Retooled Centennial Olympic Park visitor center now open

Meet the new Visitor Information Center at Centennial Olympic Park.

Now open, the refreshed space located near the popular Fountain of Rings is a collaboration between the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) and Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB).

The discerning eye may notice the swirling, circular Atlanta logo (that’s ACVB’s) on the building exterior – that’s because ACVB staff is managing the center’s info desk and this spot essentially replaces the organization’s old downtown Visitor Information Center at Underground Atlanta.

Photo by Ikram Omar, GWCCA Communications Assistant.

Inside, guests will find screens displaying 4K video with the most up-to-date information on downtown events and attractions, along with brochures and other publications showcasing the city’s award-winning dining scene, and entertainment and shopping destinations.

“Centennial Olympic Park is the starting point for a visitor’s journey through Atlanta, making this a great location for our new visitor information center,” said William Pate, president and CEO, ACVB. “The new facility is surrounded by world-class attractions, award-winning dining and, more than 12,000 hotel rooms, giving visitors a fantastic resource to help them navigate the destination.”

Photo by Ikram Omar, GWCCA Communications Assistant.

And now for a little bit of history…

After the 1996 Summer Olympic Games were hosted in Atlanta, Centennial Olympic Park transitioned into a public greenspace operated by the GWCCA. Part of the rededication of the Park was the addition of a Visitor Center in 1998. Similar to other state-operated welcome centers, it provided information in the form of brochures, booklets, maps and rack cards. Visitors were greeted by friendly volunteers, who were available seven days a week to answer questions and make recommendations.

Initially, the Visitor Center served as a resource for all things related to the Park. COP was the crowning achievement of Billy Payne’s (chief executive of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games) vision to turn a blighted area of downtown into a gathering place for everyone during the ’96 Olympic Games. As the years passed, the Park became the gem of downtown Atlanta – an oasis for tourists and downtown workers looking for respite.

The Park also became a beacon of economic development. Over the last two decades, the Park has attracted $2.6 billion’s worth of new development in downtown Atlanta – including nine hotels, seven residential towers, and attractions such as Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, SkyView Atlanta, and the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. The area directly surrounding the Park became known as the Centennial Park District and a corridor formed along Marietta Street boasting restaurants and businesses.

In honor of the Park’s 20th anniversary, the Georgia General Assembly, the private sector, and philanthropic community came together and raised funds for facility improvements and transformative projects. The renovation kicked off in March 2017 and was completed in December 2018. While the updates were taking place, representatives from the GWCCA and ACVB met to collaborate on how to best align efforts to support the interests of both organizations. ACVB’s downtown Visitor Information Center (VIC) had closed due to the acquisition of Underground Atlanta by a developer. ACVB wanted to retain a presence in downtown and the opportunity posed by the GWCCA was their solution. The result of these two organizations joining forces produced a newly renovated interior for the Park’s Visitor Center and ACVB’s management of the information desk.

If you are in the area, stop by the center and enjoy the updates while chatting with some of the city’s most knowledgeable ambassadors. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.