There’s so much going on in Atlanta for the holidays!
It doesn’t matter if you’re searching for holiday lights to brighten up your festive season, ice-skating rinks, or a boozy pop-up to get into the spirit of things, we’ve got the perfect events for you!
Tis the season, so treat yourself to a few festive outings throughout the next few weeks, or gift a loved one to an unforgettable day out.
Here are 25 fabulously festive things to do over the holidays in Atlanta this year.
One of the many spectacular light shows that has completely transformed Atlanta into a dazzling holiday spectacle is the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights, Holiday Nights.
This unmissable celebration of light annually takes over the enchanting gardens, with several beloved installations returning this year, as well as new lights for the new season!
2. Be enchanted at the Winter Lantern Festival
Tickets are finally available for the iconic annual Winter Lantern Festival, right here in Georgia! Experience a world of lights and lanterns, all lovingly handmade by artisans (some with over two decades of experience)! Attendees will learn all about the culture and craftsmanship of the traditional Chinese lantern festivals and enjoy a dazzling sky of lanterns and creatures made of lanterns!
Celebrate a beautiful tradition: get your tickets for Winter Lantern Festival in Georgia!
The Candlelight concert series has taken Atlanta by storm, and they’re have a festive selection of holiday concerts. Enjoy those classic carols, Christmas pop hits, and more at the beloved concerts that are completely bathed in flickering candlelight.
Check out our holiday recommendations below, or click here for their full line-up.
And if you want to treat a loved one to a concert, the perfect gift might be a Candlelight Concert gift card!
4. Enjoy a Menorah Lighting Ceremony at The Point
When: Thursday, December 7th from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: The Point, 1540 Avenue Place, Atlanta, GA 30329
In celebration of the first night of Hanukkah, The Lawn is hosting a menorah lighting ceremony along with festive activities the whole family will enjoy!
Some of the participating tenants include: Code Ninjas, Graytin Haus Boutique, The General Muir, The Gumbo Gourmet!
For more details, check out The Point’s website!
5. Enjoy winter sports and festivities at Snow Island: License to Chill!
Snow Island is the perfect destination for all of your snow needs! Let’s face it… we don’t get snow in Atlanta, and when we do, it’s not the kind you can play in. But at Snow Island, you can snow tube, ice skate, have a snowball fight and so many other snow activities, right here in Georgia!
Oh, and not to mention the delicious holiday-themed food you can eat too!
For all the details, check out Snow Island License to Chill!
When: November 18 – November 26, 2023
Where: the Georgia World Congress Center, located in Building A, Exhibit Hall A3.
The Festival of Trees is a special nine-day event that’s jam-packed with Christmas spirit!
Guests can get excited to walk through a forest of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, which are available for auction!
There will also be live music and entertainment, kids’ activities and games, gift shops from local artisans, food and so much more! This event is fun for the whole family!
7. Get saucy with The Empire Strips Back: A Burlesque Parody
You read that right! This incredible parody show was previously sold out, but is back open to the public! See all of your favorite Star Wars characters scantily clad and live on stage!
Take a trip to your dark side with comedy and allure, loving detail, and hilarious parody! The Empire Strips Back drops classic Star Wars characters into the world of burlesque.
Guests should expect some seriously sultry Stormtroopers, a dangerously enticing Boba Fett, some tantalizing Twi’leks, a delightfully luke-warm Taun Taun, a lady-like Skywalker, the Droids you are looking for, and much, much more!
To grab your tickets, check out The Empire Strips Back!
Where: 1510 Ben King Road NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144
Lights of Joy is the largest residential holiday lights display in Georgia, and it’s completely free of charge to view. Over 200 trees and several installations boast over 1 million luminous lights, making it the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit.
This holiday gem is not to be missed! It’s free to walk through, but donations are appreciated!
For all the details, check out the Lights of Joy website!
9. Learn to make the perfect pasta for all your holiday dinner needs
Where: SteadyHand Beer Co.
When: December 10th from 5 pm – 6:30pm
Have you always wanted to make that perfect from-scratch pasta? Now’s your chance!
With this pasta making class, you’ll make your very own mouthwatering Italian pasta! You’ll get the chance to learn to use a pasta machine or rolling pin to roll out your dough and cut it into ribbons of fresh pappardelle, and then the instructor will then teach you how to make a delicious, creamy sauce with a cajun twist!
Enjoy your masterpiece at the end and feel free to bring your own beer, wine, or champagne. Get your tickets for Fresh Pasta 101 in Atlanta!
Helen is Georgia’s unique Alpine village with old-school German architecture and enchanting storybook vibes. The area annually gets an awesome holiday makeover with gorgeous decorations, as well as a Christmas Parade set to take over the town! Check out all the info and plan your trip!.
11. It’s your last chance to see a Panda in the U.S.
Zoo Atlanta is an iconic zoo located right in the heart of the city. Its mission is to preserve wildlife, and just by visiting, you’re contributing to the cause! At the zoo you can see sleepy sloths, slithering snakes, a rare white rhino named Mumbles, great apes… and for a limited time, the last giant pandas in the entire United States.
With the departure of the pandas from Smithsonian’s National Zoo back to China, Atlanta now has the last giant black and white creatures in the United States. Our precious Pandas, Lun Lun, Yang Yang, Ya Lun and Xi Lun, which are on loan from China for research will return back after the agreement lease is up in early 2024. No specifics have been discussed for their return quite yet, but if you want to see a giant panda, you better hurry!Grab your zoo tickets now!
12. It’s the perfect time to go ice skating!
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner on skates, the holidays are the perfect time to grab some delicious treats, your friends, and hit the ice! Atlanta is teeming with skating opportunities, which you can check out in our skating roundup!
Go get out on that ice!
If there’s one thing Atlanta has no shortage of, it’s creative people! There are tons of pop up holiday markets happening all over town, and you don’t want to miss out!
Whether you’re looking for the perfect unique piece of art for that hard-to-shop-for friend or a little special treat for yourself, you can’t go wrong with a craft artisan market full of local wares and fares!
Get all your holiday gifts in one spot at these merry markets!
14. Enjoy a night of holiday fun at Holiday on the Town
When: Thursday, December 7th from 6 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: 4330 Peachtree Road, NE Brookhaven, GA 30319
Join the Town in Brookhaven for a night of holiday joy! Attendees can get excited for a Christmas tree lighting, Menorah lighting, visits with Santa, a character meet and greet with beloved characters, a musical and dance performance, merchant specials, and so much more!
For more details, check out the Town’s website!
15. See the beloved Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol live at the Alliance Theatre
All season long, the Alliance Theatre is showing their annual classic, A Christmas Carol on the Coca-Cola Stage!
This year, theatre-goers can get excited for a completely reimagined set design and stunning new costumes!
Get ready to be transported to the streets of London to revisit the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to redemption, told with beautiful live music and an all-star cast.
Check out the Alliance Theatre’s website for more information!
16. Step straight into a painting at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Ever wanted to step straight into a painting by the great Van Gogh? Now’s your chance! All throughout the holiday season and beyond, you’ll be able to get up-close and personal with all of the artist’s incredible works. Explore his life, his work, and his secrets as never before through cutting-edge 360-degree digital projections, a one-of-a-kind VR experience, and a uniquely atmospheric light and sound show. This unique experience brought to you by Exhibition Hub has already thrilled millions of visitors in the USA.
Don’t miss out on this awe-inspiring experience in Atlanta! Check out Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience to grab tickets!
From private heated igloos for drinking and dining to Ponce City Market’s rooftop rink for ice-skating the night away, the roof at PCM is the place to be this holiday season.
You can enjoy delicious food and super fun activities all season on The Roof! And don’t miss out on Friday Night Ice events, a 21+ skating experience!
For more details, check out all the happenings on The Roof!
The Blind Pig Parlour in Buckhead has become renowned for their fabulously festive pop-ups.
If you can’t wait for all of the festive feasts and drinks that come with the holidays, The Blind Elf is for you!
With dazzling decorations and scrumptious treats, grab your friends or special date and head over to The Blind Elf!
19. Check out the Tinsel Tavern, an amazing holiday pop-up bar at the Battery!
If holiday pop up bars are your thing, Atlanta has so many amazing ones to offer!
The super festive Tinsel Tavern will be open for the whole holiday season, ready to serve delicious treats and eats and mouthwatering cocktails!
Get ready for delicious food like:
- Cocktail Meatballs with beef, Italian sausage & creamy herb cream sauce
- Roasted Turkey Poutine with fries, sage gravy & mozzarella
- Buffalo Chicken Dip with tortilla chips, crudité & blue cheese
- Braised Pork Sliders with brussels sprout slaw, dinner roll & apple butter
- Snickerdoodle Sandwich with cream cheese, salted caramel & Grand Marnier
- Maple Bacon Churros
For all the dates and rates, read more about Tinsel Tavern!
20. Laugh your head off at Christmas Invasion at Dad’s Garage
For the month of December, improv central for Atlanta, Dad’s Garage, puts on an absolutely hilarious version of the classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol. But this performance is anything but classic!
Basically, the cast rehearses a (relatively) faithful performance of the traditional show. But then, every night, the show is “invaded” by a random character, which is a surprise to the cast and audience alike! Then, the cast must do their best to continue telling the classic story, all while incorporating a chaotic guest.
In the past, invaders to the show have been Ursula the sea witch, Thanos, Jack Skellington and Ted Lasso. You’ll be falling out of your seat laughing, trust me!
And there’s also a special performance for Hanukah!
For all the details, check out Dad’s Garage’s website!
If you love nature and twinkling lights, this exhibit at Fernbank is perfect for you! When the sun goes down, the lights come on in the 10-acre forest right behind the museum! This immersive blend of the beauty from the real on-site environment, combined with glowing displays is meant to make you use all of your senses to marvel at the splendors of nature.
WildWoods: AGLOW uses a blend of the real environment contemplative music and glowing displays, uniquely curated to highlight the native flora and fauna within WildWoods.
The walk-thru light extravaganza uses state-of-the-art technology, like captivating illumination, immersive projections and all original musical composition. Combine these elements together and you have a special evening out for the whole family, with friends, or even with a date.
For all the details, check out WildWoods: AGLOW!
Experience the magic of the holidays without having to leave your car. Of course, there are so many awesome lights displays and shows in Atlanta over the holidays, but drive-thru holiday light spectacles have become an adored tradition, with Atlanta boasting a couple of iconic events over the festive period this year. Check out the full round up, here!
Immerse yourself in a Christmas conundrum! Saving Christmas in Atlanta is a holiday-themed escape room mystery where you’ll become Santa’s last hope at bringing Christmas cheer this year, think of yourself as the star of a classic Christmas film!
You’ll be able to test your problem-solving skills in this intense mystery! Oh… and did I mention you only have 60 minutes to figure it out?
Work alongside your team to try and save the holidays. Don’t miss out on this chance to be a detective and get your tickets now!
24. Get a glimpse into celebrations & traditions from all around the world at Fernbank’s annual Winter Wonderland
For the holiday season, Atlanta’s iconic museum of natural history, Fernbank, will transform into a winter wonderland!
Museum-goers can expect the halls of the museum to be full with arts, crafts, symbols and ornaments to celebrate, well, how we celebrate!
The beautiful atmosphere will definitely put you into the jolly holiday spirit! The museum will represent a variety of secular and nonsecular holidays from all over the world, including some you might never have heard of!
Expect breathtaking, educational, and fun displays celebrating traditions from Sweden, Norway, Mexico, Argentina, India, Costa Rica, Latvia, Kenya, Philippines, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Japan and many others!
For all the details, read more about Fernbank’s Winter Wonderland!
25. Celebrate the holidays at the High Museum of Art
When: December 2, 2023 from 5–9 p.m.
Where: The High Museum of Art
If you need the perfect place to kickstart your holiday celebration season, The High is the perfect spot for you! Attendees of Holidays at the High will enjoy art making, live music, sweet treats, and so much more! This event is family friendly!
From 5 to 7 p.m., enjoy activities meant for the whole family, including festive art making and a book nook.
And then from 7 to 9 p.m., enjoy music, seasonal cocktails, and winter merriment inspired by the High’s collection and special exhibitions.
For more information, check out The High’s website!
26. Finally, Ring in 2024 RIGHT!
Date: December 31 (of course)
Time: 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.