Visit this town fit for a Hallmark movie — literally.
This story originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.
From its charming town square to its picturesque mountain backdrop, Dahlonega is a small town bursting with character and Southern tradition. The little town, which is nestled in North Georgia, is about as welcoming as it can be, and has the Christmas charm and festivities worthy of a Hallmark movie (the popular movie, Christmas in Homestead, was filmed there too).
Dahlonega is serious about Christmas. Every November, a month-long Christmas extravaganza, known as Dahlonega’s Old-Fashioned Christmas, kicks off and you won’t be disappointed with the weeks of brilliant Christmas lights, festive events, and plenty of Santa visits. (This year's dates: November 24-December 23.)
Per our personal preference, stay in one of the B&Bs located just around the town square to make every activity easy and walkable. You can find just about anything you need at the General Store or our favorite catch-all café, Picnic Café and Dessertery; but there are plenty of restaurants scattered throughout the historic downtown to choose from. There’s pretty much always live music happening around town, especially at The Crimson Moon.
You'll find something for everyone in the family, so here are some highlights showing why you need to plan your visit to Dahlonega this year during Christmastime.
It kicks off with an over-the-top lighting ceremony
The Christmas season officially begins with a lighting of the town square with the most twinkling Christmas lights you can imagine. The storefronts get draped with garland and lights to add even more Christmas cheer. This happens on the last weekend of November, so hit the Old-Fashioned Christmas early if you want to see this!
Prepare for an old-fashioned Christmas parade
The Christmas parade will appeal to the kids–and the kids at heart. Crowds gather around historic downtown Dahlonega for a festive home-town parade complete with Santa in his sleigh.
Related: The South’s Best Inns 2017
Santa is around every weekend
The most popular guy this time of year sets up shop every weekend in the town square. With the lights, garland, and chilly winter weather, you’re in for a great picture.
The tree lighting is spectacular
The tree lighting takes place on the on the night of the Christmas parade—and includes carols and hot cocoa.
You could end up an extra in a Hallmark movie
Dahlonega is such a perfect Christmas town, even Hallmark finds its way there to film its popular Christmas movies. Although multiple movies have been set there, last year’s Christmas in Homestead was a beloved hit that was filmed in the town.
Grab a hot cocoa and do some Christmas shopping
Head over to Picnic Café and grab a hot chocolate, then shop around the small boutiques for unique gifts for your family and friends. The Christmas Market sets up shop during the weekends for extra Christmas gift options.
Spend an evening at the Holly Theater
While the official schedule hasn’t been released for this year, the Holly Theater (pretty perfect name, right?) put on “Twas the Night Before a Christmas Carol” last December.
Hike along Amicalola Falls
If you’re interested in exploring outside of the twinkling town square, take a drive outside of town to Amicalola Falls, which is great for hiking along towering falls, all the way up to the overarching view of the mountain range.