16 things to do in metro Atlanta this Thanksgiving weekend

The indoor wonderland Santa's Fantastical returns for the 2019 holiday season. "Atlanta is our home, but we searched the world for talent and inspiration to make this the best year yet," CEO Walt Geer said. Geer and wife Sarah Blackman started the pop-up last year. "You won't find this combination of art, technology and nostalgia anywhere else," Geer said. The pop-up features not only visits with Santa, but also dance performances, a digital snowball fight and a North Pole studio experience for kids. Sant

From decorating gingerbread houses to watching your town's Christmas tree come aglow with lights, holiday events are in full swing this weekend in metro Atlanta. If you're not quite ready to immerse yourself in the hubbub, you'll still find fun events like an Anime Day, park walk and car show on the calendar.

Check out the following 16 things to do in metro Atlanta this Thanksgiving weekend:


Lights of LIFE. Continuing from dark through 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30; and from dark through 9 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, with dates through Dec. 31. Buses $20, cars/trucks $10 through Dec. 1. Life University, 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 678-331-4342. life.edu.

Drive through more than 1 million LED lights and stop to enjoy seasonal entertainment along the way. Pony rides, train rides, a petting zoo and concession stand are also available.

Native Americans of Kennesaw Mountain. 11-11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive NW, Kennesaw. 770-427-4686. https://www.facebook.com.

Explore the history, mythology and daily life of Kennesaw Mountain's Native Americans with one of the park's rangers.

Hip Hop Nutcracker. 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. $31 and up. Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, 2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta. 770-916-2800. cobbenergycentre.com.

This remixed and re-imagined version of The Nutcracker is set in contemporary New York City and is designed for the entire family.

Departure: The Journey Tribute Band. 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. $20. Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre, 117 North Park Square, Marietta. 770-293-0080. https://earlsmithstrand.org/.

Departure re-creates Journey's look, feel and sound in hits like "Don't Stop Believin'."


Christmas at Callanwolde. noon-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 28, through Saturday, Dec. 7. $10 with free parking and Toys for Tots donations accepted. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Conservatory Building, 980 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. callanwolde.org.

Christmas at Callanwolde's Designer Show House and Holiday Market has been an Atlanta tradition for more than 40 years. Tour the historic mansion, browse in a holiday artist market and enjoy themed events.

Gingerbread Decorating Party. 3-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30. $39.99 per house and one seat, additional seats $15 each (up to two extras per house). Vino Venue, 4478 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. 770-668-0435. vinovenue.com.

All ages are welcome to decorate a gingerbread masterpiece with a blank canvas gingerbread house, royal icing and more than 20 different types of candy.

Caffeine & Octane. 8-11a.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Free. Perimeter Mall, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. https://www.caffeineandoctane.com/.

Check out vintage, muscle, high performance and exotic cars in all makes and models.

Avondale Estates Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. Festivities start at 6 p.m., with the tree lighting between 6:50 and 7 p.m. Intersection of Clarendon Avenue and S. Clarendon Road. https://www.facebook.com.

Caroling, food, a visit from Santa and the annual Christmas tree lighting kick the holiday season off in Avondale Estates.

North Fulton

Thanksgiving Break Hike. 11 a.m.-noon. Friday, Nov. 29. Included with general admission of $10 adult/$6 child/$7 seniors age 65 and up and students age 13-18. Free for Chattahoochee Nature Center members and kids 2 and younger. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055. chattnaturecenter.org.

A Thanksgiving break hike has been added to the Chattahoochee Nature Center schedule, so bring the kids and dress warmly.

Decorate a Gingerbread House. 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. $60 per family with up to four participants. Publix Cooking School, 4305 State Bridge Road, Alpharetta. 770-751-8560. ww4.publix.com.

Bring the family to decorate your own gingerbread house without making a mess of your kitchen at home. Kids should be ages 4 and up, and the class lasts about two to 2 1/2 hours.

Alpharetta City Band Holiday Concert. 3-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. Free. Alpharetta Adult Activity Center, 13450 Cogburn Road, Alpharetta. https://www.facebook.com.

The Alpharetta City Band helps you get in the holiday spirit with its annual concert, and the kids will get to visit with Santa.

Roswell Area Park Walk. 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Free. Roswell Area Park, 10495 Woodstock Road, Roswell. meetup.com.

Walk off some of your Thanksgiving calories at Roswell Area Park. You'll cover about three miles with just a few hills along the way.


Atlanta Anime Day. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. $5, free for military and kids 10 and younger. Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. http://www.atlanta.animeday.net/.

Anime Day features a 5,000-square-foot dealers' room as well as a video room, fan panels, costume contest and after-party dance.

Nutcracker Tea Party. 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. $30 plus fees. Rushing Trading Company Event Hall, 5029 W. Broad St., Suite T-134, Sugar Hill. 678-400-0091. https://www.allstarsperform.com/.

Meet Clara and other characters from “The Nutcracker” and enjoy tea and treats, stories, dancing and photo opportunities.

Tree Lighting. 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Free. Town Green, 235 Main St., Loganville. loganville-ga.gov.

The city of Loganville's Christmas Tree Lighting kicks off the holiday season, and you'll be able to take part in free pictures with Santa, live music.

Christmas Traditions. 10 a.m. and noon. Saturday, Nov. 30. $5. Buford Community Center, 2200 Buford Highway. 770-945-6762. bufordcommunitycenter.com.

Bring the family for holiday fun that includes free professional pictures with Santa, a hot chocolate bar, sweets and Christmas crafts. You'll also be able to watch a showing of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer."