Looking for ideas of things to do during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina (including Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's)? We have plenty of vacation ideas for a getaway. The area is definitely one of the best places to shop for the perfect gift since it's home to so many talented artists. Find plenty of festive events. Remember, weekends are always busiest, so make reservations well in advance. For better deals and fewer crowds, stay Sunday-Thursday nights. Pic above: Downtown Asheville lights.
Holiday Season Top Events (November & December)
November 01, 2018 to December 31, 2018
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina mountains, including many small towns.
Christmas at Biltmore
November 03, 2018 to January 06, 2019
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.
Downtown Asheville Top 25
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries and pubs. Dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!
Polar Express Train
November 09, 2018 to December 31, 2018
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.
Top 12 Christmas Small Towns
Take a photo tour of our Top 12 Christmas Towns & Villages near Asheville, each decorated with plenty of festive things to do in the North Carolina mountains.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
November 16, 2018 to December 31, 2018
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.
Find Foodie Favorites
Check out our very diverse and passionate food and drink scene. Be a little adventurous and try something new. Or, enjoy time-honored classics. In downtown, walk to 60+ locally-owned innovative restaurants, many with outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
Shop 75 national and local outlets in this beautiful, new outdoor shopping village. It's located on I-26, just six miles from Biltmore and seven miles from downtown Asheville. It's pet-friendly, and there are many events and sales throughout the year.
Top 20 Art Galleries
Visit a gallery to be amazed at a big variety of local art and craft, including glass, paintings, pottery and every other medium you can imagine. Asheville and the North Carolina mountains are home to hundreds of world-class artists. Here are our favorite galleries to see the their creations.
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
November 22, 2018 to November 25, 2018
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
December 22, 2018 to December 29, 2018
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
New Year's Eve
December 31, 2018
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.
Take the most fun city tour ever in a bright purple bus full of laughter! Through captivating stories, comedy skits and an enthralling musical soundscape, experience Asheville's history, current culture and counterculture with their 90-minute interactive bus tours that depart from downtown. Haunted and beer tours, too!
River Arts District
Some 185 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Find an amazing variety of art and see how the artists create it. It's just a few miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
Christmas Tree Farms
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for your home at a "choose and cut" Christmas Tree Farm near Asheville. After you find your tree, they cut it, bale it and tie it on your vehicle. See our favorite farms.
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit.
National Gingerbread House Competition
November 25, 2018 to January 03, 2019
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 week. See our guide for all the details.
Ski & Snowboard
Hit the slopes for plenty of winter of fun. Since we have the highest mountains in eastern America, you will find plenty of snow, either natural or man-made, for sking and snowboarding.
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
November 22, 2018 to January 01, 2019
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.
Enjoy many choices for great theatre, plays, music, dance and more in Asheville and nearby areas.
Meander tree-lined streets, explore 40 unique shops and relax at 10 cafes and restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Don't miss the fabulous New Morning Gallery.
Grove Arcade Winter Wonderland
Shop and dine in the beautifully restored and decorated historic arcade in downtown Asheville. Find a big variety of local shops and galleries and see gingerbread house creations in one of the first enclosed malls in America. Open 7 days.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located in downtown Asheville. 52 N. Market Street.
Holiday Carriage Rides
See our top spots to take a horse drawn carriage ride down Main Streets covered in lights and during specials events near Asheville in western North Carolina during the Christmas season.
Folk Art Center
See crafts by artists from Southern Appalachia with three fine art galleries and daily craft demonstrators. Shop in their store. No admission fee. Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near U.S. 70 intersection.
Get Pampered at a Spa
Be it a simple weekend of relaxation, a romantic couple’s getaway in the mountains or a chance to improve your health, Asheville is the ultimate destination for those seeking spas and wellness. Take some time for yourself for relaxation and rejuvenation. See our Top 15 spots.
Relive the romantic Victorian era in Asheville's oldest house (circa 1840). Explore opulent period rooms, history exhibits and grounds designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers. 1.5 miles from downtown Asheville.
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, find 70+ locally-owned restaurants with flavors from around the world. Plus, find many more award-winning chefs throughout the mountains. See our 40 favorite restaurants.
25 Guided Tours & Experiences
Take a guided tour for sightseeing, art, wildlife, history, food, beer, waterfalls, wellness and more in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our list of favorites.
20 Winter Hikes Near Asheville
Hiking during the winter has many advantages - including better views thanks to leafless trees, few fellow hikers, no bugs, brilliant skies with more distant views and cool temps. See our top places for winter hikes in the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains.
Packages & Specials for Asheville & Mountains
Pick a package or special perfect for your vacation, with discounts and travel deals for hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, country inns and cabin rentals in the North Carolina mountains.
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Where to see the best Christmas light displays in Asheville and the Western North Carolina mountains? Here are our favorite places for 2018 - including many new and expanded shows.1.... read more