~ Holiday travel deals and festive ways to play, indulge and get away from it all at www.ExploreAsheville.com/holidays.~
- Snap a Giant #SnowflakeSelfie
Asheville’s busy downtown sidewalks are dressed in holiday style, thanks to Winter Lights Downtown in Pack Square, with double the number of lights this year. NEW! A 10-foot gilded purple snowflake serving as the pièce de résistance will make for the perfect #SnowflakeSelfie.
- Winter Lights at Olmsted’s Garden
As the sun sets, the North Carolina Arboretum’s 434 acres transform into a glowing winter wonderland, strewn with nearly 500,000 lights. In its fourth year, the Winter Lights exhibit brings back favorites such as the 50-foot animated tree, model trains and lighted Quilt Garden, while introducing NEW features like interactive motion-sensor games and even more lights and music. INSIDER TIP: Take advantage of “friends and family” pricing on Tuesdays, or go all out with the Winter Lights Holiday Tour and arrive in vintage style on a trolley.
- America’s Largest Home – Brighter Than Ever
See Biltmore in a different, even more opulent light with its Candlelight Christmas Evenings. Biltmore staff deck the halls, lawn and select estate locales with candlelight, firelight and holiday lights – and the after-dark hours are the perfect time to take in the sparkle of a 50-foot fir. NEW! This year, even more lights and ornaments will illuminate Antler Hill Village. Don’t miss the recently renovated Winery’s tasting room for a particularly “sparkling” new display.
- National Gingerbread House Competition Celebrates 25 Years
No Asheville holiday is complete without a glimpse at the National Gingerbread House Competition & Display at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Celebrate the 25th year of this pastry Parade of Homes by sipping on a hot chocolate with housemade marshmallows (or ginger-apple-cider hot toddy) by one of the towering fireplaces flanking the Great Hall of this historic resort. TIP: Check Grove Park’s website for viewing times.
- Handmade Holidays
Find unique gifts for friends and family – do your holiday shopping in the land of all things local and handmade at craft fairs, pop-up shops and indie boutiques. Historic Biltmore Village and downtown’s Grove Arcade sparkle with holiday light displays, as does Asheville’s bustling Biltmore Park shopping district to the south. Pop in and out of galleries and independent stores featuring one-of-a-kind items for everyone on your list. Plan ahead to catch a special market like The Big Crafty’s Hand to Heart Holiday (December 2-3) or the Show & Tell Holiday Pop-Up Shop (December 7-20).
- For the Kids (and Young at Heart)
Santa Claus is coming to the Blue Ridge Mountains by train as Craggy Mountain Line gets in the holiday spirit. The Jingle Bell Trolley Train Run takes off on the hour, Saturdays, November 26-December 17, and on Friday, December 23. Ten dollars includes hot cocoa, cookies and a meet ‘n’ greet with Santa.
- Holiday Theater
There’s no shortage of holiday performances to dazzle you this year, from the classic Nutcracker to a sidesplitting, adults-only Christmas sketch comedy. Watch the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy four ways with Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (December 3), and three interpretations of the classic ballet by local dance companies at Diana Wortham Theatre. Asheville Community Theatre brings back a family favorite with the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, running December 1-17. And only in Asheville can you experience the Magnetic Theatre's Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular – everyone’s favorite R-rated, envelope-pushing, holiday comedy (November 30-December 22).
- Sippable Traditions
Make spirits bright … Lively libations abound this time of year, as well. Highland Brewing Company, Asheville’s oldest brewery, will once again release perennial favorite – and the city’s original seasonal beer – Cold Mountain Winter Ale during a cask party November 9-11. The ale will then hit shelves and taps in limited distribution, along with its imperial version. Ninjabread Man Porter by Asheville Brewing Company also resurfaces for the season, spiced to perfection. NEW! Global pop-up cocktail bar “Miracle” will spread the holiday cheer to Asheville at MG Road November 24-December 24. Launched in New York City in 2014, the concept has expanded to more than 50 locations around the world. Think creative holiday-themed concoctions served in custom glassware, kitschy, nostalgic and vintage decorations and a soundtrack to match.
- Small-Town Christmas Charm
Minutes from downtown, you’ll find Asheville’s Norman Rockwell-esque neighbors with their own holiday traditions. Weaverville’s Candlelight Stroll (December 8) lights up the town’s Main Street, complete with music, horse and carriage rides, carolers and children’s activities. The historic Monte Vista Hotel in Black Mountain hosts Deck the Trees, a tree-decorating contest benefiting a local charity. Christmas trees adorned around an “80 Years of Christmas” theme illuminate the hotel’s lobby for all to see – and vote on – throughout the month of December.
Dodie Stephens | 828-257-4959 | Dstephens@ExploreAsheville.com | @AshevilleTravel
Landis Taylor | 828-258-6125 | Ltaylor@ExploreAsheville.com | @AshevilleTravel
Sarah Lowery | 828-258-6136 | Slowery@ExploreAsheville.com | @AshevilleTravel
Available to Media: Hi-Res Images for Download
- Password: AVLMediaImages
- Please credit ExploreAsheville.com (with a link back to our site, when possible).