There’s no denying that Atlanta, Georgia is a town for sports lovers, with just about every sport represented. From the 1996 Summer Olympics to the upcoming 2019 Super Bowl, thrilling displays of athleticism are part of the city’s fabric. Here’s a guide to some of the best.
America’s favorite pastime has a long tradition in Atlanta, with the Braves known as the longest continuously operated franchise in major league baseball. The team found homes in Boston and Milwaukee before coming to the city, and, over the years, famous names like Hank Aaron and Chipper Jones have donned Braves jerseys. Visit the team’s new home, SunTrust Park in Smyrna, for a game during their season. In addition to the sporting action, you can make the most of the many dining and nightlife options at The Battery, the stadium’s complex, including Fox Brothers Bar-B-Q and Antico Pizzeria Napoletano.
The Hawks are Atlanta’s longtime basketball team – notable legends like Dominique Wilkins and Dikembe Mutombo have donned the jersey – and they play at the newly renamed and renovated State Farm Arena in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Head over to the game early to enjoy the arena’s locally inspired bar and dining options including Zac Brown’s Social Club, Old Lady Gang, and JR Crickets. Best of all, the prices are affordable with many options under $5 during both basketball games and concerts at the venue.
The most sports lovers descend upon Atlanta for football season, between the professional and college seasons. The Falcons now have a home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which also hosts events like the upcoming Super Bowl as well as college football events like the Chick-Fil-A Kick Off Game, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, SEC Championship, and the Celebration Bowl. For these events, don’t forget to bring your clear plastic bag to breeze through stadium security.
If you’re after even more action, you can also attend local college football games. Georgia Tech plays at historic Bobby Dodd Stadium, while Georgia State plays in the former baseball and Olympics venue, now called Georgia State Stadium. Clark Atlanta University plays at Panther Stadium with rival Morehouse at B.T. Harvey Stadium.
Further afield, you can see the University of Georgia play in Athens at Sanford Stadium, around an hour and a half’s drive from Atlanta. Learn about these teams and many others even during the off-season at the College Football Hall of Fame, an interactive fan museum near the stadium.
But there’s more than one “football” team that calls Mercedes-Benz home. The wildly successful MLS team Atlanta United has set records for its attendance and has a rabid fan base made up of supporter groups. No matter where you’re sitting, there’s nothing quite like the energy during these games, from chants to songs to thrilling moments with the best players in the league. Dress in team colors or pick up a shirt at the shops within the arena.
Be sure to purchase your tickets for any sporting events well in advance. To make things easy, stay in a Hilton hotel near the venues and take public transportation where available.