Asheville Holiday Events: Nov & Dec

Asheville Top 50 Holiday Events - Nov & Dec

During the late fall and festive holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day, Asheville and the surrounding mountain small towns have many great events, festivals and celebrations. Below are our favorites. Also see our Holiday Things to Do for ideas for your vacation during November and December. (Pic at top: Forest City Lights)

Top 50 Holiday Events, November & December

Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
Friday, November 1, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Polar Express Train
Polar Express Train
Friday, November 8, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
Downton Abbey Exhibition
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
Friday, November 8, 2019 to Tuesday, April 7, 2020
This nationally touring exhibition at Biltmore that features set recreations, costumes and never-before-seen multimedia elements. 
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 9, 2019 to Saturday, December 21, 2019
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Tryon Christmas Lights
Christmas Wonderland Lights @ Tryon
Friday, November 15, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020
Drive through an extravangant, 2-mile Christmas light show, synchronized to music at the Tryon International Equestrian Center - open every night of the week.
Gingerbread Houses Grove Park Inn
National Gingerbread House Competition
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday except Christmas & Thanksgiving week. See our guide for all the details.
Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat, 10AM-4PM.
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Friday, November 22, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
Forest City Christmas Lights
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
Thursday, November 28, 2019 to Wednesday, January 1, 2020
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in our top Christmas Town Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Hendersonville, NC, Christmas
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including parade, hay rides, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
Flat Rock Playhouse
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
Dazzling new production at the State Theatre of NC featuring favorite holiday songs with an all-star cast from across the USA, Playhouse Chorus and dancers of all ages. Near Hendersonville.
Winter Wonderland Grove Arcade
Winter Wonderland, Grove Arcade
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
The Grove Arcade is extra festive during the holiday season! Their Winter Wonderland series features many free, family-friendly events throughout the holiday season with live music, ornament making workshops, gingerbread houses, and more.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Monday, December 23, 2019
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Walk through on first two nights.
Thomas Wolfe House
An Angel Christmas @ Thomas Wolfe Home
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Take a festive tour through the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with angel themed decorations. Open Tues-Sat, 9 AM-5 PM. Open House on Dec 14 includes angel wreath auction, kids' activities and more. 
Trail of Lights Spruce Pine
A Mountain Christmas Trail of Lights
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Enjoy 15 miles of twinkling lights and displays through the small towns of Spruce Pine and Bakersville, with many holiday happenings throughout the month. While you’re there, choose and cut your christmas tree at a local farm with fun activities like hayrides, hot cocoa, s’mores and pictures with Santa!
NC Stage
Handle With Care @ NC Stage Company
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
This bilingual romantic comedy brings together an unlikely pair.  Is their inevitable love an accident or is it destiny, generations in the making?
Snowbound ACT
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Thursday, December 5, 2019 to Friday, December 20, 2019
Head to Asheville Community Theatre in downtown to watch Kris Kringle get a job working as Santa for Macy’s where he surprises employees and customers by claiming to be the real Santa Claus. The whole family will enjoy this funny and faithful adaptation of the classic 1947 film.
SART
Miracle in Bedford Falls @ SART
Thursday, December 5, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
See Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre's musical based on the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. A guardian angel who shows George Bailey what the world would have been like if he’d never been born. Located at Mars Hill College's Owen Theatre.
Asheville Nativity Creche Fest
Asheville Nativity: Creche-Fest
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 to Wednesday, December 18, 2019
See the fascinating display of 300+ Nativity sets from 60+ countries, hosted at First Baptist Church in downtown Asheville (5 Oak Street). Includes music and life-sized stable for dress-up photos. Family friendly and free. Weekdays 5 - 8pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 6 pm.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Repeats every week every Friday and every Saturday 4 times.
Friday, December 13, 2019
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the holiday season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. Small town Christmas at its finest. 6-9 PM
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 14 2019.
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 14 2019.
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Located near Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains entrance, see old-time crafts being demonstrated at the Mountain Farm Museum. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving and making baskets, dolls, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free. 
Christmas Day Asheville
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Saturday, December 21, 2019 to Sunday, December 29, 2019
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville, Biltmore and the surrounding mountain towns.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Golden Nugget Drop, Marion
New Years Eve Golden Nugget Drop
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Gather on Main Street in downtown Marion on New Year's Eve night to watch the giant golden nugget drop into the 10-foot wide eatable donut that you get to sample after midnight. Many activities.
Fireplace in Historic Asheville B&B
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 to Tuesday, March 31, 2020
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!

Past Events

Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Friday, December 13, 2019
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Asheville Nativity Creche Fest
Asheville Nativity: Creche-Fest
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 to Wednesday, December 18, 2019
See the fascinating display of 300+ Nativity sets from 60+ countries, hosted at First Baptist Church in downtown Asheville (5 Oak Street). Includes music and life-sized stable for dress-up photos. Family friendly and free. Weekdays 5 - 8pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 6 pm.
Montford Home Tour
Montford Home Tour
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Explore Asheville’s Montford historic neighborhood with Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes dating back to the late 1800s. Self-guided tour of 10 homes, 1-5 PM, $25/person. Tickets at Asheville Visitor Center (36 Montford Ave).
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM. 
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Rutherfordton Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
Big Crafty Asheville
The Big Crafty
Saturday, December 7, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
Local's favorite art & craft show with 170 hand-selected local artists. Local food & beer too. Inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville (87 Haywood St). Saturday 1-8 PM ($5/person) and Sunday 11 AM-6 PM (free).
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Friday, December 6, 2019
Downtown Weaverville has luminaries along the streets, local choirs and bands will provide music, and horse and buggy rides will be available through town. 6-9 PM. Local businesses will be open late and the official tree lighting at 7:30 PM.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Friday, December 6, 2019
Experience the magic as the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally-known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission!
Balsam Range
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range and more. Workshops throughout the day. Single concert tickets and weekend packages. 
Banner Elk Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Banner Elk
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
Many events during this weekend in our top ski town of Banner Elk. Tree lighting and variety show on Friday evening. Saturday highlights include a 5k, Alpaca Farm tours, Parade of Lights at 6 PM. Tate-Evans Park has train rides, luminaries and light shows. Take home a Christmas Tree from a farm.
Grovewood Village
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Saturday, December 7, 2019
Shop at the big gallery and save 10% on all art and craft while enjoying free cider, cookies and wine. Also, watch artist demos, take a free factory tour and get free admission to Antique Car Museum. Asheville. 10 AM-5:30 PM
Snowbound ACT
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Thursday, December 5, 2019 to Friday, December 20, 2019
Head to Asheville Community Theatre in downtown to watch Kris Kringle get a job working as Santa for Macy’s where he surprises employees and customers by claiming to be the real Santa Claus. The whole family will enjoy this funny and faithful adaptation of the classic 1947 film.
SART
Miracle in Bedford Falls @ SART
Thursday, December 5, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
See Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre's musical based on the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. A guardian angel who shows George Bailey what the world would have been like if he’d never been born. Located at Mars Hill College's Owen Theatre.
NC Stage
Handle With Care @ NC Stage Company
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
This bilingual romantic comedy brings together an unlikely pair.  Is their inevitable love an accident or is it destiny, generations in the making?
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Monday, December 23, 2019
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Walk through on first two nights.
Thomas Wolfe House
An Angel Christmas @ Thomas Wolfe Home
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Take a festive tour through the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with angel themed decorations. Open Tues-Sat, 9 AM-5 PM. Open House on Dec 14 includes angel wreath auction, kids' activities and more. 
Maggie Valley Christmas
Maggie Gets Lit
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Kick off the season at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 2:30-6 PM, for a Christmas Market, Santa Strut, clogging, music, ugly sweater contest, best dressed pet, kids zone and food. Gather at 6 PM for the tree lighting. Free. Donations of coats and non-perishable food welcomed.
Trail of Lights Spruce Pine
A Mountain Christmas Trail of Lights
Saturday, November 30, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Enjoy 15 miles of twinkling lights and displays through the small towns of Spruce Pine and Bakersville, with many holiday happenings throughout the month. While you’re there, choose and cut your christmas tree at a local farm with fun activities like hayrides, hot cocoa, s’mores and pictures with Santa!
Hendersonville, NC, Christmas
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including parade, hay rides, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
Flat Rock Playhouse
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
Dazzling new production at the State Theatre of NC featuring favorite holiday songs with an all-star cast from across the USA, Playhouse Chorus and dancers of all ages. Near Hendersonville.
Drive About Art Tour
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Saturday, November 30, 2019
Take a free self-guided driving tour of the galleries and working studios of Graham and Swain Counties and buy arts and crafts directly from the artist. Pick up a map at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center near Fontana Lake. 10 AM-5 PM.
Winter Wonderland Grove Arcade
Winter Wonderland, Grove Arcade
Friday, November 29, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
The Grove Arcade is extra festive during the holiday season! Their Winter Wonderland series features many free, family-friendly events throughout the holiday season with live music, ornament making workshops, gingerbread houses, and more.
Thanksgiving in Asheville
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
Thursday, November 28, 2019 to Sunday, December 1, 2019
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Forest City Christmas Lights
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
Thursday, November 28, 2019 to Wednesday, January 1, 2020
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in our top Christmas Town Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Asheville Holiday Parade
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Downtown, 11 AM. A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville's holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance and theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
Marshall Art Market
Marshall Handmade Market, Marshall
Saturday, November 23, 2019 to Sunday, November 24, 2019
This arts festival & holiday market is held indoors at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassatt Island in the French Broad River, 25 minutes north of Asheville. Classrooms-turned-studios open their doors for 60 artists to share process and art. Food trucks too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Friday, November 22, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
Tis the Season Holiday Fair
'Tis the Season Holiday Fair, WNC Agricultural Center
Friday, November 22, 2019 to Sunday, November 24, 2019
Do some holiday shopping done at this large, three day holiday fair with 300+ vendors, featuring artists, crafters, gifts, gourmet holiday food, local wines and more. Fri/Sat 10 AM-6 PM, Sun 11 AM-5 PM. Adults/$5, Children under 12 are free. 
Gingerbread Houses Grove Park Inn
National Gingerbread House Competition
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday except Christmas & Thanksgiving week. See our guide for all the details.
Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Saturday, January 4, 2020
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat, 10AM-4PM.
Tryon Christmas Lights
Christmas Wonderland Lights @ Tryon
Friday, November 15, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020
Drive through an extravangant, 2-mile Christmas light show, synchronized to music at the Tryon International Equestrian Center - open every night of the week.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 9, 2019 to Saturday, December 21, 2019
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Studio Stroll River Arts District
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Saturday, November 9, 2019 to Sunday, November 10, 2019
Head to the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art! 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Polar Express Train
Polar Express Train
Friday, November 8, 2019 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
Downton Abbey Exhibition
Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
Friday, November 8, 2019 to Tuesday, April 7, 2020
This nationally touring exhibition at Biltmore that features set recreations, costumes and never-before-seen multimedia elements. 
Weaverville Art Safari
Weaverville Art Safari
Saturday, November 2, 2019 to Sunday, November 3, 2019
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Meet 40+ master potters from across the country at this premier juried art event. Watch them in action and buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Tryon Beer Fest
Tryon Beer Fest
Saturday, November 2, 2019
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music and great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. 12-6 PM. Tickets: $30/person through August. $35 after Sept 1. $40 at event. Tickets capped at 1,000.
Food Truck Festival
Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Head to Asheville Outlets mall for a big gathering of 25 food trucks. Buy a big variety of food, along with craft ales and beers from 50 breweries. Music, lawn games and artisan market. 12 PM-5 PM next to Field & Stream. Bring lawnchairs. $5/person in advance and $10 day of. Kids 12 and under are free. 
Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
Friday, November 1, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
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