream” over the entrance!
    Oh, and we stayed with friends… with air conditioning!

  • http://www.andreaythomas.blogspot.com/ andrea

    Atlanta is a great city for kids, there is so much to do here – much more than the Aquarium and the Coke Museum, as fun as those are! And no one who lives here calls it hotlanta ;) The Vortex, mentioned below, doesn’t allow anyone under 18!

    • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

      A gentleman at our hotel referred to Atlanta by that name, said he’d lived in the city for 10+ years. ;)

      What are your favorite things to do in the city with your kids? I’d love to have you chime in with other suggestions.

      • http://www.andreaythomas.blogspot.com/ andrea

        I think, years ago (think 20 plus, I remember from when I was little) there was a campaign that called it Hotlanta. But in the past few years there has been a movement of ‘locals’ to stop calling it that, so generally speaking only tourists call it that. It is just funny when we hear people say it because we know they don’t live here! We have great science museums (http://passportsandpushchairs.com/?p=362), the High Museum has a toddler thursday program which has kids explore exhibits in the museum and then create art based on it, as well as a play area; we have the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Atlanta History Center has lots of kids programs, so does the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Zoo Atlanta, ImagineIt Childrens Museum, Stone Mountain, Southeastern Railway Museum, Southern History Museum, Farmhouse in the City, all our sports teams (both major and minor league teams, great parks, splashgrounds, I am sure I am missing some :)

        • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

          Wow. That’s quite a line-up! Sounds like we’ll have to make a return trip in the future? ;)

  • JoD

    I have not, yet, but am planning a trip. This post was helpful. We have three kids (4, 4, & 1) and are apprehensive about the flight. Any tips? How did your kids do?

    • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

      We actually drove – all the way from Arizona! Hooray for road trips!

      Where do you live?

      For long flights with little ones, I recommend:
      * lollipops
      * snacks
      * sticker dress-up books
      * a good night’s sleep for the parents before the trip ;)

      • JoD

        Thanks for the tips. We are in AZ, too. How long was that drive? We certainly are not as experienced in long car rides as you, but make a 12-hour drive a few times a year to see family.

  • Maria Smith

    Your trip sounds so fun! You definitely got in the highlights of Atlanta. You can only do so much in a couple days. My fav Atlanta family attractions are Zoo Atlanta and The Children’s Museum. Maybe you’ll have to come back…!

    • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

      Good idea! Next time your family can meet up with us and we can explore the city together? :)

  • MotherofStyle

    I had no idea Atlanta had the largest aquarium!

  • Lorri

    The Fernbank Museum.

    • http://stephaniesheaffer.com/ Stephanie Sheaffer

      Thanks for the recommendation, Lorri! I just googled it and it looks like an interesting place. What are your favorite exhibits there?