Atlanta has a few tried-and-true holiday events—things folks plan to attend year after year, outside of the regular lineup of parties and family gatherings. This year, of course, looks different. Santa at the mall has a separate sofa for the kids. Community trees are simply switched on, without a hot-chocolate-sipping audience to see it.
But while favorite traditions may be on hold, there’s also the potential for new ones to start. And because Atlanta businesses and institutions are nothing if not adaptable, people still have the chance to be merry and bright this season with some fun, safer options for the holidays.
Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Every year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden illuminates its spaces with curtains of light, magical train sets and fantastical sculptures. But the Garden Lights display also typically draws crowds of people, despite its ticketed entry. That’s why, this year, the gardens have limited capacity and require masks in all indoor spaces. Visitors are also required to wear masks outside unless they’re more than 6 feet from other guests.
“A Christmas Carol” at the Alliance Theatre
This season, the Alliance Theatre is taking its long-running production of “A Christmas Carol” to Summerhill. The drive-in production turns the experience into a live radio play. Everything from the acting to the sound effects are done in real time while viewers watch on and listen from their cars.
Drive-in Chanukah with Chabad Intown
On Dec. 13, Chabad Intown hosts a drive-in Chanukah celebration at Ponce City Market. Guests can grab a coffee from Spiller Park, then watch from their cars as the grand menorah is lit. Two short films will be shown, and celebrants can bring their own picnic dinners or pre-order one from Fuego Mundo, a kosher South American restaurant. Registration is required.
“The Nutcracker” at the Atlanta Ballet
This would have been the first year that the Atlanta Ballet performed “The Nutcracker” at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre instead of at the Fox Theatre. While that plan has been put on hold, they’re still putting Cobb Energy’s extensive parking space to good use, converting the surface lot to a drive-in. There, they’ll screen a filmed version of the ballet. For those who can’t make it in person, there’s also the option to purchase three-day viewing access for “The Nutcracker” on demand.
The Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert
Spelman and Morehouse Colleges were not about to miss their 94th annual concert of carols. This year, the schools have taken their celebration online, mixing virtual performances with recordings from years past. The event will be held Dec. 16 and streamed live on Spelman.edu, the Spelman College Facebook page and the Morehouse College YouTube page.
Winter Wonderland at Fernbank
As in years past, Fernbank will fill the balconies of its giant atrium with trees celebrating different cultural traditions from around the world. Outside, giant snow globe scenes will impress the kids. Adventurous visitors can also kick off their shoes and try out the sock skating rink, where masks are required and participation is limited to 10 at a time.
Ice Skating and Igloos at Ponce City Market
Ponce City Market’s Holidays on the Roof offers distanced igloo rentals for those who want to keep their party space contained. The private domes come with sofas, tables, and dining service, and they’re disinfected and fogged between use. For those looking for a more approachable experience, the roof also features ticketed ice skating, along with weekend performances by a familiar Ice Queen.
We hope you find a safe, fun way to enjoy the holidays this year!
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