The holidays are here! And although we love to stay home and cozy up by the fire, it's also a great time to get the family out and experience all the winter festivities happening around Atlanta. From snow play to holiday performances, there’s plenty to see and do with our Ultimate Guide to the Holidays in Atlanta.
Though we don’t generally associate the South with ice and snow, Atlanta offers plenty of winter fun that requires bundling up to soak in the season well past the holidays.
As the holidays approach, a number of ice skating rinks pop up throughout the area including Skate the Sky at Ponce City Market, Skate the Station at Atlantic Station, Park Tavern and more. Check out our list of where to go ice skating in Atlanta.
Celebrate the season in Buckhead as the Miracle on Peachtree celebration returns for its third year. Festivities include holiday carolers and performances, shopping afternoons with samples and special events, hot cocoa stroll and so much more.
Atlanta offers a variety of festive open-air activities, complete with unforgettable light displays, winter treats and outdoor pop-up markets.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights — Atlanta Botanical Garden presents its 12th Annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights exhibition, which features dazzling light displays throughout the gardens Nov. 12 through Jan. 14, 2023. Kids will also love visiting the Holiday Model Trains at Atlanta Botanical Garden. G scale model trains and a holiday trolley chug along seven tracks on landscaped mountain terrain complete with tunnels, a lake, bridges, a holiday workshop and more.
See larger than life animal lanterns all season at the zoo. (📷: Zoo Atlanta)
IllumiNights at the Zoo — Stroll the zoo after dark and explore the natural world illuminated by more than 80 large, handmade Chinese-inspired animal lanterns throughout the park, Nov. 21 through Jan. 15, 2023.
Enjoy the great outdoors with events at Chattahoochee Nature Center including the Back to Nature Holiday Market on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. where you can buy from local artisans selling eco-friendly, unique, and/or handmade gifts. (https://www.chattnaturecenter.org/special-events/holiday-market/)
The German American Cultural Foundation’s 2022 Christkindl German Market will be set up in the Buckhead Village District. The market features more than 50 vendors offering festive food and beverage treats and items to purchase plus live music and entertainment on the weekends. This traditional holiday market will run daily from Nov. 25 through Dec. 24.
Where: 290 East Paces Ferry Road NE
This year’s Indie Craft Experience Holiday Market takes place at Uptown Atlanta on Dec. 3. The market features craft, art and vintage vendors as well as local food — perfect for holiday shopping.
Where: Uptown Atlanta, 500 Lindbergh Drive NE
Visit Piedmont Park on Nov. 26 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the inaugural Piedmont Holiday Gift Market. Sip on hot cocoa and listen to holiday music as you stroll through the park. Discover gift items from approximately 175 artists and crafters. Trees and wreaths also will be available for purchase.
Where: Piedmont Park, 1320 Monroe Drive NE
Make time for some of the more traditional aspects of the holidays in Atlanta. Holiday events and performances are a family tradition for many, and Atlanta has a variety of options:
“The Nutcracker” — Yuri Possokhov’s “The Nutcracker” by Atlanta Ballet will perform at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Dec. 9-26. Possokhov’s energetic rendition returns to the live stage this year with larger-than-life sets, video projections and stunning costumes.
“A Christmas Carol” returns to Alliance Theatre. (📷: Greg Mooney)
“A Christmas Carol” — Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns to the stage this year with an exciting new adaptation including brand new costumes and reimagined sets. Catch performances at Alliance Theatre Nov. 12- Dec. 24.
Christmas with the ASO — Celebrate the holiday with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus as they perform an evening of holiday carols and hymns and more in this family-friendly performance. Additional ensembles and special guests are to be announced. Performances are set for Dec. 15 through 18.
The Polar Express in Concert with ASO — Experience the magic of the film “The Polar Express” acccompanied by a live orchestral music during ASO’s presentation on Nov. 26 and 27.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a beloved family tradition. (📷: Clay Walker)
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Families will enjoy a visiting Center for Puppetry Arts for the family-favorite live puppet show of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” based on the classic television adaptation by Jon Ludwig, Nov. 9 to Dec 31. An accompanying Create-A-Puppet workshop and access to the World of Puppetry Museum is included.
Holiday in the Park — Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia offers dozens of Christmas trees and more than a million LED lights in addition to special holiday performances and experiences, select days Nov. 19 through Jan. 1, 2023. Catch Santa on his sleigh while indulging in seasonal treats such as chocolate peppermint funnel cake or rich hot chocolate. New for 2022 is the “Feels like Christmas” revue featuring festive holiday classics for young and old alike.
Stone Mountain Christmas promises to get the entire family in the Christmas spirit. (Photo courtesy Stone Mountain Park)
Stone Mountain Christmas — Become immersed in holiday cheer, millions of dazzling lights, holiday characters, Christmas carolers, a Christmas parade, special holiday events and more during Stone Mountain Christmas. Families can visit Santa, journey through a musical frosted forest, catch Santa’s big flight and view the all new World’s Largest Christmas Light Show. Visit Stone Mountain’s calendar for all the magical events. Nov. 12 through Jan. 1, 2023.
See trees decorated to celebrate holidays from around the world at Fernbank. (Photo courtesy Fernbank Museum of Natural History)
Winter Wonderland — Winter Wonderland at Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers a multicultural holiday experience from Nov. 19 through Jan.6, 2023. Trees and other creations are decorated indoors to recognize Hanukkah, Christmas and celebrations around the world, including indigenous art and national symbols.
World of Coca-Cola — World of Coca-Cola sparkles with festive holiday lights and life-size ornaments perfect for photos outside. Inside, guests experience seasonal scents, enjoy specialty holiday beverage samplings, follow a Sundblom Santa QR code hunt throughout the attraction and take part in new, interactive photo ops amidst holiday décor.
Twinkling lights, heated igloos and festive cocktails – the holidays can be quite the romantic time of year. If you’re looking for a fun and festive date night in Atlanta, here are some ideas.
Blind Pig Parlour gets into the holiday spirit. (Photo by Heidi Harris Geldhauser)
A visit to the best Christmas pop-up bars in Atlanta will leave you feeling holly and jolly. Experience the magic of the season.
Attend the Fernbank After Dark: Holiday Party the evening of Dec. 9. (Ages 21+)
Rent an igloo to dine in comfort on the roof or patio at PCM. (📷: Sarah Un)
Celebrate Holidays on The Roof at Ponce City Market. Guests 21+ can reserve a heated igloo for 2.5 hours at 9 Mile Station for up to six guests. There is a rental fee plus $25 food and drink minimum per guest. The price includes general admission to The Roof. Or, make a reservation at 12 Cocktail Bar for sips from the Mixmas menu. Another fun date night idea? Take a class and learn to make your own festive cocktails.
Shop the Indie After Dark Holiday Market. This free event is open on Dec. 8 from 5 to 10 p.m. and offers live music, food trucks, adult beverages, entertainment and vendors of all kinds.
Where: Indie Studios, 190 Ottley Drive Apt. A414
Other holiday light extravaganzas include Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens, Holiday in Lights at Centennial Olympic Park and Lakeside Lights Spectacular at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands. Explore more places to see holiday lights this season in Atlanta!
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