6+ Best Things to do in Asheville NC at Christmas

Asheville NC is literally a full city tucked into a valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.  Due to its close proximity to outdoor activities, being surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery, offering a unique and vibrant culture, and an active and vibrant downtown and arts district, Asheville has established itself as one of the top travel destinations in North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains as a whole.

While definitely popular and full of activities during the summer months, Asheville additionally offers many things to do during the winter, especially during the Christmas and Holiday seasons.  Asheville itself offers a number of holiday events and celebrations to enjoy, and when you combine that with those found in the numerous small towns within a short drive of Asheville, you'll have a ton of things to do in and around Asheville NC at Christmas!

Here are our top picks for the best things to do in Asheville NC at Christmas:

Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas at Biltmore

Photo provided by The Biltmore Company

The most magical time of the year to visit Biltmore is Christmas at Biltmore.  Biltmore, America’s largest home, and the entire Biltmore Estate are enchantingly decorated for the holidays, and frankly one of the most beautiful and magical Christmas events you'll ever see.

Christmas and the holiday season have always been a special time at Biltmore.   The estate was opened to family and friends on Christmas Eve in 1895.

Christmas at Biltmore today includes two main events: Daytime or Evening estate/house tours.

Daytime Tours are beautiful, and allow you to tour the estate grounds and home all decorated for Christmas, including ribbons, trees, and thousands of lights.  Biltmore goes all out, and the decorations are incredibly beautiful.   The home is just stunningly decorated for the holidays.

The real magic though is during the evening tours, which will take you back to the days when Biltmore first opened, with a candlelight tour.  You'll enjoy the holiday decorations, but with the soft glow of candles and firelight.  There is also caroling as well, as you walk through the home.   

You can also visit Antler Hill Village, including its shops and winery, which are also decorated for the holidays.   Be sure to try the Biltmore Christmas wines as well!

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum

Each year, the NC Arboretum in Asheville NC has Winter Lights, a spectacular open-air walk-through light show made from over one million lights!   The light show for 2022 includes new items, and old classics like the 50ft tree and Quilt Garden, which are stunning!

During the show, you can also see:

  • Live Performances 
  • Visit the Rocky Cove Railroad, and the beautiful running garden railroad, decorated for the holidays
  • Giftshops
  • S'mores and Fire-pits where you can warm up next to a hot fire or heater, and purchase S'more kits.

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum is one of the very best holiday light shows in the Blue Ridge Mountains.   For 2022, the dates are: 11/18 - 12/31 - Tickets are required.

Take a Christmas Train Ride

See our guide to 4 Amazing Christmas Train Rides you can take in the Blue Ridge Mountains

National Gingerbread Competition

Omni Grovepark National Gingerbread House Competition

Gingerbread houses and gingerbread baked goods are a holiday staple.   I think many of us have fond memories of decorating Gingerbread houses for the holidays.  But who knew that there was actually a National Gingerbread House Competition?    These folks go all out ...

Annually, at The Omni Grovepark Inn hosts the national competition, and viewing the entries is a fun and amazing Christmas event.  For 2022, the event runs from 11/28/2022 - 1/2/2023.

Entries to the competition must be constructed of entirely edible materials.  Winners of the competition are displayed on the main floor, with other entries displayed on level 7 - A map is available in the main lobby.  

2022 Viewing Hours:

Public viewing will be after 6 pm on Sundays or anytime Monday-Thursday, based on parking availability.   

Public Parking rates:

  • Valet Parking: $35 for day parking 
  • Self-Parking: $25 for day parking

See Christmas Lights

Check out our picks for 12 Great places to see Christmas Lights in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Santa on the Chimney

Bring the whole family to watch Santa practice climbing down Chimneys, in advance of the big event on 12/25.  What, you didn't know Santa actually practiced?   

On December 3 and December 10th, at Chimney Rock State Park you and your family can watch the annual Chimney Rock event, Santa on the Chimney.  During this event, Santa will rappel down 315-foot granite outcropping that the park is named for.  

The main event ,of course, is Santa practicing on the Chimney, while visiting you can also enjoy live music, family-friendly activities, and take family photos on Santa's sleigh.

While the main event is watching Santa practice on the Chimney, you'll also enjoy live music, family-friendly activities, and the opportunity to take family photos on Santa's sleigh.

In 2022, Santa rappels down the Chimney on December 3 & December 10. On those Saturdays, you can see him on the Chimney at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, and 2 pm.

Go on a Winter Hike

Winter Hiking

Asheville is central to many of the wonderful things to do outdoors in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.    A popular activity for visitors is winter hiking, and with hundreds of hiking trails within a short drive of Asheville, you'll be sure to find the perfect hiking trail for your holiday adventures.

Asheville is also close to many waterfalls, and many of the hiking trails provide access to these falls.   Some of our favorite trails are:

Take a Holiday Bus Tour

A number of companies in Asheville NC offer fun, unique, and interesting tours, but our favorite is LaZoom comedy bus tours, which run year-round.  In addition to their normal tours, LaZoom offers seasonal tours as well, including special tours for the holidays like the Caroling for a Cause ride.

Your holiday tour will get you some fun Christmas cheer, a tour of Asheville, and even some hot chocolate!

Dickens in the Village Festival

During the first weekend in December (for 2022, December 2-3rd), Biltmore Village transforms into a quaint Victorian town for the Old World Dickens in the Village Festival.   

If you've never been to Biltmore Village, it's a real treat throughout the year, full of unique shops and dining destinations.   It's located across from Biltmore Estate and just off I-40.    

Dicks in the Village is an immersive holiday experience, where actors and musicians dress up in Dickensian-era costumes, and both perform and sing.  You'll feel as though you've been transformed back in time to the days of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol.

Other Nearby Towns to check out!

Asheville is surrounded by a number of wonderful small mountain towns with lots of things to do and see, including Christmas events and decorations, including:

Be sure to see our Top Christmas Towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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