Atlanta is a big city. It’s spread out. Locals are always complaining about the horrendous traffic. But as a visitor, you shouldn’t have to worry about that! We think you’ll be able to get by just fine using public transportation. After all, most of the major tourist attractions, Super Bowl events, and the Mercedes Benz Stadium will be well connected by MARTA and other public transit options.
Depending on where you’re staying, you may be able to use MARTA to get into downtown. (Of course, because of the availability of hotels in the ATL during the Super Bowl, you might need to take an Uber to arrive in the city.) Once you’re there, however, you can find your way around using some of the transportation options we’ve briefly outlined below. You have lots of choices!
The Garnett MARTA station is named for the street the station’s construction severed – Garnett Street. The street was named for Charles Fenton Mercer Garnett who became Chief Engineer of the Western & Atlantic Railroad in February 1842. He later had the same title for the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad, the Memphis & Charleston Railroad, and the Dom Pedro II Railroad in Brazil. #itsmarta #garnett #themoreyouknow #civilengineering #atlantahistory #southdowntown
MARTA (Use it.)
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority – lovingly known as MARTA – is one of the best ways to get around the metro Atlanta area. It’s comprised of a rail and bus system and it’s super helpful if you’re looking to avoid rental cars, gas costs, and traffic. You can even take the train from the airport to the city and skip the taxi.
The passes you’ll use to get around with MARTA are called Breeze Cards (ya know, because “MARTA makes getting around a breeze”) and you can purchase anything from a single trip to a multi-day pass if you’re here for the Super Bowl. A single trip is only $2.50 but if you buy more trips, you’ll save money. The day passes are especially affordable – a three-day pass is just $16 – but remember that costs and options might change for the Super Bowl.
Their website – itsmarta.com – has a map of Atlanta, list of stations, timetables with departures, and even a trip planner. MARTA has also created a great list of trip ideas which covers sights to see, a food and bar crawl, a history tour, outdoor escapes, and music venues, complete with the stations where you’ll need to hop off. Very cool of them.
If you’re staying outside the city, MARTA runs to several of the nearby suburbs, including Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Decatur. Many of these stations have parking lots and MARTA often hooks up with other public transportation services to take you farther out.
If you’re trying to decide where to stay and want to be near a MARTA station – very smart of you! – here’s a list of stations that they recommend for tourists in the city. These are the happening places that are close to attractions, activities, and restaurants. Put them on your list to explore even if you can’t find a hotel in the area.
Because MARTA typically offers special service hours and more frequent trips during big events, expect changes during the days surrounding the Super Bowl. We’ll keep you updated!
This is “not your grandmother’s streetcar!” according to their website. The Atlanta Streetcar is a modern, fun way of getting around the city for visitors (and also for commuters avoiding traffic each weekday morning). The Streetcar runs in an east-west direction through the heart of downtown and you can expect one every 10 to 15 minutes. It doesn’t cover a ton of ground, but it is a cool way to get around if you’re in the area.
The route is comprised of 12 different stops which are convenient to several major tourist attractions. You can use the Atlanta Streetcar to reach Peachtree Center, King Historic District, Sweet Auburn Market, and Centennial Olympic Park (which is super close to the World of Coke, College Football Hall of Fame, and Center for Civil Rights). It’s cheap too! Only $1 per ride or $3 for the whole day, with weekly and weekend passes available. Read more about it here and purchase tickets on the app.
June – the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership's Chief Happiness Officer and Spokespooch – went exploring on the Reynoldstown section of the Eastside Trail extension yesterday and she wanted to share part of her journey with everyone. She's particularly fond of the small parklet near Kirkwood Ave. and loves crawling on the #beltlineart bench near Wylie St. Did we tell you she's also an @atlutd fan??
The Atlanta BeltLine is a city revitalization project and a sight to see in itself, but it’s also a convenient way of getting around town. It’s a newly completed network of trails, parks, and transit stations all around Atlanta that connects over 40 neighborhoods. The BeltLine is a great option if you feel like walking or cycling. Over one million people use it each year.
It’s convenient for exploring neighborhoods, restaurants, and shops, as well as spotting artwork, trees, and flowers along the trails. You can even take a bus tour of the entire BeltLine or a walking tour of one of the trails.
This is really cool. Like many other cities, Atlanta has a bike share program. It’s called Relay and you can download an app to reserve a bike or unlock a bike at any of the stations around town. For visitors, it’s just $3.50 for the first 30 minutes and 15 cents for every minute afterward.
This is a great idea if you want to hit the BeltLine or take the scenic route through the city’s many neighborhoods for a few hours. When you’re finished cruising, you just return the bike to any Relay station and lock it back up.
Ahhh, okay, lots of people do it or there wouldn’t be traffic on the roads, right? But no one actually recommends driving to visitors. MARTA should be sufficient for most of your transportation needs and it will save you lots of time and aggravation. There’s a reason for the Instagram hashtag #atlantatrafficsucks.
Don’t believe us? This travel guide discusses how big of a nightmare traffic in Atlanta is, explains that city leaders are working on how to solve it, and notes that you probably want to use Peachtree Street to get your bearings. Oh, and parking anywhere close to downtown is a “headache.”
(Sure, having a car can be helpful to explore some of the outer neighborhoods, but that’s what Uber is for right?)
We get it. Some people are big on having a car. If you must, here are a few tips for driving in Atlanta. This includes highways to avoid, a reminder that rush hour actually lasts about 6 hours each weekday morning, and a suggestion to, again, use MARTA.