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Dahlonega: The Best Christmas Town Near Atlanta

by
Dec 18th, 2019

If you live in any of AMLI’s luxury apartments in Atlanta, then you’re in for a real treat this holiday season. We are bringing you a definitive guide to the best Christmas town in Georgia. 

You’ve all seen the Hallmark movies: an adorable small town, holiday lights, homemade hot cocoa and choirs caroling in the park. There’s just something special about a little town around the holiday season, as they really do encapsulate the spirit of giving and fellowship. 

“Are there Christmas towns near me?” you might ask. “Is there any way I, too, can live out a Hallmark movie for myself?” Yes, you can! The best Christmas town in Georgia is Dahlonega, and all it takes is a 70-minute drive from our luxury Atlanta Beltline apartments or our high-rise apartments in Midtown.

So, whether you’re entertaining family, exploring with friends or celebrating on your own, this homey town in Georgia is sure to boost your holiday spirit.

Dahlonega

Drive time: Just over an hour

Dahlonega is known for its quaint, Southern charm. It’s so incredibly festive that Hallmark chose to film one of its signature holiday movies, "Christmas in Homestead," in the sweet Georgia town.

Let me repeat: Hallmark, the distributor of Christmas spirit in American media, chose Dahlonega to portray the most Christmassy town they could think of.

That right there should seal the deal for you, but if it doesn’t (bah, humbug!) then here are some more fun facts about this Georgian Christmas treasure.

Dahlonega history

It turns out that the gold rush in America started right in Dahlonega, Georgia, in about 1828 when a hunter tripped on a gold-filled rock. The Georgia Gold Rush started shortly thereafter due to the massive amount of gold that was being discovered, some of it even just lying on top of the ground! The rocks and gold were being washed down from the Appalachian mountains for who-knows-how-long before miners started flocking to the area.

Soon after gold was discovered and people began visiting more frequently, the Georgia General Assembly named the town Talonega. The name was changed to Dahlonega in 1837, a name derived from the Cherokee word dalanigei, which means “gold.”

This all took place almost two decades before the California Gold Rush. The result of this profitable gold rush is that Dahlonega is now packed with gorgeous houses, beautiful architecture and scenic neighborhoods. Now, just add a few hundred Christmas lights to that gorgeous Georgian mansion, and you’ll see why this picturesque town is a holiday highlight! 

What to do for Christmas in Dahlonega

It’s no wonder Hallmark picked this quaint town to film a Christmas movie. Historic Downtown Dahlonega has old-timey general stores, historic hotels, retro movie theaters, artsy boutiques and more! During Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas, the town is decked out with Christmas trees, festive wreaths, luscious garlands and boatloads of lights. Plus, you might bump into Mr. and Mrs. Claus. It really does look like it dropped out of a classic Christmas tale.

There’s enough in Dahlonega to keep you busy, especially around Christmastime. There are Christmas parades, complete with dancing, music, floats and, of course, St. Nick on his sleigh. The Christmas tree lighting is always a fun event to attend, especially since it's accompanied by carols and live bands. Also, don’t miss out on the horse-drawn carriage tours through downtown. There’s nothing better than enjoying a private tour of all the Christmas lights, decorations and festivities from the comfort of a warm blanket and some cocoa.

Where to eat in Dahlonega

After a day full of picture-taking (trust us, you’ll want to take a lot of pictures!), enjoy a warm meal at any of Dahlonega’s homey restaurants and stores. Visit the Dahlonega Fudge Factory for some fresh fudge, creamy chocolates and crunchy brittles. Head to Capers on the Square for a taste of fine Mediterranean foods, including caviar, mussels, wines and gyros.

Finally, finish off at The Shenanigans Pub for a small-town Irish pub experience. Music, wings, sports games and trivia nights. What more could you want?

Where to stay in Dahlonega

If you’re going to Dahlonega for Christmas, then you don’t want to miss a second of the magical experience the cozy town has to offer. Stay close to downtown so you can stroll everywhere you need to go at a moment’s notice.

The Historic Smith House Inn was found to be built on top of a mine after a construction worker punched through a wall during renovations. He struck gold (pardon the pun) when historians realized the hotel was built on top of a gold mine, and now said mine is a centerpiece of Dahlonega history. They also decorate the premises beautifully for the holiday season.

The Hall House Hotel is the closest hotel to the main square, so it’s by far the most convenient for all your Christmas festivity needs. 

Hanukkah in Dahlonega

If you’re heading to Dahlonega for Hanukkah, it would be a shame to miss out on visiting the Temple Shalom B’Harim (translated from Hebrew as “peace in the mountains”). The close-knit community celebrates Hanukkah every year with a service, music, menorah lightings and, the best part, plenty of latkes! This is a special and genuine community that will remind you just how generous and authentic the holidays can be.

All in All

If you’re still not convinced, watch Hallmark’s "Christmas in Homestead" to get a glimpse of what this cozy mountain town is like. It’s not going to be much different to the movie, as it really is a truly genuine Christmas town.  If you live in AMLI’s downtown Decatur apartments or Buckhead luxury apartments, you’re even closer than downtown, so it couldn’t be any easier to visit than it already is. It’s only an hour and a half from Atlanta, at the most, but it will feel like another world entirely!

Watch Southern Living’s festive video on why you really need to visit Dahlonega this Christmas. 

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/VinnyCiro

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Author of Article

Colleen Ford lives in Spokane, Wa.

View All Posts by Colleen Ford
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