Although socially distanced trick-or-treaters have yet to haunt the streets of Atlanta, the owners of retooled, mixed-use landmark Colony Square are looking toward the holidays in announcing an “urban winter wonderland” on a scale Midtown has never seen, they say.

As Atlanta old-timers may recall, Colony Square once hosted an indoor skating rink within the formerly enclosed mall, debuting in 1973, called the Colony Square Capades Chalet.

That’s been replaced with the 10,000-square-foot, open-air The Plaza, where ice-skating in the commercial heart of Midtown is set to make its return next month as part of “Season on the Square” events.

The snow-flecked spectacular will debut Friday, November 19 and run until January 17 where Peachtree and 14th streets meet, according to North American Properties reps.

Events on December 4 will double as a grand-opening for the reimagined version of the Southeast’s original mixed-use development.

Planning for Colony Square’s $400-million redo began five years ago, and demolition work launched at the 50-year-old property in October 2017. The project included two ground-up new buildings, food hall Politan Row, and extensive renovations throughout. It was declared finished in July.

Communal seating beneath a large screen, and in front of a stage, at the main plaza today. Courtesy of Hoar Construction/Colony Square

Midtown “always shines bright during the holidays, and we’re so excited to add some new sparkle to the neighborhood this year,” Lauren Ness, Colony Square’s marketing manager, said in today’s announcement. “Visions of twirling ice skaters, reindeer games, and ornaments are already dancing through my head. We can’t wait to bring this new tradition to life.”

Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.

Season on the Square festivities kick off with the ice-skating rink’s opening on November 19. Called “Skate on the Square,” the rink will be open every day (as late as 10 p.m. on Saturdays and school holidays). Tickets are $18 per adult, and $14 for kids ages 12 and under.  

A free, boozy destination called simply The North Pole will operate from November 19 to December 23 atop Establishment, overlooking 14th and Juniper streets. The Grove terrace will host an igloo-style speakeasy with holiday cocktails for guests over age 21. Capacity is capped at 50.

The multilevel Grove gathering place along 14th Street. Courtesy of Hoar Construction/Colony Square

The inaugural Lighting at Colony Square is described as an all-day, family-friendly event on December 4 with street performers, dance groups, live reindeer, face-painting, balloon artists, Santa photos, a DJ, ice-skating performances, a choir, and celebrity appearances. It all leads up to a countdown at 6 p.m. to the lighting of a 52-foot Christmas tree.

The following Saturday, December 11, Colony Square will serve as the official before and afterparty spot for the one-mile Atlanta Santa Speedo Run, a partnership with Bert’s Big Adventure. Expect a DJ until 4 p.m., with scantily clad winners announced at the new Politan Row food hall.

Lastly, a Santa-attended “Smiles for the Season benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta” breakfast is planned the morning of December 12 at restaurant 5Church.  

Recent Midtown news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)