18 Atlanta Holiday Lights Extravaganzas

From a Scuba Claus at the Aquarium to faux snow at Atlantic Station, there’s spectacle to suit everyone
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Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden

We probably won’t have snow on the ground, but the entire city will be aglow at these 18 holiday lights events, featuring everything from underwater menorahs to live reindeer. Check the map at the bottom of this article to find the closest celebration to you.

Stone Mountain Christmas
11/8–1/4/2015
With everything from parades to screenings of Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4-D, Stone Mountain gives your family their holiday fix. Sure, you can meet Santa, but get a more unique photo with Rudolph or Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, too. Two million lights illuminate the festivities, and as if that wasn’t enough, there are also nightly fireworks.
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Garden Lights
11/15–1/3/2015
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the Atlanta Botanical Garden shuts down, rather the entire garden lights up with glowing orbs and fire pits to roast marshmallows. Keep the kids happy with a stop by the Holiday Model Train Show.
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Coca-Cola Christmas
11/19–1/4
Pemberton Place glows with lights and larger-than-life ornaments, but the real holiday cheer is inside the World of Coca-Cola, where you can get a photo with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, see the special exhibits on the history of Coca-Cola Christmas and Santa, and sample Gingerbread Coke and Sprite Cranberry.
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Winter Wonderland
11/21–1/11/2015
Expect more than just lights on trees at the Fernbank’s multicultural holiday exhibition. Origami and indigenous art are out, as well as displays that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Festival of Lights.
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Festival of the SEAson
11/22–12/25
Scuba Claus swims by the holiday celebrations at Georgia Aquarium, which include performances by the Weeki Wachee Mermaids and an underwater menorah (yes, they do light a candle underwater for each night of Hanukkah).
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Holiday in Lights
11/22–1/19/2015
Centennial Olympic Park hasn’t been this lit up since Outkast returned.
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Holidays All the Way
11/23–12/31
At Atlantic Station, a white Christmas is more than just a dream thanks to nightly Snow Shows, when “real” snow falls in Central Park. The holiday season officially kicks off the day before (November 22 at 7:30 p.m.) when Santa arrives during the parade to light the tree. Ice skating and Santa meet-and-greets also run throughout the season.
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Light Up Dunwoody
11/23
Come to Dunwoody Christmas Village after 3 p.m. to meet Santa’s entire workshop (yes, even the reindeer) before the annual tree lighting at 5:45 p.m. Bonus: Start your holiday shopping at the booths run by local vendors.
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Macy’s Great Tree Lighting
11/27
Before you’ve had time to digest your Thanksgiving dinner, head to Lenox Square at 5 p.m. for the tree lighting featuring the Isley Brothers, tenor Timothy Miller, and a cappella group Pentatonix.
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Lights of Life
11/27–12/31
Life University’s million lights take over more than a mile of campus. Throughout, find a 60-foot tall tree, a giant menorah, and a nativity scene. There’s also a petting zoo, train rides, pony rides, Santa, and Cobb County high school musicians on weekends.
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BCC Christmas Tree Lighting and Elf
11/29
Buford Community Center lights its tree at 6 p.m., but stick around the Town Park Amphitheater for a screening of Elf, and toast marshmallows to keep warm.
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Coming Home for the Holidays
11/29
Almost a dozen school choirs sing before Smyrna’s 7 p.m. tree lighting.
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Annual City Christmas Tree Lighting
12/1
Avondale Estates hosts the sweetest tree lighting ceremony with Boy Scouts passing out cookies before the 6 p.m. celebration and donuts and cider served after.
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The 2014 Vinings Jubilee Tree Lighting
12/4
With everything from face painting to train rides (and Santa, of course), the 6 p.m. Vinings tree lighting is an ideal event for kids.
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Tree Lighting
12/4
Decatur’s 7 p.m. tree lighting is going sustainable this year with a special light installation instead of the usual conifer.
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Christmas Tree Lighting
12/5
Downtown Alpharetta gets into the Christmas spirit with a tree lighting at 5 p.m., but also expect Mayor Belle Isle reading “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a life-size snow globe, a holiday farmers market, a snow play area, food trucks, and even elves (Santa and Mrs. Claus will be nearby, too.)
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Christmas Tree Lighting
12/6
The Duluth Fall Festival continues with the annual lighting of the 20-foot evergreen at 6:30 p.m. Santa and his live reindeer arrive after.
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Holiday Celebration on the Square
12/6
Roswell’s Town Square lights up to the sound of carolers and a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” during its annual celebration at 5 p.m. Throughout the month, the city hosts the Nutcracker, mini golf on a decorated course, Santa nights, and more.
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Key
–  Just lights
– Santa
– Trains
– Exhibition
– Movies

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