10 Free and Cheap Things To Do This Holiday Season

Save money. Enjoy free and cheap holiday events in Atlanta.
  • Release holiday stress at SKATE Atlantic Station. (Laura Rispin/The Wilbert Group)
    Release holiday stress at SKATE Atlantic Station. (Laura Rispin/The Wilbert Group)
  • The Pink Pig is an Atlanta tradition.
    The Pink Pig is an Atlanta tradition.
  • It's time for the 69th Macy's tree lighting.
    It's time for the 69th Macy's tree lighting.
  • The merriest 5K of the year is coming to Atlanta.
    The merriest 5K of the year is coming to Atlanta.

They don’t call it “hustle and bustle” for nothing. The holidays can get a little crazy, not to mention expensive. But not to worry -- we’ve got some great ideas of things to do this holiday season, things that won’t cost you much if anything at all. Ho, ho, hope to see you there. 



  • SKATE Atlantic Station – Nov. 19 through Feb. 14, 2017, lace up your skates and spin (or slowly circle) around the ice skating rink at Atlantic Station. Ticket prices start at $10. General admission is $13 and a season pass is $75. Prices include skate rental.

  • Holiday Lights Spectacular – With more than 3 million lights, see how Atlanta Motor Speedway transforms into one of the area's largest Christmas light parks, complete with carnival rides and Santa’s village. Visit the website for details on special movie events to see "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Frozen." On Dec. 3, jog through the lights in the annual Run Through the Lights 5K. Visit the Light Park Monday through Thursday, Nov. 25 through Dec. 15 for $15 per vehicle (6 passengers or fewer) and $20 per vehicle Friday through Sunday. Dec. 16 through 30, the everyday pricing goes up to $20 per vehicle. Visit the website for additional pricing to visit Santa's Village or the carnival.

  • Ugly Sweater Run – On Dec. 3 head to Piedmont Park for the merriest 5K of the year. Grab your kids and your running shoes, and be sure to dress in your best ugly sweaters. After your 5K, shoot marshmallow guns, ride a mechanical reindeer, play in fake snow and hang out in a life-size snow globe. Best part for parents 21+? This event is presented by Kahlúa, and adults who cross the finish line will receive a complimentary cocktail. How's that for holiday spirit? Each participant will receive a custom Ugly Sweater Run kit hat and finisher's medal. Post-run contests include Best Ugly Sweater, Best Kids Sweater, Best Pet Attire, Best Team Outfits, Largest Group/Family and more. Cost is $35 each and free for children ages 5 and younger. Please consider bringing your gently worn coats to donate to One Warm Coat. For more information about this charity, visit www.onewarmcoat.org.

  • Macy’s Pink Pig – Macy's Pink Pig has been a beloved tradition in Atlanta for more than 50 years. Bring your kiddos to experience this seasonal holiday ride at Lenox Square through Jan. 1, 2017. The cost is $3 per ride, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

  • Christmas at Callanwolde Light Show– It's an all new Christmas at Callonwolde, who has partnered with Illuminating Design Inc. to transform the grounds and gardens of the historic Candler Estate into a spectacular wonderland of lights. Experience the 23 foot RGB LED tree which features 37 billion color combinations, all choreographed to your favorite holiday classics. Tickets start at $20 each; children ages 3 and under are free. Visit the website for more information.
  • Polar Express Adventure – All aboard! The Polar Express is visiting The Southern Museum on Dec. 10. See the plot recreated in scenes throughout the museum and enjoy a theatrical performance by the British Academy of Performing Arts that highlights the moment when the Polar Express arrives at the North Pole. See Santa's elves, write a letter to Santa, then watch "The Polar Express" together. Admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 seniors, $5.50 for children ages 4 through 12 and free for children 3 and younger.

  • Reindeer Day – On Dec. 11, visit the Chattahoochee Nature Center for the 6th annual Reindeer Day, where live reindeer will join the other animals at CNC to help you get in the holiday spirit. Enjoy crafts, face painting, marshmallow roasting, trail hikes and more. Bring a picnic lunch or enjoy the food trucks on site. Indoor facilities are available if the weather is wintery. 

Looking for more ideas? Here are Free and cheap things to do NYE. Be sure to keep checking the Thanksgiving and Christmas pages for updates on holiday events and festivities.

Joleen Pete lives outside Atlanta with her husband and their young son. On the weekends they enjoy going into the city for family fun and exploration. Joleen is the professional photographer behind Joleen Pete Photography and family blogger behind Love, Joleen.

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