Asheville Holiday Events: Nov & Dec

Asheville Top 40 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 40 Holiday Events, November & December

Fireplace in Historic Asheville B&B
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Friday, March 31, 2017
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
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.
Weaverville Art Safari
Weaverville Art Safari
Saturday, November 4, 2017 to Sunday, November 5, 2017
One of our favorites for sure! 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 the development of 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.
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.
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! 10-5. Free admission. See our guide for details.
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.
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 & theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
Thanksgiving in Asheville
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
Thursday, November 23, 2017 to Sunday, November 26, 2017
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including 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.
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.
National Gingerbread House Competition
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.
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. 
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.
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
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 09 2017.
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Watch Santa practicing for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney", the 312 foot tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Repeats every week until Sat Dec 09 2017.
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
Brevard Twilight Tour
Holiday Twilight Tour
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Join the locals in a longtime favorite in downtown Brevard tradition. After the Christmas parade at 3 PM, Main Street will be closed to traffic so you can enjoy live music, horse-drawn carriages, bonfires, shopping, vendors and more, 4-8 PM.
Rutherfordton Christmas
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-7 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 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Downtown Waynesville's Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the Christmas season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. 6-9 PM
Santa on the Chimney at Chimney Rock State Park
Santa on the Chimney
Saturday, December 9, 2017
Watch Santa practicing for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney", the 312 foot tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center
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
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 downtown Asheville for many choices for dining and music or dancing afterwards. See our New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.

Past Events

Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Sunday, January 1, 2017
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
Sunday, January 1, 2017 to Friday, March 31, 2017
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
Cherokee Festival
Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas
Friday, December 30, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
Experience a Cherokee Christmas interactive displays of Cherokee legends, ice skating, a 40-ft. Christmas tree, lights, games, caroling competition, crafts and more. 5-10 PM. Free admission. 4 Weekends. Fireworks on New Year's Eve, 10 PM.
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 24, 2016
There's no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights with shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Chanukah Live!
Chanukah Live!
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Asheville’s largest Hanukkah party with fun for all ages. Features music, attractions for teens and adults, Sushi Bar and Kosher food stations, shopping and more. 3-6 PM. Free
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturday, December 17, 2016
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 basket and doll making, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 17, 2016
There's no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights with shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Montford Home Tour
Montford Home Tour
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Explore Asheville’s Montford historic neighborhood with Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes built in the 1890s to 1920s. 1-5 PM, $25/person. Tickets at Asheville Visitor Center.
Thomas Wolfe House
Holiday Open House Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Explore the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with period decorations, special tours, wreath auction, snacks and more. 9 AM-7 PM. $5/person
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 10, 2016
There's no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights with shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Candlelight Christmas Stroll
Friday, December 9, 2016
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.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 to Friday, December 30, 2016
NC Stage Theatre in downtown Asheville presents a poignant moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together with holiday songs. Extended by popular demand! No shows Dec 24-26.
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Saturday, December 3, 2016
Be transported to an 1830s era Christmas celebrated in the mountains of North Carolina, just 15 minutes north of Asheville. The two-story reconstructed log house, will be decorated and costumed guides will relate the symbolism of each of the decorations. Live music. $5/person. 4-8:30 PM
Holiday Market
Holiday Market at Riverview Station
Saturday, December 3, 2016
From 4-8 PM, browse 20 studios and buy work of 40 artists in one building in the River Arts District, home to The Village Potters and Jonas Gerard Gallery. Near Biltmore Estate. Food truck, prizes and Santa! Free admission.
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 3, 2016
There's no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights with shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
Friday, December 2, 2016 to Friday, December 23, 2016
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $5 for a car. 6-9 PM. Walk through on Dec 1.
ACT Snowbound
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Friday, December 2, 2016 to Sunday, December 18, 2016
See a world premier at Asheville Community Theatre. Snowbound takes you to a small town depot in 1955 where a snow storm forces strangers become friends. Original bluegrass music played live onstage by members of Buncombe Turnpike and Sons of Ralph.
Hendersonville NC
Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas
Friday, December 2, 2016
Walk down Main Street in beautiful downtown Hendersonville, filled with shopping, hot cider, cookies, carolers and food! 5-8 PM. Parade Saturday at 10 AM.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Friday, December 2, 2016
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artist mingling.
Balsam Range
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
Friday, December 2, 2016 to Saturday, December 3, 2016
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range, Marty Stuart, Lonesome River Band, John Driskell Hopkins, The Atlanta Pops Orchestra and more. Workshops throughout the day. Concerts are $25/person or $40 for all-event pass. 
Banner Elk NC Christmas
Small Town Christmas
Friday, December 2, 2016 to Saturday, December 3, 2016
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. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, November 26, 2016
There's no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights with shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Hard Candy Christmas Show
Hard Candy Christmas
Friday, November 25, 2016 to Saturday, November 26, 2016
Big arts and crafts show with 100+ area artists, demos and music inside the Western Carolina University Center in Cullowee. 10 AM-5 PM both days. $4.50/adults
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 to Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Drive the two-mile route through spectacular light displays at the WNC Ag Center in south Asheville. See our guide for details.
Holiday Art Fair
Tis the Season Holiday Fair
Friday, November 18, 2016 to Sunday, November 20, 2016
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.
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol @ Flat Rock Playhouse
Thursday, November 17, 2016 to Saturday, December 17, 2016
Charles Dickens’ classic tale adapted for a musical by Richard Hellesen and David De Berry, returns to the State Theatre of North Carolina, near Hendersonville. 
Taste of Asheville
Taste of Asheville
Thursday, November 17, 2016
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 16, 2016 to Saturday, December 31, 2016
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.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
Saturday, November 12, 2016 to Thursday, December 22, 2016
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.
NC Stage
Curvy Widow: The Musical
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 to Sunday, November 20, 2016
See a world premiere musical at NC Stage in downtown Asheville about a fifty-something widow whose adventures in the least expected places reveal unexpected truths about life, love, survival and sex. Wed-Sun shows. 
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