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!

A Christmas Story the Musical

The timeless tale of Ralphie and the infamous Red Ryder BB gun will be performed at the Morton Theatre November 9-12. Bring the whole family to the musical rendition of this classic Christmas film. You can find more information about performance times and ticket information here

Athens on Ice

The 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, and even an adult hockey league. 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! The fun starts on November 24th! Ticket prices and a schedule for the 2017-2018 season can be found here.

Holiday Book and Frame Sale

On November 28-30, the Georgia Museum of Art will be hosting their annual Holiday Book and Frame Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come shop for your loved ones, as the sale will feature 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.

Athens Santa Pub Crawl

The 9th Annual Santa Pub Crawl hosted by Live Wire Athens will take place on December 2. Invite your friends to join in on this fun night from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. while also supporting a good cause. Wristbands are $15 in advance and all proceeds will go to the Athens Area Humane Society. For venue details and how to purchase wristbands, click here.

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 open to everyone. Head over to Chase Street on December 2-3 to support local artists and shop for holiday gifts and decor.

Classic City Tour of Homes

UGA Phi Mu HouseVisitors from all over gather together in Athens for this special event to benefit UGA Miracle. This is the only time of the year that the beautiful UGA sorority and fraternity houses open up their decked out houses to the public! The houses are prepped to showcase their rich history, traditions, and holiday splendor on Sunday, December 3 from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Vendors will be set up at each house so you can get some holiday shopping done as well. All proceeds 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 wonderful way to enjoy the Christmas season while also giving back. 

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 5th from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Classic City Band is the oldest community band in Georgia and 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 festive holiday music! 

Downtown Athens Christmas Parade

Christmas Tree LightingHow better to celebrate the holiday season than with a Downtown Parade on December 7th? The Downtown Parade of Lights will begin on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Streets at 7 p.m. and will end in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony, hosted by none other than Santa Claus himself! There will be floats, live music, and groups of people winding through the streets of Downtown Athens making this the perfect opportunity to get 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 9th 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. The Church-Waddel-Brumby, T.R.R. Cobb, and Ware-Lyndon Houses will be showcased on this guided bus tour of three magnificent museum homes. In addition to seeing authentic decorations, you'll learn about holiday traditions and enjoy a few special surprises along the way. Tickets are $25. Contact Classic City Tours at the Athens Welcome Center for more details.

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 on December 22 and 23 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 ofthe 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.

New Year's Eve 2017 

What better way to ring in 2017 than in Athens? A variety of venues will be hosting special events for one of the most celebrated holidays in the Classic City. If you are looking for somewhere to stay, enjoy a special holiday package by Hotel Indigo Athens or Graduate Athens. For live music, head to the Georgia Theatre on December 30th for JJ Grey & Mofro with Tyler Childers, and then on December 31st for the Booty Boyz: Booty Ball with Special Guests. New Year's in Athens is unlike anything else, so come experience it for yourself! 


As you can tell, Athens has your festivities 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


Originally written by Cayla Robertson on November 1st, 2016 and updated by Ellie Harding on October 30th, 2017.