With a nickname like Hotlanta, you’d expect the temperatures to be scorching year-round in Georgia's biggest city. However, Atlanta actually enjoys a moderate climate with four very distinct seasons. While the summers can be hot and humid, the city also enjoys cool fall days, occasional snow and ice storms in the winter, and a beautiful spring season filled with blossoming flowers and temperate weather.
Whether you're planning to move to Atlanta or you're just planning a vacation to experience its art and culture, knowing what to expect in terms of the weather can help you decide if the city is right for you or when's the best time to visit.
Year-Round Weather in Atlanta
Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 34 F to 89 F, though it rarely goes below 20 F or above 95 F, according to WeatherSpark. The average annual temperature in Atlanta is 61 F according to U.S. climate data, and the warmest month on average is July while the coolest month is January. Atlanta's record high is 106 F, which was set in the summer of 2012, and the record low is -9 F, which was set in the winter of 1899.
What to Pack
When it comes to preparing for your trip to Atlanta (or your move), knowing how to dress and what to wear for the climate and landscape of the city can go a long way in making your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.
Since the summer gets rather hot and humid with a relatively small break in overnight low temperatures, you'll only want to bring light clothing for your trip. On the other hand, fall and winter nights can get rather chilly, so you'll want to bring clothing you can layer like pullovers, cardigans, and light sweaters.
Annual Events in Atlanta
From cultural celebrations to holiday events and parades, the city of Atlanta is a lively place to experience the local scene any time of year. However, things really pick up in the summer with a huge variety of free and ticketed events, concerts, movie screenings, and productions taking over venues around the city. The biggest events of the year include:
- Atlanta Jewish Film Festival: A 23-day long festival of domestic and international films, documentaries, and shorts featuring Jewish writers, directors, producers, and actors that takes place in January.
- Mardi Gras at Avalon: The main boulevard in Alpharetta, Avalon, turns into its own version of the popular New Orleans' festival with live music, food, and drinks on Fat Tuesday in February.
- Atlanta Science Festival: This March festival celebrates science and technology with over 100 events in the city including a robot petting zoo.
- Atlanta Dogwood Festival: A three-day event in Piedmont Park celebrating the dogwood blossoms in April with a fine art market, live music, and a 5K run ending with a mimosa toast.
- Shaky Knees Music Festival: Over 50 indie artists and alternative groups take over Atlanta's Central Park for three days of music and performances in May.
- Dragon Con: Taking place over Labor Day weekend, this annual convention invites fantasy and science fiction fans to celebrate the genres in downtown Atlanta.
- Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade: On the first Saturday after Labor Day, this festival takes over the Beltline for a night of handmade lanterns and local music performances.
- Atlanta Pride: Every October, the city celebrates the LGBTQ community with a parade down Peachtree Street to Piedmont Park as well as a weekend full of parties and special events all over the city.
- Little 5 Points Halloween Parade: Perhaps the most popular event of the year, this annual parade features local businesses and celebrities in outrageous costumes riding over-the-tops floats down the main strip of this popular hipster neighborhood.
Story by Kate Parham Kordsmeier, the Atlanta expert for About Travel and author of Atlanta Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Big Peach. Kate can be reached on twitter @KPKords or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to like us on Facebook.