Atlanta is bursting with holiday cheer. Whether you’re looking for a place to get into the holiday spirit or just want to take in some of the city’s most exciting events, you’re sure to find something amazing.
CHECK OUT: Hawks holiday and Black Friday ticket deals make for the perfect present
Here are some of our favorite things to do in metro Atlanta this holiday season:
Go shopping at a holiday market
Atlanta is the perfect place to shop around this holiday season. The city is full of one-of-a-kind, locally-owned businesses and holiday markets where you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Check out our guide to holiday markets in Atlanta HERE.
Skate around an ice rink
If you’re looking for a fun and festive way to spend a December day, there’s no better option than ice skating. There are plenty of spectacular ice skating rinks in and around Atlanta. A few of our favorites include Skate the Sky, the ice rink at Piedmont Park, and Skate the Station.
Light up your imagination
The holidays are alive and well in metro Atlanta, with so many incredible light shows and festivals to choose from. Check out our full round-up HERE.
See Santa(s) in a speedo
Ready for a laugh-filled, slightly intoxicated run?
The Santa Speedo Run is back this year, starting and ending at Colony Square! The 1-mile fun run takes place on Saturday, Dec. 10, from noon to 4 p.m. The event features a live DJ, cash bar, costume contest, an after-party, and more.
Swim through a ‘Winter Waterland’
This December, take a trip to the Georgia Aquarium and experience Winter Waterland. Every day is filled with holiday activities, including a tree lighting at 4 p.m. and classic films like “The Polar Express” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” playing in its 4-D theater.
Toast to the season at a holiday bar
Looking for a way to get into the “spirit” of the holiday season? Holiday pop-up bars are here to help! From specialty cocktails on The Roof, to tiki-themed drinks, check out all of our favorite holiday bars HERE.
Rock that ugly sweater at a bar crawl
It’s time to get into the holiday spirit!
One of the best ways to do that? By dressing up in your tackiest sweater and going on a bar crawl. Once you’ve spent an evening with your friends drinking eggnog-flavored shots, you’ll be glad you did. Here are a few that deserve a mention: Roswell’s 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl, Official Ugly Sweater Atlanta Bar Crawl, Halcyon Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl, and SantaCon on the Square.
Attend the Atlanta Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’
Get the whole family together for the Atlanta Ballet’s annual production of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, “The Nutcracker.” Along with the incredible dancers, throughout the production, you can enjoy dazzling sets, costumes and innovative projections — this show will make you feel like a kid again.
Celebrate Black Nativity
Black Nativity is a unique and entertaining theatrical experience featuring an African-American telling of the Nativity story. Based on the song play written by acclaimed poet and playwright Langston Hughes, Black Nativity is a truly unique way to celebrate the holiday season.
Feel nostalgia at the Center for Puppetry Arts
If you love Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, then you won’t want to miss this event.
The Center for Puppetry Arts is bringing the 1964 stop-motion film to life with the help of a cast of puppets, including Rudolph and friends, on select days through Dec. 31.
Enjoy live holiday music
If you’ve been listening to holiday music on the radio, why not head out on the town and enjoy it live?
Atlanta has a couple of shows that are worth checking out: Yacht Rock Revue’s Holiday Spectacular at the Coca-Cola Roxy on Dec. 17 and Jeffrey Bützer, TT Mahony and friends performing Vince Guaraldi Trio score to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for three consecutive nights from Dec. 15 through 17 at The EARL.
Explore the darker side of Christmas
There’s one thing that always makes the holiday season a little more fun: a good scare.
If you’re looking to get your blood pumping and your heart racing, head over to Containment Haunted House for its haunted take on the Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol.”
Catch Cirque du Soleil while it’s still in town
It’s time to get ready for a dream-like experience because KURIOUS by Cirque du Soleil is in town.
This year’s show, which is suitable for the whole family, will whisk you away on an imaginative journey full of incredible acrobats and aerialists. The last show is on Christmas Eve, so don’t miss out!
Go to a Christmas-themed comedy show
Deck the Halls with Dad’s Garage and Horizon Theatre this season with Y’allmark Christmas: An Improvised Holiday “Movie” LIVE.
Every night, this show uses tried-and-true holiday tropes and audience suggestions to create an all-new, live, onstage holiday “movie.” Now through Dec. 23.
Take a hike
With all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holidays, we know you’ve got your hands full, so we thought we’d help you out a little bit by reminding you that there are some great trails in Georgia that are perfect for hiking and enjoying some fresh air outside. HERE are just a few of our favorites!
For the holidays, you can’t beat the beauty and charm of North Georgia’s charming mountain towns.
This month, both Dahlonega and Helen are hosting their own special holiday events, so if you’re looking for a place to spend some quality time with loved ones while appreciating the beauty of nature and Christmas cheer, this is where you want to be.
Go all out for NYE
We’re still waiting on more details, but it looks like the Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta will return at the end of the month after a three-year hiatus. All we can say for sure is that it’s going to be lit.
We’re also putting together a list of all the best parties and events around town to check out. Stay tuned!