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Centennial Olympic Park, Life College, Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens—there’s an abundance of exciting places to experience seasonal lights in Atlanta. But did you know residents in and around the city are giving big-time displays a serious run for their money? That’s right, Atlantans are decking the halls with much more than holly and are lighting up neighborhoods so bright they might be seen from space. Most of these spectacular displays are free, but some ask for donations to charity. So grab some blankets and snacks and take the family to the best residential spots to see holiday lights in Atlanta.
The city of Duluth is right off the perimeter of Northeast Atlanta, and Duluth’s Christmas House is no doubt a core piece of the city’s Yuletide celebrations. At 2929 Mockingbird Circle, you’ll find a yard filled with so many illuminated figures and bulbs one can barely see the grass—it’s mesmerizing. The roof is blanketed in lights, strings hang in the trees, and it seems no surface is unadorned. Furthering the Atlanta neighborhood’s bright-spirited nature is the abundance of decorations at Duluth Town Green.
The Decorate Decatur contest inspires residents of this East Atlanta neighborhood to go all out in hopes of winning the “major award,” aka a cool yard sign dubbing them the best. Businesses even get in on the action, so the entire area is one big ball of festivity wrapped in tinsel. Marshmallow roasting at the square, a tree lighting, and visits with Santa help to keep the season bright.
Lawrenceville sits northeast of the center of Atlanta and is a cool neighborhood for Christmas fun, particularly thanks to a group of houses that not only decorate but incorporate interactive activities for families. Kids can play on various inflatables, and an extremely authentic Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be out and about to take lists, wishes, and pictures. The neighborhood event is known as Christmas on Amberwood.
Alpharetta is a trendy area in northeast Atlanta, with manicured shopping centers that feature their own array of magical lights and towering trees. Still, the Hillbrooke subdivision is notorious for holly jolly displays and homes that freely welcome onlookers. The homes glitter from far away and serve as a tradition for families all around.
Just beyond Powder Springs, you’ll find Dallas, west of Atlanta, and the Felix family gets everyone into the spirit each year. The Christmas spirit is contagious here at 224 Oliver Overlook, dripping from top to bottom in dazzling strings. Noted as one of the 25 best-decorated homes in the country by 365 Atlanta, the Felix home alone makes a drive through the neighborhood a must.
Another neighborhood in Alpharetta houses 4220 Tivoli Way, which puts on a synchronized light show that pairs with FM radio, station 89.9 to be exact. The show is officially referred to as Christmas in Castille, and it runs from November 29th through December 22nd, Thursday through Saturday, so you’ll have to check it out before Christmas Eve. The neighborhood is gated but will permit cars to come through and see the spectacle, but keep in mind the gates do shut around 9 p.m.
A house in Stone Mountain has sparked a community initiative to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation through its extravagant holiday presentation. Known as the Economy House, the 1833 Smokerise Summit home is decked from head to toe, with Santa on the roof, lights wrapping candy cane style down its columns, and characters galore livening up the front yard. They’ve raised nearly 7000 dollars in previous years because of community donations. On Facebook, the home is named “A Whole LOT of Christmas,” and commenters reminisce about grabbing hot chocolate and dressing in PJs before setting out on Christmas Eve to see the show.
AsheBrooke is a subdivision in Cumming, which stretches northeast beyond the heart of the city. The area is near Lake Lanier, which also hosts its own spectacular Christmas event. Still, you don’t want to miss the charm that exudes from a cluster of residents grouping together to create a wonderland of decorations to delight hearts young and old. The neighborhood also hosts a charitable event, Night of Lights, every year. Atlanta Business Chronicle also notes that the synchronized lights display at 7020 Cole Ct is worth a detour.
Calumet West is a neighborhood in Kennesaw that branches off of I-75, just northwest of the perimeter. One of the coolest things about the magical initiative is that guests can donate to raise money for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. There’s no better place in Kennesaw to get into the holiday mood, from a parade to thousands and thousands of multi-hued bulbs.
Atlantic Station isn’t your typical neighborhood but does house loft and apartment residents who surround the shopping square. Giant snowflakes suspend over the streets, trees that line the walkways are wrapped in hundreds of twinkling strings, and a multi-story Christmas tree stands front and center, with ornaments the size of your head and huge, glowing bulbs. For those who live here, it’s a big Christmas bonus, but you can come too to see the lights, Santa, and artificial snow that rains down from the sky.