Atlanta's Most Iconic Holiday Events

Atlanta's holiday traditions make the season merry and bright.
  • Garden Lights Holiday Nights delights at Atlanta Botanical Garden.
    Garden Lights Holiday Nights delights at Atlanta Botanical Garden.
  • There's a lot to do at during Christmas at Stone Mountain Park.
    There's a lot to do at during Christmas at Stone Mountain Park.
  • The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is more than a college football game. Enjoy all the activities.
    The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is more than a college football game. Enjoy all the activities.
  • The Chinese Lantern Festival shines bright at Centennial Olympic Park.
    The Chinese Lantern Festival shines bright at Centennial Olympic Park.

Cities across the world have holiday traditions, and Atlanta is no exception. As far as I know, it is the only city in the world where a pink pig is a beloved part of the holiday tradition. When you're in town during the winter months, be sure to experience some of these most iconic Atlanta events.

  • The Pink Pig debuted at Rich’s downtown store in the 1950s, and after a brief stint at the Egleston Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees, the pig moved to Macy’s at Lenox Square. Children will love – and remember – the ride on the monorail with Priscilla, Atlanta’s famous Pink Pig.

  • To some, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is just a college football game (of course, the friends and families of Alabama and Washington would strongly disagree). This year, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host its first college football playoff semifinal on Dec. 31. But there is so much more to see and do. The fun starts with a parade. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade, presented by the Lions Clubs International, steps off on Dec. 31, at 9 a.m. The parade starts at Baker and Peachtree streets and travels through Centennial Olympic Park to FanFest at the Georgia World Congress Center. Come watch the floats, classic cars, cheerleaders, bands and more.

  • Among other activities are Fan Days at the College Football Hall of Fame (Dec. 29 through Jan. 1, 2017); the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FanFest (Dec. 31). A not-to-be missed event is Fan Night at the Georgia Aquarium. Check the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl website for updates.

  • For children dreaming of sugarplum fairies, the Nutcracker is just what the marching soldiers ordered. The Atlanta Ballet performs the annual visual and musical event at the Fox Theatre. The show runs from Dec. 15 to 24.

  • The ever popular Festival of Trees will take place at the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park through Jan. 1, 2017. Various organizations decorate trees, and admirers “vote” for their favorite tree or charity by donating money with the envelopes designated at each tree. There is complimentary valet parking.

  • Christmas at Stone Mountain Park  features 2 million lights, holiday shows, a snow-angel palace, a parade with Santa and snow.  Nearby, Snow Mountain offers tubing down snowy hills through Feb. 26, 2017.

  • Garden Lights Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden features more than 1 million lights, costumed characters, attractions and snacks at the 30-acre winter wonderland.

  • Holidays at Centennial Olympic Park features an ice rink and light displays. The new Chinese Lantern Festival in the south section will be open from Dec. 9 through Jan. 15, 2017.

  • The Peach Drop is an annual event that features live music starting at 7 p.m. with the giant 800-pound peach descending at midnight with fireworks at Underground Atlanta.

The fun doesn't stop there. There are Christmas and New Year's Eve events galore to make your spirit bright. 

Journalist Mary Welch writes business and feature stories for national and local publications.

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