Thanksgiving: Asheville Restaurants and Things to Do

Thanksgiving Restaurants & Things To Do

The Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend (November 24-27, 2016) in Asheville is a feast of fun. Here are our Top 10 things to do. Of course, eating is number one! Also see our Top Holiday Outings. For Christmas Day Restaurants open in Asheville, see our Christmas Guide.

Nov 22nd Update: Due to many wildfires in the area, we have various amounts of smoke throughout the mountains - depending on wind direction and humidity. See the latest on the wildfires.

Thanksgiving Day Asheville Restaurants: While many restaurants are closed, there are still many great local choices for a Thanksgiving brunch, lunch or dinner. Click on the names to go to their web sites. 

  • Biltmore Estate Restaurants. Requires estate admission ticket or 12-month pass to dine. See our Christmas at Biltmore Guide.
    • Deerpark 11 AM-5 PM: Extravagant Thanksgiving buffet, $54/adult, $25/children 6-12, reservations required (and books up fast). Phone: 828-225-6260.
    • Bistro (at Winery) 11:30 AM-9 PM: Gourmet four-course prix fixe menu, $59/person. Phone: 828-225-6230. Reservations highly recommended.
    • Stable Café (by House) 11 AM-4 PM: Menu with most popular lunch items, plus a number of holiday offerings. Best option if you tour Biltmore on Thanksgiving and don't have a reservation.
    • Cedric’s Tavern (Antler Village) 11 AM-9 PM: Regular lunch and dinner menus, plus three-course menu. Phone: 828-225-1320
  • Omni Grove Park Inn Restaurants (Reservations online or call 1-800-438-5800)
    • Blue Ridge Dining Room: 12-8 PM Buffet feast with views of the mountains, Adults $60, children 2-12 $25
    • EDISON, craft ales + kitchen: 11 AM–4 PM with special menu, $35/person
    • Grand Ballroom Buffet: 10:45 AM-6:30 PM, Phenomenal Buffet, Adults $60, children 2-12 $25
    • Vue 1913: 5-9:30 PM, Gourmet Thanksgiving 3-course menu, $65/person
    • Read more about Grove Park Inn and the Gingerbread House Competition Display
  • Grand Bohemian Hotel: (Biltmore Village) Two choices: The Red Stag Grill presents an elegant, four-course dinner, 11:30 AM-9 PM, $69/adult. The grand Kessler Ballroom hosts family-style dining featuring traditional Turkey and accompaniments, reservations at 12-12:30 PM and 2:30-3 PM, $65/adult. See our review of the Grand Bohemian Hotel.
  • Roux: (South Asheville) Traditional Thanksgiving buffet including delicious selections of roasted all-natural NC turkey with orange-cranberry relish, baked ham with maple-bourbon glaze, sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel, pumpkin pie, apple bread pudding, gluten-free options, and much more! Seating will be from 1–7 PM. Adults $37/person, $16/child 12 and under. Located in the Hilton Hotel Biltmore Park. Reservations at 828-209-2700.
  • DoubleTree Biltmore's Thanksgiving Buffet features seasonal classics with an elegant twist, with roasted turkey, autumn greens, roasted sweet potatoes, braised beef brisket, savory sausage and sage dressing, pumpkin cheesecake and much more. 1:30-6 PM. Adults $39; Children 12 and under $14. Reservations at 828-274-1800
  • The Blackbird: Modern Southern 3-course menu at $65/person, opens at 11 AM, dowtown.
  • The Esmeralda Inn in Chimney Rock, buffet with seatings at 12, 2 and 4 PM. Reservations required. $39/adults, $19/children. They just reopened on Nov 23 after the wildfire and have last minute availability!
  • Buffalo Nickel: In West Asheville, reservations 12-7 PM with a 3-course menu of farm-to-table turkey, stuffing, and more.
  • Edna's coffee shop in North Asheville is open 7 AM-4 PM with sandwiches, salads and a variety of drinks.
  • Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro, downtown, 3-course prix fixe menu $45/person with choice of heritage breed turkey, beef, pork or fish. They serve from 2-8 PM and the bar will be open until midnight.
  • Isa’s Bistro, 12-5 PM, 3-course prix fixe menu $55, downtown.
  • Strada Italiano, 11 AM-8 PM, Italian family recipes (Social Lounge next door stays open until Midnight), downtown
  • Carmels, a la carte Southern inspired menu, Grove Arcade downtown, 11:30 AM-8 PM
  • Pack's Tavern, two Thanksgiving Buffets with turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings special and plenty of beer choices on Pack Square Park downtown, 11 AM-8 PM. $29.99/adults, $14.99/children under 10.
  • Mountain Magnolia Inn in Hot Springs, Thanksgiving Harvest Dinner served from 12-7 PM inside historic inn. 3-Course Prix Fixe $60, 5-Course Prix Fixe $70, Children Under 12 with 3-Course Prix Fixe $25; Under 6 free.
  • Season's at Highland Lake Inn in Flat Rock, big Thanksgiving Buffet 10:30 AM-7 PM, $44.95 Adults, $22.50 Child, 5 and under free. Live music. Local's favorite. Reservations required.
  • Tryon International Equestrian Center, buffet at Legends Grill, 11 AM-4 PM, $29.95/person
  • Cornerstone (102 Tunnel Road, Asheville) is our favorite diner in town. They will have several specials with choice of sides. No reservations accepted. 
  • The Savory Thyme Cafe at the NC Arboretum will open for Winter Lights starting at 6 PM.
  • Old Europe Pastries downtown at 13 Broadway is open from 7 AM-3 PM on Thanksgiving.

Holiday Packages / Places to Stay: See our holiday vacation packages page for the latest holiday vacation packages, deals and specials. Also see our list of the bests hotels, bed and breakfast inns and cabin rentals in Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Make reservations early since we will have lots of visitors in town for the big Thanksgiving Weekend.

Biltmore Estate: Biltmore Estate is open on Thanksgiving Day. Normally it is not very busy, so it's a great day to visit to see America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Restaurants are open (make dining reservations in advance). The Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving are very busy on the estate. When you purchase tickets, inquire to see if your self-guided tour of Biltmore House requires a reservation. See our Christmas at Biltmore Guide. And see Five Other House Museums for Holiday Tours.

Shop Downtown Asheville: Most all downtown stores are closed on Thanksgiving. But there's plenty of holiday shopping on Friday and Saturday to find those special gifts. Browse through more than 200 shops, 30 art galleries and a dozen antique stores - all locally owned. Tour the fascinating Thomas Wolfe Home on Friday or Saturday. Free parking on streets and city parking decks on Thanksgiving Day and Friday after. See our Downtown Asheville Guide. For more great local shops with unique gifts, explore our cool small towns throughout our mountains.

LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours: What a fun outing with friends and family! Take the zany tour on the big purple bus. Read more about LaZoom Tours.

Holiday Shopping: The ever expanding Asheville Outlets Center along I-26 in Asheville has 70 national chain stores. Located across from the entrance to Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Village is home to more than 40 unique shops housed in historic cottages and buildings. Asheville is a mecca for artists, so this is the place to find one-of-a-kind gifts. In addition to the galleries downtown and Biltmore Village, head to the Folk Art Center and the River Arts District. See our Gallery Guide. Also see our Antique Shopping Guide. Most all local stores are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Pick your Christmas Tree: Go to a "choose and cut" Tree Farm to pick the perfect one for your home on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. All are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many farms offer hayrides and other holiday-related events. See our Asheville Christmas Tree Farms Guide.

Get Outdoors: Take a late fall hike and enjoy views through with leafless trees, cool temperatures, and few fellow hikers. See our hiking guide for top picks. All trails and waterfalls in the National Forests and Parks are open every day. Area ski resorts will open by the weekend if we get a lot of cold weather before Thanksgiving. Or zip line at Navitat Canopy Tours.

  • Green Friday at Adventure Center of Asheville (near downtown): Ages 4 and over zip at KidZip or climb at Treetops Park. Ages 10 and over can enjoy our Zipline Canopy Tours as well as advanced challenges in the Treetops Park. 50% of all revenue donated for environmental causes, including RiverLink in Asheville.

National Parks: Both Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open on Thanksgiving Day, weather permitting. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smokies is open on Thanksgiving Day.

Great Smoky Mountains Guided Hike
Friday, November 25 at 10 AM at Historic Smokemont: 
The Smokemont area is rich with history ranging from the Oconaluftee Turnpike, an early wagon road across the Smokies, to a farming community. Meet the ranger at the Smokemont Baptist Church parking area just across the bridge at the entrance to the park’s Smokemont Campground, located on Newfound Gap Road 3 miles north of the parks Oconaluftee Visitor Center and 5 miles north of Cherokee. 

More Happenings: See our Top Holiday Outings for more things to do!

Thanksgiving Weekend Events in Asheville

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. 
The Biltmore House is even more magical when adorned for the holidays. The Christmas at Biltmore extravagant celebration includes 70 elaborate, hand-decorated... read more
Are you visiting the Asheville area on Christmas Day or weekend? There are so many things to do. Celebrate with your family or friends and make memories for many years to come. As with most cities,... read more
November 26, 2017-January 4, 2018
For a sweet treat, see the amazing creations at the 24th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove... read more
November 17-December 31, 2017
Don't miss The North Carolina Arboretum's elaborate Winter Lights show, transforming the gardens into a nighttime wonderland with 500,... read more
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for you home and have a great holiday outing at one of the "choose and cut" Christmas Tree Farms near Asheville. You select the tree...they cut it, bale it and tie it... read more