Places To GoUSA East

5 Reasons to Visit Atlanta for the Holidays

The Christmas season can get chaotic. There are meals to make, families to visit, gifts to purchase, decorations to put up…you know the drill. Taking a time out to visit a city full of holiday lights and sounds can really change this time of year from hectic to happy. These are the Atlanta holiday events that you just can’t miss. They’ve become wonderful traditions in our household. Maybe some of them will become your traditions, too.

Here are our Altanta top five.

The Nutcracker at the Atlanta BalletAtlanta Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

The historic and palatial Fox Theatre could not be a more perfect place to present the Nutcracker ballet. The music, dance and sets will make you nostalgic for the Christmases of your own childhood. First-timers must splurge on a seat in the ‘snow row’ to complete the experience. You can guess what happens there!

Rudolph at the Center for Puppetry Arts

See the classic 1964 television special come to life on stage. My children look forward to the Santa and Rudolph puppets every year; it’s one of our favorite traditions. Make time to stay afterward. Your kids can craft an Abominable Snow Monster hand puppet.

lights at hallway gardens outside of atlantaFantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens 

If light shows are your favorite holiday treat, indulge in lights galore at Callaway Gardens, just about an hour outside of Atlanta. Drive your own car or hop on the Jolly Trolley for a display of more than 8 million twinkling lights. National Geographic named it one of the top 10 places in the country to see holiday lights.

Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

If you want to stay closer to town, million twinkling lights decorate the gardens here. Plus there’s s’mores for the kids and hot buttered rum for mom and dad. Nighttime is glorious because of all the lights. But don’t skip a daytime visit, especially with smaller kids. You can see a model train, take photos with and old-world Santa and more.

santa claus at stone mountain resort in AtlantaStone Mountain Park Christmas and Snow Mountain

The reason for my family to to go is the holiday parade, complete with a flying Snow Angel. It brings a smile to the faces of everyone in my family. There’s also character meet-and-greets with Rudolph and Bumble,  the sing-along train, live holiday shows, visits with Santa Claus, a 4D Rudolph movie and lots more lights. We love dinner at the Campfire Grill with cookie decorating for dessert, and a gondola ride down the powdery hill at Snow Mountain!

Tip: If you are visiting for the weekend, consider a stay at the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott, which is located within the park and has a heated indoor pool.

Planning a trip? Look for hotels and packages on *Expedia.

Pin it for later!

Atlanta offers lots of outdoor activities and amazing lights at the holiday season

Lesli Peterson is owner, editor & CEO of, a digital resource for families who believe that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. She also serves as the Family Travel Ambassador for Georgia and freelances for several national publications. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene. Find her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


This blog is part of Weekend Travel Inspiration. Visit our partners:

• AlbomAdventures
• ContentedTraveller 
• TheCrowdedPlanet
• Malaysian Meanders
• ReflectionsOnRoute 
• Safari254

[inlinkz_linkup id=661728 mode=1]

Previous post

6 Reasons To Visit Hershey at the Holidays

Next post

3 Easy Ways to Improve Holiday Travel With Kids


  1. November 14, 2016 at 3:44 pm — Reply

    Atlanta for Christmas? Can’t say I had considered it, but that is why these articles are so much fun; they bring new ideas into your head.

    • eileen g
      November 17, 2016 at 10:55 am — Reply


  2. November 12, 2016 at 11:28 am — Reply

    I’ve never thought of Atlanta as a Christmas destination, but you’ve convinced me. There’s plenty to do.

  3. November 11, 2016 at 11:55 pm — Reply

    I would love to see The Nutcracker ballet at Christmas time.

    • eileen g
      November 14, 2016 at 10:30 am — Reply

      there must be one someplace in NZ!

  4. November 11, 2016 at 4:02 pm — Reply

    I can’t imagine ever being in Atlanta at Christmas time but I was interested to see how many of the things you mentioned can be found in other cities around the world in slightly different variations. I will never forget seeing The Nutcracker one Christmas in Hong Kong when my first child was very small.

    • eileen g
      November 14, 2016 at 10:28 am — Reply

      It’s true — every city has lights and a Nutcracker or two. But it’s nice to know what is happening in the city you are closest to or might be visiting. Because everyone needs a little fancy city stuff for their holiday season.

  5. November 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    Rudolph! I loved that cartoon when I was a kid. The puppet version sounds really cool. #wkndtravelinspiration

    • eileen g
      November 14, 2016 at 10:29 am — Reply

      yes, if we lived there it’s definitely something we would see.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *