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Holiday Activities for the Whole Family in Huntsville and North Alabama


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Holiday Activities for the Whole Family in Huntsville and North Alabama

When the weather gets cold children get restless. Listed here are seasonal events that let you stretch your legs and shake the sillies out. There are so many fun ways your family can make memories together this holiday season – Christmas in Huntsville is full of special events.

For more holiday fun including all the places to hear music, catch Santa, watch holiday plays, cavort with holiday cheerfulness and just plain get in the holiday spirit, visit the main page of our comprehensive 2019 Holiday Happenings Guide sponsored by the Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Garden. 

[themify_box icon=”info” color=”green”]ON THE GO? Keep all of our Holiday Guides and our full Event Calendar at your fingertips with our free Explore Huntsville app. It’s available on iTunes & Google Play and will help make your spirit bright![/themify_box]


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Galaxy of Lights

Galaxy of Lights Cover

Our favorite way to celebrate the holiday season in Huntsville! See Santa soar over a delightful winter village, nursery rhyme characters spring to life, traditional holiday scenes, and much more. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young at heart. Plus, Mrs. Claus always allows Santa to visit the Garden during Walking Nights!

Walking Nights: Nov. 15-18, Nov. 21-26 | Dog Walking Nights on Nov. 15 & 25 | 5:30PM – 8PM (last admission)
Bike the Lights: Nov. 19 | 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Driving Nights: Nov. 29 – Jan. 4 (closed Dec. 2 and 3 for 5K Run and 3K Holiday Dash) | 5:30PM – 9PM (last admission)
Location: Huntsville Botanical Gardens (map)
Walking Nights Cost: Adults $10 members/$12 non-members, Children ages 3-15 $5 members/$6 nonmembers; Dogs $3
Bike the Lights Cost: Adults $20 | Kids 11 and under $15 | Family 4-pack $60
Driving Nights Cost: $25/vehicle (some nights are discounted to $20)
More Info: General Info | Bike the Lights | 5K Run | 3K Holiday Dash
RCM Review Walking Nights | RCM Review Driving Nights

Skating in the Park

ICE is coming back to Huntsville! Get ready to lace up your skates at Huntsville’s first outdoor ice skating rink — our very own version of “Rocket-fella” Center. Bring your family and friends and experience a magical winter land right in downtown Huntsville. Don’t miss the grand opening festivities on November 15th!

Dates/Times: Nov. 15 – Jan. 12; Hours vary (see website for details)
Location: Big Spring Park / Huntsville Museum of Art (map)
Cost: $15 (ages 10+), $10 (ages 9 and under), $5 skate or skooter rental
More Info: Website | Facebook | 256-529-7995

Holiday Pony Rides and Pictures

Join the Montessori School of Huntsville and Hampton Cove Equestrian Center for Holiday Pony Rides and Pictures! Introduce your kids to horses, take some cute family photos for the holiday cards, and enjoy some hot cocoa and cider.

Dates/Times: Nov. 16 | 3PM-3PM
Location: Hampton Cove Equestrian Center (map)
Cost: $10 per horse ride; $10 for individual and family pictures
More Info: Facebook

One Table

One Table Huntsville is a city-wide Thanksgiving meal held in the heart of our city. It is an opportunity for strangers and friends to gather and share a meal at one long table. This year the food is being prepared by Bubba’s Silver Spoon and Mangos Caribbean Cookhouse for plant-based options.

Dates/Times: Nov. 25, 11:30AM-1:30PM
Location: Big Spring Park (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

Land Trust’s 26th Annual Thanksgiving Day Hike

Join us for a Thanksgiving Day tradition!  Be prepared for your Thanksgiving feast by starting the morning off with a Monte Sano hike lead by Land Trust volunteers and staff.  We’ll start out at Bankhead and work our way down to Three Caves on the Alms House Trail. Those who don’t want to make the walk back up will be shuttled to their cars. Please carpool to the starting location. This is a popular hike and parking is limited.

Date/Time: Nov. 28 at 9AM
Location: Take Pratt Avenue through Five Points to Bankhead Parkway on Monte Sano. Drive up the mountain past Tollgate Road. The Land Trust’s hiker parking lot- the Bankhead Trailhead – is ½ mile further on right. (map)
Cost: FREE (but reservations are REQUIRED)
More Info: Website

26th Annual Turkey Trot

The Crisis Services of North Alabama 26th Annual Turkey Trot 5k & 1 Mile Fun Run will take runners through beautiful campus of the University of Alabama Huntsville. The race will take place on Thanksgiving morning, followed by the the 1 Mile Fun Run at 8:10am and the Tiny Tot Turkey Trot at 9:00am with awards to follow. The Turkey Trot is a family family tradition! Walkers and strollers are welcome, but please leave your pets at home. If you just can’t resist dressing like a Pilgrim or a turkey, don’t be shy! You won’t be alone!

Date/Time: Nov. 28 at 8AM-10AM
Location: Spragins Hall, UAH (map)
Cost: $15-$30 adults; no registration fee required for Tiny Tot Turkey Trot (canned food donations welcomed)
More Info: Facebook

Santa’s Village

All ages will delight in visiting Santa in his workshop at The North Pole! Step inside The North Pole Express, Santa’s real-life train car, to create your very own ornament. Write a letter to Santa at The North Pole Post Office. See Santa’s Magic Garden light up The North Pole with twinkling lights and your favorite holiday songs. Snow shows, cookies, and musical entertainment all add to the fun at the Village Santa calls home!

Date/Time: Nov. 29 – Dec. 23 | 5-8PM nightly
Location: Historic Huntsville Depot (map)
Cost: $7 per person (Children under 1 year FREE)
More Info: Website
Read our review of this event.

Tinsel Trail

tinsel trail huntsville

A local favorite, Huntsville’s Tinsel Trail is a display of live Christmas trees in Downtown Huntsville during the month of December. An anticipated 300 will trees decorate Big Spring Park for the holiday season. The Tinsel Trail is open to the public daily until midnight. Trees are lit from dusk until midnight each night.

Dates/Times: Nightly Nov. 29-Dec. 31, dusk until midnight
Location: Big Spring Park (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Website | Facebook

Christmas in the Park – Arab

Arab City Park is a must-see during the holiday season. Featuring more than 1 million lights, the park will be ablaze with the magic and beauty of Christmas. Kick things off off with the 25th Annual Lighting Ceremony featuring the Arab High School Jazz Band, led by Ty Parker, and special guests Charles Whisenant, Arab’s Citizen of the Year, and 2020 Miss Marshall County & Miss Appalachian Valley reigning queens. Afterwards, enjoy Christmas in the Park every night through December 31st.

Dates/Times: Tree lighting ceremony is Nov. 29rd at 6PM | Park is open dusk through 9 p.m. through Dec. 31
Location: Arab Historic Village (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook


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Christmas Card Lane

Christmas Card Lane an outdoor, life-size card exhibit located in the heart of Madison, AL. You’ll find whimsical, traditional, and religious themes among the many designs on display. Cards are illuminated after dark, while during the day, you may park on Main Street and stroll the sidewalks to admire the details of each design. Afterwards, cast a vote online for your favorite card. Many of our cards were created by local artists, who can create a one-of-a-kind piece for your home or office too.

Dates/Times: Throughout December
Location: Downtown Madison (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoWebsite

North Pole Stroll

The 2019 Athens North Pole Stroll will return to Big Spring Memorial Park in the Beaty Historic District during the month of December. Each tree sponsored by area agencies, groups, businesses and families will sparkle to life after dark and will be decked with a variety of decorations and themes.

Dates/Times: Dec. 2 – 27
Location: Big Spring Memorial Park, Athens (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoWebsite | Facebook

Candlelight Christmas

One of Burritt’s favorite traditional holiday events is being updated! Burritt comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Christmas. Cabins are decorated with historic ambiance and the sounds of traditional music fill the air throughout the park. String cranberries and popcorn, make paper punch ornaments, create handmade cards and ice cookies to kickoff the holiday season. Don’t miss Kris Kringle in the mansion from 5-8 for that annual photograph! It is certainly an event for young and old to enjoy.

Date/Time: Dec. 6 & 7 | 5:00-9:00 PM
Location: Burritt On the Mountain (map)
Cost: $30-$50 per carload (up to 8 people)
More Info: Website
Read our review of this event.

Mommy & Me Nutcracker Tea

Create a special memory with your little ones at our third annual Mommy & Me Nutcracker Tea. (Daddy is welcome too.)  Enjoy delicious treats, tea, make a keepsake craft, meet our dancers and hear the story of The Nutcracker at Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre’s Mommy & Me Nutcracker Tea.  The tea party will conclude with a mini-presentation of The Nutcracker.

Dates/Times: Dec. 7 | 10-11:30AM
Location: Alabama Youth Ballet Studios (map)
Cost: $12 adults, $10 children
More InfoWebsite

Christmas in Lynchburg

Once again Lynchburg will be celebrating the upcoming Christmas season. Beginning with breakfast with Santa, visit trees of Christmas, purchase some cookies from FCE, checkout Gingerbread houses in merchant windows, caroling around the square, get your float ready or stay to watch parade, candy cane hunt for the kids and end your day in Lynchburg with the lighting of Barrel Tree.

Dates/Times: Dec. 7 | 8AM-7PM
Location: Lynchburg Historic Town Square (map)
Cost: FREE, some events may charge a fee
More InfoFacebook

Holiday Movies Under the Stars

Join us for our “drive-in” holiday movie series in the INTUITIVE® Planetarium, beginning Saturday, December 7th, and each Saturday evening through December 28th. Enjoy classic films in the planetarium under a dome full of stars — just like a classic drive-in movie night – only it will be warmer inside. Bring your friends and family for a cozy holiday drive-in throwback night!

Dec. 7 – Elf
Dec. 14  – The Polar Express
Dec. 21  – A Christmas Story
Dec. 28  – It’s a Wonderful Life

Time: 4:30PM and 7PM each day listed above
: U.S. Space & Rocket Center (map)
Cost: $10 adults; $8 children 5-12
More InfoWebsite

Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes Christmas Open House

Each December, we have our annual Christmas Open House events at our ABCH campuses, and this year we are looking forward to the privilege of hosting YOU in Decatur! Guests enjoy festive decorations, holiday foods, and guided tours from our children, who are always so excited to show off their homes.

Dates/Times: Dec. 8 from 2PM-5PM
Location: Alabama Baptist Children’s Home, Decatur (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Website


Christmas Movies at the Princess Theatre

Visit the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Decatur to grab a box of popcorn and take in a classic holiday film with the family!

See Also

Dec. 8 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Dec. 9  – Miracle on 34th Street (Original Version)
Dec. 16  – A Christmas Story
Dec. 17  – It’s a Wonderful Life
Dec. 22 – White Christmas
Dec. 23 – Elf

Time: 2PM and 7PM each day listed above
: Twickenham Historic District (map)
Cost: $7 adult, $5 Students/Seniors
More InfoWebsite

Drive-Thru Christmas

It doesn’t get much better than a live nativity story! Ride the Christmas Caravan through history as the story of Christ’s birth is told in one of the most unique ways you’ll ever experience it.

Dates/Times: Dec. 11-14 from 6PM-9PM
Location: Somerville Baptist Church (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

Christmas Fest

Come join us at the First Christian Church for our come-and-go Christmas Fest! You and your kids will enjoy hands-on Christmas crafts, free pictures with Santa, free finger food, a live reading of the Christmas Story, and Christmas Carols. Come prepared to take part in the festive fun with your kids!

Date/Time: December 14 | 11AM-1PM
Location: First Christian Church (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

Madison Christmas Capers

Please join the City of Madison and the Madison Sesquicentennial Committee as we celebrate Madison’s 150th & Alabama’s 200th! At 5PM, we’ll have 150th birthday cake and cupcakes, hot chocolate, and music provided by the Madison City Community Orchestra. At 5:30, Doc Hughes’ grandsons Larry and Walt Anderson will reenact the Historic Christmas Capers. The Madison “Polar Express” Christmas Parade also begins at 5:30PM.

Date/Time: December 14 | 5-7PM
Location: First Christian Church (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Facebook

Jingle Bell Square

Join us for Jingle Bell Square in Downtown Scottsboro! The activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. with our arts & crafts vendor fair. We will also have kid’s activities and food vendors! We will continue the fun with the Christmas Parade at 5:00 p.m. Enjoy the sights of the Jingle Bell Trail of Christmas trees and have your picture made with Santa!

Dates/Times: Dec. 14 | 9AM-8PM
Location: Downtown Scottsboro (map)
Cost: FREE
More InfoFacebook

Historic Decatur Christmas Tour

The Historic Decatur Christmas Tour is held the second Saturday in December each year. During this time many of the homes in Decatur’s historic districts open their doors for public tours. This year’s schedule includes a Holiday Market and a performance by the Orchestra Sul Ponticello at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in the Albany district. Don’t forget our downtown merchants and restaurants will be open for your dining and holiday shopping needs before and during the tour, and Westminster Presbyterian Church will serve as tour headquarters with light refreshments available for tour ticket holders.

Dates/Times: Dec. 14 from 3PM-8PM
Location: Downtown Decatur (map)
Cost: $25
More Info: Website

Polar Express Day at the Hardin Center

Join us as we celebrate our fifth annual Polar Express Day! Visitors can play in Imagination Place, Let it Snow, join a guided tour of Festival of Trees, watch “The Polar Express” movie, create a special craft, and take one ride on our miniature “Polar Express” train in our rear parking lot. This year’s event is combined with our annual Snacks with Santa, with Santa in the lobby for free visits from 10 am to noon.

Dates/Times: Dec. 14 | 10AM-2PM
Location: Hardin Center Imagination Place, Gadsden (map)
Cost: FREE for Hardin Center Members ($5 to ride the train); $12 for non-members
More Info: Website

Grinch Gala Holiday Party

Join us in Youth Services for a Grinch-y Holiday Party with movies, snacks, and activities. We’ll watch  The Grinch (2018, rated PG), makes crafts, and warm ourselves with some delicious hot chocolate!

Dates/Times: Dec. 19 | 4-6PM
Location: Huntsville Public Library Downtown (map)
Cost: FREE
More Info: Website

Frozen Christmas Celebration

Meet Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven for free at this drop-in event! Upgrade your experience for just $5 to make an ornament at Olaf’s Ornament Emporium, enjoy hot cocoa with Kristoff at Wandering Oaken’s Outpost, and decorate a cookie at the Frozen Fractals Bakery.

Dates/Times: Dec. 20-22 | 6-9PM
Location: Grace River Church, Decatur (map)
Cost: FREE for meet & greets | $5 VIP tickets to enjoy extra activities
More Info: Facebook

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  • Do y’all have any suggestions for the best service project we could do as a family? Somewhere we could go and serve, without spending a lot.

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