It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Get in a festive holiday mood with Unexpected Atlanta’s guide to 25+ Christmas events in Atlanta in 2023. These ideas are perfect for your next holiday date, family outing, entertaining out-of-town guests, or planning your corporate holiday happy hour.
Browsing ideas early in the season? Many of the Atlanta holiday events below are perfect for entertaining Thanksgiving guests in Atlanta, as well as general winter and holiday fun!
Be sure to view each activity’s website for the most up-to-date details, ticket prices, and availability.
A few of our favorite Atlanta Christmas events in 2023:
Read on for more information on these events, and other activities!
- Take a holiday biscuit-making class at Sweet Auburn Curb Market
- See dazzling lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and Callaway Gardens
- Watch an unforgettable Nutcracker performance with the Atlanta Ballet
- Find the perfect holiday gift at the Atlantic Station Makers Market or the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Shopping Spectacular
- Cheer on your favorite college basketball team at Holiday Hoopsgiving
- Enjoy kitschy holiday cocktails at the Miracle Bars
- Take a holiday cooking class, or learn how to build a gingerbread house
In this guide, you’ll find:
- Atlanta Christmas events: 2023 updated suggestions
- Holiday festivals, markets, and light displays around Atlanta
- Family-friendly Atlanta holiday events, including holiday events for toddlers
- Holiday sports events and athletic activities
- Romantic Christmas date ideas
- Atlanta office holiday happy hour ideas
- Unique Christmas party ideas
- Fun Christmas activities: Atlanta & beyond
- Family holiday photo ops
Holiday Food & Drink Experiences in Atlanta
1. Entertain Visitors with an Atlanta Food Tour
Keep holiday visitors entertained with a unique food tour of Atlanta! The wildly popular Grant Park Past & Future Food Walk from Unexpected Atlanta allows you to sample the best of Atlanta’s food while learning all about our city’s history.
Taste 8 modern Southern fusion dishes at 3 local food stops in Atlanta’s historic Grant Park neighborhood. The experience includes a stroll through the scenic Historic Oakland Cemetery, where many noteworthy Atlantans are laid to rest. With knowledgable and friendly guides, the tone of these tours is warm, informative, and inviting.
Unexpected Atlanta offers three unique walking tours, with over 1,500 five-star TripAdvisor reviews! Join us for a tour to see why locals and tourists alike love our Atlanta walking tours.
Additionally, for Atlanta-based corporate teams spread across multiple cities, try virtual holiday experiences. One fun option is the European Holiday adventure offered by our sister company, Unexpected Virtual Tours!
2. Take a Holiday Food Market Tour + Biscuit-Making Class
During this experience, you’ll try 11 delicious seasonal holiday tastings from 4 food vendors in Atlanta’s oldest market. Then, become Southern cooks with a hands-on Atlanta cooking class! You’ll learn how to make Southern biscuits in seasonal snowman shapes.
This is the perfect class to prepare for holiday baking ahead – after all, who doesn’t love a good, fluffy, warm biscuit? Or, use this as a chance to unplug and relax during a busy holiday season. Plus, this doubles as a great team building activity for work teams – learn more about our private corporate holiday experience here!
3. Sample Holiday Treats by Black-Owned Businesses
On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, head to the Taste Urban food festival at The Foundry at Puritan Mill!
Your ticket includes the chance to try delicious dishes at 20+ food tasting stations. Sample holiday dishes like ribs, sweet potato pie, and more while learning about and supporting Black-owned organizations and businesses.
At Taste Urban, you’ll find over 70 exhibitors, shopping and networking opportunities, drinks for purchase, and more!
4. Try Holiday Sips at Miracle Bar
Enjoy a merry Christmas bar with kitschy holiday cocktails and treats at the Miracle Bar! Visit Miracle Bar on Monroe Drive for drink options including favorites like the Run Run Rudolph, Bad Santa, and Elfing Around.
In addition to visiting with friends or family, this Christmas activity is perfect for office holiday happy hours and Atlanta holiday parties!
This year, Miracle opens on November 25 through December 24 (closed on Dec. 25). Be patient when you go – they tend to fill up fast, with a line to get in! Reservations are not accepted, and seats are first-come, first-served.
Festive Holiday Markets in Atlanta
5. Find the Perfect Holiday Gift at the Atlantic Station Makers Market
Find the perfect locally crafted holiday gift for everyone on your list! At Atlantic Station’s Makers Market, you’ll find art, jewelry, and home decor. The best part? You’ll support and celebrate Atlanta’s unstoppable creativity.
This market is hosted on the Atlantic Green on weekends throughout November and December. Here, you’ll find tasty treats, talented artists, and fun for everyone!
Other Atlantic Station holiday events vary from year to year. Typically, they include a tree lighting, ice skating, and pop-up vendors.
6. Go to the Indie Craft Exchange Holiday Shopping Spectacular
Find your favorite indie, offbeat, and unique holiday gifts at the Indie Craft Experience Holiday Shopping Spectacular!
The Indie Craft Exchange hosts award-winning craft and vintage markets, and their holiday events are filled with unique and thoughtful gifts. Treat someone you love – or yourself!
This holiday market is a festive favorite among many Atlantans. Visit the Holiday Shopping Spectacular at the Georgia Freight Depot on December 2-3, 2023.
7. Browse the Atlanta Christkindl Market
Be transported to an incredible traditional German holiday market! Hosted at The Buckhead Village District, the Atlanta Christkindl Market is open November 17 through December 24, 2023.
Browse holiday gifts and unique wares from over fifty vendors at this enchanting market. This event is organized in partnership with the German American Cultural Foundation and the German American Chambers of Commerce, with authenticity in mind!
In addition to shopping, this market will also offer German foods and beverages for sale in a festive and fun atmosphere.
Watch the short video below for Atlanta-themed holiday gift ideas!
Unique Christmas & Holiday Events Around Atlanta
8. Have an Adventurous Holiday at Six Flags Over Georgia
During Holiday in the Park, Six Flags Over Georgia transforms into a winter wonderland! Wander through more than a million festive LED holiday lights and themed decorations, including dozens of Christmas trees throughout the park. Moreover, you can experience festive holiday shows, delicious treats, and of course, plenty of roller coasters and rides.
Holiday in the Park takes place from on select dates from November 18, 2023 through January 3, 2024.
9. Celebrate the Season at Colony Square, Benefitting CHOA
This year, join The Lighting at Colony Square for a celebration to kick off the holiday season and support Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The event includes live music, jolly entertainment, fun family activities, and more! Get all the details and a schedule of events on the Lighting at Colony Square website above.
This event will take place on December 1, 2023.
10. Explore the Annual Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes
What’s better than exploring other people’s beautiful homes? Exploring other people’s beautiful homes decked out for the holidays! The Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes is celebrating its 41st year in 2023.
In addition to holiday home tours, this event also includes an artist market, a bake sale, a candlelight concert, and more. Join in the neighborly fun – you might even meet a new friend or two!
Home tours will take place on Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10, 2023.
11. Snap Photos with Santa
No holiday season is complete without a visit with Santa! A visit to the big guy can help kick off the Christmas season and get everyone excited for the season.
Our favorite Atlanta choice for Santa photos is Jeff Roffman Photography. You can follow the Jeff Roffman Photography Facebook page for details and availability. Jeff is notorious for his hilarious crying photos. But, this Santa will create picture perfect holiday memories!
For other Santa photo options available in 2023, explore Atlanta Parent’s guide with 40+ places to snap Santa photos around the city!
12. Take a Scenic Holiday Train Ride
Venture outside of Atlanta to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s Holiday Express train!
This festive 1-hour train ride includes holiday music and an enchanting reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” During this experience, children will also get the chance for a special visit with Santa, a souvenir Blue Ridge Scenic Railway jingle bell, an activity packet, and a candy cane.
Additionally, you can enjoy a steaming cup of cocoa and other snacks in the concession car. The Holiday Express is offered on various dates in November and December 2023. All aboard for a magical holiday adventure!
13. Attend Toddler Storytime at the Atlanta History Center
Toddler Storytime: Arctic Adventure at the Atlanta History Center is a family friendly event geared toward little ones ages 0-5. On December 6, 2023, this special storytime encourages kiddos to bundle up and learn about what happens when winter arrives.
Hosted on the first Wednesday of each month, Toddler Storytimes are a unique experience that includes arts and crafts projects, music, and – of course – a story! Located in Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center is also home to award-winning exhibitions, historic houses and gardens, and more across its 33 acres.
Atlanta Holiday Theatre & Musical Performances
14. Take the Family to See Rudolph: the Center for Puppetry Arts
See the beloved holiday classic tale – performed live, with puppets! Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts is a delight for all ages. Based on the 1964 stop-motion animation special, this show speaks to the misfit in all of us with anti-bullying themes and a message of self acceptance.
Tickets to Rudolph include admission to the Create-A-Puppet Workshop, where you can make your own adorable paper Spotted Elephant Tabletop Puppet to take home.
Tickets also include admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, with the world’s largest collection of Jim Henson puppets! Here, you can come face to face with iconic puppets like Big Bird, Kermit, and Cookie Monster. Plus, see cult favorite Henson creations like puppets from Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, and more. The museum is also home to an extensive global collection of puppetry.
15. See The Hip Hop Nutcracker at The Fox
Start a new holiday tradition with The Hip Hop Nutcracker at The Fox Theatre! On December 3, 2023, this show will offer audiences “a unique and joyful holiday mash-up for the whole family.”
This contemporary dance show is set to remixed and reimagined versions of Tchaikovsky’s beloved music. With talented dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and special guests, this is sure to be a fun holiday event. MC Kurtis Blow, one of Hip Hop’s “founding fathers,” is also part of the show.
The Fox Theatre is an iconic Atlanta venue. Its striking architecture sets the tone for a special evening. Additionally, the ceiling of its 4,665-seat theatre is designed to look like a starlit evening sky.
16. Celebrate with the Georgia Boy Choir
On December 8 & 9, 2023, watch the Georgia Boy Choir perform at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. This concert is an unforgettable Atlanta holiday tradition!
During the performance, you’ll hear classic Christmas carols and holiday favorites in a magnificent sanctuary setting.
In addition, a full orchestra and Mighty Mander organ accompany the Choir’s vocal harmonies to create a moving and festive experience for all.
17. Delight Little Ones with Theatre for the Very Young
If your little ones aren’t quite ready for more formal holiday production, take them to “(Knock, Knock)” at the Alliance Theatre! As part of their Theatre for the Very Young series, this show is geared toward audiences ages 0-5.
This show celebrates community, family, and warmth during the holiday season. Whimsy abounds, with scenic and installation design by Tiny Doors Atlanta. Join a festive adventure with surprises behind each door – all you need to do is (Knock, Knock)!
This show runs from November 10-December 23, 2023 in the Alliance Theatre’s Selig Family Black Box Theatre.
18. Experience A Christmas Carol at the Alliance Theatre
A Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved holiday stories of all time. Watch as Ebenezer Scrooge goes on a Christmas journey toward redemption – with beautiful live music and an all-star cast.
This year, the production returns with an exciting new adaptation. That is to say, the set of the show has been completely reimagined. Moreover, this production includes stunning new costumes.
This production runs from November 11-December 24, 2023 on the Alliance Theatre’s Coca-Cola Stage.
19. See Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker at Cobb Energy Centre
Each year, the Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker reminds viewers of the magic of the holidays. This is the perfect activity for a special family holiday tradition!
ArtsATL wrote about this production as “layered with imagery and so packed with visual details, it’s impossible to take it all in at once. Audiences can return year after year and make new discoveries.”
In 2023, the Nutcracker will again be at the Cobb Energy Centre. This production features lavish sets, bold costumes, and state of the art technology to create a dazzling show you’ll never forget!
20. Attend the Nutcracker! Musical Christmas Ballet at The Fox
Not to be confused with the Atlanta Ballet Nutcracker (above), the Nutcracker! Musical Christmas Ballet will delight audiences at The Fox Theatre. Choose from one of two showings on December 15 & 16, 2023.
This show is full of larger than life puppets, awe inspiring acrobatic acts, striking costumes, and exquisite artistry.
The international cast features “stars of Ukraine ballet performing at the highest level of classical technique.”
Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Around Atlanta
21. Explore Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is always magical. But, the garden shines during its annual Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. That’s because the light displays create a shimmering winter wonderland that will excite guests of all ages.
In 2023, Garden Lights returns on November 18. Favorite highlights include the Radiant Rainforest, the Ice Goddess, and Brilliant Bugs.
While you’re there, be sure to also explore the stunning Tunnel of Light – a perfect backdrop to snap a holiday photo or video!
22. Be Transported to a Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
For more than 20 years, Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens has dazzled visitors. This is a spectacular light and sound show. And, 2023 will be no exception!
National Geographic named this one of the Top 10 Light Displays in the world. More than 8 million lights illuminate this holiday spot. Here, you can walk through a winter wonderland of twinkling lights and mesmerizing Christmas scenes.
Stroll through Christmas Tree Lane to see beautifully decorated trees. Then, stop at the Christmas Market for festive snacks and character meet-and-greets! This year, you can experience the brand-new Tree of Traditions, “a 40-foot Pixel Pine Tree, lighting up festive winter nights in Callaway Christmas Village.”
Lights begin on November 17, 2023 and go through January 1, 2024.
23. See Millions of Lights at a Stone Mountain Christmas
During a Stone Mountain Christmas, you can be immersed in the holiday spirit with festive music, millions of twinkling lights, spectacular shows, and visits from favorite holiday characters!
See Santa in flight during the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony, catch the world’s largest Christmas light show, journey through a magical forest, see a Christmas parade, and more. View the event website for specific details and a schedule of events.
A Stone Mountain Christmas is open select days from November 11, 2023-January 2, 2024.
24. Drive Down Reindeer Road at Six Flags White Water
Head to Six Flags White Water in Marietta to embark on an Enchanted Safari! During this magical road trip, your family can experience a spectacular drive-through light forest.
Trek over land, sea, and air to encounter peacocks to piranhas, fly with reindeer, outrun a T-Rex, and more! Plus, brave your way through the Tunnel of Tentacles and face the King of the Jungle to make your way to Santa’s Bazaar.
Hosted by World of Illumination, this light attraction is open from November 15 to December 31, 2023.
Athletic & Sports Holiday Events in Atlanta
25. Celebrate with Basketball at Holiday Hoopsgiving
Calling all basketball fans! Holiday Hoopsgiving is returning to State Farm Arena in 2023. At this men’s college basketball showcase, you can watch heart-pounding matchups of the country’s best college basketball teams!
Holiday Hoopsgiving will take place on December 9, 2023 with two game times.
26. Cheer on the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium
While not strictly a Christmas or holiday event, catching a Falcons game is a fun way to enjoy the season with family and friends!
Holiday season 2023 home games include match-ups with the New Orleans Saints (Nov. 26), New York Jets (Dec. 3), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dec. 10). See the Falcons play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium downtown.
27. Ice Skate at Atlantic Station
Bundle up in your coziest sweater and head out for a day of skating at Skate the Station in Atlantic Station!
To make your ice skating even more festive, Atlantic Station is all decked out in lights and decor for the holidays. Best of all, your pass includes ice skate rental, making this an easy holiday experience. You can also grab a hot chocolate and other treats at the Skate Shack nearby.
Skate the Station is open from November 17, 2023 through January 15, 2024, weather permitting.
28. Bonus New Year Idea: Complete the “Resolution Run” 5k with Atlanta Track Club
Ring in 2023 with the Atlanta Track Club’s Resolution Run! The race offers a 5 kilometers, 1 mile, and Dash option for participants.
Finish the Resolution Run at Piedmont Park – and start your new year with a sense of accomplishment!
This event includes a celebratory post-race toast, a gear check, and free parking. If you don’t want to run, you can also volunteer to help!
Looking for more fun Atlanta ideas and activities? Check out Unexpected Atlanta’s unique walking tours of our city! Our engaging tours are the perfect activity for locals and tourists to connect, learn something new, and spark conversations during an amazing experience!