[Updated October 19, 2023]
When the “most wonderful time of the year” finally arrives, nothing gets us in the holiday spirit quite like watching millions of colorful twinkling lights.
Whether we’re driving through an epic 5-mile attraction or strolling along on foot while enjoying a cup of hot cocoa, looking at Georgia Christmas lights is one of our favorite annual holiday traditions.
Fortunately, there is an impressive array of sensational Christmas light displays in Atlanta and North Georgia, ranging from quaint small-town holiday celebrations to extravagant immersive experiences.
So gather up your friends and family and read on to see our picks for the best Christmas lights in Atlanta and all across the North Georgia mountains!
Christmas Lights in Atlanta and North Georgia Guide
- Garden Lights, Holiday Nights (Atlanta Botanical Gardens)
- Illuminights at the Zoo (Zoo Atlanta)
- Celebrate at the Station (Atlantic Station)
- Stone Mountain Christmas (Stone Mountain Park)
- ATL Holiday Lights (Lakewood Amphitheater Parking Lot)
- The Battery Atlanta Tree Lighting (The Battery)
- Holiday in the Park (Six Flags Over Georgia)
- Lights of Life (Marietta GA)
- World of Illumination (Six Flags White Water)
- Lakeside Lights Spectacular (Lake Lanier Islands)
- Holiday Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park (Woodstock GA)
- A Country Christmas at Pettit Creek Farms (Cartersville GA)
- Light Up the Holidays at Barnsley Gardens (Adairsville GA)
- Holiday Lights at Veterans Park (Canton GA)
- Enchanted Garden of Lights (Lookout Mountain GA)
- Light Up Blue Ridge (Blue Ridge GA)
- Mountain Country Christmas in Lights (Hiawassee GA)
- Old Fashioned Christmas (Dahlonega GA)
- Lights of Joy (Kennesaw GA)
- Winter Wonder Lights at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia (Athens GA)
Christmas Lights in Atlanta
1. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights
Atlanta Botanical Garden (Nov 18 – Jan 14)
1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta GA • 404-876-5859
Voted the best holiday event in metro Atlanta by readers of the AJC, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Garden Lights, Holiday Nights illuminates 30 acres with over two million colorful, energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
The attraction showcases botanical themes that coincide with the natural beauty of the garden, while also bringing a special spark of holiday cheer.
Many of the display’s fan-favorite features will be returning in 2023, including the Edible Garden, Ice Goddess, and 100-foot-long Tunnel of Light. But there will also be some new elements this year to look forward to.
While many of the most popular Christmas lights in Georgia are drive-through, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual holiday attraction encourages people to explore on foot. That way you can get up close to the massive lit-up Christmas trees, captivating glass sculptures, and huge snowflakes while enjoying the festive music and a warm cup of cocoa by the fire.
2. Illuminights at the Zoo: A Chinese Lantern Festival
Atlanta GA (Nov 16- Jan 14)
800 Cherokee Avenue SE, Atlanta GA • 404-624-9453
Featuring over 80 different lanterns that depict some of the coolest animals in the world, the Chinese Lantern Festival at Zoo Atlanta is a great place to see Holiday lights in Atlanta.
These lanterns are each hand-painted by Chinese artists and some of them can reach up to 20 feet tall! Thousands of hours of work go into creating these light displays and they truly are something to admire.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase around the zoo and the gift shop will be open for those who enjoy souvenir shopping.
Tickets for IllumiNights At The Zoo will be open to the public from November 16 to January 14, from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. Prices range from $18 to $25 with children 2 and under getting free admission.
READ MORE: The Best North Georgia Christmas Events
3. Celebrate at the Station
Atlantic Station (Nov 20-Jan 4)
1380 Atlantic Drive NW, Atlanta GA • 404-410-4010
The Atlantic Station holiday lights in Atlanta will be bigger and better in 2023, with Christmas tree lighting, ice skating, and plenty of holiday joy.
Festivities will begin on November 19th with Light the Station, where you can watch them light their 50-foot Christmas tree and enjoy live music, and performances, and mingle with different holiday characters.
Atlantic Station is also hosting Cirque Du Soleil, which runs from October 6th to December 24th. Here, you can see contortionists, acrobatics, and amazing balancing acts.
Along with enjoying Cirque Du Soleil and the tree lighting, there are other Christmas traditions you can enjoy at Atlantic Station.
They include the Makers Market (running on weekends through December) and Skate the Station, where you can skate at the largest outdoor skating rink in metro Atlanta (Nov 18-Jan 16).
4. Stone Mountain Christmas
Stone Mountain Park (Nov 11 – Jan 2)
1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain GA • 800-401-2407
The most popular tourist attraction in Georgia also hosts one of the state’s most beloved holiday traditions. Stone Mountain Park always has plenty of fun to offer during the day.
But once the sun goes down, the Crossroads Village glows with millions of lights and a massive Christmas tree, while the mountainside is lit up with a holiday-themed drone show.
You and your family can share heartwarming memories as you visit Angelina the Snow Angel, explore the Musical Frosted Forest, check out the two Polar Express-themed attractions, and bring your Christmas wishes to Santa at his North Pole office.
After visiting with Santa, your family can watch in awe as he flies overhead in his sleigh each night during the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony.
There are several holiday-themed live shows as well, including a comedic take on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and a performance by the Tinseltown Carolers.
5. ATL Holiday Lights
(Ameris Bank Amphitheater Parking Lot A, Nov 24-Dec 30)
2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta, GA
ATL Holiday Lights returns and is bringing more drive-through Christmas lights and more fun than ever before!
Tickets are timed to minimize wait time. To see the lights, you can drive through on value nights (Monday – Wednesday) for $25 per car in advance or $35 at the gate.
On peak nights and Christmas Week (Friday – Sunday) the cost is $35 per car in advance or $45 at the gate.
Please keep in mind that no large vans, RVs, Buses, or trailers, are allowed. Vehicles are limited to 9 feet or less in height.
6. The Battery Atlanta Tree Lighting
(800 Battery Ave SE, Atlanta GA, Nov 25)
One of the newer ways to celebrate Christmas in Georgia, this annual holiday event takes place at The Battery Atlanta, the 2.25 million square foot mixed-use development adjacent to Truist Park.
From Friday, Nov. 24 to Saturday, Dec. 23, Santa will be available at his official Atlanta outpost for free photo opportunities! Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring their Children’s handwritten letters to Santa (no postage required).
Back for its seventh year, the Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place from 5:30 to 7 PM and will kick off with a performance by A-Town A-List on the Georgia Power Pavilion Stage.
Next, you can help track down Santa with Mark Ownes & Blooper as he gets closer to the lighting of the tree which occurs at 7 PM.
After the lighting, visitors are invited to stay and enjoy an outdoor showing of “Abominable” on the Plaza screen.
Christmas Lights Near Atlanta (OTP Suburbs)
7. Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Over Georgia (Nov 18 – Jan 3)
275 Riverside Pkwy, Austell, GA • 770-739-3400
Six Flags Over Georgia is a fun-filled park at any time of the year. But it becomes an especially exciting adventure during Christmastime when the Holiday in the Park celebration begins.
Six Flags will feature tons of rides decked out in Christmas decorations, holiday-themed sections, and millions of sparkling LED lights scattered throughout the park.
Along with the rides (some of which offer glimpses of Santa’s sleigh), you can take a trip to the North Pole to get a photo with Santa Claus himself and gather around a tree-lighting display.
In terms of tasty treats, you can warm up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and some s’mores or enjoy decadent sweets like chocolate peppermint-flavored funnel cakes!
8. Lights of Life
Life University, Marietta (Nov 24 – Dec 31)
1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta GA • 800-543-3202
Drawing huge local crowds each year (largely due to word-of-mouth), Lights of Life at Life University is one of Atlanta’s oldest Christmas light displays.
The 1.5-mile drive is located on Marietta College’s campus. It features one million LED lights, with over 100 different elements, including a 65-foot-tall Santa/sleigh display that is the tallest in the Southeast!
The light display is a little different each year, which helps to keep visitors coming back to the event over and over again. But there’s a lot more to Lights of Life than just the lights.
For additional fees, there’s also a petting zoo, pony rides, train rides, photo opportunities with Santa, and lots of delicious food options. Busses are $20 and all trucks and cars are only $10 for admission!
9. World of Illumination
Six Flags White Water, Marietta (Nov 15 – Dec 31)
250 Cobb Pkwy N, Marietta GA
World of Illumination is the producer of the largest drive-through animated Christmas light show in the world. In 2023, they’re coming back to Georgia with the theme Enchanted Safari.
Located in the parking lot of Six Flags White Water, Enchanted Safari is a synchronized musical experience that features a one-mile journey filled with hundreds of animated displays and millions of colorful lights.
The display takes 20-30 minutes to drive through, so crank up your radio to enjoy the lively music as you soar through the sky, see dinosaurs, and travel down the Tentacle tunnel ( which is filled with jellyfish and sharks).
The big finale leads you to Santa’s Bazaar, where you’ll be dazzled by all your new animal friends as they deck the halls.
The show opens on November 15 and runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, as well as 12/18 and 12/25.
Ticket prices start at $40 per vehicle, making it a great option for an affordable Holiday outing.
READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia
10. Lakeside Lights Spectacular
Margaritaville at Lanier Islands (Nov 22 – Jan 15)
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford GA • 770-945-8787
Taking you on a magical walk-through light show, the Lakeside Lights Spectacular is a family-friendly event at Lanier Islands that showcases some of the most beautiful Christmas lights in Georgia.
Ranging from traditional holiday displays to high-tech images and Margaritaville-themed scenes, the light show (which replaced longtime Lake Lanier favorite Magical Nights of Lights) has a little bit of everything.
Before you embark on the journey, check out Santa’s Tiki Bar, where you can get a drink to enjoy while strolling through the holiday light displays.
Along with specialty cocktails and craft beers, you can also purchase popcorn, cotton candy, and other treats.
If you’re with little ones (or you’re just a kid at heart), drop by Dasher’s Drinks & Treats and grab a s’mores kit to roast marshmallows at the fire pits. Be sure to also check out their carnival rides and holiday games.
11. Holiday Lights of Hope
Hobgood Park, Woodstock (Nov 24 – Dec 30)
6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock GA
Now in its 12th year, Holiday Lights of Hope is a huge walk-through Christmas light display at Hobgood Park in Woodstock GA.
The attraction features over two million dazzling lights, including both traditional and animated displays.
Along with walking through this incredible display and Christmas light viewing, you can also enjoy walking through the mile-long Christmas maze and even getting your picture taken with Santa.
You can also finish up your Christmas shopping by perusing Santa Village and listening to the lively music of the Christmas carolers.
Adult tickets are $10, while children 12 and under are free. In the giving spirit of the holidays, the money benefits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. (The event is closed on December 24th-25th)
Christmas Lights in North Georgia
12. A Country Christmas
Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville GA (Nov 23 – Dec 30)
337 Cassville Road, Cartersville GA • 770-386-8688
It’s held at Pettit Creek Farms, whose 80 acres of land have been in the Allen family since 1945.
The grandchildren of the original owners now operate the popular farm, displaying over a mile of Christmas lights that visitors can drive through during the holidays.
The entry fee for the mile-long light show is $30 per car on Tuesday through Thursday and $35 on Friday through Sunday, different prices apply for vans and buses. They also offer a $10 trip on an old-fashioned hayride, which is an excellent way to enjoy the holiday lights. Included in the price is a visit to the petting zoo, where you can visit with real live Reindeer!
You can also visit Santa’s Cottage to get photos with jolly old St. Nick every Thursday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Be sure to bring some cash with you so you can purchase some hot chocolate, funnel cakes, and s’mores to enjoy around the fire.
13. Light Up the Holidays
Barnsley Resort in Adairsville GA (Nov 22 – Jan 1)
597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville GA • 877-773-2447
The historic mountain resort is famous for its pre-Civil War ruins, luxurious accommodations and spa, and excellent outdoor recreation opportunities.
At Christmastime, the English-style garden and historic Manor House Ruins (which some say are haunted) are illuminated with 1 million lights and festive décor, making the well-tended grounds all the more beautiful.
Throughout the holiday season, there are also a variety of themed events to enjoy, including campfire storytelling, gingerbread house crafting on Nov 24, cookie decorating, hayrides, and wreath-making classes on Nov 25.
They have a great variety of food at the Breakfast with Santa which is on Nov 25 from 9-11 AM
On Christmas Day, there’s an extensive brunch from their restaurant’s Executive Chef in the Rice House Restaurant.
14. Holiday Lights at Veterans Park
Canton GA (Nov 18-Dec 31)
7345 Cumming Highway, Canton GA
The annual North Georgia attraction features a drive-thru tunnel, animated Christmas displays, and over two million sparkling lights along the almost two-mile drive.
One quarter-mile of the drive is dedicated to our nation’s veterans and includes awe-inspiring displays that pay tribute to each branch of the U.S. military.
Admission is $20 per car and can include multiple run-throughs on the same night.
Also, note that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to various charities, including Skills USA, Papa’s Pantry, CRPA Pay it Forward, and Veterans of Cherokee County.
15. Enchanted Garden of Lights
Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain GA (Nov 17-Jan 6; Closed Dec 24)
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain GA • 706-820-2531
In 2023, Rock City’s acclaimed Enchanted Garden of Lights is celebrating 29 years of holiday splendor.
Whether you’re walking through the Grand Corridor in Yule Town, watching the icy lights sparkle in the Arctic Kingdom, or exploring the exciting enchantments of the Magic Forest, there’s no shortage of dazzling scenery.
There are also an array of seasonal activities to enjoy, including meeting Santa Claus in his workshop and visiting the Christmas shops, where you can buy ornaments and other traditional symbols of Christmas.
Make sure to bring your smartphone or camera, because there are plenty of fun photo opportunities here for you, your family, and your friends!
16. Light Up Blue Ridge
Downtown Blue Ridge (Nov 24 – Nov 25)
733 E Main Street, Blue Ridge GA • 706-258-8289
One of Georgia’s most beloved mountain towns, Blue Ridge GA is a charming town at any time of year. But we find it particularly cheerful during the Christmas season.
The mountain town’s holiday festivities kick off with the annual Light Up Blue Ridge celebration, where families can enjoy a variety of seasonal activities and special events.
Beginning with Blue Friday (their small-town twist on Black Friday) on November 24, the event includes discounts at downtown stores and restaurants, food vendors, hot apple cider, and strolling entertainment.
The Gingerbread Village at the Arts Center, which features 95 creative gingerbread houses, will also open on Blue Friday.
But the main event is Light Up Blue Ridge on November 25, and it’s packed with holiday cheer. Festivities include live entertainment, tasty treats, a window decorating contest, and a Christmas parade at 5:30 p.m.
You can also take pictures with Santa in the gazebo and send him a letter through Santa’s mailbox. You (or your child) will then receive a hand-written reply just a few days later!
To fully enjoy the entire weekend, check out our guide to the Best Blue Ridge GA Cabins to Rent.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA
17. Mountain Country Christmas in Lights
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA (Nov 23-Dec 23)
1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee GA • 706-896-4191
Located along the scenic shores of Lake Chatuge at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, the annual Mountain Country Christmas in Lights transforms the area with a dazzling holiday light show.
But the Mountain Country Christmas is one holiday event you won’t want to miss out on in 2023.
Guests can enjoy joyous Christmas music provided by local church groups, delicious holiday food, and even photos with jolly old St. Nick himself.
They also expand their arts and crafts booths for even better shopping opportunities.
Their “Cow Town” live exhibit will also be returning this year, allowing attendees to milk a cow and make butter, ice cream, and/or soap using traditional tools and machines.
18. Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas
Dahlonega GA (November 24- Dec 31)
One of the most beloved Blue Ridge Mountain towns in GA, Dahlonega is home to a lively downtown area, a rich gold rush history, a creative arts and music scene, diverse restaurants, great wineries, and endless outdoor adventure.
When Christmastime rolls around, Dahlonega GA brightens with holiday cheer, as hundreds of twinkling lights illuminate the beautiful 19th-century buildings in the town square.
Providing the warmth of a traditional southern celebration, the Old Fashioned Christmas in Dahlonega GA kicks off with the lighting of the square on November 24 and continues with a variety of other events.
You can do some shopping at the Christmas Market at the Community House, watch Elf the Musical at the Historic Holly Theater, enjoy live music, or even take a romantic carriage ride across town.
From November 24 to December 17, you can also visit Santa on the square in front of the town’s beautifully decorated Christmas Tree.
On December 9, you can also watch Santa and others as they march through the streets of the Dahlonega GA Historic District during the annual Christmas Parade.
19. Lights of Joy
Kennesaw GA (Nov 26 – Jan 2)
1510 Ben King Road NW, Kennesaw GA • 404-372-5705
Known as the largest residential Christmas light display in Georgia, Lights of Joy features over 230 Christmas trees filled with thousands of lights.
Many of the light displays and nine different musical trees can be synchronized with 102.1 FM for a dancing light display, and several different Christmastime figures decorate the yard to spread festive cheer.
Parking is available across the street at the Futures Church as this is a walk-through Christmas Light display.
The event is free, but parking may have a minimal price. Please leave your furry friends at home.
20. Winter Wonder Lights at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2450 S. Milledge Ave, Athens GA • (706) 542-1244
On select nights from Nov 22, 2023, to Dec 30, 2023, the Winter Wonderlights Christmas light show illuminates the State Botanical Garden of Georgia with more than a half-million twinkling lights along a 1/2-mile ADA-accessible trail (a.k.a. Candy Cane Lane).
One of the newer North Georgia Christmas traditions, the Athens GA Christmas lights include shimmering snowflakes, a pine tree forest, and a tunnel of multicolored lights, all leading visitors to a festive Christmas market.
Holiday activities include roasting marshmallows for s’mores, drinking hot cocoa or cold drinks, and shopping for Christmas gifts (such as the Condor Chocolates Winter WonderBar, with a portion of proceeds going toward education/conservation programs).
Winder Wonderlights are $15 for guests ages 4 and up. Children ages 3 and under get in free. –by Christina Maggitas; lead image of Garden Nights, Holiday Lights by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett