Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Atlanta families! We hope the best part of 2020 is found with your loved ones this weekend, and if you’re looking for some memory makers—from snow tubing to waterfall hunting—we’ve got plenty of ideas, below.

photo: iStock

Hands-On Fun
Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights
Take a trip to Callaway for a spectacular light display at Callaway Gardens. With your ticket, you have access to the Christmas Village to enjoy Santa, children’s playland, shopping, dining and more (open daily at 4 p.m.), one trip through the Fantasy In Lights show with the option to ride the Jolly Trolley, and one complimentary day admission per ticket to visit Callaway Gardens during the Fantasy In Lights season (a $25 per adult value). This year, access is limited and Covid precautions are in place, so purchase tickets in advance. Masks are required. Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Here‘s the scoop.

Magical Night at Lanier Island Resorts
Enjoy the longest driving display of dazzling lights in Georgia at Lanier Island Resort’s Magical Night of Lights, and check out the country’s fastest snow tubing along the 575 feet long, 8-story high Parrot Mountain slide at License to Chill, where you can also take a spin around the ice rink, bounce in the inflatables at LandShark Landing, or play in the snow! Select festivities continue through February 21 on select dates! Here‘s what you need to know before you go.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, presented by Invesco QQQ, returns in 2020 with new safety protocols and spectacular lighted sculptures from the blockbuster exhibition, Alice’s Wonderland Reimagined. The exhibition runs nightly through Jan. 16, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, from 5 – 11 p.m. Tickets are extremely limited for this reduced-capacity event. All guests and members must have timed tickets. FInd out more here.

Hike at a Georgia State Park
Atlanta weather can run hot or cold at Christmas, so keep Georgia’s State Parks in mind if we land on a sunny and unseasonably warm Christmas day. Trails abound at Sweetwater Creek State Park, and you can start working on your resolutions by hiking the first leg (little, little leg) of the Appalachian Trail at Amicalola State Park. And if you don’t want to venture much further than the Perimeter, you can enjoy exploring miles of trails along the Chattahoochee, a National Parks Service-run land. Here‘s what you need to know.

Festival of Lights at Atlantic Station
Head to Atlantic Station for a drive-through Festival of Lights. You only need one ticket per car, and plan for approximately 15 minutes to complete the route, depending on the pace of the drivers in front of you. Everyone in your vehicle must have a seatbelt on so you can bring as many people as you have seatbelts for. Keep an eye out for ‘bicycles / scooters only’ night which will be the only time you are permitted to ride your bike or scooter. No tickets will be sold on site so you must purchase your tickets online before you arrive. Check out the details here.

Worlds of Illumination Drive-Through in Marietta
Pay a visit to this delicious whimsical wonderland that kids’ fantasies are made of—candy land without the sugar crash. Spy sugar plum fairies, a gigantic gingerbread village, illuminated sweets as far as the eye can see. World of Illumination presents Candy Rush, the world’s largest holiday drive-through show, highlighting a 40-foot tall candy cane trio and animated Christmas characters. This mile-long drive-through show features nearly two million lights—a must-see treat for the entire family. Find out more here.

Drive-Through Lights of Life
Drive through this annual exhibit of thousands of holiday lights on display around the campus, plus purchase concessions, pony rides, train rides and visit the petting zoo. Here’s the scoop.

Virtual Adventures

San Francisco Ballet Online Nutcracker
Watch SF Ballet’s spectacular Nutcracker stream in HD, tour our virtual opera house full of fun activities, send downloadable holiday snaps to your friends and family, enjoy historical highlights of San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, and learn steps from the choreography. You can even check off items on your gift list with a visit to SF Ballet’s online Holiday Shop. Check It out here.

Christkindlmarket Chicago Is VIRTUAL
Christkindlmarkt brings the cherished German and European tradition of Germany’s famed market to Chicago and adds heaps of local charm. This year, you won’t see the market’s signature wooden cabins topped with festive red-and-white canopies, but you can shop the handmade gifts, food and drinks and kids can participate in Kinder Club activities from the comforts of home, anywhere in the world. For more info, check this out.

Chat with a Nordstrom Santa
When we told Santa he wouldn’t be able to take pictures with all the kids in person this year, he said, “But I need to speak to every one of them! Have them call me.” His words exactly. Schedule your kiddo’s one-on-one with Santa today. Find out more here.

Check out our incredible virtual adventure calendar here for more options!

—Shelley Massey



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