Of course, you love each other and you want to have a warm, glowing holiday experience. But when you've got an all-ages group of 10 or more during the holidays, you might be seeking an outside-the-house experience. This not only saves sanity, but it can also offer that experience that trumps all gifts. Where to start? These places welcome large groups of all ages in Atlanta:
129 Church St., Decatur. 470-225-6770.
If your all-ages holiday group is looking for a lavish home-cooked meal that no one needs to cook, Revival has you covered. Operating out of a historic home in Decatur, Revival seats everyone family style and then starts serving up the fried chicken, farm fresh sides and decadent desserts. (Was this the year you wanted to make red velvet cake your family tradition?) They recommend reservations, but you don't have to have them; a party of 12 can be set up online. If you're going to make this traditional Sunday dinner your centerpiece holiday meal, consider booking Revival for a private event. And if you'll be accompanied by visitors from far and wide, warm them up to the idea with Chef Kevin Gillespie's short video on the inspiration for Revival.
1255 Roswell Road, Marietta.
Kind of like Dad hogging all the electronic toys on Christmas morning, Andretti's may seem like it's designed for kids, but the adults will take over. A good feature for the 12-plus all ages holiday group is the free admission, so those who don't play don't have to pay. And the variety of racing tracks, laser tag, boutique bowling and arcade games means there really is something for everyone in the group, whether they stick together or reunite after a fun outing. Just keep in mind, it becomes 18-and-up after 9 p.m.
Time to Escape Downtown Atlanta, Peachtree Center, 231 Peachtree St. NE B19, Atlanta. 678-335-4142.
Escape the house with a large group but still maintain the Christmas theme at this seasonal offering from Time to Escape. They don't have an age limit for any of the escape rooms, but you do need a parent or guardian to accompany you if you're under 12 and sign a waiver if you're under 18, or stay nearby if you're 13-15. But this gig is better if all ages help solve the mystery of how Santa's sack got stolen. There's a special lower rate of $22 for this gig. And though the rooms hold eight max, you can get two different ones at the same time for your larger party.
1065 Peachtree St., Suite 2, Atlanta.
4505 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody.
100 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta.
Parties larger than four, call the Café directly: 404-355-0411.
If your family doesn't love pastry and cappuccinos at a European coffee house, take this all-ages gathering idea to your closest friends. There's no problem with large parties at Cafe Intermezzo, but call them ahead of time so they can prepare. And if you're looking for a late-night gathering spot for all ages, this is it. The hours yield to the available crowd, but the Midtown, Dunwoody and Avalon (Alpharetta) locations are open until at least midnight and 1 a.m. on weekends and Midtown is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There's an airport location too, but it closes at 10 p.m. The typical late-night sweet craving might involve doughnuts, but this place has such lovely pastries -- and a European coffee house feel.
225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta. 404-581-4000.
With its group discounts and beluga whales and soothing marine vibe, the Georgia Aquarium is always a good all-ages venue. To amp up the appeal for a holiday group, consider some of the aquarium's extra special activities, like sleepovers (available Dec. 6-7, 2019) or a Behind the Seas tour to check out the aquarium's filtration and upper views. If you're hopping on board with Marie Kondo this year, tickets or passes to the aquarium also make a great all-ages clutter-free gift. To discuss group itineraries or rates, call the aquarium at 404-581-4000.
2620 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801.
Unlike a lot of family-friendly spots near Atlanta, Panola doesn't wind down in December. It still offers numerous opportunities for the extended family to head into the outdoors together for fresh air and maybe even a new hobby. A few examples of its "December is for state parks, too" approach: A rain or shine guided hike on Saturday, Dec. 7 or Sunday, Dec. 15 ($10 admission); intro to tree climbing Saturday, Dec. 21 (for ages 8 and up) and a Sunset Mountain Hike complete with s' mores on Dec. 28 ($15 admission).
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