Atlanta, GA is a thriving city with so much for visitors to enjoy year round. Yet the holidays may be the best time of the year to visit with an abundance of festive things to do and see!
If you’re considering coming to Atlanta this Christmas season, be sure to check out these 10 things to do to help make your holiday visit a joyous experience you won’t forget!
Looking for more things to see? Be sure to check out this roundup of the best places to visit in Atlanta year-round.
1. Christmas at Ponce City Market
A repurposed warehouse and retail store, the historic Ponce City Market has become a vibrant community hub of restaurants, bars, shopping, and entertainment in the heart of Atlanta.
As a place you don’t want to miss at Christmastime, Ponce City Market offers a ton of special experiences for the holidays. On top of all that, it already provides a great place to do some Christmas shopping!
Visitors can enjoy fire pits with s’mores, an outdoor Christmas market, hot chocolate, and mulled cider.
The popular Ponce City Market’s rooftop also has a winter wonderland of activities, including a holiday pop-up bar, an ice skating rink, private igloo cabanas, and mini golf.
2. A Coke for Christmas at the World of Coca-Cola
What company has done more holiday marketing than Coca-Cola? With company headquarters in Atlanta, a stop at the popular and bustling World of Coca-Cola is a must for your Christmas in Atlanta experience.
Guests can learn about the history of the famous Santa Claus Coca-Cola ads and taste special holiday flavors like Gingerbread Coke and Sprite Butter Toffee.
Make sure to take pictures with a life-size Coca-Cola polar bear and see the magical soda-themed Christmas light displays at night.
3. Stone Mountain Christmas
Stone Mountain Park draws visitors all year for its natural beauty, outdoor recreation, attractions, entertainment, and seasonal celebrations.
Dubbed as the most popular attraction in Georgia, guests can spend days at the park in a variety of fun accommodations, including the largest family campground in the state.
As the holidays near, the park becomes a magical place to celebrate Christmas, full of festive activities and events the whole family can enjoy. In addition to its year-round attractions, visitors can get into the holiday spirit with these special experiences:
- Christmas laser show and parade
- Enchanted tree lighting ceremony
- Visits with Santa and the Snow Angel
- Musical Frosted Forest Christmas lights
- Christmas magic shows
- Christmas Dino Glow
- Holiday train rides
4. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
You don’t want to miss out on this popular Christmas in Atlanta tradition! Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden brings locals and tourists together to marvel at the 30 acres of Christmas lights throughout the garden each year.
Guests can experience the garden’s sculptures and topiaries covered in holiday lights, walk through a forest of hanging lights synchronized to music, and stroll through a beautiful tunnel of lights with their cameras ready for some fabulous photo ops.
Make a full evening of it with a nice dinner at the Garden’s Longleaf Restaurant or roast some s’mores at the fire pit together.
5. Holiday Performances at the Fox Theatre
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the historic and opulent Fox Theatre is a city icon that will remind you of the movie palaces of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Now a premier live entertainment venue, the Fox hosts numerous holiday performances each year that provide a festive date night or family outing.
Christmas concerts, holiday musicals, The Nutcracker performances, and a holiday circus show have been featured at the Fox Theatre in recent years. Be sure to check the events calendar for this year’s shows.
I highly recommend staying at the Georgian Terrace Hotel during your visit, which sits just across the street!
6. European-style Christmas Fun at Atlanta Christkindl Market
This growing Atlanta tradition really brings a festive European Christmas flair to Atlanta’s holiday offerings. Located in downtown Centennial Olympic Park, the Atlanta Christkindl Market provides visitors with an immersive experience of Bavarian Christmas festivities.
Ever wanted to try some currywurst or mulled wine for the holidays? Atlanta’s Christkindl market will give you the chance to try festive European Christmas treats and holiday drinks.
Ready to do some Christmas shopping? Rows and rows of unique European toys, decorations, and gifts await you, making great Christmas in Atlanta souvenirs.
Check out our list of Christmas market dates in Georgia for more info on local fairs & events in GA during the holidays.
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts
For a more unique Christmas in Atlanta experience, consider visiting the Center for Puppetry Arts this holiday season. For several decades, the Center for Puppetry Arts has provided museum exhibits, live puppet shows, workshops, and events dedicated to the art of puppetry.
As Christmas approaches, the Center for Puppetry Arts brings to life the 1964 stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a live puppet show performance. With puppets designed like the characters from the TV special, guests can relive this holiday classic performed live on stage.
8. Winter Waterland at the Georgia Aquarium
One of the largest aquariums in the world, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta provides thousands of marine animals for visitors to see each day of the year, including Christmas Day.
During the holidays, the Georgia Aquarium gets into the Christmas spirit with Winter Waterland, offering a yuletide of Christmas festivities for guests to enjoy.
You’ll want to check out SCUBA Santa, where Santa dons a diving suit and swims around the aquarium. Other festive activities include holiday shows, breakfast with Santa, and Sounds of the SEAson, a special evening holiday party at the aquarium just for adults.
9. Macy’s Pink Pig at Lenox Square
An annual tradition, Macy’s Pink Pig has brought the holiday spirit to Atlanta’s families for generations. If you’re wanting to feel like a local for your Christmas in Atlanta visit, look no further.
Located at the Lenox Square Mall parking lot under a big tent, Macy’s Pink Pig is a vintage pig-shaped train ride through old-school holiday decor enjoyed by kids and adults each Christmas season.
Be sure to check out Macy’s Great Tree while you’re there. A mainstay in Atlanta for decades, its annual lighting ceremony each November is a holiday treasure.
10. A Visit to Dahlonega at Christmas
If you’re looking for a break from the city during your Christmas in Atlanta visit, consider making the drive to the town of Dahlonega in the North Georgia Mountains.
With its small town charm that will remind you of a Hallmark movie (Hallmark movies have actually been filmed here!), Dahlonega is renowned for its month-long Christmas celebration, Dahlonega’s Old-fashioned Christmas.
With the town decked out in Christmas lights, you’ll want to take a downtown stroll in the evening with a warm drink in hand (I recommend local coffee shop Canopy + the Roots).
The town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, local holiday parade, Candy Cane Lane Christmas Market, and visits with Santa will also really make your hearts merry this Christmas.
Looking for more US travel inspiration?
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Did we miss any of your favorite things to do in Atlanta at Christmas?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more to the list!