2020 Christmas in Atlanta: Your FESTIVE Guide to Only the Very Best Christmas Events

Christmas in Atlanta is our family’s favorite time of year. We love every light show, the chilly temps in front of a fire with the Christmas tree glowing, photos with Santa, and working a holiday show (or three) into our schedule.

2020 Christmas in Atlanta: Your FESTIVE Guide to Only the Very Best Christmas Events

Below you will find dozens upon dozens of options when you’re looking for “the best Christmas events near me” for your Christmas in Atlanta celebrations.

Celebrate an Antebellum Christmas in Milledgeville

There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas in Milledgeville. Take a step back in time and enjoy exploring how the Antebellum era celebrated the Christmas season. Discover holiday traditions passed down from the city’s earliest families as Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion is transformed into an elegant Christmas residence beginning on Saturday, November 21. Candlelight tours are at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. on December 5, 12, and 19, 2020, complete with softly glowing candles and live choirs singing in the gold domed rotunda.

Milledgeville, Georgia

Tis the Season to Shell-ebrate

We invite you to enjoy the holiday season with us in Gulf County, Florida.  Can you think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than at the beach?  You can make new traditions and even bring some of the old ones with you.   Check out our calendar full of holiday events.

Gulf County, Florida

More Christmas Information:

Christmas Light DisplaysChristmas Tree FarmsPictures with SantaOutdoor Ice SkatingLive NativitiesFREE Christmas EventsBreakfast With Santa | Christmas Day | Christmas in Helen

Christmas in Atlanta Classics

Stone Mountain Christmas. Millions of lights, Christmas shows, and Rudolph create a night to remember at Stone Mountain Christmas. Don’t miss a five-mile excursion on the Singalong Christmas Train, featuring a track-side show about the first Christmas. Watch the nightly Christmas Parade featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, and end your night with the magic of the Snow Angel flying high to create snow and fireworks. DATES: November 13, 2021-January 2, 2022

Children's Christmas Parade. This year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is reimaging a new holiday tradition to kick off the season. The annual Children’s Holiday Parade will be replaced by a full day of fun for the entire family at Colony’s Square’s, “Season on the Square” celebration. Highlights of the parade, like bands and dance groups, will still play a role in the celebration with a 20-minute Street Extravaganza performance on Peachtree Street and the Main Stage at Colony Square. DATE: December 4, 2021

Festival of Trees. Held at the Georgia World Congress Center each holiday season, the Georgia Festival of Trees cannot be missed. See the beautiful trees, enjoy live entertainment, children’s games and crafts, and visits with Santa. With great local food, and fun shopping, you won’t want to miss out on this fun activity for the whole family. DATES: November 30-December 4, 2021

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. The lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite holiday light displays. While plenty of the show’s fan-favorite features will return, guests can expect new twists, including a colorful Glowing Grove along the Flower Walk, oversized flowers leading to Ice Goddess and several lighted sculptures from the 2021 summer exhibition SUPERnatural: Glass Art by Jason Gamrath. DATES: November 13, 2021-January 15, 2022

Macy’s Pink Pig. Hop aboard this 60-year Atlanta tradition and ride Priscilla the Pink Pig on train tracks through a life-sized storybook. It's one of my most memorable holiday events from when the boys were young! DATES: November 2, 2021-January 5, 2022

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at The Center for Puppetry Arts. Rudolph soars back into town for this faithful adaptation that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Based on the beloved 1964 stop-motion animated special, you won’t want to miss it! Rudolph and his friends Hermey the Elf and Yukon Cornelius brave the Abominable Snow Monster and the even more daunting fear of not fitting in before discovering that it’s okay to be just the way they are!

With fun holiday music, finely crafted puppets and an important prosocial message, Rudolph is sure to warm hearts even on the most blustery winter day. DATES: November 10, 2021-January 2, 2022

Lanier Lights Spectacular. Kick start your holidays with a visit to Margaritaville’s all-new Lakeside Lights Spectacular for a night of nostalgic wintry fun. The Lakeside Lights Spectacular will take you on a magical walk through an amazing lighting extravaganza with festive seasonal music. Great for the whole family! (Formerly the Magical Nights of Lights on Lake Lanier Islands.) DATES: TBD

Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens. Bundle up for a Jolly Trolley ride, or drive your own car through more than 8 million lights at Fantasy In Lights at Callaway Gardens. Named one of the "Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights" by National Geographic Traveler, Callaway Gardens glistens with custom-built scenes. Inside the Christmas Village, shop for gifts from Georgia crafters and specialty treats. This year will feature a brand new scene -- Magical Field of Lights! Masks are required on the trolley. DATES: November 19, 2021 - January 3, 2022

Rock City's Enchanted Garden of Lights . This award-winning lighted display continues to be a favorite holiday tradition for tens of thousands of visitors every year. Guests can also enjoy the nightly concert series in the North Pole Lodge while sitting by the fire, drinking hot cocoa or apple cider. DATES: TBD

The World of Coke. The most wonderful time of the year has begun at World of Coca-Cola! The World of Coke is showcasing its holiday best and welcoming guests into a true winter wonderland. The twinkling lights, larger-than-life decorations and seasonal beverages are all back as part of World of Coca-Cola’s annual celebration. DATES: TBD

Mighty Mo and More. NOTE: No word yet on 2021 plans. This cherished celebration at the Fox Theatre is full of singing and holiday cheer.  Tickets are FREE (all General Admission,) but there is a small processing fee for purchasing online. Snow will be falling… on Peachtree Street. The Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long is led the famous “Mighty Mo” organ, the largest working Mollër theatre organ in the world. Santa Claus will be on-site for family photo opportunities - doors open at 6:30pm.

Snow Mountain. Canceled for 2021-2022 season. Atlanta's official winter wonderland, just minutes from downtown at Stone Mountain Park. Here you'll find a snow-packed mountainside and action-packed excitement. Have a ball on five football fields of frosty joy, including 20 lanes of tubing. Snow Mountain runs November through February (weather permitting).

Macy’s Tree Lighting. Join local celebrities and musicians as they light the great tree in style with a visit from Santa! The official tree lighting ceremony is a holiday tradition in Atlanta. NOTE: No details have yet been released for 2021.

Other community tree lightings include:

  • The Battery
  • The Avalon
  • The Outlet Shoppes
  • Vinings Jubilee
  • Mall of Georgia
  • College Park
  • Milledgeville Tree Lighting
  • Light Up Dunwoody

Love this amazing list of the best Christmas events around the US from Trekaroo

Holiday Concerts and Shows

Christmas Vacation at The Fox: An Evening with Chevy Chase. Light up your holidays with Chevy Chase live on stage plus an audience Q & A following a screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at the Fox Theatre.

After the showing of the holiday classic on the big screen, the celebration will continue with actor Chevy Chase (Clark Griswold) sharing stories from his career and the making of his classic movies and legendary television programs. DATE: November 28, 2021

A Christmas Carol at Alliance Theatre. The Alliance Theatre’s beloved production A CHRISTMAS CAROL will return to the Coca-Cola Stage this year with an exciting new adaption, including a completely reimagined set design and stunning new costumes.

Audiences will be transported to the streets of London to revisit the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to redemption, told with beautiful live music and an all-star cast. Join the Alliance Theatre for one of Atlanta’s most treasured holiday traditions.  DATES: November 12-December 24, 2021

Aurora Theatre. Theatergoers can usually choose their own holiday adventure with a variety of performances at Aurora Theatre! Gwinnett’s longest running theatrical holiday tradition, Christmas Canteen Holiday Cabaret, and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and just some of the usual choices! DATES: TBD

Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Begun many years ago by the beloved Music Director Robert Shaw, this concert has become a staple for Atlanta families during the holiday season. The Orchestra, Chorus and special guests, will perform beloved Christmas carols and hymns to celebrate the season. (Proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required.) DATES: December 9-11, 2021

Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker. One year past its intended Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre debut, Atlanta Ballet will make its long-anticipated return to the theatre stage to present Yuri Possokhov’s The Nutcracker. This innovative production features larger-than-life sets and bold costumes enhanced by striking video projections, created by a world-class creative team that includes Tony Award-winning and -nominated designers. DATES: December 4-29, 2021

Roswell's Winter Puppet Series. Roswell's favorite family holiday tradition returns in 2021 with two shows to delight the young and young at heart! Tickets required for everyone 2+, and advance purchase is recommended. DATES: Santa's Missing Mail: December 17-18, 2021; The North Pole Fa La La La Follies: December 21-22, 2021.

Madeline's Christmas at Horizon. A musical play adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans’ delightful book and a holiday treat for the whole family! Madeline’s Christmas runs 1 hour with no intermission. The play is recommended for children 3+.  DATES: Canceled for 2021, but plans to return in December 2022.

A Christmas Carol at Shakespeare Tavern. Witness storytelling come to life in a special adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens’ play about Scrooge, the three ghosts he meets and a little boy named Tiny Tim. No date yet announced for 2021.

The Strand Theatre Christmas Events. A Christmas Tradition will return to The Strand stage in Marietta for another unforgettable year of sharing the holiday spirit through sparkling song and dance! This hometown favorite holiday revue features costumed singers and dancers performing both traditional and funky Christmas favorites.  DATES: Select days December 10-23, 2021

Christmas Events

World of Illumination.  I love Christmas lights, so this new addition to the Atlanta holiday season is my idea of perfect.  World of Illumination is the world's largest drive-through animated light show.

Hundreds of animated displays will be featured at this candy-themed attraction. It will have a 500-foot long tunnel that doubles as Santa’s magic portal, a gingerbread village, sugar plum fairies and lit-up treats as far as the eye can see. DATES: No word yet on 2021 plans

A Snowland Extravaganza at Great Wolf Lodge. Features dashing décor and fun activities for both kids and adults alike – from daily snow showers and a Frosty Fest Family Dance Party to a special visit with Santa and a customizable Hot Cocoa Bar. The festivities continue to the 84-degree indoor waterpark which will surely warm you up no matter how chilly it is outside!

Want to go all out?  Book one of the limited number of holiday themed Snowland Suites during the Snowland celebration. With giant snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, an in-room Christmas tree and other seasonal accents, these special suites bring to the life the magic of Snowland and immerse families in the spirit of the holidays. DATES: No dates yet announced for 2021.

Holiday PJ Party at Tellus. Wear your favorite PJs and join Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville for a PAJAMA PARTY! Enjoy hands-on activities, photo ops, and a personal virtual visit with Santa. Your kids can make their own ornament, watch a live demo, visit with Santa via Zoom, and take home a Christmas goodie bag. DATE: No word yet on 2021 date.

A Victorian Holiday at Oakland Cemetery. Indulge in the seasonal spirit by enjoying holiday festivities at Oakland’s Bell Tower. Warm up with a cup of hot cocoa (or wassail for adults over 21) while listening to holiday carols. Settle down for a reading of The Night Before Christmas or join Oakland’s youngest visitors in learning the art of the Victorian ornament. Don’t forget to get a photo with jolly Saint Nick!  DATE: Date has not yet been announced for 2021.

Festival of the SEAson at Georgia Aquarium. This winter season, gather the family and celebrate the holidays at the world's most magical Aquarium! 'Festival of the SEAson,’ Georgia Aquarium's month-long celebration of the holidays, transforms the Aquarium's galleries and exhibits into a winter wonderland. Festivities begin in late November with Wake Up Santa when you can help the Elves wake Santa from his slumber with snowballs! DATES: No dates have yet been announced for 2021.

Celebrations in Light at the Children's Museum. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites families to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year through the merry month of December. The Museum’s famous Sockefeller Plaza will be returning and kiddos will have the chance to put their sock-skating skills to the test on the ice-like surface.

Children of all ages can ring in the holidays with Celebrations in Light which will include various traditions from around the world, such as Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa and Christmas. Kids can tap into the spirit of the season with a winter-themed storytime, a snowman challenge, a snowstorm in a jar and polymer snow to capture the chilly weather all month long. Dates: No dates have yet been announced for 2021.

Fireside Roasting and Toasting at Ponce City Market. Get warm and cozy with your nearest and dearest outside on The Yard this holiday season! Guests will be able to gather ‘round toasty fires and enjoy s’mores at socially distanced fireside pods. The Firepods will accommodate small groups and can be booked by the hour, and s’more kits and reservations (available beginning in late November) are complimentary. DATES: No dates have yet been announced for 2021.

Candlelight Nights at Atlanta History Center. The Atlanta History Center invites guests to step back in time and experience Christmases past during Candlelight Nights. During these family-friendly events, visitors can stroll wooded trails illuminated by the sweet glow of candlelight, connecting to the spirit of simpler holiday pleasures.

Guests will be welcomed by Santa Claus and a lively Holiday Market filled with local crafts and artist creations.  Then they can visit each of the three historic houses to experience how Southerners celebrated Christmas during the Civil War era (Smith Family Farm), the 1930s (Swan House) and pioneer days (Wood Family Cabin). Dates: It was canceled in 2020, and there's no word yet on 2021 plans.

Enchanted Woodland Wonders. This winter Family Fun Day at Chattahoochee Nature Center includes reindeer games, story time, winter crafts to-go, and hot cocoa around a campfire with Camp Kingfisher.

Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the many picnic tables and meadows on site, or they can purchase food from local food trucks that will be at the event. Date: December 12, 2021, 12-4 p.m.

Winter Wonderland at Fernbank. From November through January at Fernbank Museum of Natural History, twinkling with lights, glimmering with color and shining with a variety of cultural objects, more than 30 trees and other displays recognize the diversity of celebrations, holidays, traditions and events from around the world.

Holiday Tours at Hills and Dales. While you're in town for the Callaway Gardens lights this year, make a stop at the Hills and Dales Estate for a Christmas-themed tour. Tour the first floor of the Callaway home in LaGrange, GA -- all decorated for Christmas both inside and out.  They use fresh plants and greenery to decorate -- and it's a great way to get in the spirit of the holidays. DATES: December 3-31, 2021

Christmas at Callanwolde. Visitors of all ages will enjoy touring the 27,000 square-foot historic mansion elaborately decorated with professional holiday displays, expansive artist market, and themed events for all ages. Every room inspires and captures the spirit of the season. Callanwolde holds something for every member of the family. DATE: No word yet on 2021 plans.

Holiday at the High Artisan Market. Meet local artisans, and shop for handmade gifts including jewelry, textiles, home goods, accessories, and more. You’ll be sure to find the best gifts for your holiday list! The Holiday Artisan Market at the High Museum of Art is a two-day event that brings together 20 of Atlanta’s top artists, creatives and entrepreneurs all in one space. DATES: November 26-27, 2021

MORE HOLIDAY MARKETS: See our complete list of Atlanta-area Holiday Markets here.

Christmas at the Mansion, Milledgeville. Take a step back in time and discover holiday traditions passed down from our city's earliest families as Georgia's Old Governor's Mansion is transformed with 19th-century era Holiday decor. The Mansion will be fully decorated for the holidays. DATES: Nov. 21-24 and Nov. 30-Dec. 22, 2021

Naughty or Nice Holiday Tea at Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta. Santa is making a list, and checking it twice, to see if you’ve been naughty or nice. The Naughty or Nice Tea encourages guests to indulge in a little of both. For those looking to be nice, sip seasonal teas and apple cider paired with classic afternoon tea offerings like traditional Egg Salad with Truffle and tea cookies with warmed scones.  Indulge your naughty side with champagne, strawberries, whipped cream and Grand Marnier. DATES: Plans for 2021 have not yet been announced.

Adults-Only Christmas Fun

Note: More holiday fun for adults will be added as we get closer!

MORE FUN: Check out these fun Christmas movies adults will love!

Holiday Hangouts at Fernbank. Join Fernbank at Fernbank After Dark in December for its holiday party! Exclusively for those 21+, Fernbank After Dark is offered the 2nd Friday of each month. You'll enjoy a variety of unique and physically distanced after-hours experiences for grown-ups, including outdoor explorations in WildWoods, museum exhibits, live music, full bars, tapas menus,  and science demonstrations. DATE: December 10, 2021

Polar Express Trains and More

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Climb on board the Santa Express Train and be whisked away to the winter wonderland that is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Just 90 minutes north of Atlanta, off of 575, this Southern mountain town will charm guests as they chug along to lasting Christmas memories. While on board, hear "Twas' The Night Before Christmas," sing Christmas carols and, of course, enjoy a meet and greet with Jolly Ol' St. Nick! The train takes off in November and rides throughout December.

Garden Nights, Holiday Lights. Holiday cheer continues in the daytime at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, even when the lights are taking a rest. Enjoy a G-scale train and trolley winding through a mountain village town. The miniature metropolis is not the only train show; kids can enjoy a turn on The Botanical Express.

MORE HOLIDAY TRAINS: 23 Spectacular Christmas Train Rides in Georgia & the Southeast

Stone Mountain Christmas Train. For me, the highlight of the Stone Mountain Park Christmas event is a ride on the Singalong Train. Carol with the other passengers along this five-mile route around the mountain. There is no extra charge; it’s included with admission!

Southeastern Railway Museum. When Santa’s reindeer are taking a breather, you’ll find him at the Southeastern Railway Museum where he can pick from more than 90 pieces of railway equipment, all perfect for delivering presents. Mingle with Santa and his elves, make holiday crafts and take a ride with Santa at the museum. On select days in December, families can dine with Santa for breakfast or lunch and watch a unique showing of Polar Express.

Georgia State Park Christmas Celebrations

Holiday Open House at Amicalola Falls Lodge. During the event, the Lodge will have crafts, music and the opportunity for children to meet Santa. It’s the perfect opportunity to gather up the kids or grandkids and head to the mountains with cameras in hand. Date: Canceled for 2020.

Kayaking with Santa - Black Rock Mountain. Join Santa on a short paddle on Black Rock Mountain Lake. Then enjoy Hot Chocolate and Smores. Pre-Registration required. Participants can sign up for a 1:00 pm paddle or a 2:30 paddle. Ages 6 to adults. Date: Dec. 12, 2020.

Holidays at the Cabin - Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site. Come out and help us celebrate the holiday spirit 1860's style. Holiday festivities will be in full swing and Santa will be here!  Date: December 12, 2020.

Holiday Traditions Tour - Jarrall Plantation. Take a tour of the plantation decorated for the holidays with authentic décor inspired by traditions of the late 19th and early 20th Century and learn how families from this period celebrated the season. Tours are offered by reservation only 10am-4pm Thurs.-Sun. and are included with regular day admission. Dates: Dec. 3-22, 2020.

Victorian Christmas - Hardman Farm. Come see the Mansion at West End in period holiday decor and learn about Victorian Christmas traditions from docents dressed in their finest 1870's garb. This open house on Friday and Saturday nights in December is highlighted by twinkling candle lights, and live music. Adults: $12, Youth (6-17): $7, Children 5 and under: Free Family Rate (2 adults + their children) $40. DATES: Friday and Saturday nights in December

Tree Lighting - Vogel State Park. Join us for an evening of fellowship and celebration of the true meaning of Christmas. Hayrides, music, and activities lead up to the Christmas Program and Lighting of the Tree. There is NO fee for programs. Please bring an unwrapped gift for a child 12 or younger for the Sheriff's Department. Date: December 12, 2020.

Christmas at the Cabin - Red Top Mountain. Yuletide celebrations of the 1800s come to life as demonstrators take you back in time to Christmas at the Vaughn cabin. Santa will be available for photos and Christmas wishes. Date: Dec 5, 2020

Holiday Elf Hike - Panola Mountain. Elf tired of sitting on a shelf? Fresh air is good for our magical friends too. Bring your elf, doll or favorite stuffed friend for a hike and craft. Get a goody bag and hot cocoa for you, and a special gift for your elf. Must register in advance. Date: TBD

Christmas at the Gorge - Tallulah Gorge. Come and see Santa, make crafts, enjoy Christmas music and have a snack here at the park. If you have a camera you can take your own photos with Santa. December 5, 2020.

Christmas by Candlelight - Chief Vann House Historic Site. In 1805, Cherokee Chief James Vann opened his new brick mansion to the Moravian missionaries to hold one of the first Christmas celebrations in the Cherokee Nation. To honor this tradition, visitors are invited to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 19th century Christmas in one of America’s best-preserved Cherokee Indian homes.

Holiday on the Hill - James H. Floyd State Park. Enjoy a drive through a winter wonderland at the picnic area by the lake. Several lit scenes will grace the roadside as we welcome the coming of the holiday season. If you would rather walk, park at the office and cross the boardwalk into the festivity of lights. Date: TBD

Cocoa and Caravans - Fort Yargo State Park. Grab the family, pack the car, and grab some hot chocolate for your winter lights drive-thru in the Fort Yargo Campgrounds. $1 hot chocolate will be available at the Interpretive Center to kick off your trip. Caroling and festive attire encouraged. Date: Dec. 18, 2020.

Santa's Broadcast - Victoria Bryant State Park. Santa will be broadcasting live via ham radio at the campground pavilion. Bring your top 3 gift wishes to tell Santa. Social distancing is required for all programs. Date: Dec. 5, 2020

Candy Cane Express Train Ride - SAM Shortline Train. Enjoy a popular excursion with layover in Plains. The town will be all dressed in its Christmas wrapping and ready for your visit. Free candy canes for every passenger. Santa will be aboard for the ride! Dates: December 18 and 19, 2020.

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