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It may not be white, but the holiday season in Atlanta is full of festive cheer and reasons to visit. Activities range from ice-skating at Centennial Olympic Park (www.centennialpark.com) to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Fox Theatre (www.foxtheatre.org). There's the Festival of Trees and Parade (www.choa.org/default.aspx?id=2081), seasonal shopping in the famous Buckhead section of Atlanta, a Southern Christmas at Stone Mountain Park (www.stonemountainpark.com) and the biggest event of the season so far - the opening of the world's largest Aquarium right here in Atlanta.

The Georgia Aquarium (www.georgiaaquarium.org) officially opens today (November 23, 2005). With over eight million gallons of fresh and marine water, and 100,000 marine animals representing 500 species from around the globe, visiting the aquarium and Atlanta could be the ideal choice for a family vacation or a quick getaway for you and a friend. Ticket prices for the aquarium are $22.75 for adults, $17 for children and $19.50 for seniors (55+). All prices are tax-inclusive.

To celebrate the opening of Atlanta's newest landmark attraction, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis has an Aquarium package that includes deluxe accommodations for one night, breakfast for two, complimentary hotel parking, and two non-timed tickets to the new Georgia Aquarium, located only five blocks from the hotel. You can book online through the link on the Aquarium website or call 800/834-7015 for reservations. There are a limited number of packages available priced from $179 per room for weekends or $259 for weekdays. Ask for package promotional code ARN.

Your online guide to Atlanta (www.atlanta.com) features a variety of city-based visitor information including attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping and events. It also features a "Hot Atlanta Hotel Deals" section, which lists current discounted rates for area hotels. Rates start as low as $69 at the Atlanta Downtown Travelodge and range up to $299 per night for the Atlanta Hyatt Regency (and plenty of options in between). So whether you're visiting Atlanta to watch your football team play against the Atlanta Falcons or you're taking your kids to Stone Mountain Park, you'll find information to assist you on the site.

Another websitethat provides excellent tourism information is www.atlanta.net, especially about the city's many festivals. Its accommodations section highlights a number of themed accommodation packages -- "Escape into Summer", "Romance in the City" and "Atlanta's Top Festivals".

For example, if you're a football fan, spend the weekend in Atlanta attending a Falcon's game at the Georgia Dome. The "Atlanta Marriott Football" package includes a deluxe room for one night, breakfast for two and complimentary hotel parking. Have pre-game drinks at Champions, Atlanta's hottest sports bar and ride MARTA or walk to the Georgia Dome. Rates vary by property and game dates, starting from $95 per room per night at the Residence Inn Atlanta Downtown, or $129 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis or the Atlanta Marriott Suites Midtown. There are only two Falcons home game weekends left this season -- December 12, 2005 and January 1, 2006. Advance reservations are required. You can book through the www.atlanta.net website or call 800/583-0179 and ask for promotional code BXR.

The Hilton Atlanta has partnered with the Rialto Theater and Theatrical Outfit to offer great packages that include theater tickets, dinner at Nikolai's Roof, valet parking and overnight accommodations. The "Dinner and Overnight" package includes the pre-theater dinner as well as deluxe overnight accommodations for two at the Hilton Atlanta, overnight parking for one car, and breakfast for two the next morning at Le Caf¿ in the hotel. The price is $244 and includes all taxes and gratuities. Three wine pairings with dinner is an additional $39 per person. The "Dinner, Show and Overnight" package includes the above as well as deluxe overnight accommodations for two at the Hilton Atlanta, overnight parking for one car, and breakfast for two the next morning at Le Caf¿ in the hotel. The price is $330, including all taxes and gratuities. Call 404/221-6362 for reservations.

Stone Mountain Park (www.stonemountainpark.com) is one of the most visited attractions of the Atlanta area. It offers a multitude of indoor and outdoor family activities including playgrounds, the Stone Mountain Lake with its "Mississippi" paddlewheel Riverboat cruise, 15 miles of wooded nature trails for hiking, fishing, golf courses, a skyride to the top of Stone Mountain, scenic train rides around the mountain, a laser light and fireworks show and sightseeing tours on Ride The Ducks culminating in a big splash into Stone Mountain Lake.

The "Pure Magic" Stone Mountain Christmas package includes accommodations for two people in a deluxe guestroom at a Marriott property, buffet breakfast and two-day All Attraction passes to Stone Mountain Park and A Stone Mountain Christmas -- a snow and fireworks spectacular live holiday show.

This package is priced at $179 for two people or $199 for four-people based on a quad-share room. These rates are valid for stays from now until December 30, 2005 (with certain holiday blackout periods). Call 888/670-2250 and ask for rate code XXWR (four people) or XXWS (two people) or make reservations on-line for the Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort or the Stone Mountain Inn.

Expedia (tel. 800/397-3342; www.expedia.com) is currently offering the following featured Atlanta vacations:

  • Enjoy round-trip midweek airfare from New York to Atlanta and three-nights accommodations at the three and a half-star Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown starting from $422 per person based on double occupancy for travel from now until December 23, 2005.
  • A three-night air/hotel package from New York City to Atlanta staying at the three and a half-star Westin Hotel Atlanta Airport is priced from $372, based on travel from December 8 through 11, 2005.
  • A three-night air/hotel package from New York City to Atlanta staying at the four-star Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead starts from $486 per person or $482 for the same deal from Chicago for a midweek stay in December.

As an added incentive, book a flight, a hotel, or a flight and hotel trip for travel from now through to January 8, 2006, and Expedia will give you $150 towards a getaway in 2006. During or after the week of December 19, a coupon will be deposited into your Expedia account and you will be notified by e-mail. This coupon will be valid for any air and hotel vacation of four-nights or more for travel between January 1 and March 31, 2006. You must book by December 9, 2005 to qualify.

Atlanta based Delta Airlines (www.delta.com) has great Weekly Web Fare Specials (www.delta.com/planning_reservations/deals_offers/web_fares/index.jsp) to Atlanta that get posted to their website or you can receive weekly updates via e-mail. The specials generally range in price from $98 to $168 for round-trip domestic flights for weekend getaways. Departing flights are usually valid only on Saturdays, and return travel is valid on either a Monday or Tuesday. They always have great deals to Atlanta, but prices are only valid for that week so I have not included any samples here.

For more information to help you plan your Atlanta stay, visit www.frommers.com/destinations/atlanta.

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