Get Off the Grid in Atlanta with These Unplugged Things to Do

Don’t let your phone screen distract from Atlanta's coolest experiences.

Piedmont Park Atlanta
Piedmont Park | Photo by Chris Watkins
Piedmont Park | Photo by Chris Watkins

Atlanta is known for a few things that don’t exactly scream relaxation—cut-throat traffic and over-the-top nightlife are chief among them. But when the bright lights of the big city get overwhelming, there are plenty of spots in and around the 404 that allow you to get off the grid for a while.

From outdoor oases like the Botanical Garden in Piedmont Park or our city’s network of walking trails to spas and meditation centers for the true city slickers among us, these spots remind us that the world is so much bigger than the screen of your cellphone or laptop. So grab a friend or take a solo adventure and check out these ways to unplug in Atlanta.

Intown Salt Room
Photo courtesy of Intown Salt Room

Wellness activities in Atlanta

Indulge in a spa day
Various locations
Nothing says “unplug” like a relaxing spa day. Spas in Atlanta run the gamut from quick spots for relaxing and personalized facial treatments (that are surprisingly affordable) to ultra-luxurious spots where you can waste the day away getting a massage, soaking in a heated bath, relaxing in a salt room, or sweating it all out in a sauna. For a full rundown of the city’s best options, check out our list here.

Explore a wellness community
Chattahoochee Hills
Serenbe was created for people of all ages to get away with the hustle and bustle that Atlanta brings. While some people live at Serenbe full time or opt to stay overnight for a weekend getaway, guests can head to the 1,200-acre property for the day and take part in events like outdoor performances, gardening classes, and readings. A number of events this fall are open to the public encouraging us all to unplug for a little while, from farm-to-table dinners where you can connect with other locals to farm tours.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Outdoor activities in Atlanta

Wander the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Regardless of the season, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a worthy destination. The 30-acre garden allows visitors to immerse themselves in the garden’s renowned plant collections, beautiful displays and spectacular installations. Be sure to check out Thomas Dambo’s Trolls: Save the Humans, which runs until September 17 and features enormous folklore-inspired sculptures built from reclaimed materials.

Picnic in Piedmont Park
Smack dab in the middle of the bustling city, there’s no place like Piedmont Park. This patch of green oasis is right on the BeltLine, so you can head there for a long stroll, an exhilarating run, an intimate picnic, or to experience the best view of the city’s skyline.

Hike the East Palisades Trail
Sandy Springs
One of the best things about Atlanta is you barely need to leave the city to lose yourself in nature. The East Palisades Trail is located in Sandy Springs and the three-mile path takes you through a bamboo forest, historic ruins, and offers stunning views of the Chattahoochee River.

Spend the day at Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain
Nestled in 3,200 acres of natural beauty, Stone Mountain Park is the perfect place for outdoor activities just minutes from downtown Atlanta. With 15 miles of trails, you could easily spend the entire day exploring on foot. But the space also offers a large lake where you can go fishing or rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board and has dozens of family-friendly activities like regular events and festivals, a scenic railroad, and a cable car that will take you to the top of the mountain.

The High Museum Atlanta
The High Museum | Photo by Catrina Maxwell

Arts and culture activities in Atlanta

Learn to paint while sipping and socializing
East Atlanta Village
At Paint Sip Socialize, you can grab some friends and spend an hour with your phone zipped up in your bag as you learn to paint from the pros. Guests can bring their own alcoholic drinks—hence the name—and music will also be playing, creating a low-key party vibe that makes for a fun night out.

Vibe out at Console + 2NDBDRM
West Midtown
Located inside 2NDBDRM—a retail, education, and community space in Ponce City Market—this vinyl listening bar attracts music lovers of all types looking to get lost in sound. Shop around and check out all this space has to offer, then chill out and discover new music with like-minded people.

Take a step back in time at the Swan House
Owned by the Atlanta History Center, the Swan House is a historic mansion that once belonged to Atlanta businessman Edward Inman. Today the space is known for its stunning architecture, groomed gardens, and trails where Atlantans can wander and take in all the beauty and serenity.

Visit the High Museum of Art
Although it’s the largest museum for visual art in the Southeast, The High can also be a great place to get off the grid. This place is heavily attended on weekends, but if you travel here during the weekdays, it truly is one of the most peaceful sports in Atlanta. For hours on end, attendees can soak up its comprehensive collection of more than 18,000 works of art, eat at an on-site restaurant, and peruse gifts at the museum store.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCECreative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.