There is nothing that compares to the lead-up to Christmas morning. Once the excitement peaks though—and the kiddos have given their gifts their all for the day—don’t let the fun fizzle. Instead, head out to one of the following Atlanta spots for just one more serving of jolly. Keep reading for everything you need to know about where to score some fun after the frenzy of Christmas morning comes to an end.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
The best lights display in the city is also one of your best bets for Christmas night entertainment. The Garden is a perfect place to run off some pent-up energy, while continuing the Christmas festivities. Open from 5-11 p.m., $29.95 for adults, $26.95 for children ages 3 to 12, and free under 3.
1345 Piedmont Avenue NE
Santa may not be gracing the night sky on Christmas, but you can soar about Atlanta in the SkyView ferris wheel. With twinkling city lights below mixed in with holiday decorations downtown, the bird's eye view is the best view. And best news yet? Each gondola on the wheel is climate controlled.
168 Luckie St. NW
Go for a Bike Ride
Even if they didn't get a new set of wheels for Christmas, you'll have some happy elves if you load them up and go for a ride on their old wheels, new scooters, or even hovercraft. Check out the Eastside BeltLine trail (on-street parking is available at Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark with a direct connection to the trail) for the most to see, but if you're looking to get under some trees on an easy, flat route, head to Cochran Shoals at Columns Drive to Interstate North, where you'll pedal along the banks of the 'Hooch.
830 Willoughby Way NE
Magical Nights of Lights and License to Chill Snow Island at Lanier Islands
Drive past illuminated scenes of Christmas and the holidays, and then stop at Holiday Village to eat, shop, skate, visit Santa, eat some s'mores, and enjoy the carnival rides. Don’t miss License to Chill Snow Island this year, with tons of snow to build in, inter-tube on, and play with. Snow Island is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (tickets start at $24.99) and Magical Nights of Lights is open from 5-10 p.m. ($45 per car to view the lights, additional per person pricing for Winter Adventure activities).
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
Photo: St. Regis Atlanta Astor Holiday Ice Skating Rink at The St. Regis Atlanta
Ice skating, rink-side cocktails and gourmet hot chocolate, freshly scraped ice, a canopy of twinkling lights, and Atlanta’s largest gingerbread house? Don’t waffle on this one. The Astor Rink will not disappoint. On Christmas Day, skating is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with sessions that start every hour and are $30 per hour for adults and $18 per hour for kids (tax and service charge not included).
88 West Paces Ferry Road
Main Event Entertainment
If you’re tired of the tinsel and ready to hock the holly, head to Main Event for laser tag, bowling, arcade games, and an indoor ropes gym. Open from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and prices for playing vary by selection.
3101 Cobb Parkway SE, Suite 104
Georgia State Parks
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.
Yes, they are actually open on Christmas Day. Get the kiddos out of the house and enjoy the choreographed light show in FantaSEA in Lights. Open noon to 6 p.m., $35.95 for adults, $29.95 for children. Or, go after 4 p.m. for a discounted ticket of $26.95 for all guests.
225 Baker Street NW
Ice Skating at Atlantic Station
Skate beneath the stars and skyscrapers at the largest outdoor ice rink in the Southeast. Snowfall happens hourly, and there's no denying the festivity of Atlantic Station's decorations and holiday cheer.
Market St. and 17th St.
Bowlmor Lanes Atlanta
Roll into Bolwmor lanes on Christmas Day, and try your hand in the arcades, classic table games, and interactive laser tag battles also available. Open from 1 p.m. to midnight on Christmas day, games are reasonably priced per person and kids under 4 play free,
2175 Savoy Dr.
Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
Traffic in Atlanta is as good as it gets on Christmas day, so why not take advantage of it and head to Callaway Gardens to check out their 8 million lights, accessible via your own wheels or the Jolly Trolley. Open from 6 to 9 p.m., $28 for adults, $14 for children ages 6 to 12, and free under 5.
17800 US Hwy 27
Pine Mountain, Ga
Celebrate Christmas, Oprah style. Southern Art, run by Oprah’s former chef Art Smith, will be serving up a Christmas brunch and will spread holiday cheer on Christmas day. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Brunch is $95 for adults, $45 for ages 6 to 12, and free for kids under 5.
3315 Peachtree Road
The Melting Pot
Baby it’s cold outside, so heat things up at this festive and “fun”due spot. On Christmas Day, The Melting Pot is serving seasonally inspired fondues in addition to the classic menu. They're open from 4 to 9 p.m. and reservations are recommended.
754 Peachtree Street NE