It may be tempting to settle in for a long winter’s nap, but Atlanta is just as much fun in the winter as it is in the summer! Here are some of my favorite winter activities in Atlanta:
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Gardens quickly became my favorite Atlanta holiday tradition. There are nearly 2 billion dancing lights tucked into the trees and sleeping flowers of the Gardens, twinkling in sync to music, changing color, and lighting up the beautiful landscape. Starting mid-November through early January, the Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland.
Christmas at Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain Park is also transformed by lights and Christmas decorations in the winter. You can meet characters from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, go snow tubing on Snow Mountain (even when the city isn’t crippled by snow), ride the Singalong Train, and take a much cooler hike up Stone Mountain. Winter activities start in mid-November and last through early January.
Read my guide to Christmas at Stone Mountain.
Lights of Life University
Can’t get enough holiday lights? Drive through the campus of Life University in Marietta during the Lights of Life University event starting Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. Along with the lighting display, the event also has train rides, a petting zoo, and concessions.
Atlanta has a surprising number of open-air ice skating rinks during the winter. We like the Winter Wonderland Marietta rink at Historic Marietta Square. There’s also SKATE Atlantic Station in Midtown, which is Atlanta’s largest outdoor skate rink, if you want that Rockefeller Center feel.
Winter may not seem like the ideal time to go to the zoo, but if you want a discounted admission price, less of a crowd, and to see the more cold-weather animals, then definitely go to Zoo Atlanta during the winter! The pandas like the cold and are always on view from at least their indoor habitat, and then there are animals like the tanuki and the red panda who’s fluffy coats are perfect for winter.
Can’t have a post without a hiking suggestion! Just a couple hours from Atlanta, Cloudland Canyon State Park’s Waterfalls Trail is great for winter because the water doesn’t evaporate as quickly so the waterfalls are generally flowing stronger and more constant and are more picturesque.
What’s your favorite winter activity in Atlanta? Let me know in the comments!