By Sue Rodman
One of my favorite signs that the Holidays are near is all the festive holiday light displays around town. Nothing can get you into the holiday spirit like millions of twinkling lights set to holiday music. Here’s a list of places to see beautiful Christmas Lights in Atlanta. Know others, even if it’s just a neighbor’s awesome display, leave a comment and let us know.
Christmas Lights in Atlanta: Local Attractions
Atlanta Botanical Gardens: Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Dates: Nov. 15, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015 | 5 – 10 pm
Info: This is one of my favorite places to see lights. It’s a botanical-inspired light display throughout the 20-acre Midtown attraction. Visitors meander among garden displays – including giant snowflakes, fleeting bumblebees and a towering “praying Santa Mantis” while sipping hot drinks and listening to strolling carolers. The Earth Goddess transforms into Ice Goddess – a vision of wintry radiance with twinkling lights weaving through her tresses. Red and white stripes turn the towering Cobras into hypnotic Candy Cane Cobras.
Life College Lights of Life
Dates: Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2014 | Sun. – Thurs. 6 – 10 pm | Fri. – Sat. 6 – 10:30 pm
Info: More than 100 pieces displayed throughout the 1.5 mile drive through campus. The display of Santa and his sleigh stands over 65 feet high making it the tallest in the Southeast. There is a petting zoo, pony rides and train rides for a fee. You can also have your picture taken with Santa for an additional fee.
Magical Night of Lights
Dates: Nov. 21 - Dec. 31, 2014 5 – 10 pm
Info: A seven-mile drive through tour of animated, festive, holiday light displays. At the end of your tour, the Holiday Village awaits with the Verizon Wireless Ice Skating Rink, carnival rides and games, pony rides and numerous holiday treats. (Some activities require an additional fee) Warm up with a hot cup of cocoa or step inside Santa’s Workshop for some holiday shopping and a visit with Santa. Also included with daily admission is access to the live nativity (Dec. 4 & 5). Admission is per vehicle and is based on what the vehicle has the capacity to hold, not the number of passengers.
Georgia Gift of Lights
Dates: Nov. 21 - Dec. 31, 2014 | Sun. – Thurs. 6-9 pm (except Holidays) | Fri – Sat. 6 – 10 pm
Info: More than one million lights will make up the 1.5 miles of light displays.
Callaway Gardens Fantasy in Lights
Dates: Nov. 21 – Dec. 30, 2014
Info: Eight million lights. 15 dazzling scenes. 1 magical night. Fantasy In Lights is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” as named by National Geographic Traveler.With more than a dozen larger-than-life lighted scenes, Fantasy In Lights remains unique in that its scenes are custom-designed especially for Callaway Gardens–to celebrate not only the joy of the season but the wonder of nature in this idyllic setting. Drive your car or ride the Jolly Trolley to experience scenes like March of the Toy Soldiers and Snowflake Valley. At Robin Lake Beach, enjoy Twas The Night before Christmas and The Nativity, light and sound shows enticing passers-by to stop, reflect and enjoy. November 23, 2014 is the March of Dimes Walk, the only day where you can walk through Fantasy in Lights. Several people have said this was their favorite day to go.
A Stone Mountain Christmas
Dates: Nov. 8, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015
Info: More than two million twinkling lights. While you’re there, watch live entertainment shows, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas in 4-D, watch a festive Christmas Parade, a special fireworks show and more. Here is a post on Stone Mountain Christmas (includes photos, video and tips for a great experience). Stone Mountain Christmas features, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer® and Bumble™ the Abominable Snow Monster. Kids of all ages can meet these two heartwarming characters or catch them in the nightly Christmas parade! You can enjoy Snow Mountain as well starting on Nov. 22.
Six Flags Over Georgia Holiday in the Park
Dates: Nov. 22, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015
Info: More than one million LED lights will turn on at once, as Santa Claus and his reindeer ride their sleigh for the first time to Six Flags Over Georgia for the debut of Holiday in the Park®. This all-new celebration transforms the park into a winter wonderland with dazzling Christmas trees, exclusive holiday shows and many of the park’s most popular rides.
Pettit Creek Farms Christmas Lights
Dates: Nov. 27 - Dec. 30, 2014
Over one mile of Christmas Lights to drive through in Cartersville Ga. Includes a petting zoo and live reindeer (Comet & Cupid) Santa Claus is scheduled Thursday -Sunday. The Live Nativity can be seen on weekends! There is a concession stand with hot chocolate, warm cider, marshmallows for roasting and s’more kits. Patio heaters and campfires will be available to keep you warm but bring a blanket for the hayride! You can also get your Christmas Tree while you’re there.
Christmas Lights in Atlanta: Free
Centennial Olympic Park Holiday in Light
Dates: Nov. 22, 2014 – Jan. 19, 2015
Info: Different and unique every year, Holiday in Lights runs into January. The Park is open daily to view the lights from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., including Dec. 25, Christmas Day, and there is no charge for admission. The Holiday in Lights spirit is carried throughout the Georgia World Congress Center Authority campus, which includes the Georgia World Congress Center, the Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park. While you’re there, save some time to go ice skating. And if you’re hungry, I can highly recommend a Googie Burger and the fresh cut fries are delicious.
Celebrate the Season with Atlantic Station
Dates: Nov. 22 – Dec. 31, 2014
Info: View 250,000 lights within an 8 block radius. While you’re there, gather around Atlantic Station’s grand 50-foot tall Christmas Tree and experience the magic of a realistic snowfall weeknights at 7pm, and Fridays & Saturdays, hourly 6pm-9pm and Sundays at 6 pm. (Snow is weather permitting)
The Village Green, Smryna
Dates: Dec. 2 – Dec. 30, 2014
Info: The Village Green area around the Library, Community Center, the Veterans Memorial – along with the Market Village are dressed in lights and holiday cheer through New Year’s Eve/Day.
The Rock Ranch: A Country Christmas in Lights
Dates: Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2014
Cost: Free (donations accepted)
Info: The Rock Ranch invites families to drive through more than a mile of magical Christmas lights on the farm. This tradition started seven years ago when the late S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A and The Rock Ranch, purchased a truck load of lights from Lowes and Home Depot during an “After Christmas” sale. He thought folks would enjoy an affordable opportunity to drive through beautifully lit Christmas scenes. This growing lights display gets better and better each year.
Piedmont Park Season of Magic
Dates: It doesn’t look like Piedmont Park is bringing back Season of Magic for 2014. If you know otherwise, please contact me.
Cost: Lights are Free but activities are extra
Info: Viewing the Midtown Atlanta skyline from The Park Tavern at Piedmont Park is always pretty, but add holiday lights and ornaments and it’s downright festive. To make the season brighter, families can enjoy 20 minute horse-drawn carriage rides through the park. Rides are available every ten minutes from 4:00pm to 10:30pm daily. During Season of Magic you can also enjoy carousel rides with the Atlanta skyline in the background or ice skating at Park Tavern’s Southwest Ice Rink. All funds raised through Season of Magic directly benefit the ongoing maintenance and security of historic Piedmont Park, a very worthy cause.
Residential Christmas Lights in Atlanta
Red Hawk Christmas
Location: 173 Aplomado Lane West | Dawsonville, Georgia 30534
Dates: This is a residential home, so no firm dates.
An Animated Christmas Light Show in North Georgia. This year they have 12,000+ lights timed to several Christmas Carols. The show is Free and any donations will benefit KARE for Kids. A local non-profit who gives local children in need the Christmas they deserve.
Christmas in Cumming
Location: 4730 Bryn Ridge Court, Cumming, GA 30028
Dates: So it looks like this residential house has been sold, but the new owners plan to hold the light display in 2014. Check their Facebook page for updates (click on the title link)
For an impressive list of residential light displays in the Cobb area, visit Marna Friedman’s blog.