The holiday season in Athens, GA is a festive time with endless opportunities for celebration. Now is the perfect time to plan your holiday getaway to the Classic City! Visitors of all ages can enjoy festive heritage events, artist markets for unique holiday gifts, Santa sightings, and of course, live music. If you haven't had the chance to celebrate the holidays in Athens, this is your year!

Athens on Ice

Ice SkatingThe Classic Center is home to an NHL-sized indoor ice skating arena plus an outdoor skating pavilion featuring a mobile 17,000 square-foot rink. The rink offers multiple public skating sessions every day, adults only public skating, and adult drop in hockey. This Athens winter staple is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. So make sure you take advantage of all the rink has to offer and enjoy a wonderful, family-friendly day on the ice! From November 23 to January 8, you can enjoy the indoor NHL-sized rink and from January 30 to February 16, public skating will be moved to the Classic Center's outdoor pavilion. Tickets are $12 and a schedule of all public skating sessions for the 2016-2017 season can be found here

A Christmas Carol

The timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol will be performed at The Morton Theater November 3-6. Bring the whole family to this Broadway musical rendition with music by Alan Menkin and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. You can find more information about performance times and ticket information, here

Classic City Tour of Homes

UGA Phi Mu HouseVisitors from all over  gather together in Athens for this special event, hosted by UGA Miracle. This is the only time of the year these million dollar UGA sorority and fraternity mansions open up their holiday-decorated houses for the public! The houses are prepped to showcase their rich history, traditions, and holiday festivity on December 4 from 12:30 to 5 p.m.. There will be vendors located at each house so you can also do some holiday shopping in between house tours! All proceeds of this event will go directly to UGA Miracle, which works to raise money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The Classic City Tour of Homes is a great for girl-friends or mother-daughters to enjoy. 

Holiday Book Sale

Beginning November 29 through December 2, the Georgia Museum of Art will be hosting their annual Holiday Book Sale daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Come shop for your loved ones, featuring both new and used publications of all genres. If you would like to donate books, please contact the Georgia Museum of Art directly at (706) 542-4662. 

Downtown Athens Christmas Parade

Christmas Tree LightingKick off the holiday season in Athens with this special event in Downtown on December 1. The Downtown Parade of Lights: A Fairytale Christmas begins on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Streets at 7 p.m. ending in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony, hosted by none other than Santa Claus! There will be dozens of floats, bands and groups winding through the streets of Downtown making this the perfect opportunity to get you and your family in the holiday spirit!

Holiday Spirits Museum Mile Tour

The Athens Historic House Museum Association will offer two special holiday editions of their Museum Mile tour of historic interiors, on December 10 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.. Experience the holidays Antebellum style, as 19th-century Athens residents of these house museums would have. In addition to seeing authentic period decorations, you'll learn about holiday traditions and enjoy a few special surprises along the way. Contact Classic City Tours at the Athens Welcome Center for more details.

Indie South Fair: Holiday Hooray!

The Indie South Fair: Holiday Hooray provides a venue for artists to directly connect to the community by sharing their techniques and creative processes in a recreational, street-fair atmosphere that is always free and open to everyone. Spend the day at Chase Street on December 3 and 4 to shop around for holiday gifts or items to decorate your house for the holidays. 

Athens Santa Pub Crawl

Santa pub crawlThe 8th Annual Santa Pub Crawl hosted by Live Wire Athens will take place on December 3. Invite your friends to this fun night from 6 to 11 p.m. and support a good cause. Wristbands are $15 and all proceeds will go to the Athens Area Humane Society, a donor supported no-kill 501 (c)non-profit organization. For more information on where to get your wristbands and stops on the pub crawl, check out our event page.

Classic City Band Holiday Concert

It's time to celebrate the holiday season with none other than the Classic City Band's Holiday Concert at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on December 6 from 7 to 8 p.m.. The Classic City Band is the oldest continuously functioning community band in Georgia. The band was founded in 1976 for the purpose of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the American concert band. Admission to the concert is free so bring the whole family to enjoy the music! 

Christmas Tour of Homes

Christmas Tour of HomesThe Georgia Club Foundation's Christmas Tour of Homes welcomes you home for the holidays Sunday, December 11 from 12 to 5 p.m.. Ring in the season with friends and family while touring six tastefully decorated homes on showcase throughout The Georgia Club community. This tour is the perfect way to gather decorative ideas to use in your own home! The tour benefits Extra Special People and Books4Keeps. The foundation asks that attendees are 12 years or older. Tickets are available now and are $25 in advance and $28 at the door.

Elf, The Broadway Musical

Elf, The Broadway Musical is the hilarious musical adaption of the 2003 New Line Cinema hit about Buddy the elf, who mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. The Classic Center Theatre show on December 13 at 7:30 p.m. is a performance for all ages. Tickets are on sale now.

The Nutcracker

State Ballet of Russia Presents: The NutcrackerThe 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 December 17 and 18 at The Classic Center TheatreThe Nutcracker Presented by the State Ballet Theatre of Russia is filled with Tchaikovsky's beloved music, including "Waltz of the Flowers," "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," and "Waltz of the Snowflakes" along with spectacular sets, beautiful costumes and enchanting choreography. It is truly a magical experience that the entire family can enjoy. Tickets are on sale now.

New Year's Eve 2017 

What better way to bring in 2017 than in Athens? A variety of venues are hosting special events this year for one of the most celebrated holidays in the Classic City. Spend your night at The Foundry for their Totally 80's New Year's Eve Party featuring The Highballs, hosted by Graduate Athens or enjoy a special holiday package by Hotel Indigo Athens, just to name a few. New Year's in Athens is unlike anything else, so come experience it for yourself! 

As you can tell, 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, start planning your holiday Athens getaway now