Miracle on Peachtree

Free Things to do in December in Atlanta

Short on cash because you splurged on so many holiday gifts? But you still want to get into the holiday spirit — or the team spirit? You’re in luck because there are a few absolutely free things to enjoy in Atlanta in December.

Miracle on Peachtree is just right for a holiday stroll. (Photo by Jamestown)

Back to Nature Holiday Market at Chattahoochee Nature Center

Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Back to Nature Holiday Market will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. While you certainly may buy something at the market, entrance to Chattahoochee Nature Center is free for that day, and you may stroll the grounds while you are there. Local artisans will be selling handmade, and/or eco-friendly gifts including art, jewelry, candles, children’s gifts, bath products, food, nature gifts and so much more. Even though admittance is free, you should go to the website and make a reservation.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade and FanFest

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl kicks off on Dec. 30. (Image courtesy of Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl)

Long regarded as the official kickoff of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the football-themed Peach Bowl parade will feature floats, bands, classic cars, cheerleaders, mascots and much more. The parade starts at Centennial Olympic Park and Baker Street and concludes at FanFest at the Georgia World Congress Center on Dec. 30. The parade steps off at 8 a.m. and concludes at 9:30 a.m. Your cost: Not one red cent.

There’s more. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FanFest built by The Home Depot runs from 8 a.m. until noon on Dec. 30. The FanFest is an indoor fan experience featuring 200,000 square feet of interactive attractions like punting, passing and kicking games, obstacle courses and zip lining. It will also feature sponsor displays, sponsor sampling, merchandise and live entertainment from the main stage. The highlight of the event will be the pep rallies, which include the cheerleaders, bands and mascots from both participating schools.

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl features the Ole Miss Rebels and the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Cricket Celebration Bowl Coca-Cola Fan Experience

The Cricket Celebration Bowl featuring the Howard University Bison from the Mideastern Athletic Conference and the Florida A&M Rattlers from the Southwestern Athletic Conference kicks off at noon on Dec. 16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ahead of the game, fans can enjoy the Coca-Cola Fan Experience in the Georgia World Congress Center International Plaza from 8:30 until 11:30 a.m. On Dec. 15, ESPN Events will host the inaugural Band of the Year Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The competition features the nation’s top marching bands from historically black college and universities.

Dr. Pepper SEC Fanfare

Darius Rucker will perform during the SEC Fanfare ahead of the SEC Championship. (Photo by Terry Wyatt)

The SEC Championship pitting the University of Georgia Bulldogs against the University of Alabama Crimson Tide kicks off at 4 p.m. Dec. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. No worries if tickets are way out of your price range. You can still be a part of the action because admission to the Dr. Pepper SEC Fanfare is free. It is open Dec. 1 from 1 until 7 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. What’s on the agenda? Quite a lot. The T-Mobile Championship Concert featuring Darius Rucker happens at noon on Saturday. Rucker, whose hit songs include “Wagon Wheel,” “Alright” and “Beers and Sunshine,” will take the stage in Building B of the Georgia World Congress Center during the Dr. Pepper SEC FanFare. The concert will be featured live during the SEC Championship edition of Marty & McGee Presented by Old Trapper. SEC Nation Live occurs from 1 until 4 p.m. on Saturday. The SEC East Pep Rally starts at 1:15 p.m., and the SEC West Pep Rally starts at 1:45 p.m. In addition, there will be new interactives and attractions, along with fans favorites like celebrity quarterbacks, pep rallies and more.

Midtown Bright

Midtown Bright lights approximately 2 miles of Peachtree Street with holiday cheer. The festive display includes more than 200,000 LED lights and 121 trees wrapped in colors. Also on view are 23 Moravian stars ranging from 3- to 23-feet tall. Take a walk down Peachtree Street in Midtown; it’s a winter wonderland. Specific locations with light displays include Emory University Hospital Midtown, the Fox Theatre, the Midtown MARTA station, Colony Square and Woodruff Arts Center, the Margaret Mitchell House and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and Peachtree Pointe.

Miracle on Peachtree

It doesn’t cost a thing to stroll Peachtree in Buckhead during the Miracle on Peachtree celebration. (Photo courtesy of Jamestown)

Miracle on Peachtree, back for its fourth year, brightens Peachtree in Buckhead with festive lights and holiday things to do. While you certainly may spend money while, say, shopping at either Lenox Square or Buckhead Village, you may stroll among the lights for free, perhaps spending a little to participate in the annual Hot Chocolate Crawl. There will be carolers, tree lightings, performances and so much more. We will add details when they are available.

Winter House

The Callanwolde mansion becomes Winter House during the holidays. (Photo courtesy of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center)

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is housed in the Callanwolde mansion, which was the family home of Charles Howard Candler. Candler was the oldest son of Asa Griggs Candler, the Atlanta pharmacist who, in 1891 purchased the rights to the formula for Coca-Cola.

Starting in November and running into early December, the Callanwolde mansion becomes Winter House, where you may tour and participate in some activities for free. Even though admission is free, you are encouraged to sign up for certain activities as space will be limited. Also note that there is a fee for some activities. Among the many things to do at Winter House are Blitzen’s Bingo; Holiday Story Time; artists installations, Santa photos and workshops. Winter House will be open Nov. 25 and 26; Nov. 30 – Dec. 2; and Dec. 7-10.

For more things to do in December, see Cool Things to do in December in Atlanta. Volunteering to help someone is free thing to do any time of the year. Take a look at Volunteer Opportunities in Atlanta.

Journalist Carol Carter writes and edits for Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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