Holiday Shopping Hot Spots in Asheville
By Janet Moore
Do your holiday shopping in Asheville
Crisp mountain air combines with the smell of evergreens, spice-infused apple cider, and hot chocolate. In Biltmore Village carolers are singing the familiar songs of Christmas and on Asheville's street corners, musicians serenade shoppers with old and new holiday favorites.
It is the holiday season in Asheville and throughout the city's diverse shopping districts, independently-owned jewelry design studios, art galleries, and boutiques are overflowing with unique gifts that blend the city's bohemian spirit with the area's rich Southern Appalachian craft tradition. The results are functional, ornamental, wearable, and even edible works of art.
A Holiday Arts and Crafts Tradition with a Modern Twist
Asheville has long been a haven for artists. Writers, painters, potters, wood carvers, blacksmiths, weavers, glassblowers, and musicians have all drawn inspiration from its rich mountain craft traditions, lore and legacies.
- Downtown Asheville
From the Grove Arcade, to the Woolworth Walk, to Pack Square and beyond, there is no shortage of original gifts, stocking stuffers and holiday ornaments in this city dubbed the “Paris of the South.” Try on a glittering design by one of our local goldsmiths or a brightly-colored homespun hand-knitted scarf by one of our textile artisans. Sip champagne while searching for a rare first edition or sample a luscious chili-spiced dark chocolate truffle. There is nothing ordinary about holiday shopping in Asheville, and nothing ordinary about the treasures you'll find.
- Biltmore Village
Located across from the entrance to Biltmore and in the shadow of All Souls Cathedral, the Village recalls the days of Dickens. Its more than 40 unique shops feature distinctive crafts, fashion-forward clothing, jeweled-colored yarns, and handmade children's clothes that are sure to become family heirlooms. You'll find everything from yard art to Victorian-themed Christmas ornaments, the whimsical to the sophisticated within easy walking distance. When you're ready for a bite to eat, look no further than the 10 cafes and restaurants sprinkled throughout the Village. Most businesses are housed in historic pebble-dash stucco cottages and brick buildings, many dating back to the construction of Biltmore House. Twinkle-lighted trees, brick sidewalks, and the Dickens in the Village celebration make shopping here a delight.
A picturesque drive along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway brings you to The Folk Art Center and the work of skilled artists who are members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. From dulcimers to handmade brooms, Christmas tree ornaments, weavings, quilts, glass, wood carvings, and pottery, the Folk Art Center's gift shop showcases the authenticity of mountain arts and crafts. Don't miss the daily craft demonstrations by guild members, nationally regarded as the best of the best.
- River Arts District
This river-front industrial district that was once home to textile and tobacco warehouses is now a thriving community of artists. Building on the area's strong craft tradition, they bring a modern twist to ceramics, painting, photography, fiber arts, metal and woodworking. A visit to these shops and studios frequently includes a chance to meet the artist and learn about their inspiration and techniques. With more than 100 galleries and even more artist studios, many in the River Arts District, you will need plenty of time for exploring.
- Biltmore Park
Here in this high-end shopping district located in south Asheville one-of-a-kind stores with that distinctive Asheville flair sit side-by-side national retailers like REI and Barnes & Noble. This easy-to- walk town square with a hometown feel also includes a variety of restaurants.
- Holiday Markets
Craft markets and community bazaars abound in Asheville throughout the holiday season. These celebrations of the city's handmade commerce usually include local food, beer, toe-tapping music and always include a wide selection of indie art and crafts.