With a nickname like "Hotlanta," many assume that Atlanta is boiling hot year-round. However, summer is the only time when temperatures really escalate, and is also the most popular time, as visitors come to enjoy the area's many water parks.
Spring and fall see pleasant temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities, including picnics under the blooming dogwoods or afternoon drives through the changing autumn leaves. Winters bring cooler weather and fewer visitors, but many people come in December for holiday shopping.
- high season: May to September
- low season: January to April
- shoulder season: October to December
Atlanta experiences four mild seasons. Spring sees warm weather and cool breezes, with temperatures in the high 60s to the upper 70s. Summers can get hot, reaching nearly 90 degrees, with a rise in humidity. Fall brings cool mornings, colorful foliage, and warm afternoons in the 60s and 70s. Winters can be short, with temperatures dropping into the 50s in December and rising again in March.
The city is a convention destination, with crowds coming and going at any time of the year. This rarely affects tourist areas, but the MARTA, the rapid rail and bus transit, may get a little crowded. Holidays can also be a busy time for the city, especially at one of the many shopping centers such as Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza, and also during New Year's Eve with its Peach Drop event at the downtown Underground Atlanta complex. Many other festivals attract large crowds, including the Dogwood Festival in April, the Atlanta Jazz Festival in May, Fourth of July celebrations and the National Black Arts Festival in July, Pride in October and November, and the Festival of Trees in December. Neighborhood festivals are also crowd pleasers, such as the Inman Park Festival and the Virginia-Highland Summerfest.
Most hotels, shops, and attractions remain open throughout the year, but Six Flags Over Georgia closes in November and reopens again in March.
When to Save
Because Atlanta has one of the busiest airports in the country, visitors can find competitive airfares almost any time of the year. And since Atlanta offers a wide range of lodging options for an affordable price, finding a hotel to fit any budget isn't too difficult. Just keep a close eye on major events and conventions to ensure availability and avoid crowds.
Many free events are available in the summer, including concerts by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and free admission to art galleries on Turner First Thursdays. Several other attractions also have free hours of admission or offer special discounts.
Information provided by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.