It’s official, y’all. The holidays are coming down the tracks at full speed and this—our first weekend of December—doesn’t disappoint. From the awesome Children’s Parade in Midtown to the Reindog Parade at the Botanical Garden (and every stop in between), you’ll be inspired to don your most festive attire and hit the town. Read on to find our favorite spots to frolic.


Photo: Atlanta Botanical Garden


Reindog Parade at Botanical Garden
It’s time to put on the dog again, Atlanta! Register early to parade your own pet or just show up to watch the commotion as Atlanta’s pups parade through the Garden bedecked in their holiday finery. Sat. Event details.

Children’s Parade
Head to Midtown to catch the largest parade of its kind in the Southeast. Complete with marching bands, character floats, and even Santa himself, you can sit back and relax while someone else dishes out the marching orders for a morning! Spectators are invited to line the parade route for free; however, bleacher seating is available for purchase, and all proceeds benefit Children’s Healthcare family services. Sat. Event details.

A Christmas Story at The Fox
Join Ralphie Parker in his quest for the only thing he wants for Christmas: an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. This hilarious account of Americana Christmas circa 1950 is sure to have everyone laughing. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Ride On Train at Botanical Garden
Woot-woot! The annual ride-on train at the Garden is chugging full steam ahead during the holiday season on weekends and select weekdays, and don’t forget to stop at the Holiday Model Train Show to watch G-scale trains and a holiday trolley chug through an imaginary, beautifully planted landscape. Sat.-Sun. Event details

Druid Hills

Holly Jolly Film Fest at Fernbank 
Enjoy screenings of Dr. Suess’ heart-tickling holiday film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, get in the holiday spirit with Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas and create a snowman rod puppet with the Center for Puppetry Arts. Sat. Event details.

East Atlanta

Madeline’s Christmas at Horizon Theatre
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines,” begins the story of Madeline. This holiday season will be unlike any other for Madeline and her friends who get a holiday adventure beyond their wildest dreams in this musical play adapted from Ludwig Bemelmans’ delightful book. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Free Pictures with Santa at Alpharetta Welcome Center
Get your holiday photos taken for free at the Alpharetta Welcome Center. This is a free event and refreshments will be served. No reservations required, but no pets, please. The photographer will be using a “green screen” so it is recommended that attendees not wear green clothing. One free photo print per family, maximum two photo poses per family, and a digital copy are included in your visit. Sat. Event details.

Holiday Tea at American Girl
Start the holiday season with a special teatime, including a deliciously different menu of teatime treats, a sparkly snowflake craft, and fun conversation and laughter at every table—plus memories that are certain to make the holidays extra merry. Sun. Event details.


Lights of Life Drive-Through Display
An annual tradition in Atlanta, Life University strings up thousands of lights and welcomes carloads to its zero-profit event, every night, rain or shine. Stretch your legs at the petting zoo, pony ride, train ride, or visit with Santa (weather permitting, and $5-$12/ event). Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Pine Mountain

Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Garden
8 million lights. 16 dazzling scenes. 1 magical night. Fantasy In Lights is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” as named by National Geographic Traveler. Ride the “Jolly Trolley” or keep cozy in the warm comfort of your own car as you and the fam cruise through this seasonal spectacular, now in its 25th year. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

How will you spread holiday cheer this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Shelley Massey