Christmas tree lightings, candlelight nights, holiday home tours and shopping, shopping, shopping


City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style, in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. And it stretches from North Fulton County in metro Atlanta to Lumpkin County in the North Georgia Mountains, as the seven communities of the Hospitality Highway get ready for a silver bell season. Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming/Forsyth, Dawsonville, and Dahlonega, each located just off scenic GA 400, welcome you with holiday activities, festivities, shopping, and good cheer. Visit to see the list of holiday fun.


Holiday events, Hospitality Highway-style, are hot cocoa nights with Christmas tree lightings, candlelit garden paths, historic home tours, and old-fashioned feasting and festing.

Begin your Christmas holiday on Thanksgiving evening with Buckhead’s Macy’s Holiday Great Tree Lighting in the Lenox Square parking lot. Bring the family to enjoy this free event, which includes the lighting of Macy’s beautiful Georgia white pine tree, live entertainment, and celebrity appearances. Buckhead’s Candlelight Nights, Tuesday, December 8 and 15, 5:30-9:00 pm, at the Atlanta History Center, is an Atlanta tradition, with the winter landscape of the 33-acre Buckhead campus candlelit for dusk-time strolls through gardens, trails, and historic homes. Visit for admission information and more details.

In Roswell, tour the town’s three historic Southern Trilogy homes: “I Collect Christmas at Barrington Hall,” November 21-December 30, presents whimsical Christmas collectibles, including 19th century antique ornaments and vintage nutcrackers. Decorated in traditional Southern style, home tours will be 10:00 am-3:00 pm Monday-Saturday and 1:00-3:00 pm on Sundays. (770-640-3855) Tour room-to-room during “The 12 Days of Christmas at Historic Bulloch Hall,” November 21-January 3, and experience the enchanting interpretations of these lyrical days. Self-guided tours: 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Monday-Saturday and 1:00-4:00 pm on Sundays. (770-992-1731) Heritage flora and fauna native to Smith Plantation Home is this year’s theme at “Winter Wonderland on the Plantation,” November 21-January 10, featuring antebellum plants, birds, and wildlife. Tours on the hour, 10:00 am-3:00 pm, Monday-Saturday and 1:00-3:00 pm on Sundays. (770-641-3978) The homes will hold a joint Candlelight Tour on December 12. Visit for admission information and more details.

On Saturday, December 5, Dawsonville will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting, the event that warms families with complimentary cider, hot cocoa and fresh coffee, live entertainment provided by the Dawson County High School chorus, and visits and (free) photographs with Santa Claus. That jolly old soul arrives to the crowd singing “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Visit

In Dahlonega, an Old Fashioned Christmas celebration begins Friday, November 27, through December 31, with a real hometown Christmas parade set for December 5. Festival events, held at the Public Square, are free and include the lighting of the Square on November 27, visits with Santa, extended shopping hours on the Square, and merchant Open House, plus entertainment, refreshments, lighting of the luminaries, and a Sleigh Bell Tour on Sunday, December 6 (1:00-6:00 pm). Adding to the yuletide ambience is the Southern Living Idea House in Dahlonega’s Achasta community, open for touring 11:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesday-Saturday and 1:00-5:00 pm, Sunday, now through December 20. Visit for admission details; see for holiday events schedule.


Holiday shopping, Hospitality Highway-style, is heady enchantment, with shops of distinction and every description spilling over with gifts waiting to fill the stockings or put ‘neath the tree:

In Sandy Springs, comb the booths of Antiques and Interiors, a 33,000-square foot showroom with more than 50 of the South’s most talented furniture dealers and artists. Just next door is the famous Red Baron Antiques, the oldest and largest antiques source in the Southeastern US. In between these outstanding antique shops – sure to have something for even the hardest-to-please person on your list – are lots of fun and kicky boutiques. Nearby are the shopping delights of world-renowned Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza. Visit to learn about all the shopping possibilities.

Alpharetta, a family-friendly city 22 miles north of Atlanta, offers shoppers seven unique districts with myriad opportunities for exceptional options for holiday gift shopping. Browse one-of-a-kind gifts at Ivy Interiors and The Cannery. Unwrap the perfect outfit at Galerie. Discover hard-to-find Christopher Radko ornaments at Twigs and Lace. Deck the halls of your home with help from Savvy Snoot and Southern Comforts. Don’t miss the only American Girl Boutique and Bistro in the Southeast, an absolute charmer located inside beautiful North Point Mall. Visit to see all the shops in the seven districts.

Cumming/Forsyth welcomes the holidays with a new, spectacular shopping venue: The Avenue® Forsyth, a charming “Main Street” pedestrian center located at Exit 13 in Cumming. Here is an A-list of trendy shops, including Christopher & Banks, Victoria Secret’s, Barnes & Noble, New York & Company, Natural Body Spa & Shop, and White House/Black Market, among many others. Wear your holiday shopping shoes, check everyone off your list, and then relax at one of nearly a dozen eateries, including the decadent Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates. Psst: You Know Who arrives for the Tree Lighting, Avenue-style, on Saturday, November 14. Visit

In Dawsonville, shop designer labels at a discount at North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall. (Shhh. No one need know how much you saved on their gift!) Then head Around Back at Rocky’s Place, a folk art gallery representing over 200 folk artists and showcasing one of the finest selections in the world by renowned regional artist, Cornbread. 5 percent off everything from Thanksgiving weekend through December 31.


Spend your holidays with the communities of the Hospitality Highway and enjoy shop-til-you-drop days and light-bright nights. Click on the individual community links to see all the details for the Hospitality Highway’s silver bell season.

The communities of the Hospitality Highway:

Dawsonville-Dawson County,
Sandy Springs,

The Hospitality Highway encompasses the full length of scenic Georgia 400, linking together the communities of Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Cumming/Forsyth, Dawsonville, and Dahlonega, from North Fulton County in metro Atlanta to Lumpkin County in the North Georgia Mountains. Defined by lush, natural beauty, historic landmarks and heritage sites, upscale shopping and eclectic gallery hopping, ambitious performing arts, restaurant scenes both piquant and deliciously memorable, and only-found-here attractions, the region unfolds from the heart of Georgia wine country to the cosmopolitan charms of the city. At each turn in the road there are recreational and sightseeing opportunities, both indoor and out, and an accommodations array that includes picturesque mountain cabins to inviting bed and breakfasts to hotels ranging from familiar and quality favorites to thoroughly upscale havens. Each distinctive community offers an exceptional experience; together, they provide a superlative opportunity to explore the many and varied facets of the Hospitality Highway region. For more information, visit .