Thursday, December 17, 2015

Traveling to Atlanta to ring in the New Year? You don't have to spend a dime at these free activities.

Ring in 2016 without racking up receipts. In Atlanta, you'll find plenty of gratis entertainment.

Traveling to Atlanta to ring in the New Year? You don't have to spend a pretty penny to have a peachy time here. After all, you've already endured the one-two punch of holiday shopping and peak-season traveling; give yourself—and your wallet—a break with these free diversions.

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Parade

Whether or not you care about college football, you won't want to miss this popular New Year's Eve Day parade through downtown Atlanta. Expect huge floats, classic cars, marching bands, dance troupes, and lots of cheering revelers.

Watch the Sunset From Stone Mountain

Kiss 2015 goodbye with a New Year's Eve trek to the summit of the world's largest exposed granite monolith. After your one-mile climb (which is more taxing than it sounds) you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the sunset—and the shimmering Atlanta skyline in the distance. Note: Your climb is free, but unless you have someone drop you off, it's $15 for a parking pass.

Party Like a Tenenbaum

Bar Margot, a groovy Midtown watering hole named after Gwyneth Paltrow's character from The Royal Tenenbaums, welcomes walk-up guests with no cover on New Year's Eve. Don't let the bar's location inside the Four Seasons Hotel fool you: You don't have to pay a cent to dance to live music from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Of course, if you want to splurge, you can always opt for endless champagne, appetizers, and desserts for $85 a person.

Hang Out with Atlanta's Hipsters

From its perch on the Atlanta BeltLine, Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall stands as a clubhouse of sorts for the city's cool kids (be sure to wear your bucket hat and oversized glasses). On New Year's Eve, be a part of the city's most relaxed party: no reservations required, no cover charge, and no prixe fixe menu to navigate—although there is an a la carte one if you're so inclined. Enjoy hours of live music, and at midnight, raise a complimentary pony bottle of Miller High Life for a "Champagne of Beers" toast.

Hike with your Pooch Around The Hunger Games Set

Start 2016 off right by taking your dog on a free guided hike through Sweetwater Creek State Park, located 20 minutes outside Atlanta in Lithia Springs. At 9 a.m. on New Year's Day, a ranger will lead you past peaceful streams, rocky bluffs, and the ruins of New Manchester Mill, which stood in for District 13 in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Allison Entrekin is an executive editor with Southbound Magazine and the Georgia Travel Guide. She covers the Southeastern United States beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her @aweissentrekin.

Traveling to Atlanta to ring in the New Year? You don't have to spend a dime at these free activities.

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