Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL IATA) ("Hartsfield," "ATL," or just "the airport" to locals), is located about 8 miles south of downtown Atlanta. Hartsfield–Jackson is Delta Air Lines' main hub and headquarters as well as a focus city for Southwest Airlines, and has been the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic and aircraft movements since 1998.
By the numbers
- See also: Air travel in the USA
Atlanta is one of the South's two regional hubs, and most of its passengers begin or end their journey in the region, but it also offers international nonstop services to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. As the old saying goes, "It doesn't matter whether you go to heaven or hell—to get there, you will have to connect through Atlanta."
Atlanta was a rail hub before it ever became a major city, and as travel shifted from rail to air, Atlanta transformed into an air hub (as did the other American rail hub, Chicago). Atlanta is within quick reach of most major population centers of the U.S., and its climate is mild: it has few storms, little fog or snow, and isn't "hot and high" like some desert airports. Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines (who would ultimately merge) established their main hubs here, funneling countless passengers through Atlanta. And as "the city too busy to hate," Atlanta was one of the more attractive southern business destinations during the Jim Crow and early civil rights eras.
Despite its busyness, compared to other hub airports it's easy to navigate and not usually prone to delays or cancellations, thanks to its efficient layout and comparatively mild weather. When they do happen, it's usually because a severe summer thunderstorm brings a halt to all operations for anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.
ATL names things a little differently than other airports. The boarding gates are in "concourses" or "[letter] Gates", while at either end of the airport the "terminals" are the entry and exit points with check-in, baggage claim, and ground transportation. The Domestic Terminal is one large building separated into the South Terminal (Delta and its partners) and the North Terminal (all other domestic airlines), connected by a central Atrium with a smattering of restaurants and a few other amenities. The International Terminal on the opposite end of the airport is used for foreign airlines and arriving international flights.
If you already have your boarding pass and don't have to check bags, you can skip directly to security. Otherwise, go to the check-in desk for your airline. Delta is in both Terminals as the largest airline here; rather obviously, all other domestic airlines are in the Domestic Terminal while all foreign airlines are in the International Terminal. (Note that Southwest handles check-in for their international flights to Cancún and Punta Cana from their desk in the Domestic Terminal.)
For a Delta flight, you can check in at either Domestic Terminal or International Terminal, regardless of whether your flight is domestic or international. This can be convenient to avoid a lengthy trek to the International Terminal, although the International Terminal is much less busy and usually has much shorter security wait times (see below).
Delta also offers self-service check-in that's highly streamlined. To print your boarding pass, change your number of checked bags, or even handle non-routine tasks like changing flights, use the automated kiosks. Rather than digging up a confirmation number or other booking details, the fastest and easiest way is to swipe your ID, whether that's a credit card (only your name is pulled from it, so it doesn't matter whether you used it to book the ticket), a U.S. drivers' license, or a passport. Answer the questions on the kiosk, pay for any changes with your credit card, and you're done. To check baggage, enter a nearby line for check-in agents labeled "Bag Drop".
You can enter security at any of the four checkpoints. (You can even use the security checkpoint in the Domestic Terminal if you're on an international flight, and vice versa.) You'll never have to leave and re-enter security to get where you're going.
You can check the current wait times online or by looking at signboards, but be skeptical: "less than 15 minutes" may not actually be true. Wait times have grown longer in the past few years, and can reach up to 1 hour during peak times (and even longer during busy holiday periods). It's also become more difficult to guess which checkpoint will be the fastest, since delays can occur for no apparent reason.
Mobile boarding passes are accepted at all security checkpoints; this lets you pull up your boarding pass on your mobile phone to get through security and board the plane, bypassing the check-in desks and saving paper.
Security checkpoints use new automated screening lanes which avoid backups from slow passengers, but can be confusing the first time. When you get to the screening area, go to one of the five individual stations. Take a bin from beneath the station and put everything in it, including your luggage. You don't need separate bins for laptops/electronics, clothes, etc., but you do have to remove all electronics larger than a cell phone. When the TSA agent tells you to, push your bin forward onto the conveyor belt. (Don't push your bin as soon as there's an opening on the conveyor, because you may be cutting off someone at another station who was already waiting.) Then walk through the checkpoint and collect your belongings as usual. Be sure to return the empty bin to the automated return system.
In the Domestic Terminal, there are three security checkpoints: the main one accessible through the central Atrium, and smaller ones near the end of North and South Terminals (walk behind and past the check-in desks; the entrances are marked but there aren't many signs to guide you to them). Keep those smaller checkpoints in mind in case the wait at the main checkpoint is long; they are also the faster option if your flight leaves from Concourse T, as they empty directly into it instead of the Transportation Mall.
The line at the International Terminal security checkpoint is often much shorter. Since you can use it even if you're on a domestic flight, this can be handy if you're in a rush or want a calmer experience. However, there are several caveats:
- If you need to get your boarding pass or check baggage, and your airline doesn't have a desk at the International Terminal, this won't work.
- The wait to check baggage is typically longer at the International Terminal.
- You can only get to the International Terminal by car and some shuttle buses; it's not directly served by public transit at all. Depending on where you come from, it may take longer to get to the International Terminal. (Once past security, though, it only takes a few minutes to cross the airport to reach your departure gate.)
Regardless of what gate you arrive at, if you're on an international flight — even one with U.S. border preclearance — your baggage will be at the International Terminal located outside of Concourse F. For domestic flights, your baggage will be in the Domestic Terminal in either South Terminal (Delta and its partners) or North Terminal (all other airlines).
- See also: Atlanta#Get around
Ground transportation options at ATL are nicely consolidated at the end of the Domestic Terminal. Walk past baggage claim; the MARTA station is just indoors, and all other transportation is straight ahead outside.
At the International Terminal, the only options that are directly available are taxis, ride-shares, a few select shuttle buses, or getting picked up by car. For all other ground transportation, take the free International Shuttle Connector, a 15-minute ride that leaves from the red zone 3. Check the bus's sign for its destination; it will bring you to either directly to the rental car center, or to the Domestic Terminal for all other ground transportation.
By public transit
The airport has its own station on 1 MARTA, the city rail system; the station is inside the Domestic Terminal. (The station is indoors, next to the exit for other ground transportation, across from the baggage claim belts; look for the ugly brown stone flooring.) MARTA is a convenient and economical way of getting from the airport to places in downtown, midtown, or northern Atlanta, albeit one of the least comfortable. (The hard plastic seats get uncomfortable very quickly, and there isn't much space to put your luggage.) Not including time spent waiting for a train, travel time is about 20 minutes to/from Five Points Station or 30 minutes to/from Lindbergh Station. All fares are $2.50 one-way (not including a $1 ticket fee or $2 reloadable fare card) and include free transfers for both rail and bus. Departing trains alternate between Doraville-bound (Gold Line) and North Springs–bound (Red Line), though if you aren't going north of Lindbergh Station, where the two lines diverge, you can take either one.
Most MARTA stations have taxi stands, and some hotels have free shuttles which will collect from the nearest MARTA station on telephone request.
Although several MARTA bus routes stop at College Park Station (the next stop up on the MARTA Red/Gold rail line), the only route that stops at the airport directly is 191, which stops at the International Terminal and services Riverdale and Jonesboro.
There are no long-distance trains at the airport, but you can take MARTA trains and buses to the Amtrak station in Buckhead.
By taxi or ridesharing
Taxis are fixed-rate when going to/from the airport and major business areas (Downtown $30, Midtown $32, Buckhead $40; excluding fees).
Taxi stands and rideshares from Uber and Lyft are available at both terminals. Due to construction at the Domestic Terminal, its rideshare pick-up zone is temporarily relocated. Do not attempt to request a rideshare at the general pick-up/drop-off zones. From baggage claim, take an escalator down to the lower level, and follow signs to the rideshare pick-up zone (in the North or South Economy parking lots). It is approximately a 5-7 minute walk from the terminal. Request your rideshare after getting to the pick-up zone.
By shuttle or bus
A plethora of shuttle buses have designated parking spaces, divided into categories: limousines, shared-ride shuttles, hotel shuttles, and off-site parking.
Local van services provide transportation to a variety of areas in the Metro Atlanta area. Fares are capped when going to/from the airport and major business areas (maximum: Downtown $16.50/person, Midtown $18.50/person, Buckhead $30/person).
Regional and long-distance
Regional shuttle services to many surrounding cities outside Metro Atlanta are available.
Limited services to outside of Georgia are also available:
- Airport Shuttle of Clemson, toll-free: . Service to North Carolina (Asheville, Cashiers, Charlotte, Highlands) and South Carolina (Anderson, Clemson, Greenville, Seneca).
- Groome Transportation.
You can also take MARTA rail to connect to the Greyhound and Megabus stations in downtown Atlanta.
The airport is easily reached from I-85 (domestic terminals) or I-75 (international terminal), where there are well-labeled signs directing you to the airport.
At the domestic terminals, you will need to know whether you're going to South Terminal (Delta and its partners) or North Terminal (all other airlines), because the road divides. Fortunately there are signs posted listing the airlines for each terminal.
If you just want to drop someone off quickly, the curbside drop-off lanes are quick in spite of the heavy traffic. Surly police officers will not let you linger for too long, so if you want a longer goodbye, pay a few dollars for the hourly parking lot.
Free "cell phone" parking lots are available if you're waiting to pick up an arriving passenger, but they can be jam-packed during busy times. The rental car center also has a small waiting lot inside its main loop, and is only 5-10 minutes away.
Numerous parking lots are available from all terminals. All allow hourly parking at $3/hour (increasing to $4/hour after 2 hours in the short-term lots), and long-term parking at rates from $10-36/day. Parking lots sometimes fill up during busy periods; check lot status online or listen to 830 AM.
More than a dozen other companies have off-site parking lots with shuttles bringing you directly from your car to the terminals. Their daily rates can be substantially cheaper, particularly if booked advance.
By rental car
Handle everything for your rental car at the Hartsfield–Jackson 2 Rental Car Center, a dedicated complex that houses rental check-in desks and their cars. From the Domestic Terminal, walk past baggage claim, continue straight outside, and take the free 3 ATL SkyTrain; from the International Terminal, take the International Shuttle Connector, which has a route that will take you directly to the rental car center.
When returning your car, take I-85 and follow signs towards the airport, then follow further signs to "rental car return". When you reach the Rental Car Center, drive around the loop until you see the parking deck entrance for your rental car agency. After you've returned the car, take the ATL SkyTrain to the Domestic Terminal, or the International Shuttle Connector to the International Terminal.
There are no gas stations for several miles as you take I-85 towards the Rental Car Center, except for a couple off exit 73 (coming from the north). Otherwise, the best option, which is also a little bit cheaper, is to take the airport exit onto Camp Creek Parkway and go 3/4 mile to the RaceTrac on your left, just past the convention center. After filling up, go back the way you came on Camp Creek Parkway and follow signs to the airport and the Rental Car Center; don't try to take surface streets, which only lead to restricted entrances.
Think of the airport as a series of parallel ribs (concourses) connected by a central spine (the Transportation Mall and Plane Train), bookended by the Domestic and International Terminals. To get between concourses, head to the center of the one you are in, then take an escalator down into the Transportation Mall, the long straight underground hallway which connects everything. You can choose to walk (it's about 1,000 ft (300 m) between each concourse, with moving sidewalks for most of that length), or you can take the much faster Plane Train, an automated people mover that stops at every concourse roughly every 2 minutes. (Did we mention it's fast? Heed the announcements and hold on to something, lest you bowl into the other riders.) You don't have to leave or re-enter secure zones, so tight connections are usually quite feasible.
However, within each concourse, there are no moving sidewalks (except in Concourse F), and it's about 1,000 ft (300 m) from the entrance to the ends, or almost 2,300 ft (700 m) if you're unlucky enough to have to walk from one end to the other. For those who need assistance, there are speedy electric carts which you can flag down or ask a gate agent to call.
Concourses E and F are the international concourses. F is in the same building as the International Terminal, and is where you will go through customs and immigration when arriving from abroad. You can go to or be picked up directly at the International Terminal by car, taxi or shuttle. If your arrival brings you to the International Terminal and you want to use other ground transportation (rental car, public transit, other shuttle), take the free airport shuttle connector to the Domestic Terminal or the car rental center.
Maps of the interior of the airport available on Google Maps and Apple Maps.
It's tough to find a good view, since windows mostly have a dull view of other gates. Concourses A and D have upper levels at their centerpoints, and the restaurants there have windows that look out over the whole airport. Gates E14-18 are sideways compared to everything else, so their windows have a clear view of the runways and open field.
- The ATL/music program has around a dozen musicians who play in shifts all throughout the airport, M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 8AM-5PM. Besides guitar, violin, and cello, you may hear steel drums or vibraphone.
- If you prefer a more relaxing ambiance, Concourse E has a spacious food court with live piano.
- There is also the Piano Bar in Concourse A (see § Eat and Drink), although it's small and often crowded.
- Music plays in the Domestic Terminal Atrium (outside secure zone) from 5PM-7PM daily. The theme changes monthly.
The airport is home to a growing number of permanent and rotating art exhibits.
- In the Domestic Terminal Atrium there is a 1 dinosaur skeleton on loan from Atlanta's Fernbank Museum.
- The underground Transportation Mall has a few exhibits. You'll have to skip the Plane Train and take the moving sidewalks if you just want a quick glance, or walk if you want to go at your own pace.
- There are rotating youth art galleries in Concourses T, D, and E.
- Concourse E includes an exhibit on the life of civil rights activist 5 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by the escalators from the Transportation Mall level.
- 1 The Club at ATL (Concourse F center, upstairs), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10:30PM. Open to all travellers; also serves British Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines, as well as members of Priority Pass, Lounge Club, Lounge Key, and Diners Club International. A small lounge, but spacious and bright. Unimpressive views include the good (the iconic "Fly Delta Jets" sign), the bad (some roads and a parking deck) and the ugly (the line at the security checkpoint). The limited food offerings are decent, but not great, and better for breakfast than other meals. Free alcoholic drinks including cocktails. Showers available. Day pass $40.
- 2 USO Lounge (United Services Organization), 6000 N Terminal Pkwy, Ste 320, Atlanta, GA 30320, USA (Domestic Terminal Atrium, upstairs; from the escalator, it's on the left), ☏ . M-F 7AM-9PM, Sa 8AM-7PM, Su 8AM-9PM. For U.S. military and their families. Very comfortable reclining leather chairs for sleeping or watching TV. Drinks and snacks, and a full kitchen. Several computers for Internet access, and tables with charging stations. Small playroom with kid-sized furniture. Very quiet inside, so it's great for catching some Z's.
It's not really a lounge, but if you're looking for someplace to rest quietly you can also get a room at Minute Suites in 15-minute increments (minimum 1 hour); see § Sleep.
- American Airlines Admiral Club (Concourse T, gate T10), ☏ . Su-Fr 5:15AM–8:30PM, Sa 5:15AM–8PM.
- Delta Sky Club — The best are the ones in Concourses E and F. Concourses A and B also have nice ones. If you're in Concourse D, go elsewhere if you have time.
- 3 (Concourse T, gate T6). Daily 6AM-10PM. A smaller lounge, suited to its smaller concourse. Nice seated TV viewing area. Small bar with no TVs.
- 4 (Concourse A center, 2nd level). Daily 5AM-11PM. Large pillars in the middle break up the space, compared to other lounges with more open designs. Small bar with a TV. Panoramic windows provide nice views of Delta's busiest concourses.
- 5 (Concourse A, gate A17). Daily 6AM-11PM. Spacious open design. Good food and drink selections, and a large bar. Few windows and no views to speak of.
- 6 (Concourse B center, by gate B18). Daily 6AM-11PM. The flagship and newest lounge at ATL, with a spacious feel. Good food and drink selection.
- 7 (Concourse C, gate C37). Daily 6AM-11PM. One of the smaller lounges, but still with a spacious design and some more private areas, accented by unique stone decor.
- 8 (Concourse D, gate D12). Daily 6AM-10PM. Undoubtably the worst option; try the other one at gate D27. Now the smallest lounge and likely to take over the "Sky Closet" moniker; it's so narrow that people walking through the aisles are likely to bump into you. Only one bathroom, so there's often a line.
- 9 (Concourse D, gate D27). Daily 6AM-11PM. Better than the one at gate D12, although the limited views are unimpressive. Low ceilings emphasize that this is the only lounge located downstairs rather than up. Bar with several TVs.
- 10 (Concourse E, gate E15). Daily 6AM-10PM. Large seating area. Good food and drink selection, and a very large bar. Great views. Showers and spa available.
- 11 (Concourse F center, upstairs). Daily 5:30AM-11PM. Possibly the nicest one in the airport. Good food and drink selection, and a very large bar. Upstairs area has an outdoor deck with great views. Showers available.
- United Club (Concourse T, gate T11), ☏ . Su-Fr 4:45AM-8:45PM, Sa 4:45AM-7PM.
- XpresSpa. Manicure $20, 10-minute massage $25.
- (Concourse A center, opposite food court), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10PM.
- (Gate C37), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10:30PM.
- (Gate D26), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10:30PM.
Eat and drink
The tide has turned against domination by Starbucks, and there are now an assortment of cafes and restaurants with a decent brew. If you're searching for espresso drinks rather than just drip coffee, here are a few suggestions:
- Domestic Terminal Atrium: Coffee Beanery, Starbucks
- Concourse T: Argo Tea & Café (Gate T11), The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Gate T6)
- Concourse A: Atlanta Bread & Bar (Gate A12), Brioche Doree Café Bakery (Center), Caribou Coffee (Gate A2), The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Gate A12)
- Concourse B: Cafe Intermezzo (Center), Cafe Tazza (Center), Coffee Beanery (Gate B3)
- Concourse C: Atlanta Bread Company (Gate C30), Starbucks (Gate C16, Gate C37)
- Concourse D: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Gate D30), Harvest & Grounds (Gate D9), The Market by Food and Wine (Center)
- Concourse E: Caribou Coffee (Center)
- Concourse F: French Meadow Cafe (Center), Starbucks (Center, upstairs)
- International Terminal: Starbucks (Arrivals level)
If tea is your preference, Argo Tea & Café (Gate T11) probably has the best selection.
Restaurants and bars
If you get stuck at the airport overnight, very few restaurants are open 24/7:
An influx of local restaurants and fine dining options has led to a vastly improved food scene at ATL.
Naturally, fast food is your safest bet if you're in a hurry, although even the "fast" food restaurants can be unexpectedly slow at times. But if you have enough time — say, at least 1 hour for a seated restaurant — then nearly the whole airport is available to you, more than 100 establishments. It only takes 5-10 minutes to hop on the Plane Train and cross the airport in search of quality food, particularly since many restaurants are clustered at the center of each concourse.
Looking for the best that ATL has to offer? One Flew South (Concourse E) is consistently praised for its gourmet food and cocktail creations; Ecco (Concourse F) also offers good upscale food. The Original El Taco (Concourses C and F), LottaFrutta (Concourse B), and Pascal's Southern Cuisine (Concourse B) offer some unpretentious local flavor, while Varasano's Pizzeria (Concourse A) and Grindhouse Killer Burgers (Concourses T and D) serve expertly crafted classics. For beer lovers, Chicken + Beer (Concourse D) and Sweetwater Last Cast Bar & Grill (Concourse B) have plenty of local pours.
As the Domestic Terminal is outside of the secure zone, the restaurants in the Atrium plus one in the International Terminal are the only options for someone who isn't flying and can't pass through security.
- 1 Atlanta ChopHouse & Brewery (Atrium). Steaks, drinks, and an excellent Reuben. Sandwich $13-20, steak $24-36, entrée $17-27.
- Shane's Rib Shack (Atrium). Local fast-casual chain serving barbecue sandwiches, plates, and ribs.
- Argo Tea & Café (Gate T11).
- Atlanta Stillhouse (Gate T13).
- Corner Bakery Cafe (Gate T3).
- Grindhouse Killer Burgers (Gate T11). Excellent burgers; you might even say they're good enough to die for. Cheap wine and a good selection of craft beers.
- Goldbergs Bagel Company & Deli (Gate T12). Local shop to satisfy your craving for a Manhattan-style bagel with all the trimmings. Unfortunately the quality and selection at the small airport shops fall short of their other locations in town.
- 1 Papi's Cuban & Caribbean Cafe (Gate T8). Great place for a traditional American breakfast with a Cuban twist, or for big Cuban sandwiches at lunch. Also has a bar and serves Cuban coffee.
- Atlanta Hawks Bar & Grill (Gate A34, at the very end of the concourse). Very generic sports bar. A few local beers, which you can use to wash down Cajun fish tacos and other average bar food.
- Bar One. Martinis
- Cat Cora's Kitchen (Gate A25). Highly rated health-conscious food and drinks celebrating the celebrity chef's Greek and Southern heritage, including her signature ouzotini.
- Chick-fil-A (Center). M 10:30AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 6:30AM-10PM, closed Su. This southern fast-food chain serves chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and waffle fries. Displaced southerners flock here for a taste of their former home, and it's an easy chance for foreign travellers to try something unique. An additional bonus is that they use peanut oil that's processed to remove all allergens, so people with peanut allergies can generally eat here without any problems (but check with your doctor first, of course).
- Goldbergs Bagel Company & Deli (Gate T12). Local shop to satisfy your craving for a Manhattan-style bagel with all the trimmings. Unfortunately the quality and selection at the small airport shops fall short of their other locations in town.
- LowCountry New Southern Cuisine (Center).
- 2 Piano Bar (Center). Connected to Varasano's Pizzeria, in addition to live piano they ply your heart with great selections of wine, cocktails, spirits, and local craft beers.
- Piece of Cake (Center).
- Shake Shack (Gate A28). Outlet of the immensely popular New York–based burger chain. Takes a few minutes, but worth the wait compared to other fast food burgers. Breakfast and good coffee.
- TAP (Gate A3). A small branch of a local gastropub. Smoking is allowed in a room in the back (purchase required). Beer $8-15, cocktails $12-14. Burgers and sandwiches $12-14, tacos 2/$7.70, 3/$10.
- Three Taverns Craft Beers (Gate A25). Locally brewed craft Belgian-style beers
- Varasano's Pizzeria (Center). Daily 7:30AM-11PM. Little sibling to Varasano's Pizzeria in Buckhead, ranked among top pizza restaurants in the U.S. Also serves drinks and music at the piano bar. Breakfast available.
- Bobby's Burger Palace (Gate B26). Burgers from celebrity chef Bobby Flay.
- Blue Moon Brewhouse (Gate B11).
- 2 Café Intermezzo (Center). Daily 6AM-11PM; breakfast until 10:30AM. Local favorite with dozens of espressos, cappuccinos, and other dressed-up coffees. Sweet and savory crepes, sandwiches, and charcuterie.
- LottaFrutta (Gate B23). Pressed sandwiches, fresh fruit cups, and smoothies.
- Paschal's Southern Cuisine (Center). Branch of an Atlanta soul food institution serving fried chicken and catfish, country-fried steak, mac 'n' cheese, and Southern vegetable plates.
- Samuel Adams Atlanta Brew House (Center). Daily 7AM-10PM. A good bet for a decent pint of beer.
- 3 Sweetwater Last Cast Bar & Grill, ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM (A25), 6AM-11PM (B11). Serving up Georgia's most well-known craft beer.
- Willy's Mexican Grill (Center). Fast-casual burritos, quesadillas, and other Tex-Mex combinations. Similar to, and arguably better than, Moe's or Chipotle.
- Chick-fil-A (Gate C21). M 10:30AM-6PM, Tu-Sa 6:30AM-10PM, closed Su. This southern fast-food chain serves chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and waffle fries. Displaced southerners flock here for a taste of their former home, and it's an easy chance for foreign travellers to try something unique. An additional bonus is that they use peanut oil that's processed to remove all allergens, so people with peanut allergies can generally eat here without any problems (but check with your doctor first, of course).
- Jersey Mike's Subs (Gate C14).
- Links Grill (Gate C30). Hot dogs and sausages in a variety of styles, and a few other sandwich offerings, with beer to wash them down.
- The Original El Taco (Gate C14).
- The Pecan Bar (Gate C6).
- Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint (Gate C42).
- Samuel Adams Atlanta Brew House. Daily 7AM-10PM. Your second best bet for a decent pint of beer.
- 3 The Varsity (Gate C21), ☏ . Famous as the world's largest drive-in restaurant, the Varsity is a favorite of many locals for chili cheese hotdogs, burgers, and onion rings. An equal number of people dislike its greasy, low quality food. If you don't want to risk the heartburn, try the F.O. (Frosted Orange, a sort of orange creamsicle slushie). Breakfast is also available, unique among Varsity locations.
As one recent review put it, "The 'D' clearly stands for 'drinking'."
- 40/40 Club (Center), ☏ . Upscale sports bar, the third location of a chain owned by rapper Jay-Z. Unfortunately, reviews consistently say that the typical bar food is at best average quality, the drinks are overpriced ($20-25 for a glass of wine that would be $12 elsewhere, $10 for a 12oz beer), and service can be slow and sometimes downright rude.
- Atlanta Braves All-Star Grill (Gate D8A).
- Buffalo Wild Wings (Center, upstairs).
- Chicken+Beer (Gate D5). Southern comfort food from local rapper Ludacris, sharing the name of his third album. Beers from multiple small Atlanta craft breweries, and cocktails.
- Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill (Center).
- Grindhouse Killer Burgers (Gate D32). Excellent burgers; you might even say they're good enough to die for. Cheap wine and a good selection of craft beers.
- The Market by Food and Wine (Center). A showcase of local foods, which unfortunately may fall short in its execution. Locally roasted Octane Coffee is good. Sandwiches like "The Big Peach" on bread from locally-renowned Holeman & Finch, with ham, brie, and Georgia peaches. Wine and local beers, and even Buford Highway–inspired pho. However, all food is pre-made (not even on site) and served cafeteria style, so expect dry biscuits and limp salads.
- Mustard Seed BBQ (Gate D23).
- Terrapin Tap House (Center, upstairs). Locally brewed craft beer from nearby Athens, Georgia. Smoke lounge with cigars and hookah.
Except for the outstanding One Flew South, food and drink options in Concourse E are generally unremarkable. There's a food court in the centerpoint with lots of open space and 6 live piano, but the restaurants are just generic fast food (Arby's, McDonald's, Nathan's, Panda Express, Qdoba, and Subway).
- Blue Moon Brewhouse (Gate E28).
- Goldbergs Bagel Company & Deli. Local shop to satisfy your craving for a Manhattan-style bagel with all the trimmings. Unfortunately the quality and selection at the small airport shops fall short of their other locations in town.
- 4 One Flew South (Center; from the escalators, it's ahead on the left), ☏ . Daily 11AM-10PM. Among the best-rated airport restaurants in the world and the first airport restaurant to be a semifinalist for a James Beard award, this part-Japanese part-Southern restaurant is tucked away in a primarily international concourse. It's worth going out of your way for, though, as highlights on the gourmet food menu include thyme-roasted pork belly, fresh sushi, and salmon hot pot. The bar is excellent as well: their seasonal cocktails are expertly constructed, and the wine list is similarly extensive and includes a few sakes. While all of the food is outstanding, portion sizes can be a little small, and there are almost no vegetarian options. Service can be a little slow, but they always ask how long you can stay and adjust accordingly; at least while you wait you can enjoy the decor and the forest photo-mural. Cocktails $15, glass of wine or sake $9-24, beer $6-11+. Appetizers $7-14, mains $14-29, sushi $9-16.
- Sojourner's Cafe (Gate E8).
- 4 Ecco (Center, upstairs). Daily 10AM-10PM. Upscale Mediterranean-influenced Italian food. Three dozen wines by the glass, emphasizing breadth rather than depth; cocktails are decent, mainly slight variations of the classics. Lovely dark wooden interior, plus some tables in the open balcony overlooking the gates below. Appetizers $6-11, flatbreads and panini $15-18, pasta and mains $16-35. Cocktails $11.
- French Meadow Bakery & Café (Center).
- 5 Jekyll Island Seafood Company (Gates F8 & F9). Beers from multiple small Atlanta craft breweries
- Lorena Garcia Tapas Atlanta (Center, upstairs). 24/7. Avoid. Badly misnamed since they don't serve any food. The short cocktail menu of sangria, mojitos, and margaritas sounds okay, while the wine and beer selections are mediocre, but all drinks are overpriced and a mandatory 18% gratuity is included.
- Maison Mathis Belgium Beer Café (Gate F3).
- 5 The Original El Taco (Center, upstairs).
- 6 The Pecan Bistro (Center, upstairs).
- 7 The Varsity (Center, upstairs), ☏ . Famous as the world's largest drive-in restaurant, the Varsity is a favorite of many locals for chili cheese hotdogs, burgers, and onion rings. An equal number of people dislike its greasy, low quality food. If you don't want to risk the heartburn, try the F.O. (Frosted Orange, a sort of orange creamsicle slushie). Breakfast is also available, unique among Varsity locations.
The International Terminal isn't meant as a place to linger; it only contains check-in, baggage claim, and some ground transportation. Other than a Starbucks, there is only one restaurant here. Go through security, and then you'll be in Concourse F with a better selection, and within easy reach of the rest of the airport's restaurants. If you want to eat with someone who isn't flying and can't pass through security, either go to Domestic Terminal for a better selection, or leave the airport and eat someplace nearby.
- 8 Sweet Auburn Market (Departures level), ☏ . Daily 6AM-11PM.
For its many frequent travellers, ATL has introduced the ATLRewards loyalty program. By shopping and eating at many places in the airport, you can earn points which you can redeem for airline miles, hotel points, and other travel-related rewards.
- SunTrust ATMs (Domestic Terminal Atrium, Gate T8, Gate A18, Gate A19, Gate B19, Gate C21, Gate D11, Gate F10, and International Terminal check-in).
- Wells Fargo ATMs (Domestic Terminal Atrium and baggage claim, Concourse T center, Gate A19, Gate B19, Gate C22, Gate D11, and Concourse F center).
Currency exchange is offered by Travelex:
- (Domestic Terminal Atrium), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Gate T6), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10PM.
- (Concourse A center), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Gates B15/B16), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Concourse D center), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Concourse E, arrivals level), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Concourse E center), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Gates E12/E14), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Gate E26), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Gate F6), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Concourse F, arrivals level and baggage claim), ☏ . 24 hours daily.
- (Concourse F, connector from Concourse E), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
- (Concourse F center, upstairs), ☏ . Daily 7AM-11PM.
For full-service banking, there is a SunTrust (Domestic Terminal, at passenger security exit near South Terminal), ☏ . M-F 9AM-3PM.
- Duty Free Americas.
- (Concourse E center), ☏ . Daily 6:30AM-10PM.
- (Gate F10), ☏ . Daily 6AM-10:30PM.
- Newsstands are easy to find: there's always at least one in the center of each concourse selling newspapers, books, and sundries.
- All ATL (Concourse D center), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM.
- Atlanta.net (Gate A11), ☏ . Daily 6:30AM-10PM. Local merchandise including items from the gift shops of the High Museum of Art, CNN Center, and other Atlanta and Georgia attractions.
- Panda Veranda (Gate B5), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Merchandise from Zoo Atlanta featuring the giant pandas and other animal friends.
- Savannah's Candy Kitchen, ☏ . Gourmet sweets from Savannah, Georgia: pecan pralines, pecan pie, caramels, and fudge.
- (Concourse B center). Daily 7AM-10PM.
- (Concourse C center). Daily 7AM-10PM.
- Ermenegildo Zegna (Concourse A center). One of the few U.S. locations of this luxury Italian menswear brand.
- Salvatore Ferragamo (Concourse A center), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM.
- Sean John (Gate B27), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM. Contemporary menswear from rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
- Spanx (Gate E26), ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM. Lingerie and shapewear, as well as trendy casualwear like leggings to keep you comfortable on the plane.
- The Beauty Lounge (Concourse B center), ☏ . Daily 8AM-10PM.
- Lather (Gate T5), ☏ . Daily 7AM-10PM.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport on the "ATL Free Wi-Fi" network.
Charging your devices can be difficult in such a busy airport. Wall outlets are in short supply. Some seating areas have power stations with AC outlets and USB charging ports, but there aren't enough to keep up with demand. Some restaurants offer AC outlets. There are a few "quick charge" stations and booths; these charge your device quickly, but make you suffer through video advertisements while you wait.
There are a few information desks (Domestic Terminal near passenger security exit, Concourse E center, Concourse F center, International Terminal arrivals level).
There is no luggage storage at ATL.
All smoking areas within the airport have closed after a new law went into effect on 1 January 2020; vaping is also prohibited. The only remaining smoking areas are located outside of security by some of the entrances to the Domestic Terminal and International Terminal. ATL is offering free Nicotine lozenges during January to ease the transition period.
Showers are available included with entry to The Club at ATL (Concourse F) and in the Delta Sky Clubs in Concourse E and Concourse F. They are also available at Minute Suites at gates T8 and B15 for $30, or $20 with suite purchase (see § Sleep).
For mothers with infants, there are seven nursing stations (near Domestic Terminal west, T7, B5, D43, Concourse E center, F5, and F arrivals). These small pods have bench seating, a small diaper-changing table and an electric outlet for pumps. You can also use Minute Suites at gates T8 and B15 (see § Sleep).
There are multiple dog parks. The main one is outside the Domestic South Terminal from doors W1 and W2 (follow the signs towards the SkyTrain, then go left around the SkyTrain's building towards ground transportation buses); it's very clean, and has some cute dog statues made from scrap metal. Smaller ones are outside Domestic North Terminal from door LN2, and outside the arrivals level of International Terminal from door A1. All of these are outside of the secure zone, so if you're continuing on another flight, you'll have to go through the security screening to get back in. For service animals only, there are also indoor relief areas near gates T7, A10, B33, C19, D16, E14, and F7.
There are three interfaith chapels available: one outside of the secure zone (Domestic Terminal Atrium, upstairs), and two inside the secure zone (Concourse E center, behind the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibit and Concourse F center, upstairs). 24 hours daily. There are scheduled Catholic, non-denominational Christian, and Muslim (Jumu'ah prayer) services throughout the week. There's also a Chaplain Office (Domestic Terminal Atrium, upstairs, adjacent to chapel), ☏ (24/7 for emergencies). M-F 9AM-5PM.
For customers on the autism spectrum, there is a quiet room (Concourse F) with multisensory items to interact with for a calming experience.
The airport never closes, but nightly from 11PM-4:30AM it's restricted to ticketed passengers and people meeting, accompanying, or assisting passengers. You won't get kicked out for sleeping on the chairs or even the floor, although you may be asked to move or to show a boarding pass. But for comfort reasons, it's best to avoid that except as a last resort. Pretty much all chairs have integrated armrests, so the only way to lay down flat is to sleep on the floor. The airport can get cold overnight, particularly near the ubiquitous large windows, and remains brightly lit and noisy. Good places to try include:
- Domestic Terminal Atrium, which is outside the secure zone, but has large comfortable chairs
- the underground hallway between Concourses A and B, which is dim and has ambient wildlife noises
- Concourses E and F, which are spacious and quiet and may have some couches available
There are quite a few hotels near the airport, but your only option within the airport is Minute Suites, ☏ . Their 7-by-8-foot (2.1 m × 2.4 m) rooms feature a daybed couch, HDTV, and an office desk. Rooms sleep 2 people or seat 4. Rates are no cheaper than a hotel for an overnight stay, but if you just want to rest between flights, this probably beats sleeping upright sitting in a chair. Showers are available for a separate fee. Minimum stay 1 hour ($42). 15 minute increments $10.50 up to 2 hours, $8 after 2 hours. 8-hour flat rate $155. Free for 30 minutes for breastfeeding mothers. First hour free for PriorityPass members. Showers $30, or $20 with room. Discounts for military and airline employees. If rooms are full, you can rent an air mattress for $40 with no time limit.
Connected by ATL SkyTrain
Three hotels are connected to the free ATL SkyTrain that runs 24 hours between the airport, convention center, and rental car center.
- 1 Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway, 2020 Convention Center Concourse (ATL SkyTrain to Gateway Center station), ☏ .
- 2 SpringHill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway, 2091 Convention Center Concourse (ATL SkyTrain to Gateway Center station), ☏ .
- 3 Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel, 2081 Convention Center Concourse (ATL SkyTrain to Gateway Center station), ☏ .
A number of nearby hotels are located southwest of the airport grounds at I-85/SR-403 & Riverdale Rd (SR-139) at Exit 70 and north of the airport grounds at Virginia Ave and I-85/SR-403 (Exits 73A & B from northbound lanes and Exits 73 & 74 from southbound lanes). They can also be in other areas too. A number of them do offer shuttle transportation to/from the Purple aisle in the Ground Transportation area at the west end of the Domestic Terminal (West curb). The West curb is outside between the Domestic North and Domestic South terminals:
- 4 Atlanta Airport Marriott, 4711 Best Rd (Shuttle available from airport. Building closer to Sullivan & Southport Rd), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Parking $21/day, valet $25/day. Wi-Fi free, high speed $6.95/day.
- 5 Courtyard by Marriott, 2050 Sullivan Rd (Along Sullivan Rd just west of the I-85 overpass), ☏ .
- 6 Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Airport, 4700 Southport Rd (Southport Rd & Embassy Dr), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM.
- 7 Fairfield Inn South Sullivan Rd/Atlanta Airport South, 2020 Sullivan Rd (Sullivan Rd & Massachusetts Blvd), ☏ .
- 8 Hilton Atlanta Airport, 1031 Virginia Ave (Shuttle available from airport), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Wi-Fi free in public areas, $14.95 wireless and wired in guest rooms. From $92. Parking $14/day, valet $20/day. Pets allowed (up to 75 lbs, $50 fee).
- 9 Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Airport North, 3437 Bobby Brown Pkwy (Shuttle available from airport), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Parking $14/day, valet $17/day.
- 10 Holiday Inn Atlanta Airport-College Park, 4601 Best Rd (Best & Riverdale Rd (SR-139)), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free 24/7 shuttle to the airport terminals, free parking for guests. Park N Fly reservations includes 1 night stay & 7 day parking From $86+.
- 11 Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport-North, 3415 Norman Berry Dr (Shuttle available from airport), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. From $94. Wi-Fi free. Parking $4/hour, $16/day, valet $18/day. Pets allowed (up to 50lbs, $75 fee 1–6 nights).
- 12 Microtel by Wyndham Atlanta Airport, 4839 Massachusetts Blvd (Behind Fairfield Inn from Sullivan Rd & Massachusetts Blvd), ☏ . From $64+.
- 13 Quality Inn, 2010 Sullivan Rd (Sullivan Rd & Massachusetts Blvd), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. $62+.
- 14 La Quinta Inn, 4820 Massachusetts Blvd (Sullivan & Massachusetts behind Quality Inn), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon.
- 15 Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel, 1 Hartsfield Centre Pkwy (Shuttle available from airport), ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. You may be able to spot this hotel with terraced floors while landing; half of its soundproofed rooms directly face the runways, providing excellent plane-spotting opportunities from the balconies. From $113. Wi-Fi free in public areas, $14.95 wireless and wired in guest rooms. Parking $4/hour, $16/day, valet $18/day.
- 16 Westin, 4736 Best Rd, ☏ .
Weird as it may sound, ATL has several events throughout the year that might be worth making a trip just to attend.
- Global Runway. 1 day in May. Started in 2017, this fashion show has models sporting spring and summer looks from retail brands like Swarovski, Sean John, and Tommy Hilfiger. Other displays feature a range of curated items, from luxury jewelry to casual T-shirts and blazers. Unlike a typical fashion event, you're encouraged to touch the display items and take selfies with the models. Free.
- Taste of Hartsfield-Jackson. 1 day in October or November. The world's first food festival in an airport has since 2015 highlighted the hundreds of restaurants and bars that travellers can choose from at ATL. Buy tickets to get tastings from more than 30 eateries spanning the gamut of casual to fancy, and cast your vote for the best. A 25-minute cooking competition takes place in a temporary kitchen, with all the drama of an Iron Chef episode. $15 for 10 tickets, 1 ticket per taste.
- 1 Delta Air Lines surplus sale, Museum Support Building (parking entrance at 1220 Woolman Place). Usually second Friday of every month 9AM-2PM. Every month, Delta sells off items it no longer needs, with proceeds benefiting the Delta Flight Museum. Selection varies, but can include things like first-class seats from retired aircraft, servingware and cutlery, vintage uniforms and merchandise, and office furniture. To avoid crowding, only a handful of people are allowed in at a time; arrive half an hour before opening to ensure you'll be among the first, or come later in the day to avoid the crowd. Everything purchased must be removed the same day, and you have to arrange your own transportation or shipping.
|Routes through Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport|
|Downtown Atlanta ← College Park ←||N S||→ END|