The Top Three Holiday Attractions in Buford, GA
Beautiful Buford, GA, has everything you want and need from a city during the holidays. Its desirable location within easy driving distance of Atlanta lets residents and visitors enjoy all the holiday events in both cities. But while the metro area has its attractions, nothing compares to the hometown atmosphere in Buford during the holiday season. If you’re looking for local attractions in Buford, we’ve got them.
Buford, Georgia has always looked forward to a bright future. Founded in 1872 by Algernon Sydney Buford, the little town south of the Atlanta metro area quickly took advantage of its location to set itself up as an industrial center. At Rick Hendrick Chevrolet of Buford, we are proud of that history and everything Buford has to offer.
In its earlier heyday, Buford was known for its fine leather. The decades of economic growth that nabbed Buford the moniker “New York of Gwinnett” left the town in a position to take full advantage of the railroad network crisscrossing the town. Tannery Row was in full production, producing gorgeously crafted saddles and other leather goods and shipping them all over the state.
Nowadays, Tannery Row is still active, even though the tanneries themselves aren’t. The beautiful, historic brick buildings have been perfectly preserved from their heyday and turned into quaint shops featuring local artists.
The Mall of Georgia is another huge attraction in Buford, providing a fantastic shopping experience and a dizzying array of stores to browse through. But the Mall, like Buford, really shines when the holidays come rolling around.
Buford is built for celebrating; when the holidays roll around, and the air turns crisp and cool with that grey tang of winter, the city starts decking itself out to celebrate Christmas.
Buford does Christmas right, with a whole list of activities sponsored by local civic agencies and local groups, all looking to make the holiday experience a little brighter. There are usually so many to choose from that it’s easy to have something to do every day during the holiday season. But if you’re looking to find out the best of the holiday activities in Buford, we’ve had our wonderful staff pick a few and listed here.
Lake Lanier Islands – Magical Night of Lights
Opens November 22
At the top of any list of holiday events in Buford is the Magical Night of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands. During the rest of the year, Lake Lanier is a rural paradise of a forested lakefront reservoir created by the Buford Dam. Lake Lanier offers locals, and tourists access to gorgeous beaches, swimming, a water park, boat ramps, and the chance to explore the islands that dot the massive lake, a great way to spend a warm day.
But during the holidays, this gorgeous recreational space turns itself into a winter wonderland unlike anything else.
During the long, dark nights, Lake Lanier comes alive with holiday illuminations. Walking through the tunnels of multicolored light in this family-friendly attraction feels like you’re walking through your own personal aurora borealis. Massive snowflakes blink overhead, and Christmas light sculptures create a spectacular landscape of wonderful holiday scenes drawn by master artists. This isn’t just like driving through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. Magical Night of Lights is a full attraction, providing you the chance to drive or walk through the area and take in all the sights.
We did say full attraction, and we meant it. Magical Night of Lights doesn’t just have great sights; it has great rides. Take advantage of the snow park and sledding runs, or one of the illuminated carnival rides, or even rent a boat and go out on the lake. There’s even a water park for kids if the weather is warm enough.
While there is a per-car entrance fee to get in, there isn’t a time limit to how long you can stay. There are plenty of free days and coupons available that will make Lake Lanier’s Magical Night of Lights extra affordable.
If you’re looking for an interactive and active family attraction this holiday season in Buford, this is definitely a good way to go.
Christmas Traditions at the Buford Community Center
If you’re looking for something more low-key and very traditional to do this holiday season, definitely check out Christmas Traditions at the Buford Community Center. Held toward the end of November and just edging into “last-minute Christmas shopping” territory, the Christmas Traditions is a holiday celebration, craft fair, and community event; all rolled into one gorgeous package.
The gorgeous, stately Buford Community Center is the perfect home for the event since it has the warm, welcoming space for all the holiday fun as well as the well-appointed theatre for the complimentary screening of Elf the Movie. Your $5 admission will get you into the event, where a genial Santa will take pictures with the kids (and ask them what they want for Christmas), and grownups and kids alike can belly up to the hot chocolate bar.
Take the time to create a holiday craft or two, and then go snack on holiday sweets in the Grand Ballroom. Santa will be there too, so make sure you’re extra nice!
Best of all? This is definitely another family-friendly event, so kiddos aged two and under get in free. But with general admission only being $5, it’s easy to get as much or as little holiday cheer as you want for everybody on your list.
The holidays are always a time when a hectic life gets, well, even more hectic. There are more lights, more sounds, more movement, more music, and a lot more people around than you would normally find in a mall.
While the holiday hustle can get to anyone, it’s especially hard on those with sensory processing issues or mobility issues. What can be an annoying but navigable crowded shopping mall to someone without sensory processing disorders is a terrifying and overstimulating minefield to people – old and young – who do have to deal with a unique brain or have to worry about accessibility.
But overcrowding issues don’t have to keep your child from enjoying time-honored traditions like visiting Santa Claus in the mall.
Welcome to Caring Santa, a program that specially caters to kids with sensory issues, such as autism, Lyme disease or synesthesia, or mobility challenges that make navigating a crowded mall or standing in line for long periods of time uncomfortable or unfeasible.
Caring Santa provides a “subdued and welcoming environment” where the parents of special kids can make arrangements for private family photos and a private family visit with Santa in a comfortable and respectful environment that caters to your developmental needs.
You won’t have to worry about standing in long lines to get that yearly holiday photo or risk your child having an overload caused by too much noise and too-bright lights. The Mall of Georgia and Caring Santa will make the adjustments needed to make sure that your child has a great experience talking with Santa.
Caring Santa is held during private mall hours on the lower level of the mall (Belk Court). Reservations are required, so make sure you RSVP if you want to see what Caring Santa is all about.
Caring Santa is a great program, but it’s one-day-only, so make sure that you get your reservations in fast.
Buford, Georgia is chock-full of things to do and see and experience during the holiday season, so take our list and use it as a starting point, but don’t stop there. Get out there into our beautiful community and explore!