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

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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
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. 
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. $5 for a 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.
Hendersonville NC
Olde Fashioned Hendersonville Christmas
Friday, December 1, 2017
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 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. 
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 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 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.
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Christmas Candlelight Tour at Vance Birthplace
Saturday, December 2, 2017
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 2, 2017
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.
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.
NC Stage
All Is Calm @ NC Stage
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 to Saturday, December 30, 2017
Captivating show reliving a poignant moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together during WWI. Features traditional patriotic and holiday songs, interspersed with readings from letters, journals and interviews. Wed-Sat 7:30 PM and Sunday 2 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.
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
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 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. 
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. 
Chanukah Live!
Chanukah Live!
Sunday, December 17, 2017
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. 3-8 PM. Free. 
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

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
Repeats every week every Saturday until Sat Dec 24 2016.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
There are no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights and offers a variety of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 17, 2016
There are no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights and offers a variety of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 10, 2016
There are no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights and offers a variety of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, December 3, 2016
There are no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights and offers a variety of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Winterfest at Tryon International Equestrian Center
Saturday, November 26, 2016
There are no horse competitions this time of year, but the impressive complex is decked out with thousands of lights and offers a variety of shops and restaurants. On Saturdays, enjoy a Christmas Market with local crafts, classic car cruise-in, carousel rides, hayrides and more. Free admission. 
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