We discovered many fun things to do in Marietta, Georgia! This city has incredible history as well as hip new attractions and restaurants.
We recently had some free time between two house sits in Atlanta so we decided to head just north of the city and check out Marietta. We hadn’t done much research ahead of time, so we stopped by their Visitors Center and realized there were a lot of fun things to do in Marietta! Over the next few days, we visited historic sites, museums, and ate a lot of amazing food.
When visiting Marietta, we think your first stop should be the Marietta Museum of History. It’s a great way to learn about the area and to orient yourself, so to speak, when going on to visit other Marietta attractions. They also have a lot of military artifacts, which we really enjoyed.
The museum is inside The Kennesaw House, which is itself historically significant. The building was once a cotton warehouse and then a hotel. Another interesting tidbit is that during the Civil War, Andrews’ Raiders stayed in a second floor room the night before they stole “The General,” but more on that later…
Looking for free things to do in Marietta? Stop by the Marietta Fire Department Museum. Inside, you’ll find two floors of awesome antique fire apparatuses, tools, and gear dating back to 1854. You can do a self-guided tour to learn about how the Marietta fire department has changed over the years, or you can schedule a guided tour (they need at least a week’s notice).
Fun Fact: If you’re into fire museums, the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum in Harrisburg is pretty awesome!
We loved the Gone with the Wind Museum! There are so many fascinating pieces in their collection, including an original dress worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in the movie. There are also copies of the book signed by Margaret Mitchell, promotional pieces including foreign film posters and premiere programs, and more!
The William Root House Museum is the oldest surviving house in downtown Marietta and, in our opinion, one of the top things to do in Marietta. The house offers a glimpse into the life of a typical merchant in the 1840s. A lot of effort was put into restoring the home and it is decorated in period furniture.
When we visited, John showed us around the house and gardens and told us all about the history of the Root family. He was very knowledgeable and pointed out a lot of interesting artifacts. We especially loved the modern touch-screen display that broke down the history of the family and the house. We tinkered with that for awhile after our tour was done.
The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art is an American Art museum with rotating exhibits and year round events. During our visit we saw work by Richard Cecil on the first floor and work by Carole Pigott on the second floor.
Of course, the heart and soul of the city can be found in Historic Marietta Square. Many Marietta events are held on the square throughout the year, and all around it are over 70 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The square itself is also very pretty and a nice place to sit and people watch.
We weren’t expecting to find street art in Marietta, but guess what? We did! There are a few pieces throughout town, one of our favorites being a giant chick lol! We also found some chalk pieces left over from Chalktoberfest 2018, which were pretty awesome.
We didn’t know about The Big Chicken until we got to Marietta, but it’s a pretty big deal! This 56 foot tall chicken is located at the intersection of Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road, the biggest intersection in Marietta, and it’s beak and eyes move. No wonder it’s such an important and iconic city landmark!
Technically in Kennesaw, but a quick drive from Marietta, is The Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. We loved the exhibits at this museum and learning more about and seeing “The General.”
So in 1862, a Confederate train was stolen by a group known as “Andrews Raiders.” The train’s conductor managed to chase them down after many hours and it became known as the “Great Locomotive Chase.” The museum does a great job of explaining the event and has many artifacts including the train itself, “The General.”
The museum also does a really great job of explaining how the Civil War was the first major military conflict were trains played a huge role due to the fact that they provided food and supplies to both sides.
We didn’t get a chance to visit the park because of the weather, but we were told it’s worth a visit. The park is is a 2,965 acre National Battlefield that preserves a Civil War battle that occurred in June of 1864. You can take a self-guided driving tour, or enjoy many of the park’s hiking trails. The views from the top of Kennesaw Mountain are supposed to be pretty spectacular.
We briefly mentioned Marietta Square already, but we wanted to tell you a bit more about some of the Marietta Square restaurants. Because they are yummy!!
No surprise, but we had to try out Marietta Pizza Co. With a fun and casual atmosphere, we enjoyed a Caprese Salad as well as two slices of pizza. We probably should have ordered only one slice, as they were a bit bigger than we expected, but they were so good that we managed to eat both lol!
Who doesn’t love a good food fusion?? At Taqueria Tsunami, they blend flavors from the Far East with flavors from South of the Border to make dishes that will blow you away. For an appetizer we had the Avocado Cilantro Egg Rolls and they were phenomenal!
For our main meal we chose an Asada Zing Taco and a Shrimp Tempura Taco. The Asada Zing had Korean Bulgogi marinated steak topped with shitake mushrooms, lettuce, soy-sesame vinaigrette and sesame seeds. The Shrimp Tempura had shrimp tempura topped with Asian slaw, fresh cilantro and a hoisin-lime aioli. It’s hard to say which we liked more, because they were both so good!
Make sure you arrive hungry to Stockyard Burgers & Bones! There are a lot of great options on their menu, but when we saw the “Dirty South” we knew we had to have it. This burger comes with smoked Gouda mac & cheese, bacon, and apple butter BBQ sauce. There were a lot of flavors going on with this burger, and they were all wonderful!
Another one of the popular Marietta Square restaurants is Two Birds Taphouse. This self-proclaimed modern-day “Cheers” is definitely a fun place to hang out and get some drinks. They offer mostly local and regional craft beers from Georgia and the Southeast and also make many delicious cocktails.
There were a lot more things to do in Marietta than we thought! There’s certainly a lot of history, but also a lot of new and fun shops and restaurants that we really enjoyed. This charming city has a bit of everything!
Pro Tip: If you’re planning on heading south as well, here’s how to do Atlanta on a budget!