The winter months of January, February and March are the most serene of the year in Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. So it's the perfect time for a North Carolina mountain romantic getaway, including a Valentine's getaway. Surprising to some, it rarely snows in Asheville. The city is protected by the surrounding mountains, so snow is often kept about 20 miles away on the higher mountain peaks. Here are our Top 12 Asheville winter outings this year (and see events below):
1. Winter Getaway Packages: Since the winter months are the slowest months of the year for inns, hotels and cabin rentals, you will find the best deals of the year. See a big variety of Winter Packages and Specials. Rates will be higher on Valentine's Weekend, so bring your Valentine before or after the big day to save more! See our complete list of small B&Bs, large B&Bs, cabins and hotels in the area.
2. Biltmore Specials: Enjoy the grand estate without the big crowds and get great deals on tickets and accommodations at the Inn on Biltmore. The Dressing Downton costume exhibit opens February 5. Read more about winter outings and specials at Biltmore.
3. Ski & Snowboard: Beech Mountain is the highest ski area in eastern USA. Take advantage of great offers January-March. See more NC ski resorts.
4: Foodie Favorites: It's a great time for culinary explorations, including trying out one of our many farm-to-table restaurants, sampling locally made cheese or chocolate and buying local food at the WNC Farmers' Market that is open year-round. See our Top 12 Foodie Favorites. And visit for Restaurant Week or the Small Plate Crawl.
5. Beer Crawl: Asheville (a.k.a. Beer City U.S.A) has an amazing selection of bars, brewpubs, microbreweries, and restaurants for a city of its size. In fact, Asheville (per capita) has one of the highest rates of craft brew consumption in the Southeast. Sample some excellent brews, enjoy some great food, and meet some very interesting people along the way. Here are our top picks for beer the Asheville area. If wine is more to your liking, see our guide to Asheville Wine Bars.
6. Downtown Asheville: Browse through more than 200 shops, 30 art galleries and a dozen antique stores - all locally owned. And take a culinary tour at your choice of the 50 local restaurants or visit craft breweries. Tour the fascinating Thomas Wolfe Home. See our Downtown Asheville Guide.
7. Spa Time: Be it a simple weekend of relaxation, a romantic couple’s getaway in the mountains or a chance to improve your health, Asheville is the ultimate destination for spas and wellness. Stay at an Asheville area destination spa and well some well-deserved pampering from your busy life.
Warm up in the 100-degree mineral waters in Hot Springs.
8. Museums: Winter is a great time to explore the many fascinating museums and other indoor attractions in our area. Many are free or have a minimal admission fee, and there's something for everyone's interest.
9. Art & Craft: With more than 100 galleries and even more artist studios, you will need plenty of time for exploring. In addition to the galleries downtown and Biltmore Village, head to the Folk Art Center and the River Arts District. See our Gallery Guide and info about the big Grove Park Arts and Crafts Conference in February.
10. Winter Hiking & Waterfalls: For the best views of the year, take a winter hike. With leafless trees, cool temperatures, less crowds and frequent bright blue skies, it may become your favorite time of the year to hit the trail. See our winter hiking guide for our top picks. And don't forget to find some of our spectacular waterfalls, including the roadside Looking Glass Falls. See photos of rime ice, snow and icy waterfalls.
11. Live Music & Dance: Each evening, Asheville comes alive and offers a mulitude of places to go for a big variety of live music any day of the week - some jazz to plenty of bluegrass. See some of our favorite music venues. Join the locals at weekly contra dances on Monday and Thursday. Regulars love to help beginners. Lessons and an evening of great memories are $12/couple.
12. Biltmore Village: Ready for more shopping? Located across from the entrance to Biltmore Estate, the Village is home to more than 40 unique shops and 10 cafes and restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks and period architecture make it a delight to stroll through and explore. And this is the best area for antiques. See our Biltmore Village Guide.
Top Asheville NC Mountain Winter & Valentine Events
Polar Plunge at Lake Lure
January 1, 2015: Start the year with a fun adventure by jumping into chilly water to help raise money for the local fire department. Or just watch the fun with some hot chocolate! Read more about the Polar Plunge.
American Kennel Club Agility Trial
January 16-18, 2015: Watch 400+ purebred dogs (70 breeds) from the southeast compete on various levels of difficulty, against each other and the clock. The agility course is comprised of jumps, weave poles, tunnels and climbing apparatuses. AKC’s newest class, Time 2 Beat (T2B) will be offered on Friday and Saturday. Each dog has the chance to set the "Time to Beat" for each jump height. This trial is a one of six major ISC qualifying events for the 2015 AKC/USA Agility World Team Tryouts It will be held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center near the Asheville Airport. located off of I-26, exit 40. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.blueridgeagility.com.
Big Band & Swing Dance Weekend at Grove Park Inn
January 16-18, 2015: Bring your dancing shoes and hit the floor for a weekend of great Big Band & Swing Dance music at Grove Park Inn with incredible performances from NC Revelers on Friday ($40/person) and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra on Saturday ($45/person). Event activities for package holders include dance instruction. Click here to visit their Web site.
Soaring Aerial Arts Production
January 16-18, 2015: Combining theater, acrobatics, dance and aerial arts, Soaring is a full spectrum of artistic and athletic talent, presented at Asheville Community Theatre’s Mainstage downtown with acrobalance, trapeze, silks, lyra, stilt walking and more. Tickets $15/person. Buy tickets and get info on their Web site.
Asheville Restaurant Week
January 20-29, 2015: Special fixed-price menus and meal deals at participating restaurants, presented by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Read all about it.
Asheville Fringe Arts Festival
January 22-25, 2015: This avant-garde festival pushes the boundaries of artistic endeavor through a variety of media: dance, words spoken and unspoken, visual, theatre, picha kucha and others. See our Asheville Fringe Arts Festival Guide.
All That Jazz Weekend at Grove Park Inn
January 23-25, 2015: The Grove Park Inn jazz lovers’ weekend has earned national recognition as one of the premiere jazz festivals of the Southeast. Let the music of Bourbon Street reverberate with critically-acclaimed New Orleans musicians, Nicholas Payton Trio on Friday evening ($50/person) and jazz legend, Ellis Marsalis on stage Saturday night ($55/person). Click here to visit their Web site.
Winter Warmer Beer Festival
January 24, 2015: Features specialty brews from the Asheville area as well as breweries from other states. Local chefs offering food pairings. Live music. Get advance tickets since it usually sells out. For tickets, go to their Web site.
Celtic Adventure Weekend at Grove Park Inn
January 30-February 1, 2015: Celebrate the Celtic heritage of Western North Carolina. Celtic band, RUNA makes its first appearance at the resort on Friday ($40/person) and Gaelic Storm returns by popular demand, to rock the stage Saturday night ($45/person). Click here to visit their Web site.
50 Shades! The Musical Parody
January 31, 2015: The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has shattered sales records around the globe with more than 100 million copies sold and a Universal Pictures feature film releasing on Valentine’s Day is sure to be a cinematic blockbuster. This sexy and hilarious send-up to Fifty Shades of Grey has audiences rolling on the floor and dancing in the aisles. See it at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium at the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville, 8 PM. Tickets $30-$45.
Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times
February 5-May 25, 2015: This new exhibition inside the Biltmore House features 40 costumes from the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.” The clothing will be showcased in rooms in groupings inspired by the fictional show and by real life at Biltmore, the grand Vanderbilt estate of the same era. Included with Biltmore admission. See our Dressing Downton Guide.
Mountain RV, Boat & Recreation Show
February 6-8, 2015: Head over to the WNC Ag Center to see the latest from leading RV, Automotive, Recreation, and Marine brands. $5/person
A Chorus Line
February 6-March 1, 2015: See the musical that redefined a genre at Asheville Community Theatre. This brilliantly complex fusion of dance, song and compellingly authentic drama runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. Buy tickets and get info on their Web site.
Valentine's Day & Weekend Events
Valentine's Star Gazing & Tour
February 13, 2015: Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) special Valentine's star gazing event includes a tour of the campus and PARI Exhibit Gallery and observing session. Begins at 7 PM. Reservations are required. $20 per adult, $15 for seniors/military. Read more about PARI.
Valentine's Day Pottery For Couples
February 13, 2015: Odyssey ClayWorks is hosting a one night pottery class, 7-9 PM, in the River Arts District. Sip a glass of wine and nibble on chocolates while you and your partner explore the sensual aspects of clay. You can dig your hands in the clay, or work on a piece together. They'll even help you re-enact the scene from Ghost! They will glaze and fire the work for you to remember the night. No experience necessary. $85/couple. Go to their Web site.
Chimney Rock Park Valentine’s Special
February 13-15, 2015: Buy one ticket, get one free. What better way to show your sweetheart some love than by bringing him or her to see beautiful, 75-mile views from the top of Chimney Rock? Go to the Chimney Rock Web site to download the special coupon to present at the gate.
Valentine's Day Drag Queen Bingo
February 13 & 14, 2015: This is not your grandma's bingo. Back by popular demand, join Brother Wolf Animal Rescue for eight zany bingo games with prizes, refreshments, raffle items, and fantastic entertainment. Happy hour begins at 6 PM and games run 7-9 PM. Admission $25/person. Buy tickets online. All proceeds benefit homeless pets.
Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times
February 13-15, 2015: Exhibition inside the Biltmore House features 40 costumes from the popular PBS series “Downton Abbey.” See our Dressing Downton Guide.
Lazoom Comedy Bus Valentine's Ride
Feburary 13 & 14, 2015: LaZoom's "Let Your Love Roll Ride” is for couples only with several treats along the way and their special brand of hilarious heartwarming mayhem. Departs from Asheville Brewing Company downtown. Age 21+. Beer and wine permitted. $42 per couple (no single tickets). Book tickets in advance since their tours usually sell-out. For more, go to LaZoom's Web site.
A Chorus Line
February 13 & 14, 2015: See the musical that redefined a genre at Asheville Community Theatre. This brilliantly complex fusion of dance, song and compellingly authentic drama runs Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. Buy tickets and get info on their Web site.
Valentine's Flamenco Late Night Rendezvous
Feburary 14, 2015: Step back in time in Lex 18 downtown, a romantic 1920's speakeasy. Lit by candles and fireplaces, enjoy live Flamenco music and dance, a delicious platter of savories, desserts, hand-dipped fruits in chocolate and choice of a bottle of champagne or wine. Seating at 11 PM.
Click here to visit their Web site.
Mardi Gras Parade
Feburary 15, 2015: Asheville's Mardi Gras Parade is presented by the Mystic Mountain Krewe, an all-volunteer community based organization made up of New Orleans ex-pats, and aficionados of that culture! It's fun for all ages. Read all about the Mardi Gras Celebration!
The WEDLOCK 5K
February 15, 2015: Keep warm and run with the one you love! The WEDLOCK 5K™ is a competitive race that provides a unique running event to break from the typical dinner and a movie couple experience. “We Run for Love” is their motto. It's designed to inspire, encourage, and motivate marriages and couples to have fun, work as a team, trust each other, and communicate with one another. Winners cross the Start/Finish line together symbolically renewing their commitment. Race benefits Helpmate Inc. of Asheville, provider of crisis-level services to victims of domestic violence. Takes place at Antler Hill Village & Winery at Biltmore Estate. The 3.1 mile race starts at 8 AM. Participants can register as a couple or team of two now until February 14, 2015 at www.active.com. Participants do not have to be married to run.
See more events for Valentine's Weekend.
Asheville Bluegrass First Class Festival
February 20-22, 2015: This annual festival features plenty of bluegrass music and jamming. See our Asheville Bluegrass First Class Festival Guide.
Totally '80s Retro Ski Weekend
February 20-22, 2015: Take a time-warp atop Beech Mountain back to the new wave era with live music, special guest appearances, retro festivities and 80’s-themed specials on lodging and meals. See our Beech Mountain Guide for more.
Arts & Crafts Conference at Grove Park Inn
February 20-22, 2015: Arts and Crafts enthusiasts, including new collectors, veterans, curators, craftspersons, authors, builders, architects, designers, editors, and bungalow owners gather for workshops, tours, crafts show and more. See our Arts & Crafts Conference Guide.
February 21, 2015: MADISON HAS HEArT invites all to enjoy a day of shopping, dancing, and eating all with the goal of caring for people in need and heating some homes this winter. Browse a carefully curated offering of arts, crafts, furniture, fashion, and more. Marshall Madison High Studios from 10 AM to 5 PM. Go to their Web site.
Asheville Truffle Experience
February 20-22, 2015: Truffle extravaganza includes a truffle growers’ forum with experts from France and Oregon, a culinary demonstration by A-B Tech chef instructors, a wine-paired truffle dinner extravaganza, and a visit to the Mountain Research Station truffle orchard, among other feasts for the senses. Read more about the Truffle Experience.
WinterFest Smoky Style
February 27-March 1, 2015: Held in Maggie Valley to highlight sled dogs, Plott hounds, canine demonstrations, local reality TV Stars and more at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds.
Black Mountain Marathon & Mt. Mitchell Challenge
February 28, 2015 (Races are full, plan for 2016!): The event for the elite athlete or weekend warrior! Begin at dawn in Black Mountain and run up the mountains. With a starting altitude of 2,360', the elevation gain for this 40-mile run is 4,324 feet on a demanding course run over rugged mountain terrain under potentially life-threatening winter weather conditions to reach the Mt. Mitchell 6,684' summit. For more, go to their Web site.
Asheville Small Plate Crawl
February 24-26, 2015: Sample the best of our culinary scene at the Asheville Small Plate Crawl!
SoCon Basketball Tournament
March 5-9, 2015: Catch an exciting game at the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament in Asheville. Read more.
Organic Growers School Spring Conference
March 7-8, 2015: This one-of-a-kind event at UNC-Asheville that brings people of all walks of life together for a weekend of learning and networking. Pick from 70 classes and hands on workshops on a variety of topics, from starting your first vegetable garden, baking bread, and saving on home energy costs, to raising your own goat herd. Get down-to-earth, practical advice on growing and sustainable living, while remaining affordable and accessible to anyone wanting to participate. Go to their web site.
Chimney Rock Park in the Moonlight
March 7, 2015: Explore Chimney Rock Park after hours in the moonlight with stargazing with the Asheville Astronomy Club and a hike to and from the top of the Chimney with State Park Rangers. The Outcroppings Trail and the elevator will be open to the top. 7-10 PM. Guests admitted by vehicle, and space limited to the first 50 cars to pre-register. Minimum donation of $10 per car suggested. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight. Call 800-277-9611 to pre-register.
Comedy Classic Weekend at Grove Park Inn
March 13-15, 2015: It’s a weekend of a thousand laughs, as the Grove Park Inn hosts two nights of uproarious comedy hosted by Pat McGann. Friday night features comedians Andy Woodhull, Julie Scoggins, Julian McCullough, Jeff Caldwell and headliner Lachlan Patterson ($45/person). Saturday night features comedians Andy Hendrickson, Tone Bell, Erin Foley and headliner Tom Papa ($50/person). Click here to visit their Web site.
Bear Crawl 5K
March 14, 2015: Challenging mud-filled 5K course in Marion. Starts at 9 AM with 10 mind-bending, muscle-wrenching obstacles including a canoe pull, bucket carry, bear bog and bear roast! The benefit race is open to all ages and skill levels. Go to their Web site.
WNC Home Garden & Green Living Show
March 20-22, 2015: Held in the U.S. Cellular Center in Downtown Asheville, this
premier home show features products for the home, lawn, garden, and healthy living with seminars on topics such as solar energy, green building trends, remodeling tips, and gardening.
Biltmore Blooms festival of flowers
March 20-May 25, 2015: Stunning floral displays during this festival of flowers starts with orchids in the Conservatory and Winter Garden in March. See our Biltmore Blooms festival of flowers Guide.
Orchid Show and Sale
March 28-29, 2015: This popular show at the NC Arboretum features hundreds of orchids, education classes, plant and supply vendors. See our Orchid Show Guide.
Looking Ahead: Top Spring Events | Top Summer Events | Top Fall Events | Art Festivals