12 Family-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Winter in Asheville

North Carolina Arboretum

There’s plenty to do for the whole crew, indoors or out

Avoid the crowds that come with fall, spring and summer, and enjoy Asheville with your family at the coolest time of the year.

Games and Interactive Museums

With more than 30 pinball machines and over a dozen classic video games in the “Arcave,” there’s enough nostalgic button pushing at the Asheville Pinball Museum to entertain the whole family for hours… and to keep them from pushing your buttons. Play dozens of pinball machines at the Asheville Pinball Museum

Little ones can channel their inner Isaac Newtons at the Asheville Museum of Science. Be a geologist in the Colburn Hall of Minerals or dig for fossils and see the Teratophoneus dinosaur skeleton.

Gamers of all ages and skill levels can take a turn at Well Played, an indoor gaming oasis that features more than 700 table top games along with food, beer, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase. Not sure where to begin? Roll the dice with one of their expert Gamemasters who will help you choose the right adventure for your experience level and group size.

Outdoor Adventure

Don’t be fooled by the mountainous locale -- Asheville has its share of mild winter weather with plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun sans snow. Check out this list of favorite winter hikes, or for something closer to town with a little more of an adrenaline rush, the Adventure Center of Asheville is open all winter on weekends, so you can climb, bike and zip all year long.

All aboard certainly won’t be bored on Asheville’s historic Gray Line Trolley Tours. Even locals learn a thing or two about their hometown on this fun and informative tour of the city. For those interested in art, check out Mountain Mural Tours and discover gorgeous works of art on Asheville buildings, uncover their history and more.

An entrance sign to Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NCFrom mid-November through early January, the North Carolina Arboretum gardens sparkle and twinkle with the “Winter Lights” exhibit, which has become a favorite local holiday tradition. Families can stretch their legs while enjoying the holiday sparkle of the Blue Ridge Mountains by taking a self-guided walking experience through the Arboretum's gardens dressed in nearly one million lights. 

Eats and Treats

When it comes to kid-friendly restaurants and breweries, Asheville serves up plenty of options. Warm up and refuel at one of these winter hot spots. The hot cocoa at French Broad Chocolates was named one of the best hot chocolates by Travel + Leisure magazine. 

From mid-November to early January, kids ages nine to 99 will delight in the whimsical designs submitted for The National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park InnGirl smiling looking down at gingerbread house display at Omni Grove Park Inn

If you’re ready to take a load off, but the kids are still bouncing off the walls, enjoy the many outdoor games at Whistle Hop Brewing in nearby Fairview. Families can explore the brewery's famed caboose or boxcar, play a round of mini golf, go mini bowling or try their hand at Disc Golf Connect 4. Then round out your evening with pizza and a movie at Asheville Pizza & Brewing in North Asheville.

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Ski photo courtesy of Cataloochee Ski Area.

Updated October 17, 2023