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As the holidays inch closer, so do a few days of holiday house guests. We love our homes filled to the brim with people as much as the next hostess, but we also know how fun — and dare we say, vital — it is to get out of the house and explore. Any city this time of year is magical, but Atlanta certainly likes to step it up and show off. If you’re making your Atlanta holiday bucket list for visitors, look no further than today’s read. Allow us to present 10 fun holiday activities to do in Atlanta with out-of-town guests.

A Christmas Carol, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

If you’ve never seen a performance of A Christmas Carol by the Alliance Theatre, this is the year to do it. Christmas curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts offering him a glimpse of his past, a peek at his present, and an idea of his future. Charles Dickens’ classic is brought to life by an all-star local cast with a set unlike any other. The show runs through Christmas Eve and is appropriate for most audiences. Find more information at

Candlelight Nights, Atlanta History Center

Experience Atlanta’s Christmas past by candlelight at the Atlanta History Center. Guests stroll through decorated gardens and each of three period homes to learn about Christmas during the pioneer days, Civil War era, and the 1930s. You’ll also have an opportunity to explore the Christmas Market complete with local artisanal goods. Candlelight Nights happens on Friday, December 22, from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Find more information at

Marvel at the decor during the Atlanta History Center’s Candlelight Nights. Image: Atlanta History Center

Christmas in the Grove, Oak Grove

Step aside Clark Griswold; there’s a new Christmas lights aficionado in town. Located in the heart of Oak Grove, you’ll find over 115,000 lights beaming from a single family home choreographed to the tune of your favorite holiday jingles. Pile in the car with a canteen of hot chocolate and a few blankets and hit the road. The show runs through New Year’s Day from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Find more information at

This family light display is unlike any other in the city! Image: Christmas in the Grove

Deck the Hall, College Football Hall of Fame

For a family full of football fanatics, don’t miss a trip to the College Football Hall of Fame for “Deck the Hall.” Boughs of holly or not, the Hall is decked-out with seasonal decor. With holiday activities almost daily, your family will be filled with holiday spirit from their helmet to their toes. Deck the Hall runs through New Year’s Day. Santa visits every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there are even family movies on select days as well. Find more information at

Feast of the Seven Fishes, Multiple Locations

An Italian tradition, The Feast of the Seven Fishes takes place on Christmas Eve. If your family isn’t preparing their own seafood soirée, you can head to several area restaurants for an unforgettable meal. Eateries like Davio’s, C&S Seafood & Oyster Bar, and Il Giallo are all offering prix fixe, multi-course menus for the occasion. Give the Christmas cook a break and celebrate Christmas Italian-style with the entire family. Cin cin!

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, Atlanta Botanical Gardens

The Atlanta Botanical Gardens is a must-see Atlanta spot any time of year, but at Christmas, you better believe it’s even more spectacular. In its seventh year, the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights light display illuminates the foliage, trees and flowers. Guests will enjoy meandering through the grounds observing everything from lights to carolers. Adults, don’t miss the festive bar at the entrance to warm you up from the inside out. The event runs through  Sunday, January 7, making this a perfect post-Peach Bowl activity. Find more information at

A walking holiday light display, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ Garden Lights, Holiday Nights does not disappoint. Image: Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Madeline’s Christmas, Horizon Theatre

Little Parisienne dreamers of all ages will adore Madeline’s Christmas at the Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points. Even as an adult, I was smitten with the performance. Based on the beloved children’s series, Madeline, heroine Madeline and her French friends come down with the flu, but of course that doesn’t prevent them from enjoying the magic of the holidays. The show is just one hour and runs through Sunday, December 31, and it’s recommended for children 3 or older. Find more information at

With an all-local cast, Madeline’s Christmas will dazzle young Francophiles (and their moms). Image: Horizon Theatre

Miracle Bar, Multiple Locations

For an all over-21 crowd, make one of Miracle Bar’s two locations a holiday destination. With two over-the-top Christmas themed bars this year, one on Monroe and one in The Shops Buckhead, there are even more places to get toasty and toasted. The menu features holiday-inspired, cheekily named cocktails like Bad Santa, How the Gimlet Stole Christmas and You’ll Shoot Your Rye Out. Miracle Bar is first come, first served and last call is on Christmas Eve. Find more information at

Take your all-adult crowd to Miracle Bar for Christmas-inspired craft cocktails. Image: Miracle Bar

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer™, Center for Puppetry Arts

Adapted from the television stop-motion classic, the Center for Puppetry Arts brings Atlanta Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer™. The show, appropriate for children ages 4 and up, features iconic Rudolph and all of his friends including Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster. Even better, your ticket price includes the performance, Create-A-Puppet Workshop™ and admission to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum. Performances run through Sunday, December 31. Find more information at

Skate the Sky, Ponce City Market

If you didn’t go ice-skating at least once this season, did the holidays even happen? We think not. Take your skates to new heights this year at Skate the Sky on the Roof at Ponce City Market. Participants will be treated to views of the Atlanta Beltline and the city skyline while circling the rink. If you have kids in your party, be sure to visit the roof on weekdays or before 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. After 5 p.m., it’s an adults-only affair. Find more information at

For even more fun ideas of what to do with guests, check out our Events section!

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