Anthony Keith (left) holds hands with Hannah Shuler as they ice skate at Atlantic Station in Atlanta during the annual Christmas tree lighting as thousands of people watch the show on Nov. 23, 2013.
Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Photo: Jonathan Phillips

8 magical winter date ideas in Atlanta

The weather and time change have brought the holiday season closer into the horizon. While the holidays are a great way to spend time with family and friends, it's easy to forget about spending time with that special someone. There are tons of ways to warm up to your sweetie all winter long.

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Here are eight magical winter date ideas for those looking for a little romance and fun:

Spend a day in Helen

If you're willing to make a two-hour trek, you can spend a day up in the refreshing North Georgia mountains.The drive itself is not only gorgeous, but the trip is a great way to eliminate distractions while spending unique quality time together in an Alpine village-styled town.

Enjoy a game of mini golf at Alpine Golf Village, stay warm hiking Anna Ruby Falls or walk Main Street for shopping and food.

Skaters take to the ice at a 10,000-square-foot open-air ice skating rink in Atlantic Station on November 14, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga. Skate Atlantic Station is one of many ice skating rinks in metro Atlanta.

Lock hands while ice skating.

Whether you're secretly a pro ice skater or you have to cling to the wall for dear life, falling on ice is a winter date necessity.

Aquafina Rink at Park Tavern: Through Feb.19. 4:30-8 p.m., Monday-Friday, all ages (16+ 8:30 p.m. to midnight); 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, all ages (16+ 8:30 p.m. to midnight). Purchase tickets here. Park Tavern, 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001,

Avalon on Ice: Through Jan. 21. 3-10 p.m., Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays; noon-7 p.m., Sundays; $18 (includes skates), $14 (children under 9; includes skates). Avalon, 2200 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. 770-765-1000,

Enjoy the holiday "spirits" with Miracle on Monroe.

Eric Simpkins and Darren Carr, the duo behind Lawrence and Bon Ton, took Atlanta by storm last year when it transformed the Tapa Tapa venue into a holiday-themed pop-up bar. This year Miracle on Monroe, a spin-off of NYC's annual Miracle on 9th pop-up, will be serving up all things festive including Jingle Ball Nog, Naughty and Nice Shots and tons of tinsel and lights. And because last year was such a hit, a second location will be opening in Buckhead.

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Miracle on Monroe: 5 p.m. to midnight. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-Dec. 24. Tapa Tapa, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. 404-481-5226.

Miracle 2: 5 p.m. to midnight. Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-Dec. 24. The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 262 Buckhead Avenue, corner of Buckhead Ave. NE and North Fulton Dr. NE, Atlanta. 404-963-5259. 

Holiday lights in 2015
Photo: Courtesy of Life University's Facebook Page/For the AJC

Take in the holiday lights over a magical cup of hot cocoa.

If you want to do something romantic yet not break the bank, pack a thermos of hot cocoa, turn on some Christmas tunes and cruise through the holiday lights. It's nostalgic and sweet and everything in between.

Lights of Life at Life University: 6-10 p.m. Nov. 23-Dec. 31. $10 per car Fridays-Sundays and Nov. 23-26 and Dec. 15-31; $5 per car Mondays-Thursdays except for previously listed dates; $20 per bus on all dates. 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta. 678-331-4342.

Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands: 5-10 p.m. Nov. 17-Jan. 3. $35-$45 per car. 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 770-945-8787.

Tara Lee and Jonah Hooper perform Arabian in Atlanta Ballet's "Nutcracker."
Photo: Courtesy of Charlie McCullers via Atlanta Ballet's Facebook Page/For the AJC

Catch “The Nutcracker” at The Fox Theatre.

Put on your best outfit and prepare for a swanky time. Whether it's your only plan for the night or something to do after a nice dinner, “The Nutcracker” is a timeless piece that will leave you feeling warm, jolly and in the holiday mood.

The Nutcracker: Dec. 8-Dec. 28. Buy tickets here. The Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-2100.

RELATED: Where to volunteer in Atlanta

Double the kindness and volunteer.

The holidays are a wonderful time, but can be really hard for some. If you and your boo are looking for a rewarding experience, take a few hours (or more) to dedicate to someone who needs it.

Meals on Wheels: Various shifts. 1705 Commerce Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-351-3889.

Atlanta Community Food Bank: Various shifts. 732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 404-892-9822.

Get down with some live music.

The holidays don't have to just be about twinkling lights and tinsel decor. You can just as easily get down with a fun concert. Bring a date to these Atlanta venues with a variety of music to check out.

Radio 105.7 presents Holiday Spectacular: Friday, Dec. 1. $35 and up. Coca-Cola Roxy, 800 Battery Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-875-8080.

The Roots Holiday Tour: Friday, Dec. 29. $52 and up. Coca-Cola Roxy, 800 Battery Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-875-8080.

Amaryllis Cafe, a local favorite, in the upscale Athens suburb of Kifissia, Aug. 28, 2017. In recent years, the suburb has attracted an appealing mix of stores and restaurants. (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

Venture on over to Athens.

A trip to Athens can be done in a day (not recommended) or over a course of several. Whether you spend your time gorging yourselves on delicious food, bar hopping around town or checking out a band, Athens is a merry time to be had by all.

Athens Santa Pub Crawl: 6:30 p.m.-midnight. Saturday, Dec. 2. $15 in advance, $20 day of event. Live Wire Athens, 227 W. Dougherty St., Athens. 706-206-7622. Tickets here.

The Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7. Downtown Athens, corner of Hancock and Pulaski Streets, Athens. 706-613-3800.

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