It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and luckily for Atlanta parents, we live in a city that knows how to celebrate the season. From world-class performances at The Fox to only-in-Atlanta spectaculars like Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Garden, you don’t have to pack up your sleigh for a weekend full of festive play. And if you want to really delight the family, book a stay at Atlanta’s new Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead—which balances luxury with family-friendly amenities—to guarantee your name at the top of Santa’s nice list. Keep reading for our picks for a perfect Atlanta holiday staycation, below.

photo: Clay Walker

Holiday Performances

Whether you're looking for something uniquely local or world-wise, Atlanta plays host to performances of all types. Don't miss Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at Center for Puppetry Arts, or this year's final production of the Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker in The Fabulous Fox Theatre (it moves to Cobb County's Center for Performing Arts in 2020). A Christmas Carol at Horizon Theatre and Madeline's Christmas in East Atlanta at the Horizon Theater are at the top of our list of must-see holiday performances.

Keep in Mind: The Center for Puppetry Arts offers sensory-friendly productions on Sundays, and includes the Make-a-Puppet Workshop and Museum admission. 

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photo: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Seasonal Spectaculars

We're partial to a big production in the Big Peach, and our holidays are no exception. From the million-lights of the artfully designed Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Garden, to the over-the-top Atlanta Chinese Lantern Festival downtown, our city stands by it's decision to "go big." And it doesn't stop on December 25th. Family-friendly Noon-Years Eve events can be found with bubbles and balloon drops at the Children's Museum of Atlanta's Bubble Bash and Fernbank's Dino Drop, while you can ride the Macy's Pink Pig—our city's most unique holiday tradition—through January.

Extra Intel: Keep your eyes out for Nature’s Wonders at Garden Lights at Atlanta Botanical Garden. It's the world’s largest curtain of synchronized light and sound, and the exhibition runs nightly through Jan. 11, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

photo: S. Massey

The Big Guy

What's a celebration without a special appearance by Santa, himself? In Atlanta, you can find Santa on every block, from The Battery to Lenox Square, Perimeter Mall, and Sandy Springs' Santa's Fantastical. But if you're looking for a special spot on Santa's schedule, consider the Santa Tea at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, where you can indulge in decadent desserts and seasonal offerings alongside your laid-back visit with Santa.

Teas & Traditions

When you're feeling a little fancy, Atlanta's world-class hotels and restaurants are ready to roll out the red carpet for you and your little elves. You'll find a refined holiday tea at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, and an uniquely local experience during Candlelight Nights at the Atlanta History Center. Head to Christmas at Callanwolde for weekly events, including a holiday artist market, Breakfast with Santa, and Tea with Santa.

Splurge Worthy: You'll find a very festive celebration of decadent desserts at the over-the-top holiday dessert buffet at Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead. Be sure and book in advance, though, as you won't want to miss this special treat.

photo: Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead

A Sensational Stay

Enhance your staycation with a night or two at the new Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead, which is the most recent luxury hotel brand addition to our city. Located squarely in the heart of Buckhead, its prime location offers guests walkable proximity to Buckhead shopping and dining. Spacious adjoining rooms mean that families can enjoy the comforts of the hotel without the cramp, and its catalogue of unique holiday and seasonal family offerings—including complimentary holiday movie screenings (in a private room with comfy lounge pads and plenty of hot cocoa), festive holiday teas (Santa makes an appearance at many), and a Holiday Wonderland Package—means you don't have to pack the car to delight your darlings with a trip during the holidays.

Food for Thought: Spend Christmas at the Waldorf Astoria Atlanta Buckhead and enjoy a special four-course Christmas Eve dinner, then wake up and begin Christmas Day with the hotel’s lavish brunch buffet, set to the sound of festive Christmas music.

—Shelley Massey

Lodging and select Atlanta experiences were hosted by Hilton, but all opinions expressed here are the author’s own. 

 

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. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.