- By Zachary Hansen The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The weather this season may say differently, but the holiday season is fast approaching, and, with it, comes annual holiday lights shows all across Georgia and metro Atlanta.
Here is a quick guide to several popular holiday light shows and tours in the Atlanta area, as well as one or two a little farther out.
1. Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens
Celebrating its 26th anniversary, Callaway Gardens’ award-winning light show returns bigger than ever. Featuring over 8 million lights and a second season for Snow Day in addition to old favorites such as Snowflake Valley and Magical Christmas Garden, there are plenty of reasons to make the roughly 70-mile trip south from Atlanta to Pine Mountain. Check out the specialty night and special event listings too. Visitors can ride in an open-air trolley or in their own vehicle.
Starts at 6 p.m., closing time varies. Trolley runs on the hour, personal vehicle tickets sold in half-hour slots. Nov. 17-Jan. 6. $21-$28 for adults; $10.50-$14.00 for kids 6-12; children 5 and under get in for free. If you’re ordering in advance, ask for “free child tickets” for your 5-and-unders. 17800 U.S. 27, Pine Mountain. 1-855-923-7299, www.callawaygardens.com.
2. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Walk of Flames, Tunnel of Light and a lot more are waiting for you in Midtown. The 30-acre garden will be glistening through the holidays. New this year is Nature’s Wonders, sparkling in the treetops of Storza Woods. This will be the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s seventh season hosting this event.
5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. Nov. 11-Jan. 7. $19.95-$39.95 for adults; $14.95-$34.95 for kids 3-12; children under 3 get in for free. $5 off for members. Night light tickets, for admission starting at 9 p.m. are $13.95. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859, www.atlantabg.org.
3. Lights of Life at Life University
Introduced in 1989, Life University’s annual holiday light show is a dazzler and a great value. In addition to lights, lights, lights there will be train rides, concessions, pony rides and a petting zoo.
6-10 p.m. Nov. 23-Dec. 31. $10 per car Fridays-Sundays and Nov. 23-26 and Dec. 15-31; $5 per car Mondays-Thursdays except for the above dates; $20 per bus on all dates. 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 770-426-2600, www.life.edu.
4. Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Over Georgia
What’s better than Christmas lights and getting your brain scrambled by the Joker, the Scorcher and the Dare Devil Dive? Roller coasters, more than a million lights and a Monster Mansion go up against an antique carousel, S’mores and a stained glass nativity scene at Six Flags. You want tradition, and a visit to the North Pole? You got it. Caped Crusader? He’s there too. And so much more.
Hours vary depending on the day. Select days Nov. 18-Jan. 3. $48.99-$58.99; 2 and under free; parking $25. 275 Riverside Parkway, SW, Austell. 770-739-3400, www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia
5. Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands
Lake Lanier will be extra illuminated this winter. For the 25th anniversary Santa’s elves dragged some extra lights out of the attic. Patrons will drive past 7 miles of lights passing by all twelve days of Christmas, a Poinsettia Candelabra, through an Icicle Tunnel all the way to Santa’s Workshop in Holiday Village.
5-10 p.m. Nov. 17-Jan. 3. $45 per car. 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 770-945-8787, www.lanierislands.com.
6. Stone Mountain Christmas
Stone Mountain Park will glow with over 2 million lights this holiday season. For a new thrill this year you can help the Snow Angel light the tree and the town. The musical walk-through experience Skylights Spectacular is back with new music as well as a 4-D showing of the Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” There are other walking light tours around the park such as Wonderland Walkway or Snow Angel Palace.
Times vary. Nov. 11-Jan. 3. Adults $31.95-$54.95; children 29.95-$54.95; buy online to get the lowest price, children under 2 get in for free. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-401-2407, www.stonemountainpark.com.
More things to do at Stone Mountain: Snow Mountain on the Memorial Lawn.
7. Holiday Lights of Hope at Hobgood Park
This is another great seasonal value, plus, yule be helping out the Anna Crawford Children’s Center. This is a walk-through venue so it’s especially good for the young ones, most of whom will get in free. More than 2 million lights, food, unique gifts, the big guy in the red suit and more.
6-10 p.m. Dec. 7-23. Adults $10; 14 and under free. Hobgood Park, 6688 Bells Ferry Road, Woodstock, holidaylightsofhope.com.
We must pause from our presentation of holiday cheer to let you know that there won’t be an ice rink or holiday lights at Centennial Olympic Park this season.
The park is undergoing a major expansion and renovation that should be completed by January 2019. Different parts of the park will be temporarily closed at different times. Be sure and check out the park’s web site if you plan to go there between now and then.
Atlanta Christmas Guide: Events, Gift Ideas, Recipes