15 Fun Things to Do in Atlanta This Summer

Now is the time for pools, pop-ups, live music festivals, and rooftop bars in Atlanta.

Even though kids and college students have gone back to school, don’t let that trick you into thinking that the summer has come to an end. With Labor Day weekend—aka the ultimate late-summer celebration—and the September Equinox—aka the official end of the summer—both plenty of weeks away there’s no need to prematurely call it quits on the hottest season of the year. From must-attend events like music festivals, theatrical productions, and Labor Day weekend parties to recurring activities that you can experience any time that you’d like, Atlanta is teeming with great late-summer moves. So if you’re ready to make the most out of the next several weeks, here is your guide to 15 cool things that you can still do in Atlanta this summer.

Ponce City Roof
Ponce City Roof

Old Fourth Ward
With kids back in school, you no longer have to wait until the 21+ after hours from 5 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays to enjoy a more mature—and less crowded—ambiance at The Roof at Ponce City Market. Pull up throughout the week to play some fun carnival-style games at Skyline Park and sip on some specialty cocktails from The Sideshow or 12 Cocktail Bar while overlooking Atlanta’s awe-inspiring skyline. And for an exciting end-of-the-summer party, make sure you swing by The Roof on September 3, when it will transform The Roof into a lavish tropical oasis for its End of Summer Luau.

Old Fourth Ward
For a consistent weeknight move, look no further than H&F Burger’s weekly trivia night. Gather up your closest friends and pull up to the Ponce City Market burger joint on Mondays from 7:30 pm to 9 pm for an entertaining night of trivia that will most certainly put your pop-culture knowledge to the test. In addition to giving guests a guaranteed good time, H&F’s Trivia Night will reward the three best teams—with first place earning a $20 H&F Burger gift card and free milkshake tokens, second place receiving a $10 H&F Burger gift card and free milkshake tokens, and third place getting its fair share of free milkshake tokens as well.

Kimpton Sylvan Hotel
Kimpton Sylvan Hotel

Locations vary
If anything from work to the state of the world has you stressed out, know that you’re definitely not alone. Luckily for anyone living in Atlanta, this city has a wealth of impressive boutique hotels. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing respite in-town at The Candler, Hotel Clermont, or The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel or going OTP to a hotel like The Hamilton to really get a break from Atlanta, there are plenty of incredible boutique hotels where you will be able to quietly close out your summer in peace.

Dragon Con
Dragon Con

Downtown
Another epic way to close out the summer this Labor Day weekend is by attending Dragon Con. Since its inception in the late 1980s, the annual event has welcomed everyone from sci-fi and fantasy fanatics to hardcore gamers, and as a result, it has become one of the largest, well-attended, and fun multi-media and popular culture conventions in the world. Now that its back in full swing following its postponement in 2020 and its revival in 2021, Dragon Con is easily one of the must-attend events of this summer. As expected, there’s a long list of incredible featured guests, a bunch of fun events, some insanely helpful workshops, and plenty of cosplay contests.

Reverb Hotels
Reverb Hotels

Various locations
One way to elevate even your most basic drinking experiences this summer is to hit up one of Atlanta’s renowned rooftop bars. Spots like Rooftop L.O.A., RT60, Suite Food Lounge, Virtue Cocktail Club, and Republic Social House are just a handful of the great bars where you can go to have a drink, enjoy a much-needed breeze, and take in the city from a completely new vantage point, so if you and your friends are planning on going out for drinks anytime soon, definitely hit a rooftop bar before the fall rolls in.

Various locations
The music festival circuit across the United States is in full swing, and despite the recent canceling of Music Midtown, Atlanta still has some big music festivals lined up for the remainder of the summer. The Summer Shade Festival will close out August with a fun, two-day event on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28. It will take place in Grant Park, and attendees will be able to enjoy a weekend that’s chock-full of live music, local artists, local vendors, and mouthwatering food trucks. Then on Labor Day weekend, music lovers will be able to return to Grant Park for House In The Park on Sunday, September 4. The all-day music festival will get Atlanta moving with nonstop house music, with DJs such as Kai Alce, Kemit, Salah Ananse, and Ramon Rawsoul in charge of the tunes.

Illuminarium Atlanta
Illuminarium Atlanta

Old Fourth Ward
The Illuminarium’s immersive WILD experience helped the new Atlanta attraction make an incredible debut in 2021, and this summer, it has even more multisensory spectacles for visitors to enjoy. Now, guests can immerse themselves into the digitally projected worlds of O’KEEFFE: One Hundred Flowers (a 21+ virtual garden that’s made up of modernist artist Georgia Totto O'Keeffe’s signature painted flowers), SPACE: A Journey To The Moon & Beyond (an extraordinary journey across the galaxy), and Waking Wonderland (a dreamlike adventure inspired by Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.). The Illuminarium also regularly hosts special events like sports watch parties and 21+ After-Dark experiences, so if you’re ever looking for something to do, don’t overlook Old Fourth Ward’s unique multisensory attraction.

Puttshack
Puttshack

West Midtown
Keep the summer fun going after dark by having a late-night game of miniature golf at Puttshack. The entertaining Atlanta attraction is an upscale, tech-infused mini-golf hangout where you can eat, drink, and compete with friends for putt-putt bragging rights. Puttshack is a 21+ affair every day from 8 pm to midnight (and 1 am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), so don’t hesitate to squeeze in some late-night practice sessions and a couple of Puttshack’s incredible cocktails.

RoleCall
RoleCall

Enjoy this summer’s most anticipated theater and comedy events

Various locations
You can’t consider yourself a truly cultured Atlantan if you don’t experience everything that the city has to offer, and that applies to Atlanta’s theater scene as well. Over the next several weeks, there will be plenty of musicals, plays, and comedy and improv shows worth attending, including Pretty Woman at the Fox Theatre, Spelling Bee(DSM) and Boys in the Buff at Out Front Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at RoleCall Theater, and Kevin Hart’s Reality Check Tour and Disney On Ice Presents Frozen & Encanto at State Farm Arena. Needless to say, there are a lot of incredible theatrical productions taking place this summer, so don’t miss out.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta Botanical Garden | PQK/Shutterstock

Midtown
Before the Atlanta Botanical Garden gets ready for its major scarecrow-themed autumn transformation, now is the perfect time to pay the city’s greenest attraction a visit. The garden’s current exhibition, Origami in the Garden, is on display until October 16, but don’t let that date fool you. There’s no better time of the year to experience the Atlanta Botanical Garden than in the summer because, in addition to the beautiful weather, the garden also hosts its popular Cocktails in the Garden event during the evenings from Tuesday to Sunday. Cocktails in the Garden will wrap up on Labor Day, so head over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to experience the boozy evening cocktail party and Origami in the Garden in one fell swoop.

Six Flags White Water
Six Flags White Water

Various locations
Unless you haven’t been here all summer, pretty much everyone in town can agree that Atlanta has been incredibly hot. Luckily, there are a bunch of public and luxury pools around the city that you can cool off in, like the Piedmont Park Pool or the Atlanta Ocean Wave Pool at Six Flags White Water. In addition to both of those popular wet respites, you can also find a more adult-friendly pool at The W Atlanta Downtown, where you can enjoy a shaded rooftop swim, sip on craft cocktails from a poolside bar, and beat the summertime heat in style.

The Splatter Studio
The Splatter Studio

Virginia Highlands & Sandy Springs
For an arts experience that is sure to get your creative juices flowing this summer, head over to Splatter Studio. Previously housed at Ponce City Market, the innovative space has expanded to locations in Virginia Highlands and Sandy Springs, and regardless of whether you opt to visit the ITP or OTP location, Splatter Studio will welcome you into space where anything—like literally getting splattered with paint—is possible. Each session at Splatter is one hour long, and each participant gets a disposable poncho, a pair of disposable shoe covers, sterilized gloves and goggles, a 16 x 20-inch canvas, and access to splatter paint. Go unleash your creativity and create a wondrous mess this spring.

High Museum of Art, Atlanta
High Museum of Art, Atlanta

Midtown
Two of the High Museum of Art’s most popular summer exhibitions—What Is Left Unspoken, Love and Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books—have unfortunately finished their residency at the High, so if you missed out on those gems, make sure you check out the museum’s current exhibitions before they leave too. Right now, moving exhibits like Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine (a touring survey of American artist Bob Thompson’s works) and Off the Grid (an abstract exhibition will feature works from artists such as Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, and Frank Stella) are currently on display until the beginning of September, so make sure you pay Atlanta’s favorite art museum a visit before summer is over.

Home
If you’re tired of enduring all of the heavy rain and intense heat that has characterized this summer, then a private at-home paint-n-sip may be exactly what you need. The Paint Factory is a great Black- and woman-owned mobile paint-n-sip company that regularly hosts themed in-person events, and it also offers private at-home paint-n-sips for those looking for a more intimate art experience. That way, you can still find creative ways to express yourself this summer without having to deal with the elements.

The Springs Cinema & Taphouse
The Springs Cinema & Taphouse

Catch up on this summer’s blockbuster films with a private movie theater screening

Cobb
One of the coolest pandemic-inspired innovations has been the private screening specials offered by local theaters, and following the grand opening of Silverspot Cinema last year, there’s no better way to get familiar with Atlanta’s newest movie theater. Theater rentals are available at Silverspot Cinema—as well as other great local theaters like Plaza Theatre, Landmark's Midtown Art Cinema, and the Springs Cinema & Taphouse—and renters have the option to watch a flick from their preferred streaming app or Silverspot’s current lineup. This summer has pumped out blockbuster films like Bullet Train, Nope, Top Gun: Maverick, Thor: Love and Thunder, Bodies Bodies Bodies, and more, so book a private screening at Silverspot Cinema for a dynamic, one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

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Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @roshrisky.