Whether you are an Atlanta native or just visiting, there are always tons of fun holiday things to do to celebrate the season!
I recently shared some of our favorite holiday traditions and today I want to share with you our top ten list of holiday things to do in Atlanta with kids. My little ones and I are gearing up to do a few of these and if you live near by or are making a trip to the city and need ideas, here are some great ones!
Most of these are great for any/all ages and some require a bit more planning than others. The costs vary to fit a variety of budgets and while lots of these could be done with kids, they would make fun date nights too!
Macy’s Pink Pig is a holiday tradition that has been around for over 50 years. Starting out at the Rich’s Downtown store and then moving to Egleston’s Festival of Trees before finding its home at Lenox Square’s Macy’s, riding this iconic train is a must. My kids love it and of course its fun for us as my sister and I and my parents rode it when we grew up. That said, it is kind of fast and furious and will be a bit anti-climatic for older kids. We combine it with a mall visit and enjoy the afternoon seeing the sights, shopping and riding the Pink Pig.
The wait can be really, really, really long. My recommendation is to go on a week day and early in the season or before school gets out for the holidays if your kids are little enough to. After Christmas seems to have lesser crowds as well. Weekends can be crazy – like any other holiday adventure.
We have looked forward to this for a few years. My Mom climbs Stone Mountain regularly…regularly as in she hopes to make her 800 climb (done over 3 years) before year end and we occasionally make our way to the mountain with her.
The most recent time we went, I lost my keys while hiking. Now THAT was a disaster! Thankfully, a good samaritan found them, turned them in and thanks to park facilities and police, they were delivered back to me and we were on our merry way…just an hour or so later than planned. 🙂
This winter, Stone Mountain has a gazillion different things to do for all ages and we hope to make our way over for a fun filled afternoon! Snow Mountain looks like a blast, though your kids have to be a certain height for some of the activities. They also have a “Singalong Train,” a “Christmas Parade” and a bunch of new activities for this year. Lots of these activities go through February! I am excited about that and hope that if we don’t get to squeeze it in before Christmas, there will be time to start 2017 with some fun at “Gigi’s Mountain” – as the kids call it!
The Marietta Square is a cute little area with all sorts of fun places to eat and shop and usually has some sort of fun something going on! There are weekend wine tastings, regular art shows and more and through February (weather permitting) the downtown has ice skating in the park!
Annie M and I went last year and then grabbed ice cream afterwards! It was lots of fun and hopefully, she and I can go again this year! Brother is four, but we will probably wait another year for him. This would also be a fun date night for the hubs and me – (Oh Hubbyyyyy, hint, hint!).
We have never been to Skate Atlantic at Atlantic Station downtown, but this would be fun too! They also have events including Santa, Snow Shows and a tree lighting. Cirque do Soleil also performs at Atlantic Station, so ice skating, dinner and tickets to the show would be another fun idea for a date night or older kids. (Again, HEEEY HUBBY!)
Its been a while since I’ve been to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and I would love to take the kids this year to see the Garden Lights display! The tickets during the week (off peak) are way cheaper than weekend (peek) so consider that if you can!
This is on my to-do list! I would love to do SkyView Atlanta and see the lights and sights at Centennial Park during the holidays. Centennial Park has an ice skating rink as well as tons of fun places in the city to grab a bite. If you are downtown, the Georgia Aquarium as well as the World of Coke are across the street from Centennial Park and are fun visitor spots!
Ponce City Market is one of the new hip places in the city. Its atop the old Sears & Roebuck store and has been reinvented and turned into a new, vibrant community with all sorts of activities. Throughout the month, rumor has it, the Grinch will arrive at 5:30 pm for pictures and more! Not one we have been to, but sounds like a fun evening out!
For the holidays, the Center for Puppetry Arts will feature Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Annie M has been a few times and will go again soon with her school. Along with viewing a performance, they also have a museum you can tour and workshops – like “create-a-puppet” that you can do. You need tickets depending on what you are doing, so this one does require a bit more planning, but is really fun for the kids!
A visit to The Fox Theater is a must and most Atlantians will have been there if not once, a few times, for sure! For the next few days, A Christmas Story – The Musical is playing and then for the month of December, there will be tickets to the Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker performance. Of course downtown, there are a million places to eat, but The Varsity is close by (an Atlanta must) and also The Sundial atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel would be a fun place for drinks and dessert post show.
We have never done Six Flags during the holidays, but apparently during “Holidays In the Park” the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of twinkling lights all around! From visiting Santa to smores and fire pits, Six Flags would be a fun holiday to do.
I know I have already listed 10 things to do, but these need to be included as well, even though two are outside of the city.
Along with Fernbank Science Center’s museum and normal exhibits, for the holidays, they offer a “Winter Wonderland” and “Holly Jolly Film Festival.” We have not been during this time of year, so if anyone has a review, I’d love to know!
Technically, Callaway Gardens is about an hour and change south of Atlanta and Lake Lanier Islands is about 45 minutes north, but they are both worth a mention. You could spend an entire weekend enjoying the celebrations they put on and its the perfect opportunity for a family getaway. From the Festival of Lights to meals with Santa, to shopping, shows and more, check out their respective websites to see all they offer! The picture below is from 2013 when our family visited Callaway Gardens for the weekend.
So thats it!! Atlanta is a great place do be during the holidays and there is no shortage of events, activities or things to do! While I have hit the highlights, more things to do including Reindeer Day, all sorts of tree lightings, holiday markets, road races and more details of happenings around the city to do with your family can be found HERE.
Have you visited Atlanta during the holidays? What are your favorite things to do!? Share if you have done any of the above – and your favorites, or anything else you would add to the list!