15 Things to Do in Atlanta After Dark
From adults-only rollerskating to late night museum access, see a different side of the city with these fun nighttime activities in Atlanta.
Atlanta’s nightlife isn’t limited to strip clubs, sports bars, and hookah lounges. If your vibe is more moody speakeasy or dive bar known for its nightly blues bands, no problem. If you want something to keep you moving, like an adults-only skate night or arcade games straight from your childhood, you’re in luck. Whatever suits you, you’re sure to find something in this guide to Atlanta after the sun goes down.
Have some late-night laughs
Atlanta is a live entertainment capital and when it comes to comedy, you can find your dose of laughs any night of the week and well into the evening. The clubs around the city attract both aspiring performers at open mic nights and big names so you never know who you might see.
The Punchline and Laughing Skull Lounge are some of the best spots, with shows running well into the night on weekends. Dad’s Garage and Atlanta’s Original Uptown Comedy Corner are also local favorites. For those with an appreciation for improv comedy, Village Theatre and RoleCall Theatre both get the job done with shows starting between 8:30 pm and 9 pm.
Try to get into a speakeasy
Atlanta has been the site of a veritable boom in bars calling themselves “speakeasies.” And while locals may turn up their noses at the idea of being turned away, there are plenty of speakeasies to choose from, ranging in ease of access. Red Phone Booth is one of the most popular, with its original downtown locale and another in Buckhead, which has a cigar lounge and member lockers for top-shelf whiskey. Access it using a secret phone number through the London phone booth.
The Blind Pig Parlour Bar is behind Chido and Padre’s in Buckhead and takes on themed decor throughout the year. At Colony Square, Jojo’s Beloved takes on a 1970s vibe with disco tunes always spinning. Ranger Station at Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall is a new addition to the Beltline, with a “park ranger” theme and a cozy 65 seats.
If you’re looking for a celeb hotspot where money is no object, Himitsu is a bucket list-worthy experience. Attached to the acclaimed sushi restaurant Umi, this is by far one of the hardest to get into to access the small plates and top notch cocktails. Whichever one you choose, be sure to dress up and ask around for the password.
Late-night bowling is more than the cosmic bowling nights of your youth. At Midtown Bowl, an Atlanta staple open since 1960, revelers can hit strikes until 2 am on weekends. The food and bev game is strong, including rotating drafts from Georgia’s breweries, and bites like burgers, pizza, and wings.
The Painted Pin in Buckhead and its cousin The Painted Duck on the Westside are upscale bowling spots, with classic cocktails. The latter has duckpin bowling, which has smaller pins and lighter bowling balls. Both are open on weekends until 2 am.
Hit a strip club
The strip club scene has been part of the city’s culture since way before the Olympics came to town. You’ve heard of the main players: Magic City, Clermont Lounge, Cheetah, Tattletale, and Blue Flame Lounge, among countless others. Grab your cash and give back to the local economy by supporting an Atlanta strip club tonight, with that same energy you’d have for a casino in Las Vegas.
Refuel with a late-night meal
When hunger calls, Atlanta has plenty of late-night bites to keep you fueled up to keep going. The city has a number of 24/7 diners, despite some changing hours during the pandemic, including Landmark Diner and plenty of the Waffle House locales.
Atlanta’s museums aren’t just for families. Many also offer adults-only programming with drinks and fun experiences. One of the best is Fernbank After Dark, which runs into 11 pm, with interactive exhibits, live music, and booze.
The Atlanta History Center hosts monthly events called History After Hours, which lets visitors check out the exhibits with drinks and music until 10 pm. Party with the Past is another grown-up event, held throughout the city. They have different historic themes centered around a time period.
The High Museum of Art also has after-hours tours and monthly High Frequency Friday, with DJs and food and drink to add to the ambiance of exploring the galleries.
Add the Georgia Aquarium’s next Sips Under the Seas to your calendar to sip on themed cocktails under the glow of the whale shark tank as DJ tunes spin in the background. Tickets come with three drinks and you can party until 10 pm.
Drink, eat, and get your game on
If bowling isn’t your game, fret not. You can find just about any other type in the city from old-school arcade games to upscale mini golf and everything in between.
There’s Puttshack at the Interlock, Ormsby’s in West Midtown, both the Westside and Alpharetta locations of Topgolf, Skyline Park on The Roof at Ponce City Market, and Punch Bowl Social at The Battery.
New additions include The Flight Club, a darts bar, and Your Third Spot, a bar and restaurant with lawn games, both on the website. At Joystick on Edgewood, play vintage arcade games like Mortal Kombat for only a quarter while sipping craft drinks until 2:30 am.
T.I.’s Trap Music Museum was supposed to close for good after Super Bowl LIII, but its popularity has made it necessary to bring in new exhibitions. In addition to curated art representing trap music all-stars like Lil Baby, Migos, Future, Gucci Mane, and Jeezy, and the “Escape The Trap” room experience—a replica of a trap house—on Thursdays you can visit from 4 - 10 pm for “Sip & Trap,” which for $30 gets you a complimentary glass of Champagne and a private tour of the museum.
Dance all night
You’re really into clubbing—it’s fine. You’re in Atlanta, so of course you have options. There’s Havana Club, Tongue & Groove, Gold Room, Compound, and Suite Lounge if you want the super-big cosmopolitan nightclub vibe. But if you’re really into dancing—serious dancing—you’ll find that in spots like MJQ Concourse and The Basement in East Atlanta. Seriously, no judgments either way.
When it comes to Atlanta’s late-night movie options, there’s no experience quite like the Starlight Drive-In. Open since 1949, it’s the city’s only remaining drive-in theater and hosts new and classic film double features for only $10 per person. Second showings don’t start until 9:30 pm so expect to stay late.
The other classic movie experience in Atlanta is at the Plaza Theatre, an arthouse theater open since 1939. Catch independent films as well as first-run or the Friday night showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Starting weekly at 11 pm, you can sing along to your favorite songs from the cult classic.
Atlanta is a legendary LGBTQ+ capital, and thus, it’s only right that it’s also home to plenty of great drag shows. On Buford Highway, there’s Lips Drag Queen Show Palace, Restaurant & Bar, a place that offers you a lively drag performance along with flavorful eats. On Saturday nights, they have a pretty wild performance from “mistress of seduction” Taejah Thomas called Taboo: The Dirty Show. Sometimes, you can also pop over to Edgewood Avenue for drag shows at My Sister’s Room, Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium, and Georgia Beer Garden, and of course, you can’t forget about Mary’s in East Atlanta.
Wednesday and Sunday nights might seem like a bad choice to stay out from 8 pm until midnight, but how can you resist going to a skating rink that’s 100% clear of anyone under the age of 18? That’s why Cascade Fun Center is still culturally relevant decades removed from when it was predominantly featured in 2006’s ATL. Friday also has a late-night adult skate session from 11:30 pm to 2:30 am, but as long as you go when it’s 18+, you’re bound to be amazed by talented skaters executing some of the most unbelievable rolling routines you’ve ever seen. Roll in and roll out.
Unleash your inner performer at karaoke
For those about to rock, we recommend Metalsome, a live band heavy metal karaoke held Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 3 am at the Dark Horse Tavern in Virginia Highland. If you prefer traditional tunes, Famfam in Castleberry Hill has private rooms to share a song with pals until 1 am on weekends. In Doraville, MICS Karaoke is inspired by the karaoke spots of Asia with themed rooms and bottle service.
Hear live late music
Whatever type of music attracts you, there’s a venue for it in the city, including the new spots like The Eastern, a favorite of the alt-rock crowd. If you’re in the Old Fourth Ward there’s Venkman’s for everything from funk to yacht rock (literally, as members of Yacht Rock Revue own it). Then you can find blues at either Northside Tavern in West Midtown or Blind Willie’s in Virginia-Highland, a range of rock, alternative, country, and acoustic at Smith’s Olde Bar, and everything from Hip-Hop and R&B to alternative rock and heavy metal at The Masquerade.
People to this day are still surprised to learn that you can get a Sublime Doughnut 24 hours a day. Yes, at both the Briarcliff and Tech Plaza locations you can get donuts and ice cream at any time, day or night. Don’t feel too bad if you’ve never taken advantage of their anytime-pastries attitude—we all make bad decisions after midnight, and not eating a donut is pretty high on the missed opportunities list. And if you don’t make it to either spot, you’ve always got Krispy Kreme, but only if the “Hot Doughnuts Now” light is on.