Atlanta's musical reputation steadily grows every year as more rock, folk, and hip-hop artists emerge from its center. Carefully crafted annual music festivals and evening symphony concerts keep locals and tourists venturing past favored attractions.
Navigate Atlanta's urban maze of skyscrapers and highway to find some of the best outdoor music venues in the city. Find free concerts, classical music under the stars and your favorite musicians alongside tropical flowers.
Atlanta's First Concert
Atlanta's first concert likely dates back to February 1858 when Sigismond Thalberg performed on piano at the Athenaeum Theatre. The first theatre in Atlanta, the Athenaeum was built in 1854 on Decatur Street between Peachtree and Prior Streets. There's not much to see today except a plaque commemorating the historical spot.
During warmer months and crisp weather, skip the indoor theaters around town and opt for an outdoor concert instead.
Visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens during summer months for their annual Concerts in the Garden. Voted as "Best Outdoor Concert Series" by Atlanta Magazine, the series attracts talent including the Indigo Girls, Neko Case, Vince Gill and more. Located next to Piedmont Park, look for a concert or live performance at the nearby Park Tavern for a full-day of music.
A local favorite, Chastain is the perfect spot for Atlanta visitors to enjoy the outdoors over music. Visitors bring along blankets and picnics and choose tickets from table seating to lawn space. Past performances include The Temptations and Four Tops, Abba with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Diana Krall and special sunset jazz performances.
Summertime at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park means classical music and new innovations from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO). Music lovers who typically overlook the orchestra can look for films like "The Matrix" scored live—though you'll have to head indoors to the Atlanta Symphony Hall for this one. The first U.S. orchestra to annually perform in its concert hall and two major amphitheaters, the ASO also performs at the outdoor venue Chastain Park.
Piedmont Park seems to top most favorite lists in Atlanta and for good reason. Music lovers come for the annual Jazz Fest, Music Midtown and Green Concert. And on the southeast side of the park, Park Tavern hosts "Unfiltered Live" monthly events over food and drinks.
Generally lower key and less expensive (try free!) compared to other outdoor music venues in Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park hosts regular lunchtime and evening concerts. Check the website for an updated list of seasonal events including Tuesdays and Thursdays noontime concerts and Wednesday Wind Downs. Afterward, head over to the CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium or World of Coca-Cola Museum to see the sites.
A work, live, play community in Atlanta; Atlantic Station offers shopping, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment. Get to the station's Central Park early and grab a piece of lawn for a Friday Night Lights outdoor concert during summer months. There's also live music and street performers throughout the year entertaining along the pedestrian walkways.