Looking for FREE Christmas events in Atlanta? Christmas can be so expensive. The gifts, the decorations, the food, the events. Any time there is opportunity to enjoy Christmas festivities for FREE, we’re all over it! Here are our favorite FREE events this holiday. If you know of others, please share!
Old Fashioned Christmas in Dahlonega. Visit Dahlonega in the North Georgia mountains this Christmas season. A town that is literally straight out of a Hallmark movie! The festivities will begin with the lighting of the town on Friday, November 23rd with live music. After that, the lights will be on nightly for you to enjoy through December 31st ending with the town’s big New Year’s Party!
CHOA Parade. Children’s holds a special place in our heart, and this parade is one of our favorite. It recently moved to Midtown, but the quality is still superior. Bring blankets, a cooler of water or hot cocoa, chairs…whatever you need to enjoy the show! We splurged on bleacher seats one year…that was special. Great memories are made here, and all for a great cause. 2020 Update: The event will be virtual-only this year.
Chattahoochee Nature Center. We love CNC. It’s a “Top 10” attraction, in our opinion. On December 5, 2020 they offer a holiday gift to everyone – free admission! While you are there, check out the Holiday Market and Festival with artisans selling local, handmade products.
The Rock Ranch. Country Christmas in Lights at The Rock Ranch offers families a drive-thru showing of over a mile of Christmas lights on the farm. The price is free Christmas Day (donations appreciated). Festivities begin Thanksgiving. We are sad to report The Rock Ranch has closed.
Snow in Alpharetta. A flurry of snow is coming to downtown Alpharetta’s Town Green from 6-7 p.m. on the first three Fridays in December! The snowy spectacle is free for the public to enjoy, along with the return of the handmade, life-size nutcrackers and beautiful winter décor lining the streets of boutique shops and restaurants.
Bass Pro Shop. During Santa’s Wonderland, you can pose with Santa and receive a photo for free. There are also games, activities and crafts, and much more.
The Lighting of Avalon. A celebration for the season you won’t want to miss! Get in the holiday spirit with festive music and free activities for the whole family. From the annual opening of Avalon on Ice to the magnificent tree lighting, and an appearance from Jolly Old Saint Nick himself, there’s something exciting for all to enjoy.
Visit the Holiday Markets. Shop local and find unique holiday gifts for those you love at some amazing Atlanta-area Holiday Markets! Whether the markets are being held virtually or outside this year, there is guaranteed to be a holiday market that you’ll adore. Most of the markets offer food, beverages, and family-friendly activities too!
Mighty Mo & More. 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. 2020 Update: Cancelled this year.
Light Up Blue Ridge. Kids will enjoy the petting zoo, pony and train rides, and more. There’s a gingerbread house and window decorating contest, and the lighting of the Great Tree. Not free, but worth every penny, you can also ride the Santa Express or the Night Train to Santa’s Pavilion on the Blue Ridge Railway. I love the shops in Blue Ridge for Holiday presents, too!
Hunter’s Tree Farm. Come on the weekends after Thanksgiving for Santa visits and pony rides (donations appreciated.) There is also complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. When you visit, find the perfect Christmas tree that you can cut yourself.
“Drive By” Light Displays. We love jumping into the car in our jammies, and driving around the neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. Here are fun places: Holiday Lights Displays. If you know of more, let us know!
Blairsville, Ga Christmas Celebrations. November brings the Mistletoe Market and Annual Christmas Open House at Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center with free admission to exhibits, door prizes, refreshments, author signings, seasonal music and decorations, and a well-stocked gift shop. Don’t miss the December festivities: Tour of Trees, Christmas Concert at the Courthouse, Kris Kringle Mountain Market, Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on the Square, Union County Historical Society Open House and Live Nativity, Tree Lighting @ Vogel State Park, Holly Jolly Christmas with musical performances, children’s activities, refreshments & photo ops with Mr. & Mrs. Claus, and Old fashioned Christmas caroling on the square. 2020 Update: Dates and times for 2020 are TBD.
Christmas in Downtown Clayton, Ga. Thanksgiving weekend you can get Christmas shopping done in one evening! Santa is at the Rock House Park with Tree Lighting at the Rock House Park at 6 pm. Music, Victorian carolers, luminaries, hot chocolate and so much more. The next day, come talk to Santa in his antique sleigh at the Rock House Park on Main Street. And don’t miss the Christmas Parade in early December.
Christmas in Gainesville, Ga. Festivities kick off with Jingle Mingle, Santa arrives, lighting of the Big Chicken, carriage rides and lots more. Other events include Voices of North Georgia Annual Holiday Concert at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Gainesville Ballet Company’s Nutcracker, Mingle with Kringle at Main Street Market, Christmas on Green Street, Family Day- Victorian Christmas with Northeast Georgia History Center, John Berry Christmas Concert and the Polar Bear Swim at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue. 2020 Update: Dates and times for 2020 are TBD.
Tuba Christmas at Cumberland Mall. Music lovers won’t want to miss the annual Tuba Christmas in Atlanta and Blue Ridge. What began in 1974 as a tribute to artist/teacher William J. Bell has continued around the country over the years and is now one of Atlanta’s most beloved holiday traditions. This local favorite is back again for an outdoor show by adults and children of all ages. Lucky you, their performance is just in time for the lunch break, so grab lunch and enjoy this one‐of‐a‐kind holiday spectacle.
Tour the Governors Mansion. Decorated for Christmas in all its glory. Please note that the Governor’s Mansion is also Toys for Tots drop off site. 2020 Update: All public tours are cancelled this year.
Melting Pot Kids Eat Free Lunch with Santa. The holidays are coming, they are almost here – and that mischievous Elf will definitely be there! The first stop for this infamous Elf to spy and report back to Santa if you’ve been naughty or nice is at the four Atlanta area Melting Pot locations on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30. Children that find the sneaky Elf in the restaurant, EAT FREE! Parents sip on festive drink specials to get you in the holiday spirit while your little elves indulge in mocktails provided in souvenir St. Jude Children’s Hospital savings bank cups.
Christmas in Thomasville. Celebrate the Christmas of Yesteryear at Thomasville’s Victorian Christmas. This darling city is snuggled in the Red Hills region, located 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee and 45 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia. Each night, 15,000 visitors stroll the streets each night while listening to live music and stopping in storefronts dressed for the season. Enjoy carriage rides with jingle bells, stilt walkers, carolers and performers dressed in Victorian clothing. Aromas fill the air from food vendors dishing up scrumptious seasonal delicacies. Don’t forget to toast marshmallows on the open fire, or chestnuts if you prefer. 2020 Update: Victorian Christmas has been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Tree Lighting and Movie at The Battery Atlanta. This year’s tree lighting and movie will include a virtual appearance from Santa Claus at Xfinity Movie Series at The Battery Atlanta!
The Battery Atlanta will officially begin the holiday season by lighting the Plaza Tree on Dec. 4, 2020 at 7 p.m. with a special guest! Santa Claus will make a brief virtual appearance via the big-screen at the Georgia Power Pavilion to initiate the season.
The night continues under the stars with an outdoor viewing of The Lorax (PG)! This event is FREE and open to the public. Parking is free for the first three hours in the Red Deck. Visitors are asked to follow public safety guidelines while on property.
Santa Photos at The Battery. Also at The Battery, Santa Claus is opening a Post Office, and your kids can visit the big man in red while you take pictures — for free! From Friday, Nov. 27 to Thursday, Dec. 24, Santa will continue the time-honored tradition of greeting local children.
This year, he’ll set-up shop on Heritage Court across the street from Wahlburgers, ensuring the holiday moment is still magical! Families are invited to drop off their handwritten letters to Santa – postage not required – in person at his official Atlanta outpost. Santa’s helpers will take care of the rest!
Ponce City Market. Visitors can come to Ponce City Market take photos with Santa as well as the Grinch! Help the Grinch’s heart grow through the power of community. Expect three weeks of mischief all over the city of Atlanta, culminating in a “naughty vs. nice” Beltline face-off between Santa and the Grinch on Friday after Thanksgiving before the duo settles into their respective thrones on the second floor of Ponce City Market to greet their fans. The boldest holiday celebration in the Southeast is always free and open to the public. 2020 Update: Dates and times for 2020 are TBD.
Visit with Santa at Southern Belle Farm. Bring the kids to visit with Santa Claus as he stops by Southern Belle Farm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. He’s quite photogenic, so bring a camera for some special holiday memories. Take a festive hayride around the farm, enjoy cups of our hot apple cider, and meet friendly farm animals — all for no admission charge during the Christmas season!
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