The Atlanta Botanical Garden Lights is probably one of my favorite holiday light displays. It could be because the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite Atlanta attractions.
Once you see the orchestral orbs with 14 million different colors dancing to holiday music, or witness the 25-foot tall Ice Goddess – a vision of wintry radiance with twinkling lights weaving through her tresses — you’ll want to make this a holiday tradition!
Garden Nights, Holiday Lights began in 2010 with more than a million energy-efficient LED lights. The bulbs consume up to 80 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs, but also have a life span of five years more.
This year’s show runs November 13, 2021 – January 15, 2022, and features several lighted sculptures from the 2021 summer exhibition SUPERnatural: Glass Art by Jason Gamrath.
New for 2021 and Safety Protocols
While plenty of the show’s fan-favorite features will return in 2021, guests can expect new twists, including a colorful Glowing Grove along the Flower Walk, oversized flowers leading to Ice Goddess and, as we mentioned, lighted sculptures from SUPERnatural: Glass Art by Jason Gamrath.
Safety protocols will continue at the gardens during this event. Nightly capacity has been reduced, and tickets must be purchased online ahead of your visit.
To limit gathering crowds upon arrival, there are two entrances: General Admission ticket holders enter through the gates by Mershon Hall. Premium and Premium+ ticket holders will enter through the Hardin Visitor Center.
Masks are required indoors for all guests over the age of 2, vaccinated or not, and guests are asked to maintain social distancing.
To safely accommodate guests, the Night Light Tickets, Block Tickets and Group Tours are not offered in the 2021-2022 season. No tickets will be sold onsite.
Favorites Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights
Visitors to the Garden Nights, Holiday Lights can meander among garden displays – including giant snowflakes, the tunnel of light, or get a photo taken at the Kiss Me Arch — all while sipping hot drinks and listening to strolling carolers.
Take a stroll through the Storza Woods on the Kendeda Canopy Walk — and see the beautiful light displays throughout.
One of the most loved exhibits is the Orchestral Orbs that change to 14 million different colors that dance to holiday music on the Great Lawn. Next to Nature’s Wonder, these are my favorite. I love the combination of the music and motion. You can’t help but get into the holiday spirit with the peppy soundtrack. It just makes for a great light show.
In addition, there is plenty of room for the kids (and maybe adults) to dance around while the Orbs change color to the music.
For the littles, and the little at heart, the holiday model train set up is always a favorite. The young boys doing laps around the display trying to keep up with the train reminded me of when my boys were young. And you can’t leave without stopping by the gift shop!
Warm up at the s’more roasting fire pits in front of Mershon Hall. While you are toasting marshmallows, be sure to notice the Chihuly glass sculpture in the fountain, a remnant of the very first art exhibit at the Botanical Gardens.
I always say I’ve learned more about art by visiting the Atlanta Botanical Gardens than I have about flowers. It started with the Chihuly glass exhibit, but my all time favorite was the Nikki in the Garden.
In addition to being interesting art shows, I think the Garden is such a wonderful backdrop for any exhibit. It’s like adding the symphony to a rock concert at Chastain.
9 Things You Need to Know about the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights
Go Early in the Season. This is a HUGELY popular attraction. It’s best to buy tickets early. This year, with limited capacity, that is especially so. The exhibit starts in mid-November and runs through early January.
Save Money on Non-Peak Days. In addition to smaller crowds, you’ll also save money going earlier in the season or on non-peak days. Members get an additional savings.
Go Late. A special Night Light ticket is available after 9 pm on peak nights, including Friday and Saturday. This ticket can only be purchased at the Garden. (Note: This is not happening in 2021 due to COVID-19 protocols.)
Dress Appropriately. This event is rain or shine, warm or cold. So once you purchase your tickets, they are non-refundable and non-transferrable (unless you do a Flex Ticket Upgrade). Atlanta weather can get cool, so dress to be outside.
Click here for a complete list of places to see Christmas Lights in Atlanta.
You Must Pay to Park. Depending on when you go, you’ll pay between $5 and $10 to park in the Atlanta Botanical Garden SAGE parking deck.
Go for Dinner. Choose between a sit down meal at Longleaf or a grab and go at the Quick Cafe. Longleaf welcomes walk-in guests, but during Garden Lights, you may want to make a reservation to ensure you get in. And if you want to host a holiday special event, this is the perfect place.
Gorgeous Views of Atlanta. In addition to the festive atmosphere, another reason I love the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights is the Skylights Lounge in the Skyline Garden (with one of the best views of Atlanta) and a cozy fireplace.
Trains. My boys love watching the model trains. I remember when my youngest was still learning to talk waving backwards saying ‘lie, lie’ as they went back through the tunnel.
Visit with St. Nick. On select days, you can also get your pictures with Santa. Dressed all in green, this is a great alternative to visiting with a crowded mall Santa. (Note: This is not happening in 2021 due to COVID-19.)