Are you spending Christmas in Asheville, NC? Below, don’t miss local tips for Asheville Christmas events, lights, tree farms, services, and holiday meals.
Nothing beats an Asheville, NC Christmas. In 2020, we even saw a breathtaking snowy white Christmas, which is extremely rare.
While Asheville may see dustings of snow in December, you can also expect milder temperatures perfect for those holiday festivals and parades. There’s so much to see and do in Asheville at Christmastime.
So, should you spend Christmas in Asheville? Absolutely!
Imagine endless light displays in beautiful gardens, and America’s Largest Home decked out for the holidays. Head to one of the nearby ski resorts for all of your favorite winter sports.
Let’s not forget picking your own Christmas tree and chasing those gorgeous waterfalls on a winter hike.
Below, we are sharing top Christmas events in Asheville including Biltmore’s Candlelight Christmas and the Omni Grove Park Inn’s Gingerbread House Competition.
See where to find Christmas lights in Asheville, including The North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights festival, as well as throughout WNC’s famous mountain towns.
Along with fantastic spots for Christmas shopping and dining, we’ll divulge on Asheville Christmas tree farms you don’t want to miss and a few spots for outdoor ice skating.
Keep reading for all of the things that you can do in Asheville for Christmas, including church services and where to eat on Christmas Eve and Day. Let’s get started!
Read more about the best things to do in Asheville in winter.
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8 Top Things To Know About Christmas In Asheville, NC
1. Best Christmas Events In Asheville
Please know that many of these Asheville Christmas events require tickets, including Christmas at Biltmore and Winter Lights.
Some holiday events may sell out, and we recommend purchasing tickets as soon as you can. Check all event venue websites for policies, payment, and hours.
- Christmas at Biltmore – Attend Biltmore’s Daytime Celebration by touring all of the trees, ribbons, lights, and holiday decor. Or, experience the magic of Biltmore Candlelight Christmas Evenings when the house’s fireplaces, candles, and lights shimmer throughout the rooms. Grab our guide to Biltmore Estate.
- Van Gogh Alive (2021) – Running through March 5, 2022, enjoy an immersive Van Gogh art experience with vibrantly projected artwork.
- Omni Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House Competition – Find fun gingerbread house displays as part of an annual competition. Please check their website to see which days you can view the display as a guest with dinner or hotel reservations versus a non-guest. Expect a hefty parking fee, and grab hot cocoa or seasonal cocktails. Don’t miss Grove’s rooftop and fine dining restaurants too.
- Winter Lights at The NC Arboretum – Walk through the gorgeously lit botanical gardens filled with lights that dance to music. Uncover nature-themed light displays and shadow boxes. Make smores and find boozy libations or hot cocoa. Read our guide to making the most out of Winter Lights.
- The Polar Express Train Ride – Hop aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad for a 1+-hour train ride departing at Bryson City depot. Drink hot chocolate while listening along to a reading of The Polar Express. The train arrives at the North Pole where Santa awaits young guests with a special gift.
2. Where To See Christmas Lights In Asheville
- Winter Lights – As noted above, The NC Arboretum hosts an annual Winter Lights Festival filled with holiday lights in the gardens. Tickets are required — even if you are an annual passholder.
- Downtown Local Lights Asheville – Held in Pack Square, experience a lighting ceremony and parade.
- Biltmore Village and Biltmore Park Town Square – Both areas decorate for the holidays and offer a plethora of classy retail shopping. Don’t miss the bars, breweries, and restaurants around each area too.
- Deck The Trees In Black Mountain – Deck The Trees is a charity event with decorated Christmas trees near Asheville. It is free to view the trees, and with a donation, you may vote on your favorite. Grab our guide to Black Mountain before going. The Black Mountain restaurants and B&Bs there are equally great.
- Lake Julian Festival Of Lights – This is a local holiday lights drive-through at the county park in South Asheville, running from December 1 to December 23. In 2021, you must purchase tickets online. A standard-sized vehicle costs $10.
- Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland Lights & Winterfest (Tryon) – Enjoy a drive-through light show and winter festival. Tryon Foothills also has some fantastic wineries like Parker-Binns and Overmountain.
- Forest City Christmas (Forest City) – Voted the #1 Christmas town near Asheville as well as one of the best places to see Christmas lights in Asheville, enjoy Forest City’s Hometown Holiday Festivities. There’s a lights ceremony, hayrides, ice skating, carriage rides, and a Christmas parade.
Read more about the most magical places to see Christmas lights across Asheville.
3. Asheville Christmas Tree Farms
Please double-check with each tree farm before arriving. Some have limited hours and specific policies, including accepted payment methods.
These are the popular Christmas farms near Asheville. Many are around Maggie Valley and Cherokee:
- Sandy Hollar Tree Farm (Leicester) – Find Choose & Cut trees, wreaths, hayrides, and a Christmas store. Roast marshmallows by the firepit with hot chocolate.
- Mehaffey Tree Farm (Waynesville) – Family-run since 1984, this Choose & Cut tree farm is open on limited weekends.
- Linville Falls Winery Red Barn Tree Farm (Newland) – Pick your own tree for a staff member to cut. Or, grab a pre-cut tree. There are also hayrides and complimentary cider, cookies, and hot chocolate. This is a gorgeous winery near Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls.
- Smoky Mountain Tree Farm (Waynesville) – With Christmas tree rental cabins, find trees, wreaths, and garlands. They may sell out.
- Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm (Waynesville) – In operation since 1982, select your tree and they will cut it for you. Leashed dogs are allowed in some areas.
Read more in our complete guide to Christmas Farms around Asheville.
4. Fun Things To Do In Asheville For Christmas
- Winter Hiking – While parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway may start to close due to weather, there are still plenty of great winter hiking trails around Asheville. Head to Grandfather Mountain, Wildcat Rock, Bearwallow Mountain, Bent Creek Experimental Forest, Trombatore Trail, Lover’s Leap or Max Patch (if it’s not icy or snowy), The NC Arboretum, and Chimney Rock. Exert extreme caution as trails grow more dangerous in the winter.
- Waterfall Chasing – Transylvania County is known as the “land of waterfalls.” Chase waterfalls at Looking Glass Falls (drive up waterfall), DuPont State Forest, Moore Cove Falls, Rainbow Falls, Daniel Ridge Falls, or Mingo Falls.
- Skiing, Snowboarding, & Snowtubing – For popular winter sport destinations, check out Beech Mountain Resort, Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, Appalachian Ski Mountain, and Cataloochee Ski Area.
- Outdoor Pop-Up Ice Skating In Asheville – If you are looking for Asheville day trips, Knoxville’s Holidays On Ice is loads of fun. You can also ice skate in Forest City and Greenville, NC.
- Hopping Breweries – Of course, Asheville is famous for it’s breweries. Wicked Weed, Bhramari, Catawba, Burial, and Green Man are visitor musts. Eurisko, Hillman, Wedge, and Zillicoah are also fantastic. Don’t miss the Brevard, Black Mountain, Mills River, and Hendersonville breweries too.
- Wine Tasting – Although known for its beer, Asheville is filled with nearby wineries and dazzling wine bars. Stone Ashe and Marked Tree are two of our top wineries. Leo’s House of Thirst and Bottle Riot are two of the best wine bars.
5. Fun Places For Christmas Shopping In Asheville
- Asheville Outlets – Explore 75 top retail and manufacturer outlets. Although we don’t necessarily think these are the cheapest priced outlets, you’ll find everything you need.
- Biltmore Village – Located near Biltmore Estate, find bars, restaurants, and swanky shops and boutiques.
- Foundation Woodworks & River Arts District Studios – One of our personal favorites located in the River Arts District for handcrafted wood gifts and artwork. Find galleries and more artisan shops in this area.
- Downtown Asheville & Grove Arcade – The specialty stores are endless. Take a peek inside Mast General Store, Charmed Asheville, and Moonlight Makers. Don’t miss Asheville bookstores like Malaprops, DB&N, and Battery Park Book Exchange. Cultivated Cocktails sells the best bar swag.
6. Where To Eat In Asheville For Christmas Eve & Day
Looking for where to eat in Asheville on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Below, we are sharing a few restaurants that are typically (but not always) open around Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.
Please double-check all restaurants for hours, special menus, and reservations. Make reservations as soon as you can.
*While we update our guides frequently, holiday information is subject to change — especially with the shortage of certain foods and staffing troubles in 2021.
- Omni Grove Park Inn restaurants: Edison, Blue Ridge, and Vue 1913
- Biltmore Estate restaurants with ticket
- Many other hotel-attached restaurants including: District 42, Hemingway’s Cuba, Bargello, Red Stag Grill, and Isa’s Bistro
- Check at Folk Lore, The Barrelhouse, and Zambra
- Restaurants usually open Christmas Eve: Curate, Vinnie’s, 12 Bones, Chai Pani, and Glass Onion
For Christmas week and December in Asheville, don’t miss these unforgettable restaurants.
We also have a plethora of food and drink guides, including gluten-free and vegan restaurants, coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dessert bars.
7. Asheville Christmas Church Services
- First Baptist Church (Downtown Asheville) – Carols, candlelight, and Communion
- Central United Methodist Church (Downtown Asheville) – Three Christmas Eve services
- Basilica Of Saint St. Lawrence Catholic Church (Downtown Asheville)
8. Where To Stay In Asheville For Christmas
Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts tend to book up quickly in Asheville for the holidays. Make your reservations ASAP.
We highly suggest looking around the Historic Montford District for quaint B&B’s, perfect for an Asheville Christmas. You’ll even catch more holiday decorations and lights.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
Downtown Asheville Hotels
Read more about the best Asheville hotels.
Save These Asheville Christmas Tips For Later
Are you ready for the best Asheville, NC Christmas?
What do you love doing in Asheville for Christmas? What are your favorite skiing and skating spots?
Where do go to see Christmas lights in Asheville? How about holiday shopping? What is your favorite Asheville Christmas tree farm? Let us know in the comments!
Because we cannot possibly see or do it all — although we try — please kindly let us know what you think we should check out and add so that our readers can have the best Christmas in Asheville.