175+ Best Holiday Christmas Events in Atlanta and Beyond
Atlanta has so much to offer during the holidays from festive shows to Christmas events and Santa appearances. Also check out our lists of Best Christmas Light and Tree Displays, 20+ Places to Meet Santa Around Atlanta, Best Ice Skating Rinks Around Atlanta, Best Things to Do for Hanukkah Fun in Atlanta, and Holiday Events Beyond Atlanta. These top-notch attractions and events are fun for the whole family:
Holidays from Around the World
December brings Celebrations in Light to Children’s Museum of Atlanta. This month-long exploration of holidays from around the world features family activities focused on Las Posadas, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Join in on the winter fun at the Museum’s Sockefeller Plaza, complete with a sock-skating rink, decorated tree, and the coolest science show you’ll see in town! Don’t miss “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit” while you are here. Send 2018 out in style at New Year’s Bubble Bash. This poppin’ good time features a family-friendly DJ, dance party, party favors, and bubbles.
Snow Much Fun
A flurry of fun is coming to Margaritaville at Lanier Islands this winter! License to Chill Snow Island debuts Nov. 16, and features one of the fastest snow tubing hills in North America. Snow play areas will be set up around the park and will even include snowball targets. Don’t miss new winter themed carnival rides, an ice skating rink, a fire pit with s’mores, specialty winter drinks at LandShark Landing and photos with Santa under the Fin Dunker. Nov. 16-Feb. 24. Magical Nights of Lights also returns for the 26th year with colorful lights and decorations, this year with a Margaritaville twist.
Skate Through the Holidays!
Practice your jumps and twirls this season by visiting Ice Days Ice Skating Rink in Olde Town Conyers Pavilion. The family-owned and operated rink is made of real ice for an authentic ice skating experience. It’s covered, so ice will stay perfect and you’ll have fun even if it’s raining. Two-hour skating sessions are available for $10, with skate rental included. No wait times for sessions and no reservations required. Concessions including hot chocolate, hot dogs and more are available for purchase. Ask about birthday packages for your child’s celebration. Nov. 16-Feb. 24.
This season, visit Winter Wonderlane at Atlantic Station, a streetscape with Atlanta’s only authentic German market, evening snow shows, and Santa’s Cottage. Re-discover Skate Atlantic Station in its new location adjacent to it all. Festivities begin Nov. 17 with Light the Station, complete with musical entertainment, kids’ activities, live reindeer, Santa’s Parade and lighting of the 50-foot Christmas tree. Santa’s Cottage opens for photos for kids of all ages. The Atlanta Christkindl Market features 30 stalls with an expanded array of genuine German arts, crafts, food and beverages offering a unique Bavarian experience. Nov. 17-Dec. 24; skating through Jan. 21.
Holiday Fun and Twinkling Lights
Lakeside fun is year-round at Lanier Islands in Buford! This beautiful resort 45 minutes north of Atlanta hosts a myriad of lakeside holiday activities. The resort’s most popular overnight package, the Ultimate Santa Package, is available in December. This overnight holiday experience includes deluxe accommodations at Legacy Lodge, entry into Magical Nights of Lights (a 7-mile driving tour of millions of twinkling lights), a bed-time holiday story with cookies and milk while being tucked in by Santa’s elf, Breakfast with Santa, and a keepsake Christmas ornament. Other winter-themed packages, including packages with tickets to the new Snow Island snow tube rides, are available Nov. 16-Feb. 24.
’Tis the Season to Deck the Halls
Meet Fumbles the Elf and Santa this holiday season at The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. Starting Dec. 10, Deck the Hall will be in full swing with bright holiday decorations and holiday cheer! Guests will be able to participate in fun daily activities, see Fumbles the Elf and meet Santa. Your family can take photos with Santa during his special appearances at the Hall: Dec. 15, 16, 22 and 23. While you’re at the Hall, check out can’t-miss experiences, including playing like a legend on the indoor 45-yard field, interactive elements and cheering on your favorite team. Dec. 10-Jan. 4.
A Bricktastic Holiday!
Build and take home your very own LEGO® Winter Puppy, meet and greet with your favorite LEGO characters, go on a scavenger hunt in the mindbopping Miniland winter takeover and much, much more. The Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Atlanta, every weekend in December, is a treat for young LEGO lovers. Be sure to see the amazing Master Model Builder’s 7-foot LEGO Christmas tree and don’t miss a photo op with Rudolph (his nose even lights up)!
Celebrate a ‘Country Christmas’
Create memories during Country Christmas Nights at The Rock Ranch, Thursdays through Saturdays, 6-10 p.m., Dec. 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22. For only $8, ride a wagon through lights and bring your own camera for visits with Santa. Enjoy live music, dine at the Café, and shop in the Country Store. Add on a Christmas Express Train ride ($8) through its own choreographed light show and Santa’s workshop ($12) for a fun Christmas experience with making an ornament, decorating a cookie and more. Breakfast with Santa is Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Holiday events sell out and reservations must be made in advance. One hour south of Atlanta.
Whimsical Worlds Await
Inside Santa’s Fantastical, 12 Whimsical Worlds await. Go for a stroll down Main Street at the North Pole, drop into the Peppermint Palace, visit the land of Unicorn Dreams, be dazzled at the Infinity Ornaments, visit Santa at his chateau and so much more. The indoor pop-up offers a family-friendly interactive wonderland, merging timeless traditions with innovative technology. Producing unique visuals, larger-than-life installations, and fun photographic moments, the immersive digital and performance art exhibits provide a magical escape for all ages. At Perimeter Pointe, 1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy. Suite 300. Open Tues.-Sun. Nov. 16-Dec. 11; daily Dec. 12-24.
A Festive Season in Roswell
Celebrate the most wonderful time of year in Historic Downtown Roswell. The season begins on Dec. 1, with Breakfast with Santa at Roswell Area Park from 9-11 a.m. Kids can take photos with Santa, make crafts and have their face painted. Holiday Celebration on the Square kicks off at 5 p.m., with lighting, choral performances and an appearance by Santa. End the day with Santa’s Secret Gift Shop from 6-8:30 p.m. Children can shop for relatives and make arts and crafts. Roswell offers a wide variety of holiday events for all ages; see the website for a complete list.
Marching Bands and Floats
Downtown Atlanta will be filled with festive floats and holiday cheer during the annual Children’s Christmas Parade benefitting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Floats, giant helium-filled balloons and marching bands will flow down the street, and the arrival of Santa will announce the holiday season. Breakfast with Santa takes place at the Four Seasons Atlanta Hotel at 8:30 a.m. that morning, Dec. 1. Parade start: Peachtree Street at 16th Street. 10:30 a.m.
Winter Wonderlane at Atlantic Station. Authentic German market, skating rink, evening snow shows and Santa’s Cottage. Through Dec. 24; skating through Jan. 21.
Festival of the Season at the Georgia Aquarium. Galleries and exhibits turn into a winter wonderland, incorporating light and music shows, appearances by Santa and SCUBA Claus, holiday entertainment, daily tree lighting ceremonies and more. Through Dec. 31.
Macy’s Pink Pig at Lenox Square Mall. Atlanta’s famous pig train takes families for a life-sized storybook ride. Through Jan. 6.
Stone Mountain Christmas at Stone Mountain Park. More than two million lights and an abundance of performances and activities. Through Jan. 6.
Winter Wonderland at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. An exhibit showcasing different holiday displays from cultures across the globe. Through Jan. 6.
Holiday in the Park at Six Flags. More than one million LED lights, tons of Christmas trees and live shows with holiday themed attractions. Through Jan 6.
Holiday Model Trains at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Tracks of G-scale choo choos around the gardens. Through Jan. 6.
Illuminate Chinese Lantern Festival & Acrobat Show at Sugarloaf Mills. Experience a maze of
illuminated sculptures scaling nearly 30 feet tall, watch performances of Beijing Acrobats and visit Santa in Christmas Village. Through Jan. 1.
A Christmas at Callanwolde Designer Show House at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Tour the historic mansion decorated for the holidays. Enjoy the artists’ market and themed events. Through Dec. 9.
Celebrations in Light at Children’s Museum of Atlanta. A showcase of different holidays from around the world each week with themed activities, cultural performances and more. Don’t miss the sock skating rink (through Jan. 8) and hot cocoa with Daniel Tiger. Through Dec. 30.
Victorian Holiday at Oakland Cemetery. Explore mausoleums decorated for the holidays on a walking tour led by a Victorian guide and hear a reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Kids will enjoy ornament-making crafts and, of course, meeting Santa. Dec. 1.
Jungle Bells at Zoo Atlanta. Visit for a tree lighting celebration, crafts, festive snacks, live music, costumed characters and more. Dec. 1.
Holiday PJ Party at Tellus Science Museum. Wear your favorite PJs to the Museum for handson science activities, photos with Santa, elves and more. Dec. 1.
Christmas in Roswell. Enjoy a variety of holiday celebrations in various locations. Festivities include decorated historic homes, music, dance, art, theatre and more. Dec. 1-30.
Holiday Bricktacular at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center. Build and take home your very own LEGO® Winter Puppy, meet and greet with LEGO characters, go on a scavenger hunt and more. Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30.
Teddy Bear Tea at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Bring a special teddy bear (if you would like) for a festive children’s tea and hot chocolate with Santa. Includes admission to the home and a visit to the Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta booth. Dec. 2 and 9.
Santa’s Workshop at The Southern Museum. Come in PJs and watch the “Polar Express.” Santa and Mrs. Claus share holiday stories and conduct a holiday sing-along, and then stay for a meet and greet. Dec. 8.
Enchanted Woodland Wonders at Chattahoochee Nature Center. Nature at its finest with live reindeer, performances, winter crafts, campfire with hot cocoa and more. Dec. 9.
Magic Monday: Happy Holidays at Atlanta History Center. Enjoy sing-a-longs, ornament making and holiday stories. Dec. 10.
Deck the Hall at College Football Hall of Fame. Meet Fumbles the Elf and Santa, see holiday decorations and more. Dec. 10-Jan. 4.
Candlelight Nights at Atlanta History Center. Holiday traditions of years past come alive with interpreters, music and special activities. See the grounds decorated for the holidays and enjoy a candlelit stroll. Dec. 14 and 21.
Supper with Santa at Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Enjoy an evening meal with Santa in the decorated Superior Court Ballroom. Make a craft, hear a story and visit with Santa. Dec. 15.
Ugly Sweater Party at Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Put on that Christmas sweater you never wear and show it off in all its glory at a festive party with cookie decorating, a seasonal craft and photo ops with Santasaurus. Dec. 16.
We Love a Parade
Hometown Holidays Parade in Downtown Forsyth. This year’s theme is Christmas in the South. Nov. 29.
Children’s Christmas Parade in Downtown Atlanta. Floats, giant helium-filled balloons and marching bands will move down the street, and the arrival of Santa will announce the holiday season. Dec. 1.
Santa Parade in Downtown Kennesaw. Marching bands, decorated floats, vintage cars, colorfully-costumed characters and Santa. Dec. 1.
City of College Park Annual Christmas Parade. This year’s theme is There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays. Marching bands, entertainment, floats and more. Dec. 8.
The Parade of Christmas Trees in Historic Downtown Newnan. Watch floats, walking groups, decorated cars, trucks and marching bands. Dec. 8.
Holiday Parade on Buford Highway. Celebrate the holidays with this festive parade along Buford Highway. Dec. 9.
Fun Under $5
Christmas in the Country Celebrations Southern Belle Farm. Visit with Santa, take a festive hayride and meet farm animals as well as enjoy some apple cider. Through Dec. 16.
Back to Nature Holiday Market at Chattahoochee Nature Center. Explore over 40 vendors with hand-made and/or eco-friendly gifts for the holiday season. Dec. 1.
Christmas at the Cabin at Red Top Mountain State Park. 1800s-style Christmas with music, tree decorating, toys and games. Bring a camera for free pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dec. 1.
Carriage Rides in Downtown Norcross. Ride through the charming downtown on a horse-drawn carriage and take in holiday lights. Take photos with Santa afterwards. Dec. 4-21.
PJ Party with Santa Town Center at Cobb-Upper Level, JCPenney Wing. Meet Santa and hear him read a story, plus games and giveaways. Dec. 8.
Gingerbread Christmas at Smith Plantation. Gingerbread baking over an open hearth and holiday ornament making. Reservations required. Dec. 8.
Grits with the Grinch Heritage Park, Conference Room B Wear PJs and have breakfast with the Grinch and other characters from Whoville. Dec. 8. The Grinch will also be at Ponce City Market Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 16.
Holiday Bonfire and Marshmallow Roast in Decatur Square. Roast marshmallows on the Square. Marshmallows provided; registration required. Dec. 13.
Roswell Winter Puppet Series Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Santa’s Missing Mail and Trouble in Toyland delightful puppet shows. Dec. 13-15; 20-22.
Santa’s Wonderland Bass Pro Shops. Families can make Christmas memories including free pictures with Santa, crafts and activities. Through Dec. 24.
Dance and Theater
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Center for Puppetry Arts. Rudolph is back with this faithful adaptation of the holiday story. Through Dec. 30.
Gift of the Magi at Marietta Theatre in the Square. This adaptation centers around a local streetcar driver who doesn’t have the money for Christmas presents. Magi tells the story of love and sacrifice. Kids will also enjoy snacks, crafts and holiday characters. Through Nov. 26.
Waffle Palace Christmas at Horizon Theatre. Features heartfelt southern humor, scattered, smothered and covered in a spicy holiday sauce. Through Dec. 30.
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at Theatrical Outfit. The Christmas-themed sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” will delight Jane Austen fans. Nov. 21-Dec. 23.
The Nutcracker at Infinite Energy Center. Northeast Atlanta Ballet performs this version of the classic. Nov. 23-25.
The Nutcracker. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre. Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre presents the beloved story. Nov. 23-25.
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at The Fox Theatre. This production tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Nov. 27-Dec. 2.
Black Nativity Atlanta at the Ferst Center. Retelling of the Nativity story from an AfricanAmerican
perspective. Dance, anthems, and gospel numbers. Nov. 28-Dec. 9.
The Snow Queen at Serenbe Playhouse. From the classic tale that inspired “Frozen,” this version lights up the wintry woods with a story of love’s sovereign power over evil. Nov. 28-Jan. 6.
Elf the Musical at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs. Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. Dec. 7-16.
’Twas the Night before Christmas at Aurora Theatre. See this classic Christmas Eve story come to life with puppets. Dec. 8.
A Christmas Carol Cobb at Energy Performing Arts Centre. The Alliance Theatre performs a musical version of the classic story with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Dec. 12, 14-16, 19-24.
Roswell Winter Puppet Series at Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Santa’s Missing Mail and Trouble in Toyland puppet shows. Dec. 13-15; 20-22.
Santa’s Missing Mail at Aurora Theatre. Help Santa and his elves find the Christmas mail. Dec. 22.
The Nutcracker at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center at City Springs. Follow Clara through a dream world of battling mice and dancing sugarplums. Presented by Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance and the Roswell Dance Theatre. Nov. 23-Dec. 2.
The Nutcracker at Blessed Trinity Performing Arts Theater. Join The Fleetwood Dance Theatre for the annual performance of this family classic. Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2.
The Nutcracker at Jennie T. Anderson Theatre. The classic story presented by The Georgia Ballet. Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
The Nutcracker at The Grand Theatre. Cartersville City Ballet performs the classic story through dance. Dec. 1-3.
The Nutcracker at Infinite Energy Center. Gwinnett Ballet Theatre performs the classic story. Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2, 7-9, 14 and 16.
The Nutcracker at Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Atlanta Dance Theatre performs this version with battling mice, dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers and more. Dec. 7-9.
The Children’s Nutcracker at St. Pius X High School Theatre. The classic story presented by the Academy of Ballet of Norcross. Dec. 8-9.
Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre. Atlanta Ballet’s first new Nutcracker in 20 years with a completely revamped show. Dec. 8-24.
Urban Nutcracker at TCHS Viola Turner Theater. Enjoy a different take on the classic production of the Nutcracker presented by Ballethnic Dance Company. Dec. 20-23.
Gala Holiday Concert at Rialto Center for the Arts. Georgia State University School of Music’s concert featuring more than 200 student and faculty musicians. Dec. 2.
Sounds of the Season at Mall of Georgia. Local community, church and school groups will perform festive holiday performances in the Dining Pavilion. Dec. 5-6.
The Glory of Christmas Concert at Roswell Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Evening of delightful Christmas music presented by RPC’s choir and orchestra. Dec. 6-7.
Holiday Concert at First Baptist Church Marietta. Hear the Marietta Pops Orchestra perform holiday classics. Dec. 7.
Spivey Hall Children’s Choir at Clayton State University. A fusion of classic favorites and new selections showcase the talents of the children’s choir. Dec. 7-9.
A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. The Emory tradition established in 1935 continues with this candlelit evening service of choral music and readings by special guests. Dec. 7-8.
Atlanta Christmas Musical at First Baptist Woodstock. This year’s new show titled, Soli Deo Gloria, follows a world-renowned musician as he discovers the greatest treasures in life. Dec. 8-9.
Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Atlanta Symphony Hall. The Orchestra, Chorus, The Gwinnett Young Singers and the Morehouse College Glee Club will perform Christmas carols and hymns. Dec. 8 and 9.
The Light of Christmas at Infinite Energy Center. Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performs Christmas classics. Children from the audience can join Santa on stage to conduct the orchestra during the “Sleigh Ride.” Dec. 10.
A Christmas Tradition at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Song and dance performance including holiday songs as well as funk. Dec. 14-16; 21-23.
Christmas with Atlanta Master Chorale at Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Hear the members of the chorale perform holiday classics. Dec. 15-16.
A Festive Family Holiday at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Join the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for an afternoon of holiday favorites and an appearance by Santa. Atlanta. Dec. 16.
A Very Merry Holiday at Atlanta Symphony Hall. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performs holiday classics. Dec. 20 and 21.
Emmanuel Christmas Cantata at Infinite Energy Center. Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ through song and music. Dec. 21.
Bethlehem Walk at Mountain View United Methodist Church. storytelling and Santa. Walk through the streets of Bethlehem, depicted as it was the first Christmas, complete with shopkeepers. Dec. 7-9.
Walk Through Bethlehem at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Walk through the candlelit outdoor nativity scene, complete with Roman guards, shopkeepers and live animals. Dec. 7-9.
Live Nativity at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Experience the town of Bethlehem 2000 years ago, told by current day witnesses, musicians and choirs. Dec. 8.
Live Nativity at Sardis United Methodist Church. Performances run on the front lawn and feature live animals. After the performance, Christmas carols and refreshments. Dec. 15-16.
Walk Through Bethlehem at St. John United Methodist Church. Live nativity, live animals, music, refreshments and crafts. Dec. 8-9.
Nativities Exhibit at Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. Nativity scenes from around the world made of everything from wood to volcanic ash. Dec. 8-10, 12, 14-16.
Evening in Bethlehem at Roswell United Methodist Church. Indoor, dramatic re-enactment of the first Christmas with live characters and real stable animals. Dec. 15.
Live Nativity at Chamblee First United Methodist Church. Live nativity scene to re-create the glory of Christmas. Dec. 16.
Menorah Lightings Hosted by Chabad Intown. Menorah lighting, balloons, doughnuts, latkes, music and more. Dec. 2 at Decatur Square; Dec. 3 in Virginia Highland; Dec. 4 at Atlantic Station; Dec. 5, at Ponce City Market.
Menorah Lighting and Hanukkah Celebration MJCCA, Zaban Park. Hanukkah songs with Rabbi Glusman, lighting of the menorah and a performance. Jelly doughnuts and hot chocolate served. Dec. 3-5.
Menorah Lighting at Marietta Square. Meet at the Glover Park stage for a Chanukah celebration including holiday music and children’s games presented by Congregation Ner Tamid. Free hot chocolate and jelly doughnuts. Dec. 8.
Celebrate Hanukkah: A Cultural Exploration at Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Celebrate Hanukkah with storytime, music and dance. Dec. 9.
Hanukkah Storytime at Little Shop of Stories. Listen to stories about the Festival of Lights. Dec. 9.
Also check out these Top Holiday Events Beyond Atlanta
North Pole Limited at Tennessee Valley Railroad. A round-trip journey to the “North Pole”, featuring storytelling, light refreshments and an appearance by Santa. Select dates through Dec. 30.
The Polar Express Train Ride at Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. A round-trip train
ride with a Santa visit. Includes warm cocoa, carols and a treat while the story is narrated. Select dates through Dec. 31.
Enchanted Garden of Lights at Rock City. Make your way through one million holiday lights with over 30 different scenes from the North Pole to Magic Forest and Yule Town. Decorate cookies and meet Santa. Through Dec. 31.
A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort. Enjoy lavish holiday displays, snow tubing, performances and more. Through Jan. 1.
Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens. Drive through more than eight million twinkling
lights and a garden decorated for the season. Through Jan. 5.
Christmas at Biltmore at the Biltmore Estate. Holiday décor, over 55 Christmas trees,
thousands of ornaments and evening candlelight tours. Through Jan. 6