Make the Season Merry and Bright with These Holiday Events in Atlanta

Pop-up bars, holiday markets, and more ways to spend the most wonderful time of the year.

Tinsel Tavern at The Battery
Tinsel Tavern | Photo courtesy of LIVE! at The Battery
Tinsel Tavern | Photo courtesy of LIVE! at The Battery

While the entire world is gearing up for what’s sure to be an epic holiday season, there’s always something special about how Atlanta gets down during the winter months. Holiday pop-up bars will take over the Bellyard Hotel, The Battery, Colony Square, and more venues around town. It doesn’t feel like Christmas without a little ice, so you know Ponce City Market and Atlantic Station have things covered in the ice skating department per usual. And that’s not to mention all the tree lightings, holiday markets, and other events going on around town. So after digging into your Thanksgiving spread (either homemade or with help from Atlanta’s best restaurants), get ready for a packed lineup of holiday events in Atlanta that are sure to make you feel merry.

Atlantic Station holiday lights
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Station

Holiday Lights and Decorations in Atlanta

Six Flags White Water; Tickets start at $39.99
Head over to Six Flags White Water for an unforgettable Christmas experience. This year, the World of Illumination will host Enchanted Safari, an amazing show that’s the perfect fit for any age. You’ll discover the jingle of the jungle as you ride through mountainous terrain, traverse glacial peaks, and experience all types of characters inspired by the holiday season. The journey ends at Santa's Bazaar, where all your new animal friends will be decking the halls.

Midtown; Prices vary
Since it was revamped in 2021, Colony Square has emerged as one of the premiere locations in Atlanta to hang out—especially during the holiday season. The Square kicks off the holidays with its tree lighting, followed by nightly tree shows through Christmas. Visitors can also experience Winter Squares at Living Room, holiday film screenings, a themed Speedo Run, and Snack Time with Santa, where families can enjoy holiday crafts, festive snacks, and time with Santa himself.

Midtown; Prices vary
This year, Atlantic Station is again becoming the place to be for the most magical time of the year. With twinkling lights and merry festivities, this community offers timeless traditions and one-of-a-kind holiday experiences to help guests capture the magic of the season and fill their hearts with warmth and joy. From imaginative performances with Cirque du Soleil’s ECHO and festive celebrations with Light the Station to holiday shopping opportunities with Black Friday and family fun with Skate the Station, Atlantic Station is an enchanted home for the holidays.

Saturday, November 18–Sunday, January 14
Atlanta Botanical Garden; Tickets start at $37.95
For the perfect holiday experience that puts you face to face with some of the most beautiful plantlife in the city, head over to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The 13th annual Garden Lights invites guests to walk through beautiful displays of lights and art. It’s quickly become one of the 404’s most anticipated holiday traditions. While plenty of the show’s fan-favorite features return, guests can expect new twists including a 144-foot-long wintery white skynet by Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics, whose work was featured during 2021’s SUPERnatural exhibition, and the first glimpse of the Garden’s Alice’s Wonderland mosaiculture exhibition, which returns with new installations in 2024.

Midtown; Prices vary
Pack your favorite flannel PJs and head to West Midtown Atlanta to discover a winter wonderland at the Bellyard Hotel. At check in, visitors will discover that the garden courtyard has turned into a snow globe complete with falling snow. Check into this year’s holiday suite that’s decked out in winter white or bring the kids in your life to the Polar Express suite, where they can delight in a real toy train, in-room hot chocolate service, jingling Christmas bells, and even redeem their golden tickets. The lobby-level eatery, Drawbar, is turning up the Christmas nostalgia and will be transformed into a holiday pop up bar themed to everyone’s favorite Christmas movies.

Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet at Fox Theatre
Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet | Photo courtesy of the Fox Theatre

Holiday Events in Atlanta

Saturday, November 18–Wednesday, January 3
Six Flags Over Georgia; Tickets start at $40
Six Flags Over Georgia has been known to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in a major way with their annual Holiday in the Park events. For starters, you can bask in the Christmas spirit with winter attractions such as the Candlelight Carousel or see a performance of Together For Christmas after taking a stroll through a tunnel of dancing lights on Merry Lane. But before you leave, be sure to see the park’s Christmas Tree, The Grand Fir, come to life with a spectacular animated light show.

Starts Friday, November 24
Ponce City Market; Prices vary
The Roof at Ponce City Market invites you to skate the city’s skyline this holiday season. High above Ponce de Leon Avenue and overlooking the Atlanta Beltline and Old Fourth Ward, PCM’s popular Rooftop Terrace will transform into a beautiful winter wonderland. Guests will be able to enter the ice rink as a walk-in from Skyline Park or Nine Mile Station. But, if you and your group of friends are feeling particularly festive and wanting something more upscale head to 12 Cocktail Bar. The special Mixmas Menu will feature a festive and refined environment and special holiday cocktail classes to get you in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, November 25; 5:30 pm
Cumberland; Free
Jumpstart your holiday spirit by heading to The Battery for its seventh annual tree lighting. The event will kick off with a performance from A-Town A-List on the Georgia Power Pavilion Stage before the sparkly main event at 7 pm. Immediately following the celebration, guests are invited to stay and enjoy an outdoor showing of Abominable as part of the Xfinity Movie Series on the Georgia Power Pavilion screen.

Friday, December 15–Saturday, December 16
Fox Theatre; Tickets start at $34
This Christmas, bring the whole family back to a simpler time with Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet. The acclaimed holiday tradition is live at the Fox Theatre on December 15 and 16 for an amazing celebration. The show is overflowing with larger-than-life puppets, breath-taking acrobatics, and dazzling costumes. Experience the exquisite artistry of the international cast, featuring stars of Ukraine ballet, performing at the highest level of classical technique.

Georgia Aquarium; Tickets start at $43
With the winter season almost upon us, the Georgia Aquarium is already gearing up for the holiday season with dozens of Christmas-themed activities. Beginning November 10, visitors can check out the venue’s completely transformed atrium with festive music, winter-inspired projections, and a 40-foot tree. The Aquarium is also bringing back seasonal favorites like Scuba Claus, Strolling Carolers, pictures with Santa and a tree lighting ceremony every Friday.

Now through Saturday, December 30
Rooftop L.O.A; $25 per person
Get ready to embark on a holiday journey like no other as Rooftop L.O.A introduces its new holiday pop-up, Santa's Flamingo Bar. This holiday-themed cocktail spot is set to be a combination of festive cheer and tropical vibes. With Christmas decor, a poolside atmosphere, and delicious tiki-inspired cocktails, this unique bar promises an unforgettable experience that will transport you straight to a winter wonderland with a twist of summertime vibes that only Rooftop L.O.A. can deliver.

Thursday, November 30; 6:30 pm
Whenever there’s an event at the Home Depot Backyard, you know it will be one to remember. The venue will culminate its annual event calendar with Truist Night Market: Holiday Edition, so head downtown for an evening of savory food from Atlanta’s best restaurants, craft cocktails, holiday shopping in the Truist Vendor Village, and live music from award-winning saxophonist Trey Daniels.

Friday, December 8; 7 pm
Fernbank Museum; $40
Fernbank After Darks gets the party started on the second Friday of each month all year round. But this time around, guests can expect a holiday-themed experience. The after-hours party includes access to museum exhibits, live music, a full bar, tapas menus, science demonstrations, and more. During the holiday season, visitors can check out WildWoods: AGLOW, an epic light show that’s sure to get you feeling merry and bright.

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Okla Jones is an Atlanta-based journalist who writes about food, fine arts, and entertainment. His work also appears in ESSENCE, Creative Loafing Atlanta, and Consequence of Sound. Follow him on Instagram at @coolhandoak.