There’s so much to do in Atlanta over the holidays, we’ve curated a list of some of the most exciting attractions to visit. Stay safe and respectful as you navigate the long lines and crying kids, and remember to stop and smell the hot cider.
Saturday, Dec. 1
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Peachtree and 16th streets, this is one of Atlanta’s longest lived and loved traditions. Featuring marching bands, dance troupes and spectacular balloons, this is a show worth seeing. Arrive early and scope out a seat in a parking deck nearby for an aerial view. Or, take MARTA to the Midtown or Arts Center stations on the parade route. Afterwords, treat yourself to an expensive Midtown lunch.
Sunday, Dec. 2
Southern Art Children’s Holiday Brunch
The Southern Art and Bourbon Bar is showing their softer side by inviting families and children to a transformative and eclectic mix of traditional and adventurous brunch fair. Picky eaters, vegetarians and bacon lovers all will leave happy and full.
Monday, Dec. 3
Champagne and Nutcracker at Callanwolde
Beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy a tour of a Tudor-revival mansion at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Throughout the tour, there will be a dance performance selected from “The Nutcracker” by the Callanwolde School of Dance and complementary glasses of champagne.
Tuesday, Dec. 4
Holiday Model Train Show
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens will show off “G-scale” trains trudging through delicate models of rolling hills, miniature towns and train depots covered in an icing of faux snow. The feature runs through normal park hours as well as during the Garden Lights exhibit.
Wednesday, Dec. 5
Botanical Garden Lights
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens are a fun outing or date spot year-round, and it only gets more exciting for the holidays. The expansive gardens are fabulously decorated with Christmas lights, with this year including a Walk of Flames and Tunnel of Light and Model Trains. The Christmas lights run through Jan. 6.
Thursday, Dec. 6
Chabad Intown will hold a Menorah Car parade, meeting at Chabad on the BeltLine at 6:30 p.m. Chabad focuses on teaching the values of the Jewish faith and uplifting Jewish scholarship and life. They have a fun program planned for the night of riding around with their menorahs lit.
Friday, Dec. 7
Written by poet Langston Hughes, the Black Nativity transposes the nativity scene across the black church to an Africanized Jerusalem. It shows the elegant power of the Christmas story as told through the African-American perspective. Performances will be at the Georgia Tech Ferst Center.
Saturday, Dec. 8
Atlanta Speedo Run organized a charitable running event to benefit Bert’s Big Adventure, a charity which sends children with chronic illnesses to Disney World. There is a twist, though it’s obvious from the name: you run this race in a speedo. Registration is $25 and the race begins at Hudson’s Grill Midtown.
Sunday, Dec. 9
Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Christmas Production began years ago by music director Robert Shaw. The performance will feature the full ensemble, orchestra and choir as well as guests Gwinnett Young Singers and the Morehouse College Glee Club. Performances run Dec. 8 – 9.
Monday, Dec. 10
Snow Tubing at Stone Mountain
We’re as surprised as you, but they’ve managed to build a 400-foot-long snow tubing hill. The attraction has snow tubes of all sizes, big enough for families, couples or solo runs. And don’t worry about getting back up — there’s a moving sidewalk to take you back to the top so you can ride until your fingers freeze.
Tuesday, Dec. 11
A Christmas Carol
The Shakespeare Tavern has performed “A Christmas Carol” as a holiday tradition for 20 years now, and this year will be one for the books. The Tavern pulls from local Atlanta talent in a production directed by J. Tony Brown.
Wednesday, Dec. 12
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder!
Agatha’s Mystery Dinner Theater will perform a holiday special: a murder mystery to discover the cause behind the missing sleigh pullers. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and other holiday characters will band together to solve the mystery.
Friday, Dec. 14
Jingle Ball by Capital One
Atlanta’s pop radio station Power 96.1 will host a Christmas concert at State Farm Arena. The show welcomes stars like Shawn Mendes, G-Eazy and Alessia Cara. A portion of ticket sales will go towards the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, a nonprofit founded to educate and connect children in need with the entertainment industry.
Saturday, Dec. 15
Santa at the Southeastern Railway Museum
Santa will arrive during his world tour to Duluth beginning on Nov. 17. He will be welcomed by the The Duluth Historical Society in their festival of trees. Events will include a craft sale, wagon ride and a train ride with Santa. Both breakfast and lunch tickets are $18.
Sunday, Dec. 16
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
The Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts will host a production of the classic holiday special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, adapted by Jon Ludwig and directed by Tim Sweeney. This faithful rendition makes misfits of us all and will leave you with no end of holiday cheer and dreams of dentistry.
Tuesday, Dec. 18
Pricilla the Pink Pig
Once a mainstay of the Atlanta Christmas, Priscilla was reintroduced to Atlanta in 2003. The ride begins at the upper-level parking deck at Lenox Square Mall, by the Macy’s. The ride takes delighted passengers through a curated show of historical Atlanta Christmas events as well as tours above the mall itself.
Thursday, Dec. 20
The Atlanta History Center has curated a holiday exhibit, inviting you to tour the manicured grounds and connect with Christmases of the past. The main exhibit consists of replica houses showcasing southern Christmases from the pioneer days, the Civil War era all the way to the 1930s. There is a local crafts market featuring vendors from around the state.
Sunday, Dec. 23
Legoland in Phipps Plaza is holding a Christmas extravaganza. The event includes holiday-themed building challenges as well as a scavenger hunt through the park. Don’t forget to snap some photos with the elaborate Christmas decorations — they built them brick by brick!
Monday, Dec. 24
Santa’s Fantastical 12 Whimsical Worlds
This is a performance art exhibit, showcasing 12 unique Christmas scenes. Live performances of dancing and singing combine with interactive digital exhibits to bring engaging family fun for the holidays. Make sure to take a lot of pictures of this one-of-a-kind show.
Thursday, Dec. 27
Christmas Carol at Dad’s Garage
Atlanta’s premiere Improv comedy troupe will perform the classic Christmas Carol — of course with their own holiday twist. The show will mix scripted drama and moments of improv, introducing new characters on the fly and generally Dickens around for onstage highjinx.
Friday, Dec. 28
Fernbank Winter Wonderland
The Fernbank Museum aims to enlighten families and friends with glittering displays of holiday festivals from around the world. This multicultural event drapes trees in lights across the expansive grounds for your viewing pleasure.
Saturday, Dec. 29
Holidays in the Park at Six Flags
Six Flags will host their fifth annual Holidays in the Park attraction, bringing holiday performances from acting to choir shows. Attending will be the Bad Bob Humbug slapstick comedy show. Enjoy Looney Toons characters bedazzled with Christmas fun as well as a North Pole Express ride through the park.
Monday, Dec. 31
Kwanzaa at Apex
The APEX Museum on Auburn Avenue will host its annual Kwanzaa celebration from 1-3 p.m. Planned is a day to enjoy the creativity of guest performers, from poetry and dance to an artist market. The APEX Museum’s goal is to celebrate stories from across the African diaspora.