Tucked between Atlanta and Savannah, Milledgeville transforms into a winter wonderland outfitted with twinkling lights. Whether you fancy a slow day cozied up in our historic Mansion dressed in Christmas finery or you and your family are ready to settle down for a small-town Christmas sipping hot chocolate, we have endless ways to experience the magic of the Holidays. Milledgeville will have you clearing your calendar for a long weekend getaway.
As a college town and former 19th-century capital of Georgia, Milledgeville is brimming with historic character dressed in garland and a vibrant downtown district offering seasonal menu options and local gifts guaranteed to earn a smile. Enjoy winter at its finest - linger, relax and explore the beauty of Milledgeville.
Immerse yourself in the spirit of the season, here are our top Holiday picks for a perfect weekend getaway:
1. TOUR GEORGIA’S OLD GOVERNOR'S MANSION
An iconic favorite, Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion is a visit that must be added to your Holiday Bucket List. During the holiday season, the Mansion is transformed into a magical 19th-century Christmas celebration. Jump back in time to 1851-1853, when Governor Howell Cobb and his family occupied the home, and learn from history enthusiasts about Milledgeville’s time as the capital city of Georgia and the Mansion's Christmas traditions.
Starting on November 11th and running through December 22nd (closed during the week of Thanksgiving), the Mansion will be fully decorated for the holidays with guided tours offered every hour on the hour. With over 1,500 candles and 1,600 lights, the Christmas tree at Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion is sure to delight! During Christmas at the Mansion, guests are invited to return to the 19th-century era and witness how the elite of Georgia celebrated the Christmas holiday. For an extra special experience, be sure to enjoy the beautiful glow of their candlelight tours and choirs singing in the rotunda. Candlelight tours are at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. on December 2nd and 16th, 2023. Candlelight tickets must be purchased prior to the tour. Regular admission rates apply: $10 adults, $7 seniors, $2 students/kids.
2. Be Dazzled at Lockerly in Lights
Shining even brighter, Lockerly in Lights is back in 2023! The beautiful arboretum's one-mile trail will be lined with twinkling lights adorning the surrounding trees and dazzling displays. This seasonal favorite offers guests a rare opportunity to experience Lockerly Arboretum amid the moonlight. Beginning November 17th & 18th and running through Christmas, tours will occur every Friday and Saturday night. Friday nights will be a drive-thru experience and on Saturday nights guests may walk the enchanting trail.
3. SHOP LOCAL
Milledgeville has incredible local businesses that pride themselves on quality products and services. Shop for holiday gifts at our charming boutiques for the latest fashion trends and southern decorations. Local business owners are usually on hand to offer shopping advice and recommendations all with a side of genuine southern hospitality. Georgia Made and Georgia Grown products can be found at Market Collective as well as incredible decorations, accessories, and gourmet food items. If you are looking to go bargain hunting, there are plenty of antique shops with great finds.
4. WALK THROUGH THE HISTORY OF THE DOWNTOWN DISTRICT
Founded in 1803, Milledgeville was built as the capital of Georgia and remained the capital for more than 60 years. Go on a self-guided historic walking tour and stroll past homes, churches and public buildings that celebrate various architectural styles refined over the last 200 years. Discover why Southern Living Magazine has listed Milledgeville as one of the prettiest small towns in Georgia as you walk the towering tree-lined streets of Milledgeville and learn about the well-preserved Federal-style architecture, enhanced by noteworthy Greek Revival, Victorian and Classic revival houses. Keep your eyes peeled for architecture dressed in ribbons and bows galore, including fan favorites like Georgia’s Old Capitol Building and the campus of Georgia College & State University. Plus, the added bonus of the season’s cooler temperatures means that walking the district won’t have you breaking a sweat!
If you prefer to ride, hop aboard the town’s most iconic resident “Milly the Trolley” for a fully narrated tour of Milledgeville’s historic district! During the course of the sixty-minute tour, guests will cruise the historic district learning an overview of Milledgeville’s history during its sixty-eight-year period as the capital city of Georgia, and also be escorted on a guided walk through the former statehouse square and St. Stephens Episcopal Church, consecrated in 1843. Trolley tours are hosted on Fridays and Saturdays at 10 am, depart from the Milledgeville Visitor Information Center and are offered rain or shine.
5. SEASONAL SIPS
Milledgeville has plenty of mouth-watering local restaurants that can warm you up during your stay. As you reach for your coat to keep warm this holiday season, why not settle on a delectable hot drink or a savory bowl of soup! There’s no better place to go than Blackbird Coffee for a cup of freshly roasted coffee, hot chocolate, tea, a peppermint latte or whatever your heart--or taste buds-- so desire! If you are looking for a hardy meal, try Buffington’s famous Bob Marley soup with chicken, rice, and some spice. To warm yourself up, pair a cup of soup with one of their mouthwatering sandwiches or burgers. After enjoying your delicious coffee or soup, stroll through downtown Milledgeville and observe the festive decor, a grand Christmas tree dressed in colorful lights and a dazzling menorah.
Our dining scene has an incredible selection of classic Southern dishes and an expanding influence of choices from around the world. Indulge on award-winning dishes from Georgia’s 100 Plates Locals Love including Aubri Lane’s delicious Crispy Calamari and Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, The Brick’s Creamy Tomato Soup, and Local Yolkal’s Eggs Benedict. There are also plenty of other restaurants with incredible flavors that locals rave about including Bollywood Tacos, Cravings, and Kai Thai.
6. SAIL THE GLISTENING WATERS
Winter ushers in a season of quiet reflection along the shores of Milledgeville’s Lake Sinclair. Pack a jacket and cruise along the waters via boat for a day spent soaking up nature’s winter glory or bring along your bait and tackle for some time fishing our waters. If you head to the lake during Christmastime, the homes are decorated with colorful lights that shimmer across the lake's surface. For a cove that is sure to impress, head towards the south dam and Christmas Cove will be one of the last coves on the right. You can see the lights from the big water! Even Southern Living featured Lake Sinclair's "Christmas Cove" as a sight to behold! Local marinas have boat rentals suited for all your fun adventures.
7. EXPLORE BARTRAM FOREST
Hiking and biking enthusiasts will love the crispy fresh air at Bartram Forest. Venture along small ponds, over bridges and through the pines for an elevated terrain that will reconnect you with the quiet joy of mother nature’s most peaceful season. For cyclists, just note that the trails are natural terrain and are best suited to mountain biking.
8. REST YOUR EYES
After a long day packed with fun activities, relax in any of our great hotels. There are also two campground areas with beautiful views to enjoy if you are looking to stay outdoors. If you are interested in staying in a historic home, the newly renovated historic beauty, Inn on North Jefferson was originally built in 1820. Milledgeville also offers beautiful lake house rentals, so the entire family can gather around a campfire by the lake and roast a marshmallow.