Yuletide Cheer: Holiday Traditions in Atlanta for the Whole Family

Southern charm and a rich history steeped in tradition. Home of Atlanta United, the Falcons, the Hawks and the Braves. Birthplace of the soft drink giant, Coca-Cola. Fresh off the farm pecans and peaches.

No other city in the world except Atlanta, Georgia has all this to offer and so much more.

Chock-full of popular attractions and world-class sophistication, Atlanta, Georgia is a dream to visit any time of the year. However, when it comes to the Christmas holidays, Atlanta is in a class all its own. With so many holiday traditions suitable for the entire family to participate in, only the North Pole is a true rival for this southern gem!

Whether you are just here for a visit, Macy’s Pink Pig Train

This is one tradition that never fails to delight all who attend. Still going strong after more than 60 years, Priscilla the Pig first made an appearance on the top floor of Rich’s store as part of a train running through the toy department. When the store closed in 1991, the pig became part of the Festival of Trees benefiting Eggleston Hospital. Deemed too expensive to operate, from 1995 to 2003 Priscilla took a hiatus until she was renovated and resurrected on the top level of the parking garage at Macy’s.

Tickets can be purchased right at the Lenox Square Mall and, once aboard, both children and adults are mesmerized by the storybook setting played out as the train slowly makes its way through a winding trail of displays. November 3rd is the grand opening, and the train runs until January 6th, 2019.

Lighting of Atlantic Station

When the air is filled with the scent of deliciously famous hot chocolate wafting from Kilwin’s, locals know it is almost time to kick off the annual lighting of Atlantic Station. Known as a day filled with exciting holiday activities, Atlantic Station is the place to be mid-November. Plan for a fun-filled day with a visit to Central Park. Be one of the first to meet jolly old St. Nick right at Santa’s Cottage before taking in all the entertainment on the main stage.

Browse through the park to take part in a full schedule of activities, including photo opportunities and the chance to come face to face with some live reindeer. Keep an eye on the clock so you don’t miss the start of the holiday parade, culminating in the lighting of the best tree in Midtown by Santa Claus himself!

Georgia Aquarium’s Festival of the SEAson

Everybody loves to visit the aquarium, and Atlanta does it up right for the holidays. For an entire month, the transformation to a Christmas wonderland must be seen to be believed! Get the young ones into magical spirit mode by assisting the elves to awaken Santa from his slumber with snowballs, watch the daily morning tree lighting ceremony, view the hourly Holidazzle light and music show and sit down to breakfast in the ballroom. With Beluga whales and Santa looking on, write your wish list letter, after eating, and hand it to Kris Kringle before you leave.

Back to Nature Holiday Market

Take the kids out to shop for people on their list (and work on finishing your own!) at this annual tradition on December 1st. Everyone is sure to find that perfect something from the unique vendors peddling their eco-friendly and handmade products. Spend hours browsing through gifts for kids, candles, beauty and bath items, art, nature gifts, food, jewelry and more. Keep up your shopping strength with a quick break at the Holiday Market Café, featuring a scrumptious selection of food and beverages fit for a king.

Yule Forest Christmas Tree Farm

No list of Christmas traditions would be complete without a family visit to seek out the perfect Christmas tree! Whether you are looking to cut down your own tree or have someone else do the work for you, Yule Forest is all about the search! Take your time deciding as you munch on candy canes and sip piping hot apple cider.

If you time your visit to coincide with the weekend, the entire family will enjoy the petting zoo and hayrides. To work off some of that excitement energy after a tree-picking victory, lead the kids to FunZone where you can play all day.

The Best Holiday Happenings in Atlanta Georgia

While the events listed will keep everyone in the family busy, this is only a small sampling of all the wonderful holiday traditions that Atlanta has to offer. With the variety of concerts, tree lightings, performances, parades and numerous other activities, there are more than 150 Christmas-themed things to do in and around Atlanta.

Whether you need a quick weekend getaway or you’re



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