Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, true holiday delight and celebration has begun. You will, no doubt, share those holiday traditions which your parents taught. Often, the great surprise in parenting occurs as your growing family discovers an activity they love to experience each year. New experiences lead to new traditions which your children will remember for a lifetime. We've gathered some of Atlanta's most unique opportunities for your family memories.
Once Macy's Tree Lighting signals the beginning of holiday celebrations Thanksgiving weekend, it is time to ride Macy's historical Priscilla the Pink Pig located at Lenox Square. The Pink Pig began as a clever gimmick to lure shoppers to the Original Rich's Department Store in Downtown Atlanta. It was 1953 and the suburbs had drawn people out of the city. Children would ride the pink cars on a monorail from the ceiling above the toy department and then later around the famous Christmas tree display. Eventually the cars were retired to the Atlanta History Center. In 2003 replicas were developed to celebrate the history of The Pink Pig. Each year in December, the tradition makes it's appearance at Macy's Lenox Square location as a fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Atlanta.
Everyone loves the magical lights on their own decorations and there are five key light shows which may appeal to your family. In the downtown area you will find the Atlanta Botanical Gardens filled with holiday cheer and a light show you walk through and experience along with caroling and other highlighted events. Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park becomes a gathering place inside the city as their Holiday in Lights display drapes the entire 21-acre park in a twinkling glow. You will find the city's only Outdoor Ice-Skating Rink inside the park along with hot chocolate to sip.
Just east of the city, Stone Mountain Park presents a full day of activities and musical entertainment in their Stone Mountain Christmas experience. Each night ends with a visit from the Snow Angel in their signature laser and light show against the backdrop of the granite mountain. Your family may even get adventurous and try the Snow Mountain activity which runs all winter for Southerners to experience inner-tubing and sledding together. (Certain tickets allow you to have unlimited hot chocolate.)
If you have a desire to go North towards Lake Lanier, the Lake Lanier Islands Resort hosts the Magical Nights of Lights. This includes show pony rides, a midway amusement area, and the opportunity to zip line at night. An hour south of Atlanta will bring you to the famed Callaway Gardens known for its peaceful natural spaces and golf. Callaway is celebrating it's 20th year of Fantasy in Lights tours of the gardens covered in seven million individual lights. On the beachfront, there is a thoughtfully presented Nativity scene in lights with narration. Both of these destinations are worth the trip and perhaps even an overnight stay to enjoy some of the extra scenery and ambiance.
Christmas on Peachtree is the newest, family-oriented, seasonal attraction located at 200 Peachtree in downtown Atlanta; it recently unveiled three holiday-themed display windows reminiscent of department store windows that once graced Peachtree Street Downtown. Inside you will find a month's worth of shopping, activities, and special displays by sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Cartoon Network to enjoy. 200 Peachtree was the old classic Macy's building at one time, and this event has brought a great deal of history to the season through the window displays and events.
Midtown's Atlantic Station is hosting weekend celebrations (mostly free!) which include concerts, special entertainment, and "Snow Shows" covering the Central Park area each Saturday and Sunday at designated times. You'll find plenty of dining choices in the Atlantic Station development (Try Rosa's Mexicano or the local seafood chain called Fishhook Grille for healthy fare.)
Lastly, a simple drive to see the originality of individual Atlanta homeowners is worthy of a night out with the family. The oohing and aahing may be enough to start a new tradition.
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