Home For the Holidays? Here Are the Best Things to Do in Aiken, SC

The holiday season is here and it’s the most magical time of year in Aiken, SC! From Thanksgiving Day festivities to Christmas markets and horse parades, there are many exciting ways to celebrate in this charming Southern town. Mark your calendar now for these upcoming events!

Make it a Christmas to remember in Aiken, SC. Whether you’re a full-time resident or visiting our town for the first time, you can count on Suzy Haslup for all of your real estate needs. Suzy and her associates, Kathryn and Michele, would love to assist you with buying or selling your Aiken equestrian property. Contact us today at 803-215-0153.


‘Tis the Season: Here Are the Best Holiday Events in Aiken, SC in 2021


Thanksgiving Day Celebrations

1. Aiken Turkey Trot 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run

Is there any better way to kick off Thanksgiving morning than by sweating it out at the local Turkey Trot? We think not! Wake up early, don your best Thanksgiving Day costume, and get your blood pumping at the 10th Annual Aiken Turkey Trot 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run. The run will be held on Thanksgiving Day at Citizens Park and benefits The Golden Harvest Food Bank. Please bring your canned goods, which will be donated to those in need in the CSRA. 

Registration for the 1-Mile Fun Run and 5k is open until November 22nd. The first race starts at 8 a.m. sharp on November 25th. Please visit the Turkey Trot website to sign up and see the full schedule.

Where: Citizens Park

When: November 25th from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

2. Bloodies and Bagels

After a great race, head downtown and treat yourself to a cup of holiday cheer! The annual “Bloodies and Bagels” event takes place on the grounds of one of Aiken’s famed Winter Colony cottages, Banksia. Now home to the Aiken County Historical Museum, it is a wonderful place to gather for a delicious Thanksgiving Day breakfast. Come mingle with friends and enjoy complimentary Bloody Marys, assorted bagels and cream cheese, coffee, and cider. There’s no better way to kick off Turkey Day!

Where: Aiken County Historical Museum

When: November 25th 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Christmas in Aiken, SC

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas at Aiken Community Theatre

Do you remember when Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts Gang discovered the true meaning of Christmas? Watch the classic holiday film come to life before your eyes with a nostalgic onstage adaptation at Aiken Community Theatre. A Charlie Brown Christmas will run December 3-4 & 9 – 11 at 7:30 p.m., and December 5th at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online now.

Where: Aiken Community Theatre

When: December 3 – 4 and 9 – 11 at 7:30, December 5th at 2 p.m.

2. Aiken Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade

Aiken is horse country, so it’s only fitting that Santa’s elves spread holiday cheer on horseback, of course! The highly-anticipated Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade will return this year on December 18th. Watch as hundreds of horses and riders parade through the heart of downtown Aiken, serenading you with your favorite Christmas songs. The four-legged procession is accompanied by carriages, festive elves, dog walkers, and even Santa himself. Sing along from the sidelines or register now to participate in the fun; all are welcome to join.

After the parade, the celebrations continue at The Willcox with more Christmas caroling and piano by Kendall Standish and David Brown. For more details please see the Hoofbeats and Christmas Carols Parade event page

Where: Downtown Aiken

When: December 18th at 2 p.m.

3. Christmas in Hopelands

Here are the best things to do in December in Aiken in 2020.One of our favorite winter traditions in Aiken is Christmas in Hopelands. Set amidst the beautiful backdrop of Hopelands Gardens, this enchanting walk-through exhibit features two miles of lighted pathways, more than 100,000 twinkling lights, and dazzling Christmas displays. Bring some hot cocoa and enjoy the beauty of the gardens as you wander along the lighted pathways. 

The 30th Annual Christmas in Hopelands will take place December 11-23 from 6 – 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. 

Where: Hopelands Gardens

When:  December 11 – 23 from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

4. Christmas Crafts at the Aiken County Farmers Market

Do you still need to do your Christmas shopping? Find the perfect gift for family and friends at the Christmas Crafts show at the Aiken County Farmers Market. Whether you’re looking for handmade crafts, live wreaths, Christmas trees, fresh produce, baked goods, art, or wood creations, the Aiken County Farmers Market offers all kinds of gift possibilities for the holidays. 

Where: 115 Williamsburg Street, Aiken, Sc

When: November 27th from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

5. Night of a Thousand Lights

Hundreds of glowing luminaries will line the streets of downtown Aiken during Night of a Thousand Lights. Bring that special someone and enjoy an evening stroll through The Alley on December 2nd. The shops and restaurants will stay open late, ready to welcome visitors inside for tasty treats, drinks, music, caroling, and more. 

Where: Downtown Aiken

When: December 2nd from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

6. Christmas Craft Show at Odell Weeks

The 51st Annual Christmas Craft Show begins at 9 a.m. on December 3rd. Featuring handmade crafts from talented artisans across the Southeast, this pop-up Christmas market is one you won’t want to miss. Here you can find your holiday gifts, home decor, wreaths, wood furniture, paintings, jewelry, ornaments, clothing, ceramics, needlepoint creations, door hangers, and other unique items. No matter what you are searching for, there is sure to be something for every style, taste, and budget. There will also be local vendors onsite serving up delicious food and snacks. 

Where: Odell Weeks Activity Center 

When: Friday & Saturday, December 3th & 4th, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

7. Festival of Trees

Mark your calendar now for the 5th annual Festival of Trees. The celebratory lighting of the trees will take place at the Aiken Visitor Center and Train Museum on December 3rd at 4 p.m.  Stop by to see a colorful array of Christmas trees all decked out with lights, garlands, bows, baked goods, small trains, and more. The trees can be viewed from December 3rd – 31st. Spectators will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite decorated tree.

Where: City of Aiken Visitor Center and Train Museum

When: December 3rd at 4 p.m.

8. Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony

Ring in the holiday season with the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree in the center of town square. On Friday evening, December 3rd, The City of Aiken Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department will host the 32nd annual Downtown Tree Lighting Ceremony. This free event takes place on Newberry Street in historic downtown Aiken. Kick-off the holiday season with a live musical performance, a special hello from Santa, and a countdown to the lighting of the Christmas tree. After the tree lighting, make sure to grab a complementary take-home craft kit for the kids. 

Where: Newberry Street

When: December 3rd at 6 p.m.

9. Polar Express Movie Night

Are you looking for kid-friendly things to do in Aiken, SC? Kids (and kids at heart) will love Polar Express Movie Night at the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum! Put on your comfiest PJ’s and settle in for a special showing of the popular Christmas film on Saturday, December 5th. Admission is just $5 per person and includes complementary popcorn. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the film begins at 6:30 p.m. Reservations must be made in advance. Bring your own hot chocolate!

Where: Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum

When: December 4th and 5th at 6 p.m.

10. Aiken Jaycees’ Christmas Parade 

The Aiken Jaycees’ Christmas Parade is one of the most exciting things to do in Aiken in December 2021! This year’s theme is “It’s a Hometown Christmas.” The parade includes holiday floats, marching bands, candy, retro cars and plenty of Christmas cheer. Keep an eye out for Santa! The 2021 parade will be held on December 12th at 2 p.m. downtown on Laurens St. and Park Ave. Please visit the parade website for more information.

Where: Downtown Aiken on Laurens St. and Park Ave.

When: December 12th at 2 p.m.

11. December Classics at Bruce’s Field

Equus Events is hosting two USEF National A-Rated December Classics at Bruce’s Field this year. The Level 2 Jumper horse shows will take place on December 2-5 and December 9-12, 2021. 

Where: Bruce’s Field

When: December 2-5, & 9 – 12

Happy Holidays From Aiken Horse Realty!

There’s simply no place like Aiken for the holidays. Whether you’re a current resident or thinking about moving here soon, you can count on Aiken Horse Realty as your number one source of info. For more great tips about local happenings and real estate news, check out our blog and be sure to follow us on Facebook. And if you’d like more information about our charming Southern town, feel free to contact us or request a complimentary package in the mail. Most importantly, have a blast celebrating the holiday season with your friends and family in Aiken this year. We wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!