Top Christmas Towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Get yourself and your family into the Holiday spirit, by visiting one of these amazing Best Christmas Towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains.   These are all towns that go above and beyond with decorations, events, shopping and more!   These are the best of the best Christmas towns for us!  So grab yourself some hot cocoa, and let's start exploring these wonderful towns.

Best Christmas Towns in the Georgia Mountains

Here are our top Christmas towns in the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains:

Dahlonega, Georgia

Seeing Dahlonega Georgia's Old Fashioned Christmas is really something special.  The town is covered in twinkling lights and horse-drawn carriages are plentiful.  The month-long holiday celebration features a hometown parade, caroling, movies, a tree lighting, visits to see Santa, a live Nativity scene, and so much more.   This amazing small town has it all, and will make you feel as if you've been dropped into the middle of classic Christmas movie.

Helen, Georgia

If you're looking for a Christmas town with a twist, Helen Georgia's Bavarian Christmas will definitely deliver.  Helen may not be very big (2.1 miles), but this small package contains big Christmas things.

Things to see include beautiful holiday decorations with lights, a traditional holiday market, annual downtown parade, and even Santa in a Bavarian sleigh.  Helen is amazing year-round, but just magical during the Christmas season.

Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge GA is a wonderful town in and of itself, but even more so at Christmas draped with lights and decorations.  The icing on the cake is taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway's Santa Express.  On the ride, you'll listen to a Christmas story, sing carols, meet Christmas characters, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus on the train.  Pure Christmas magic.

Best Christmas Towns in Western North Carolina

Here are our top Christmas towns in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains:

Bryson City, North Carolina

All Aboard the Polar Express!   Bryson City is the starting point for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad's, THE POLAR EXPRESS Christmas train ride.   The town itself is beautifully decorated with white lights.  They have Christmas shopping, a small town parade, and a 50ft tall Christmas tree!

The highlight of your Christmas visit to Bryson City will be the THE POLAR EXPRESS!  This 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole.

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell.

Christmas carols will be sung as the train returns back to the Bryson City Depot.  The whole experience is just pure Christmas Magic!

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville NC is the largest mountain city in North Carolina, and is literally nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Asheville offers a number of wonderful Christmas attractions, including Biltmore , Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum, the National Gingerbread competition at the historic Omni Grovepark Inn, along with carriage rides downtown, holiday decorations and more.  Asheville also offers a number of wonderful hotels and restaurants as well.

One of the Christmas highlights in Asheville is visiting Biltmore at Christmas.  The grounds are lavishly lit up with Christmas lights, and vintage decor.  The house itself is also lavishly decorated with hundreds of Christmas trees, lights, and decor.   Particularity magical is the candlelight tour, which will take you back in time to the opening of Biltmore on Christmas eve in 1895.

Waynesville, North Carolina

Photo by: Ed Kelly

Looking to step into a Norman Rockwell Christmas town?  Waynesville NC is it.  This quant mountain small town really goes all out for Christmas, and the downtown area is wonderful.  The town is decorated with thousands of lights, including the signature globes along the tree-lines through downtown.  Events include a wonderful small town Christmas parade, A Night Before Christmas, shopping and art events, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and more!

You won't see Waynesville NC on many "Best Christmas Town" lists, as it's truly a hidden gem.

Dillsboro, North Carolina

Go back, to simpler times at Christmas, by visiting the town of Dillsboro NC.  Their annual "Lights and Luminaries" event brings old time customs and celebrations to current times.  You'll find the downtown area lined with more than 2,500 luminaries that guide your way through the town it's shops, live music, and restaurants.  Enjoy cocoa, cider, and a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  The celebration also features a live nativity scene, and horse and buggy rides each evening.   A truly magical Christmas experience.

Best Christmas Towns in East Tennessee

Here are our top Christmas towns in the Tennessee Blue Ridge Mountains:

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg TN is the most visited mountain town in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.  Gatlinburg is a busy and fun town with lots to see and do.  But during Christmas, Gatlinburg becomes a magical Christmas getaway.  The town goes all out with Christmas lights, including lights along the roadways and streets, and merchants put up their own lights.  When visiting, you'll see thousands and thousands of beautiful light displays.  There is also a very large Christmas Parade, you can meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, hear singing, and much more.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Nearby Pigeon Forge, is another incredibly popular mountain town to visit.  Like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge goes all out when it comes to Christmas.  Their celebration is called Winterfest, and drapes Pigeon Forge in more than 5 million holiday lights.  Pigeon Forge creates a winter wonderland for locals and guests alike to enjoy during the city’s annual celebration.  From winter light displays to captivating holiday shows and so much more.  The lights of Winterfest shine from early November until February.

Don't forget to visit nearby Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge for a Smoky Mountain Christmas, and one of the most stunning light shows you'll ever see.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga isn't a small town, but certainly not a big city either, so you still get that small town charm.  Travel along the Holiday Trail of Lights, with millions of Christmas lights leading to some of the most beautiful and interesting attractions in the city.  

You can also go underground to see Ruby Falls, and the special holiday town they create.   Visit Rock City, where the rock faces and paths become magical under the Christmas colors and lights.  You can even ice skate in the outdoor rink in the downtown area!

Best Christmas Towns in the Virginia Mountains

Here are our top Christmas towns in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains:

Abingdon, Virginia

Abingdon is a wonderful small town in Southwest Virginia combining both history and outdoor adventures.   During the holidays, all the things you love about Abington turn up a notch (or three) with the holiday decor and events, making this wonderful town and your visit into post-card Christmas.

Abingdon’s quaint downtown is transformed in to a Christmas wonderland, with carolers, magical storefront displays, and special events to celebrate the season.  You can visit holiday shows at the historic Barter Theater, shop at the countless local boutiques and galleries, stop by the famous Martha Washington Inn or cozy up to the fire at The Tavern. 

Charlottesville, Virginia

Ranked as one of Best Towns for the Holidays, Charlottesville's history and charm only get better during the Christmas and Holiday season.   You won’t want to miss the "Lighting of the Lawn" at the University of Virginia or Charlottesville’s Grand Illumination.   There is also the The Barracks Road Annual Holiday Parade, First Night Virginia, and of course lots of Shopping!

Front Royal, Virginia

Front Royal VA is the text book small town, especially during the holidays.   You can Stroll their historic Main Street where you can shop, enjoy some of the great food, and holiday decorations.  Also enjoy the festive streets during the Annual Christmas Parade and special holiday events.

Roanoke Virginia

Roanoke Virginia begins the holiday season with lots of wonderful annual events, such as the City of Roanoke Christmas Tree Lighting and other festivities. Other Roanoke holiday favorites include ice skating at Elmwood Park, special holiday events at local museums and businesses and the Hotel Roanoke’s classic Victorian-inspired decorations. 

With spectacular lights on display at Explore Park's Illuminights, fairies dancing in the Southwest Virginia Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker, the flicker of candlelight on historic home tours, and beautiful trees on display throughout the towns and communities of the region, the holidays in Roanoke are hard to resist!

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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