Have Happier Holidays in Asheville

Oct 23, 2023
645 words (3 min read)

Get ready to celebrate! As the fall leaf season in the Smoky Mountains begins winding down, Asheville starts getting ready for the holiday season. This month is full of pre-holiday gatherings, goings-on, and grand events, and The Residences at Biltmore is a perfect place to spend some holiday quality time.

We have 2- and 3-bedroom suites with room enough for the whole family; plus, we’re just up the road from Biltmore Estate - one of the most beautiful places in the country to visit at this time of year. With so much to do, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite or soon-to-be-favorite happenings and compiled them here and on our blog to get you ready for your Asheville getaway.


The holidays are a big deal at Biltmore, both on the grounds of the massive estate and in the house itself. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to visit the largest private home in the country, this is it!

Billed as Christmas at Biltmore, November 3 is the magic date of the start of the annual Candlelight Christmas Evenings. Guests can choose to visit the house during the day and see it adorned with festive garland, numerous Christmas trees and decorations, and a general spirit of the holidays in every room. Or, choose to visit the house during the evening hours, when the fireplaces throughout the estate are lit, the trees are trimmed with lights, pathways are glowing with luminaries, and winter floral displays top the tables as well as the grounds. It’s a truly delightful sight, and should not be missed. Reservations for evening visits are necessary, and can be made on the Biltmore website. Candlelight visits continue through January 8.

Don’t miss the multi-sensory Italian Renaissance Alive display while you’re there. Part of the estate’s immersive artist shows Biltmore has hosted over the past year. An operatic score fills the Amherst at Deerpark exhibit space, the experience itself ”illuminates the masterworks of such icons as Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.” The exhibit runs through January 7, 2024, and ticket packages with the Candlelight and daytime visits are available.

Winter Lights

The walking tour of Winter Lights returns to the North Carolina Arboretum gardens this year. The light show, which features more than one million lights, celebrates forest and garden creatures and whimsy from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31. Highlights of the show include the Quilt Garden and a 50-foot lighted tree, as well as numerous other lighted displays. Reserve your time and pay at the link.

Vintage Market Days

Vintage Market Days® of Asheville presents “Silver Bells” Nov. 3-5 at the WNC Ag Center. The annual market features upscale vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, decor, furnishings, jewelry, and more. With booths for more than 500 national vendors, the market is a unique kick-off to the holiday shopping season.

Asheville Holiday Parade

The parade is back on Nov. 18, beginning at 11 a.m. on Biltmore Ave. This year promises to be one of the biggest Asheville parades in some time, as floats, musicians, local groups, and more flow through downtown, celebrating all of the holidays of the season.

Polar Express Train

If you’re bringing the whole family to town, make sure to reserve your spot on the Polar Express Train. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes the train to the North Pole to visit Santa, beginning on Nov. 9. Enjoy hot chocolate and other treats as you listen to music from the movie soundtrack, and sing carols on the ride back to the train depot. All the details you need can be found at the GSMR website.

There are also numerous small towns around Asheville that create cozy scenes along their main streets with lights, special shopping hours, and tree-lighting ceremonies. Some that are especially worthwhile include Dillsboro, Hendersonville, Saluda, and Sylva.

Header photo courtesy of the NC Arboretum, photograph by Cami Calnan



More Posts

A Totally "Tube"-ular Time in Asheville

One of Asheville’s most popular summertime activities is tubing on the French Broad River. It’s the perfect pastime for relaxing on vacation…

Father's Day Play Date in Asheville

Planning to buy Dad another coffee mug or tie for Father’s Day? Mix things up this year! Instead of spending money on Father’s Day gifts…

Have a Happy Mother's May in Asheville

What does Mom really want for Mother’s Day this year? Another bouquet of flowers and a handmade card from the kids? Maybe, but she’d…