Sleigh bells ring, can you hear them? Certainly! Just head to Buckhead, where you’ll hear the jingle of silverbells around the Astor Holiday Rink at The St. Regis Atlanta, or turn towards the Botanical Garden for bell-bedazzled pups in the annual Reindog Parade. Or head downtown, where bells there are a plenty during the Children’s Parade. Read on to find our favorite spots to ring in December in Atlanta!
Photo: Friends of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta via Facebook
The Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Square
It wouldn’t be the holidays in Atlanta if there wasn’t a giant, pink, 1950’s-themed pig ride in the parking lot of Macy’s at Lenox Square. Housed in a tent on the upper deck of the Macy’s lot, this iconic Atlanta ride is guaranteed to delight the kiddos and leave out-of-towners scratching their heads. Held at Macy’s at Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Street. $3/ person. Through Jan. 3, times vary by month. All ages. Event details.
Ice Skate at The St. Regis Atlanta
If your brood is in the mood for some ice skating, and you’re in the mood for some fashionable rink-side cocktails and gourmet hot chocolate, skip the crowds and head to the rooftop rink at St. Regis Atlanta. Held at Astor Holiday Rink at St. Regis Atlanta, 88 West Paces Ferry Rd. $30/ hour, adults and $18/ hour, ages 15 and under. Call The St. Regis Atlanta Holiday Desk at 404.563.7797 for reservations. Weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market
This Saturday, check out Georgia’s largest producer-only farmers market in the state (Producer-only means that everything at the Market has been grown, raised, or made by the seller, ensuring fair prices for both the vendors and the consumers). With chef demos, samples, live music, you and the kids will certainly want to make it a weekend tradition. Held at The Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road NW. Free. Sat. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Barnes & Noble Story Time
With cool weather blowing in, nothing beats a cozy story time and craft to cure cabin fever. Head to Atlanta area Barnes & Noble stores to get your fix of fun. The Buckhead Barnes & Noble offers story times on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11. Held at Buckhead Barnes & Noble, 2900 Peachtree Road NE Suite 310. Free. Sat. at 11 a.m. All ages. Event details.
Festival of the SEAson at Georgia Aquarium
As if the Georgia Aquarium weren’t exciting enough, they jazz things up even more during the holidays with their annual Festival of the SEAson events, including a light show every hour, appearances by Santa and SCUBA Claus, mermaids, a giant underwater Menorah, and live music. Held at Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker Street NW. Free with admission ($26/ child, $32/ adult). All ages. Event details.
Story Time with Santa at Ponce City Market
Don’t miss Story Time with Santa, featuring live readings of everyone’s favorite holiday tales, every Saturday in December from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Held at Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE. Free. All ages. Event details.
Rudolph at Center for Puppetry Arts
This faithful adaptation of the 1964 stop-motion animated special, Rudolph and his friends (including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster) takes the stage in what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes as a “holly-jolly holiday adventure for theater-goers of all ages.” Held at Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th. $20.50 (includes create-a-puppet workshop), free under 2. Showtimes vary weekly; see website for schedule. All ages. Event details.
Children’s Christmas 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! Held at Midtown, Beginning at Peachtree Street and 16th and ending at Peachtree Street and 5th. Free. Sat. from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Reindog Parade at the Botanical Garden
It’s time to put on the dog again, Atlanta! Don’t miss the commotion as Atlanta’s pups parade through the Garden bedecked in their holiday finery. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Sat. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Ride on Train at the 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. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Weekends and select weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $3 per passenger; Tickets sold in the Hardin Visitor Center, Price does not include admission. All ages. Event details.
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
Don’t miss the 5th annual dazzling display of twinkling lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In addition to the millions of lights, there will be s’mores, hot cocoa, and adult beverages for purchase. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Thurs. to Sun. $26/ adult, $20/ ages 3 – 12, Free under 3, Mon. to Wed. $23/ adult, $17/ ages 3 – 12, Free under 3. All ages. Event details.
A Christmas Carol at The Alliance Theatre
Celebrate Atlanta’s finest actors in this magnificent staging of Charles Dickens’s classic Christmas tale. Held at The Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree Street. Price varies from $21-65; see website for details. Through Dec. 27. Ages 5 & up. Event details.
Holiday Model Train Show
This one’s going to knock their socks off. Don’t miss the G-scale model train display that runs through incredibly decorated town and countryscapes at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Held at Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. Free with admission ($18.95/ adults, $12.95/ ages 3-12, Free under 3). Through Jan. 9. All ages. Event details.
Free Holiday Market at Chattahoochee Nature Center
Take your kids to CNC where they’ll enjoy the fresh air and over 150 acres to roam, and you’ll get the added bonus of taking care of a little holiday shopping at the free holiday market, as well. Local artisans will be on-hand with their eco-friendly goods, just perfect for gifting. Admission to the CNC is free for all who attend the holiday market. Held at Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Rd. Free. Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Drive Through the Lights of Life 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). Held at Life University, 1269 Barclay Cir. $10/ car Friday through Sunday and after 12/18, $5/ car Monday through Thursday until 12/18. Nov 26 – Dec 31 at 6 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Dine and Ride with Santa at Southeastern Railway Museum
If you haven’t already been to the SRM’s 35 acres of locomotive nirvana, there’s no better time than this Saturday, when Santa will arrive to eat breakfast or lunch with the kiddos. In addition to the meals, Santa will make an appearance for the Polar Express Experience, which is also a ticketed event that includes a short ride with Santa followed by the movie on board a stationary box car. Note: Breakfast, Lunch, and the Polar Express Experience are three separate ticketed events. Held at Southeastern Railway Museum, 3595 Buford Hwy. $18/ person for meals, kids under 2 free, and $25/ person for the Polar Express Experience. Breakfast at 9 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m., Polar Express Experiences at 3:30 and 6 p.m. on Sat. All ages. Event details.
Hit the Slopes at Snow Mountain
Who says Atlantans don’t know how to handle a few inches of snow? Head to Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park to prove just how much fun we know how to have in the white stuff. SnoBoggans, sledding, and s’mores, oh my! Held at Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd. Price varies by date. Open select dates from 11/21/15 to 2/28/16; See website for details. All ages. Event details.
Make a Wreath with Mom at Smith-Gilbert Gardens
Using greens and berries grown at the Gardens, moms and their kiddos can create a 14 inch wreath or door swag together in a workshop led by Stefanie Haerynck, Education Coordinator of Smith-Gilbert Gardens. Held at Smith-Gilbert Gardens, 2382 Pine Mountain Road. $40/ duo, includes all materials. Sat. from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Adults and ages 14 & under. Event details.
Worth the Drive: Cartersville
Pictures with Cowboy Santa and Children’s Saturday at Booth Western Art Museum
Visit Cowboy Santa and Mrs. Claus from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and have your picture made, and enjoy decorating ornaments in the Booth Sculpture Court from 10:30 a.m. to noon. While you’re there, don’t miss the new exhibit Ansel Adams: Before & After. Held in Booth Western Art Museum, 501 Museum Drive. $10/ adults, Free for 12 & under. Sat. from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. All ages. Event details.
Worth the Drive: Gainesville
Nature Connects: LEGO® in the Garden
Worth the drive to Gainesville, the newly-opened Gainesville extension of the Atlanta Botanical Garden features 14 larger-than-life installations built from nearly 400,000 LEGO bricks including a giant praying mantis, butterfly, hummingbird, flowers and more. Don’t miss the grand opening this weekend with LEGO activities and games. Held in Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville, 1911 Sweetbay Dr. Free with admission (Adult $18.95, Child $12.95, Under 3 free). Sep 19 – Jan 3. All ages. Event details.
Worth the Drive: Pine Mountain
Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
8 million lights. 15 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. Held at Callaway Gardens, 17800 US Hwy 27. $19-28 for adults, $9.50-14 for children (ages 6-12), children 5 and under are free. Through Jan. 2 from 6-9 p.m. All ages. Event details.
How will you ring in December this weekend? Tell us in the comments section below!