Garden Lights Holiday Nights
As soon as Halloween ends, the real fun begins: the holiday season. Between the Thanksgiving rush, the Christmas crunch and the arrival of the new year, it can be hard to catch a break and spend some time with loved ones truly enjoying the season.
Luckily, Atlanta offers many opportunities to see the sights and enjoy classic holiday favorites like lights, fireworks and timeless drinks that are perfect for a family outing or a date night.
[caption id="attachment_9616" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Macy's Pink Pig[/caption]
Priscilla the pink pig has been scooting through the Christmas season for over 50 years. The Pink Pig is a train ride sponsored by Macy’s department store and takes children along a steady track through beautiful displays of a winter wonderland. Located on the top of the parking lot near Macy’s at Lenox Square in Buckhead, the Pink Pig is a tradition that families visit year after year to kick off the holiday season. The ride opens at the end of October and runs until Jan. 1. macys.com
[caption id="attachment_9611" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Atlanta Botanical Garden[/caption]
Atlanta Botanical Garden is a hit no matter the season, but the park comes to life in the winter with stunning light displays and holiday music. Take a stroll through the garden beneath synchronized dancing lights in themed sections like the “Radiant Rainforest” and the “Tunnel of Light.” There is also a model train exhibit that makes the attraction perfect for children. Prices from mid-Nov. to early Jan. fluctuate as Christmas approaches, but if you visit after 9 p.m. tickets cost $13.95. atlantabg.org
[caption id="attachment_9614" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo by Clay Walker / Center for Puppetry Arts[/caption]
Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts brings the classic tale of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to the stage. The unique show beings in early November and ends at the end of December each year, and prices change depending on the night you choose to see it. The all-inclusive ticket package includes the performance, a Create-A-Puppet workshop and admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum. puppet.org
[caption id="attachment_9608" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Callaway Resort and Gardens[/caption]
Just an hour north of downtown, Callaway Resort and Gardens has claimed one of National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays rankings. Take a train ride through holiday lights and meet traditional holiday characters while enjoying meals and hot chocolate in the lodge and spa. Callaway also offers Christmas character breakfast buffets, How the Grinch Stole Christmas dinner shows, story time with Mrs. Claus and more family-friendly events. callawaygardens.com
In addition to all the Christmas fun, Callaway Resort and Gardens offers a spectacular firework show on New Year’s Eve, including live music and screens playing football games and the ball drop from New York City. Food and drink are also available on site. The $28 tickets to this event include admission to drive through the Christmas-themed Fantasy in Lights as well as the New Year’s Event. callawaygardens.com
The annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is held on Jan. 1. Two of the top teams in college football face off in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Though tickets can be hard to come by, everyone can enjoy the mascots, cheerleaders and marching bands that will walk alongside floats and cars during a free parade along Peachtree Street. chick-fil-apeachbowl.com
New Year’s Eve in Marietta Square is a party for all ages. Just 30 minutes from downtown, Marietta Square is a quaint park surrounded by shopping and dining options. Past events have included glow in the dark putt-putt golf, competitions, ice sculptures, live music, carnival games and more that all lead up to the midnight drop. mariettasquare.com