Looking for Christmas lights, events, and other fun holiday happenings in the Asheville area? There’s a variety of sparkling winter escapades to enjoy in this magical part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re headed to Western North Carolina this Christmas, here are a few merry “must-dos” to get in the spirit of the season.
Christmas at Biltmore
Dates: November 5, 2021 – January 9, 2022, at Biltmore House
One of the greatest draws to Asheville is the famed Biltmore House, especially during the holidays. The entire Estate is magnificently decorated, creating an exceptionally charming ambiance for all who experience it. There are more than 100,000 twinkling lights and 100+ hand-decorated Christmas trees throughout the home. In the famed Banquet Hall, you’ll discover a stunning 35-foot, elegantly decorated Fraser Fir. You’ll also encounter over 1200 live poinsettias, 6,000 feet of fresh garland, countless evergreen wreaths, and more stunning decor throughout the dwelling. And don’t miss the holiday displays, shopping, and delicious dining at Antler Hill Village. The Christmas at Biltmore celebration is a daytime event that’s included with admission to the Estate. Since it’s highly popular, plan ahead and book your date and time in advance.
Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum
November 19, 2021 – January 1, 2022, at the NC Arboretum
For those that have experienced the North Carolina Arboretum, you already know how lovely it is. We can assure you that it’s even prettier during its famed Winter Lights celebration. From 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., the meticulously manicured grounds and gardens are brought to life with over a million glittering lights. The energy-efficient LED lights cast a warm glow on the landscape, making for a magical walk-through experience. What’s more, you’ll enjoy musical performances, fire pits, story times, hot cocoa, s’mores, and more. The Winter Lights event is the Arboretum’s biggest fundraising effort of the year, as 100% of all proceeds support their annual programming. So do good and make merry — purchase your tickets in advance to secure the best times and prices to attend.
National Gingerbread House Competition
November 28, 2022 – Jan. 2, 2023, at The Omni Grove Park Inn
One of Asheville’s favorite annual holiday traditions is the famous National Gingerbread House Competition, held at the historic Grove Park Inn. Each year, contestants from all over the country compete with extraordinary, handmade confectionery creations. Each house must be built entirely from edible materials, with at least 75 percent being gingerbread. In addition to viewing the gingerbread houses, you’ll also delight in the Grove Park Inn’s holiday decor — especially The Great Hall’s enormous Christmas tree and gigantic, wreath-adorned stone fireplaces that glow and crackle with welcoming warmth. Note: If you’re not staying at the resort, guests may view the gingerbread house display on specific days and times until January 2.
Dickens in the Village Festival
December 2-3, 2022, at Historic Biltmore Village
If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol, this holiday event is a must. The Historic Biltmore Village, located just outside the Biltmore Estate, is transformed into a quaint Victorian town, brilliantly decked out for the holidays in Old World style. The annual Dickens in the Village Festival starts on Friday night with a tree-lighting ceremony on the Village Green. The festival includes music from regional choirs, instrumentalists, and animated recitations by the Montford Park Players’ production of A Christmas Carol. Of course, St. Nicholas pays homage as well. On Saturday, the festivities continue in Biltmore Village with roving entertainment acts that include singers, brass ensembles, a chestnut roaster, jugglers, mimes, and more theatrical presentations. Historic Biltmore Village offers incredible shopping with high-end boutiques, international retailers, and stores that feature local merchandise. Many stay open late during Dickens in the Village, and admission to the event is free.
Weaverville Candlelight Stroll
December 9, 2022, in Weaverville, NC
A mere 20-minute drive from French Broad Crossing’s hometown of Marshall is the charming town of Weaverville. Locals know it as “Asheville’s Norman Rockwell-esque neighbor,” especially considering its holiday traditions. On December 10, Weaverville’s Main Street is decorated and lined with glowing luminaries for its annual Candlelight Stroll. Festivities include musical performances, carolers, carriage rides, children’s activities, holiday-themed crafts, and a visit from Santa himself. As you meander through the quaint town, stop in the shops and sip refreshments as you browse a variety of wares. You’ll find many of the establishments collecting donations for the Weaverville Cops for Kids program, so bring a toy or make a charitable contribution. It’ll warm your heart, and that of a child’s too.
Note that hotels and B&Bs tend to book up fast in Asheville, especially around holidays. If you’re planning an overnight visit, our French Broad Crossing property consultant is happy to assist with recommendations for top-notch accommodations and meals. Plus, you’ll get a personal, guided tour of our award-winning, nature-based community — an extraordinary neighborhood situated on the mighty French Broad River in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. We can’t wait to help you experience the magic of Asheville like a local — because we are local. So if you’re considering making Western North Carolina your home, check out the final opportunities in French Broad Crossing, where you’re never far from your next great adventure. Start planning your visit today.