The 15 Best Christmas Towns in Georgia to Visit

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[Updated 10/11/2022]  While there truly is no place like home for the holidays, there’s also plenty of time between Thanksgiving and December 24 to celebrate the season in one of the many festive Christmas towns in Georgia.

At this time of year, many of our favorite North Georgia towns get all dressed up in their holiday best, adorning their streets with countless Georgia Christmas lights and hosting loads of Christmas events.   

The palpable holiday cheer mixed with the down-home Southern charm these towns in Georgia are known for is sure to have you feeling holly jolly in no time.

Whether you’re visiting one of the North Georgia Christmas Tree Farms to cut your own tree, taking a road trip to the region’s best Christmas light displays, or simply looking for new places to celebrate the season, these Blue Ridge Mountain towns offer special memories for everyone to enjoy.

Read on for our guide to the 15 Best Christmas Towns in Georgia, including info about what makes each place so endearing and the holiday events you can look forward to when you visit!

READ MORE: The Best North Georgia Christmas Events

Best Christmas Towns in Georgia Guide

(arranged alphabetically)

  1. Atlanta
  2. Blairsville GA 
  3. Blue Ridge GA 
  4. Buford GA
  5. Clayton GA
  6. Cleveland GA 
  7. Dahlonega GA 
  8. Dalton GA 
  9. Dawsonville GA 
  10. Ellijay GA 
  11. Helen GA 
  12. Hiawassee GA 
  13. Lookout Mountain GA
  14. Marietta GA
  15. Stone Mountain GA
Christmas in Atlanta -Atlanta Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights- Orchestral Orbs Display
Atlanta Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights- Orchestral Orbs Display by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

1. Atlanta GA Christmas

While it’s not technically a “town,” there are countless fun things to do to celebrate Christmas in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has their Garden Lights, Holiday Nights event each year, which will last from November 12 to January 14 and offers beautiful light displays using thousands of LED lights. 

Six Flags will be celebrating Christmas by bringing their Holiday In The Park celebration back for select days from November 13th to January 2nd. Kids can meet Santa, enjoy light displays, and watch several live shows. 

Kids will also enjoy a visit to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History for their annual Winter Wonderland exhibit, which features 30+ festive displays and giant snow globes just outside the museum. 

Other popular places to celebrate your Georgia Christmas include the Lighting of Macy’s Great Tree, the German-influenced Atlanta Christkindl Market, and Christmas With the ASO (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra).

READ MORE: The 25 Best Day Trips From Atlanta GA

Christmas in Blairsville GA- Christmas on the Square
Christmas in the Blairsville Square

2. Blairsville GA Christmas

At just over one square mile in size, with a population of less than 700 people, Blairsville GA’s charm lies in its authentic small-town feeling. But it seems just a little sweeter when mixed with some holiday cheer. 

Starting off the festivities in early December, the Holiday On The Square event takes place in downtown Blairsville and features pictures with Santa, a parade, and the town’s annual tree lighting.

Throughout the month you can meander through 40+ beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Union County Community Center, and enjoy events like the Blairsville Holiday Stop & Shop and Breakfast with Santa.

Just outside of town (10 miles south, to be exact) is the beloved Vogel State Park, which hosts their annual tree lighting event each year as well.

There you can watch as the tree is lit and enjoy live music, hayrides, and other festive seasonal activities.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blairsville GA & Union County

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Holiday Lights , part of Christmas in Blue Ridge GA
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Holiday Lights, photo courtesy Explore Georgia

3. Blue Ridge GA Christmas

Founded in 1886 with the arrival of the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad, Blue Ridge GA has grown to be one of Georgia’s most beloved mountain destinations.

Today, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s Holiday Express takes visitors on a magical one-hour journey, during which you can listen to holiday music and a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” while enjoying breathtaking mountain scenery and sipping delicious hot cocoa.

Blue Ridge offers a number of other festivities during the holidays, starting with their signature event, Light Up Blue Ridge, which begins on “Blue Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving). 

Along with enjoying the many great Blue Ridge restaurants, carolers, and holiday bargains, you can also head to the Gingerbread Village at the Arts Center to view intricately decorated gingerbread houses.

If you spend the night at one of the many Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals, you can enjoy more merriment the next day. It includes live entertainment, a window decorating contest, photos with Santa, and a Christmas Parade.

While other local holiday events vary from year to year, Christmas in Blue Ridge GA never disappoints! 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA

Burord GA, Christmas Town in GA - Christmas Georgia
Lanier Islands in Buford GA, photo via @lanierislands

4. Buford GA Christmas

Located just 25 miles north of Atlanta, Buford GA offers visitors numerous things to do for the holiday season. 

Lanier Islands is a place the whole family can enjoy at Christmas. The entire island is lit up for Margaritaville’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular, which includes ice skating, winter carnival rides, and photo opps with Santa. 

Overnight guests may have the chance to enjoy breakfast with Santa and/or a tuck-in from their favorite elves.

Probably the coolest thing about Lanier Islands is Georgia’s only snow tubing hill at Snow Island. This attraction is 575 feet long, and tickets are included with overnight reservations.

The Island also offers fun crafts such as making Christmas decorations and building gingerbread houses, roasting s’mores on the bonfire, and story time with Mrs. Claus. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Corn Mazes in Georgia (Haunted Mazes, Kids Mazes & More)

Georgia Christmas -Santa at Rabun County Chamber of Commerce & City of Clayton Christmas Parade
Rabun County/City of Clayton Christmas Parade

5. Clayton GA Christmas

If you’re a nature lover, Clayton GA (the largest town in Rabun County) is the place to be.

Clayton is home to 4 Georgia State Parks, 4 lakes, several of the tallest North Georgia mountains, and 17 of the most beautiful North Georgia waterfalls (including Panther Falls, Angel Falls and Minnehaha Falls). 

Outdoor attractions may be the town’s biggest claim to fame, but Christmas in Clayton GA is quite a show. There are plenty of lights sprinkled throughout the Christmas town, plus an array of events the whole family can enjoy.

It starts with the Holiday Arts & Crafts Shopping Extravaganza at the Rabun County Civic Center, where you can shop for one-of-a-kind locally made gifts, delicious baked goodies, and more.

There’s also a silent auction of decorated trees from the Annual Festival of Trees, which benefits a local charity.

And you won’t want to miss the annual Clayton Christmas Parade, which features festive floats and an appearance by Jolly Ol’ St. Nick himself!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Clayton, GA (the Gem of Northeast Georgia)

Christmas at Babyland General in Cleveland GA
Cabbage Patch Christmas at Babyland General, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

6. Cleveland GA Christmas

While often overlooked because it’s so close to the ever-popular Alpine Helen, Cleveland GA’s Christmas celebrations rank with some of the best in the state of Georgia, drawing in crowds with infectious yuletide spirit.

The season kicks off with the Christmas In The Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade, which is one of the biggest holiday events in White County.

There’s also a Holiday Market on the Cleveland Courthouse Square, the Merry Merchants Open House, and a Community Christmas tree lighting in Freedom Park. The night comes to a euphoric close with the annual Christmas parade in downtown Cleveland.

The North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park in Cleveland also hosts its own holiday celebration, which is filled with delightful Christmas music, hot cocoa, and a live Nativity featuring the park’s animals.

Special Starry Night Tours are also available, allowing you to take a walk through the zoo under the stars and enjoy the season alongside family, friends, and some incredible animals!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Waterfalls Near Helen GA

Horse Carriage Rides in Downtown Dahlonega GA
Horse Carriage Rides in Downtown Dahlonega GA by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

7. Dahlonega GA Christmas

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Dahlonega GA offers exceptional views and lots of things to do.

The town is home to several great wineries, a network o awesome f hiking trails, a vibrant music scene, delicious restaurants, and the historic town square. 

Dahlonega is best known as the site of Georgia’s 1828 gold rush. But it’s also one of the best small towns in Georgia to visit for Christmas, largely due to the month-long “Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas” event. 

The weekends are filled with holiday activities, including carolers in the square, seasonal shopping, live street performances, and horse-drawn carriage rides that commence after the annual lighting of the tree. 

There’s also an annual Christmas Parade filled with floats, characters, and marching bands. And the Dahlonega  Christmas celebrations spill over into January, so it’s a great town to visit to ring in the new year!

READ MORE: The Best Christmas Lights in Atlanta and North Georgia

Dalton Christmas Parade
Dalton Christmas Parade, photo via

8. Dalton GA Christmas

Located in the northwest corner of Georgia, between Atlanta and Chattanooga, the city of Dalton offers a splendid mixture of traditional and modern flair.

With a population of 33,000+, Dalton offers an abundance of activities year-round. They include outdoor adventures at the Johns Mountain WMA and along the Conasauga River, exploring the arts and culture scene, and enjoying a meal at one of the town’s many critically acclaimed restaurants.

But Christmas in Dalton is noteworthy as well. The town’s festive events start with a Holiday Open House, wherein shops downtown offer extended hours and special sales.

There are also pictures with Santa Claus, carriage rides, and special live performances on the weekend.

Downtown Dalton is where you can see the annual Christmas Tree Lighting celebration and, soon after that, the Spirit of Christmas Parade.

However, one of Dalton’s most special holiday events is the Christmas Shindig at Tunnel Hill, an annual variety show that features local dancers, singers, comedians, and more.

READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia

Santa & Mrs Clause arrive for Christmas in Dawsonville GA
Santa & Mrs Clause arrive for Christmas in Dawsonville

9. Dawsonville GA Christmas

Whether you’re tasting 150-year-old recipes at the Moonshine Distillery, hiking to Amicalola Falls State Park’s 729-foot waterfall, or making a pit stop at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, Dawsonville GA has a lot to offer.

Each season in Dawsonville offers its own unique set of activities. There’s an array of Georgia wildflowers in the spring, exploring art galleries in the summer, and leaf-peeping in the fall.

But enjoying a good old fashioned small town Christmas in the winter is our favorite. The festivities start in early December with the Jingle Market, where you can buy gifts from local vendors and enjoy local food trucks.

Before the annual Dawsonville Christmas Parade later in the evening, kids can pose for pictures with Santa in race cars at the Racing Museum, or roast marshmallows over a bonfire.

Closing out the eventful night is the annual Lighting of the Tree at dusk, which marks the official beginning of Christmas in Dawsonville.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Visit in Georgia (State)

Downtown Ellijay
Downtown Ellijay at Christmas, photo via Facebook @downtownellijay

10. Ellijay GA Christmas

Recognized as the “Apple Capital of Georgia,” the mountain town of Ellijay is famous for its apple orchards and annual festivals, including the Georgia Apple Festival, Taste of Ellijay, and the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival.

While apple picking may be the main activity when Georgia’s fall colors begin to pop, December brings a whole basket full of holiday activities for visitors and locals alike to enjoy.

Quaint downtown Ellijay’s antique shops, North Georgia Wineries, and restaurants are all adorned in twinkling Christmas lights that accent the festively decorated windows, which can be admired as you stroll through town.

This peaceful small-town feeling is juxtaposed by the adventure-filled hiking trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest nearby, which are particularly beautiful if you catch them after a light snow. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Ellijay GA & Gilmer County

Best Christmas Towns in Georgia -Christmas Lights at the Gazebo in Unicoi Hill Park, Helen GA
The Gazebo in Unicoi Hill Park in Helen GA, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

11. Helen GA Christmas

If you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas experience, a trip to Alpine Helen GA is simply a must.

The Bavarian-influenced town is unique at any time of year, with its quirky restaurants, shops, waterfalls, attractions, and rental cabins.

But a Helen GA Christmas is an especially whimsical winter wonderland with the town draped in twinkling lights and glowing with holiday cheer.

Celebrations kick off with the annual Lighting of the Village ceremony the day after Thanksgiving. This is where the downtown Helen Christmas lights are unveiled, and Santa and Mrs. Claus make their debut in Riverside Park.

The Christkindl Traditional German Market also opens that weekend, and the Helen Christmas Parade takes over downtown Helen in early December, with costumed characters and festive floats led by Jolly Old St. Nick himself!

READ MORE: 10 Fun, Festive Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Helen GA

Mountain Country Chrismtas in Lights
Photo courtesy of Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

12. Hiawassee GA Christmas

Located right on the North Carolina border, Hiawassee GA is filled with breathtakingly beautiful scenery that manages to become even more magical around the holidays.

Hiawassee is home to over 100 miles of Lake Chatuge shoreline and the surrounding mountain vistas, as well as popular tourist hotpspots like High Shoals Falls, Brasstown Bald, and Hamilton Gardens.

While these attractions alone are worth taking a road trip for, the star of the show during Christmas in Hiawassee is the annual Mountain Country Christmas in Lights event.

Drawing thousands of visitors to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds each year, the attraction combines a spectacular Christmas light display, Appalachian crafts, mouthwatering festival food, and live music.

Santa Claus himself also joins in on the celebration to pose for photos with kids and families.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Christmas Towns in North Carolina

Lookout Mountain GA, Christmas town in GA
Rock City in Lookout Mountain GA, photo via @SeeRockCityGardens

13. Lookout Mountain GA Christmas

Lookout Mountain GA is a great place for a North Georgia Christmas celebration, with Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, Ruby Falls, and other Lookout Mountain attractions to explore. 

2022 will mark Rock City’s 28th year of putting on one of the state’s most award-winning Christmas events. This holiday season it will be open from November 18th until January 1st. 

The Enchanted Garden of Lights showcases 30+ holiday scenes, with more than 1 million LED Christmas lights. The garden features four realms to explore– Yule Town, Arctic Kingdom, Magic Forest and North Pole Village.

Visitors can also enjoy hot chocolate, decorating Christmas cookies, and dinner with Santa and Jack Frost while watching the holiday light shows.

Parking is free, and ticket prices range from $10 for children on value night to $32 for adults on peak nights.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lookout Mountain GA/TN

Marietta GA, Christmas Town in GA
Marietta Town Center, photo via @VisitMariettaGA

14. Marietta GA Christmas

Located 20 miles north of Atlanta, Marietta has become an increasingly popular Christmas town in GA. There is so much to do in the city, especially during the Christmas season!

Each year the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theater put together a Christmas tea party and dance for children. This event happens in mid-December, and it’s only $25 to attend.

Another fun Christmas tradition is the 2022 Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour, which lasts from November 28th to December 31st. 

This self-guided walking tour will allow participants to vote on light displays and holiday decor of the homes listed in their booklets, which can be purchased for $25 at the Marietta Welcome Center. 

Lastly, The Strand Theater also puts on their production of A Christmas Tradition each year. This beloved North Georgia Christmas show features singing and dancing to holiday favorites, and runs through the end of December.

READ MORE: The Top 30 Blue Ridge Mountain Towns in GA & NC

Stone Mountain Park, christmas town in GA
Stone Mountain Park at Christmas, photo via @Stone Mountain Park

15. Stone Mountain GA Christmas

Home to the world-renowned Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain GA offers numerous things to do during the Georgia Christmas season.

The most popular is the park’s annual Stone Mountain Christmas celebration, which runs from November 12th to January 1st.

The entire park is all lit ups with lights, so you can take a walk through the Musical Frosted Forest, bring the kids to visit Santa, watch The Polar Express movie, and view the nightly Christmas parade. 

For the 2022 Christmas season, the park is putting on a new 20-minute, holiday-themed laser show, with festive music and fireworks as a rousing crescendo.

There’s also a chance you may get to see Santa Claus riding in his massive sleigh during their Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony. –by Christina Maggitas, with additional reporting by Samantha Dickens; lead photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since visiting the Great Smoky Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking in North Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling, with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Christina studied Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University, and now works as the Travel Editor for US News & World Report.