By Julia Turner

After the holiday parade, annual theater productions and concerts, what else is there to do in Atlanta for the holidays? Plenty! We’ve rounded up some upcoming events that you should add to your calendar if you’re looking to entertain the kids, family or just take a break from shopping.

Christmas on Peachtree
The event is billed as the largest indoor Christmas festival of its kind in the Southeast, featuring more than 70,000 square feet of festive family fun, food and shopping. See the Symphony of Lights music and light show, let the kids play in the Cartoon Network Children’s Adventure Area (which includes a life size toy train), enjoy a meal in the North Pole Café and shop in the retail village. Get your child’s photo made with Santa with a number of affordable packages available for purchase.The festival is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and to 8 p.m. on weekends from Nov. 25 to New Year’s Eve. Tickets are only $12 for adults and $8 for children and can be purchased online at

Holidays at the Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium is celebrating the holidays with mermaids, mantas, and Santas. Beginning Nov. 26, the aquarium has five weeks of fun for the holiday season. There will be holiday face painting, arts and crafts on select dates and more, including the “Fin-tastic 5th Birthday” live musical revue, which will continue Thursdays-Sundays through the holidays. The mermaids of Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will perform in the 6.3 million gallon Ocean Voyager exhibit. Their synchronized underwater acts are performed to holiday music while breathing through special air hoses. Photos with Santa in the aquarium atrium will be available on special dates. For more information visit

Gingerbread House Holiday Workshop
The Piedmont Park Conservancy offers the Gingerbread House Holiday Workshop on Dec. 4 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Participants construct their own gingerbread house to decorate and take home. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit

Chanukah Wonderland
Want to see Atlanta’s largest Draidel? On Sunday, Dec. 18, have fun losing yourself in the festivities at the annual Chanukah Wonderland presented by the Intown Jewish preschool. This free event is fun for the whole family and will feature activities like olive press shows, face painting and arts and crafts. For more information call (404) 898- 0434.

Elf on the Shelf Cupcake Tea and Book Reading
On Dec. 19, The Mansion on Peachtree welcomes The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition authors Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell to host the Elf on the Shelf Cupcake tea featuring a book reading and signing. Young visitors will be treated to a special holiday tea service menu complete with festive miniature cupcakes and traditional assorted tea sandwiches for adults. Young guests are encouraged to bring their own copies of Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition for the signing and gift sets will also be available for purchase. The tea will be held at 2:30 p.m. in NEO Restaurant and is $40 for children ages 3-12 and $52 for adults including a glass of prosecco. The price includes tax, gratuity and valet parking. Reservations are required by calling (404) 995-7545.

Santa at Underground Atlanta
On Saturday, Dec. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m., Santa makes his appearance for Santa’s Holiday Celebration at Underground Atlanta. Visit with Santa and his reindeer, sing-a-long to your favorite holiday tunes, get festive with face painters and balloon artists and have fun at the arts and crafts activity table. For more information, visit

Garden Lights
Experience a dazzling extravaganza featuring nearly 1 million lights crafted into displays inspired by nature at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown. Highlights include a galaxy of stars in the woodlands; whimsical bees, butterflies, and other lighted pollinators in the Edible Garden; and 200 show-stopping, color-changing topiary forms choreographed to holiday music on the Great Lawn. The lights were turned on in November and will remain until Jan. 7. Tickets are $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 3-12.

Downtown Countdown
For the eighth year in a row, Lindy Promotions & USA Entertainment, along with Metromix, Dave FM and Heineken, are coming together to present Atlanta’s largest New Year’s Eve party. Located in Downtown Atlanta, at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency Hotel. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Atlanta’s Peachtree Center, and in close proximity to the Georgia Dome, Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, and the CNN Center. The all inclusive party ticket will get you a premium open bar, an array of the Hyatt’s top notch cuisine, decorations, party favors, access to all areas of entertainment, and Atlanta’s largest balloon drop at midnight as well as a late night breakfast buffet. You must be 21 or older to attend the event. Dress is formal, creative black tie, optional.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.