Festive Happenings for Your Holiday Getaway
By Asheville Insider
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 4, 2022 - January 8, 2023
Biltmore has decked the halls in holiday décor with more than 60 trees including a 35-foot Fraser fir. Across the estate you’ll see garland, ribbons and festive light displays. Each night through January 7, 2023 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 Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, and the Winery.
November 18 - December 31, 2022
The North Carolina Arboretum
Designed with an artistic aesthetic, Winter Lights is a self-guided walking experience through the Arboretum that 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. The lights are on display November 18 - December 31, 2022. Advance tickets are recommended.
November 19, 2022 - January 2, 2023
The holiday spirit in Asheville lives at the Grove Arcade. For over 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 the Tree-Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 19, holiday face painting on Nov. 26, a children's book reading on Dec. 3 & 10, along with a roaring twenties New Year's Eve party on Dec. 31.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Saturday, November 19, 2022, 11 a.m.
Bring the family out for a parade that will roll, dance, and march through downtown. This year's parade theme is "Winter Wonderland" and will feature more than 100 entries including bands, dance and cheer squads, youth sports, and other organizations. This year, James Beard Award winners, Chefs Katie Button and Meherwan Irani, will serve as Grand Marshals of the parade.
2022 National Gingerbread House Display
November 28, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Omni Grove Park Inn
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.
Deck the Trees
December 1, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Monte Vista Hotel, Black Mountain
Beautiful and unique hand-decorated Christmas trees in the theme of “Let Heaven and Nature Sing” will bring joy and inspiration to all who visit. The public is invited to view the multitude of adorned trees on display.
Appalachian Santa and Highlands Experience
December 1 & 9, 2022
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.
Festival of Lights
Walk-thru (Dec. 2 & 3) Drive-thru (Dec. 4 - 23)
On of Asheville's favorite light shows has transformed this year by adding some extra sparkle to the event. On Dec. 2 and 3, guests can experience the "Lights by the Lake" walking tour, where you can enjoy the dazzling sights of Lake Julian by foot. Its traditional drive-thru experience will begin on Dec. 4 and shine through December 23. Admission is $5 and tickets for both of these events must be purchased in advance online.
Jingle Bell Trolley
December 2 - 4, 9 - 11, 16 - 18, 22 - 23
Craggy Mountain Line Railroad
Take a fun and festive train ride with Santa and Mrs. Clause. This event is fun and educational for the family. Tour multiple locomotive, cabooses, and train cars and enjoy cookies and hot chocolate.
Dickens in the Village Festival
December 2-3, 2022
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. This year, the festival will include a Christmas market and kids carnival on Saturday, December 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. followed by another Christmas market on Sunday, December 3, from 1 to 6 p.m.
25th Annual Santa on the Chimney
December 3 & 10, 2022
Chimney Rock State Park
Watch Santa practice for the big night on one of the biggest chimneys in the world. On December 3 and 10, 2022, 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 3, 2022, 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 3, 2022, 1 p.m.
Take part in this annual small town holiday tradition in Weaverville, just north of Asheville. There will be floats, performers, and a visit from Santa Claus.
Winter Wonder Walk Holiday Festival
December 9 - 11, 15 - 18
Adventure Center of Asheville
Celebrate the wonder of winter with a live-action immersive story-walk on an outdoor trail complete with live characters, lights and a blustery guest, Jack Frost. The 2nd annual Winter Wonder Walk follows the pages of the storybook of Winterland - full of holiday magic for all ages! Families can also enjoy a holiday market, a kids’ play area and a warm festival tent buzzing with local vendors, tasty concessions, and activities for the family. Don’t miss out on the Treetops Adventure Park Glow Trail, which will be available for guests age 4 years or older. Proceeds benefit MANNA Foodbank's Memories Making Meals program.
Holiday Lights at Burton Street
December 10, 2022
Burton Street Community Center, West Asheville
The Burton Street Community Center in West Asheville will deck the halls for the holidays. Take a holiday evening walk around the field lit by luminaries, and enjoy hot chocolate and other festive treats.
Warren Haynes Presents: Christmas Jam
December 10, 2022
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville
This beloved musical masterpiece is back! Following a three-year hiatus, the 31st annual Christmas Jam will feature an incredible lineup including Phil Lesh & Friends (feat. Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Medeski, & John Molo), Tyler Childers with his band The Food Stamps, Gov’t Mule, Brothers Osborne, Dinosaur Jr., and Beth Hart. Curated by Grammy Award-winning vocalist, songwriter, producer and guitar legend Warren Haynes, Christmas Jam, which is a fundraiser for Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity, is one of the most celebrated and longest-running live concerts in the U.S.
Breakfast with Santa at The Farm
December 11, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Enjoy a family-friendly holiday morning with Santa Claus himself this December hosted by The Farm in Candler. Guests to this very special breakfast will delight in delicious food, crafts, hot cocoa and, of course, Mr. Claus.
Twilight in the Treetops – Holiday Night Climb
December 30, 2022
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.
Making a list, checking it twice
With multiple shopping districts and special pop-up markets, finding that perfect gift is easy in Asheville.
- November 2 – December 14, 2022 (Every Wednesday): Weaverville Tailgate Holiday Market at Weaverville Community Center
- November 18, 2022: East Asheville Holiday Tailgate Market at Groce United Methodist Church, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.
- November 18 - December 31, 2022: A Very Glassy Holiday Market at NC Glass Center, open daily
- November 19, 2022: Holiday Pop-Up Market at Open Hearts Art Center, 1 - 6 p.m.
- November 19, 2022: Holiday Art Market at Asheville Community Yoga, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- November 19, 2022: Sip 'n Shop Pop-up Market at Bold Rock, 12 - 5 p.m.
- November 25 – December 24, 2022: Show & Tell Pop Up Shop at the Center for Craft
- November 27, 2022: Community Holiday Make & Take at Local Cloth, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- November 27, 2022: Arts and Crafts Holiday Market at Purple Crayon, 1 - 3 p.m.
- November 28 – December 23, 2022: Hanukkah Shuk at Asheville Jewish Community Center
- December 3 – 4, 2022: The Big Crafty at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.
- December 3 & 10, 2022: Holiday Seconds Sale at the Folk Art Center
- December 4, 2022: Fairview Handmade Market at Turgua Brewing, 12 - 4 p.m.
- December 9 – 11, 2022: Holiday Sip and Shop at Grovewood Gallery.
- December 10, 2022: Holiday Market at Local Cloth, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- December 10 – 11, 2022: Uncommon Holiday Market at Mission Health/AB Tech Conference Center.
- December 28 & 29, 2022: Holiday Arts Extravaganza at Asheville Art Museum (pre-registration required)
Holiday Musicals & Entertainment Calendar
Get into the holiday spirit at one of the many performing arts events happening around the mountains.
- November 25 – 27: Multiverse Theatre Collective presents, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at the Be Be Theatre, various times
- December 3 & 4: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m.
- December 2 – 4, 8 – 11, 15 – 17: Caroling by Gaslight at The Magnetic Theatre, various times
- December 2 – 18: Elf The Musical at Asheville Community Theatre, various times
- December 9 – 11, 15 – 17: The Nutcracker at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, various times
- December 9 – 18, Multiverse Theatre Collective presents, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley at the Be Be Theatre, Fridays - Sundays, various times
- December 9 – 23: Santa Claus Conquers the Martin at the Attic Salt Theatre Company, Fridays - Sundays, various times
- December 18: A Swannanoa Solstice at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 7 p.m.
- December 20: NUTCRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet at Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville, 8 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 24, 2022
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 25 - December 31, 2022
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 3, 2022
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!
Ugly Sweater Crawl
December 10, 2022
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.