November 26, 2018
Best Holiday Activities and Festivals In Asheville
Posted by: Karen Wilson
Looking for fun and unique ways to celebrate the holiday season? We've collected some of the best holiday activities from sparkling light displays to festive Christmas events unique to Asheville, North Carolina.
Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings (Nov 3 – Jan 5) - Create an evening to remember with warm candlelight, firelight, live music from choirs and musicians, and the extravagant holiday decor of the Biltmore House. You will be greeted with a 55-ft. Norway spruce decorated with thousands of lights and hundreds of hand-lit luminaires on the front lawn. See elaborate hand-decorated trees including the amazing 35-ft. live Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall, thousands of poinsettias, hundreds of wreaths and sprays, and miles of garland.
Daytime tours are self-guided but it is recommended to make a reservation for a timed entry. Candlelight Evenings require a separate ticket for entry from daytime admission and advance reservations are required. Our tickets at The Lion and the Rose include the daytime visit with next day free and can be upgraded to the Candlelight Christmas Evenings ticket for an additional fee. All tickets include self-guided tours of Biltmore House and gardens, Antler Hill Village, and the Winery for a complimentary wine tasting.
The Estate is open every day, including Thanksgiving, Christmas (9 AM-2 PM) and New Year’s Days. The house is open 9 AM-5 PM for daytime tours. Candlelight tours begin at 5:30 PM.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum (Nov 16 – Dec 31) - Asheville’s brightest holiday tradition with over a half-a-million lights at The North Carolina Arboretum. Walk through an outdoor winter wonderland and enjoy unique displays and landscapes composed of more than half-a-million holiday lights. Listen to the sounds of your favorite holiday tunes or enjoy a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. Proceeds generated from Winter Lights help support the Arboretum’s educational programs, exhibits and year-round.
Enjoy special discounts on Winter Lights on certain days. Tuesdays are Friends & Family Discount Night and November 26 – 29 is Arboretum Discount Week. Thursdays – Saturdays offer an option for the "Winter Lights Holiday Tour" which includes round-trip transportation in festively decorated buses to the Arboretum, entry into Winter Lights and a free cup of hot chocolate.
Old fashioned Dickens Christmas Festival (Nov 30 and Dec 1) - The historic district of Biltmore Village in Asheville transforms into an old fashioned village reminiscent of the days of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. The Dickens in the Village festival is an immersive holiday experience featuring performances by strolling carolers, actors and musicians dressed in Dickensian era costumes. As you stroll the brick-lined streets of the Village during the festival, pick up freshly roasted chestnuts or hop on a horse-drawn carriage ride. There will be 20 live entertainment acts strolling through the Village, a craft market, Old Time Photo Booth, kids crafts and the Mugs of Merriment, a Christmas beverage competition.
Santa on the Chimney (Dec 1 and Dec 8, 11am-2pm) - Only near Asheville can you see Santa prepare for his Christmas deliveries rappelling down one of the world’s largest chimneys! Make your list and bring it to Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities, meet Park animal educators, and more at Chimney Rock State Park.
Annual Gingerbread House Competition display at Grove Park (Nov 25 - Jan 4) - Guests not staying at the resort can view the gingerbread house display after 3:00 p.m. on Sundays or anytime Monday through Thursday, based on parking availability and excluding holidays.
Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tour (Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Nov 23 – Dec 29th at 7pm)– A fun and festive celebration of the season featuring the sights and sounds of the holidays with stories of local holiday traditions and singing of classic Christmas carols. Departs from The Olde World Christmas Shoppe in Biltmore Village.
Craggy Mountain Jingle Bell trolley ride - Be transported back in time to a 1940’s themed tradition Christmas depot. Train cars are decked out in lights bustling with elves, lively Christmas critters and classical Christmas music. The Jingle Bell trolley takes you down the mountain and up again along the historic Craggy Mountain Line Railroad. Afterwards, enjoy free refreshments such as cookies and hot cocoa and visit with Santa in his very own trolley. Trolley rides offered on November 24th, December 1st, December 8th, December 13th, December 14th, December 15th, December 20th, December 21st, and December 22nd.