The holidays are about family, giving and together time, but it doesn’t mean you have to sit around the house all day with relatives. You may be wondering, “What is open on Christmas Day?” Well, the answer is, there are lots of things to do on Christmas Day, if you know where to look.
We have a fabulous list of things to do on Christmas Day in Atlanta, as well as activities you can do anywhere. Do you have a favorite activity for the holiday season or know fun places open on Christmas Day? If so, share it with us. FYI – Many of these suggestions are also good if you are wondering what to do on Christmas Eve.
Things to do on Christmas Day: Holiday Lights
Many of the holiday light displays in Atlanta are visible on Christmas Day, including these favorites
The Atlanta Botanical Gardens
The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Holiday Lights, Garden Nights which is open on Christmas eve and Christmas day from 5 – 11 pm. In my opinion, the Garden has one of the best light shows in Atlanta and the perfect outing to keep the holiday cheer going.
1345 Piedmont Avenue NE | Atlanta, Ga | 404-876-5859
Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights
If you are willing to drive a bit, Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights is also open on Christmas day. In addition to the twinkling lights, they also have a Christmas Village with food and shopping.
17800 US Hwy 27 | Pine Mountain, Ga | 800.225.5292
For those in the northern suburbs, head to Sugarloaf Mall for Illuminate. Immerse yourself in a world of light as you wander through a maze of illuminated sculptures scaling nearly 30 feet tall. Afterwards, take in a show. The Beijing Acrobats will dazzle and amaze.
Sugarloaf Mills | 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy, | Lawrenceville, GA 30043
What to do on Christmas Day: Skating
Ice skating is a fun way to get outside and enjoy the cold weather. Atlanta has several fantastic ice rinks within the city. Here is an overview of Atlanta area outdoor ice skating rinks.
Skate the Station
Head to Atlantic Station to skate, take in the giant tree lighting, and see the nightly snow shows.
1380 Atlantic Dr NW | Atlanta, GA 30363 | 404-410-4010
The Astor Ice Rink
The Astor Holiday Ice Rink at the St. Regis is also open on Christmas Day. The St. Regis has some of the best hot chocolate – just sayin, and a beautiful classic Christmas tree perfect for the family photo. Click the links for information on each rink.
88 West Paces Ferry Road | Atlanta, Ga | 404-563-7797
If you’d rather be inside, celebrate the holiday at one of the many Atlanta roller skating rinks. Sparkles in Smryna and Cascade roller skating rink are both two that are open on Christmas Day. Here’s a list of other roller skating rinks in Atlanta.
Attractions You’ll Love
Skyview Ferris Wheel
Downtown is the place to be for Christmas Day, thanks to the Atlanta Ferris Wheel, Skyview Atlanta. Afterwards, head over the Centennial Olympic Park. In past years they have had a beautiful light display. Some construction in recent years has meant no lights – so stay tuned we are checking to see if they’ll be back in 2018.
168 Luckie St NW, | Atlanta, GA 30303 | 678-949-9023
Escape the chill and go under the sea at the Georgia Aquarium. Those Beluga whales are super calming if you’ve had a hectic holiday season. Another great place to find inner peace is in the Ocean Voyager exhibit, watching the giant whale sharks glide by. And during the holidays, enjoy the indoor light show FantaSEA in Lights.
225 Baker St NW | Atlanta, GA 30313 | 404-581-4000
What to do on Christmas Day: Movies
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you can enjoy a first run movie on December 25. When I was a kid, my older brothers would come home from college for Christmas. After dinner, they’d take me with them to the movies. It was a fun tradition. AMC and Regal movie theaters will have Christmas shows. Here is a list of cheap movie theaters in Atlanta – call first to make sure they are open on Christmas Day, not everyone has Christmas hours.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
This one will take a little bit of planning, but makes a great stocking stuffer. ClueTown Books are a great way to explore the city by going on a scavenger hunt. Solve puzzles to move on to the next stop. There are four ClueTown Books, so you can explore any of these four areas of Atlanta: Decatur, Piedmont Park, Oakland Cemetery or The Atlanta Beltline.
What to do on Christmas Day: Bowling
A quick call to Brunswick Zone confirmed that all Brunswick Bowling Centers are open on Christmas Day. A perfect holiday outing. I contacted AMF Bowling Centers too and it’s up to the individual lanes to determine if they are open, so call before you go.
State Parks and other Hikes
Why not work off a bit of the holiday gluttony with a hike in the woods. Many state parks are open on Christmas so check one near you. However, National Parks are usually closed on Christmas Day. Here are five places for a hike on Christmas Day
- Sope Creek Trail – This trail in Marietta takes you to a babbling creek and historic mill ruins.
- Sweetwater Creek State Park – My boys loved hopping the rocks across the creek. You’ll also walk past mill ruins.
- Lullwater Park – This quiet in-town park is perfect for a quick walk.
- Amicalola State Park – Climb the stairs to the top, or start at the top and work your way down.
- Tullulah Gorge State Park – The rushing falls are beautiful and can take your mind off those January bills.
- Cloudland Canyon – If you are in the NW portion of the state, this is a beautiful park near Chattanooga.
The bicycle. It’s the quintessential holiday gift. Now-a-days I feel like kids aren’t as keen to get a bike. But even if they get a scooter, hooverboard or skates from Santa, here are a couple of places to take them for a spin.
- Silver Comet Trail – This trail is in Smyrna, and goes all the way to Alabama. It’s paved so it’s great for hiking, biking, scooters, or whatever wheels you have.
- Atlanta Beltline – There are several different sections of the Atlanta Beltline. Along each route you’ll find local art as part of the Art on the Beltline project.
- Bobby Jones Golf Course Trail – This trail is a spur for the Northside portion of the Atlanta Beltline. It cuts a wide paved path all around Bobby Jones Golf Course. Parking is available at the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.
- Hard Labor Creek State Park – This state park just east of Atlanta has miles of mountain bike trails for the beginner through advanced biker.
Atlanta Restaurants Open on Christmas Day
You’ve probably already had a big meal (or maybe you don’t want to cook one), after running around you may still be hungry. Here are a few places that are open on Christmas Day. We’ve included three ideas for all price points, so there is sure to be something to fit your wallet, and your palette.
Don’t feel like cooking on Christmas day? Let Art Smith, who served as Oprah’s personal chef for 10 years, take care of it for you. Southern Art has both a Christmas brunch and Christmas dinner. Yum.
3315 Peachtree Rd NE | Atlanta, GA 30326-1007 | 404-946-9070
I like this idea because fondue is more of an event than just eating food. This is a popular thing to do on Christmas Day (who knew) so be sure to make reservations before you go.
754 Peachtree Street NE | Atlanta, Ga | 404-389-0099
I mean come on, it’s a Southern tradition, and they have bacon. You may not be able to ride the Pink Pig anymore on Christmas Day, but you can go down the street for Lenox and get some waffles.
3016 Piedmont Rd NE | Atlanta, GA 30305 | 404-231-0023
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