Southern hospitality reaches a whole new level when it comes to holidays. If you’ve got a guest coming to spend Thanksgiving holiday in The Big A, or you’re planning a visit yourself, get ready for delicious southern cuisine, sightseeing, tons of family-oriented activities and so much more.

Prepping for the Big Meal

Arriving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving allows you enough time to get ahead of all the calories you’ll be consuming on the big day. If you’re anature lover, you’ll be pleased to know Atlanta isn’t nicknamed “City in a Forest” for nothing. There are countless trails, views and natural sites to see around town. Here are a few of the best to choose from.

Beginning just outside Atlanta in Smyrna, the Silver Comet Trail begins its 61.5 mile-long stretch. The trail is paved and only accessible to non-motorized methods of transportation. Hikers, bicyclists, and horses are all welcome, making it a great way to relax and slow down from the fast-paced city life. Since it’s paved, it’s also accessible to those using a wheelchair or pushing a stroller. The whole family can come along!

Just sixteen miles northwest of Atlanta lies A.L. Burruss Nature Park. This park is great for hiking, but also for those of us who are beginner off-road cyclists. Take your bike to the dirt for the first time and use this trail to test your developing skills.

Be sure to bring your camera when you hike the Sope Creek Trails. Along the trail you’ll find the ruins of an old paper mill dating back to the Civil War. Take your time exploring this old structure and enjoying a peaceful moment by the creek as this trail is just about a mile long, giving you plenty of time to get back to your car and enjoy the rest of your day.

If spending time with family includes furry friends, treat yourself, your guests AND your pet to a walk at the Whitewater Creek Trails.  This beach-like wonderland in the middle of the woods will give you and the whole crew the kind of relaxation and delight the holidays are supposed to bring. Your furry friend will love it, especially if they’re getting ahead of the calories you’ll be slipping them under the table.

After your big day of hiking, be sure to get to bed early so you can partake in a true Atlanta tradition.  Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner 100% guilt-free when you get an early start to your day and participate in the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & 5k

Feeling festive yet?

Does a flat-screen television count as a souvenir?  You did the nature thing.  You did the food thing.  Now, it’s time for a true American holiday season tradition - Black Friday.  Depending on what you’re looking to buy, it might be a good idea to stop by the Lenox Square mall to fully expose yourself to the variety of retail options.

When it’s time to wind down after all the excitement, make a pit stop at one of Atlanta’s local breweries and partake in the booming craft beer scene.  This also gives you a head start on supporting the #SmallBusinessSaturday cause. Now, you may not be hungry, but there’s also room for a great beer from a local brewery. . . and maybe a snack, it is the holidays after all!

Is your second self your best self?  Second Self Beer Company would argue that it is.  This brewery is best known for bringing the people of Atlanta together to get inspired, motivated and creative while sipping into their second selves.  Let the city of Atlanta inspire you and send you home feeling fueled to take on the world!

The folks at Scofflaw Brewing haven’t met you yet, but they already love you (and your all your relatives).  If you’re looking to support a southern business with true family values, look no further.  This is the perfect place for a family-night out in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Reformation Brewery prides itself in being a brewery that is truly open to all.  They preach acceptance, open-mindedness and humility in everything they do.  If you’re in town for longer than the weekend, consider taking advantage of their community offerings such as Books & Brews, game nights, outdoor adventures and more!

Other Happenings in Atlanta

Atlanta is well-known for its historical relevance from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.  You would be remiss if you didn’t stop by The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.  Every year nearly one million people visit for inspiration and reflection.

Get yourself in the holiday spirit and visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden Garden Lights extravaganza.  You’ll be in awe as you walk through the gardens and absorb this beautiful display of lights.  This event is kid-friendly, grandparent friendly and great for a date night.  Everyone should come out and experience the magic!

Atlanta is well-known for being the home of World of Coca-Cola.  Explore the history of one of the world’s most famous and successful brands.  Meet their mascot, see the bottling process first-hand and take a tour.  You can enjoy over 100 Coca-Cola samples from around the world along the way.

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With these activities in mind, it’s guaranteed that anyone’s trip to Atlanta won’t be one soon forgotten. These are just the tip of the ice berg as far as holiday offerings, be sure to take some time to explore all the wonders Atlanta has to offer.

****Article researched and written by Abigail Golder, Freelance Journalist, [email protected]