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. Find many more community events on our Daily Calendar. 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 3, 2017 to Sunday, January 7, 2018
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 10, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
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. See our guide for all the details.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 11, 2017 to Saturday, December 23, 2017
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.
Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 to Saturday, January 6, 2018
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.
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
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 23, 2017 to Tuesday, January 2, 2018
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in downtown Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Hendersonville, NC, Christmas
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Friday, November 24, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including carriage rides, parade, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
Flat Rock Playhouse
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas Spectacular
Saturday, November 25, 2017 to Friday, December 22, 2017
Original musical revue preformed by favorite Playhouse singers and dancers at the State Theatre of North Carolina, near Hendersonville. 
Gingerbread House Competition, Grove Park Inn
National Gingerbread House Competition
Sunday, November 26, 2017 to Thursday, January 4, 2018
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday. See our guide for all the details.
NC Stage
All Is Calm & 12 Dates @ NC Stage
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 to Saturday, December 30, 2017
Two shows alternate! A holiday favorite, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 returns this year bringing reminders for peace and joy this season while a second show The Twelve Dates of Christmas brings laughter and light heartedness with a one-woman show. Perfect for date night in downtown Asheville.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 23, 2017
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 Dec 1.
Best Christmas Pageant
Best Christmas Pageant Ever @ ACT Theatre
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 17, 2017
Watch Asheville Community Theatre's most popular holiday show in their brand new space downtown. Town terrors end up as the leads in the Christmas pageant, helping everyone to rediscover the holiday. Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturday & Sunday 2:30 PM. Saturday 16th at 7:30 PM.
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Saturday, December 2, 2017 to Sunday, December 17, 2017
Watch the holiday favorite outdoors at the Hazel Robin Amphitheatre (92 Gay St, Asheville) near downtown, Saturday & Sundays (Dec 2 & 3, 9 & 10, 16 & 17) 5 PM. Come at 3 PM for "Day with Dickens" Victorian Christmas festival. Both are free to attend. Donations welcomed. Bring your blanket!  
Grovewood Village
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Friday, December 15, 2017 to Saturday, December 16, 2017
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
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturday, December 16, 2017
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. 
Thomas Wolfe House
An Angel Christmas @ Thomas Wolfe Home
Saturday, December 16, 2017
A special open house at the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with period decorations, special tours, angel wreath auction, kids' activities, snacks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. $5/person. 
Swannonoa Winter Solstice Concert
A Swannanoa Solstice
Sunday, December 17, 2017
A local's favorite holiday concert - 15th year! Appalachian music showcase with world influences. Many artists playing mandolins, harps, bagpipes, dulcimers and world percussion. 2 & 7 PM at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. $45/adult
Christmas Day Asheville
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Saturday, December 23, 2017 to Monday, December 25, 2017
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices. See our New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Monday, January 1, 2018
Jump into the chilly waters of Lake Lure to raise money for local charities. What a way to start the new year!
Fireplace in Historic Asheville B&B
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
Monday, January 1, 2018 to Saturday, March 31, 2018
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!

Past Events

Montford Home Tour
Montford Home Tour
Saturday, December 9, 2017
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.
 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 9, 2017
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 09 2017.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
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 09 2017.
Saturday, December 9, 2017
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. 
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Friday, December 8, 2017
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.
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Appalachian Christmas Carol at Vance Birthplace
Friday, December 8, 2017 to Saturday, December 9, 2017
A candlelight evening of story and 1800s tradition, with a Carolina twist. Meet the ghost of Christmas past, present and future reexamine the legacy of Governor Zebulon Vance. $5/person. Tours every 30 minutes, 5-9 PM. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest Christmas Market
Friday, December 8, 2017 to Sunday, December 10, 2017
The impressive Tryon International Equestrian Center hosts a market with big variety of gift items and art - plus more activities, dining and carousel rides for kids. Fr 10-6, Sat 9-6, Sun 10-4. Free admission.
Waynesville Christmas Parade
Waynesville Lighted Christmas Parade
Monday, December 4, 2017
Enjoy the illuminated evening Christmas Parades down the historic Main Street in downtown Wayneville starting at 6 PM with 120+ entries.
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Saturday, December 2, 2017
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 2, 2017
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. 
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Ride the trolley on the Craggy Mountain railroad line, just five miles north of downtown Asheville. Saturdays, 10 AM-6 PM. After the 30-minute ride, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies along with visiting Santa and Mrs Claus. It's fun for all ages.
Rutherfordton Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 2, 2017
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 2, 2017 to Sunday, December 3, 2017
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).
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Saturday, December 2, 2017 to Sunday, December 17, 2017
Watch the holiday favorite outdoors at the Hazel Robin Amphitheatre (92 Gay St, Asheville) near downtown, Saturday & Sundays (Dec 2 & 3, 9 & 10, 16 & 17) 5 PM. Come at 3 PM for "Day with Dickens" Victorian Christmas festival. Both are free to attend. Donations welcomed. Bring your blanket!  
Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival
Old Fashioned Dickens of a Christmas Festival
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 2, 2017
Enjoy many festivities including horse-drawn carriages, carolers, tree lighting, storytellers and instrumentalists in historic Biltmore Village. And chestnuts roasting on an open fire! Starts Fri at 6 PM. 
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 23, 2017
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 Dec 1.
Best Christmas Pageant
Best Christmas Pageant Ever @ ACT Theatre
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 17, 2017
Watch Asheville Community Theatre's most popular holiday show in their brand new space downtown. Town terrors end up as the leads in the Christmas pageant, helping everyone to rediscover the holiday. Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturday & Sunday 2:30 PM. Saturday 16th at 7:30 PM.
Art After Dark
Art After Dark
Friday, December 1, 2017
Downtown Waynesville and Frog Level galleries present special shows, with refreshments and live music 6-9 PM. Very festive small town atmosphere.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Repeats every week 1 times.
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 2, 2017
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 Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Friday, December 1, 2017
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artist mingling throughout downtown, 5-8 PM.
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 3, 2017
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 1, 2017 to Saturday, December 2, 2017
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range, The Atlanta Pops Orchestra and more. Workshops throughout the day. Single concert tickets and weekend packages. 
Banner Elk NC Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Banner Elk
Friday, December 1, 2017 to Sunday, December 3, 2017
The charming town of Banner Elk has a big variety of events kick off with the tree lighting on Friday evening. 5k, ornament making, cookie decorating, storytelling, shopping and Parade of Lights on Saturday. Take home a Christmas Tree from one of the hundreds of cut and choose farms. 
NC Stage
All Is Calm & 12 Dates @ NC Stage
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 to Saturday, December 30, 2017
Two shows alternate! A holiday favorite, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 returns this year bringing reminders for peace and joy this season while a second show The Twelve Dates of Christmas brings laughter and light heartedness with a one-woman show. Perfect for date night in downtown Asheville.
Gingerbread House Competition, Grove Park Inn
National Gingerbread House Competition
Sunday, November 26, 2017 to Thursday, January 4, 2018
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday. See our guide for all the details.
Flat Rock Playhouse
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas Spectacular
Saturday, November 25, 2017 to Friday, December 22, 2017
Original musical revue preformed by favorite Playhouse singers and dancers at the State Theatre of North Carolina, near Hendersonville. 
Hendersonville, NC, Christmas
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Friday, November 24, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including carriage rides, parade, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
Hard Candy Christmas Show
Hard Candy Christmas
Friday, November 24, 2017 to Saturday, November 25, 2017
Big arts and crafts show with 100+ area artists, demos and music inside the Western Carolina University Center in Cullowhee. 10 AM-5 PM both days. $4.50/adults. 
Drive About Art Tour
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour
Friday, November 24, 2017 to Saturday, November 25, 2017
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.
Thanksgiving in Asheville
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
Thursday, November 23, 2017 to Sunday, November 26, 2017
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 23, 2017 to Tuesday, January 2, 2018
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in downtown Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Asheville Holiday Parade
Saturday, November 18, 2017
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.
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
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.
Holiday Art Fair
Tis the Season Holiday Fair
Friday, November 17, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017
A festive shopping event with top art, crafts and gifts from 170+ artists and craftsmen from the Southeast. Held at the WNC Ag Center (near Airport). $4/adults. Free parking. $1 off coupon on their website.
Taste of Asheville
Taste of Asheville
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Sample food, wine and beer from 40 of Asheville's best local restaurants, breweries and wineries. This fundraiser is held downtown once a year by the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association.
Carolina Christmas
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 to Saturday, January 6, 2018
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.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 11, 2017 to Saturday, December 23, 2017
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 11, 2017 to Sunday, November 12, 2017
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 10, 2017 to Sunday, December 31, 2017
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. See our guide for all the details.
Weaverville Art Safari
Weaverville Art Safari
Saturday, November 4, 2017 to Sunday, November 5, 2017
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 4, 2017
Meet 45 master potters from 17 states as they come together in Dillsboro for this premier art event. Buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Tryon Beer Fest
Tryon Beer Fest
Saturday, November 4, 2017
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music and great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. Tickets: $30/person through August. $35 after Sept 1. $40 at event. Tickets capped at 1,000.
Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
Friday, November 3, 2017 to Sunday, January 7, 2018
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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