I love Hallmark Christmas movies- small town Christmases, grabbing coffee or a drink from the local cafe, walking around a decorated small square, finding homemade gifts from a local boutique… ahh I love Christmas!
Finding places in Georgia that capture that magic is one of my favorite things to do. As much as I love living in the city, there’s something about smaller towns that are so special. Georgia has so many wonderful small towns- my favorites for celebrating Christmas are Alpharetta and Marietta.
Why Alpharetta and Marietta Are My Favorite Christmas Towns:
- They have open container policies: It’s so fun to grab a drink and take it to go while walking through the historic districts.
- They’re close to the city: It’s no secret that Georgia has amazing small towns all over the state, but these two are no more than a half hour away from the city, which is perfect for a December afternoon.
- They have great boutiques: Y’all know I love my boutiques. These two towns have amazing local shops for unique dresses and Christmas gifts that you can’t find anywhere else.
- They have great restaurants and breweries: There are SO many choices in Alpharetta and Marietta for restaurants and breweries, which are perfect for a fun afternoon or evening out!
I was recently hosted by the city of Alpharetta to spend the day there and they are so festive for Christmas! The town is full of boutiques for shopping (I loved Southern Local- such cute clothes!) and is completely decorated.
We spent the day at Alpharetta CIty Center, which expands on the historic district by six blocks and has over thirty locally owned restaurants and stores. My favorite part of the new center was that it doesn’t feel “new”- the buildings are replications of the original ones that sat in the 19th century. There are also seven acres of greenspaces in the City Center.
We had lunch at Chiringa, which is a restaurant right on the Town Green with beachy bites like tacos, burgers, and snacks- the Calamari and Lobster Roll were so good! The restaurant has a tent for outdoor dining and is super festive for Christmas.
After lunch, we got drinks at Holmes, which is a neighborhood favorite with outdoor dining and the option to take your drinks to go. FYI- Holmes has a happy hour Monday- Friday from 2:30-4:40 PM with discounted drinks. If you’re looking for cute gifts for Christmas, Holmes just started offering holiday cocktail kits, each which yields ten drinks and has the alcohol included.
We went for the Christmas market, which is unfortunately closed now, but you can still walk the decorated square and check out Sis + Moon’s for their Christmas vacation pop up shop. They also have their last Third Thursday today, which has live music, holiday shopping and snow! A few other spots worth trying are Jekyll Brewing, which is right on the square, and South Main Kitchen, which has a rooftop overlooking downtown.
Marietta has the cutest town square with an entire Christmas display, christmas trees, and lights- I think it’s my favorite town square, ever! The square has beautiful community Christmas displays and is surrounded by local boutiques perfect for holiday shopping.
Another fun Christmas-y fun spot off the square A Christmas Vacation Popup at The Third Door, a new speakeasy and event space in Marietta right off the square (which is now open container!!).
To see festive houses, you can do the Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas House Tour, a self-guided walking tour that you can do anytime in December. Tour booklets can be purchased at the Marietta Welcome Center or the William Root House for $25.
If you’re spending the day, check out one the restaurants on the square or get a quick bite from the Marietta Market, a food hall with a bunch of casual options. Or, spend the afternoon outside by the square at Glover Park Brewing- it’s about a block from the square and perfect for getting a drink outside. You can also read about more of my Marietta favorites here.
At night, you can visit World of Illumination, the world’s largest holiday drive-through show which is nearby at White Water Six Flags. I was hosted there last week and it was very cute! Online reservations are required- it’s a fun way to spend the evening while social distancing and staying festive!
One More Georgia Christmas Town I Had to Share: Dahlonega
If you’re looking for a small town to visit that is perfect for a day or weekend away, I would recommend Dahlonega as the iconic Christmas town! Ry and I didn’t get a chance to visit this year, but Dahlonega is known for its old fashioned Christmas (complete with carriage rides). It’s further from Atlanta, but worth a drive for a weekend getaway.
Dahlonega has even served as the backdrop for Christmas Lifetime movies and been called the perfect Christmas town by Southern Living. You can read about my Dahlonega favorites here.