30 Awesome Ways to Celebrate the Start of School in Atlanta

Visitors to Avalon on the first weekend of August enjoy a party along Avalon Boulevard, complete with crafts, music, and Hawaiian-themed drinks. Photo courtesy of event
Visitors to Avalon on the first weekend of August enjoy a party along Avalon Boulevard, complete with crafts, music, and Hawaiian-themed drinks. Photo courtesy of event

August in Atlanta means back-to-school time for most students; though it still feels like summer outside, the air conditioning is (hopefully) turned down low in classrooms around the city. Transitioning from the carefree days of summer to scheduled routines can be tough for kids of all ages (don't even get us started on that school bus pick-up time). We think Atlanta students deserve a pat on the back for making that responsible adjustment, especially since academic calendars in Atlanta start up while friends outside the area continue enjoying summer camp, water parks, and weeknight fun. We've got great ways to reward your little students' return to the classroom!

If your kiddos are on the younger side and don't need to worry about the academic calendar yet, we've got great ideas for toddlers in Atlanta, too! Enjoy the great outdoors by visiting Atlanta Playgrounds for Toddlers, go nuts with warm-weather activities this Summer with Atlanta Toddlers and Preschoolers, and spend a weekday Picking Peaches in Atlanta.

Celebrate the Start of Atlanta Schools: Feel-Good Events

1. First Friday Happenings in Atlanta - August 5

For some school districts, Friday, August 5 commemorates the end of the first week of school. Acknowledge this milestone with great events that night, including Flicks on the Bricks in Duluth, First Fridays in Canton, Pics in the Park in Dunwoody, and many more!

2. Say Goodbye to Summer Party at Avalon - August 5-6

Self-explanatory: Enjoy the last embers of summer at the ultimate kids party!

Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) says goodbye to its popular Butterfly Encounter exhibit by early May. Photo courtesy of CNC

3. Butterfly Encounter at Chattahoochee Nature Center - August 5-7

Reward your student by taking him or her for the last weekend of CNC's popular Butterfly Encounter exhibit. 

4. Encanto Sing Along Film Concert - August 7

Talk about Bruno all you want at this fun-filled Encanto movie/concert in Alpharetta

5. Roswell End of Summer Bash - August 13

Depending on when your child's school starts back up, celebrate students at Roswell's awesome event.

6. Kidz Bop Live 2022 - August 14

Jam to the roudiest kids in the Top 40 at the Kidz Bop live concert.

Illuminarium is a unique experience for kids of all ages.

Celebrate the Start of Atlanta Schools: Special Things to Do

7. Illuminarium

Visit Illuminarium after school for an otherwordly experience. Kids love this multi-sensory, immersive experience, and it's out of the heat! Current kid-friendly shows (called "experiences") center on space and Wonderland.  

8. Ice Cream

Reward the start of school, while the weather still scorches, with ice cream! It's creamy, frosty, and the flavor choices are endless. 

9. Swimming

Take an afterschool dip in your neighborhood swimming pool or spend a weekend at an Atlanta hotel with day passes.

RELATED: 14 Kid-Friendly Spa Resorts & Hotels Near Atlanta

10. Six Flags Over Georgia

Head to Austell for theme park fun during a weekend; if you have more driving time, travel a little farther to more Georgia theme parks.

11. Playgrounds

Atlanta playgrounds are great after-school activities, especially because it promotes physical and social skills.

The Fringe at Area 51 in Roswell offers two, 18-hole courses.

12. Mini Golf

Enjoy the outdoors with a round of mini golf at the best Atlanta courses. 

13. Laser Tag and Indoor Fun

If your kids whine for air conditioning, find an indoor activity to celebrate their academic successes. Awesome rewards can be laser tag, ice skating, arcades, and more!

14. Time Capsule

Remember the good (and even not-so-good) memories of the first week or month of school by saving any physical reminders of the time frame; then at the end of the year, or perhaps wait even longer, open the time capsule and compare the beginning to the end. 

15. Ziplines and Ropes Courses

Allow kids to let loose outside the classroom walls by zipping, hanging, and otherwise monkeying around at Atlanta courses.

16. Georgia Aquarium

Show your appreciation for your child's hard work by taking him or her to the amazing Georgia Aquarium. Though the Atlanta attraction does get crowded on the weekends, it's definitely worth it!

boys taking Coca-cola-products
Besides standard U.S. flavors, World of Coca-Cola offers funky flavors from their global partners. Photo by Elsa Simcik

17. World of Coca-Cola

Cheers to a job well done with Atlanta's signature beverage, Coca-Cola, and a visit to the fizzy drink's namesake museum! This reward trip may be better suited for older children and teens.

18. Water Parks

Celebrate the start of school with a visit to the coolest (literally), wildest, wettest water parks in the area!

Splatter Studio offers paintbrushes, tools, and water guns(!) for artists to explore their creative sides. 

19. Splatter Studio

For the most part, kids need to behave in class and stay organized; let them color (or paint) outside the lines by reserving a splatter time at Splatter Studio.

20. Schedule a play date

Host a play date to forge strong bonds with new classmates and maintain existing friendships with kids who may not be in your child's current class.

21. Mommy & Me Mani-Pedi

Kids have been writing, erasing, cutting, and fidgeting since school began. Pamper their little nails (and sneak in your own mani-pedi) by having a mommy & me spa day at kid-friendly nail salons, like Sugarcoat that offers a Miss Priss nail service for kids 10 and under.

Pie-loving kids will love creating their own masterpieces at Doodle Pies.

22. Doodle Pies

My kids are OBSESSED with this Roswell pie shop, where customers select ingredients to make their own personal pie inventions. 

23. Movies

If homework is finished, take your child to a mid-week matinee, or enjoy the last of summer's outdoor movie nights in Atlanta with a weekend show.

24. Atlanta Braves

Kids who love baseball will love a reward in the form of Atlanta Braves tickets! There's a long homestand in mid August, against the New York Mets and Houston Astros, or look a little later in the season for more home games.

If this milkshake from The Yard doesn't say celebration, we're not sure what does?!

25. Say it with Sugar

We don't advise offering sugary treats every afternoon, but finishing off the first week of school with just one milkshake from The Yard or a sno-ball from Snow on the Square seems fair.

26. Book Shops

For those students who love reading beyond the classroom, visit local bookshops, like Little Shop of Stories and FoxTale Book Shoppe, and pick up a read-for-fun book for your little literary fans.

27. Special Dinners, Kids' Choice

For one whole week of school, let your children choose what's for dinner (within reason). Better yet...let them help you make it if they enjoy cooking!

28. Grandparent Catch-up

Celebrate multiple people with one thoughtful activity! Allow your child an in-person visit or Zoom call with Nana and Papa: Grandparents feel needed and in the loop and children get to talk about school with a truly enthralled audience.

Give your child a set amount of cash to shop for what he or she loves, like accessories, comic books, or candy from Rocket Fizz in Marietta

29. Shopping Spree

Support local shops, like Rhen's Nest Toy ShopRichard's Variety Store, Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy ShopEddie's Trick Shop, and let your child choose something to take home. Don't forget to set a budget before stepping into the store!

30. Stone Mountain Park

Bring the family to Stone Mountain Park on the weekend for a full day of fun, with attractions like Summit Skyride, Dinotorium, scenic railroad, and more.

All photos by Melanie Preis unless otherwise noted.

End of Summer Bash at East Roswell Park
East Roswell Park - 2:00 PM Pick
Groovin' on the Green Back to School Bash
Brook Run Park - 6:00 PM Pick
Woodstock Summer Concert Series
Northside Hospital Cherokee Amphitheater - 7:30 PM Pick
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Atlanta Botanical Garden - 9:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides