Helen, Georgia, a northeastern hub for Christmas lovers in Georgia, is just one and a half hours from Atlanta. The German-inspired town looks similar to the European villages, even down to its snowy peaks which imitate the look and feel of these villages. This decision to alter the look of the town was made in the 1960s to increase tourism, which worked quite well. The Bavarian Alpine-inspired town has gained national attention for its architecture and unique cultural influence. The town is so idyllic that some Lifetime Christmas movies were filmed there. Visitors during the winter season feel as though they have stepped into one of these movies by magic when they see how the town is ornamented. The town even decorates for the holidays a bit early and usually takes them down weeks after Christmas.

For those winter vacation lovers who enjoy the holiday season of cheer, lights and yuletide, Helen, Georgia is a must-visit place on one’s list. Take a look here for all the details on visiting this winter wonderland.

Best Time To Visit

A street decorated in Christmas lights and covered in snow.

Due to the town’s appreciation for the holidays, there is a long season for Christmas that visitors can enjoy. Anytime between the end of November and the beginning of January is a great time to visit Helen, Georgia. Around Thanksgiving, the first Christmas celebrations are held, so travelers who prefer not to travel during the actual Christmas holidays are safe. Even if travelers want to enjoy other winter activities in Atlanta, Helen is not very far and easily accessible by car, so both places can be explored in one visit. 

What To Do in Helen, Georgia for Christmas

Helen, Georgia celebrates Christmas unlike any other. Learn more about what visitors can do during their time in the town.
pictured: a Christmas all lit up and decorated for the season

These five Christmas activities are among the most celebrated ways to ring in the holiday cheer in Helen, Georgia. Check out the most popular attractions and events in the town that loves Christmas.

Downtown Carriage Ride

Visitors can take a leisurely sightseeing ride through downtown Helen by horse. The Alpine Carriage Company provides horse-drawn carriage rides that only cost around $10 per person. While riding the carriage, travelers can enjoy Christmas music playing throughout the streets and observe all the decorated shops. If riding later in the day, visitors can even enjoy the Christmas lights throughout town. This ride provides an enchanting winter wonderland experience. Since the carriage picks up and drops off its riders in the center of town, there is a chance to explore the town and shop for Christmas presents (or goodies for yourself). 

Lighting of the Village

Helen is a town that enjoys its Christmas, so it definitely decorates for the holidays as soon as possible. Usually around the same week as Thanksgiving, Helen has an event that marks the beginning of the Christmas season. The community gathers so that the holiday lights can be lit up. This event is not to be missed, especially for super fans of the winter holiday. Even Mr. and Mrs. Clause makes it out for the annual lighting event. They can be seen at Riverside Park around 5 p.m., where other community celebrations take place. 

Christmas is well celebrated in Helen, Georgia. Check out the best thins to do in town. 
pictured: Christmas tree ornaments and decorations


Hofer’s is one of Helen locals’ favorite spots to eat and is a popular place for visitors as well. It features a bakery, cafe and Biergarten (or an outdoor area where alcohol is served). So, there is something for everyone at Hofer’s, but especially during the holiday season. The bakery is the most popular. It was founded by two German women (Horst and Gerda Hofer) and therefore has a great European influence. This influence is consistent with the local area, which actually hosts one of the biggest Oktoberfests in the United States. All of Hofer’s breads are baked in a stone hearth oven, and the pretzels and French rolls are so good they can even be ordered by mail. 


This is Helen’s Christmas market that is held each year. Visitors can expect an array of unique crafts by local artisans. Along with assorted Christmas gifts for purchase, there are also food vendors that sell their specially crafted Christmas-time bites during the market. Visitors to the market can smell the holiday season in the air since fresh gingerbread and other sweet and savory treats are available. The event is free and lasts all day.

Helen Christmas Parade 

The Helen Christmas Parade is a massive event that travelers will not want to miss. The event is held in early December and is an excellent opportunity for tourists to connect with locals. The community joins together to witness the exciting parade around midday. There is plenty of holiday spirit to go around during this festive event with floats, German Christmas characters, music, dancers, and adoring crowds. Kids can decorate lanterns, wave to Santa, and eat sweet treats, but that is not the end of the fun. Later in the day, a bonfire is thrown where everyone can toast s’mores and continue the celebration.