One of my favorite things about living in Atlanta is our access to all kinds of amazing events and activities that we get to experience with our 2 young children (aged 2.5 and 10 months). And of course during the holiday season Atlanta goes all out. I mean for the past 3-4 weeks now every weekend of ours has been packed with holiday activities, as will our next weekend, and we haven’t even gotten to do all of the stuff that we’ve wanted to. I’m currently sitting here begging Tom to have a sick day next week so that we can do a few more holiday activities. I mean, you only live once, right? And yes, I’m writing this with less than 2 weeks until Christmas, but hopefully it will help ATLiens fill up the rest of the month with fun holiday activities and help with planning out the holidays next year too. So here are my top picks for holiday events in Atlanta:
Jeff Roffman Photography Santa
We discovered this last year and are obsessed. Not only does Jeff take the best pictures (seriously they are so good) but he turns his whole studio into a holiday festival complete with cookie decorating, crafts, a movie playing, hot chocolate, a place to write letters to Santa and send them, and even a giant teddy bear for all the kids to love on. At $65 (which includes 2 pictures of the kids) we thought it was well worth the memory both this year and last. This year I booked it around February so if you want to get a slot for 2017 (crazy to be thinking about now) you’ll want to get on his Santa listserve!
Rudolph at the Center for Puppetry Arts
I was really nervous taking my 2.5 year old to see a play. Like my Maddie Grace sitting and staying quiet for 2 hours? Right. Great. Sure. Sounds like fun (not). But she really surprised me! She sat still and watched the whole play and seemed to actually really enjoy it. She did get a little scared in parts but overall she did great and I enjoyed it as well. Afterwards kids can make their own puppet. After that we hit up the gift shop and Maddie Grace got to pick out a little Rudolph stuffed animal to take home and show baby brother. Rudolph plays almost every day through 12/31!
Adventure to Santa at Northpoint Mall
This is always a super cute and well put together attraction at a great mall. The kids get taken through different rooms as part of the journey to see Santa, and then you get to sit on Santa’s sled and ‘ride’ to see Santa. It’s one of those things where they really make it seem like you’re on a roller coaster even though you’re just sitting still. Afterwards the kids get their picture taken with Santa!
The Grinch at Ponce City Market
In case you or your kids were getting sick of all things Santa, take them to see the Grinch at Ponce City Market on Saturday’s and Sunday’s in December instead! Our daughter is absolutely Grinch obsessed so this is on our list of things to do next weekend.
Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of our favorite places to visit, and the Garden Lights display is truly breathtaking. Our daughter has enjoyed it from the first time we took her at 8 months old. The lights are mesmerizing and you can purchase both cold and hot beverages to enjoy while there. There is also a great train display that my little ones go crazy over. It makes for a great night out with the family.
Okay so this is something you have to do if you live in Atlanta just to say you’ve done it, because… tradition. Honestly it’s underwhelming, and a little strange I thought, but it was cute and our daughter loves anything involving a train so it was a hit for her. It’s at Lenox Mall and you’ll probably need to do some shopping anyways, and a portion of proceeds go to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, so it’s worth the trip.
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Polar Express and Santa Express
These are two different things – the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has both a Polar Express ride and a Santa Express ride on their amazing train system. I’ve only heard great things so I grabbed us some of the last tickets left for next week on the Santa Trip. Apparently Polar Express sells out well in advance so I am getting on the listserve to make sure I can sign up for that as soon as possible next year!
So I haven’t actually gone since before Maddie Grace was born, but the Atlanta Ballet does an amazing job every year putting on the Nutcracker. It’s in the beautiful Fox Theatre and a must see… but probably not appropriate for children under the age of 4. Next year we might try it but will have to play it by ear!
In Savannah there is one ice skating rink that sets up for the month of December and it was one of my favorite things growing up. Luckily in Atlanta we have several to choose from! My favorites are the ones at Park Tavern and Avalon.
What are your favorite holiday activities (anywhere)?!? I love learning more about the fun stuff to do this time of year!
We love doing the Botanical Gardens every year!
Chanel van Reenen says
These are so awesome! I live in Atlanta and we are always looking for things to do with the kids!
I need to check out the botanical gardens. Awesome list!