Planning a holiday weekend getaway trip to Athens, GA? Whether you are a foodie, shopper, ice skater, or lover of all things holiday-related, Athens has you covered!
Use these Athens events, activities and restaurant ideas as a guide when you plan your holiday getaway to the Classic City of Athens, Georgia.
Breakfast with Santa and The Grinch
Start your day by having breakfast with some of your favorite holiday characters this holiday season.
Breakfast with Santa- On December 7, 2019, bring your family to have breakfast with Santa at The Classic Center from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. You'll enjoy a special visit and photo with Santa, a delicious breakfast buffet, visits with other holiday characters, fun at Santa's workshop craft station and a coupon for $2 off an ice skating session at The Classic Center. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children under 10. Children 10 and under are invited to participate in the Breakfast with Santa Coloring Contest for a chance to win a gift basket of holiday favorites such as ice skating tickets, tickets to The Nutcracker and more. Click here to get a copy of the coloring page and learn more about the contest.
Breakfast with the Grinch - Guess who is coming back in town for breakfast--the Grinch! Come out to Rocksprings Park on Saturday, December 14 at 9:30 a.m. to enjoy a pancake & sausage breakfast, fruit snacks, games and craft activities with the Grinch. Breakfast is only $6 per person, but children 2 and under can attend for free.
Breakfast with Santa in Memorial Park - Enjoy a delicious breakfast with everyone's favorite elf, Santa Claus, in Memorial Park on Saturday, December 14. Create fun crafts, listen to storytime and have your photo taken with Santa Claus himself.
Athens Heritage and Home Tours
December is one of the best times of the year to explore Athens' heritage and take a tour of historic homes while they are decorated for the holiday season. Below you will find some wonderful opportunities to journey to the past.
The 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. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at historicathens.com.
Holiday Spirits Open House Tour - Stop by the Athens Welcome Center on Saturday, December 14 between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. for the Holiday Spirits Tour. 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 the early South.
Holiday Open House at Lyndon House Arts Center - Come attend the annual Holiday Open House at Lyndon House Arts Center Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m - 3 p.m. Visit the Ware-Lyndon House and see the house decorated in traditional Victorian Christmas decor. Plus, do some holiday shopping at Deck the Walls, which includes items from local Athens artists.
Lunch in Downtown
If you thought breakfast was good, just wait for lunch! Wind down your tour with lunch at one of these local Athens' eateries.
Clocked!- This popular lunch spot features huge burgers, pasta, fish and chips, and vegetarian and vegan items.They have plenty of gluten free options too. Where else could you get a Blackberry Bacon Jam Burger?
The Grit- Delicious homemade vegetarian food delivered for more than two decades on Prince Avenue is just a few blocks from Downtown Athens. It's not just for vegetarians though! Their yummy meals appeal to even the hungriest carnivore.
home.made from scratch - Check out this winner of the "100 Plates Locals Love" designation from ExploreGeorgia (two years in a row!), home.made offers seasonal soups and salads, freshly baked desserts, and sandwiches. With a New Orleans-inspired menu, you will love the Muffuletta and tomato pie.
Downtown Shopping and Holiday Markets
After lunch, visit one of the many signature shops around downtown or check out one of Athens' special holiday markets. Either way is a sure way to get on top of (or catch up on!) any holiday shopping you need to do!
Indie South Fair Holiday Hooray- Come visit Indie South's biggest event of the year beginning Saturday, December 1! Shop and connect with artists from all across the Southeast as they both sell their products and demonstrate their techniques and creative processes in a recreational, street-fair atmosphere that is only $3 per person and open to everyone.
Athens Institute for Contemporary Art Holiday Market- ATHICA will host their annual Holiday Market on December 15. Boasting the "finest in Southern Creativity," this is a remarkable opportunity to support local artists and buy the perfect gift for those friends or family members who are hard to shop for.
More holiday markets can be found on our Athens Holiday Markets blog.
Finish you fun-filled holiday journey at another Athens restaurant. Several have been listed below, but other restaurants can be found on our Athens Restaurants page.
Yuletide Musical Dinners- Join the Athens Chamber Singers at Trumps Catering, December 12 - 14, at 7:30 p.m, for their annual Yuletide Musical Dinner. This event features a delicious dinner buffet prepared by Trumps while singers entertain throughout the evening with wonderful holiday tunes.
Last Resort- A popular dining spot in Athens, the menu consists of a Southwestern cuisine with a distinctive culinary point of view. Last Resort is open seven days a week, offering dinner nightly. And what is dinner without the perfect dessert? With dozens of sky-high cakes and specialty cheesecake, what could be better?
Trappeze Pub- Good conversation and amazing beer. The 24 beers on tap and almost 200 in bottles represent the best gourmet beers that are available in the state, all presented in a beer menu with highly descriptive tasting notes. The food menu is just as impressive, with a focus on locally-sourced, seasonal fare.
Porterhouse Grill- A consistent favorite of Athens residents and visitors in search of a great steak in a comfortable fine dining atmosphere. Come dine at a downtown Athens staple, serving classic meals and boasting a great wine selection for any occasion!
Find more dining spots on our Athens Restaurants page.
A Night Out on the Town
Dinner doesn't mean the day is over! Athens is known for its entertainment scene, and November & December adds a festive holiday flair. Enjoy a wide range of events, including parades, performances, and pub crawls.
Mannheim Steamrollers Christmas 35th anniversary - Join founder and creator of Mannheim Steamroller, Chip Davis, at The Classic Center Theatre to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his annual Christmas concert tour. Experience the performance of the number 1 Christmas music artist and hear the entire album--Mannheim Steamroller Christmas--live!
Athens Ice Skating- The Classic Center is home to an indoor NHL-sized ice skating rink that offers multiple public skating sessions every day. The 2019-2020 season officially begins November 24 and continues until January 8. Skating will resume on January 27 at the 440 Foundry Pavilion until February 24. Want to know more? Click here.
Athens Santa Pub Crawl: Attend the 11th Annual Santa Pub Crawl through Downtown Athens on Saturday, December 7. All proceeds will benefit the Athens Area Humane Society, so purchase your wristbands today for just $15!
Downtown Athens Christmas Parade- Kick-off the holiday season in Athens with this special event in Downtown Athens on Thursday, December 5. The theme for this year is "Home for the Holidays." The parade begins on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Street at 7 p.m. and ends in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony, hosted by none other than Santa Claus!
The Nutcracker- The treasured tale of a little girl's journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice comes to Athens at The Classic Center Theatre.
Athens has your holiday season covered. The Classic City transforms into a winter wonderland for the entire holiday season, making it a top destination in Georgia. To make the most out of your holiday season and experience everything the city has to offer, discover more on our holiday festivities page to begin planning a holiday getaway to Athens, Georgia!
This blog was originally authored by Cayla Robertson on November 1, 2016 and updated by Alvieann Chandler on November 14, 2019.