Happy Holidays in Asheville

Nov 26, 2019 | Last Updated Mar 11, 2021
958 words (4 min read)

Asheville is a great place to be any time of year, but it's during the holidays that this "Land of the Sky" really shines. The Residences at Biltmore is in the middle of all the action this December. There's so much going on, it might be difficult to choose just what to do. Hopefully, our list of favorite seasonal celebrations can help with the decisions.

Holiday Markets

Ready for some shopping? There are so many opportunities for finding the perfect gifts in Asheville. With so many independent shops, crafters, and artisans in the city, there are almost too many choices. A few upcoming events take the hard work out of holiday gift-giving by showcasing the best of Asheville’s creative arts scene all in one place. 

Dec. 6 & 7 - Grovewood Gallery will host its annual Holiday Sip & Shop event from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Shop for unique gift items, including wooden bowls and utensils, ceramic tableware, blown glass, fine jewelry, handcrafted textiles and paper items, and much more while enjoying complimentary wine, warm cider and cookies. Attendees will also save 10% on gallery merchandise during the event. 

December 7 & 8 - The Big Crafty returns to the US Cellular Center from noon to 6 p.m. View and purchase the works of 150 vendors during the event. 

Dec. 14 - CURVE Studios & Garden in the River Arts District is hosting a Holiday Market featuring from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with 10 artist elves. Refreshments will be served all day.

Dec. 14 & 15 - Uncommon Market Asheville brings its 5th season of quality curators of antiques, vintage decor, art, jewelry, and home furnishings to the WNC AG Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Dec. 21 - The 3rd annual Holiday Mingle & Jingle: Holiday Craft Market at The Grey Eagle will feature local vendors selling handmade goods, arts, and crafts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be sure to grab a bite from the music club’s in-house Taqueria and a drink from the bar as you peruse Asheville's finest makers. Admission is free.

Festive Lights

The holidays aren’t truly official until lights are shining and twinkling all over the city and its neighborhoods. Some places around Asheville truly go out of their way to make the holidays glisten, though. 

Biltmore Candlelight Christmas - Through Jan. 4, evenings at Biltmore are aglow with candles, lighted fireplaces, twinkling trees, and luminaries throughout the property. Tickets are for sale in advance and are separate from daytime admission. 

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum - 500,000 lights turn the gardens into a nighttime wonderland from 6-10 p.m., complete with carefully landscaped designs. It’s a popular event and sells out quickly, so purchase tickets in advance. 

Lake Julian Festival of Lights - The 50 drive-through displays and lights at Lake Julian have been a South Asheville tradition for several years. Bonus - if you miss a display the first time around, you can go through again for no extra cost. The lights will be up from Dec. 2 - Dec. 23 from 6-9 p.m. 

Small-town Holidays

Western North Carolina may not have a Bedford Falls, but it does have numerous small towns that really make a big to-do about the holidays, and can offer a welcome respite from the bigger, busier Asheville downtown.

Hendersonville - Asheville’s next-door southern neighbor is hosting an Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas Dec. 6 on Main Street from 5-8 p.m. Downtown stores will stay open later than usual, with window displays, carolers, and refreshments. Head back in the morning for the city’s Christmas Parade at 10 a.m. From Dec. 20-22, the town will host Holiday Hayrides from 5-8 p.m.

Weaverville - Our northern neighbor will be lit up for the Candlelight Christmas Stroll on Dec. 13 from 6-9 p.m. Local businesses will stay open late, and luminaries will line the streets. Horse and buggy rides will be available and music will fill the town. 

Biltmore Village - Just down the street from The Residences at Biltmore, Historic Biltmore Village is hosting its 31st Annual Dickens Christmas Celebration on the Village Green Dec. 6 and 7. Activities include live music and entertainment, lighting of the 22-foot tree, street lighting at sundown, kids activities, and participating restaurants will feature specials. 

Fun for the Whole Family

The holidays just wouldn’t be the holidays without kids, and the Asheville area has definitely got activities for children covered. 

The Polar Express™ - The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates its Bryson City train based on the popular movie through December 31. Guests travel to “The North Pole” while sipping cocoa, listening to a reading of the story and the soundtrack to the movie, and finally meeting Santa Claus, who will present them with a special present. Tickets can be purchased online, and buying them in advance is highly recommended, as the event sells out quickly. 

The WNC Nature Center - The center’s annual holiday event, A Winter’s Tail will take place Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include photos with Santa, crafts, games, animal programs, and face-painting, as well as the unveiling of a limited-edition casting of an American Red Wolf and pup in front of the red wolf habitat at 2:30 pm.

Chimney Rock State Park - Santa sharpens his chimney-climbing skills at the park each year, and the whole family is invited to watch him rappel. On Dec. 7 and 14, enjoy music, hot cocoa, cookies, activities, presentations by park animal educators, and a visit with the Big man from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Prior to the climb on each day, enjoy Breakfast with the Elves at the Old Rock Cafe from 8 - 11 a.m. 

Contact our concierge to reserve your tickets and reservations for events or for even more suggestions of what to do this holiday season in Asheville. 

Call for more information: 1-888-786-3648



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