Atlanta's Most Iconic Holiday Events

Atlanta's holiday traditions make the season merry and bright.
  • Run into the holiday spirit at Stone Mountain Park.
    Run into the holiday spirit at Stone Mountain Park.

Updated November 2019

How do Atlantans celebrate the holidays? Of course, every family has its own traditions, but there are several that are unique to Atlanta. Here are some of our favorites.

Pink Pig

Riding the Pink Pig has delighted children (and parents) since the 1950s. Priscilla the Pink Pig returns to Macy’s in Lenox Square ready to carry on this wonderful Atlanta tradition.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl takes place Dec. 28 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Also on the 28th is the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade, which starts at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Xernona Clayton Way and ends at FanFest in the Georgia World Congress Center, where there is food plus interactive games, entertainment, giveaways and merchandise. Related activities on Dec. 27 are Fan Night at the Georgia Aquarium and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast.

Atlanta Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

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Dreaming of Sugarplum Fairies is an Atlanta tradition that can only be satisfied by going to the Fabulous Fox Theatre and watching the magnificent Atlanta Ballet perform "The Nutcracker." The ballet runs from Dec. 7 through the 24,with the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra providing the memorable music.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

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Atlantas love going to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, especially in the winter where the fantastic light and sound show, Garden Lights Holiday Nights is on display from Nov. 16 through Jan. 11, 2020. In addition, kids can meet Botanical Saint Nick every Saturday from Nov. 30 through Dec. 21 and take their pets on Dec. 7 to the Reindog Parade where canines dress up for the holiday. 

Stone Mountain Christmas

The holiday season is a two-fer at Stone Mountain Park where you can spend the day enjoying the rides such as Summit Skyride and Scenic Railroad, then get in the holiday spirit with Stone Mountain Christmas from Nov. 16  through Jan. 5, 2020. Cheer on the Snow Angel Parade, watch the Polar Express and meet some of your favorite holiday characters.

Festival of Trees 

Atlanta organizations have been decorating trees for charities for decades, and the tradition continues at the annual Festival of Trees at the Embassy Suites Centennial Park. 

Waffle Palace Christmas

Once in a while a new tradition starts and that’s exactly what happened at the Horizon Theatre Company in Little Five Points. “Waffle Palace Christmas” tells the story of several people at the Waffle Palace diner (which looks a lot like Atlanta-based Waffle House). It’s a fun way to celebrate the joy of the holiday from Nov. 22 through Dec. 29.

Atlanta Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market, supporting the education and culture of Germany, features a variety of German products and craftsmanship in addition to seasonal specialties and street food. The market is open from Nov. 21 through Dec. 23 at Centennial Olympic Park.

Chinese Lantern Festival

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The Chinese Lantern Festival at Centennial Olympic Park brings 25 amazing and huge Chinese lanterns to the park along with nightly entertainment including acrobatics, dancers and theatrical performers. The festival kicks off on Nov. 22 and runs through Jan. 5, 2020.

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

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