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Christmas in Atlanta: All of the Most Festive Things to Do

Celebrating the holidays in Atlanta? This Southern city showcases beautiful displays of decorations and cheer, fun for the entire family. For a spirited season, read below to discover the best ways to commemorate Christmas in Atlanta! From holiday lights and parades to theme parks and museums, we’ve got you covered.

Christmas in Atlanta
Dawn Meredith / Flickr

1) Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights event features hundreds of festive lights, music, and extravagant plant creations. New for 2019, the city’s popular exhibition showcases new music and sound effects for Nature’s Wonders, the world’s largest curtain of synchronized light and sound. In addition, guests can experience the Skylights Lounge in the Skyline Garden and magnificent flora creations in Imaginary Worlds: Alice’s Wonderland. Moreover, visitors can sip warm beverages and roast s’mores while perusing through Ice Goddess, Tunnel of Light, Orchestral Orbs, and much more!

Visit nightly from November 16th through January 11th, and save on tickets by purchasing in advance before 4 pm on the day of your visit. Also, note that visitors have the option to use complimentary shuttles that run from Peachtree Pointe deck to the Garden. When taking your own vehicle, parking costs $5-10.

2) Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade

The annual Christmas Parade takes place on Saturday, December 7th, rain or shine. The parade begins at Peachtree and 16th streets at 10 am and ends at Peachtree and 5th streets. Join residents as crowds watch midtown Atlanta transform into Santa Claus Lane. Moreover, giant helium-filled balloons, marching bands, and floats line the streets, making up the largest holiday parade in the Southeast. On the other hand, if you can’t attend, you can tune into WSB-TV Channel 2 to view the parade live.

Christmas in Atlanta
Josh Hallett / Flickr

3) Pink Pig Train at Macy’s Lenox Square

Each year, Atlanta hosts a kooky holiday tradition by hosting the Macy’s Pink Pig train ride at Macy’s Lenox Square. Running from November 2nd through Sunday, January 5th, you don’t want to miss out on one of the most popular traditions. For the past 50 years, residents have adored the train ride to celebrate Christmas in Atlanta. This 1950s-themed ride enables families to traverse through a life-size storybook, and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Note that each ride costs $3 and multi-ride tickets have discounted package prices.

4) Santa’s Fantastical

Santa’s Fantastical features family-friendly art installations, live performances, and interactive experiences for the perfect Christmas in Atlanta event. Guests can create their own Northern Lights as they journey through the Fantastical Forest, take pictures along Whimsical Way and Naughty Lane, and much more! Further, visitors can play games in Yondo’s Yeti Yard and visit Santa and all of his friends. Make memories with family and friends as you indulge your inner child.

5) Atlanta Christkindl Market

Experience a unique way to celebrate Christmas in Atlanta. From November 21st through December 23rd, visitors can learn about German culture at the Christkindl Market, participating in a 700-year-old tradition during the Advent season. Guests can find a variety of traditional German, Austrian, and Swiss  food, products, and craftsmanship as well as live entertainment and events. Indulge in bratwurst, beer, gourmet street food, glühwein, stollen, and much more! Further, proceeds go towards the German American Cultural Foundation to foster and promote the German language and culture. Also, families can enjoy storytelling, workshops, and beyond under the holiday lights and Christmas tree.

Christmas in Atlanta
ferobanjo / Pixabay

6) Ponce City Market Skate the Sky

Head to The Roof at Ponce City Market to ice skate! Perched above Ponce de Leon Avenue, the terrace transforms into a winter wonderland. Skate while overlooking the Atlanta Beltline and Old Fourth Ward to ring in the holiday spirit. Visitors can enter the ice rink from Skyline Park or Nine Mile Station to enjoy the festivities. Dates and Times TBA.

7) Alliance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol

The Alliance Theatre presents the beloved Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas CarolNovember 16th through December 24th. Adapted by David H. Bell and directed by Rosemary Newcott, this Broadway-style production boasts fantastic live music and a renowned cast. Join Scrooge, Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas as they journey towards Scrooge’s redemption. Now in its 30th annual production, this treasured performance is a show-stopper.

8) Chabad Intown Atlanta’s Hanukkah Celebrations

From December 22nd through December 30, guests can celebrate Hanukkah (Chanukah) with Chabad Intown Atlanta. Enjoy menorah lightings, music, balloons, dreidels, doughnuts, latkes, and more during this year’s Festival of Lights. Further, the Menorah parade showcases a grand menorah lighting, festive songs, and much more! Also, on December 24th, visitors can attend Chinese Food Eve! On December 24th, guests can enjoy delicious Chinese food while discussion the origins of Christianity as told in classic Jewish sources. Intown weaves together Talmudic, Kabbalistic, and Chasidic sources, and the evening also includes a Menorah lighting and Chanukah treats.

Christmas in Atlanta
The Nutcracker / Atlanta Ballet

9) The Nutcracker Performances

Atlanta Ballet

Atlanta Ballet’s reimagining of classic The Nutcracker returns to the Fox Theatre this holiday season. Follow Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they face the Rat King in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale. Performing December 7th through December 24th, you don’t want to miss out on the one the best ways to spend Christmas in Atlanta.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

For a unique rendition of The Nutcracker, consider a remix of beloved Christmas tale with The Hop Hop Nutcracker. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber, this contemporary dance performance set to the original music showcases talented dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, who opens the show with a brief set. Moreover, creative digital graffiti and visuals take guests on a journey to colorful, lively New York City. See this remixed version of a timeless tale at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Friday, November 29!

10) Celebrate Kwanzaa: A Cultural Exploration

Celebrate Kwanzaa at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta with Mama Koku! The acclaimed storyteller and children’s writer imparts the significance of Kwanzaa with captivating stories and songs. Guests can see Mama Koku on December 29th at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. Further, the museum hosts several other classes and programs as well:

Science Bar – 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM
Kwanzaa Reader’s Theater – 12: 30 PM
Kwanzaa Story time – 2:30 PM
Kwanzaa Music & Movement – 3:00 PM
Eat a Georgia Rainbow – 3:00 PM 
Super Spectacular Science Show – 4:00 PM 

Refer to the Children’s Museum for the full schedule and details.

Christmas in Atlanta
Landmark Memorial Tourism Stone Mountain Georgia

11) Stone Mountain Christmas

Make long-lasting memories with your family at Stone Mountain! Enjoy park attractions such as Scenic Railroad, Summit Skyride, and much more! Guests can also see millions of festive lights, magnificent shows, music, and meet and greets with popular characters. New in 2019, guests can experience The Snow Angel’s Christmas Parade beginning at 6 pm each night following the Enchanted Christmas Tree Lighting! Further, guests can also experience an interactive 4-D showing of The Polar Express, see A Wish For Snow with Stone Mountain’s Snow Angel, Angelina, and so much more.

Dates: Select Dates November 16, 2019 through January 5, 2020

12) Lighting of Atlantic Station

Kick off the holidays on November 23rd at Atlantic Station’s Light the Station! From 1 pm to 8 pm, this event includes free activities like arts and crafts, a holiday light parade, live performances, and the lighting of a spectacular 50-foot tree!

Schedule of Events:

Visit Santa’s Reindeer: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Activity Village For Kids of All Ages: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Live Music and More: 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Holiday Light Parade: 7:00 PM

Santa Arrives at the Grand Christmas Tree: 7:45 PM

Lighting of the Tree: 8 PM

Further, guests can ice skate at Skate the Station ice rink beginning on November 15th, while Santa’s Cottage opens November 23rd.

Christmas in Atlanta
Coasterman1234/Wikimedia Commons

14) Six Flags Over Georgia

Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia returns to spread joy and cheer in Atlanta! Six Flags’ awe-inspiring wonderland creates a family-friendly environment to entertain guests to the max. New in 2019, the park will feature the tallest shining pendulum ride in the Southeast, Pandemonium! Further, get into the holiday spirit with pumpkin spice pretzels, cider, and a breaded soup bowl while you help keep the villains at bay in Gotham City. Moreover, you can also create our own s’mores, do some shopping, or immerse yourself into a land of peppermint and lights in Peppermint Plaza. One of the best things to do for Christmas in Atlanta, Six Flags Over Georgia should be on your holiday to-do list.

Dates: Select Dates November 24th through January 5th

15) Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concerts

Listen to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra play classic and contemporary holiday classics from works such as Handel’s Messiah and Home Alone! Sit back, relax, and enrich your spirit with the renowned orchestra’s takes on beloved pieces this holiday season.

Christmas in Atlanta

16) Holiday Tree Lighting

Each year, the Georgia Aquarium hosts their annual tree lighting event! The limited ticket event enables guests to enjoy the aquarium’s galleries one hour before they open to the general public. During the event, visitors can also enjoy hot chocolate and holiday snacks as well as carols and a penguin waddle. Note that this event takes place on November 29th and includes general admission.

Visit Atlanta for the Holidays

Now that you know the best ways to spend Christmas in Atlanta, where will you make memories with your family this year? Check out Tripster Atlanta for more travel ideas and discounts.

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