As a child, Christmas was pure magic. Decorating the tree with your favorite ornaments, eating Christmas cookies, singing carols, hearing the story of baby Jesus’ birth, and the anticipation of Santa created so much excitement. Everything about Christmas was amazing. As adults, we are still excited for Christmas, but the anticipation doesn’t come as naturally. With work deadlines looming and trying to avoid the impending crowds at every store in town, it is easy to lose the childlike enthusiasm for Christmas. If you’ve been following along with our blog, you may have read that we are trying to change that. We put together a list of six Christmas activities guaranteed to get you in the spirit. As we check items off the list, we find ourselves getting more and more excited for Christmas.
Last Friday, we went to Garden Lights, Holiday Nights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. We’ve seen quite a few light displays in our twenty-something years, but the lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens was the best one yet. Photos and videos do not do this place justice. You must go see it for yourself. Any of you who have already visited can attest to the fact that this place is full of Christmas spirit, happiness, and a warmth that overwhelms the chilly winter air.
The Garden Lights exhibit is different and more spectacular than anything we have ever seen before because of the fact that the only lights that exist in the exhibit are Christmas lights. Your path through the garden is solely lit by Christmas lights, so there is no bright boring yellow street lighting. The lights from the city are also almost nonexistent, so the Christmas lights appear more brilliant and colorful. Before you go, read our tips below to make the most out of your Garden Lights, Holiday Nights trip.
Let Someone Else Drive – We drove to the Garden, but would highly recommend taking an Uber or Lyft if you visit. The line to turn into the parking garage was long and filled up early. Two of our friends drove, as well, and had to park in a different lot and walk. The walk wasn’t too long, but at 11 pm, walking in the dark and cold isn’t ideal. Driving is worth it if you’re carpooling, though. When you have four or more people in the car or are visiting on the weekdays, parking is only $5.
Make It A Late Night – Prices for the Botanical Garden seemed expensive, but if you’re looking to get the most for your money, we recommend going after 9 pm on the weekend. We were able to get our tickets for $13.95 per person, instead of $29.95 each. The gardens are open until 11 pm on the weekends so we got two hours to explore the lights at half the cost. That’s a bargain in our eyes.
Skip The Premium Tickets – We expect premium tickets to take your experience to another level, but unfortunately, the Garden Lights ticket does not do that. Premium tickets cost $10 more and come with hologram glasses and a drink ticket. Unless you plan on getting a spiked hot chocolate as your drink ($10), pass on the premium tickets. Right when we walked in, people were leaving and handed us their glasses. The 3D glasses blurred the lights which had a cool effect, but they weren’t something we would be able to wear the entire time we were in the garden.
Grab A Map – The garden is HUGE! If you’ve never been, it is easy to get lost. We wish that we would have grabbed a map, but you can also find a PDF of the map here. The garden has over a dozen spectacular light displays. Some popular displays are the Walk of Flames, Tunnel of Light, Orchestral Orbs, and Glittering Galaxy. Our favorite display was Nature’s Wonders. New to the Garden this year, Nature’s Wonders is a high-tech display featuring thousands of strands of synchronized dancing lights strung over Storza Woods. We could have watched the lights for hours. It was a fantastic experience.
If you know someone going to Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, share this post with them! And if you do get a chance to check the garden lights out, let us know! We would love to hear your favorite part!