The holidays are upon us and with them comes the opportunity for travel (usually)! Christmas in Alabama is just teeming with things to explore and activities to try. From visiting splendid light displays and catching movies at the Alabama Theatre to stumbling upon Santa’s Workshop hidden underground, there is no shortage of Christmas adventures in the Heart of Dixie!
Christmas in Alabama
Choosing the one that’s right for you and every member of the family at the same time is no easy feat. That’s where this list of ways to celebrate Christmas in Alabama will come in handy. I’ve made sure to include events from all over the state so there’s no doubt you’ll find something to your liking and close to you!
Christmas Lights Drives
Located all over the state in public gardens, parks, and neighborhoods, Alabama pulls out all the stops when it comes to making Christmas about community and LIGHTS!
Gather your family, get in your car and drive through an Alabama Christmas favorite like Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, something more modern like the SPECTRA Laser Light Show at The Wharf, or maybe the animal-shaped light displays at Montgomery Zoo would be more to your kid’s liking!
Wherever you choose to go, visiting Alabama’s Christmas lights is one family tradition you definitely want to begin if you haven’t already. Look for an entire post on where to go coming in a few days!
Alabama Theatre (Birmingham)
For a lot of folks in Birmingham, dropping in for a Christmas movie screening at the Alabama Theatre is a long-standing holiday tradition. Munch on your popcorn while taking in the plush interiors of the 1927 theatre and enjoy your holiday movie. Make it on time to catch the customary sing-along caroling right before it starts!
Seasonal classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas” and “Elf” are only some of the shows the theatre has lined up for viewers each year! Make sure you book in advance because tickets run out fast.
Robert Moore & Co. Christmas Town & Village Collectibles (Mobile)
Robert Moore & Co. Christmas Town & Village Collectibles in Mobile is where you need to take your family this holiday season if Christmas magic is what you’re after! There’s not a Christmas item out there that you won’t find at this store.
From vintage ornaments and baubles for your tree, nutcrackers galore, and gingerbread house kits to entire porcelain villages to add to your Christmas arrangements at home, you will find it all!
Whether you’re looking for specific items for your home decor or searching for a fun place to take the kids, this collectibles store will not disappoint. Stop at their candy shop on the way out for some homemade treats and maybe even pick up some coffee from their gourmet selection as a treat for yourself!
Billy Claus and the LuLuBelles at LuLu’s (Gulf Shores)
In Gulf Shores each year during Christmastime, a unique parade featuring brightly decorated boats makes its way down the canal to bring holiday cheer to everyone watching. For children, however, the fun starts much sooner in the afternoon at LuLu’s!
Billy Claus, Santa’s younger brother with a snow allergy, and his elves called LuLuBelles come to visit the children and collect their letters to deliver to his brother. Kids get to enjoy a reading of a children’s book and participate in craft activities.
The famous restaurant has great food and beautiful views making it an enjoyable experience for all members of the family. Seating is limited during the holiday parade so book your tables fast to make sure your Christmas in Alabama is sunny and sandy!
Fish River Christmas Trees (Baldwin County)
Christmas in Alabama isn’t complete without a Christmas tree, so why not make choosing one a fun day out for the whole family? Head to Fish River Christmas Trees to pick out a pre-cut tree or even choose to cut one yourself!
Take a tour of the farm on their tree train, The Tannebaum Express, and spend some time at their manger scene with its live animals to fascinate the kids. There are also scheduled Santa visits along with camel and pony rides for added fun!
Arctic Express (Silverhill)
Hop aboard The Arctic Express at Wales West for a ride to The North Pole. Be blown away by the millions of twinkling lights, as you travel through a snowy winter wonderland, complete with snow machines and toys at the end to delight the little ones! Christmas in Alabama doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on snow after all!
Christmas in Candyland (Andalusia)
Candyland in Andalusia brings Christmas magic to life. This free family event in the town’s historic courthouse square hosts “snow,” light shows, holiday train rides, snow tubing, ice skating, and themed cottages for kids to play in!
Santa’s Village, North Pole Express (Huntsville)
Santa’s Village, Huntsville’s most beloved Christmas event is without a doubt where every family will want to be during the holidays! It’ll host Santa himself, his elves, reindeer, and cookie bakers with scrumptious treats.
Kids can munch on Christmas cookies while enjoying musical performances and participating in craft activities in the North Pole Train Car. What’s more, snow is expected on every night of the event. Christmas in Alabama can’t get more magical than that!
NOTE: Activities (including Santa) may vary from year to year.
Candlelight Christmas Dinner at Burritt On The Mountain (Huntsville)
Burritt on the Mountain, originally a 19th-century house in Huntsville, is today an open-air museum housing rural structures from that time. During Christmastime, the classy old building hosts candlelit dinners with Kris Kringle himself!
The night will hold a delicious meal, activities for the kids, and a chance to mail their wish lists in the Burritt’s exclusive Santa’s Super Special Mailbox.
Wonderland Under Warrior (Warrior)
If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate Christmas in Alabama, look no further! Rickwood Caverns State Park’s Wonderland Under Warrior is an underground Santa’s Workshop perfect for those craving adventure.
Being set inside a cave with its beautiful dripstone formations decked in dazzling lights, it’s a perfect mix of nature and celebration. You will also find all of the expected cheerful elements of a Winter Wonderland like staff in fun costumes, music, snow, hot cocoa, and loads of unique Christmas decorations.
Tuscaloosa Tinsel Trail (Tuscaloosa)
Community is a big part of Christmas in Alabama. Tuscaloosa’s Tinsel Trail is a Christmas tradition where local businesses, organizations, and individual sponsors all come out to decorate Christmas trees along the Riverwalk.
Walk the trail from the Tuscaloosa River Market to the Amphitheater with a cup of hot chocolate in your hands to see more than 150 lighted trees making Christmas just a bit brighter.
Christmas on the River (Demopolis)
This annual extravaganza is held in the Tombigbee River Valley area in Demopolis and consists of several fun events over four days. It boasts the complete Christmas experience, from light displays and Santa visits to tours of historical homes and the Alabama State BBQ Cook-Off!
Take your whole family to enjoy the day parade and nautical night parade with fireworks. With special activities for kids like a reading of “The Christmas Story” and children’s plays, you can count on there being something for everyone at Christmas on the River!
Ice Palace (Montgomery)
The Ice Palace at Eastdale Mall in Montgomery is the only ice rink you will find in a mall across all of Alabama. It’s open year-round and conducts classes and sometimes even shows but at Christmas, it’s decorated with festive lights and a giant Christmas tree.
Take your family skating, work up an appetite, and grab some yummy food from the food court for an understated yet super fun Christmas outing. While your kids are busy using the ice bumper cars, you could slip away for a moment to get some last-minute Christmas shopping out of the way. Gotta love the practicality of a trip to the mall!
Whether you’re a resident Alabamian or just driving in for the holidays, I hope this list has given you some good ideas to bundle up, gather the family, and begin your Christmas explorations!
What’s the best place you’ve visited in Alabama during Christmastime? What makes it your favorite and why should I check it out? I would love to hear all about it and any other recommendations you might have for me!