Things to do near Centennial Olympic Park this summer (despite the construction)

The April 2018 Sweetwater 420 Festival was the last big event to take place in Centennial Olympic Park for a while. The park is in its second year of renovations. The plan is for everything to be done in time for Super Bowl LIII which will be played in a shiny new nearby football stadium on Feb. 3, 2019.

So things are definitely not normal in one of our city’s favorite gathering places for the rest of 2018. Music at Noon and Wednesday WindDown are both out for this year. Currently Googie Burger is closed and the annual 4th of July celebration will be nearby, at International Plaza, which is a space between the Georgia World Congress Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Philips Arena. Also, while not a summertime thing, there won’t be an ice rink in the park for winter 2018-19.

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Despite all those surprising facts above, a lot of the park is still open and, most importantly, The Fountain of Rings is open, so you and/or your kids can get good and wet on a hot day in the park. If that’s why you’re you’re heading downtown, be sure and check the fountain schedule here. Musically choreographed water displays usually happen every day at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

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If you want to learn how the park has changed, and how it will be changing between now and next February, check out the park updates page. Also, visit the Googie Burger site to see if it’s open. The park’s website has lots of info, including an email address and phone number where you can get questions answered during business hours weekdays. Their Facebook page is very active and answers questions posed via Facebook messages quickly, even on weekends.

Children running and playing through the fountain rings (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

So, for the rest of 2018, the park may or may not be the focal point of your downtown Atlanta visit. There are primary features of the park still opened − like the fountain and a lot of hidden gems you may have never seen like the Gold Medal Garden ( a beautiful little oasis which includes some native plants near the northern end of the park, across the street from the Georgia Aquarium.   

Georgia Aquarium. CONTRIBUTED

The aquarium is one of many attractions surrounding the park and for now probably the best way to enjoy the park is to consider all of those attractions surrounding it. Different attractions will appeal to different visitors and there are probably too many to get to in one day. Consider:

Children’s Museum of Atlanta 

Got little kids? Hit the museum, visit the fountain, eat at CNN Center.

The Center for Civil and Human Rights

You and your older kids can learn about the civil rights movement in the U.S., the ongoing struggle around the world or or focus on the Morehouse College Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection.

World of Coca-Cola

Taste lots of Coke products, meet the Polar Bear, learn about Sprite Boy, who didn’t haven’t anything to do with the Sprite soft drink.

Georgia Aquarium

Get under the sea with lots of fish and more exhibits than you can shake a trident at.

College Football Hall of Fame

If collegiate pigskin is your thing this place is your game.

SkyView Atlanta

A great way to see everything you might visit while sitting inside an air-conditioned gondola. Not crazy about heights? We get you, this feels very safe even if hanging in the air is usually not your thing.

CNN CenterCNN Studio Tours

CNN Center is the place where you get in free. Breathe that air-conditioned air and visit the food court where prices are lower than many of the other eating options around the park. Take a tour if you’re a CNN junkie.

CityPass Atlanta

While CityPass is attractive, it’s not an attraction. It’s a discount site. If you plan to visit two of the attractions listed above (not including SkyView or the Children’s Museum) it will save you money.

Depending on your party’s mobility and heat tolerance you could park just once for everything, at either the Aquarium, Coke or CNN. Have fun and stay cool.

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