Top 2023 Holiday Festivals & Events in Asheville

Family Making Smores at Winter Lights

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.

Continue to check back as we update information throughout the holiday season. 

Top Events for the Holiday Season in Asheville, North Carolina

Christmas at Biltmore

November 3, 2023 - January 7, 2024

Biltmore Estate at the HolidaysBiltmore 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, 2024 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.

Winter Lights

November 17 - December 31, 2023
The North Carolina Arboretum

Winter Lights at the ArboretumDesigned 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 17 - December 31, 2023. Advance tickets are recommended.

Winter Wonderland

November 25 - end of December
Grove Arcade

The Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville decorates for its Winter Wonderland celebrationThe 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! The arcade's Winter Wonderland decorations will be up until the end of December. 

Asheville Holiday Parade

Saturday, November 18, 2023, 2:30 p.m.
Downtown Asheville

Asheville Holiday ParadeBring 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. 

2023 National Gingerbread House Display

November 27, 2023 – January 2, 2024
Omni Grove Park Inn

Girl smiling looking down at gingerbread house display at Omni Grove Park InnPeruse 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, 2023 – December 31, 2023Deck The Trees Black Mountain
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

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

December 3-23, 2023
Lake Julian

Lake Julian Festival of Lights 2017The traditional drive-thru experience will begin on Dec. 3 and shine through December 23. Admission is $5 and tickets for both the walk-thru and drive-thru events must be purchased in advance online.

Jingle Bell Trolley

November 18 - Dec. 31 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 1-2, 2023
Biltmore Village

Dickens in the VillageThe 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.

26th Annual Santa on the Chimney

December 2 & 9, 2023Santa on the Chimney
Chimney Rock State Park

Watch Santa practice for the big night on one of the biggest chimneys in the world. On December 2 and 9, 2023, 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

Dec. 2, 2023
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

Dec. 2, 2023
Downtown Weaverville

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 15-16, 27-30, 2023
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 3rd 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

Dec. 8
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.

HanuKammunity Dance

Dec, 9, 7-9 p.m.

JCC Social Hall

Live music by Asheville’s own Bandana Klezmer Band, plus dancing led by Yiddish dance master Steve Weintraub. Seasonal goodies and non-alcoholic beverages provided. BYOB and BYO candles for a community candle lighting.

Warren Haynes Presents: Christmas Jam

December 9
Harrah's Cherokee Center - Asheville

The 32nd annual Christmas Jam is one of the most celebrated and longest-running live concerts in the U.S. The lineup has yet to be announced.

JCC Hanukkah Party & Candle Lighting

December 11

Light the menorah and celebrate Hanukkah with the JCC community. Enjoy eight special activities which include a sing-a-long, face painting, candle lighting, photo booth, crafts, seasonal refreshments, holiday recipe sharing and a secret dreidel surprise! Starts at 5 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa at The Farm

December 16, 9 a.m. - 12 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.

Making a list, checking it twice

Christmas Shopping

With multiple shopping districts and special pop-up markets, finding that perfect gift is easy in Asheville.

  • November 1 - December 20, 2023 (Every Wednesday): Weaverville Tailgate Holiday Market at Weaverville Community Center
  • TBD: East Asheville Holiday Tailgate Market at Groce United Methodist Church, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.
  • November 17 - December 31, 2023: A Very Glassy Holiday Market at NC Glass Center, open dail
  • November 19, 2023: Holiday Pop-Up Market at Open Hearts Art Center, 1 - 6 p.m.
  • November 19, 2023: Holiday Art Market at Asheville Community Yoga, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • November 19, 2023: Sip 'n Shop Pop-up Market at Bold Rock, 12 - 5 p.m.
  • November 25 – December 24, 2023: Show & Tell Pop Up Shop at the Center for Craft
  • November 27, 2023: Community Holiday Make & Take at Local Cloth, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • November 27, 2023: Arts and Crafts Holiday Market at Purple Crayon, 1 - 3 p.m.
  • November 27- December 17 : Hanukkah Shuk at Asheville Jewish Community Center
  • December 2-3, 2023: The Big Crafty at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville.
  • December 2 & 9, 2023: Holiday Seconds Sale at the Folk Art Center
  • December 3, 2023: Fairview Handmade Market at Turgua Brewing, 12 - 4 p.m.
  • December 8-9, 2023: Holiday Sip and Shop at Grovewood Gallery.
  • December 9, 2023: Holiday Market at Local Cloth, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • December 9-10, 2023: 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.

Moscow Ballet - The Great Russian Nutcracker

  • November 24 - Dec. 3: Multiverse Theatre Collective presents, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley at the Be Be Theatre
  • December 1-2: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.
  • December 1-16 New Queer's Eve at The Magnetic Theatre
  • December 1-23: Elf The Musical at Asheville Community Theatre
  • December 8-17: Multiverse Theatre Collective presents, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at the Be Be Theatre
  • December 17: A Swannanoa Solstice at Wortham Center for the Performing Arts
  • December 17: NUTCRACKER! Magic of Christmas Ballet at Harrah's Cherokee Center

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 23, 2023
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.

A Very Merry Ugly Sweater Run – 5K & 10K

December 2, 2023
The Riveter

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 9, 2023
Daddy Mac's

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.


Updated December 4, 2023