After all the cool, rainy weather, it’s a welcome relief to see the Christmas holiday forecast is for warm temperatures and sunny skies. If you’re anxious to get out of the house and spend time with friends and family, here are a few ideas for you.
(Please verify each event and its hours online or through a quick phone call before you head out. We’ve done our best to be accurate, but things change and mistakes happen.)
The first section includes ideas for Christmas Eve ONLY, while the next section lists events and venues that are open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve ONLY
Browse the Atlanta Christkindl Market
If you have last minute shopping to do, or just want to wander around outside, head downtown to Centennial Park and browse this traditional German Christmas Market. It is open until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, then it’s gone for the season. More details here.
Snap a pic with Santa
There are still a few FREE photo opps left, if you want to sit on Santa’s lap this holiday season. Some are open to pets as well as people. Many are designed as do-it-yourself snapshots, so bring your camera/phone and your selfie stick, or bring a friend to click the shutter. Check out our full listing of where to get free photos with Santa.
Catch a holiday show
Many of Atlanta’s stage theaters put on Christmas Eve performances. As of this writing, there are still a few tickets left for the afternoon matinee of The Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre and the evening show of Waffle Palace Christmas at Horizon Theatre. Check out our full listing of holiday shows and any discounts that apply — then click around to see which venues still have tickets.
Play in the snow at Stone Mountain
The snow tubing hills and play areas at Stone Mountain are open on Christmas Eve, from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m. You could combine it with a visit to the Christmas Village to see the lights after dark. (Stone Mountain Park is closed on Dec. 25th)
Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day
Take in a festive light display
Most of the big holiday light displays are open on Christmas Eve. This includes the lights at Callaway Gardens, Stone Mountain, Life University, Lanier Islands, Atlanta Botanical Garden, etc.
There’s also the Chinese Lantern Festival.
BUT WAIT — you don’t have to spend a dime! You can visit the PRISM Winter Lights installation at Woodruff Park for FREE, or drive by light displays in neighborhoods and at private homes.
Scroll through our listing of the Best Holiday Light Displays.
Play in the snow at Lanier Islands
The snow tubing hills and play areas at Lanier Islands are open both on Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day.
On Dec. 24th, License to Chill Snow Island is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
On Dec. 25th, it is open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Go ice skating
You’ll find seasonal, pop-up ice rinks at these locations. Click the links for more info about prices and hours.
- Atlantic Station — 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 3 – 11 p.m. on Dec. 25
- Avalon — 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both days
- Old Town Conyers — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 24th and 5 – 10 p.m. on Dec. 25th
Note that the rink at Park Tavern is closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Head to the movies
Whether you’re a fan of Star Wars or CATS, you can easily find a showtime that will fit your holiday schedule.
Check the film listings on Fandango.
Grab a meal out with friends and family
Find a restaurant that’s open for the holiday, whether you’re looking for brunch, Christmas dinner, or lite-bites and a cocktail. Some require reservations and others do not.
Walk (or bike) off those cookie calories!
Spend some time outdoors — take a stroll or a roll on the BeltLine or explore the NEW Peachtree Creek Greenway, now open in Brookhaven.