Summer Lights, NC Arboretum

Summer Lights, NC Arboretum

August 2-6, 2017
New in summer 2017 is the Summer Lights outdoor concert series under the stars at the North Carolina Arboretum with orchestra music and a synchronized light show on the forest backdrop. The concerts start at 9 PM each evening and advance tickets are required. Gates open at 8 PM, so come early to stroll through the summer gardens and special exhibits. We took these photos on opening night and delighted to be a sponsor!

Summer Lights NC Arboretum

With the big success of their Winter Lights holiday show, the Arboretum created this special summer series to give visitors a rare glance at summer evenings at their 434-acre public garden. The concerts feature the Blue Ridge Orchestra, an all-volunteer ensemble made up of professional and amateur musicians based in Western North Carolina. The resident katydids and other night creatures add their melodies as well.

Summer Lights NC Arboretum

Directed by conductor Milton Crotts, the orchestra will perform a variety of popular favorites, ranging from classical to Broadway hits. Highland Mediaworks has matched the music to a dramatic light display projected onto the Arboretum’s woodland forest backdrop.

The concert and light show will conclude around 10:45 PM. Located in south Asheville at the corner of Highway 191 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Arboretum is an easy 10-mile drive from both downtown and Biltmore Estate.

Summer Lights NC Arboretum

Seating on the amphitheatre seats is limited and available on a first-come basis. We recommend bringing portable chairs or a blanket to sit for the larger grass areas.


  • Tickets are $18/adults and $12/children ages 5-11. Must be purchased in advance. Buy online at and are date-specific. Handling fees and sales tax are additional.
  • Parking is included.
  • North Carolina Arboretum Society Members receive a $2 discount.
  • No pets.
  • The Rocky Cove model railroad will be running before the show (adjacent to amphitheatre).
  • Gates open at 8 PM for ticket holders, and the show will begin promptly at 9 PM. Allow 15 minutes to drive to the parking area and walk to the amphitheatre.
  • From 8-9 PM, you may tour the Elizabeth Ellison summer art exhibit inside the Baker Exhibit Center.
  • The Savory Thyme Café will have food and beverages, including beer and wine, available for purchase during the show. No outside food or drinks please.
  • If a show is cancelled due to inclement weather before intermission, you will have the opportunity to exchange your ticket for a different night or request a refund.
  • All proceeds raised during Summer Lights will support the Arboretum’s programs, exhibits and facilities year-round.

NC Arboretum, Asheville

See the nearby Quilt Garden before the show!

Directions from Asheville: From I-26 East from downtown, take Exit 33 and follow NC 191 South for two miles to the entrance on right.

See our North Carolina Arboretum Guide for more information.

Summer Lights Video Sampler 2017

November 16-December 31, 2018
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