ATHENS, Georgia (November 14, 2019) – The most wonderful time of the year is here once again. It is a magical time in the Classic City during the holiday season. Visitors can enjoy festive heritage events, artist markets for one-of-a-kind gifts, world-class entertainment, holiday productions and much more. Celebrating the holidays in the Classic City will be a time to remember.

Athens on Ice: Athens, Georgia’s only indoor/outdoor ice rink will open for the season on Sunday, November 24. The Classic Center is home to an indoor National Hockey League sized Ice-Skating arena and outdoor skating pavilion. From November 24 to January 8, the rink will be indoors, then move to the outdoor pavilion from January 27 to February 23. With multiple public skating sessions every day, adults only public skating and drop-in hockey, this winter staple is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. For more information, visit https://classiccenter.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=577.  

Holiday Gala Tour of Homes - Historic Athens will provide a tour of homes and auction on Historic Meigs Street on Sunday, December 8 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://historicathens.ticketspice.com/holidaygala

Holiday Spirits Open House Tour - The Athens Welcome Center will host their Holiday Spirits Home Tour on Saturday, December 14 between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Three house museums will have on-the-hour-guided tours of Athens' finest period homes adorned for the Season. The Welcome Center will feature a living history tour focusing on period food-ways and share recipe samplings from the early South. For more information, visit https://www.visitathensga.com/event/the-holiday-spirits-open-house-tour/23574/.

Athens Santa Pub Crawl: Hosted by Live Wire Athens, this festive pub crawl will take place on Saturday, December 7. Visitors dress in Santa costumes or their silliest holiday attire and visit multiple bars to spread holiday cheer throughout the town. Wristbands are $15 - $20 and include stops at multiple venues.  All proceeds benefit the Athens Area Humane Society. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/athenssantapubcrawl.

Indie South Fair Holiday Hooray: This holiday market provides a venue for artists to connect with the community by sharing their techniques and creative processes in a street-fair atmosphere that is open to everyone with a $5 donation to Project Safe--a 501c3 non-profit organization working to end domestic violence. Shop handcrafted jewelry, paper goods, silkscreened fabrics and tees, ceramics, hand printed cards, bath and body products, unique housewares, edgy fashions, locally made food stuffs, and quirky items for pets and children. Spend the day at the 440 Foundry Pavilion between December 14 and December 15 beginning at 10 a.m. to shop for holiday gifts and decor. For more information, visit https://www.theindiesouth.com/pages/holiday-hooray-december-14th-15th-2019.

Classic City Band Holiday Concert: The State Botanical Garden of Georgia will host this concert on Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. The Classic City Band is the oldest community band. Admission to the concert is free of charge and more information can be found at For more information, visit http://www.classiccityband.org/event/classic-city-band-holiday-concert-4/?instance_id=274.

"Deck the Hollow" Holiday Light Show at Bear Hollow Zoo: The Bear Hollow Zoo will be illuminated in lights, offer live music, animal encounters and photo opportunities on December 6 - 9 and 12 - 15 from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  Concessions will be available for purchase. The cost of this illuminous event is $5 per person (cash only). Children under the age of 2 are free.  For more information, visit https://www.accgov.com/calendar.aspx?eid=17804.

The Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights: This popular annual event gives viewers and participants the opportunity to enjoy an evening parade in Downtown Athens while it is decorated for the holiday season. On Thursday, December 5, dozens of floats, bands and groups will blow through downtown overflowing with twinkling lights. The parade begins on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Streets at 7 p.m. and ends in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony hosted by Santa and Mrs. Claus. For more information, visit https://www.accgov.com/2589/Downtown-Parade-of-Lights.

Breakfast with Santa at The Classic Center:  Santa Claus is coming to The Classic Center! Families are invited to The Classic Center Atrium on Saturday, December 8 from 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. for Breakfast with Santa, an event benefiting The Classic Center Cultural Foundation. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children 10 and under. Attendees will enjoy a full delicious breakfast buffet, a special visit with Santa and other holiday characters, photos and holiday crafts. Attendees will also receive $2 off of an ice-skating session at The Classic Center. For more information, visit https://classiccenter.com/322/Breakfast-with-Santa.

Athens Holiday Market: The 2019 Holiday market is a two-night event beginning Thursday, December 12 and ending Friday, December 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the courtyard at the Big City Bread Cafe. It will feature local artists and craftspeople from around the region. Local artists will be selling their wares under the stars at this evening event. Find handmade local goodies for all the folks on your holiday shopping list AND see everyone you know doing the same! For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/741290222969211/.

The Nutcracker: The treasured tale of a little girl’s journey through the fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice comes to Athens December 21 and 22 at The Classic Center Theatre. The Nutcracker Presented by the State Ballet Theatre of Russia is filled with Tchaikovsky’s beloved music along with spectacular sets, beautiful costumes, and enchanting choreography. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit https://classiccenter.com/101/Entertainment-Events

For more holiday events and shows, check out the Visit Athens’ Holiday Events page every week to see what new events have been added https://www.visitathensga.com/events/holiday/.

Athens Travel Information:

The Athens Welcome Center at 280 E. Dougherty Street is open daily to provide maps, brochures, self-guided tours and visitor information. Guided bus tours of historic Athens depart daily from the Welcome Center at 2 p.m. Information on the Athens Welcome Center can be found at www.AthensWelcomeCenter.com.

About the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau:

The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau is a proactive sales and marketing organization whose primary goal is to increase the economic impact of the hospitality and visitor industry by attracting individual visitors, group tours, and meetings and conventions to Athens. Tourism WORKS for Athens, contributing $$330.5 million in spending, 2,973 jobs and $22.6 million in local and state tax revenue in 2018.

The Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau offers a wealth of official visitor information at www.VisitAthensGA.com. More information on Athens, Georgia is available at 706-357-4430 and tourinfo@visitathensga.com.