Where to Find the Bright Lights in the Big City
The metropolitan area is aglow with the lights of the season and we've got your best places to check them out.
One of the best things about the holiday season is the festive glow given off by all those dazzling holiday lights. They can’t help but put you in a good mood and we’ve tracked down some of the city’s best displays that would put a smile on Ebenezer Scrooge’s crusty old face. Some can be seen by car (with a per car ticket price); some are enjoyed walking and are free. Most displays will remain up until New Year’s Eve, but check the web site listings.
Over in Cartersville, the Pettit Creek Farms Christmas Lights display is over one mile of lights normally viewed by car. There’s a live nativity scene on weekends, hayrides and a concession stand with s’more kits, hot chocolate and cider.
Take a drive up to Gainesville for a seven-mile long light display that ends at a holiday village filled with activities for young and old. There’s ice skating, a Santa’s workshop, live nativity scene, plenty of refreshments and lots of fun.
A tradition in Marietta for over 25 years, the Life College Lights of Life display is over a mile-long with a 65-foot tall Santa. The real-life Santa will also be available for photo ops and wish lists. There are also pony rides and a petting zoo.
The Gift of Lights is located at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. just south of the Atlanta metro area. The display is over a mile-long and made up of over one million bulbs. Yes, it is a drive-through event and there is a speed limit, so don’t get any ideas about shaking and baking. The display will be up until January 11, 2014, according to the web site.
The breathtaking Fantasy in Lights is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” as named by National Geographic Traveler. It’s comprised of 15 different scenes that were custom-designed for the garden. You have the option to remain in the comfort of your own car or ride something called a Jolly Trolley.
See the park drenched in over two million twinkling lights along with a Christmas parade or watch Polar Express in 4-D. Kids can pose with a giant plush Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster as well as adults in need of a new Facebook profile picture.
Head downtown and check out the display at Centennial Olympic Park, which is free and then go to the Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Though it is not free, there are a ton of kid-friendly activities going on down there.
What could be more romantic than a carriage ride through Piedmont Park? A carriage ride through a Piedmont Park glowing with holiday lights, that’s what. Walk over to Park Tavern afterwards for a hot toddy or ice skating, which we hear mixes well together.
The Holiday Lights at Atlantic Station are centered on a 50-foot tree and light displays all around the complex. Kids as well as four-legged friends can visit Santa. There’s an ice skating rink, a “snow storm” on Fridays and Saturdays and check out West Elm for locally made gift options or take in a movie.
This Saturday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. they’ll be handing out 100 free umbrellas from the new Disney film Saving Mr. Banks.