Festive Happenings for Your Holiday Getaway
Holiday magic for all ages
Asheville is well known for going all out with its holiday celebrations. The season offers a mix of beloved holiday traditions, special events and pop-up markets. Here’s a list of festive celebrations and events happening all season long in the Asheville area.
Top Events for the Holiday Season in Asheville, North Carolina
Christmas at Biltmore
November 5, 2021 - January 9, 2022
Biltmore has decked the halls in holiday décor with more than 55 trees including a 35-foot Fraser fir. Across the estate you’ll see garland, ribbons and festive light displays. Each night through January 8, 2022 they are hosting their popular Candlelight Christmas Evenings. This requires a special ticket to reserve your time and each ticket includes a next-day visit to see the gardens, Antler Hill Village, including the new Van Gogh Alive exhibit, and the Winery.
November 18, 2021 – January 3, 2022
The holiday spirit in Asheville lives at the Grove Arcade. For 15 years, the merchants and residents of the Grove Arcade have come together to turn their beloved 1920s architecture into a winter paradise! Shop, dine and take part in special events like Mr. and Mrs. Claus visits and a tree-lighting ceremony.
Winter Tree Carnival
November 16, 2021-January 2, 2022, begins at 4:30 p.m.
See more than 50 trees decorated by Asheville’s local businesses, non-profits and artists! The carnival will be accompanied by holiday movie events, winter pop-up shops, a special festive drink menu and family-friendly winter programming. Entry to view the trees will be free to the public daily; with the exception of ticketed or private event nights. The carnival runs through January 2, 2022.
November 19, 2021 – January 1, 2022
The North Carolina Arboretum
Designed with an artistic aesthetic, Winter Lights features beautifully lit displays and glowing landscapes nestled along the Arboretum’s woodland edge and garden areas. Nearly one million lights enhance the natural beauty of the gardens. In 2021, Winter Lights is once again a self-guided walking tour experience. The lights are on display November 19, 2021-January 1, 2022. Advance tickets are recommended.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Saturday, November 20, 2021, 11 a.m.
Bring the family out for a parade that will roll, dance, and march through downtown. This year's parade theme is "Celebrating 75 Years of Memories and Magic" and will feature more than 100 entries including bands, dance and cheer squads, youth sports, and other organizations. All attendees are strongly encouraged to wear a mask.
Twilight in the Treetops – Holiday Night Climb
November 27 & December 27, 2021
Adventure Center of Asheville
Watch the world transform from dusk to night while climbing in the trees at the Asheville Treetops Adventure Park. Trails will be illuminated to give climbing the obstacles a new perspective. Over 15,000 colored lights, plus colorful lasers sparkling on thousands of leaves, cables, rope and platforms throughout the park will create a mystical tree climbing experience like you can’t imagine. Ages 4 and over. Reservations are suggested.
Free Santa Photos
November 27 – December 19, 2021 (Weekends only)
Every family who visits Santa will receive two FREE 4”x6” Santa photo prints and a digital download of a single image. Additional photos and Christmas merchandise are available for purchase.
2021 National Gingerbread House Display
November 28, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Omni Grove Park Inn
An enduring tradition in Asheville, the National Gingerbread Competition returns as an in-person event this year. Peruse hundreds of confectionery creations lining the halls of this famed resort, all of which are vying for the top spot in this year’s competition. For those not staying at the resort, there are select days you can visit to see the entries. There is a minimum parking fee of $25, and no outside pets are allowed unless you’re staying at the Inn.
Festival of Lights
December 1-23, 2021, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The driving-only tour includes thousands of dazzling lights and displays placed along an enchanted journey on the road circling Lake Julian Park.
Deck the Trees
December 2, 2021 – January 3, 2022, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Monte Vista Hotel, Black Mountain
Beautiful and unique hand-decorated Christmas trees in the theme of “A Black Mountain Christmas” will bring joy and inspiration to all who visit. The public is invited to view the multitude of adorned trees on display.
Jingle Bell Trolley
December 3, 3 – 7 p.m.
Craggy Mountain Line Railroad
Take a fun and festive train ride with Santa. This event is fun and educational for the family. Tour multiple locomotive, cabooses, and train cars and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.
Appalachian Santa and Highlands Experience
December 3-10, 2021, 2 – 6 p.m.
Montgomery Sky Farm
Join Appalachian Santa on the farm for family photo sessions. Kids will have a chance to see Highland cows, mini goats and sheep. Warm beverages and cookies will be available in the barn along with the opportunity to write Santa a letter.
Dickens in the Village Festival
December 3-4, 2021
The beautiful, historic district of Biltmore Village transports you back in time to the days of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol! The Old World Dickens in the Village Festival is an immersive holiday experience featuring performances by strolling carolers, actors and musicians dressed in costume.
24th Annual Santa on the Chimney
December 4 & 11, 2021
Chimney Rock State Park
Watch Santa practice for the big night on one of the biggest chimneys in the world. On December 4 and 11, 2021, Santa rappels from the top of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Meet him and Mrs. Claus, listen to special music and enjoy family activities.
Black Mountain Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, 2 p.m.
Downtown Black Mountain
Join in the holiday cheer at this annual event in Black Mountain, which features over 50 floats, vehicles and performers, as well as Santa Claus!
Weaverville Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, 1 p.m.
Take part in this annual small town holiday tradition. There will be floats, performers, and a visit from Santa Claus.
Making a list, checking it twice
With multiple shopping districts and special pop-up markets, finding that perfect gift is easy in Asheville.
- November 3 – December 22, 2021 (Every Wednesday):Weaverville Tailgate Holiday Market at Gotta Have It Antiques.
- November 9 – December 7, 2021: Hanukkah Shuk at Asheville Jewish Community Center.
- November 20, 2021: Holiday Pop-Up Market at Open Hearts Art Center, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- November 26 – December 5 & December 18 – 24, 2021: Show & Tell Pop Up Shop at Archetype Brewing - North
- December 4 – 5, 2021: The Big Crafty at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.
- December 4 – 19, 2021: Holly Jolly Market at Rabbit Rabbit
- December 10 – 12, 2021: Handmade Holiday Sale at Grovewood Gallery.
- December 11 – 12, 2021: Uncommon Holiday Market at Mission Health/AB Tech Conference Center.
Holiday Musicals & Entertainment Calendar
Get into the holiday spirit at one of the many performing arts events happening around the mountains.
- December 3 & 4: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.
- December 3 – 18: It’s the Most _____ Time of the Year: Oil on Canvas at The Magnetic Theatre, various times
- December 4: PAN HARMONIA: Holiday Harp and Flute: Festive and Merry! At St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 3 p.m.
- December 4: Hallelujah! A Christmas Celebration with Montreat College Choir & Orchestra at Anderson Auditorium, 7 p.m.
- December 7: Bach’s Lunch – Christmas from Around the World at First Baptist Church of Asheville, 12:05 p.m.
- December 7 – 19: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Live and Virtual) at North Carolina Stage Company, 7:30 p.m.
- December 19: A Swannanoa Solstice at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 2 p.m.
Holiday Pub Crawls and Races
Whether you need to shed a few holiday pounds, or you want to pack some on, there are some festive holiday events to achieve both.
South Asheville Turkey Trot 5K
November 25, 2021
Biltmore Park Town Square
Thanksgiving is the largest running holiday with families all over the country! Turkey Trots are a great way to start the day. Enjoy some fresh air and exercise before gathering around the table for your Thanksgiving feast! You’ll share miles and smiles with your family and friends as part of this fun, annual tradition.
November 26 - December, 2021
Miracle is a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. With kitschy holiday décor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best office party you’ve ever been to, Miracle is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.
A Very Merry Ugly Sweater Run – 5K & 10K
December 4, 2021
Don your ugliest sweater and lace up your running shoes for this festive 5k/10k event. The Riveter will be serving up plenty of post-race activities (and beverages) this year, so it's sure to become one of your favorite holiday traditions!
Hanukkah Celebration & 8K
December 6, 2021
Asheville Jewish Community Center
The event is a community wide celebration of the 8-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. The race begins at 9 a.m.
5th Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl
December 18, 2021
Get that Goodwill sweater, find those tacky holiday pants, and get ready to jingle bell ROCK! Ticket Includes: Holiday T-shirt handed out at the after party, Ugly Sweater Crawl koozie, Christmas movie live stream trivia during crawl for prizes, registration party to kick off the crawl, themed discounted drink specials at participating bars, DJ's playing holiday music at multiple stops, Ugly Sweater digital crawl map to help guide you bar to bar, and the Ugly Sweater after party.