Is Christmas at Biltmore worth it? Yes! As Biltmore annual passholders and Asheville locals, we frequent Biltmore Estate every Christmas for the stunning holiday decorations and delicious food. Keep reading for more of our favorite things to do on the estate to get your money’s worth.
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Top Things To Know In 2023
Biltmore Estate promises festive holiday events, family-friendly activities, and seasonal dining options to spark that holiday spirit. Magical Candlelight Christmas Evenings feature blazing fireplaces, Martha Stewart-worthy Christmas decorations, and a gingerbread Biltmore House hiding in the kitchen. Explore the home with live music in beautifully lit spaces, and savor seasonal cocktails at Biltmore’s onsite restaurants. You will never grow bored at Biltmore Estate.
From dates to ticket prices, these are the top things to know to help you plan your Christmas at Biltmore Estate:
We’ve been Biltmore annual passholders for over four years and have many comprehensive Biltmore guides, from exploring the gardens to visiting with young children, that will help you with your planning.
A Biltmore Christmas On The Hallmark Channel
Brand new in 2023 and starring Bethany Joy Lenz and Kristoffer Polaha, watch Biltmore on the big screen. The production team even recruited Asheville locals as stand-ins. The plot: Lucy is writing a script for a remake of a holiday movie. While on a tour of the grounds, she knocks over an hourglass and finds herself transported back in time to 1946.
10 Best Ways To Enjoy Christmas At Biltmore
As one of Asheville’s largest tourist attractions, we know that our readers debate those expensive Biltmore tickets. Whether you are a first-time visitor or a local, we understand the importance of getting the most for your money and creating life-long memories. These are the activities we love at Biltmore Estate, especially during the holiday season.
1. Watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains
Asheville winters promise cozy fireplaces, warm boozy drinks, and the perfect sweater weather. I’m a little knee-high boot-obsessed too. As Biltmore passholders, we most enjoy evenings exploring the trails or Antler Hill Village and Winery for drinks and dinner at Cedric’s Tavern.
For the best experience, we suggest planning your Biltmore Christmas visit around sunset. Western North Carolina winter sunsets are renowned for vibrant purples, oranges, and hot pinks (hence the photo of the Grove Park Inn).
Picture yourself on the raised viewing area in front of Biltmore House as twilight descends with sparkling Christmas trees and the mansion illuminated against the shimmering Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s one of the most romantic things to do in Asheville for couples.
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2. Listen to an audio-guided house tour
Biltmore Christmas tickets include an audio guide as part of the self-guided tour. The audio tours vary, and some are more entertaining than others. One year, we “attended” a lively Biltmore party with antics like Cedric the dog stealing the turkey, and a sick opera singer. Another year, the guide was more formal, with Biltmore curators diving into unique Biltmore history; that one was, admittedly, a bit dry.
For deeper insights, we also recommend reading local Asheville author, Denise Kiernan’s, The Last Castle. She sheds light on the Vanderbilt family’s Asheville legacy beyond their excessive wealth. Discover Edith’s political involvement and the couple’s contributions to forestry education.
Biltmore also offers more specialized tours for wine and history lovers. We’ve taken a delicious wine and chocolate tour in the clock tour. And, don’t miss out on Asheville’s top museums and historic sites if you enjoy your Biltmore Estate visit.
3. Spy stunning holiday decor & Christmas trees
Did Martha Stewart just vomit all over Biltmore Estate? Yes; yes, she did! The 100+ intricately decorated trees, 10,000 ornaments, and 100,000 lights make Christmas at Biltmore utterly magical.
Spy ribbons, presents, wreaths, garlands, and candles. The trees are not original to the home but certainly induce that Christmas spirit. Of course, the Banquet Hall – a massive dining room – steals the show with the tallest tree. Bibliotourists will adore the beautifully decorated library.
Other Biltmore House highlights include the indoor pool, Halloween room, gym, and bowling alley.
For more holiday light displays, attend Asheville’s Christmas events like The NC Arboretum’s Winter Lights and Lake Julian’s drive-thru. And, if you are local, discover the best spots around Asheville to pick your own Christmas tree.
4. Gawk at a gingerbread Biltmore House
Spending Christmas in Asheville means all things gingerbread! Located in Biltmore’s kitchen, smell it before you even see it. In fact, the sculpture is so perfect, we had to ask if it was real. Find a gorgeous Biltmore Estate replica made completely out of gingerbread.
Why is gingerbread so important? Asheville is famous for The National Gingerbread House Competition at the historic Omni Grove Park Inn. Here, find unique structures constructed completely out of gingerbread. It’s one of our favorite Asheville winter traditions as locals.
5. Take a Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings tour
If you are debating the best way to experience Biltmore at Christmas, especially between daytime and evening visits, we recommend purchasing Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings tickets.
Experience the magic with dimmed lights, candles, and 65 fireplaces warming the home. While Biltmore can feel a bit creepy during the day – Biltmore is rumored to be haunted (we blame the tapestries) – at night, with holiday decorations, it’s stunning.
The Candlelight tour takes 1-1.5 hours with an audio guide. Expect some crowd congestion and allow time for (non-flash) photos. Remember, there are no restrooms along the way, so use them before entering. Arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled ticket time, and budget 45 minutes at the entrance for parking and reaching the Biltmore House.
6. Sip seasonal cocktails and enjoy a meal
To eat on the estate, you’ll need a daytime ticket, annual pass, or on-site accommodation reservation. Make online reservations well in advance to avoid being turned away or facing long wait times.
Most notably, Stable Café offers a ritzy, 3-course Candlelight Christmas Evenings dinner. While not the most flexible for dietary preferences (Celiac and UC household here), they label gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan items. The ambiance is romantic, especially after a night of sparkling lights.
For lunch during Daytime Celebrations, we also enjoy Stable Café’s chicken salad sandwiches, Southern samplers, and classic burgers. And, during the day, Stable Café is a great kid-friendly restaurant. For littles, choose from chicken tenders, burgers, grilled cheese, and BLTs.
Cedric’s Tavern – an ode to the Vanderbilts’ beloved Saint Bernard – offers pub vibes with lighter fare like fish and chips, bangers and mash, burgers, and Shepherd’s pie. We most love their seasonal cocktails. Antler Hill Village also boasts one of our favorite wine bars with charcuterie.
If dining close by off of the Estate, try Corner Kitchen in Biltmore Village for lunch or Neng Jr.’s in West Asheville for dinner.
7. Stay overnight at a Biltmore property
Treat yourself to the ultimate Biltmore Estate Christmas with an overnight stay. Even as locals (Passholder Appreciation months!), we and our families stay at Biltmore’s Village Hotel, which is centrally located with moderate prices, spa access, and Biltmore Winery next door. The on-site Village Social restaurant is delicious, and grab a seasonal latte at The Kitchen Café.
For a more luxurious stay, choose The Inn On Biltmore Estate, featuring plentiful on-property conveniences and, by request, mountain views. Suites are named after George Vanderbilt’s friends or relatives, and there’s a premier cottage for an extravagant experience. If Biltmore’s prices aren’t in your budget range, consider these top recommended Asheville hotels.
8. Enjoy a special exhibit
Christmas at Biltmore Estate features the spectacular 2023 exhibit Italian Renaissance Alive in the Amherst Building at Deerpark. This immersive art experience, akin to Van Gogh Alive and Monet & Friends, takes you literally into a painting as well as an art history gallery.
Inside a darkened room with floor-to-ceiling screens, enjoy a 35+ minute video showcasing masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and Caravaggio, accompanied by classical music and quotes. We have attended all of their multi-sensory experiences over the past few years. They are breathtaking and thought-provoking.
Annual passholders get discounted exhibit tickets, while daytime or evening visitors can add tickets to their house pass for an additional fee. This is also a great indoor activity if the weather isn’t great.
9. Hike or bike Biltmore’s fabulous trails
For outdoor activities, we love exploring the 22 miles of hiking and biking trails on the Estate, weather permitting. A North Carolina mountain winter may bring snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, but a Biltmore Christmas isn’t complete without enjoying Asheville’s scenic winter hikes.
Locals like us bring our own mountain bikes, but Biltmore’s Bike Barn rents seasonally. Trails vary in level and length — download Biltmore’s trail map for guidance.
Or, opt for a casual stroll or hike; we often choose the Westover Trails or walk from Antler Hill Village to the Lagoon. For a scenic view of Biltmore over the water, hike from the Lagoon Trail to the side of Biltmore House via the Deer Park Trail. Check out Biltmore’s waterfall dam near Bass Pond; it may not rival Asheville’s larger waterfalls, but it’s easily accessible in winter.
10. Shop for terrific souvenirs and gifts
Biltmore is full of specialty shopping for Christmas gifts and souvenirs. We love to ship wine bottles, usually half a case, to our family in Connecticut. I own one of those Biltmore hats in white…
A few of our favorite stores on Biltmore Estate:
- A Christmas Past – Christmas ornaments
- Bookbinder’s – Small bookshop
- Carriage House – Clothing, gifts, specialty items, and more
- Wine Shop
- Antler Hill Outfitters – Hiking and lifestyle goods
Biltmore Estate Contact & Visitor Information
Biltmore Estate Contact Information:
Address: One Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803
Phone Number: 800-411-3812
Biltmore Website: https://www.biltmore.com/
Information About Accessibility: https://www.biltmore.com/help-center/accessibility/
Parking At Biltmore
Parking is included with admission. Some lots are within walking distance of your destination. There are shuttles from the furthest lots that will take you around the property.
Before you go, check out our other guides and let us know what you think!
Have you visited Biltmore at Christmas? Did you attend a Biltmore Candlelight Christmas or Daytime Celebration? What did you think? Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments or drop me, Christine, an email. Then, check out these guides:
- Best Asheville, NC Things To Do
- Guide for Planning an Asheville Visit with Kids
- Winter Lights Guide at The NC Arboretum
Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.