Are you visiting the Asheville area on Christmas Day or weekend? There are so many things to do. Celebrate with your family or friends and make memories for many years to come. As with most cities, most businesses close on Christmas Day - but we do have a list of restaurants open below.
December 23, 2016 Update: Sorry, we won't have a white Christmas in the North Carolina mountains - except for manmade snow up on the ski slopes. But it will be great weather to get outdoors to enjoy our gift of nature and gorgeous scenery.
Yes, Biltmore House is open for daytime tours on both Christmas Eve and Day, but no candlelight evening tours on those days. Buy your tickets in advance (save $10 if at least 7 days ahead). See our Christmas at Biltmore Guide.
Enjoy free parking in downtown for three days at Christmas (Dec 24, 25 and 26). Most shops and galleries are open the day before and after Christmas. See our downtown Asheville Guide.
Winter Lights at NC Arboretum
As we mentioned above, the big light display in the gardens of the Arboretum will be open both Christmas Eve and Day, 6-10 PM. Cafe has a buffet both days. Buy tickets in advance (no tickets at gate) - they often sell out this week. Go to our Winter Lights Guide for more.
Looking for snow? This year, our only white Christmas locations will be our ski slopes with manmade snow. But with recent cold weather, you'll find plenty of snow for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. They will be open every day. See our Top Ski Resorts near Asheville.
Take a Hike!
Since the weather will feel more like spring, many will head outdoors for a walk or hike. Most trails in the national forest and parks will be open - but visitor centers will be closed. State parks, including Mt. Mitchell, Lake James and Gorges, are closed on Christmas Day. See our Top 75 Hikes and our Top 20 Winter Hikes.
Most all of the waterfalls in our national and state forests (including DuPont Forest) will be accessible on Christmas Day, and they are free to enjoy. See our Top 60 Waterfalls. See our Top 20 Winter Waterfalls photo tour. (Chimney Rock & Gorges State Park will be closed on Christmas Day.)
Blue Ridge Parkway
Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway will be open. The section just north of Asheville to Mt Mitchell is closed due to repairs. To head north beyond Mt. Mitchell, take NC Highway 80 from Marion to reach the Parkway. All visitor centers (and most restroom stops) are closed. But all hiking trails and overlooks are open, even on Christmas Day. Read more.
Restaurants Open for Christmas
What better way to enjoy times with loved ones than to gather for food and drinks? Be sure to make reservations, especially if you have a group. While most all restaurants and breweries are open Christmas week, only a few are open on December 25th. Many are open on Christmas Eve, but will close early. Here are our top picks:
- Omni Grove Park Inn Restaurants: Christmas Eve (until 8 PM) & Day (12-8 PM) legendary buffet in the Blue Ridge Dining Room. Plus the festive Christmas Day Buffet in the Grand Ballroom is 11 AM-7:30 PM. Either buffet is $59/person. Vue 1913 features a 3-course menu ($65/person) 5-9:30 PM on Christmas Day. Edison Craft Ales & Kitchen open on the 25th 11 AM-4 PM with a seasonal menu. Reservations are a must.
- Biltmore Estate Restaurants: The big Christmas Eve and Day buffet at Deerpark is $54/person. 11 AM-5 PM both days. Call 828-225-6260 to reserve. Other restaurants, including Bistro and Stable Café, will be open regular hours. Bistro reservations: 828-225-6230. You'll need either an admission ticket or season pass to get inside the estate for the restaurants.
- Grand Bohemian Hotel / Red Stag Grill contemporary European comfort food Christmas Day Four-Course Brunch, 11 AM-3 PM, $69/person. Christmas Eve & Day Four-Course Dinner 5-9 PM, $85/person.
- Strada Italiano: Christmas Eve regular menu plus Feast of the Seven Fishes, downtown, 11 AM-9 PM.
- The Blackbird: Limited menu on Christmas Eve, 11 AM-8 PM, downtown.
- Edna's Coffee Shop: Open Christmas Day 7 AM-4 PM in north Asheville with great coffee, sweets, soups and sandwiches.
- Isa's Bistro: Open Christmas Day 3-8 PM with 3-course menu $55/person, downtown Asheville.
- Season’s at Highland Lake Inn: Christmas Day buffet featuring salt-crusted NY strip, molasses and brown sugar glazed ham, smoked Norwegian salmon and more. Flat Rock. 11 AM-5 PM. $40.95/adult. Reservations required. Christmas Eve buffet 5-8 PM.
- Mountain Magnolia Inn: Dine in this historic inn at Hot Springs. Special menu on Friday, Christmas Eve & Day 5:30-9 PM. Reservations required.
- Well-Bred Bakery: Open 9 AM-3 PM Christmas Day. Pastries and sandwiches. 26 North Main St, Weaverville.
Hotels & Bed and Breakfasts
If you stay in a hotel or B&B, most will offer breakfast on Christmas morning. So that's a great way to start the big day! Find the perfect place to stay.