There are dozens of wonderful places you can visit in Atlanta to get into the holiday spirit, but a few truly stand out as places you simply shouldn’t miss.
My family found the Holidays in the Park at Six Flags over Georgia to be tops. Stone Mountain Park’s Christmas Celebration is fun and festive, and I personally believe the Garden Lights display at Atlanta Botanical Gardens makes the most romantic date night you can dream of during the holidays.
SIX FLAGS HOLIDAY IN THE PARK
Six Flags claims to have the biggest holiday celebration in Georgia and I believe it. There are more than ONE MILLION LED lights in the park…you can see them all from above when you’re in the sky buckets. The street lined with peaches is jaw-dropping and the stained glass nativity scene is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.
There’s even a 130 foot cable-lit Christmas tree at Dare Devil Dive. The North Pole Express Train Ride will have you cruising around the park, stopping literally at the North Pole. The shops are packed with the kinds of presents that you can only find at Six Flags—including lots of fun finds that your Marvel fans will adore. And the Christmas show is the best I’ve seen in the state, if not the entire southeast. The actors have the kind of talent you find on Broadway (Rudolph’s dancing skills will wow everyone!) and the message will move you to tears. A child from the Children’s Hospital of Georgia lights the tree each night. It’s been 25 years since Six Flags has hosted Holiday in the Park and I have to say, I’m so glad it’s back.
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STONE MOUNTAIN PARK CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Stone Mountain Park claims to host Atlanta’s ‘Most Heartwarming Christmas Celebration’. The Snow Angel is my favorite part of this park’s festivities. She flies in (on a zip line) each night and launches the snowfall and fireworks finale to wrap up the evening. But before that, you can catch her in the Snow Palace, you can watch the Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4D adventure, and take your picture with Rudolph or Bumble, the Abominable Snowman. There are multiple Christmas Shows to catch and a Singalong Train where you can join in on your favorite holiday music. And the visit with Santa Claus at Stone Mountain is named by USA Today as one of the ten best places in the country to see the jolly guy (there are pictures of past Stone Mountain Christmas celebrations if you click this post).
If you think the family can handle double the fun, you can even go early and play at Snow Mountain first. This is my kid’s favorite thing to do each year, but you have to time it right. We like being in the very first two hour block you can reserve each day because you can go down the snow hill a lot more in the early hour than you can later in the day, but most of the Christmas opportunities in the park don’t start until much later—after 2pm—so there’s some real down time that you have to deal with if you go that early. Keep that in mind when making reservations.
ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is the most romantic spot in Atlanta during the holidays. This year features new color schemes in the spectacular light displays throughout the garden. The favorites are back, featuring the Orchestral Orbs, Glittering Galaxy, Radiant Rainforest and Model Trains, along with some one-time-only appearances of giant butterflies, a unicorn, frogs and a shaggy dog. Ticket prices vary based on what night you go (peak nights of Thursday thru Sunday are more, though all nights from December 18th on are considered peak nights). The following video is from the 2013 Garden Lights.
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Worth mentioning: NUTCRACKER SUITE Ballet
This is the kind of event you can only catch in a big city like Atlanta. As a child, I danced in the Nutcracker every year, but that show just doesn’t compare to the performance by the talented ballerinas of the Atlanta Ballet on stage at the Fox Theatre. It’s an event I believe should be included as part of an annual tradition. And, since I collect nutcrackers, I believe you should purchase one of the character nutcrackers for sale in the lobby each year, too.
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Comment below if you have another idea of places to visit. We love Lanier Lights and the lights at Callaway Gardens, but they’re a bit of a drive compared to the other options. Maybe that just means we need to write up another post!