November 17, 2023 - December 31, 2023
Returning to the gardens this year, the popular North Carolina Arboretum's Winter Lights show will welcome members and guests back to the walk-through open-air holiday with spectacular glowing landscapes and plenty of new displays. The show will include the 50-ft lighted tree, Quilt Garden, many of your favorite lighted designs, and new ones for 2023! This is the Arboretum's largest annual fundraiser, benefitting its mission-driven programming.
To ease traffic congestion and make visits as pleasant as can be, the event offers designated entry times (6 PM, 7 PM, or 8 PM). Incoming gates close at 9 PM, and the event ends at 10 PM. Winter Lights tickets are sold per vehicle (not per person), and dates are priced in three different tiers reflecting on and off-peak attendance (Pink Tier, Blue Tier, and Yellow Tier). See the ticket info and link to buy below!
Look for several new features and design elements, including the popular gnomes! The show will offer some fun twists, including nature-themed displays like winter wildlife, colorful butterflies, and more. It's sure to delight guests and create new holiday memories!
Guided by green principles, the design team created a show composed of energy-efficient LED lights, which use 80% less energy than conventional lights. Proceeds generated from the Winter Lights fundraiser help the Arboretum continue to expand its educational programs, exhibits, and facilities. It takes 12,500 hours of labor to design, set up, remove the lights, and manage the crowds.
Tickets & Hours
- Tickets for standard-size vehicles will be $40 (Pink Tier), $55 (Blue Tier), and $70 (Yellow Tier) when purchased online in advance. Admission at the gate will be an additional $10.
- You must reserve your date and time slot when you buy your ticket. However, you can arrive any time on or after your time slot, up to the last entry at 9:30 PM.
- Members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society get a $5 discount on advance tickets only.
- Commercial vans and motor coaches ticket prices are charged a higher price point than personal vehicles in all tiers.
- Winter Lights will be open nightly from 6 to 10 PM, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
- Many nights will sell out in advance. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended.
- Weekends and Holidays will be busy with a longer wait time. Avoid crows by using the three-ticket tier to choose a lower-cost admission and attend on off-peak nights.
- Click here to buy tickets on their website.
Things to Know
For other questions, visit their website. or call the Arboretum 9 AM-5 PM, 7 days a week, at 828-665-2492.
The North Carolina Arboretum is located next to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance ramp at Milepost 393. From I-26, take Exit 33 and follow NC 191 South for two miles to the entrance on the right. Please do not enter Winter Lights from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Street Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way (best GPS address: 20 Frederick Law Olmsted Way)
Go to our North Carolina Arboretum Guide for daytime visits year-round.