15 Fun Things to Do in Atlanta This Winter
These are the perfect ways to spend your time during the year’s colder months.
Atlanta is known for being an incredibly fun place to live, and that remains true regardless of the temperature. Once upon a time, rooftops were only a summer activity, but the heated igloos at 9 Mile Station changed that narrative, and outside sports like golf have been moved to the inside, making those activities accessible year round. The beauty of winter is most prevalent in places like The Battery, where its massive Christmas tree stands as the centerpiece for the entire park, while the quaint neighborhoods that surround the BeltLine look straight out of a holiday flick. Whatever you’re trying to do, the 404 has something to accommodate you and yours—just make sure that you bundle up.
Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Piedmont Park, one of Atlanta’s coolest attractions, is home to so many different sites and activities. For the health enthusiast, the park offers weekly bike and walking clubs, or you can work on your green thumb by learning with our Garden Manager Matthew Bagshaw in interactive workshops. There is also a top-notch market where you can support local farmers and small businesses every Saturday, featuring the best in produce, meat, dairy, bakers, jams, preserves and artisan goods. December also brings events such as the Holiday Wreath workshop, trivia nights, and Homeschool Days, where students will be able to celebrate the winter solstice through a series of experiments and games.
There’s something about seeing wildlife that brings out the kid in all of us. Open since 1889, Zoo Atlanta has become a staple in the city and a great place to spend your time this winter. One of its biggest attractions during the colder months is the Illuminights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival. This one-of-a-kind experience includes vistas of illuminated wildlife and awe-inspiring sights await in a nighttime wonderland celebrating the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It features many new lanterns and scenes, and the lighted works of art are more stunning than ever this year. The zoo also offers shopping, different rides and attractions, and of course—a winter camp for the kiddies who want to learn more about wildlife.
Food? Check. Fun? Check. Art? Check. Anything you may want to do, the BeltLine has got you covered. This long, winding trail runs through different parts of the city, and connects the culture of Atlanta in a beautiful way. You’ll always see people participating in picnics, playing games, jogging, etc., and even in the middle of winter, it still remains the place to be. Along the walkways, you can see some of the best works from local artists, and eat at amazing restaurants such as Bazati, Two Urban Licks, Bully Boy, among many others. The rooftop at New Realm Brewing gives attendees the perfect view of the city, and The James Room remains one of the best places in the city to hear live music.
Eat and drink in Atlanta’s first suburb
If you’ve never been to Inman Park, please do yourself a favor and get over there as soon as possible. Recognized as one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods, this bustling suburb is an amazing destination spot for the winter. It is home to swanky restaurants such as Char, BeetleCat and Barcelona Wine Bar, and the strip is always filled with provocative conversations and live music in front of Little Spirit. Throughout the city, there are many places to watch sports, but Hampton + Hudson is one of the better locations to check out the game with friends. Its surrounding homes and apartment buildings give Inman Park an intimate feel, while the aged trees are a little dose of nostalgia for an area of the city that continues to expand.
December is loaded with things to do at the historic Fox Theatre in Midtown. Take your pick of one of its 4,665 seats and enjoy plays like Hadestown and The Nutcracker, or laugh the night away with popular comics such as Louis C.K. and Trevor Noah. On the 31st, Gucci Mane will hit the stage with a few of his friends for a year-end bash like none other. In February, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be back for its yearly run, and you can also see an homage to one of the greatest singers of our time with Tina Turner: The Musical.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is lively in any season, but it’s particularly dope this time of year because of football. You can catch the Falcons play on Sundays, or enjoy some of CFB’s best and brightest. It is the home of the SEC Championship, and will host this year’s Peach Bowl, where Georgia and Ohio State will face off to see who takes the next step on the path to the Natty. The food here is the best there is, with restaurants like Farm Burger, Gamechanger, and Fox Bros. all just a hop, skip, and jump from your seats. The stadium also sees its fair share of concerts and other live events, with Taylor Swift slated to be in town early next year, and the highly-anticipated HBCU All-Star Battle of the Bands set for February 2023.
Battery Park is all-purpose, to say the absolute least. It is home to the Atlanta Braves’ stadium, so the atmosphere is always energetic, regardless if there's a game going on or not. The restaurants are amazing, and it can definitely satisfy anyone’s palette. The place is a dream for those adventurous spirits (Punch Bowl Social and PBR have games galore), and you can even catch a show or two at the Coca-Cola Roxy and the state-of-the-art Silverspot Cinema. At night is when The Battery is at its best, because during the winter the entire place is lit up to the nines, and really exudes that holiday cheer.
Old Fourth Ward
The Roof at PCM is the place to be all year round. Pull up throughout the week to play some fun carnival-style games at Skyline Park and sip on some specialty cocktails from 12 Cocktail Bar or 9 Mile Station while overlooking Atlanta’s awe-inspiring skyline. During the winter months, Rooftop Terrace will transform into a winter wonderland, where guests will be able to “Skate the Sky,” or eat at one of the venue’s specialty restaurants under the warmth and protection of their cozy, private igloos.
Two of the High Museum of Art’s most popular summer exhibitions—What Is Left Unspoken, Love and Oliver Jeffers: 15 Years of Picturing Books—have unfortunately finished their residency at the High, so if you missed out on those gems, make sure you check out the museum’s current exhibitions before they leave too. Right now, moving exhibits like Rodin in the United States: Confronting the Modern (a touring survey of French artist Auguste Rodin’s works) and Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place (a new speculative project that will explore the visionary possibilities of design) are currently on display until the beginning of 2023, so make sure you pay Atlanta’s favorite art museum a visit before winter is over.
Old Fourth Ward
For a consistent weeknight move, look no further than H&F Burger’s weekly trivia night. Gather up your closest friends and pull up to the Ponce City Market burger joint on Mondays from 7:30 pm to 9 pm for an entertaining night of trivia that will most certainly put your pop-culture knowledge to the test. In addition to giving guests a guaranteed good time, H&F’s Trivia Night will reward the three best teams—with first place earning a $20 H&F Burger gift card and free milkshake tokens, second place receiving a $10 H&F Burger gift card and free milkshake tokens, and third place getting its fair share of free milkshake tokens as well.
Old Fourth Ward
The Illuminarium’s immersive WILD experience helped the new Atlanta attraction make an incredible debut in 2021, and this winter it has even more multisensory spectacles for visitors to enjoy. Now, guests can immerse themselves into the digitally projected worlds of O’KEEFFE: One Hundred Flowers (a 21+ virtual garden that’s made up of modernist artist Georgia Totto O'Keeffe’s signature painted flowers), SPACE: An Experience Beyond Earth (an extraordinary journey across the galaxy), and Waking Wonderland (a dreamlike adventure inspired by Lewis Carroll's Wonderland.). The Illuminarium also regularly hosts special events like sports watch parties and 21+ After-Dark experiences, so if you’re ever looking for something to do, don’t overlook Old Fourth Ward’s unique multisensory attraction.
Keep the summer fun going after dark by having a late-night game of miniature golf at Puttshack. The entertaining Atlanta attraction is an upscale, tech-infused mini-golf hangout where you can eat, drink, and compete with friends for putt-putt bragging rights. Puttshack is a 21+ affair every day from 8 pm to midnight (and 1 am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays), so don’t hesitate to squeeze in some late-night practice sessions and a couple of Puttshack’s incredible cocktails.
If you’re tired of enduring all of the heavy rain and intense heat that has characterized this summer, then a private at-home paint-n-sip may be exactly what you need. The Paint Factory is a great Black- and woman-owned mobile paint-n-sip company that regularly hosts themed in-person events, and it also offers private at-home paint-n-sips for those looking for a more intimate art experience. That way, you can still find creative ways to express yourself this winter without having to deal with the elements.
Virginia Highlands & Sandy Springs
For an arts experience that is sure to get your creative juices flowing this summer, head over to Splatter Studio. Previously housed at Ponce City Market, the innovative space has expanded to locations in Virginia Highlands and Sandy Springs, and regardless of whether you opt to visit the ITP or OTP location, Splatter Studio will welcome you into space where anything—like literally getting splattered with paint—is possible. Each session at Splatter is one hour long, and each participant gets a disposable poncho, a pair of disposable shoe covers, sterilized gloves and goggles, a 16 x 20-inch canvas, and access to splatter paint. Go unleash your creativity and create a wondrous mess this spring.
If anything from work to the state of the world has you stressed out, know that you’re definitely not alone. Luckily for anyone living in Atlanta, this city has a wealth of impressive boutique hotels. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing respite in-town at The Candler, Hotel Clermont, or The Kimpton Sylvan Hotel or going OTP to a hotel like The Hamilton to really get a break from Atlanta, there are plenty of incredible boutique hotels where you will be able to quietly close out your winter in peace.