Things to do in Atlanta for the Holidays

The holidays in Atlanta are always a magical time. With the mild southern winter, Christmas in Atlanta opens the door to so many more activities to enjoy outdoors. Whether you choose to drive or walk through the displays of Christmas lights in Atlanta, pockets of Christmas light showcases are popping up all over the city in cozy neighborhoods and even at your favorite attractions! For a city known as the “Hollywood of the South,” the choices for holiday entertainment are plenty with holiday ballet, concerts, and plays all over town. There may even be a holiday-themed pop-up bar or two to drop in to. Whether you’re a classic Christmas fan or you like a modern twist on holiday tradition, spending Christmas in Atlanta won’t disappoint. Keep reading to build your itinerary for spending the holidays in Atlanta. We even organized the list by neighborhood!  

Midtown-Atlantic Station-Westside

If you’re ready for a show of major Christmas lights in Atlanta, you’re in for a treat in Midtown. The famed Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a spectacle of lights that epitomizes Christmas in Atlanta. It was even voted the “Best Holiday Event” in metro Atlanta by the AJC in 2020! It’s home to a magical light show throughout the gardens, including a show of lights moving in harmony to all of our favorite holiday tunes. Nearby at Atlantic Station, and just minutes from our Westside communities of West Town and Ten29 West is ATL Holiday Lights, a nightly drive-thru Christmas light park that leads you through twinkling lights themed for your favorite holiday movies and ends right outside Atlantic Station’s best restaurants and entertainment. This quick little show is a perfect stopover before or after dinner! Fans of the theatre can catch a festive show that makes holidays in Atlanta live up to its “Yallywood” name. Families will love the Center for Puppetry Arts rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, a classic Atlanta tradition, and “Elf on a Shelf”, a Christmas musical, at the Fox Theatre. To top off a full night of celebrating the holidays in Atlanta, a festive cocktail from Miracle Bar is just what Santa ordered. This holiday hotspot is filled from floor to ceiling in kitschy Christmas decor that looks like it’s been collected over decades of family heirlooms–in the very best ways. You may even get some home decor ideas from it!

Downtown-Old 4th Ward-Grant Parknew home

We know Christmas lights in Atlanta go hand-in-hand with the city’s charming neighborhoods, but consider this twist on the holiday tradition: a Chinese lantern festival at the zoo! Experience it firsthand at IllumiNights at the Zoo. Stroll through Zoo Atlanta at nighttime to see more than 80 hand-painted Chinese lanterns–some up to 20 feet tall–depicting the amazing animals living at the zoo. This fantastic new tradition is just minutes from our homes at The Parc. For another festive twist on a traditional activity, Skate the Sky at Ponce City Market will be like no ice skating experience you’ve ever had. Enjoy ice skating with views of the city skyline, under the stars at The Roof on Ponce City Market. Skate on Christmas Eve and you may even catch a red-nosed reindeer flying through the sky. Book an igloo for dinner at 9 Mile Station after unlimited ice skating and games. It may be Christmas in Atlanta, but it sure feels like the North Pole!  


Although the Macy’s Pink Pig, a longtime Christmas in Atlanta tradition since the 1950s, has retired from Lenox Square Mall, the show must still go on at this centerpiece for holiday shopping! Macy’s Great Atlanta Christmas tree will light the way like the North Star for last-minute shoppers and holiday guests making their way through Buckhead. The large, rooftop Christmas tree has more than 45,000 lights and represents a cheerful annual donation from Macy’s to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As you make your way into or out of the city, this display of Christmas lights in Atlanta can be seen from the highway. Just around the corner, in Buckhead Village, you may stumble across two unique pop-up experiences. Atlanta’s annual German Christkindl Market has moved from Downtown to Buckhead and is sharing German traditions for the holidays in Atlanta! Browse 50 vendors offering authentic German treats like Glühwein, brats, pretzels, and shop handmade gifts. Steps away, more magical moments take place every Wednesday-Saturday when The Blind Pig Parlour Bar transforms into The Blind Elf, an over-the-top holiday-themed bar with cozy cocktails and festive bites surrounded by twinkling lights and decor. Down the road, and a quick drive up I-285 from our Riverline and Park at Monroe communities, the Atlanta Ballet will host its annual performance series of The Nutcracker at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Atlanta Ballet’s rendition of this holiday classic has won countless awards and honors for its individuality. When you spend the holidays in Atlanta, you know you’re never far from heartwarming displays of holiday cheer, no matter what neighborhood you live in. Whether it’s a spectacular display of Christmas lights in Atlanta or a simple Christmas cocktail that warms your spirit, you’ll feel right at home here. Happy Holidays from our family to yours!