Explore Atlanta

An Editor's Holiday Itinerary: Snow, Skates and Sissonnes

This editor loves to take part in Atlanta's various—and sometimes quirky—holiday traditions.

One of the things I love most about Atlanta is its ability to balance Southern tradition with forward progress. Come the holidays, Atlanta's Southern penchant for pageantry makes a strong appearance. This holiday season, I've decided to dive in head-first to Atlanta's strongest holiday traditions—some tried and true, some new. Join me in celebrating the joyous season like a local.

Snow Mountain, Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Master snowman builders make good use of the SnowZone at Snow Mountain (Courtesy Stone Mountain Park)

Morning: Snow Mountain

I'm originally from Florida (where winter is but a myth), so I love playing with snow any chance I get. Five football fields of land at the foot of the world's largest granite monolith are covered in 360 tons of real snow per day for Stone Mountain Park's Snow Mountain. Soar down the 400-foot, snow-covered hill at Avalanche Alley, where group-sized tubes are available for whole-family fun. Build snowmen and have snowball fights in the SnowZone. Snow Mountain's other highlights include roasting s'mores at Snow Fire Point and Little Angels, a play zone for kids 3 and under. Tickets $28, including two-hour tubing session and an all-day snow play access. Advance reservations highly recommended. Through Feb. 22.

Skate Atlantic Station, Atlanta, Ga.
Skaters glade by on the massive ice rink at Atlantic Station. (Courtesy Atlantic Station)

Afternoon: Skate Atlantic Station

In my mind, nothing embodies the holidays more than bundling up, holding onto someone's hand (for dear life, if you're like me) and gliding on ice. Atlantic Station's 10,000-square-foot, open-air ice-skating rink is one of the city's most popular thanks mostly to its convenience. The rink is surrounded by a wide variety of shops—like Dillard's, West Elm, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor—and restaurants for every palate, making it an easy one stop for the holidays. After channeling your inner Michelle Kwan, stroll a few feet away to Kilwin's where you'll get 10-percent-off everything in the store by showing your Skate Atlantic Station wristband. Tickets $13 adults, $10 children, students, seniors and military. Through Feb. 15. Mon-Thu 3–10 pm, Fri-Sat 3–11 pm, Sun 3–9 pm. 

Nutcracker, Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta, Ga.
Atlanta Ballet stuns audiences with its beautiful production of "The Nutcracker" at the fabulous Fox Theatre. (©Charlie McCullers)

Evening: Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker

As a child, my best friend was a ballerina. Each year, I would watch her perform in "The Nutcracker" as she rose through the character ranks. Thus, my holidays wouldn’t be complete without watching Atlanta Ballet’s production of E.T.A. Hoffman's magical tale. The dazzling production is performed in an equally stunning venue, the fabulous Fox Theatre. Tchaikovsky's score is brought to life expertly by the Gwinnett Community Symphony Orchestra while the company's talented dancers pirouette and plié in shimmering costumes amidst intricate sets. Tickets $23-$112 adults, $18-$94 students.