It’s no secret that our family truly loves Christmas Light Displays in Georgia.
Whether we’re heading out to enjoy our favorite Atlanta Christmas events or staying home to savor our beloved Christmas traditions and decorate our house with the symbols of Christmas, we tend to spend the entire month of December (and half of November) celebrating our favorite holiday.
Christmas lights are one of our favorite seasonal traditions. So naturally we adorn our home festively every year, both inside and out.
I put up so many festive lights on the house, I’ve been called “Sparky” (after Clark Griswold) on more than one occasion.
But we also love visiting (and revisiting) the best Christmas light displays in Georgia.
When I was a young Atlanta native, the Christmas light displays near me were limited to just the Rich’s (now Macy’s) Great Tree in downtown Atlanta.
But these days there are dozens of Christmas light displays in Georgia, from Christmas lights in Atlanta to Christmas lights in Lake Lanier Islands, Callaway Gardens, Rock City, and Coastal Georgia.
No matter how old we get, we’re still delighted by the shimmering lights and spirit of the holiday seasons. Perhaps that’s why we continue to visit our favorite Christmas light displays every year.
Here’s a look at a few of our personal favorites, as well as numerous others all around the state.
CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS IN GEORGIA BY AREA
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN ATLANTA
Atlanta Botanical Garden (Nov 13-Jan 15)
Georgia’s greenest holiday celebration brightens the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 30 acres with over 2 million colorful, energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
Named one of the nation’s Top 10 Holiday Lights Displays by USA Today, the Midtown attraction showcases botanical themes that accentuate the natural beauty of the gardens while adding a uniquely festive holiday twist.
New this year will be lighted sculptures from the amazing exhibition, SUPERnatural: Glass Art by Jason Gamrath, a colorful Glowing Grove along the Flower Walk, and massive flowers leading you to the Ice Goddess.
Be sure to check out the high-tech Nature’s Wonders section, which showcases our planet’s natural phenomena through countless strands of synchronized dancing lights strung high over Storza Woods. This is Mary’s favorite Atlanta Christmas light display!
Some of our favorite returning features include Santa Mantis and her Brilliant Bugs fluttering through rows of corn in the Edible Garden; the Ice Goddess’ shimmering locks and the glistening Ice Storm Trees; and the glowing Orchestral Orbs, which dance with color and light to the sounds of festive holiday tunes.
We love the giant trees ranging from 20 feet (at the entrance to Linton’s Restaurant) to 30 feet (atop the Alston Overlook), as well as the countless swirling red, orange, and white lights blanketing the 100-foot-long Tunnel of Light, which leads visitors from the Cascades Garden back to the Fern Dell’s gorgeous galaxy of pulsating stars.
Unlike most of the Christmas light displays in Atlanta, the Atlanta Botanical Garden encourages people to get out of their cars and walk around, passing giant snowflakes, massive Xmas trees, and beautiful Chihuly glass sculptures while listening to strolling carolers and sipping hot cocoa or tea.
Nine years in, it’s become one of Atlanta’s most beloved holiday traditions. If you’re looking for a hotel near the Atlanta Botanical Garden, check out the W Atlanta Midtown. Check Hotel Rates for the W Atlanta Midtown on Booking.com.
Atlantic Station (Nov 11 – Jan 2)
In the years before we launched GGT, we helped run an improv comedy company in Atlanta.
One of my favorite memories from that time was organizing a group to sing carols in Atlantic Station. This was one of the first years they had their 50-foot-tall Christmas tree there.
The Midtown hotspot’s annual holiday celebration has grown considerably over the past eight years, and the holiday lights this year are bigger and brighter than ever.
There will be hand-crafted displays from some of your favorite holiday movies, a mini neighborhood showcasing local establishments, and a ton of holiday cheer.
You can drive through the lights on value nights (Sunday – Thursday) for $25 per car in advance or $30 at the gate. On peak nights (Friday – Saturday) the cost is $35 per car in advance or $40 at the gate.
If you want to walk through the displays, visit on Thursday where walking nights are just $15 per adult in advance or $20 at the gate. Kids 15 and under enter for free!
There’s also an ice skating rink – one of only two outdoor rinks in metro Atlanta and other holiday events at Atlantic Station like Martinis and Mistletoe and the Makers Market.
Zoo Atlanta (Nov 16-Jan 16)
Opening for the first time in November of 2021, the all-new IllumiNights at Zoo Atlanta is a Chinese Lantern Festival that celebrates the beauty of the natural world.
After dark, the zoo will be lit up by more than 80 animal lanterns that depict some of the world’s most spectacular creatures.
Each lantern is made and hand-painted by Chinese artisans which is even more impressive when you realize some of the lanterns are up to 20 feet tall! They also feature environmentally-friendly LED lights.
To see the breathtaking display, there is a wheelchair-friendly route that takes about an hour to walk through. Gift shops and food and beverage locations will also be open along with the Endangered Species Carousel.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS NEAR ATLANTA (SUBURBS)
Stone Mountain Park (Nov 13-Jan 2)
Atlanta’s most popular tourist attraction is also home to one of the city’s most beloved holiday traditions.
As the evening sun fades, the entire Crossroads Village sparkles with over 2 million lights and a gigantic outdoor Christmas tree, while Georgia’s most famous mountainside is lit up by a holiday-themed laser show.
There are Sing-a-Long Christmas Train rides, storytelling with Mrs. Claus, a comedic rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a live performance by the Tinseltown Carolers, and numerous opportunities to pose for pictures with the Snow Angel, Santa and/or Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph and his friends.
There is also a brand new Christmas Light Show that will feature 20 minutes of your favorite holiday tunes being brought to life with special effects, videos, and a firework finale.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the nightly Christmas parade (which features special appearances by the Snow Angel and the Clauses), as well as the magical snowfall and rousing fireworks display that close out the nightly celebration. Check Hotel Rates and Read Hotel Reviews.
Six Flags Over Georgia (Select dates Nov 20-Jan 2)
For its seventh season at Six Flags, Holiday in the Park is upping the ante more than ever before.
There will be a ton of thrilling rides decked out in Christmas décor, holiday-themed sections, and more than one million twinkling LED lights.
One of the most unique ways to see the park’s holiday lights is from above on the Sky Buckets.
Six Flags Over Georgia’s newest light show is in the tunnel of wonders. Watch as this epic holiday light show flows around you and listen for the special holiday story every 15 minutes.
Be sure to embrace the romance of the holidays at Mistletoe Mansion where you can be surrounded by a woodland of garland, mistletoe, and more than 100,000 lights.
The park also features a stained glass nativity scene, Holiday Hill, Peppermint Plaza, the North Star with meteor shower lights, holiday-themed entertainment, and seasonal treats. . Check Hotel Rates for Springhill Suites by Marriott Six Flags via Booking.com.
Margaritaville at Lake Lanier Islands (Nov 12-Feb 27)
Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights is one of Georgia’s longest-running Christmas light displays. Trivial tidbit: It’s also the place where Mary & I kissed for the first time, on our second date nine years ago!
Unfortunately, the beloved drive-through light display was retired after almost 30 years but has been recently replaced with an extraordinary Lake Lanier Christmas Lights display now called the Lakeside Lights Spectacular!
It is a walk-through light show set to the background of joyful holiday music with hot cocoa and cocktails available along the way!
Along with the magical light show, there will be carnival rides, holiday games, and of course visits with Santa!
Be sure to check out Lake Lanier’s special Holiday themed overnight packages! Check Rates for Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge via Booking.com
Life University, Marietta (Nov 25- Dec 31)
One of Atlanta’s oldest and most underrated Christmas light displays, Lights of Life nevertheless draws huge local crowds thanks largely to word-of-mouth.
It’s also much cheaper than most– just $10 per car! During the week, Families are encouraged to visit to avoid weekend traffic and to take advantage of the lower price.
That’s a bargain for a one million LED light display that includes over 100 pieces (including a 65-foot Santa/sleigh display, the tallest in the Southeast) on the 1.5 mile drive through the college’s campus.
Each year, the display is a little different, making each experience unique.
For additional fees, there is also a petting zoo, pony rides, train rides. and opportunities to have your photo taken with Santa.
Hobgood Park, Woodstock (Dec 2-23)
This Christmas light display in Woodstock is so under-the-radar, we live less than 8 miles away and had never heard of it until we were researching this piece!
But Holiday Lights of Hope is HUGE, with more than two million twinkling lights, including traditional and animated displays.
Families will enjoy walking through a mile-long Christmas maze, roasting S’mores over a roaring bonfire, and getting pictures taken with Santa.
Grown-ups can enjoy strolling down Main Street, shopping at the General Store, and listening to Christmas carolers along the way.
Best of all, your $10 adult ticket (free for children 14 and under) benefits the Anna Crawford Children’s Center.
Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville GA (Nov 25-Dec 30)
This 80-acre farm in Cartersville has been in the Allen family since 1945, when Lake Allatoona was expanded.
Now run by the grandchildren of the original owners, the farm features over a mile of Christmas lights to drive through ($30 per car, or $10 per person for an old-fashioned hayride).
Included in the price is a visit to their petting zoo, where you can also see live Reindeer.
Santa Claus makes appearances for photo ops every Thursday through Sunday, and there’s a Live Nativity scene taking place this year on November 12th.
Bring some extra cash along to purchase hot cocoa, apple cider, marshmallows for roasting, and kits to make S’mores on the campfire. They also have Christmas trees for sale.
Barnsley Resort In Adairsville GA (Nov 28 – Jan 2)
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Barnsley Resort (formerly known as Barnsley Gardens) is famous for its Southern charm and gothic ruins.
The English-style garden and historic Manor House Ruins will be all lit up with colorful holiday lights for this north Georgia Christmas celebration.
Campfire storytelling, cookie decorating, gingerbread house crafting, harvest hayrides, and wreath-making classes are just some of the many holiday-themed events held throughout the season.
Be sure to come with an empty stomach on Christmas Day to enjoy the extensive buffet from their Executive Chef in the resort’s Georgian Hall. Check Rates for the Barnsley Resort via Booking.com
Canton GA (Nov 23-Dec 31)
This awe-inspiring light display combines patriotism and holiday magic featuring animated Christmas displays, 2 drive thru tunnels, and over 1 million twinkling lights throughout the 2-mile drive.
A quarter-mile of the drive is dedicated to veterans with displays set up as a tribute to each branch of the U.S. military.
The event costs $20 per car and includes multiple run throughs on the same night, but your ticket goes to more than just a dazzling light display.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to various charities including Papa’s Pantry, Skills USA, CRPA Play it Forward, and Veterans of Cherokee County.
Starting November 23, the drive will be available until December 31 and will open at 6 PM whether rain or shine.
Six Flags White Water, Marietta (Nov 12 – TBD)
World of Illumination is the producer of the largest drive-through animated light show in the world and this year, the light extravaganza is back in Georgia.
Fittingly named Rockin’ Christmas, the event is a synchronized musical experience featuring a one-mile road decorated with hundreds of animated displays and millions of dazzling lights.
The drive takes around 25 to 30 minutes to complete during which you can turn up your radio to enjoy festive music while taking in the lights.
Along with seeing DJ Santa and his sidekick the Little Drummer Boy there will be life-sized musical notes, jukeboxes, and a 500-foot long RGB LED tunnel doubling as Santa’s magical portal.
Rockin’ Christmas opens on November 12 and runs each night (including holidays) from 6 PM to 10 PM. Ticket prices are $45-$55 per vehicle and part of the proceeds will go towards Make-A-Wish Georgia.
CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS IN NORTH GEORGIA
Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain GA (Nov 19-Jan 2; Closed Dec 24)
Most of us who grew up in Georgia remember the famous “See Rock City!” signs, which seemed to be painted on every barn in the area. But these days Rock City is nationally known.
Their Enchanted Garden of Lights celebration was selected as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society and recently featured on ABC talk show The Chew.
With more than 30 holiday scenes and nearly a million LED lights that transform the gardens’ usual splendor into a winter wonderland, this is arguably north Georgia’s best Christmas light display.
There are an array of seasonal activities to enjoy, including meeting Santa in his workshop and visiting the Christmas shops to buy personalized ornaments and other festive décor.
For an extra charge, kids can also enjoy Dinner with Santa, Jack Frost, Inara the ice queen, and the Dancing Forest. Check Rates at the Chanticleer Inn Bed & Breakfast on Lookout Mountain via Booking.com.
Downtown Blue Ridge (Nov 26-Nov 27)
Blue Ridge is one of Georgia’s most lovely little mountain towns, and in recent years has emerged as a burgeoning progressive hotbed with a growing LGBTQ contingent.
Light Up Blue Ridge is one of the community’s most beloved annual celebrations, offering an array of activities and special events that the whole family can enjoy.
The action begins with Blue Friday– their small town twist on Black Friday– on November 26. There will be killer shopping deals at many of the stores, live entertainment, and caroling in the streets.
The Gingerbread village also opens on Blue Friday where you can visit the Arts Center to look at 95 featured gingerbread houses!
But the main event begins on Saturday, November 27, with a full day of fun festivities. These include live entertainment, food vendors, a window decorating contest, and a festive parade starting at 5:30 PM.
You will also be able to take pictures with Santa in the gazebo and send him a letter through Santa’s mailbox where you will get a handwritten reply just a few days later!
Check out the The 15 Best Blue Ridge Georgia Cabins to Rent.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA
Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee GA (Nov 25-Dec 23)
The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds are located along the scenic shores of Lake Chatuge in the state’s beautiful northeastern mountains.
The venue is best known as the site of the Georgia Mountain Fair, Georgia State Fiddlers Convention, and concerts by big bands such as the Beach Boys and Casting Crowns.
But the Mountain Country Christmas In Lights is a down-home holiday affair that transforms the fairgrounds with a spectacular light show.
Visitors can also enjoy Christmas music provided by local church groups, shopping for arts and crafts from local vendors, festive holiday food, and, of course, the requisite pictures with jolly old St. Nick!
Also, returning this year is “Cow Town,” which allows attendees a chance to milk a cow to make butter, ice cream, and soap the old-fashioned way with a variety of historic tools and machines!
READ MORE: Countries that Do Not Celebrate Christmas
Dahlonega GA (Nov 26-Jan 9)
Dahlonega is one of the most beloved Blue Ridge Mountain towns in GA and truly comes alive during Christmastime as hundreds of twinkling lights illuminate the beautiful 19th-century buildings in the town square.
Giving you that small town southern feeling, Old Fashioned Christmas in Dahlonega starts with the lighting of the square on November 26 and continues with an array of other events.
You can visit the Christmas Market at the Community House to do some seasonal shopping, enjoy live music, watch the Irving Berlin musical, Holiday Inn, at the Holly Theater, or even take a romantic carriage ride across town.
Santa will also be in town from November 26 to December 19 so you can get your photo taken with him in front of the town’s Christmas Tree.
On December 11, the annual Christmas Parade takes place where you can watch Santa and others as they march through the streets of the Dahlonega Historic District spreading holiday cheer.
CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS SOUTH OF ATLANTA
Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain GA (Nov 19 – Jan 3)
Callaway Gardens’ annual Christmas celebration is the largest in the state of Georgia. It has even been recognized by National Geographic as one of the Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the World!
The state’s most high-tech Christmas light display includes over 8 million twinkling bulbs and 16 classic themes (including “Snowflake Valley,” “Magical Christmas Garden” and “Santa’s Workshop”) stretched across a drive throughout 2,500 acres.
The new scenes even include a Christmas tree over 10 stories high making it the tallest Christmas tree in the South!
Visitors are welcome to view the holiday spectacular via their own personal vehicle or take the “Jolly Trolley.”
Make sure to visit the new Callaway Christmas Village to explore a Winter Wonderland filled with dazzling lights, massive nutcrackers, and huge snowflakes, and take a stroll through Christmas Tree Lane to see the intricately decorated Christmas Trees.
You can also stop in the Christmas Market to do some seasonal shopping and get the chance to meet classic characters like Rudolph, Bumble, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and even Santa Claus!
For guests who want to spend the night, Callaway Gardens also offers special packages starting with added benefits such as shuttle service to Christmas Village and daily Gardens admission(a value of $25 per adult; per day).
Historic Downtown Macon GA (Nov 26-Jan 2)
Now in its fifth year, this Christmas light display in Macon returns hoping to draw more locals to historic downtown Macon, which is known as “the Heart of Georgia” due to its location near the geographic center of the state.
The town (which is known for giving birth to musical icons such as the Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, Little Richard, and half of R.E.M.) will be lit up with 500,000+ Christmas lights adorning practically every shop, shrub, and more.
The lights will all move in time to original music composed by the Macon Pops, with local artists featured on vocals.
The lights will be on from 6 to 10 PM nightly, with the light shows starting on the hour at 6 PM, 7 PM, 8 PM and 9 PM.
In addition to driving through the Christmas light displays, you can also stroll streets lined with candy canes, illuminated arches, and twinkling trees as you explore the shops and restaurants downtown Macon has to offer.
Columbus GA (Nov 25-Dec 31)
If you’re like us and festooning your house with Christmas lights is a big part of your annual holiday traditions, visiting the Ludy’s house will provoke a mixture of motivation and envy.
Made famous by the ABC show The Great Christmas Light Fight, this Columbus family’s dedication to spreading holiday cheer would make Clark Griswold burst with joy.
From Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Eve, their house and lawn are covered with over 155,000 lights and decorations. The display is so elaborate, it takes nearly four months to put it up!
All of the Christmas lights are sequenced to music, so make sure you tune your radio to FM 90.1 as you enter their Cottonwood Subdivision.
Admission is free, but you can show the Ludy family some love by donating to the Georgia Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Check Hotel Rates.
Albany GA (TBD)
Located about two hours south of Macon off I-75 and I-10, Albany is most famous as the birthplace of music legend Ray Charles.
Every year at Christmastime the tiny town of about 70,000 residents comes alive with holiday spirit, with the Festival of Lights at Chehaw Park at the epicenter of activity.
This annual tradition allows guests to self-drive or ride the Wiregrass Express Train through the park, which features festive holiday songs and more than 1,000 twinkling Christmas light displays.
Each of these pieces is made by hand in the park’s welding shop, so the experience is guaranteed to be different from anything you’ll see in other Christmas light displays in Georgia.
Admission to the attraction is just $10 per vehicle (or $8 per vehicle for park members).
In addition to visiting the Festival of Lights display and having a chance to meet (and take photos with) the Clauses, premium nights also offer an opportunity to play in South Georgia’s only real snow pit, enjoy various holiday-themed arts and crafts activities, and purchase hot cocoa, marshmallows, and other tasty treats.
(The Horse Mansion at Bouckaert Farm in Fairburn, GA, Nov 26 – Jan 2)
Located at the Horse Mansion at Bouckaert Farm, the Holiday Road Christmas Event is an immersive walking trail filled with dazzling lights and cheerful displays that are sure you put you in the Christmas spirit.
The event opens at 5PM and closes at 11PM with designated time slots for the walk starting at 6PM and ending at 9:30PM.
You can also visit some of the best food trucks in the area to grab a delicious meal or visit the Holiday Bar to pick up a savory cocktail, glass of wine, or beer before or after enjoying the trail.
Make sure before you leave to stop by the Holiday Road’s souvenir shop to pick out a keepsake to bring home for the holidays!
CHRISTMAS LIGHT DISPLAYS IN COASTAL GEORGIA
Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah GA (Nov 26-27, Dec 3-4, 10-11, & 17-24)
The northern half of the state has more than its fair share of Christmas light displays, but this is a rare gem in central Georgia.
Savannah’s Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens is bedazzled with over a million sparkling lights, with a driving tour allowing you to visit the various garden areas that are illuminated at your leisure.
But of course, the lights aren’t the only attraction. Kids can get photos taken with Santa Claus, visit the Coastal Rail Buff’s miniature train display, or stop in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen for a hot beverage or baked Christmas goodies (where your purchase supports local non-profit groups). Check Hotel Rates.
NOTE: Because rain causes the lights to trip breakers, this display is weather-dependent.
Jekyll Island (Nov 26-Jan 2)
Located on the beautiful Jekyll Island, the Holly Jolly Jekyll season returns with fun activities and festive décor sure to make your holiday getaway truly unforgettable.
The island will be aglow with over half a million lights that can be viewed by foot or on a trolley with the Holly Jolly Light Tours. The tour lasts 40-minutes and costs $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 5-12, and is free for children 4 and under.
While on the tour you will be able to sit back and enjoy the historic live oaks twinkling in vibrant colors and all the light displays set in a coastal wonderland.
There will be plenty of fun activities to participate in including visiting the Mailbox on Main to drop a letter to Santa at the North Pole Express mailbox, playing a round of holiday-themed mini-golf at Peppermint Land, or having breakfast with the big man himself during Breakfast with Santa (additional tickets are required).
Spectacular Holiday Fireworks will also light up the sky on December 11 and 18, a special drive-in movie presentation of Frosty the Snowman will take place on December 12 and 19, and the Holly Jolly Jeckyl Light Parade will march across the island on December 4.
–by Bret Love; with additional reporting by Christina Maggitas, photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted
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