Jumpstart your holiday season when you take the kids to see the best Christmas lights Atlanta has to offer

You can always tell the holidays are on the way when Christmas light displays start popping up around the city. A magical experience for kids of all ages, taking them to enjoy holiday lights is a cherished family tradition for many (just like cutting your own Christmas tree or riding a nearby Santa train). That’s why we’ve scoured the city in search of the best Christmas lights Atlanta can muster, so you can find high-voltage holiday cheer. Flip the switch on family fun when you head out in search of Atlanta holiday lights this year.

Here’s where to find stunning Christmas lights in Atlanta

1. Garden Nights, Holiday Lights - Atlanta Botanical Gardens Christmas lights

The million-light display at the Botanical Garden can't be beat. Family favorites include the orchestral orbs (glowing balls that blink in time with holiday classics), the tricked-out train display, and the fire pits for roasting s’mores (while mom and dad drink a cocktail from the cash adult bar). Be sure to bring a stroller for little legs, and don't miss the incredible laser light display in the orchid house. Guests can expect new twists, including a display in the Anne Cox Chambers Garden by French artist, Cédric LeBorgne and oversized sculptures from the summer sensation, Origami in the Garden.

Insider Tip: Families will need to purchase timed tickets in advance (they sell out quickly). If you want to save on admission, attend on one of the 14 Value Nights.

Dates: Nov. 12, 2022-Jan. 14, 2023

1345 Piedmont Ave.
Event details

2. ATL Holiday Lights

Families can find this popular drive-thru display a new location this year. And even though it's not at Atlantic Station this year, you can expect to see the same kinds of LED-powered displays that left your whole family "ooh-ing" and "ahh-ing" as you made your way along the path in the past. Timed tickets ensure everyone has enough time to drive slowly through, taking it all in. Plan to grab yours in advance (you save $10 per carload if you do). Value nights are your best bang for your buck here. 

Dates: Nov. 25, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

Lakewood Amphitheatre
2002 Lakewood Way S.W.
Event details

3. Atlantic Station Christmas Lights - Celebration at the Station

Snow in Atlanta? You bet—when you head to Atlantic Station for the free nightly celebration that's all about spreading holiday cheer. The whole thing kicked off on November 19 with a tree lighting and holiday disco. But if you missed it, you can still bring the kids to see these towering Christmas lights, Atlanta families. They'll be on nightly as part of a light and snow show (we told you) that go along with a video. Pair it with a night of ice skating around the ribbon and you've got yourself a real holiday tradition in the making.

Atlantic Green
1380 Atlantic Dr. N.W.
Online: atlanticstation.com

Related: Ice Skating Rinks near Atlanta for Fresh & Frosty Winter Fun

people in a car, standing through the sun roof, drive through Chistmas lights atlanta display world of illumination reindeer run
World of Illumination

4. World of Illumination's Reindeer Road

World of Illumination is back with a breathtaking drive-through Christmas light experience kids and families will love. Consider it the ultimate holiday activity for all ages—from tots to grandparents, and everyone, in between. Although families could enjoy this display last year at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, this year you can only find this dazzling show at Six Flags White Water in Marietta. Reindeer Road will feature millions of colorful lights and animated displays synchronized to holiday music. Plan to slowly make your way along the one-mile-long display in about 25-30 minutes—the perfect amount of time for families with small kids. They'll stay riveted so you can enjoy the show too.

Dates: Nov. 12, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

Six Flags Whitewater
250 Cobb Pkwy. N.
Marietta, GA
Event details

5. IllumiNights: A Chinese Lantern Festival - Zoo Atlanta Christmas Lights

When it comes to Atlanta Christmas lights that never disappoint, add Zoo Atlanta's noteworthy lantern display to the list. Returning as an area favorite, IllumiNights is a nighttime lantern wonderland celebrating the beauty of the natural world. Stroll the Zoo after dark to be inspired by glowing, oversized animal lanterns—some up to 20 feet tall—depicting many of the planet's most charismatic creatures. Each lantern is made and hand-painted by Chinese artisans and will totally fascinate your family.

Dates: Nov. 21, 2022-Jan. 15, 2023

800 Cherokee Ave. S.E.
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6. Let It Shine Light Show

Synchronized lights set to your favorite holiday songs. It's the stuff Christmas dreams are made of, and it's what you'll find at this brand new drive through Atlanta Christmas light experience that opens on November 18. After you've gotten tickets, it's as simple as loading the kids in the car (holiday jammies are a must), with a mug of hot cocoa and a smile. then heading over to Coolray Field to take in this full sensory experience. You'll see one million LED lights in every direction—towering overhead, off in the distance—creating a memorable experience for your little angels. All that's left is the ride home, where they'll surely have visions of sugar plum faires dancing through their heads.

Dates: Nov. 18, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

Coolray Field
2500 Buford Dr.
Lawrenceville, GA
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7. Lakeside Lights at Margaritaville Lanier Islands

Go on a magical walk through an amazing light show set to festive seasonal music. Unlike your typical holiday light show, this one is a dazzling lighting extravaganza, and you can take a break along the way for cocktails, hot chocolate, and s'mores. But we think the kids will love it if you pair your light viewing with a trip to Snow Island, where the whole fam can go tubing, ice skating, and hop on some seriously fun carnival rides.

Dates: Nov. 19-27, 2022, plus Dec. 2, 2022-Jan. 16, 2023

7541 Lanier Islands Pkwy.
Buford, GA
Event details

Related: 6 Atlanta Toy Stores That Make Holiday Shopping Easy

8. Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens

There's a reason this display in Pine Mountain is considered one of the best in the world. With 10 million lights spread out over 2,500 acres this year—Fantasy in Lights' 30th—promises to be the best one yet. Families can walk or drive through the display, taking in all that holiday cheer along the way. If you ask us, this Christmas light experience is worth the 90 minute trek from Atlanta. Even if it's just to see this year's newest addition—Celebration Lake. It features 30 dancing trees, one for each year the display has been open. Don’t forget to hit the Christmas Village before you head back home. Filled with ornaments, treats, and the Big Guy himself (photos available), the kids will love the chance to stretch their legs and marinate in the merriment.

Dates: Nov. 18, 2022-Jan. 2, 2023

17800 US Hwy 27
Pine Mountain, GA
Online: callawaygardens.com

9. Holiday Lights at Brook Run Park

Holiday Lights are back at Brook Run Park, and this year's theme is Candy Land—talk about kid appeal! Starting December 1, families can walk through this display that features 85,000 twinkling lights shaped as ice cream cones, gumball machines, chocolate volcano cake, milkshakes, and more. There's even an ice cream truck you'll be able to walk through (anyone else thinking photo op?)

Insider Tip: This display goes live December 1st, when the mayor flips the switch at 6 p.m. Come early to enjoy hot cocoa, candy, and character appearances starting at 4 p.m.

Dates: Dec. 1-31, 2022

4770 N. Peachtree Rd.
Dunwoody, GA
Event details

Related: Southern Slopes: 8 Ski Spots near Atlanta

10. Stone Mountain Christmas

Another walk-thru light display option for families with Littles who can't go too far, Stone Mountain decks the halls with millions of lights, and offers plenty of options for keeping the kids entertained—from taking a ride on the train (decorated for the holidays and rockin’ some jolly tunes) to taking in a visit with Santa, Rudolph, or the Bumble. Get there early and take a ride on Atlanta's only snow-covered slope. We're looking forward to the Christmas light show and fireworks finale at the end of the day. And the new Christmas Drone Show sounds simply amazing. Santa arrives each night by sleigh at the tree lighting.

Dates: Nov. 12, 2022-Jan. 1, 2023

1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA
Event details

11. Lights of Life at Life University

Talk about some holiday spirit. This incredible light exhibit is a zero-profit event for Life University in Marietta that boasts the tallest Santa and his sleigh display in the Southeast. New displays are added yearly, and the entire arrangement is unique each year. Be sure to hit the petting zoo, train rides, pony rides, and visit with Santa before you leave, but you might want to wait until after driving-through the light exhibit to tell the littles. You won’t be able to keep them in the car, otherwise.

Dates: Nov. 24-Dec. 31, 2022

1269 Barclay Circle
Marietta, GA
Event details

12. A Country Christmas at Pettit Creek Farms

Experience all the warmth and charm of a Southern Family Christmas at Pettit Creek Farms! Take a lovely drive or hayride through more than a mile of beautiful Christmas lights. You only need to pay for one option, either the hayride or the drive thru. Experience a nativity (animals on Saturday) and meet the animals at the petting zoo. Getting chilly? Warm up by the fire and enjoy s’mores, funnel cakes, hot chocolate, and more from a convenient concession stands.

Dates: Nov. 24-Dec. 30, 2022

337 Cassville Rd.
Cartersville, GA
Online: pettitcreekfarms.com

Related: Ride the Rails! Holiday Train Rides near Atlanta

Find the sweetest Atlanta holiday lights at these impressive neighborhood displays

while lights hang from trees wrapped in purple lights at lights of Joy one of the best christmas lights atlanta displays
Lights of Joy

13. Hrockin Hranicky Christmas Lights

Tune your radio to 107.7 FM and prepare to rock around the Christmas tree. The display runs 6–10 pm nightly. This generous family hosts fundraisers year-round for their favorite charity, and the holiday season is no different. Donations of money, pet food, and supplies are accepted on behalf of Angels Among Us Animal Rescue.

Location: 3848 Rivers Run Trce. N.W., Acworth, GA

14. Lights of Joy

With 1 million lights, this is the biggest residential Christmas lights display in Georgia. Nightly shows run from Sunday, November 27, through Sunday, January 1, 2023, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. The family encourages visitors to park across the street at the Influencers Church and walk to see the lights. Also, please leave pets at home.

Location: 1510 Ben King Rd., Kennesaw, GA

15. Springfield Drive

What do Star Wars and Hanukkah have in common? Only one of the best inflatable and lights displays in Atlanta. And it isn't just one house. Head to Springfield Drive in Dunwoody to get a boost of Hanukkah spirit.

Location: Springfield Dr., Dunwoody, GA

16. Burton Christmas Lights

After Thanksgiving, you can cruise past this elaborate, annual display to see festive holiday lights, animations, and synchronization (turn your car radio to 101.9 FM to hear the music). 

Location: 165 Stafford Ct., Fayetteville, GA

17. Portwood Family Christmas Lights

With more than 100,000 lights and a 35-foot Frosty the Snowman, this family decorates in super-size. Free to drive by or walk past, the Portwood family is collecting packs of new socks for ages 6-13 for the Paulding County Sheriff's Office. You'll find them with the lights on November 25-December 10, from Sunday through Thursday, 6–10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, from 6–11 p.m.

Location: 20 Valley Dr., Hiram, GA

18. Ashebrooke Night of Lights

This Cumming neighborhood lights up its streets and homes in a spectacular way one night in December, raising money for local causes. This year's event date has yet to be released, but you can check Facebook or Instagram for updates. Hit it on the magical night of lights for a chance to see Santa, a live nativity scene, falling snow, and hot cocoa.

Location: Ashebrooke Subdivision in Cumming, GA. The nearest major intersection is at Kelly Mill Rd. and Bethleview.

19. Woodruff Family Christmas Lights

"HOLIDAY MAGIC" is a free nightly Atlanta holiday light show, put on annually by the Woodruff family, featuring dancing Christmas lights, inflatables, and special effects synchronized to holiday music. With a history of doing a musical tribute to Prince, this may be the funkiest family light show around. The show will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and run nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight through January.

Location: 5268 Seamus Way, Powder Springs, GA

20. A Whole Lot of Christmas

This Stone Mountain family has been decorating their home for over 25 years with only the help of family, friends, and neighbors, and they’re proud to provide a “whole LOT of Christmas” each year. With a Christmas tree forest, snowflake lane, gingerbread land, North Pole Cafe, Disney section, nativity, and Santa, this family endeavor is big enough to inspire even the worst Grinch to string a light or two. Check hours of operation and details on their Facebook page when planning your trip. Admission is free, but donations are accepted for a charity of the family’s choice each year.

Location: 1833 Smokerise Summit, Stone Mountain, GA

21. Gaddy Family Christmas Light Display

For over 20 years, this family in Fayetteville has put on a Christmas light extravaganza, complete with an operating Ferris wheel and thousands of lights. There is no admission, visitors must remain in their vehicles for safety, and donations for March of Dimes and Toys for Tots are welcome. The Gaddy family keeps the lights on from Thanksgiving through January 1 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Location: 898 Sandy Creek Rd., Fayetteville, GA

22. Duluth's Christmas House

This crowd-favorite private home has thousands of lights; you’ll want to put a trip to see it on your winter bucket list. The display will be nightly from Friday, November 20 through December 31, from 6 p.m.-10 pm. Please keep in mind that in the event of severe weather (wind, heavy rain, or snow), they may not have the display. Check their Facebook page by 4 p.m. daily for any weather-related changes.

In addition to the lights, the family holds an annual holiday food drive for the community food pantry at First Baptist Duluth. Drop your non-perishable items in the bin at the driveway's end.

Location: 2929 Mockingbird Cir., Duluth, GA

23. Smoot Family Christmas Light Show

This home display features over 70,000 commercial LED Christmas lights and will kick off on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. Check their Facebook page for hours of operation and up-to-the-minute information. All donations from this show go to The Lupus Foundation of America, Georgia Chapter.

Location: 3699 Autumn Dr., Acworth, GA

Good to Know: Before heading out to see these neighborhood Christmas light displays, please check their Facebook pages and websites to make sure the show is running. We’ve linked them up to make it easy for you, since there’s nothing worse than disappointing kids who are eager to see a synchronized light show.

additional reporting by Shelley Massey

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