The ultimate passport-free escape that feels like Bavaria without needing to hop on a long-haul flight, Helen is an enchanting city in the heart of the North Georgia with Alpine-style architecture, mountain backdrops, and postcard-worthy scenery. Dazzling nighttime decorations and an abundance of yuletide events, make it particularly popular during the holiday season. Check out these festive ways to celebrate Christmas in Helen, GA that will warm the whole family’s heart.
While many tourists flock to Helen for their famous Oktoberfest celebration, the city truly shines during the holiday season for families that want to visit. Marvel at the thousands of twinkling Christmas lights, grab a fresh-baked German pretzel and get into the holiday spirit by attending one of their seasonal events.
9 Best Things To Do For Christmas In Helen, GA
Located just a few hours north of Atlanta, and east of Blairsville, an overnight stay is the perfect way to see everything there is to do in Helen. I definitely suggest an overnight stay during the holiday season because you don’t want to miss the Christmas lights. It’s the perfect seasonal escape that even the youngsters will enjoy too.
Helen Christmas Parade
The Helen Christmas parade is the cutest small-town tradition that’s worth lining up for. Kids love watching as parade floats, local heroes and furry friends pass through the main street. Bring an empty bag for the kids because there’s tons of candy to collect!
The best place to watch the parade is near the Downtown Helen gazebo. Grab a spot about a 1/2 hour before the parade starts and get ready to feel the Christmas spirit.
Victorian Christmas At Hardman Farm
Located just miles outside of Helen, Hardman Farm State Historic Site offers a beautiful Victorian Christmas celebration that’s perfect for families. Actors bring the farm to life as they tell the stories of the family who originally occupied the 1877 home.
Kids are so engrossed in the seasonal fun of cookies, Santa and caroling, that they don’t even realize they’re learning about the Victorian era too. During your visit, don’t forget to ask for a Junior Ranger book, for the kids, and they’ll earn a badge upon completion.
Hike Anna Ruby Falls
A family hike might not sound like festive fun, but Anna Ruby Falls is perfect to visit during the month of November and December. The consistent rain during the winter months magnifies waterfalls and the twin falls of Anna Ruby Falls looks even more impressive. Plus, the .5 mile paved hike to the top is far more enjoyable when you avoid the Georgia humidity of the summer months.
If you visit Anna Ruby Falls and Hardman Farms State Historic Site, ask the kids if they can make the connection between the two destinations! The waterfalls are named after Anna Ruby, the Captain’s daughter (he owned Hardman Farms).
Shop At A Traditional German Christmas Market
Who knew an authentic German Christmas shopping experience was right here in Georgia? Visit the Christkindlmarkt for truly unique and beautiful holiday gifts. Find homemade sweets, crafts and artisan gifts that will surely wow the recipient. The market takes place over two weekends and it’s the perfect excuse to add a bit of shopping to your trip.
Lighting Of The Village
Just after Thanksgiving, the Lighting of the Village is the annual Helen event that signifies the start of the Christmas season. Watch as the city Christmas lights turn on for the first time, listen to live music and even visit with Santa. It’s a fun way to watch the city transform into the Christmas wonderland it is!
Breakfast With Santa At Unicoi State Park
Nosh on pancakes while the kids get to visit with the big guy! Santa visits Unicoi State Park every year for their annual Breakfast With Santa events. It’s a popular pick with guests and focuses on a magical experience for youngsters. There’s even a pajama parade, candy cane hunt and photo opportunities. Advanced reservations are required.
Find Unique Toys & Handmade Christmas Ornaments
Throughout the city of Helen, there’s fantastic little shops around every corner. Check out the Tim’s Wooden Toys for hand-crafted toys. They’ve got a huge selection of old-fashioned wooden toys that can be personalized with your child’s name.
There’s also a Christmas Shoppe that sells unique ornaments and collector’s pieces. They bring the Christmas spirit to Helen all year round and they’re the perfect shop to pick out a unique seasonal souvenir.
Helen’s Riverside Park At Christmas
Riverside Park is a beautiful green space located in Helen, right along the Chattahoochee. It’s a great peaceful location with free parking and a playground area for kids. When staying for Christmas in Helen, it’s the perfect location to go at dusk.
Let the kids play at the playground and then they can watch all of the park’s Christmas decor light up. Kids love to run through the lit archways and see decor that’s 5x bigger than them. Plus, it’s a great spot for photos without much of a crowd.
Seasonal Treats To Celebrate Christmas in Helen
Top off your Christmas visit with some of the best homemade German Christmas treats! Stop by Hansel and Gretel Candy Shop, which has been serving guests for over 50 years, and they’re known for their fudge. Try the seasonal Chocolate Peppermint Fudge for a sweet treat.
Another great stop to satisfy your sweet tooth is Hoffer’s Bakery. This traditional German restaurant has a long line for breakfast and lunch, but guests can walk up to order from the bakery without a long wait. German chocolate cookies, fresh pretzels and linzer cookies make delicious treats while you wait for the Christmas parade to begin.
So if you find yourself immersed in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and want a family escape, that’s nearby Atlanta, do yourself a favor and book a night in Helen. Your family might arrive as Grinches, but your hearts will grow in size after experiencing the Christmas magic of Alpine Helen.
Ready to book your family’s trip to Helen? Check out Visit Helen and follow them on social media: