Holidays in Asheville 2020
896 words (4 min read)
The last month of 2020 is here, and with it comes the opportunity to see Asheville in a whole new light - many new lights, in fact! From drive-through holiday light displays, to spending time in small towns decked out in their holiday finest, to activities in and around town that only happen once a year, it is a truly magical time in our city.
And there is no place more magical at this - or any - time of year than Biltmore Estate. The Residences at Biltmore is just steps away from the entrance to the home, and our large suites have enough room for the whole family to stay together. Keep reading to learn all about what's in store for visitors.
One of the most popular events of the year at the largest private home in America is its Candlelight Christmas Evenings. The lights in the house are dimmed, and candles, tree lights, and fireplaces throughout the home emit a cozy, soft glow. Twinkling lights hang around the estate and grounds, giving the enormous property an almost ethereal glow.
There are three different “experiences” from which to choose this year, each for a different price and including different offerings. Each “experience” tier includes daytime access to the gardens, grounds, Antler Hill Village, and the winery on either the day of or the day after your nighttime visit.
Reservations are required for Candlelight Christmas Evenings, as well as daytime visits, and you must pay in advance online. Be aware that new guidelines are in place to keep visitors safe from Covid-19, including wearing a face covering while indoors, and credit-only payment at all shops, restaurants, and attractions on the Estate. Candlelight visits continue through January 9.
Asheville is known for its restaurants, breweries, and outdoor activities, but it’s also home to some seriously creative people. In addition to the bustling River Arts District and its many galleries, many of the city’s artists display and sell their wares at local holiday markets and events. A few of the biggest ones follow. (Please note: all events listed were still scheduled as of the publication of this blog. Please call the venue before visiting to be sure.)
Guild Holiday Makers Sale
The Southern Highland Craft Guild hosts this sale every year at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most of the items for sale are discontinued, seconds, and extras from the individual artists’ collections. It’s a great opportunity to purchase unique gifts directly from Appalachian folk artists. The sale is scheduled for December 5 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
The Big Crafty
More than 150 local artists are selected to participate in this big show every year. If you’re shopping for quirky, different, or uncommon presents, this is the place to go. This year, the event takes place on December 5 & 6 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center downtown from 1-8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free on Sunday, but it is $5 on Saturday.
Holiday Sip & Shop
Grovewood Village is a historical area with several attached sites. Every year the Grovewood Gallery on-site hosts the Sip & Shop to spotlight the artwork and crafts of the artists featured in the gallery. This year, the event takes place on Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., and all shoppers get 10 percent off their purchases while enjoying free wine, cider, and cookies. There will also be artist demonstrations, free admission to the Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum, and a free factory tour.
Rabbit Rabbit is Asheville’s newest outdoor concert and events venue. It’s kicking off the season with Winter Wonderland, a season-long event that can be described as a socially-distanced holiday experience. The space is festooned with festive lights, and each week features holiday movies, holiday-themed cocktails, DJs for silent disco, Christmas sing-a-longs, and more. Visit the Rabbit Rabbit website for a full schedule of events through January 3.
The North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights display is back again, featuring nearly 500,000 lights covering a one-mile stretch of the Arboretum. In past years, attendees could walk the grounds to marvel at the lights, but for safety reasons, this year’s event and chief fundraiser for the gardens and grounds is moving to a driveable format. The new format features nature-themed displays highlighting colorful butterflies, winter wildlife, a daisy garden of lights, and an insect lantern exhibit.
Tickets must be purchased in advance, and admission is priced per car. The display is open from 5:30-10:30 p.m. every night through January 10.
Santa on the Chimney
He’s back! Every year, Santa gets some practice for the big day by rappelling down the 315-foot Chimney Rock in Lake Lure. He’ll be back this year on December 5 and 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. While you watch Santa climb, get some hot cocoa and cookies in the Sky Lounge, or meet his animal ambassadors. The event is included with admission to Chimney Rock State Park.
Small Town Christmas
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.
Are you ready to book your holiday getaway to Asheville with us? Call for more information: 1-888-786-3648