Things to do in Atlanta on a winter’s day (or night)

The Atlanta Botanical Garden includes a wide variety of orchids. Photo: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Credit: Jason Getz Photography

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The Atlanta Botanical Garden includes a wide variety of orchids. Photo: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Credit: Jason Getz Photography

Heat up the season with 7 cool places, activities and ideas to add to your winter bucket list.

Winter is often the time when we cherish quiet weekends inside, cuddled up in our favorite blankets, binge-watching movies and comforted with take-out and wine. But, if that sounds exactly like how you’ve spent the majority of your weekends since last spring, we understand if the lazy weekend vibe has lost its allure. Not to worry, there are still a few fun and fulfilling things to accent your winter.. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Igloos at Publico. / Courtesy of Publico

Igloos at Publico. / Courtesy of Publico

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Igloos at Publico. / Courtesy of Publico

“Cool” Outside Dining Experiences

Patio dining through the spring, summer and fall was a great option for Atlantans who still wanted to dine out in the pandemic but felt a bit more comfortable in an outdoor environment. Yet, chilly weather doesn’t have to hamper the al-fresco dining experience.

Publico offers Igloo dining, where guests can dine outside in their own enclosed see-through globes. A per person food and beverage minimum is required for a reservation, but that tab shouldn’t be hard to reach with enticing menu items like poke bowls, tacos, burgers and specialty cocktails.

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Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall allows you to reserve their outdoor greenhouses for a socially-distanced private dining space.

Credit: Ash Wilson

Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall allows you to reserve their outdoor greenhouses for a socially-distanced private dining space.

Credit: Ash Wilson

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Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall allows you to reserve their outdoor greenhouses for a socially-distanced private dining space.

Credit: Ash Wilson

Credit: Ash Wilson

Whether you’re looking for a date night for two or a family outing for 10, the Ladybird greenhouses are another fun private dining experience. Guests can warm up over Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall favorites like their barbecue boards and smoked wings while enjoying the outdoorsy scene inside of their greenhouse dining rooms, which are furnished with electric heaters, lights and greenery.

Publico. Reservations are for 2 hours at $40 per hour. 1104 Crescent Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-745-5230, publicotapandkitchenatl.com.

Ladybird Grove and Mess Hall. 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-458-6858, ladybirdatl.com.

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License To Chill at Margaritaville Lanier Islands includes snow tubing, a fire pit and more.

Credit: Contributed by Margaritaville Lanier Islands

License To Chill at Margaritaville Lanier Islands includes snow tubing, a fire pit and more.

Credit: Contributed by Margaritaville Lanier Islands

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License To Chill at Margaritaville Lanier Islands includes snow tubing, a fire pit and more.

Credit: Contributed by Margaritaville Lanier Islands

Credit: Contributed by Margaritaville Lanier Islands

Snowplay and Skating

Winter in the South doesn’t typically come with nature-made snowy playgrounds like our Northern friends get to enjoy. But we Southerners are resourceful. Every weekend until Feb. 28, you can book a pass to play in the snow-filled wonderland at Margaritaville’s License to Chill Snow Island. Guests can enjoy carnival rides, an ice skating rink, concessions and snow tubing.

Or, act fast if you want to live out your Ice Capades dreams. Skate on over to The Ice Rink at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park, which closes for the season Feb. 15. Open until midnight seven days a week, skaters can also enjoy winter-themed rink cocktails, desserts and the full Park Tavern menu.

Margaritaville’s License to Chill Snow Island. Admission starts at $34.99. 7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford. 470-323-3440, margaritavilleresorts.com.

The Rink at Park Tavern. Starting at $15 for admission on the ice skating rink. 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404- 249-0001, parktavern.com.

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Atlanta Botanical Garden brings beautiful color to winter with its annual Orchid Daze.

Credit: Shane Harrison

Atlanta Botanical Garden brings beautiful color to winter with its annual Orchid Daze.

Credit: Shane Harrison

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Atlanta Botanical Garden brings beautiful color to winter with its annual Orchid Daze.

Credit: Shane Harrison

Credit: Shane Harrison

Winter Blooms at the Botanical Gardens

With orchids newly in bloom, a winter trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden is always a great idea. Visit the gardens for the Orchid Daze exhibit, which runs from Feb. 13 to April 11. The Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center will only be open noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Furthermore, guests may enjoy a lighter crowd at the gardens this year since capacity is limited due to COVID and entrance is by timed ticket.

Atlanta Botanical Garden. $21.95; $18.95 ages 3-12. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859, atlantabg.org.

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People wait in line to get into the Pike Nursery in Toco Hills. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

People wait in line to get into the Pike Nursery in Toco Hills. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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People wait in line to get into the Pike Nursery in Toco Hills. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Credit: Steve Schaefer

Start Your Own Garden

Winter is actually the perfect time to get a jump-start on your own home garden.

At the start of last spring, many of us became home and garden enthusiasts or first-time planters as we sought new ways to occupy ourselves at home. And, welp, you just might want to dig into that again. If you want to start your garden from seed, now is the time to begin the germination process.

But also consider turning to local nurseries like Garden*Hood Atlanta, Pike Nursery and Victorian Atlanta for your plant/garden purchases and how-to guidance.

Garden*Hood, 353 Boulevard SE, Atlanta. 404-880-9848, gardenhoodatlanta.com.

Pike Nursery (Lindbergh location), 2410 Camellia Lane NE, Atlanta. 404-869-2875, pikenursery.com.

The Victorian Atlanta, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Suite W113, Atlanta. 678-488-7330, thevictorianatlanta.com

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Get outside and enjoy the sunshine on the Beltline.

Credit: File Photo

Get outside and enjoy the sunshine on the Beltline.

Credit: File Photo

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Get outside and enjoy the sunshine on the Beltline.

Credit: File Photo

Credit: File Photo

Outdoors Hikes and Trails

And since we’re on the subject of nature, here’s a push to get more of it — specifically sunlight. With fewer daylight hours coupled with more time spent indoors, many of us may be shorting ourselves of some much-needed vitamin D (a 2020 study even suggested a strong link between Vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19).

From the Beltline to Sweetwater Creek — whether you’re looking for an easy jaunt or an intense hike — there are plenty of scenic locations around the metro to soak up the sun. And a lot of these trails are less populated in the winter months.

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The newly-opened REVERB by Hard Rock features the RT60 Rooftop Bar, which boasts skyline views of the city.

Credit: Contributed by Reverb by Hard Rock

The newly-opened REVERB by Hard Rock features the RT60 Rooftop Bar, which boasts skyline views of the city.

Credit: Contributed by Reverb by Hard Rock

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The newly-opened REVERB by Hard Rock features the RT60 Rooftop Bar, which boasts skyline views of the city.

Credit: Contributed by Reverb by Hard Rock

Credit: Contributed by Reverb by Hard Rock

Staycation

Many of us postponed or canceled annual winter destination travels out of concern for COVID risks. But if you’re still longing for an escape, you may feel more at ease with a vacation closer to home. Check out (or rather check into) a few of Atlanta’s newer hotels — The Burgess, the Aloft at The Battery and the brand new REVERB by Hard Rock Downtown Atlanta, which just opened Dec. 2020, making Atlanta the first home for the new concept hotel from the popular Hard Rock brand.

The Burgess, 3600 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, 404-869-1100, theburgesshotel.com.

Aloft at The Battery Atlanta, 50 Battery Ave., Atlanta., 678-272-4288, marriott.com.

Reverb by Hard Rock, 89 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta. 470-552-8410, reverb.hardrockhotels.com/atlanta.

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Slutty Vegan stays open late to serve their plant-based burgers.

Credit: ajc.com

Slutty Vegan stays open late to serve their plant-based burgers.

Credit: ajc.com

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Slutty Vegan stays open late to serve their plant-based burgers.

Credit: ajc.com

Credit: ajc.com

Black History Month Highlights and Black Business Support

Every February, the city honors Black History Month with events and exhibits. Due to COVID, those celebrations are rather modest this year. But with everything from Black-owned bookstores to Black history museums, there are still several great ways to observe the month around the metro.

And consider the month another reminder to support Black-owned small businesses (which were hit hardest by the pandemic, according to reporting from the New York Times). When compiling your winter bucket list of fun, food and other findings, explore a few minority-owned options, like the Black Girl Magic Tours, which hosts outdoor mural art walks around the city. Also check out Atlanta’s plethora of Black-owned restaurants, such as successful food trucks-turned-brick-and-mortars Slutty Vegan, Local Green Atlanta and Not As Famous Cookie Company.

Black Girl Magic Tours, info@BlackGirlMagicTours.com.

Slutty Vegan (Abernathy location), 1542 Ralph David Abernathy Atlanta. 855-439-7588, sluttyveganatl.com.

Local Green Atlanta, 19 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd. NW, Atlanta. 404-549-9364, localgreenatlanta.com.

Not As Famous Cookie Company, 1080 Windy Hill Road SE, Suite 300, Smyrna. 404-587-1661, notasfamous.com.