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The 5 Best Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Asheville

PPeach colored parlor with fireplace hung with red stockings seen past a glittering decorated Christmas treeAsheville offers a wide variety of ways to celebrate the holidays this year. Come to the mountains and celebrate in the most unique and vibrant city in Western North Carolina. From Christmas Shopping at shops you will not find anywhere else to visiting the Biltmore Estate, largest home in America decked out in grand style for the holidays, you’ll find plenty to see and do on your visit. 






The Grove Park Inn hosts the National Gingerbread Competition from November 20th 2019 until January 4th 2020.

A richly colored gingerbread sculpture of an open book with a toy stuffed stocking and Santa's glasses laying across .

Past Gingerbread Competition Winner



A wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season is to visit the Omni Grove Park Inn during the Gingerbread House competition. This historic resort hotel was built in 1912 by E.W. Grove. The dramatic design used stone quarried on Sunset Mountain, where the hotel is located. The lobby, with giant stone fireplaces blazing, will be decorated for the holidays and dozens of festive Christmas trees are scattered along the path of the Gingerbread Exhibits. These totally edible sculptures are amazing to see! While there is no admission, hours for those not staying at the hotel are limited to Sundays after 3pm or Mon-Thursday. It’s worth extending that weekend getaway for a third day!

A little girl in a skirt and striped stockings coyly talking to a sitting Santa in rich red velvet.

Come see Santa at the Grove Arcade Winter Wonderland!

Winter Wonderland at the Grove Arcade – Events from Nov 29, 2019-Dec 31, 2019. 

If you can’t get to the Gingerbread Competition you can still see some of the entries displayed at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville from Nov 10, 2019-Jan 2, 2020. This historic landmark building was conceived by E.W. Grove and constructed in 1929. Festively decorated atriums inside the building house unique local shops and restaurants. Opening night of the Winter Wonderland Display is Nov. 29 from 5:30-7:30PM with The Asheville Symphony Chorus performing, a Grand Tree Lighting Ceremony and refreshments. Events continue every Saturday right up to the Roaring 20s Nye Party on Dec 31st. 



Winter Lights at The NC Arboretum runs from Nov 22, 2019 to Jan 4, 2020 from 6-10PM every night. 

The Arboretum, known for it’s gorgeous gardens, hiking trails, bonsai displays and more gets totally transformed during the holidays.  Amazing light shows put to music can be seen throughout the gardens along with interactive games, crafts, a model train exhibit and kids activities. Ticket sales support the Arboretum’s educational programs and exhibits throughout the year.

One-of-a-Kind Holiday Shopping 

The concentration of artists, craftspeople and makers of all kind in Asheville is unrivaled. Here are a few of the places you can find holiday gifts that you will never see at the mall! 

  • The Southern Highland Craft Guild Holiday Makers Sale  at the Folk Art Center takes place December 7th & 14th, from 10am-4pm. You’ll get a chance to interact with the creatives who made your gifts and get some wonderful deals on ceramics, jewelry, hand-woven wearables, blown glass and more. Plus you get to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway where the Folk Art Center is located!
  • The River Arts District will be holding several Holiday Markets at studios across the district, one of the largest arts districts in the U.S. The artists are spread through 23 historic buildings, hosting demonstrations, gallery sales, special events and classes.
  • Get an early start on your holiday shopping at the 3rd Annual Beaverdam Studio Tour in North Asheville on Oct 26th-27th or the Weaverville Art Safari Studio Tour Nov 1-3. 
  • Downtown Asheville will host the Big Crafty, WNC’s favorite art event on Dec 7 & 8, 2019 at the US Cellular Center and the Cool Craft Holiday Market on Dec 15th at HandMade in America on Lexington Avenue.
A French chateau-like mansion at dusk with a stone baluster festooned with fresh green garlands.

The Biltmore Estate

The most popular and magical holiday event in Asheville is, of course, The Biltmore Estate Candlelight Evenings. The largest home in America goes all out at Christmastime with a towering Norway Spruce inside the house and dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees scattered throughout. Add garlands and ornaments galore. The evening tours are lit by candlelight and firelight from the grand fireplaces with live performances of Christmas music. The Vanderbilts celebrated the holidays in grand style and you get to indulge yourself by sharing a little bit of that on your visit. You can customize your Biltmore Christmas experience with one of our Bitlmore Holiday packages. Choose one on our Specials Page and let the holiday season begin!

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