It’s the most wonderful time of year – and one of the best times to be in Atlanta, Georgia. There’s no shortage of activities to get you into the holiday spirit, whether you’re traveling with your significant other, your family, or your friends. Here’s what to add to your list.
With Your Significant Other
Romance is in the air as you cozy up with your loved one during the holiday season in Atlanta. Share your love as you walk the stalls at the Christkindl Market at Atlantic Station, which is reminiscent of the holiday markets found in Europe, complete with market stalls and traditional German fare. It’s held Wednesday to Sunday nights from the end of November until right before Christmas.
Or lace up your skates and do a few laps at the many ice skating rinks around the city. The Ice Rink at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park is a longtime favorite open daily from Thanksgiving to President’s Day. In the comfort of the heated tent, you and your plus one can skate a few rounds before cozying up for a pint and a meal inside the tavern. During fall and winter, Skate the Sky takes over the Ponce City Market roof, offering both skating and views of downtown Atlanta. The Battery Atlanta at SunTrust Park also has ice skating.
For a different kind of romance, visit the popular Garden Lights, Holiday Nights installation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. From mid-November to January, more than 1,600 strands of colorful lights cover the trees in the garden.
With Your Family
The little ones will be sure to enjoy the holiday season in Atlanta, especially the plentiful lights. Callaway Gardens in nearby Pine Mountain hosts Fantasy in Lights, held from mid-November to January. Drive through one of the nation’s best light displays before catching a show and sipping on hot cocoa. And northeast of the city, the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands has been in operation since 1993 with 40 themed displays, carnival rides, Santa’s Village, and shops.
Plan your trip around the Children’s Christmas Parade, an Atlanta tradition organized by the local children’s hospital. Giant floats, marching bands, and balloons make their way down Peachtree Street.
Tree lightings take place all over the city, including at Atlantic Station and Avalon, but the most popular is the one at Macy’s at Lenox Square. The televised event includes live music and other performances. While you’re at Lenox, don’t miss a ride on The Pink Pig, a tradition that dates back to the 1960s. Rides on this porcine-themed trolley operate from the end of October. Lenox is also home to one of the city’s most popular Santas.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia is another popular event, featuring more than one million lights, festive shows, rides, snacks, and, of course, an appearance by the man in red himself. Stone Mountain has Snow Mountain, a winter activity with tube rides on artificial snow, with areas appropriate for all ages.
With Your Friends
Gather with your friends to shop until you drop. Browse the big-name chains at the city’s best shopping destinations, including the Shops at Buckhead Atlanta, Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza, Ponce City Market, and Atlantic Station. Shops Around Lenox and Westside Provisions District also have some locally owned stores.
If you prefer to find gifts from Atlanta artisans, attend one of the holiday craft markets. The Indie Craft Experience Holiday Shopping Spectacular is their best event, held in the Georgia Freight Depot in Five Points.
You can also gather your crew together for one of the holiday pub crawls, like the Ugly Sweater Crawl, Midtown Santa Stumble, and the Santa Pub Crawl. And if you’d rather stay in one location, Miracle hosts two Christmas-themed bars in Midtown and Buckhead.
Once you’ve had your fill of holiday activities, cozy up for the night at a Hilton.