Asheville Holiday Events: Nov & Dec

Asheville Top 50 Holiday Events - Nov & Dec

During the late fall and festive holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, Asheville and the surrounding mountain small towns have many great events, festivals and celebrations. Below are our favorites. Also see our Holiday Things to Do for ideas for your vacation during November and December. (Pic at top: Forest City Lights)

Top 50 Holiday Events, November & December

Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
Saturday, November 3, 2018 to Sunday, January 6, 2019
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Polar Express Train
Polar Express Train
Friday, November 9, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 10, 2018 to Saturday, December 22, 2018
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 to Saturday, January 5, 2019
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat.
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Friday, November 16, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
Holiday Art Fair
Tis the Season Holiday Fair
Friday, November 16, 2018 to Sunday, November 18, 2018
A festive shopping event with top art, crafts and gifts from 240+ artists and craftsmen from the Southeast. Held at the WNC Ag Center (near Airport). $5/adults. Free parking. $1 off coupon on their website.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Asheville Holiday Parade
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Downtown, 11 AM. A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville's holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance and theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
Marshall Art Market
Marshall Handmade Market, Marshall
Saturday, November 17, 2018 to Sunday, November 18, 2018
This arts festival & holiday market is held indoors at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassatt Island in the French Broad River, 25 minutes north of Asheville. Classrooms-turned-studios open their doors for 60 artists to share process and art. Food trucks too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM
Thanksgiving in Asheville
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
Thursday, November 22, 2018 to Sunday, November 25, 2018
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Forest City Christmas Lights
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
Thursday, November 22, 2018 to Tuesday, January 1, 2019
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in downtown Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Hendersonville, NC, Christmas
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Friday, November 23, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including carriage rides, parade, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
Drive About Art Tour
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour
Friday, November 23, 2018 to Saturday, November 24, 2018
Take a free self-guided driving tour of the galleries and working studios of Graham and Swain Counties and buy arts and crafts directly from the artist. Pick up a map at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center near Fontana Lake. 10 AM-5 PM.
Maggie Valley Christmas
Maggie Gets Lit
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Kick off the season at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 12-6 PM, for a Christmas Market, Santa Strut, clogging, music, ugly sweater contest, best dressed pet, kids zone and food. Gather at 6 PM for the tree lighting. Free. Donations of coats and non-perishable food welcomed.
Gingerbread House Competition, Grove Park Inn
National Gingerbread House Competition
Sunday, November 25, 2018 to Thursday, January 3, 2019
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday except Christmas week. See our guide for all the details.
NC Stage
Wonderful Life & 12 Dates @ NC Stage
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 to Sunday, December 30, 2018
Two shows alternate! The uplifting story Live From WVL Radio Theatre: It’s A Wonderful Life celebrates George Bailey and Bedford Falls. The second show The Twelve Dates of Christmas brings laughter and light heartedness with a one-woman show. Perfect for date night in downtown Asheville, Wed-Sun.
Flat Rock Playhouse
Classic Nashville Christmas, Flat Rock Playhouse
Thursday, November 29, 2018 to Sunday, December 16, 2018
Jason Petty and his Classic Nashville Roadshow cast presents classic holiday hits recorded by Gene Autry, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Brenda Lee and Elvis Presley.
Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival
Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Saturday, December 1, 2018
Enjoy many festivities including horse-drawn carriages, carolers, tree lighting, storytellers and instrumentalists in historic Biltmore Village. And chestnuts roasting on an open fire! Starts Fri at 6 PM with tree lighting. 
Snowbound ACT
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Sunday, December 16, 2018
Asheville Community Theatre's revival of this crowd-pleaser. It’s Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small town train depot where the snowy weather causes delays. Strangers become friends, friends become family, and the warmth of human connection is deepened through stories and songs. Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 PM; Sundays 2:30 PM
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Sunday, December 2, 2018
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally-known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission!
Balsam Range
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Saturday, December 1, 2018
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range and more. Workshops throughout the day. Single concert tickets and weekend packages. 
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 08 2018.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 08 2018.
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Saturday, December 1, 2018 to Sunday, December 23, 2018
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Walk through on Dec 1.
Rutherfordton Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
Big Crafty Asheville
The Big Crafty
Saturday, December 1, 2018 to Sunday, December 2, 2018
Local's favorite art & craft show with 170 hand-selected local artists. Local food & beer too. Inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville (87 Haywood St). Saturday 1-8 PM ($5/person) and Sunday 11 AM-6 PM (free).
Waynesville Christmas Parade
Waynesville Lighted Christmas Parade
Monday, December 3, 2018
Enjoy the illuminated evening Christmas Parades down the historic Main Street in downtown Wayneville starting at 6 PM with 120+ entries.
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Friday, December 7, 2018
Downtown Weaverville has luminaries along the streets, local choirs and bands will provide music, and horse and buggy rides will be available through town. 6-9 PM. Local businesses will be open late and the official tree lighting at 7:30 PM.
Art After Dark
Art After Dark
Friday, December 7, 2018
Downtown Waynesville galleries present special shows, with refreshments and live music 6-9 PM. Tree lighting too. Very festive small town atmosphere. Kicks off "Holly Days" weekend.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Repeats every week every Friday and every Saturday 1 times.
Friday, December 7, 2018 to Saturday, December 8, 2018
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Friday, December 7, 2018
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artists mingling throughout downtown, 5-8 PM.
Banner Elk Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Banner Elk
Friday, December 7, 2018 to Sunday, December 9, 2018
The charming town of Banner Elk has a big variety of events kick off with the tree lighting on Friday evening. 5k, ornament making, cookie decorating, storytelling, shopping and Parade of Lights on Saturday. Take home a Christmas Tree from one of the hundreds of cut and choose farms. 
Grovewood Village
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Friday, December 7, 2018 to Saturday, December 8, 2018
Shop at the big gallery and save 10% on all art and craft while enjoying free cider, cookies and wine. Also, watch artist demos, take a free factory tour and get free admission to Antique Car Museum. Asheville. 10 AM-5:30 PM
Montford Home Tour
Montford Home Tour
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Explore Asheville’s Montford historic neighborhood with Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes dating back to the late 1800s. Self-guided tour of 10 homes, 1-5 PM, $25/person. Tickets at Asheville Visitor Center.
 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the holiday season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. Small town Christmas at its finest. 6-9 PM
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 
Creche-Fest
Creche-Fest
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to Wednesday, December 19, 2018
See the fascinating display of 250+ Nativity sets from 50+ countries, hosted at First Baptist Church in downtown Asheville (5 Oak Street). Includes music and lectures. Free admission. Weekdays 5-8 PM, Sat & Sun 12-6 PM.
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Thursday, December 13, 2018 to Saturday, December 15, 2018
Ride the trolley on the Craggy Mountain railroad line, just five miles north of downtown Asheville. Saturdays, 10 AM-6 PM. After the 30-minute ride, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies along with visiting Santa and Mrs Claus. It's fun for all ages. $12/person
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Located near Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains entrance, see old-time crafts being demonstrated at the Mountain Farm Museum. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving and making baskets, dolls, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free. 
Thomas Wolfe House
An Angel Christmas @ Thomas Wolfe Home
Saturday, December 15, 2018
A special open house at the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with period decorations, special tours, angel wreath auction, kids' activities, snacks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. $5/adult, children 17 & under free.
Swannonoa Winter Solstice Concert
A Swannanoa Solstice
Sunday, December 16, 2018
A local's favorite holiday concert - 16th year! Appalachian music showcase with world influences. Many artists playing mandolins, harps, bagpipes, dulcimers and world percussion. 2 & 7 PM at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. $45/adult
Christmas Day Asheville
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Saturday, December 22, 2018 to Saturday, December 29, 2018
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
Monday, December 31, 2018
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Golden Nugget Drop, Marion
New Years Eve Golden Nugget Drop
Monday, December 31, 2018
Gather on Main Street in downtown Marion on New Year's Eve night to watch the giant golden nugget drop into the 10-foot wide eatable donut that you get to sample after midnight. Many activities.
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Jump into the chilly waters of Lake Lure to raise money for local charities. What a way to start the new year!
Fireplace in Historic Asheville B&B
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 to Sunday, March 31, 2019
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!

Past Events

Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 to Saturday, January 5, 2019
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 10, 2018 to Saturday, December 22, 2018
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Studio Stroll River Arts District
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Saturday, November 10, 2018 to Sunday, November 11, 2018
Head to the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art! 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Polar Express Train
Polar Express Train
Friday, November 9, 2018 to Monday, December 31, 2018
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
PhotoSphere Asheville
photo+sphere
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 to Sunday, November 11, 2018
Explore the environment through photography and photo-media at this citywide event with nationally known speakers, exhibitions, films and special projects at venues throughout Asheville. Many events are free.
Weaverville Art Safari
Weaverville Art Safari
Saturday, November 3, 2018 to Sunday, November 4, 2018
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Saturday, November 3, 2018
Meet 45 master potters from 17 states as they come together in Dillsboro for this premier art event. Buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
Saturday, November 3, 2018 to Sunday, January 6, 2019
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Tryon Beer Fest
Tryon Beer Fest
Saturday, November 3, 2018
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music and great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. 12-6 PM. Tickets: $30/person through August. $35 after Sept 1. $40 at event. Tickets capped at 1,000.
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