Beyond the Bird: Things to Do in Atlanta after Thanksgiving

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After the main event has settled and your family and friends are full, you can turn your attention to activities all around town that are worth buckling up for. Keep reading for our favorite things to do in Atlanta after Thanksgiving’s over.


CHOA's Season on the Square

This year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is reimagining a new holiday tradition to kick off the season. The annual Children’s Holiday Parade will be replaced by a full day of fun for the entire family at Colony’s Square’s Season on the Square. The Lighting at Colony Square celebration held Saturday, December 4, 2021. Highlights of the parade, like bands and dance groups, will still play a role in the celebration with a 20-minute Street Extravaganza performance on Peachtree Street and the Main Stage at Colony Square. Here's what you need to know.

seattle christmas lights ravenna candy cane lane
photo: Mojdeh S. via yelp

Tour Residential Light Displays

If you’re looking for high-voltage holiday cheer, these megawatt neighborhood Christmas light displays are sure to flip the switch on some family fun. These Atlanta-area residential winter wonderlands are brought to you by families with some serious spirit. Read on because we’re shedding light on our favorite festive homes around town. Find out more here.

ice skating

Avalon on Ice

Tis’ the season to lace up your skates and glide into the holiday spirit at Avalon on Ice! A monumental Rockefeller-inspired ice skating rink is back like last year, guests will need to book ice skating reservations in advance to ensure a skating time slot and that the ice doesn't get too crowded. Walk-ups are also welcome, there's no guarantee you will be able to skate at that time. Here's the info you'll want to know before you go.


Explore the Christkindl Market

Enjoy a German-style holiday extravaganza for the most wunderbar time of the year. Expect more than 50 vendors dishing hot chocolate, cider, and German Glühwein (aka, mulled wine), alongside traditional German eats such as pretzels, brats, and schnitzel. Shopping booths will feature wooden toys, jewelry, hardwood pipes, and other German handcrafts, including ornaments from well-known maker Käthe Wohlfahrt. Live music and entertainment are scheduled for the weekends, and “complimentary fire pits” will be dotted around the Village’s new open-air Veranda all season. Check this info out before you go.

Zoo Atlanta

Enjoy IllumiNights at Zoo Atlanta

Check out one of Atlanta's newest and most noteworthy holiday events at Zoo Atlanta. IllumiNights is a nighttime lantern wonderland celebrating the beauty of the natural world. Stroll the Zoo after dark to be inspired by more than 80 animal lanterns – some up to 20 feet tall – depicting some of Earth’s most charismatic creatures. Each lantern is made and hand-painted by Chinese artisans. Wildlife lights the night at the all-NEW IllumiNights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival, opening in November 2021 and running through mid-January. Here's the scoop.


Chase Snowflakes at Atlantic Station

Set to the soundtrack provided by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, we’ve integrated the holiday tree lights, cafe lights surrounding Atlantic Green, all-new custom Jumbotron animated video, and snow shows into one spectacular celebration that occurs every hour from 5-9 p.m. Monday – Sunday this holiday season. Did we mention it’s free? Make Celebration at the Station part of your family’s holiday tradition this year.


Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

For a fresh take on the holidays, head to a Christmas tree farm. Choose from pre-cut trees, wreaths, and garland—or, of course—cut your own. For bonus points, pick up a hayride or a visit with Santa while you’re there. Just be sure to call before you go to verify hours and tree availability. Keep reading here for our favorite places to pick your perfect Christmas tree.

World of Illumination

Drive-Through World of Illumination

Choose from two new Worlds of Illumination drive-through light experiences for the ultimate holiday activity for all ages—from tots to grandparents, and everyone, in between. At the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton you'll have an Arctic Adventure, while at Six Flags White Water in Marietta you'll have a Rockin' Christmas. Both shows feature millions of colorful lights and animated displays synchronized to holiday music. Here's the intel.

—Shelley Massey


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