Festive Holiday Things To Do in Atlanta

Despite the dipping temperatures, Atlanta still offers up a variety of fun, festive activities and experiences. From snow play to holiday performances, there’s plenty to see and do with our Ultimate Guide to Winter in Atlanta.

Snow and Ice Skating in Atlanta

Winter Wonderland at Fernbank features giant snow globes plus you can go skating — in your socks at the sock skating rink. Other rinks in Atlanta offer actual ice skating. (Photo courtesy Fernbank Museum of Natural History)

Though we don’t 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. Colony Square will also offer skating as part of its reimagined holiday celebration with ticket sales benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Enjoy some snow play and sledding at Stone Mountain Park’s annual Snow Mountain.

Miracle on Peachtree

Buckhead is packed with holiday cheer. Just follow the map.

Miracle on Peachtree is back with new and festive, family-friendly events and activities in Atlanta’s Buckhead community. 

Visit Christkindl Market Nov. 26-Jan. 2, 2022. This free outdoor market features more than 50 vendors with German food, warm beverages and shopping for one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods. Find live music and entertainment on the weekends.

Festive Christmas trees illuminate Loudermilk Park Nov. 26-Dec. 11, and Santa arrives at Lenox Square on Nov. 27, settling in until Dec. 24. Elevate your Santa visit at Tea with Santa at The St. Regis Atlanta with visits from the jolly man himself and an afternoon of fun, scheduled throughout the holiday season.  

Buckhead Village District transforms into a winter wonderland decked with illuminated globes in trees, oversized ornaments and larger-than-life floral sculptures. Guests can find an immersive Sugar Plum Fairy Forest from Nov. 26-Dec. 18; a free performance by Atlanta Ballet 2 on Nov. 27; the buckheadRUN! Holiday 5K on Dec. 4; and the Hot Chocolate Crawl on Dec. 11.

Festive Outdoor Happenings

Atlanta offers a variety of festive open-air activities, complete with unforgettable light displays, winter treats and outdoor pop-up markets.

IllumiNights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival

See amazing lanterns at Zoo Atlanta. (📷 Zoo Atlanta)

This display at Zoo Atlanta celebrates the beauty of the natural world with more than 80 large, handmade Chinese-inspired animal lanterns throughout the park, now through mid-January 2022.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights 

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden has received national accolades. (📷 Atlanta Botanical Garden)

Atlanta Botanical Garden presents dazzling light displays Nov. 13-Jan. 15, 2022, so grab a cup of hot cocoa and plan a fun evening out. Also featured: the Holiday Ride-On Train that is popular with younger visitors and holiday model trains for viewing during the holiday season.

Winter Wonderland: Celebrations & Traditions

Lots of Christmas trees are just part of the fun at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. (Photo courtesy Fernbank Museum of Natural History)

Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers both indoor and outdoor holiday fun, Nov. 20-Jan. 9, 2022. Trees and other creations are decorated indoors to recognize Hanukkah, Christmas and celebrations around the world, including indigenous art and national symbols. Outside, skip the skates at the sock skating rink. The Snow Globes Walk is located in WildWoods and includes six giant globes, up to seven-feet tall, decorated with holiday scenes.

Holiday Guide

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. 4-29. Possokhov’s energetic rendition returns to the live stage this year with larger-than-life sets, video projections and stunning costumes.

A Christmas Carol

The Alliance Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” is all new this year. (📷 Alliance Theatre)

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” returns to the stage this year with an exciting new adaption including brand new costumes and reimagined sets. Catch performances at the Alliance Theatre Nov. 12- Dec. 3.

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.

Center for Puppetry Arts

Hermey, Charlie Cornelius an the whole gang are back in Center for Puppetry Art’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” (📷 Center for Puppetry Arts)

Families will enjoy a visit to Center for Puppetry Arts for the Christmas Town Puppet Exhibit featuring Rudolph and Santa puppets from the original film production of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Nov. 11-Jan. 2, 2022, and the family-favorite live puppet show of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Nov. 10-Jan 2, 2022. An accompanying Create-A-Puppet workshop and access to the World of Puppetry Museum is included.

Chattahoochee Nature Center

Enchanted Woodland Wonders, a festive holiday outing, takes place on Dec. 12 at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Visit live reindeer and participate in seasonal activities while exploring nature with the kids.

Six Flags Over Georgia

Holiday in the Park is all dressed up for the holidays. (📷 Six Flags Over Georgia)

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, Nov. 20 -Jan. 2, 2022. Catch Santa on his sleigh while indulging in seasonal treats such as chocolate peppermint funnel cake or rich hot chocolate.

Stone Mountain Christmas

On top of everything else (which is a lot), Stone Mountain Christmas throws a parade. (📷 Stone Mountain Park)

Stone Mountain Christmas is a must-visit with millions of dazzling lights. In addition, visitors will find holiday characters, Christmas carolers, a Christmas parade, special holiday events and more, through Jan. 2, 2022.

Atlanta History Center

Don’t miss Cheryl Day’s launch of her upcoming cookbook “Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking” on Dec. 2 at Atlanta History Center. Baked goods will be offered to guests who have purchased bundled tickets. There will be access to the decorated Swan House for all guests before the event begins.

For a complete list of holiday things to do in Atlanta, check our calendar of events.

Joleen Pete lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their son. On the weekends they enjoy going into the city for family fun and exploration. Joleen is the family travel and lifestyle blogger behind Love, Joleen.

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