Where can the best Christmas light displays in Asheville and the Western North Carolina mountains be seen? Here are our favorite places, including many new and expanded shows.

1. Winter Lights 

Returning to the gardens this year, the popular North Carolina Arboretum's Winter Lights show will welcome members and guests back to the traditional outdoor walk-through open-air format with glowing landscapes and plenty of new displays. The show will include the 50ft lighted tree, Quilt Garden, many of your favorite lighted designs, and new ones for the year! This is the Arboretum's largest annual fundraiser, benefitting its mission-driven programming.  RomanticAsheville.com is delighted to be a sponsor of this event. You must buy tickets in advance! Read all about it.

Forest City Christmas Lights

2. Forest City: The biggest public, free Christmas light display glows with 1 million lights covering trees and draped across Main Street in this small town about 60 miles from Asheville. It's worth the drive! It begins on Thanksgiving night. Weekends bring horse-drawn carriages. Read more.

Bryson City Drive-Thru Christmas lights

3. Bryson City: This small town is decked out with garland and holiday lights, with a 50-ft. Christmas tree in the town square. Browse galleries and shops, and find a variety of restaurants and two breweries. Also, find nearby ice skating, freshly cut Christmas trees, and more. At the Visitor Center (255 Main St.) kids can enjoy cookies and hot cocoa while they write letters to Santa. Don't miss the Chocolate Shoppe! Go to their website for holiday happenings.

Biltmore House Christmas Lights

4. Biltmore House Candlelight Tour: An evening tour inside this famous castle glows with candles and lights of 50+ Christmas trees. On the front lawn is the biggest tree of them all, a 55-foot Norway spruce with 45,000 lights and surrounded by many smaller trees. Walk between the trees to be surrounded by lights. It's a great photo spot. Read about Christmas at Biltmore tours.

Antler Hill Village, Asheville

5. Antler Hill Village: Biltmore has expanded the outdoor light show covering trees and buildings at Antler Hill Village on Biltmore Estate. Home to the popular Winery, it's a great place to visit after your house tour. It's included with the estate admission. Read more about it.

Tryon Light Show

6: Christmas Wonderland: A 2-mile drive-through light extravaganza at the Tryon International Equestrian Center campus, including Winterfest Village with Santa, carousel and carriage rides, kid activities, s'mores, live music and performances. Read more about it.

Montford Neighborhood Christmas Lights

7: Montford Historic District: Our favorite neighborhood to look for decorated houses is just north of downtown Asheville. Drive Montford Avenue past several grand bed-and-breakfast inns (like Inn on Montford above). Read more about Montford.

Lake Julian Christmas Lights

8. Lake Julian Festival of Lights: A longtime local's favorite holiday tradition is this drive-through light show in a county park in south Asheville. Read all about it.

Also, see our Top 11 Christmas Towns for the best Main Street displays. More to come!

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