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High Museum 101: Parking, admission and when to go

Everyone in Atlanta knows about the High Museum of Art.

But did you know that Fulton County residents can get in for free? Or that the museum owns more than 15,000 works of art?

Did you know what the best day is to visit if you're on a date, or if you have kids? Did you know about the "High-moji"? The app?

Everyone in Atlanta knows about its most prominent art museum. But here's what everyone needs to know — a "101" guide with insight from Julia Forbes, head of museum interpretation and digital engagement.

Getting there: Parking, hours and admission

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The High, housed with its Woodruff Arts Center siblings (the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) at 1280 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown, sits atop a very large parking deck. The rate during business hours on weekdays (7 a.m.-5 p.m.) is $10; it's $12 overnight and on weekends; and $8 for museum members. There is no hourly rate. The first 30 minutes are free.

Parking is also discounted for the summer: It's $5 for members and $8 for non-members Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The museum also maintains a map of the various parking options nearby: There are more than 10 within a five-block radius.

The museum is MARTA-accessible: Both buses and trains stop at the arts center.

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission varies, but is generally: $19.50 for adults, $12 for children (ages 6-17), $16.50 for seniors (ages 65+) and $16.50 for college students with an ID. You can purchase tickets online, at two self-service kiosks at the museum or you can purchase tickets at the museum's main lobby, the Taylor Lobby.

The High also offers a variety of discount days: Admission is half-price after 4 p.m. on Fridays; Fulton County residents get in free the first Saturday of every month; and Bank of America cardholders get in free the first full Saturday and Sunday of every month.

Membership is another admission option: For a yearly fee, members receive unlimited free admission; invitations to member-only events; a 10 percent discount at the museum shop and cafe; and other perks.

Individual memberships are $65 and family memberships are $95. There are several more pricing options.

When to go

Once the school year is back in session, Tuesday through Friday mornings become very busy with students, Forbes said, a "chaotic and fun-filled time with lots of youngsters having fabulous experiences." (Forbes said the museum will see as many as 60,000 schoolchildren in a year.)

Because of the number of school kids, afternoons those days are a "very peaceful and lovely experience," Forbes said.

Friday night, when the museum is open until 9 p.m., is another good time to come: It's not as crowded as you might think, Forbes said, and there's often an event going on: live music, dance or a lecture.

Sundays are the best times for families, Forbes said: Each Sunday has a family focus, as part of a new Woodruff-wide initiative. And the second Sunday of every month is free for families, as it is for all visitors.

What to do

Going on a date? "Friday nights [are] a great time because we're always tryng to do some sort of music or dance or theater performance that's centered around or inspired by our art," Forbes said. Or consider going on another day, when there's also an evening performance at the Alliance or the ASO, she said: The museum closes at 5 p.m., giving you enough time to grab a drink at Table 1280.

Curious, but don't fancy yourself an aficionado? Forbes said the High's lecture series may be just the thing for you. That's when the museum brings "artists from around the world to talk about their work," Forbes said. 

Art lovers have several ways to enjoy the museum's works: There's a guided tour each day at 1 p.m., Forbes said, which allows them to "get in there deep and talk about things. And [the guides are] flexible people who you can say, 'What I really wanna look at today is ...' " There are also reading areas as well as a new blog, High Art Connect, where "we're trying to talk about social issues and the way art and the museum has a social responsibility in the community and how artists are making art that relates to those themes," Forbes said.

Families are a major part of the museum's programming, Forbes said: "Bottom line for families is, we have got programming almost every day for them." There's Toddler Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the Greene Family Learning Gallery, open whenever the museum is and which features puppets, blocks, books and other kid-friendly activities, Forbes said. There are family self-guides always available, and a free family tour each Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

For everyone, Forbes also recommends the High's free app ArtClix, which was redesigned in April and which allows users to take and share "art selfies," and — with the help of photo-recognition software — to take a photo of an artwork in order to learn more about it, as the app then loads new information or an accompanying video of the artist discussing their art.

Users can also comment on the art they see, either with text or "High-mojis," the museum's spin on emoji.

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