13 Things to Do on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta (Beyond Shopping)

Like everything else, Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) is going to look different this year. But that doesn’t mean it still won’t be awesome. When the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved, the last piece of pumpkin pie has been eaten, and the adults wake up from a nap, you start to look for things to do on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta.

things to do on thanksgiving day

So if you’re going a little stir crazy with lots of family time, or you just want to get out and work off a few helpings of Turkey Day stuffing, here are our favorite things to do on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta (plus you can continue to enjoy this list the entire holiday season).

2020 AJC Peachtree Road Race (in place of Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon)

The 51st Running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race will be held in locations across the country and around the world as the race moves to a completely virtual event in 2020.

Participants will receive access to the Virtual Running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race App which will allow them to track their progress on the course, upload and compare results and experience the sounds of the Fourth of July.

A note here to our runner friends that Savannah’s Turkey Trot has been cancelled this year.

Go for a Hike

Fall is here with cooler temperatures and leaves still falling from the trees. Enjoy the outdoors and work off a little of your Thanksgiving meal with a family hike. Here are three places near Atlanta to enjoy a hike, plus here’s a post on 52 Atlanta area destination hikes if you need more ideas.

Sope Creek Trail trail in Marietta takes you to a babbling creek and historic mill ruins.

— My boys loved hopping the rocks across the water at Sweetwater Creek State Park. You’ll also walk past mill ruins. Unfortunately, the Green certified visitor’s center is closed on Thanksgiving, but come back another day to check out the museum about Sweetwater Mill. Hear first person accounts of the day Union soldiers came to the Mill and destroyed it.

— In addition to hiking at Amicalola State Park, you can enjoy the amazing waterfall. All the Georgia State Parks are open on Thanksgiving day (as well as Christmas and New Years).

Bring Out the Board Games

While Thanksgiving dinner’s in the over cooking, bring out your favorite board games of 2020 (or buy a new one just for the occasion.) Our family favorites include Catan, Exploding Kittens, and some good old-fashioned Gin Rummy.

Go Biking

Whether you just want to ride along a paved path, or hit the mountain bike trails, you’ll find a lot of places around metro Atlanta to enjoy a bike ride. Here is a list of our favorite bike trails, and we’ve shared a few other examples below.

The Silver Comet Trail is in Smyrna, and goes all the way to Alabama.

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.

Hard Labor Creek State Park is just east of Atlanta has miles of mountain bike trails for the beginner through advanced biker.

Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

There was some bad news circulating that this would not be available on TV in 2020…but if Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving isn’t on TV, does this day of the year even exist?

According to TVGuide, beginning Nov. 18, Apple TV+ subscribers can stream A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving any time they want. From Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, anyone can stream the 30-minute short for free on the platform all day long. You’ll just have to download the Apple TV+ app to watch. Before then (and after), you’ll have to subscribe to AppleTV+ for $4.99 a month it.  

Go Ice Skating

Atlanta has several different ice rinks with very different personalities. Choose the one that is right for you and go ice skating in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day. Here is a review of the ice rinks in Atlanta with links to additional information.

Play a Little Football

Grab a few of your family members and start a football game in the back yard! Hey, we know most pigskin lovers prefer watching football over playing it…but start a half-time Thanksgiving tradition that gets your family and friends outside soaking up some fresh air and Vitamin D.

See Holiday Lights

Thanksgiving night is a perfect time to see Holiday Lights in Atlanta. This is one of the most popular evenings, so if you plan to go to any of the paid attractions, call ahead for tickets and no matter where you go, bring an extra dose of patience. You aren’t the only one with this great idea.

Popular this year is the new drive-thru lights exhibit in Marietta. Follow the link for a discount code on weekends.

Play with LEGOS

LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Phipps Plaza is open on Thanksgiving Day from 10 – 7 pm. Masks are required as are social distancing measures. Also some exhibits are closed and capacity is limited.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Purchase a ClueTown Book before the holiday and explore the city with 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.

Can’t get enough scavenger hunting? Head over to Oakland Cemetery where you can test your sleuthing skills and solve riddles on this scavenger hunt with three different levels of difficulty. $25 per hunt.

Play with Trucks

Ok, so this IS a retail store, but they have lots of fun kids activities that will get them out of the house and doing something. While the information for 2020 has not been published yet, in the past at Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland, kids have been able to play with RC trucks, as well as shoot in the laser arcade, or do a craft. If you’d like, get your picture taken with Santa. The best part is, it’s all free.

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13 Things to Do on Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta (Beyond Shopping)
Sue Rodman | Co-Founder

Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories. @SueRodman