Asheville is one of the friendliest places to spend a holiday season. It’s full of festivities and things to do, from seeing holiday lights, enjoying family fun events around town, and finding all the right spots to get your holiday shopping done. Let’s explore where to see and do these activities when you celebrate the holidays in Asheville NC this year.

Holiday Light Displays Around Asheville NC

A big part of many families’ holiday traditions is going out to take in the holiday lights around Asheville. This year, Asheville NC is decking the halls all over town and the surrounding area, to spread the most cheer — something we all need a little bit extra this year. 

NC Arboretum

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum – huge annual light show that this year has been converted into a drive-through extravaganza. you can venture through miles of lighted trees and displays and explore

Explore different nature-inspired themes, from winter wildlife to spring butterflies to a daisy garden — all along your driving adventure. Pack some cocoa for the whole family and play some holiday tunes while you cruise through the lights.


Not only is the mansion decorated for the season, the expansive gardens surrounding the estate are covered in thousands of beautiful lights, starting with the gigantic lighted tree right out front. Take a tour of the grounds to explore the classic light display, then venture in to explore the decorations and glow of the candles.

Downtown Asheville

The Local Lights displays in Pritchard Park and Pack Square are set in the heart of Asheville — which happens to also be a great shopping area. Stop in to take in the lights, and get some great photos with your family while you shop for holiday gifts.

Omni Grove Park Inn

The Historic Omni Grove Park Inn is a local landmark and it’s decorated inside and out for maximum holiday cheer this year. Spend some time in the great halls with crackling fireplaces and rocking chairs, count all the decorated trees and enjoy a warm meal or cup of something while you’re out of the cold.

Holiday Events in Asheville NC

Events might look a bit different in 2020, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays in Asheville NC while keeping your family, friends, and neighbors safe this season.

National Gingerbread House Competition

The National Gingerbread House Competition receives entries from all over WNC and the country and will go on this year as planned. Although there will be no in-person viewing this time, “visitors” will still have the opportunity to see the submitted houses virtually. Tune in to see the work of some of the nation’s most creative foodies.

Santa at Chimney Rock

Santa gets in shape before the holiday season by climbing the tallest chimney at Chimney Rock State Park. Mr. and Mrs. Claus and some of their animals will be there prepping for holidays — and they always have time to meet some new friends and pass out treats.

Christmas at Biltmore

The Biltmore welcomes guests into its great halls with glowing fireplaces, candles, and decorations. The expansive gardens are also decked out with lights and christmas cheer. Take a tour, listen to your favorite holiday stories, and enjoy the warmth of the Biltmore Estate during the holiday season.

Holiday Shopping in Asheville NC

If you’re looking for places to stock up on gifts and stuffers in time for the holidays, here are some of the best areas to do your shopping as you celebrate the holidays in Asheville NC.

Downtown Asheville NC

Downtown is full of shops and stores that are open for shoppers. Explore downtown’s many popular bookstores, upscale boutiques, and jewelry stores and shop for gifts for friends, neighbors, and family members.

River Arts District

You can shop for wares from local artists in the colorful River Arts District in Asheville NC. Here you’ll find a huge selection of beautiful paintings and prints, ceramics, fiberwork, sculptures, furniture, textiles, and more. This part of Asheville NC is a great place to shop for sustainable gifts.

Biltmore Village

Victorian-themed Biltmore Village is a perfect stop for locally made goods, from clothing, antiques, and home decor, to jewelry, art, and ornaments. This picturesque village has something for everyone and is a beautiful and festive shopping experience to celebrate the holidays in Asheville NC. Between the string lights and holiday displays, you’ll find many cafes to stop for a cup of cocoa or cider while you shop.

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets in Asheville, NC, like the West Asheville Tailgate Indoor Holiday Market switch into holiday mode this time of year and offer all sorts of goods you’re sure to enjoy, including fresh winter produce, crafts, gifts, apparel, and more. While you explore the vendors, listen to live music, and enjoy some warm drinks and samples.

Asheville is making the best of a tough year and providing tons of festive events and opportunities for families to hold onto their special traditions. You can’t find a better place to celebrate the holidays than Asheville NC.

Asheville, NC is a beautiful place to spend the holidays, but it’s also an amazing place to call home year-round. If you’re looking to make the move to Asheville, take a look at Couch Mountain.

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