East Coast Christmas Road Trip


Dessert Bar & Themed Cocktail in Alpharetta

Helen Georgia is a cute place to stop traveling South on Christmas. The Bavarian architectural at the main street of blah blah blah verb xyz.



Atlanta Botanical Gardens Christmas Orchestral Orbs Orange


  1. Christmas Lights in Atlanta
  2. Christmas Shows in Atlanta
  3. Atlanta Christmas Concerts
  4. Atlanta Charity Events for Christmas
  5. Unique Christmas Things to do in Atlanta
  6. Georgia Christmas Day Trips


Atlanta Christmas Happenings -Callaway Gardens Fantasy In Lights
Callaway Gardens Fantasy In Lights


(Callaway Gardens, Nov 18-Jan 1)

Rated as one of the Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the World by National Geographic, Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights is truly a wondrous sight to behold.

The centerpiece is a drive through 2,500 dazzling acres lined with 8 million holiday lights, divided thematically into 16 sections that include “Snowflake Valley” and “Magical Christmas Garden,” with festive Christmas music playing throughout.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, Callaway Gardens will have an all new attraction called Celebration Lake, featuring 30 trees dancing upon the lake to signify 30 years of Fantasy In Lights.

You’ll get to admire this scene as you drive along the seven-mile Fantasy In Lights scenic drive.

If you are wanting to spend the night, you can stay in a Cottage, Villa, or at The Lodge & Spa where you can get special packages starting with added benefits like a shuttle service to the Christmas Village and daily Gardens admission.

Additional lodging options nearby include a 5Bdrm/3 bth Caymus Cabin a 2 bdrm/1 bth home on Main Street or a Hampton Inn.

READ MORE: 20 Symbols of Christmas: History & Meaning of Christmas Decorations

Atlanta Christmas Lights - Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Atlanta Botanical Gardens – Lady at the Lake


(Atlanta Botanical Garden, Nov 12-Jan 14)

One of the best Christmas light shows in Atlanta is back for another year. For the past 12 years, the Atlanta Botanical Garden has been decorating and illuminating their 30 acres with millions of low energy-consuming LED lights.

The pathways of the garden will be lit up alongside the hardwoods and crepe myrtles. On top of the beautiful lights, the Garden also decorates a 27-foot-tall tree with mesmerizing patterns.

Some of the best Atlanta Christmas Lights at this event include the Ice Goddess, the Tunnel of Light, and the glowing Orchestral Orbs, which dance along with light and color to holiday songs. 

This event will begin November 12th and last until January 14th with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $63 depending on which dates and ticket type you choose.

READ MORE: 30 Recycled Christmas Decorations & Homemade Gifts Anyone Can Make

IllumiNights at Zoo Atlanta
Photo courtesy of Zoo Atlanta


(Zoo Atlanta, Nov 21-Jan 15)

This Chinese Lantern Festival, which features over 80 lanterns depicting the world’s most amazing creatures, is one of the most unique Christmas activities in Atlanta. 

Each lantern part of IllumiNights is made and hand-painted by Chinese artisans who put in thousands of hours of work. Some of these lanterns even reach up to 20 feet tall!

IllumiNights will be open from November 21st to January 15th and will have warm beverages and food available for purchase, as well as having the gift shop open for your browsing needs.

READ MORE: Countries that Do Not Celebrate Christmas

Macy's Tree Lighting Atlanta
Macy’s Tree Lighting, photo courtesy of Macy’s


(Macy’s Lenox Square, TBD)

Though the name and location of the store have changed over the years, this annual celebration of the beginning of the Christmas season has otherwise been the same for over 70 years now.

It all began in 1948, when Rich’s department store put a large pine tree atop its flagship downtown Atlanta location, lighting it on Thanksgiving night. I have fond memories of performing there back in 1980, as a member of the Atlanta Boy Choir.

Though Rich’s and Macy’s merged in 2006, the annual Atlanta lighting of the Great Tree remains one of  the city’s most beloved and historic holiday traditions.

READ MORE: 20 Ways to Celebrate the New Year Around the World

Lakeside Lights Spectacular
Lakeside Lights Spectacular


(Lake Lanier Islands, Nov 19-Jan 16)

One of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas in Georgia, this winter wonderland holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where Mary and I shared our first kiss on our second date!

Known for their massive 575-foot-long snow tube slide, Lanier Islands is a great place to visit if you’re looking for things to do for Christmas. 

Starting November 19th, the Lakeside Lights Spectacular will be back for another year of holiday lights with this year’s Margaritaville theme. Traditional holiday displays will still be a part of this walking light show attraction.

There will be an assortment of mixed drinks, treats, hot chocolate, and even an opportunity to roast s’mores. 

Santa will also make an appearance and there will be carnival rides and holiday games to keep everyone entertained.

READ MORE: 75 Christmas Traditions Around the World (with Fun Facts)

Atlanta Christmas Things to See-Stone Mountain Christmas Parade Santa
Stone Mountain Christmas Parade photo via Stone Mountain


(Stone Mountain Park, Nov 12-Jan 1)

The annual Stone Mountain Christmas is back for another holiday season! 

Open from November 12 to January 1st, you will surely find something for everyone to enjoy at this holiday event. Millions of lights will decorate the park and greet you as you walk through the Musical Frosted Forest, and there will be visits with Santa, a Christmas parade, caroling, and a comedic rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol 

This year there will also be an all new attraction. The World’s Largest Christmas Light Show includes holiday songs, special effects, and even a firework finale.  

The normal Stone Mountain Park attractions will be open during this time as well, including the Scenic Railroad and Summit Skyride.

READ MORE: The History & Names of Santa Claus Around the World

World Of Illumination


(Six Flags White Water Parking Lot, Nov 16-Jan 1)

The world’s largest drive-thru animated light show is coming to Georgia for the third year in a row. 

Visitors will be able to admire the show, made with over two million animated LED lights alongside synchronized music, all from the comfort of their own car.

There will be amazing glacial peaks, reindeer, mountainous terrain, snowmen, and ice caves, leading you all the way to Santa’s workshop, which is the world’s largest animated toy shop. 

Tickets are on sale now and start at $40 per car. 


(Battery Atlanta, Nov 26)

One of the newer ways to celebrate Christmas in Georgia, this annual holiday event takes place at The Battery Atlanta, the 1.5 million square foot mixed-use development adjacent to SunTrust Park.

Back for its fifth year, the event takes place from 5:30 to 7PM and will kick off with a performance by The Block Party on the Georgia Power Pavilion Stage. Next, you can help track down Santa with Mark Ownes & Blooper as he gets closer to the lighting of the tree which occurs at 7PM.

After the lighting, visitors are invited to stay and enjoy an outdoor showing of “The Grinch” on the Georgia Power Pavilion screen. 

READ MORE: Real Christmas Trees vs Fake Christmas Trees: Which is Better?

Atlantic Station Tree Lighting
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Station Holiday


(Atlantic Station, Nov 19)

On November 19 Atlantic Station will be lighting their 50-foot tree on the Atlantic green for the first time of the season! Along with the lighting of the tree, the event will feature an incredible fireworks display and even Santa sightings.

If you can’t make it to the station or just want to enjoy the event from the comfort of your home, you can tune into 11Alive at 7PM where they will be telecasting the event!

READ MORE: 125+ Best Gifts for Travelers

Christmas Lights in Atlanta- Six Flags
Photo via Six Flags Over Georgia


(Six Flags Over Georgia, Select Days: Nov 19-Jan 1)

Returning for their seventh year from November 19th to January 1st, Holiday in the Park brings with it some exciting holiday activities in Atlanta. 

You can stroll through ten different Holiday Neighborhoods, where you can see over a million LED lights, themed decorations, and numerous festive Christmas trees that are sure to impress. There will also be a dancing light show and a fully decorated Riverview Carousel and The Six Flags Railroad. 

On top of these beautiful Christmas lights in Atlanta, Six Flags will also put on a Christmas show with music and a dancing Christmas tree light show. 

Holiday treats and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be available for your enjoyment.

New for the 2022 season is the Holiday Light Spectacular where you can watch the Christmas tree come to life with an awesome animated light experience and Holiday Traditions Around The World where you can hop on the Holiday Express and learn how cultures around the world celebrate the season. 

READ MORE: The 25 Best Places to Spend Christmas in Europe

Christmas Lights in Atlanta -Lights of Life
Photo by Paul S.


(Life University, Marietta Nov 24- Dec 31)

One of Atlanta’s oldest and most underrated Christmas light displays, Lights of Life nevertheless draws huge local crowds thanks largely to word-of-mouth.

At just $10 for cars/trucks, it is a bargain for an expansive display that includes over 100 pieces (including a 65-foot Santa/sleigh display, the tallest in the Southeast) on the 1.5 mile drive through the college’s campus.

There is also a petting zoo, pony rides, train rides. and opportunities to have your photo taken with Santa for additional fees.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Spend Christmas in the USA

Holiday Lights of Hope
Photo courtesy of Holiday Lights of Hope


(Hobgood Park, Woodstock Nov 25-Dec 23)

The Holiday Lights of Hope is HUGE, with more than two million twinkling lights, traditional and animated displays, and a mile-long Christmas maze!

Enjoy roasting S’mores over a roaring bonfire, and getting pictures taken with Santa. Grown-ups can enjoy shopping at the General Store, strolling down Main Street, and listening to Christmas carolers. Lights in Hobgood Park are walk-through, and the Veterans Park lights are drive-through.

Best of all, your $10 adult ticket (free for children 14 and under) for Hobgood Park benefits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center.

READ MORE: 15 Simple Recycled Christmas Cards Crafts for Kids

Santa and Reindeer via VisitCartersvilleGA.org and Pettit Creek Farms


(Cartersville, Nov 25- Dec 30)

If you’re looking for some true Southern charm mixed in with your Christmas spirit, you’re not going to want to miss all the festivities at Pettit Creek Farms.

There is more than a mile of beautiful Christmas lights to experience either in a car for $30 or a hayride for $10 per person.

Both choices will include a visit to the farm’s petting zoo, where you can get up close and personal with two of their live reindeer, Comet and Cupid. 

Make sure to stop by the concession stands and treat yourself to s’mores, hot cocoa, warm cider, funnel cakes, and other delicious treats you can enjoy while warming up by the fire.

You can also take a piece of the fun back with you by picking out the perfect fresh-cut tree to fill your home with Christmas joy.

ATL Holiday Lights
ATL Holiday Lights courtesy of Atlantic Station Holiday


(Lakewood Amphitheater Parking Lot, Nov 25-Jan 1)

ATL Holiday Lights returns and is bringing more lights and more fun than ever before! But this year they’re at a new location, moving from Atlantic Station to the Lakewood parking lot. 

There will be hand-crafted displays from some of your favorite holiday movies, a mini neighborhood showcasing local establishments, and plenty of opportunities to spread holiday cheer.

To see the lights, you can drive through on value nights (Sunday – Thursday) for $30 per car in advance or $40 at the gate. On peak nights (Friday – Saturday) the cost is $40 per car in advance or $50 at the gate.

If you visit on Thursday, you can walk through for just $15 per adult in advance or $20 at the gate, and kids 15 and under can enter for free!

As an added bonus, after driving or walking through the beautiful lights, you can stop across the street at the ice skating rink if you want some hot cocoa and snacks (available for purchase)!

Holiday Road
Photo courtesy of Holiday Road Atlanta


(The Horse Mansion @ Bouckaert Farm in Fairburn, GA, Nov 25 – Dec 30)

Celebrate the season at Holiday Road with an immersive walking trail filled with dazzling lights and delightful displays that are sure you put you in the holiday spirit.

Located at the Horse Mansion at Bouckaert Farm, the event opens at 5PM and closes at 11PM with designated time slots for the walkthrough starting at 6PM and ending at 9:30PM.

Before or after enjoying the trail, you can visit some of the best food trucks in the area to get a delicious meal or visit the Holiday Bar to pick up a savory cocktail, glass of wine, or beer.

Be sure to stop by Holiday Road’s souvenir shop before you leave to pick out a keepsake to bring home for the holidays!


Atlanta Christmas Parade by Children's Healthcare
Children’s Atlanta Christmas Parade


(Colony Square, Dec 3)

Although the annual Children’s Holiday Parade will not be happening this year, Colony Square and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have teamed up to create a new Christmas tradition on December 3rd. 

Season on the Square will be a day full of fun activities, a breakfast with Santa, and an hour long street performance on Peachtree Street. This performance will also be broadcast on Atlanta News First and Peachtree TV starting at 11am in case you can’t make it in person. 

The honor of lighting the tree will now be taken over by a patient at Children’s, making this one of the more heartwarming Christmas events in Atlanta.

READ MORE: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photo Gallery)

Season of Celebration in Alpharetta, Georgia
Photo courtesy of the Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau


(Alpharetta, GA, Nov 20-Dec 31)

When the holidays roll around the city of Alpharetta is packed with different events where you can gather with friends and family to enjoy the season.

The festivities kick off on November 20 with the Lighting of the Avalon which will feature holiday performances and entertainment, plenty of activities, the official opening of the ice skating rink, and even a magical visit by Santa. 

The first three Fridays in December, Alpharetta will also be hosting the Season of Celebration which starts with the annual tree lighting downtown on December 2. Each week the activities will vary from things like falling snow and photos with Santa to carolers and photo opportunities with life-sized Nutcrackers.

There will also be the Jolly Jingle Jam for parents and kids (December 2), the Arts Alpharetta Artists Holiday Market at the Alpharetta Arts Center (December 2-3), and showings of A Christmas Story: The Musical at the ACT1 Theatre (December 2-4, 9-11, & 16-18).

READ MORE: Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Center for Puppetry Arts
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer photo courtesy of Center for Puppetry Arts


(Center For Puppetry Arts, Select Days: Nov 9-Dec 31)

If you look forward to watching the stop-motion Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer each year then this event is a must see. The 1964 stop-motion film comes alive with the help of the Center for Puppetry Arts on select days through November 9th to December 3rd. 

The story follows Rudolph and his friends Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius as they face the Abominable Snow Monster and the fear of not fitting in. 

This is a great way to celebrate Christmas in Atlanta and will surely warm anyone’s heart by showing bravery and self-acceptance alongside amazing holiday music.

Winter Wonderland Fernbank Museum
Winter Wonderland, photo courtesy of Fernbank Museum


(Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Nov 19-Jan 6)

One of the best Atlanta Christmas events is back for its 13th year this holiday season. Taking up two floors of the huge museum, this event will run from November 19th to January 6th with general admission tickets being $25.

Winter Wonderland is a great opportunity to learn about different cultural traditions from more than 25 different countries around the world, including Switzerland, Mexico, Argentina, and India. 

There will also be arts and craft, a scavenger hunt, and beautiful ornament displays throughout the museum. And when you step outdoors, the fun continues as themed giant snow globes up to seven feet tall will be on display as well as a giant sock skating rink.

Christmas Events For Kids -Atlanta's Largest Gingerbread House
Atlanta’s Largest Gingerbread House via St Regis Hotel


(The St. Regis Atlanta, Nov-Dec)

In collaboration with Lucy’s Market and designer Suzanne Kasler, the Buckhead hotel will be decked out with holiday decor including a massive 206-square-foot gingerbread house.

While the gingerbread house itself is enough of a spectacle, there will also be lifesize nutcrackers, holiday window displays, and silver holiday trees all of which can be purchased by visitors!

The inside of the gingerbread house will also be filled with a variety of holiday goodies for sale like premium candies and chocolates, candles, barware, snow and music boxes, holiday linens, lacquer wreaths, and more.

The Gingerbread House pop-up will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11AM to 6PM and Friday’s and Saturday’s from 11AM to 8PM.

Other Christmas events at the St. Regis Atlanta include tea with Santa and a special Christmas Brunch with Santa on December 25.

READ MORE: Lebkuchen Recipe (German Christmas Cookies aka German Gingerbread)

Christmas Events for Children in Atlanta - Childrens Museum Atlanta


(Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Dec 1-Dec 31)

Although Christmas is a hugely celebrated holiday around the world, there are multiple different holidays throughout the season and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta is open to celebrate and teach us about all of them. 

Throughout the month of December, the Museum will educate and excite visitors by celebrating Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas, and Kwanzaa on their own respective dates. On top of learning about these holidays, visitors will be able to hear music, learn dances, and make crafts honoring each celebration. 

The museum will also have Sockefeller Plaza starting November 17th, which is a sock-skating rink for children to experience skating without the hassle of skates.

On December 31 the museum will close out the year with their New Year’s Bubble Bash, featuring a family-friendly DJ, dancing, party favors, and, of course, bubbles!

Georgia Aquarium Festival of the Season


(Georgia Aquarium, TBD)

The Georgia Aquarium’s annual Christmas event returns, transforming Atlanta’s favorite aquatic attraction into a winter wonderland designed to delight attendees of all ages.

Kicking off with the annual Wake Up Santa event, your help is needed to wake up Santa after his journey from the North Pole to Atlanta so the Festival of the SEAson can begin! 

Once Santa is awake, there will be plenty of interactive activities and events throughout the festival including Holidazzle (a dazzling light and music show), appearances by Santa and SCUBA Claus, a holiday edition of the aquarium live entertainment experience, and more! 

Kids Christmas Party in Atlanta -Children's Holiday Party
Children’s Holiday Party


(Southern Art @ InterContinental Buckhead Hotel, TBD)

Helmed by world-renowned chef Art Smith (a.k.a. Oprah’s personal chef until 2007), Southern Art ranks among our favorite restaurants in Atlanta.

But on December 6 it will be completely transformed with wintry decor (snow included!) in order to welcome Santa Claus and his reindeer for their annual Children’s Holiday Brunch.

Of course, you don’t have to be a child in order to attend. Kids and grown-ups alike are invited to decorate Christmas cookies, drink at the hot chocolate bar, get their face painted, and take fab photos with St. Nick and his hoofed friends.

Photo court


(Avalon, Nov 11 – Dec 31)

Creators of the beloved Santa’s Fantastical have come together to create this brand new holiday pop-up in Alpharetta. Here, you can find tasty mixed drinks and desserts from NYC based Milk Bar and from other local bakeries. 

Some of their seasonally themed cocktails include the Merry Berry Margarita, The Bahumbug, and the Noggin’ on Heavens Door. 

This event will be for all ages from 3pm until 5pm but 21 years or over from 5pm to 11pm.