10 Things to Do in Atlanta in Winter

During your visit to Atlanta in winter, try to take advantage of each of the tourist activities that the winter months have in store for you. Here are some not-to-be-missed experiences!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

10 Things to Do in Atlanta in Winter

Jackson Street Bridge, Atlanta, United States | ©Joey Kyber

Atlanta is a city with a wide range of tourist activities throughout the year. Therefore, the winter weather will not be an impediment for you to have fun if you have decided to travel during the coldest days of the year.

In the so-called jewel of the southern United States, you will find guided activities and others that you can do on your own. For example, you can tour the city after sunset to contemplate the illumination, glide on the skating rink, celebrate the Chinese New Year, taste the city's gastronomy, among other things.

1. Take a night tour of Atlanta to enjoy its lights

Atlanta by night| ©Taylor Strobridge
Atlanta by night| ©Taylor Strobridge

If you do not know what to do in Atlanta at night during your stay in the winter months, then a good alternative is to enjoy its illumination. To do this, you can walk around the city to get a different perspective of the streets and buildings. You can also visit some popular light shows.

Guided night tour

You can opt for a night tour to see the lights of Atlanta, which usually lasts about two hours. Accompanied by a local guide, you will visit the main tourist destinations of the city aboard a car. You will be able to stop at each of the places and take advantage of the illumination to take pictures, while learning about their history.

Some of the destinations are usually:

  • Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  • Millennium Gate.
  • Centennial Park.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Park.
  • Ponce City Market.

Light Shows

Also, in the city you will find several light shows that you can visit annually on your own, from mid-November to mid-January.

In the Atlanta Botanical Gardens you will find a series of scenarios illuminated by thousands of light bulbs. You'll see huge Christmas trees, beautiful fountains and pass through magical tunnels, among other scenes.

Then there's the Light of Life show at Life University. On the campus of this university you will find a display with more than one million lights. In addition, you will see trees, nativity scenes, representations of different cultures and children will be able to interact with Santa Claus.

Book a night tour to see the lights of Atlanta

2. Experience ice at Atlantic Station during your visit to Atlanta

Ice Rink| ©Sergey Zayko
Ice Rink| ©Sergey Zayko

During the winter season in Atlanta you will find many things to see and do in the city. One such experience is Atlantic Station, where you can glide across a huge ice rink, sip a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the colorful surroundings.

Once at the rink you'll need to put on your skates, which are included in the price of admission. After that, the fun is on your own. You will have free time to slide on the ice, take pictures and share with your friends or family, if you are traveling with them.

Also, if you want to eat, try a hot drink or just sit down to rest, there is a restaurant and a cafeteria, strategically located near the rink.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 16€ per person.
  • When: mid-November to mid-January.
  • Where: 1380 Atlantic Dr NW. District Ave.

3. Join a gastronomic tour during your winter stay

Famous Waffles and Chicken dish.| ©Jeff Keyzer
Famous Waffles and Chicken dish.| ©Jeff Keyzer

You'll find Atlanta's cuisine very interesting, thanks to the city's cultural melting pot. You'll find incredible fusions of Southern and regional foods to enjoy in winter. All you have to do is join one of Atlanta's top 10 food tours.

The adventure consists of a walking tour of the city's restaurants and bakeries. It is a gastronomic and historical tour of Atlanta, as the guide will tell you about the city, the context of the places visited and foods tasted.

One of the routes of this activity is usually around the Grant Park neighborhood:

  • Little Tart Bakeshop: with delicious coffee, sweet pastries, pies, cakes, traditional gingerbread cookies, among others.
  • Cook Out: you will find more than 40 flavors of milkshakes, hot drinks, BBQ style meat and burgers.
  • St. Augustine's: here you will enjoy alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, a variety of French toast, shrimp and grits, salmon bites, side dishes and more.

Book a culinary and historical tour of Atlanta

4. Visit the traditional Christkindlmarket in Atlanta

At the Christkindlmarket| ©Rey
At the Christkindlmarket| ©Rey

The Christkindlmarket is a traditional German Christmas market, held annually in the city of Atlanta. Here you can find a great variety of handcrafted products, gastronomy and activities for the whole family.

Handcrafted products

You will find souvenir sales and a variety of handmade products: hand-woven fabrics, tablecloths, jewelry, seasonal ornaments, wooden toys and countless carvings.

Traditional gastronomy

You will be able to taste food and drinks with German tradition: pretzels, dumplings, roasted nuts, potato omelets, apfelschorle, among others. In addition, the little ones in the house will have the opportunity to taste European sweets, chocolate, stollen (sweet bread), gingerbread, cakes, chimney cake, etc.

Children's activities

If you are visiting Atlanta with children, then at the Christkindlmarket you will find special activities for them. Such is the case of some singing shows, storytelling, cultural workshops adapted to their ages and you can even take a picture of them with Santa.

  • Price: free admission.
  • When: from late November to late December (11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.).
  • Where: Buckhead Village District 290 East Paces Ferry Road NE.

5. Take advantage of the northern hemisphere winter tilt phenomenon to stargaze in Atlanta

Behold the beauty of the stars in the sky.| ©El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video
Behold the beauty of the stars in the sky.| ©El Coleccionista de Instantes Fotografía & Video

Be part of one of the best stargazing tours in Atlanta in winter. You can take advantage of the northern hemisphere tilt phenomenon, the clarity of the sky and darkness of the night, to contemplate a greater number of celestial bodies.

For example, these are some of the observation points that you can visit by connecting with a guided experience or, if you wish, on your own:

Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center

This is a natural reserve of more than 2500 hectares, located approximately an hour's drive from Atlanta.

There, you can camp and from its viewpoints contemplate the rain of stars and the different constellations. In addition, there are occasional activities for astronomy enthusiasts: observing events, star parties, among others.

A.H. Stephens State Park

A.H. Stephens State Park is located 1 hour and 30 minutes from Atlanta. Its facilities offer you an endless dark sky, ideal for stargazing.

Hog Pen Pond

To get to this scenic overlook you will have to drive from Atlanta a distance of approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The destination is just off the Appalachian Trail, has a campground and several places for stargazing.

6. Take advantage of Black Friday sales during your winter visit to Atlanta

Black Friday Shopping| ©Sam Lion
Black Friday Shopping| ©Sam Lion

Perhaps your visit to the so-called jewel of the southern United States (Atlanta) is at the beginning of the winter season and, therefore, coincides with Black Friday, which takes place on the last Friday of November. This way, you can take advantage of the sales characteristic of this day.

Without a doubt, this is an activity that you should incorporate into your 1-day itinerary in Atlanta, especially if you are a shopping enthusiast. You can buy appliances, any kind of gadgets, clothing, shoes, Christmas decorations, toys for the little ones, among other products.

Just go to the main shopping malls in the city from early in the morning. Some of them are:

  • Atlantic Station at 1380 Atlantic Dr NW. There, you will enjoy a large number of fashionable commercial stores.
  • Lenox Square, located at 3393 Peachtree Rd NE Atlanta, has more than 250 stores.
  • Perimeter Mall, located at 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Camino Atlanta. You will find approximately 156 stores.

7. Enjoy the R&B and hip-hop scene at the V-103 Atlanta Winterfest

Hip-Hop Dance| ©E. Başak
Hip-Hop Dance| ©E. Başak

If you are a true enthusiast of the R&B and Hip-Hop music scene, then you have a date at the V-103 Atlanta Winterfest. This is a very popular show in the city and a good option to incorporate into your itinerary of things to do in Atlanta in December.

During the show you can enjoy renowned exponents of the Funk and Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop and even Pop genres. Some of the artists that have performed since the first edition in 2015 are:

  • Bell Biv DeVoe ( R&B/Soul group, American).
  • DJ Khaled (Palestinian DJ and former member of the rap group Terror Squad).
  • Lil Wayne(rapper winner of five Grammys).
  • Kem (R&B and neo soul singer).
  • Tank (American hip-hop exponent).

It is important that, prior to your visit to Atlanta, you check the festival information. This way, you will know the schedules, dates, ticket prices and even where to buy them.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 60€ per person.
  • When: mid-December (annually).
  • Where: State Farm Arena. 1 State Farm Dr, Atlanta.

8. Pay a visit to Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta and celebrate New Year's Eve with the family.

Stone Mountain Park| ©Angels D
Stone Mountain Park| ©Angels D

If you plan to spend New Year's Eve in Atlanta and want to move the celebration up a few hours, then you should pay a visit to Stone Mountain Park. There, annually at 9:00 p.m. the countdown to the new year will begin, accompanied by an amazing fireworks show and an artificial snowfall.

Also, before the New Year's Eve celebration, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the daily activities of the park' s Christmas itinerary. For example:

  • Drone and light show.
  • Christmas parade.
  • Santa flying through the skies in his sleigh.

These last activities are available through January 1, but if you visit Atlanta in the summer, fall or spring, you'll enjoy other seasonal attractions at this same location.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 40€ per person.
  • When: daily from mid-November through January.
  • Where: 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.

9. Honor ancient Chinese culture and celebrate the Lunar New Year in Atlanta

Lunar New Year| ©Phátography發仔哥
Lunar New Year| ©Phátography發仔哥

During your winter visit, you'll find more than 70 fun things to do in Atlanta, and one of them is the Lunar New Year celebration. You will be able to attend a series of traditional activities in honor of Chinese culture. All of them full of color and oriental tradition.

Chinatown Mall

In Chinatown Mall you will find the traditional dances with dragons and lions. Also, you will taste the moon cake and other gastronomic delights, see some cultural exhibits and you can buy handicrafts. All this from 10:00 to 16:00 hours.

  • Price: free admission.
  • When: from late January and early February.
  • Where: Chamblee, approximately 19 minutes drive from downtown Atlanta.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Bureau Culture Center

Another option is to go to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office Culture Center. There, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you will enjoy some of the oriental folklore, represented in music and dance performances. In addition, you will find a market with traditional food.

  • Price: average price of 7€ per person.
  • When: from the end of January and beginning of February.
  • Where: 5377 New Peachtree Rd, right next to Chinatown Mall.

10. Say goodbye to the winter season and attend Orchid Daze at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden| ©Clint Efird
Botanical Garden| ©Clint Efird

February represents the close of the winter season with a major exhibition combining orchids and art. So, if you are interested in these subjects, you have an appointment at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Orchid Daze takes place every year from the second week of February. It is a creative proposal, which will allow you to walk through the indoor garden to get up close and personal with a variety of more than 200 species of orchids. Such is the case of moth orchids, slipper orchids from tropical Asia, the Madagascar orchid, among others.

At the same time, you will discover some sculptures, perfectly integrated to the floral scenery. For example, the sculptor Kristine Mays is one of the artists who usually shows her three-dimensional work made of metal fibers on a real scale.

Information of interest

  • Price: from 14€ per person.
  • When: daily from the second week of February through mid-April.
  • Where: 1345 Piedmont Ave NE.

Temperatures in Atlanta in winter

People in the snow| © Alain Wong
People in the snow| © Alain Wong

The winter period in Atlanta usually lasts from the end of November to the end of February, which is an average of three months. This is a period of time during which you will enjoy a daily temperature of less than 14°C, but rarely drops below -4°C.

January is the coldest month of Atlanta's winter, with temperatures ranging from a low of 2°C to a high of 11°C. Meanwhile, February records the highest percentage of rainfall (approximately 114 millimeters).

Meanwhile, the snow period covers an interval of 31 days (first week of January to the first days of February), recording snow precipitation of at least 25 millimeters. In addition, ice storms are present in the mountainous areas.

Alternative plans to protect yourself from the cold in Atlanta

Cup of Hot Chocolate| ©Fallon Michael
Cup of Hot Chocolate| ©Fallon Michael

There are some alternative plans you should take into consideration during your visit to Atlanta in winter. For example:

  • Boost your body heat by drinking a daily minimum of three cups of tea, chocolate or coffee to keep warm.
  • Make the most of heating by incorporating visits to indoor places into your itinerary.
  • If you use a rental car to tour the city, try as much as possible to keep the tank full of fuel. This will prevent the hoses from freezing.

In addition, it is important to dress in three layers:

  • Thermal set tight to the body (pants - T-shirt). In this way, moisture will be absorbed.
  • Second set of looser clothing, which will provide you with the feeling of warmth.
  • Coat and accessories as a barrier against the wind.