Road Trips

Atlanta to Chicago Road Trip

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Written by Town & Tourist

Atlanta to Chicago Fly Drive Road Trip – Atlanta is known for it’s southern hospitality, diverse musical heritage and number of world records!

It also has the busiest passenger airport in the United States of America the Harts-field Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which draws over 50 million people annually! This makes it a popular starting point for many great US road trips!

Where Chicago is a large metropolis on Lake Michigan known for Chicago style pizza (Deep dish) and Chicago hot dogs in addition to Jazz and of course the Notorious 1920s gangster Al Capone.

Our road trip Itinerary, includes stop offs in Nashville, Tennessee , Louisville, Kentucky and Indianapolis.

Atlanta to Chicago Road Trip Map:

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Atlanta to Chicago Road Trip Itinerary

  1. Atlanta, Georgia 
  2. Chattanooga, TN 
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Louisville, Kentucky 
  5. Indianapolis, Indiana 
  6. Chicago, Illinois

1. Atlanta

As stated previously, Atlanta is home to busiest passenger airport in the USA (Harts-field Jackson Atlanta International Airport). Atlanta is famed for its southern hospitality, musical heritage and also the birth place of the civil rights movement.

Things to Do in Atlanta:

Dive into the Georgia Aquarium

 The Georgia aquarium is the largest Aquarium in the world!It  was designed around a 6.3 million US gallon (24,000 m3) whale shark exhibit, making it the only Aquarium outside of Asia that houses the giant species! It also houses 100,000 other sea creatures in over 10 million US gallons of fresh and salt water! 

Address225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, United States

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola

The World of Coca-Cola is an interactive museum which showcases the history of The Coca-Cola Company, which debuted in Atlanta in 1886. Highlights include, a large Vault which contains the famous recipe, Bottle works,  Coca Cola Polar Bear and even a 4D Theatre!

Address121 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, United States

Admission cost to the World of Coca Cola?
Standard tickets cost $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and $13 for kids ages 3 to 12. If you have an Atlanta CityPASS, your pass covers entry to the museum. Members of the military and children 2 and younger get in for free.
Coca Cola Vault Secret places

Coca Cola Vault which houses the secret formula of Coca Cola. (Secret Places). Photo by: Documentary Tube.

Centennial Olympic Park

When the kids have got that caffeine rush from the World of Coca Cola, head to the Centennial Olympic Park. This is a 22-acre public park located in downtown Atlanta, it was built by the for the 1996 Summer Olympics so the perfect place to let of some steam!

Address265 Park Ave W NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, United States

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

“I Had a Dream” Of course you couldn’t visit the birthplace of the Civil rights movement without exploring a little about its history. The National Historic Parkis spread over several sights such as Martin Luther King Jr.’s boyhood home and the original Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was baptized.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is spans over 30 acres and is located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta.

The garden’s mission is to “develop and maintain plant collections for the purposes of display, education, conservation, research and enjoyment.” It’s a nice place to escape the Atlanta madness and get back to nature. The gardens also run events such as light shows, frog feeding and even cocktail parties.

Visit the Largest Hindu Temple in the World (Outside of Asia!) 

Atlanta holds a number of records and is surprisingly the home to the largest hindu temple in the world! (Outside of Asia). Due Atlantas fast growing international population (one in 10 people in Atlanta were born outside the United States). Atlanta has become home to over 1,000 places of worship including churches, synagogues, mosques and both Hindu and Buddhist temples.

Where to Eat in Atlanta? 

Visit the worlds largest drive inn Restaurant! 

Another Atlanta record, covering over two acres in Downtown Atlanta, Varsity is the worlds largest drive in Restaurant and can accomodate up to 600 cars outside and over 800 people inside. The venue is especially popular when Georgia Tech plays at home.

Fun Fact: Varsity makes over two miles of Hot Dogs, 5000 fried pies and 300 gallons of Chilli daily!

Varsity worlds largest food drive in

Varsity worlds largest food drive in

Bacchanalia

For something a little more classy head to Bacchanalia West Midtown is a seasonal, farm-to-table spot that’s great for client dinners or a big night out. The menu changes daily and you can have multiple dishes for each of the four courses. The Maine lobster with fennel, ginger is unreal!

Address1460 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW Suite 1, Atlanta, GA 30318, United States

Staplehouse

Staplehouse is the hottest table in Atlanta this charitable Old Fourth Ward spot delivers “artfully prepared” New American meals that “push your palate’s boundaries”. Reservations only. 

Address541 Edgewood Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312, United States

2. Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga is a dark horse when it comes to places to stop off on a road trip. Nicknamed the scenic City, Chattanooga is known for its beautiful natural surroundings. If your an Outdoor adventurer then this is the place to go, here you will find world class climbing,( on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains),  Hiking Loops, Kayaking areas and even Mountain Bike trails.

The 10-mile Chattanooga Riverwalk, winds along the Tennessee River through downtown and is a easy but fun excursion.

Drone Aerial View of Downtown Chattanooga Tennessee TN Skyline and Tennessee River

Drone Aerial View of Downtown Chattanooga Tennessee TN Skyline and Tennessee River

Things to do in Chattanooga:

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum 

Hop onto a classic steam engine at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.  This is a popular family friendly attraction known as a “Mobing Museum” which takes guest through lush landscapes, from as little as one hour to all adventure steam train adventures.

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum 

Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Source: tvrail.com

Hours: 10 am – 3:35 pm Sunday thru Friday; 9 am – 3:35 pm Saturday

Address: 4119 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN, 37421

Phone: (423) 894-8028

Rock City & Ruby Falls

Rock City & Ruby Fall is one of the world’s most beautiful cave waterfalls. This incredible natural landmark is the largest underground waterfall (145 ft) and America’s deepest commercial cave!

Rock city has elevations peaks of 1700ft and amazing vistas from Lookout Mountain.

Hours: 8 am – 8 pm

Address: 1720 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, TN, 37409

Phone: (423) 821-2544

Rock City & Ruby Falls

Rock City & Ruby Falls. source: youtube.com

Chattanooga Duck Boat Tours

A “duck boat” is a renovated WWII amphibious boat which has been adapted to take passengers on a narrated tour around Chattanooga before heading along the Tennessee River.

Hours: Tour times change by season; call ahead for tour times

Address: 151 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Phone: (423) 756-3825

chattanooga-ducks

chattanooga-ducks

Highpoint Climbing Gym

With over 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor climbing space, Highpoint Climbing Gym is a unique fitness experience for all ages. Here you can try, Sport climbing, Bouldering, the Kid Zone, Yoga.

Highpoint Climbing Gym

Highpoint Climbing Gym. Source: www.tnvacation.com

Hours: 6 am – 10 pm Mon, Wed, Fri; 10 am – 10 pm Tue, Th, Sat; 10 am – 8 pm Sun

Address: 219 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN, 37402

Phone: (423) 602-7625

Where to Eat?

For great food you should try, Alleia a Vintage brick storefront with arty, mod interior serving rustic Italian pizzas & homemade pastas. Public House Restaurant is a classy affair which serves Southern fare & a vast wine list in a refined, relaxed setting.

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels in Chattanooga, follow the link HERE

3. Nashville, TN

Nashville, is the capital of Tennessee, lies on the Cumberland River. It was founded in 1779, is known as the capital of country music! With popular attractions such as Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Johnny Cash Museum. We visited the Country Museum in the Morning and the Johnny Cash Museum in the afternoon. In the evening you should head to Grand Ole Opry to watch one of there famous evening shows!

Other highlights include, the The Parthenon a full size replica of the greek monument in Athens. Located at the Centennial Park in Nashville.

nashville country music

nashville country music

How much does it cost to visit the Parthenon?

Adults (18-62): $6.00, Children (4-17): $4.00, Seniors (62+): $4.00, Babies and children under 4 years old are free

Fun Fact: The Parthenon was designed by Confederate veteran William Crawford Smith and built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

Other highlights in Nashville include the Tennessee State Capitol and the Civil Rights Room at the Nashville Public Library.

Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Where to Eat?

  • Breakfast: Biscuit Love.
  • Casual Dinner: Pinewood Social.
  • Hot Spot: Folk – (Seasonal Small Plates & wood fired pizzas. )
  • Lunch: Chauhan Ale & Masala
  • Barbecue: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint.
  • Southern & Soul Food Classics: Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
  • Neighborhood Hang: Lockel and Table Community Kitchen/Bar.
  • Patio: Butchertown Hall

4. Louisville, Kentucky 

Louisville, Kentucky is known as the home of the boxing legend Muhammad Ali, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the Kentucky Derby, the University of Louisville and its Cardinals. It is also known for the Louisville Slugger baseball bats, and three of Kentucky’s six Fortune 500 companies: Humana, Kindred Healthcare, and Yum!

Louisville, Kentucky 

Louisville, Kentucky. Source: www.govtech.com Atlanta to Chicago road trip

  • Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, is a museum & factory tour attraction located in Louisvilles “Museum Row” in the West Main District of downtown. Here you will find the history of the famous “Louisville Slugger Baseball Bats” and how they shaped the history of american baseball.

Address800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, United States

  • Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs, Famed for the annual Kentucky Derby, the horse racing track first opened in 1875 and was named after Samuel Churchill.

Address700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208, United States

Kentucky derby

Kentucky derby. Source: www.lanereport.com. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

  • Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky Kingdom is a 63 acre family amusement park which includes a collection of rides, in addition to a water park named Hurricane Bay.

Address937 Phillips Ln, Louisville, KY 40209, United States

  • Louisville Zoo

Louisville Zoological Garden, is a 134-acre zoo in the Poplar Level neighborhood. Here you will find snakes, reptiles, sloths and many more creatures.

How much is it? 

Weekday general admission ticket for adults (ages 12-59) is $17.75 at the gate.  Kids (3-11) and seniors (60+) will pay $12.75 at the gate on weekdays, while children 2 and under always get in free.

Where to Eat?

Best for Lunch: Royal’s Hot ChickenTry the chicken tenders and spicy sandwiches, such as the Louisville classic (hot brown). Wash it all down with a bourbon milkshake.

Address: 736 E. Market St. Louisville, KY (NuLu)

Best for Dinner: Jack Frys – Opened in 1933, Jack Frys serves classic dishes with modern twists. Try the mouth watering Shrimp and Grits, Veal Medallions or Lamb Chops.

Address: 1007 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY (The Highlands)

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels in Louisville, follow the link HERE

5. Indianapolis, Indiana 

Indianapolis, is a midwestern city home to everything from sliced bread to one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Monument Circle. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Things to do in Indianapolis:

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum! This is a great place for the family, the Museum offers plenty of interactive exhibits for kids (and adults). In addition to a Q&A with real life scientists.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, classic racing events which have inspired generations. If your a petrol head you should try the Indy Racing Experience Driving Program which gives each visitor the chance to learn what it is like to drive a real NTT IndyCar Series car which has competed in the famed Indianapolis 500.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Source: www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

White River State Park

White River State Park is spread over 250 acres on the western edge of the downtown area at 801 West Washington Street. The White river is 500 feet deep and is a popular attraction along with many activities going on in the area.

Where to Eat?

Bluebeard is a Trendy New American kitchen which serves sharing plates & craft cocktails in a renovated 1924 warehouse. If you want upscale comfort foods and fresh local ingredients you should definitely drop by here.

Address653 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203, United States

Ali’i Poke – Downtown Indy, brings Hawaii to Indianapolis here you will find Hawaiian poke rice bowls with a variety of toppings to eat in or take away.

Address910 W 10th St #4, Indianapolis, IN 46202, United States

Where to Stay?

For a great selection of our recommended Hotels in Indianapolis, follow the link HERE

6. Chicago, Illinois

Starting in the Windy City, Chicago, Illinois is a large metropolis on the Scenic Lake Michigan. The Skyline is punctuated with vast skyscrapers, such as the Willis Tower (Former Sears Tower) and the Legendary John Hancock Center at over 1,451ft high.

Chicago is also known for Chicago style pizza (Deep dish) , and Chicago hot dogs in addition to Jazz and of course the Notorious 1920s gangster Al Capone.

chicago road trip

chicago/ Atlanta to Chicago road trip

5 Classic Things to do in Chicago: 

1. Millennium Park – FREE! 

Millennium Park  is not just a public park, its a true expression of the Chicago experience! It is the largest public space inside the 319 acres of Chicagos Grant Park, located downtown. This area includes, gardens, sculptures and attractions.

Cloud Gate (The “Bean”)

A Large public sculpture weighing in at over 110tones and is over 66 feet long and 33 feet high. This is an astonishing sculpture to see and was designed by British Artist Anish Kapoor.

Cloudgate Chicago Bean

Cloudgate Chicago Bean. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Crown Fountain: 

Crown Fountain was designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa the fountain is made up of two 50 foot glass block towers which of display rotating images of over 1000 Chicago residents.

The fountain fires water out of the giant mouth and is really popular with kids during the summer months.

Other highlights at Millennium Park include, Lure Garden and Maggie Daley Park. A large 20 acre adventure park which includes rock climbing, slides and mirror walks.

Crown Fountain Chicago

Crown Fountain Chicago. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Where is it?

201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, United States

2. Willis Tower (“Sears Tower”) 

The Willis Tower is a 110-story, 1,450-foot skyscraper in Chicago. When it was completed in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Center in New York to become the tallest building in the world!

Skydeck Chicago offer views from 103rd floor of the former Sears Tower with clear observation boxes & views extending to four states!

Willis Tower Sears Tower

Willis Tower Sears Tower. Source: www.willistower.com. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

3. Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Here you will find many fairground rides & attractions including a 360 Chicago, (A Premiere observation deck), Centennial Wheel (Observation Wheel)  Museum of Contemporary Art, the Childrens Museum, River Cruises and many more!

Navy Pier Chicago

Navy Pier Chicago. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

How much does it cost? 

It is FREE to enter Navy Pier, each attractions or  show has it’s own admission price.

4. Green Mill Lounge – Can you spot Al Capone?? 

Head back to the 1940s at Chicagos Green Mill Lounge. Here you can find local Jazz Musicians, poets and was once a hangout for the Notorious Gangster Al Capone.

Green Mill Lounge Chicago Al Capones hangout

Green Mill Lounge Chicago Al Capones hangout. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

5. Art Institute of Chicago 

Head to the world renowned Art Institute of Chicago  in downtown. Here you find many unique paintings such as Nighthawks, american gothic and even a paperweight gallery!

6. Shedd Aquarium 

Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest indoor Aquariums in the world! It was opened back in the 1930s and houses over 32,000 animals!

Take a river cruise! 

Taking a River Cruise through Chicago is one of the most unique ways of seeing the city! It’s a great way to learn about the downtown area and get your bearing if you’ve never been here before.

Chicago River cruise

Chicago River cruise. Source: GettyImages. Atlanta to Chicago road trip

Where to Eat?

Best Drive inSuperdawg – Is a throwback Chicago dining experience, which serves an immersive variation of a Chicago style hotdog. Expect thick all-beef sausage. mustard, pickled green tomato, and chopped Spanish onions.

Address: 6363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646

Best for Lunch: Smoque BBQ is probably the best in town! Here you will experience mouth watering, St. Louis-style ribs, tender brisket, apple-and-oak-smoked pulled pork and more.

Address: 3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641

Best for Dinner –  Passerotto is an Asia Italian fusion restaurant which delivers modern Korean food with Italian touches.

Address: 5420 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60640

Where to Stay? 

For a recommended list of my favourite places to stay in Chicago follow the link HERE

Road Trip Tips:

How to get the best car rental Deals?

Check out: Ultimate Car Rental Travel Hacks!

car rental travel hacks

car rental travel hacks (Atlanta to Chicago road trip)

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Town & Tourist

A travel resource guide that has been carefully crafted and curated by travel bloggers to help you find the best places to travel to in the USA.