The Best Time to Visit Atlanta

Piedmont Park in the fall
Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images

Atlanta's world-class attractionsample parksaward-winning restaurants, and popular shopping districts make it a year-round destination. And while the city's weather is fairly moderate all year, the best times to visit Atlanta are from March to May and from September to November. In the spring, the city's green spaces come alive with flowering plants and trees, spring festival season is in full swing, and the summer's oppressive heat and humidity haven't set in yet. Fall is also a great time to visit, as there are fewer crowds, cheaper hotel rooms, cooler temperatures, and it's a perfect time to plan a day trip to the nearby Georgia mountains to view fall foliage or visit the region's many wineries.

Weather in Atlanta

Located in the northwestern part of the state, Atlanta has a temperate humid subtropical climate, which makes temperatures and conditions favorable almost all year. In the winter, highs are in the mid-50s Fahrenheit and lows hover around freezing. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures soaring into the 90s and evening temperatures rarely dipping below 70 degrees F (21 C) and regularly rain showers and thunderstorms. This season is a good time to take advantage of the nearby Georgia mountains, where temperatures are more moderate, especially at night. Spring and fall offer the most favorable weather, with high temperatures ranging between 60 and 80 degrees F (16 and 27 C) and lows in the comfortable 50s and 60s Fahrenheit.

There are two peak seasons in Atlanta. The first is in spring, from March to May. This is when trees and flowers are in full bloom, the temperatures are mild, and annual events like the Inman Park Festival and the Atlanta Jazz Festival are in full swing.

The second peak comes in the fall (between September and November), when the temperatures cool off, the humidity is less stifling, and the weather is more comfortable for exploring the city's neighborhoods and events, like Music Midtown, the Atlanta Pride Festival and Parade, and Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp.

While Atlanta is more than 200 miles from the nearest coast, hurricane season can impact the city's weather, so be mindful of storms in the summer and early fall.

Garden Nights, Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden 

Winter in Atlanta

Winter is Atlanta's coldest season, with high temperatures in the low to mid 50s Fahrenheit and lows hovering at or above freezing. While the city rarely gets winter weather, it does get the occasional ice or snow storm, which grinds the city to a halt.

After the new year hotel rates and flights are cheaper, so it's a great time to visit if you're on a budget.

Events to check out:

  • Garden Lights, Holiday NightsIn this holiday tradition, the garden becomes illuminated with 70,000 changing LEDs choreographed to music, along with a s'mores station, warming drinks, model trains, and other seasonal trappings. Advanced tickets are highly recommended.
  • Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: Played at state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz stadium downtown, this annual bowl game is one of the country's oldest bowl games. The matchup—held in late December—is part of the College Football Playoff series. Adjacent events include a pre-game pep rally, held at the nearby Georgia World Congress Center, as well as a parade, tailgates, live music, and more.
  • Atlanta Jewish Film Festival: Each year in February, the multi-week festival presents dozens of national and international films in theaters across the city as well as guest lectures and opportunities to meet the filmmakers.

Spring in Atlanta

With temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees F (10 and 27 C)and the city's flowers and trees in full bloom, spring is the start of the city's festival season and an ideal time to visit Atlanta. Keep in mind hotel rates and flight fares climb in spring, and you'll likely fight crowds for popular attractions. But it's a great time to explore the city's parks, neighborhoods, and festivals.

Events to check out:

  • Atlanta Dogwood Festival: The free annual event dedicated to Atlanta's native flowering tree is held each April in Piedmont Park. From a juried art competition to live music, food and drink vendors, and children's activities ranging from face painting to rock climbing, this is a can't-miss, family-friendly outing.
  • Inman Park Festival: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Inman Park presents an annual festival that includes a street market, a 5K run, live music and dance performances, a tour of the neighborhood's stately Victorian homes, and a boisterous parade featuring costumed revelers, marching bands, and more.
  • Atlanta Jazz Festival: A May tradition, this month-long celebration is one of the country's largest free jazz festivals. The event includes performances of veterans and on-the-rise performers all month and culminates with a weekend of live music in Piedmont Park on Memorial Day weekend, along with an artist market, food and beverage vendors, and children's activities.

Summer in Atlanta

Summers in Atlanta are oppressively hot and humid. Temperatures soar to the upper 80s and even 90s Fahrenheit, and lows are rarely below 70 degrees F (21 C). This is also the peak time for tourists in the city, so plan accordingly. It's also the rainiest season due to hurricanes and tropical storms, so pack rain gear, especially if attending outdoor events.

Events to check out:

  • Tunes from the Tombs: Held in Historic Oakland Cemetery each June, the music festival includes live music, food trucks, children's activities, all in a unique and picturesque setting.
  • AJC Peachtree Road Race: The world's largest 10K race has been a 4th of July tradition in the city for more than 40 years and races down the event's namesake thoroughfare. Can't score an entry? Spectate as world class athletes and amateurs alike tackle the hilly, 6.2 mile course that starts in Buckhead and ends at Piedmont Park.
  • Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival: Over 5,000 people gather each August in Harmony Park for seven hours of live music from regional and national blues and bluegrass artists as well as barbecue from local favorites like Sweet Auburn Barbecue and beers from local breweries like Monday Night Brewing.

Fall in Atlanta

Fall marks another stellar time to visit Atlanta, when summer crowds disperse and temperatures and humidity start to drop as the fall leaves begin to emerge. You can expect comfortable temperatures, with highs in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit and lows in the 40s and 50s. The evenings are crisp, especially in late fall, so pack a warm jacket or light coat.

Events to check out:

  • Music MidtownUsually held mid-September in the Piedmont Park, the two-day music festival features over 30 acts on four different stages. Expect a mix of mainstream acts like Lizzo, Cardi B, and Leon Bridges as well as indie musicians like Local Natives and Vampire Weekend.
  • Atlanta BeltLine Lantern Parade: The South's largest temporary outdoor art installation is usually held the third Saturday in September along 2 miles of the Eastside Trail. More than 70,000 people march with glowing lanterns or spectate along the route, which has become one of the city's signature events.
  • Atlanta Pride Festival: Atlanta has one of the country's oldest and largest pride events, which was started in 1971. Drawing more than 300,000 attendees, the week-long festivities are usually held in mid-October in conjunction with National Coming Out Day and conclude with a parade through Midtown, which starts at the Civic Center MARTA station on Ralph McGill Boulevard and concludes at Piedmont Park.
  • Cabbagetown Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival: This neighborhood of historic old mill houses puts on the city's largest chili cook-off each November, with nearly 100 professional chefs and amateurs alike competing for top honors. The event also includes food trucks, live music, and a 5K run that kicks off the festivities in the morning so you can earn that chili.
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