Although there is no high season for tourism here, Atlanta is a major convention and trade-show destination. Before choosing travel dates, it's wise to ask the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) or your travel agent what major events will be taking place in Atlanta when you plan to visit. Large conventions can mean an increase in hotel prices and longer waits at popular restaurants. Among the largest conventions that occupy a high percentage of Atlanta hotels each year are the twice-a-year Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Markets, with 93,000 attendees in early to mid-January and 72,000 attendees in mid-July, as well as the Cheer Sport gathering of about 70,000 attendees in the third week of February. With more than 93,000 hotel rooms, Atlanta can accommodate both conventiongoers and tourists, the first of which tend to rely on the MARTA public transportation system rather than clogging up already congested roadways.
Spring and autumn are long seasons, and in terms of natural beauty and moderate temperatures, they're ideal times to visit. April, when the dogwoods and azaleas put on a brilliant, colorful display, is especially lovely, but May and October are excellent months here, too.
If you come during July and August, when Atlanta gets a little steamy, you may find some hotels offering summer discounts. Almost all accommodations offer reduced rates during the Christmas holiday season.
Atlanta's climate is mostly temperate year-round. The city enjoys four distinct seasons, but the variations are less extreme than in other parts of the United States.
It does get cold here in winter. The mercury dips below freezing -- usually at night -- an average of 50 days a year, and at least once a year there's a snowfall or an ice storm. (Northern transplants think it's pretty hilarious the way an inch or two of snow can paralyze the city.) But for the most part, winter days are mild, and it's often possible to enjoy the parks and even the outdoor restaurants in the middle of January or February.
Don't let the low average daytime temperatures for July, August, and early September fool you. Summers can be hot and humid, with daytime highs reaching into the 90s, although the really stifling spells usually last just a few days at a time. Annual rainfall is about 48 inches, and the wettest months are December through April, plus July.
Banks, government offices, post offices, and many stores, restaurants, and museums are closed on the following legal national holidays: January 1 (New Year's Day), the third Monday in January (Martin Luther King, Jr., Day), the third Monday in February (Presidents' Day), the last Monday in May (Memorial Day), July 4 (Independence Day), the first Monday in September (Labor Day), the second Monday in October (Columbus Day), November 11 (Veterans Day/Armistice Day), the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day), and December 25 (Christmas). The Tuesday after the first Monday in November is Election Day, a federal government holiday in presidential-election years (held every 4 years, and next in 2012).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.