The holiday season has arrived. As we’re rushing to fill our stockings with knickknacks and gifts, it’s important to take a break. Remember, this is also one of the best times of year to indulge yourself when you’re done (or while) you’re shopping for family and friends. This December’s events are all about the coming holidays.
Dec. 1-23: Christkindl Market Atlanta
Atlanta has a Teutonic holiday celebration of its own. This Christkindl Market brings a traditional German holiday shopping experience to Central Park at Atlantic Station. Authentic German food and beverages are served and many Christmas- and holiday-themed knickknacks are for sale from vendors. Admission is free.
Dec. 1-Jan. 7: Winter Wonderland
Guests to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History are treated to this exhibition showcasing holiday trees lit up in various colors and decorated to the nines with many different cultural objects. The trees display the variety of seasonal holiday celebrations taken part in across the world. Standard museum admission applies, but the exhibit doesn’t cost anything extra.
Dec. 16: Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl
Hundreds are expected to don their ugliest holiday sweaters and make new friends while touring several Buckhead bars. Guests can expect a night of holiday music, drink specials, giveaways and raffles, and more. All receive a special themed koozie for the night and whoever wins the best dressed contest wins a prize.
Dec. 31: Buckhead Ball
Ring in the New Year at a hotel party at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead. Amsterdam DJ Sam Feldt provides music and an open bar is provided with admission. Tickets are all-inclusive and cost just 35 for the night.
Dec. 1: Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Shop from thousands of original art works and handmade crafts curated through a jury-selected process. The work of over 200 artists is on display and available for purchase for those with budgets large and small.
Dec. 8-30: Winter Wonderland at the Circuit
For over 50 years now, the Circuit of the Americas has held a winter and holiday celebration the size of Texas. This year features millions of lights illuminating the grounds, along with a few usual suspects among the attractions such as an ice skating rink, petting zoo, carnival rides, Santa’s workshop, and a tunnel of lights.
Dec. 9-23: 51st Annual Trail of Lights
Come see the light show and help this year’s Trail of Lights reach its goal of collecting over 25,000 meals for those in need. In addition to seeing the sights and doing good in the local community, attendees can enjoy a host of food trucks, local musical talent, merchants, and more. About half the days are absolutely admission-free. Canned goods are accepted for the food drive and donations are given to the Central Texas Food Bank.
Dec. 1-Jan. 15: Ice Skating on the Plaza
Whole Foods’ flagship downtown Austin store offers ice skating for locals and visitors alike during the holiday season and a little bit through the new year. The rink is open everyday from 10am-9pm unless otherwise noted and admission and skate rental is just 0.
Dec. 16-17 & 26-31: Holiday Magic
Chicagoland’s Brookfield Zoo gets all dressed up for the holidays for what’s dubbed the area’s longest running and largest seasonal light festival. Over 1 million lights promise to twinkle at night, a 41-foot talking tree is on-site, and carolers roam the grounds.
Dec. 17: Taiko Legacy 14
See what’s billed as “one of the largest Taiko drumming concerts in the Midwest” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. An ensemble of traditional and contemporary musicians and drummers band together to give a concert covering several styles of Japanese music including folk, classical, geisha chamber music, and festival taiko music.
Dec. 21: Adler After Dark: Spacecation
Every month, the Adler Planetarium holds a themed after-hours party at the museum specially for adults. This month’s theme is “Spacecation,” focusing on the increasing opportunities for space travel and how to pack your suitcase for the journeys ahead. A presentation by Guerilla Science will cover this along with a talk by Orbital Transports CEO David Hurst on new advancements in science that are fueling this new development. Guests can enjoy all this with a tropical drink in-hand.
Dec. 31: A Celebration of the Centuries
Join a New Year’s celebration of a different ilk at Schaumburg’s Medieval Times. Admission allows guests to transport themselves to the distant past and soak up such marvels as the Museum of Torture, a two-hour Medieval-style tournament, a four-course meal, and a countdown to midnight with the knights of the realm, culminating in a champagne toast.
Dec. 14-16: Unbranded
The vacant space at 1508 Commerce St in the Dallas Light and Power Building has been transformed Downtown Dallas, Inc into a limited-time popup shop featuring special events and activities and artisan vendors to go along with them for a curated retail experience unlike any other.
Dec. 1-24: Illumination Celebration
See what’s described as America’s tallest Christmas tree donning almost 500,000 lights and over 10,000 ornaments at Galleria Dallas. Guests can enjoy free ice shows at the Galleria Dallas Ice Skating Center in the mall’s center court. Operation Kindness will also offer pet adoptions.
Dec. 1-Jan. 3: Skate the Square
Head over to Frisco Square with family and friends and ice skate to your heart’s content. There’s no need to bring skates, admission is just 2 with or without them. Admission is free for those who do not wish to join the fun.
Dec. 1-31: Prairie Lights
Enjoy millions of holiday lights without ever leaving the comfort of your car. Assortments of unique light displays are set along a 2-mile path and at the halfway point is a holiday village stocked with food and refreshments and has a snow maze and a forest of holiday lights to stroll through.
Dec. 1-Jan. 1: Blossoms of Light
Denver Botanic Gardens hosts a light festival at their location just off York Street. Of the many highlights at this year’s celebration, probably the most impressive is a field of animated LED lights that change their colors based on sound. Some evenings offer entertainment. Treats, warm drinks, and HoloSpex glasses are available for purchase.
Dec. 17: Last Chance Gift Fest
This holiday market caters specially to holiday procrastinators. Swing on by and shop from a large and varied collection of vendors selling arts and crafts, home decor, toys, and more. Over 165 sellers promise to be on-site and food is available for purchase.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve on the Rocks
The first event of its kind, toast the New Year at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre with this mini-music festival featuring headliners Migos, Post Malone, Young Thug, and Lil Yachty.
Dec. 15-17: Day For Night
One of the best music festivals Houston has to offer takes place in the city’s sublime winter weather. The third rendition of this fest features headliners Nine Inch Nails, Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Solange, Justice, and St. Vincent.
Dec. 21: Trans Siberian Orchestra
Choose from one of two shows by one of the most-lauded holiday rock ‘n’ roll acts around at the Houston Toyota Center. The Trans Siberian Orchestra presents an updated version of their “Ghosts of Christmas Eve” show at 3:30pm and 8pm.
Dec. 21-24: Holiday Lights Tour
For the eighth year in a row, Houstonians have the chance to go for a ride with the Holiday Lights Tour and see the city all lit up in seasonal fashion. Attendees meet in Market Square Park and hop on the buses on a first-come, first-served basis and holiday snacks will be served. The tour will take guests to see the City Hall and the tree at Discovery Green, then on to River Oaks and Woodland Heights. A portion of proceeds are given to the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
Dec. 15: Parade of Boats
Check out what’s certainly the largest holiday flotillas in Seattle, if not one of the largest in the states. Boats of all shapes, makes, and sizes don their holiday best and twinkle across Lake Union from 7-9pm. The boats will depart on their journey westward through Fremont Cut at 8:30pm.
Dec. 11-23 & Dec. 26-31: Holiday Tea in the Fireside Room
Hotel Sorrento hosts a special holiday tea service throughout the month, except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Guests can select from several pastries, savory snacks, sweets, and fresh coffees and teas. For an additional charge, diners can order cocktails as well. See the full menu here. Reservations must be made a full 24 hours in advance.
Dec. 16 & 17: Renegade Craft Fair
One of the most unique craft fairs around comes to Hanger 30 in Magnuson Park. Shop from a floor packed with purveyors of handmade crafts and goods that are absolutely one-of-a-kind.
Dec. 15 & 16: Boat Parade of Lights
Orange County boaters gather at Dana Point Harbor for the 43rd annual Boat Parade of Lights. Boats are decorated for the holidays according to the theme “A Superhero Holiday. The boats will float through the harbor as guests enjoy carolers, games, crafts, and free photo opportunities with Santa. For a fee, Dana Wharf Sportfishing will offer boat rides as well.
Dec. 16: Santa is Coming
Santa will be in the Anaheim Plaza food court from 11am-1pm for photo opportunities. The first 100 children to arrive receive a gift and a balloon artist will be on-hand. A DJ will provide music and raffle prizes will be given away.
Celebrating the spirit of White House Christmas traditions, the Nixon Library invites the public to enjoy their holiday displays and activities. The centerpiece is a 10-foot mountain of model trains that wind over bridges and through tunnels. Guests can also meet-and-greet with Santa, listen to live holiday music, create ornaments, and decorate sugar cookies while enjoying hot cocoa or coffee.
Dec. 17: Y100’s Jingle Ball
Attend this holiday-themed music festival at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. Headliners include Demi Lovato, Cheat Codes, Logic, and Fifth Harmony. A dollar of each ticket is donated to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation.
Dec. 17: Holidays at Hard Rock Live
The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida welcomes special guest Alan Cumming for a one-night holiday concert at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
Dec. 29: Jim Gaffigan
Comedian Jim Gaffigan brings his brand of family-friendly comedy to the BB&T Center as part of his Noble Ape Tour.
Like what you just read? Why not subscribe to the AMLI Blog so you don’t miss another post?