15+ Exciting Atlanta Events Happening in December For Everyone

December has no shortage of Christmas events and programming (check out our listing here, but there is also plenty to be enjoyed that has nothing to do with the Big Man in the red suit. Explore an exhibit, revel in a performance, and hike your way into the New Year.

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All of December (and beyond): Chinese Lantern Festival

Centennial Olympic Park’s South Park, including the Southern Company Amphitheater, will be decorated with 25 handcrafted lanterns, a three-story pagoda, and a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon. All creations are constructed by artisans from China making the Park come alive each night. The festival also promises nightly entertainment featuring acrobatics, dancers, theatre, and more. Craftsmen will be present each night creating everything from edible sugar dragons to Chinese paintings. In addition to the radiant display, folks of all ages are invited to explore the Park and all else that Centennial Park District has to offer, such as Centennial Olympic Park’s Ice Rink presented by Coca-Cola., Holiday in Lights display, award-winning dining options, and the Skyview Ferris Wheel.

All of December (and beyond): “…and Justice for All.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery features a rotating exhibition of items from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, where visitors can view the personal papers and items of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This rotation looks at Dr. King’s role in the struggle for economic, racial and social justice while examining the Chicago Freedom Movement, the support of labor unions and the importance of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Through December 11: The First Folio: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare

The First Folio of Shakespeare, published in 1623, is one of the most famous books in the world—and for good reason. Published seven years after Shakespeare’s death, the First Folio was the first collected edition of William Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare’s fellow actors John Heminge and Henry Condell put together the text of the First Folio. When Shakespeare died in 1616, only about half of his plays had been published, in small, one-play editions called quartos. Another eighteen are known today only because they were included in the First Folio; without it, they would probably have been lost. Among them are Macbeth, Twelth NightJulius Caesar, and The Tempest. View the First Folio for FREE when you visit the Carlos Museum; all other exhibits can be viewed at the cost of admission.

December 1: Young Choreographers Workshop

Join us for our Young Choreographers Workshop at the Marcus Jewish Community Center. This is the first production that is completely done by our young dancers. It is a must-see show. You will not want to miss this! Admission for both members and the community.

December 2: It’s the Groovy Grandmas! at Little Shop of Stories

Come join us as we welcome co-authors Deliah and Lucyann, the Groovy Grandmas! Their book, Norah Bedorah and the Pink Doughnut with Sprinkles is all about Norah, a spunky little girl who knows what she wants, and what she wants is lots of pink doughnuts with sprinkles for breakfast at her Groovy Grandmas’ house.  Who wins the battle of the doughnuts? Come find out as we sing along with the Groovy Grandmas and eat treats (pink doughnuts with sprinkles, of course!). Stay tuned for details from Little Shop about their Hanukkah Storytime on December 22.

December 2: Kid Pop! Art Shop

The end of the year is quickly approaching, but before we ring in the new year, let’s go out with a Pop! KidPop Art Shop is excited to invite you to it’s first art show at the brand new Art-Haus of Grant Park. The artwork (inspired by Jason Oransky’s son’s nursery room) will feature a whimsical take on musical icons such as David Bowie, Prince, Biggie, and Johnny Cash to name a few. Please join us opening night for art, drinks, music, and Karaoke (liquid courage will be available). Kid Pop Art Shop is for kids and the kids at heart.

December 3: Muppet Treasure Island

Enjoy a Saturday night screening of a Muppet classic. Tickets include entry into the Worlds of Puppetry Museum, featuring the Jim Henson and Global Collections, beforehand. For the grownups, a cash bar will be available, too.

December 3-4: Music for the Very Young

This season, Music for the Very Young will be offering a series called Meet Our Families: An Introduction to the Instruments of the Orchestra. This series of performances will take you and your family on a journey to discover and learn all about members of the Woodwind, Brass, String, and Percussion families throughout the season in four separate programs – each highlighting one specific family of instruments. Then, at the end of the season, these same musicians will join forces to offer performances together as an ensemble…or as we like to think of it, one big family. In December, meet the strings.

December 9-10: Peter Pan at the Cobb Energy Centre

Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents Broadway’s timeless musical PETER PAN December 9 and 10, 2016. Based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale and featuring an unforgettable score by Morris “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh and Betty Comden and Adolph Green, PETER PAN is one of the most beloved and frequently performed family favorites of all time. This high-flying TONY Award-winning musical has been performed around the world and delighted audiences for over 60 years.

December 9-10: World Salsa Championships

The World Salsa Championships® is the most prestigious salsa competition in the world, bringing elite dancers from around the globe to compete in a TV show that will broadcast in ESPN Deportes and ESPN International. The event features exclusive performers, live bands and DJs for the hottest after parties. Watch the world’s best professional salsa dancers compete for cash and glory in a visually stunning show filled with imaginative routines, colorful costumes and amazing acrobatics. And right after each night’s competition, you will be able to dance the night away to the music of famous Havana D”Primera, Ismael Miranda and Jose Alberto el Canario. It’s the ultimate salsa experience! If you like Dancing with the Stars show, then wait until you see the Best of Best!

December 11: Second Sunday at the High Museum

Enjoy in-gallery performances of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (Winter) by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musicians. In our Art of Giving Back drop-in workshops, create a handmade coin collector to take home—perfect for stowing change throughout the year to donate to your favorite organizations. See The Object Group’s Tiny Toy Theatre and hear their original poetry inspired by the High’s permanent collection.

December 11: Family Hanukah Cooking Class

Come get ready for Hanukah! Enjoy learning how to make potato latkes, homemade apple sauce, noodle kugel, and fried doughnuts. Advanced registration required. Price includes a family up to 4.

December 14: HomeSchool Academy

Join Zoo Atlanta for an afternoon of learning and discovery designed specifically for homeschool students! HomeSchool Academy is a unique program that allows students to explore animal and science concepts in a fun, interactive environment. Programs are grade-appropriate and include games, activities, Zoo tours and animal encounters. HomeSchool Academy runs monthly on specific days from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., September through May.

December 17: The Celebration Bowl

The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl is a postseason college football game featuring the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The event’s mission is to provide the schools, alumni, fans, and sponsors with a first-class bowl experience while continuing to celebrate the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. ESPN has partnered with the 100 Black Men of Atlanta to manage the game’s ancillary events, which includes a Youth Symposium, Robotics Showcase, College Fair, Job Fair and Fan Experience. Enjoy this exciting game at the Georgia Dome.

December 18: Get Tickets to Phantom of the Opera

Casting has been announced for Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA for the triumphant return Atlanta engagement at the Fox Theatre February 22 – March 5 as a Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta 2016/2017 season special. With newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design, this new version of PHANTOM is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America. Tickets go on sale Sunday, December 18.

December 31: Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

This year, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host the most significant college football game in the history of our city, and cement itself as one of the country’s top bowl games. On December 31, we’ll host two of the country’s Top 4 teams in the Georgia Dome, and the winner will go on to Tampa to play for the College Football Playoff National Championship. The road to the national championship comes through Atlanta! Don’t miss exciting ancillary events at the College Football Hall of Fame, Georgia Aquarium and more.

January 1: Georgia’s State Parks First Day Hikes

All across the country, park rangers are inviting Americans to start the New Year with an energizing First Day Hike. In Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites, dozens of guided treks will encourage friends and families to connect with nature and each other.

Paige Sullivan | Travel and Calendar Editor

Paige Sullivan recently completed her MFA at Georgia State University, where she studied, wrote, and published poetry. She now works as a marketing professional in the nonprofit sector, and in her spare time, she freelance edits and dabbles in food and travel writing. Find her on social media at @bpaigesullivan.

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