Nine Atlanta events to (safely) get into the holiday spirit 

Christmas isn't cancelled, just different this year

Atlanta covid-safer holiday activities drive-in
The Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker is virtual this year, but every bit as delightful

Photograph courtesy of the Atlanta Ballet

Early this year, many event spaces shut their doors to the public. Plagued by the coronavirus, the city’s entertainment spaces were left empty and dark. But, if Atlanta is anything, it is resilient. Now, entertainment venues of all sorts have modified their space to welcome spectators just in time for the holidays. We’ve curated a short list of drive-in and walk-through spaces—plus one streamable classic—for you and your family to enjoy the holiday season safely.

Starlight Drive-in
Times: 9:30 p.m.; 11 p.m.
Location: 2000 Moreland Avenue
Price: $1-$10

At 70-years-old, the Starlight Drive-in is an Atlanta classic and was easily able to adapt to pandemic-friendly programming. The permanent drive-in theater boasts big Blockbuster films nightly. Ticket prices are for double features, which means you’ll get to see two movies that are playing on the same screen. (But you can’t move to another screen after your first movie, sorry.)

Atlanta covid-safer holiday activities drive-in

Photograph courtesy of Atlanta Festival of Lights

Atlanta Festival of Lights 
Date: Through January 18
Time: 6-11 p.m.
Location: Pinnacle Lot, Atlantic Station
Price: $25-$35 per car

In partnership with the Atlanta Beer and Wine Festivals, Atlantic Station lights up the Pinnacle Lot seven days per week through January 18. The inaugural drive-thru light show experience provides a safe way to get into the holiday spirit.

Plaza Theatre drive-in movies 
Various dates, times, and prices.

The Plaza Drive-In offers a variety of holiday-themed movies that can be enjoyed from the safety of a vehicle. Classics including The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Holiday, Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and more will be available on the big screen.

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights 
Date: Through January 16
Time: 5-11 p.m.
Location: Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Price: $24.95-$56.95

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens continues its annual tradition of covering roughly 30-acres with lights to create a holiday-themed outdoor trail. New this year, Alice and the Red Queen join the White Rabbit and Phoenix in a glowing cast of sculptures. Nature’s Wonders returns with new music and motion, illuminating through countless strands of synchronized dancing lights. For safety, masks are required, entrance capacity has been lowered, all tickets must be purchased online, and visitors are to remain six-feet apart from others.

Atlanta covid-safer holiday activities drive-in

Photograph by Greg Mooney

A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play
Date: Through December 23
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood in the parking lot of Georgia State University’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium (formerly the Gold Lot at Turner Field)

The Alliance Theatre found a new way to tell its annual tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghosts. A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play—co-adapted by director Leora Morris and Ben Coleman—takes place as a drive-in performance at Atlanta’s Summerhill neighborhood. Cars are parked at least one space apart, allowing attendees to stretch their legs during the 90-minute performance (masks must be worn when exiting the vehicle).

Atlanta Ballet presents The Nutcracker 2020 Experience
Date: Through December 27
Location: Streamed online
Price: $25 for 3-day viewing access

The Atlanta Ballet offers The Nutcracker in an online format this year. Available on-demand, the full ballet production has been captured on video and can be streamed directly from the safety and comfort of your home. The ballet is also celebrating “30 Days of Nutcracker” on social media, featuring dancer takeovers, behind-the-scenes glimpses, makeup tutorials, and other insights into the production.

PRISM: Winter Lights
Date: Through January 31
Time: The park is open 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
Location: Woodruff Park
Price: Free

Back for its second year, PRISM: Winter Lights at Woodruff Park, presented by the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District and curated by Dashboard, is a two-month art exhibition displaying works by artists from around the country. This year’s show explores the theme of water and features three light-based landmark sculptures installed on the park’s main lawn. Additionally, Arts & Entertainment Atlanta will pilot a projection mapping effort that showcases animated artwork by local artists on the park’s International Peace Fountain water wall. Featured artists include MaDora Frey, Ellex Swavoni, Jason Sweet, Kris Pilcher, NNEKKAA, Amelia Carley and Joseph Peragine.

Stone Mountain Christmas
Date: Through January 3
Location: Stone Mountain
Price: $29.95-$31.95

Stone Mountain will glow with millions of lights this season, joining many other holiday-themed activities at the park, including festive music and shows. Early visitors can enjoy regular park attractions like the Scenic Railroad and Summit Skyride. Face masks are required for visitors age 3 and up, with some exceptions including if you’re eating or drinking, and temperature screenings will be taken prior to entry.

The Springs Cinema & Taphouse
Date: Holiday movies through December
Location: 5920 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs
Price: $28-$49 per car

This theater is open for indoor viewing but has also added the drive-in option open on Friday and Saturday nights. You can have food delivered to your car, but keep in mind that the restrooms are inside the main facility.