Asheville Holiday and Christmas Things to Do

Holiday & Christmas Season Things to Do

Looking for ideas of things to do in November and December 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. It's definitely one of the best places to shop for the perfect gift since we are home to so many talented artists. Remember, weekends are always busiest, so make reservations well in advance. For better deals and less crowds, stay Sunday-Thursday nights. Also see our favorite holiday events! And take a photo tour of the Biltmore House Christmas decorations.

If you are spending the big holiday in Asheville, see our Christmas Day & Weekend Guide with things to do and restaurants open.

Asheville Top 25 Holiday Things to Do

Asheville Holidays
Holiday Season Top Events (November & December)
November 01, 2017 to December 31, 2017
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina. 
Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore
November 03, 2017 to January 07, 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.
Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville Top 20
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 Top 20 things to do!
Polar Express Train
Polar Express Train
November 10, 2017 to 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.
NC Christmas Towns
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.
Foodie Heaven
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 restaurants, many of which use local food and offer outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to a host of local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
Art Galleries & Studios
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.
Christmas Tree Farm
Christmas Tree Farms
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for you 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.
Winter Lights NC Arboretum
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
November 17, 2017 to 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 Outlets
Asheville Outlets
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.
LaZoom Tours
LaZoom Tours
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!
Beech Mountain Ski Resort
Beech Mountain Ski Resort
As the highest ski and snowboard area in the eastern U.S., they offer 15 slopes on 95 acres of skiable area. There are plenty of runs for every skill level, and with a vertical drop of 830 feet and more than 80 inches of annual snowfall. Mountaintop bar. See our Beech Mtn Winter Guide with packages and events. Snow tubing and ice skating too!
River Arts District
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 Day Asheville
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
December 23, 2017 to December 25, 2017
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
Art Galleries
Shopping Guide
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
National Gingerbread House Competition
November 26, 2017 to January 04, 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.
Thanksgiving in Asheville
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
November 23, 2017 to 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!
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
December 31, 2017
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices. See our New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Grove Arcade
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. Wonderland kick-off is November 18, 2016.
Performing Arts
Performing Arts
Enjoy many choices for great theatre, plays, music, dance and more in Asheville and nearby areas.
Forest City Christmas Lights
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
November 23, 2017 to January 02, 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.
Pampering at a Spa
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.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
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.
Folk Art Center
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.
Ski & Snowboard
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. 
Smith-McDowell House Museum
Smith-McDowell House
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.
Biltmore Village
Biltmore Village
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.
Farm-to-Table Dining
Local Restaurants
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, choose from 60+ locally-owned restaurants with cuisine from around the world. Many feature "farm-to-table" seasonal specials with local food. Check out our favorites.
Packages & Specials for Asheville & Mountains
Pick a package or special perfect for your vacation, with discounts and travel deals for hotels, resorts, country inns, bed and breakfasts and cabin rentals in the North Carolina mountains.
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland
November 23, 2016 to 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.

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