10+ Ways To Celebrate Christmas In Asheville, NC

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If you are planning a festive day trip, then Christmas in Asheville, NC will check off all the boxes on your itinerary! Asheville, North Carolina offers a variety of things to do for the holidays, from Christmas lights to gingerbread houses, parades, and more!

We’ve got a list of kid-friendly holiday events to do in Asheville, NC, and all the details you’ll need to plan your visit.

Christmas activities in Asheville, North Carolina

Christmas in Asheville, NC

I never need much of a reason to visit Asheville. I love the view of the mountains in the background while walking around downtown. There is always live music by musicians busking outside and all the shops welcome you with a smile. There are a variety of different restaurants and historical landmarks to visit within walking distance or just a small drive away. Plus, with the gorgeous backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, maybe you’re family will get a magical snowy adventure while you celebrate the holiday season in Asheville.

Watch A Holiday Parade To Kickoff The Season

Get in the holiday spirit by watching a Holiday Parade. Everyone gathers together to welcome the beginning of the holiday season.

The Asheville Holiday Parade
November 18th, 2023 | 11 AM to 12:30 PM, with streets closing and traffic beginning around 7 AM
Downtown Asheville will have a variety of streets closed for this event, but come early and you can snag a spot along the one-mile route. There will be over 100 entries to enjoy as they travel down the main part of town. The parade starts at Biltmore Avenue and travels up, ending at South French Broad Avenue. There will be photos with Santa at the Restoration Hotel from 2 pm to 4 pm following the parade.

Attend A Tree Lighting Ceremony or Festival In Asheville

The Grove Arcade Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony is the place to be the weekend after Thanksgiving. In addition, the Ingles Giving Tree lighting ceremony is always spectacular! You can also explore the decorated Christmas trees throughout December at the Monte Vista Hotel.

Go See The Gingerbread Creations at Omni Grove Park Inn

One of my favorite Asheville traditions is attending the annual National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Resorts Grove Park Inn. Wondering who gets to vote? The team judges consist of a selected group of culinary experts such as Yolanda Gampp, known as the “Beyonce of Cakes”. Don’t worry, you can still see the creations!

Not only is the Grove Park Inn a historic landmark, but they also go all-out with decorating for the holidays. After checking out the gingerbread competition (seriously one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen!), people are free to wander around or grab a hot chocolate and head to the outside deck to experience a stunning view of the mountains. They have a couple of family-friendly restaurants inside such as the Blue Ridge Artisanal Buffet (where kids under 5 eat for free!), and the Cabana Grill and Bar. 

  • The display opens to the public from November 27, 2023 through January 2, 2024.
  • Please check before you head out as hours for viewing open to non-guests are restricted, and depend on hotel capacity.
  • Non-guests are permitted Sundays after 4 pm and anytime Monday through Thursday with the exclusion of December 23 -25, and December 30- January 1, 2024.
  • Viewing the display is free, however, the self parking rate is $25 per car.
Grove Park Inn Gingerbread houses

Ashville, NC: Christmas at the Biltmore Estate

Of course, one of the most popular places in Asheville to visit during the holidays is the Biltmore. Known for its elegant displays of holiday decor, infamous Candlelight Tours, and a multitude of festivities, Christmas at the Biltmore is a must. You’ll find over 55 Christmas trees throughout the grounds and a variety of activities for kids such as crafts and carriage rides. Nothing says Christmas like a magical carriage ride! They even have an entire greenhouse full of poinsettia plants and Antler Hill Village is illuminated with trees lined with lights.

Most of the restaurants offer a children’s menu, such as the Bistro (Farm-to-table fare), and Deerpark Restaurant (a southern-inspired buffet). Be sure to plan your visit soon!

Dining room decorated for Christmas at Biltmore Estates

Christmas in Asheville, NC: See Holiday Lights

When it comes to visiting Asheville for the holidays, you can’t leave without experiencing the Winter Lights at The NC Arboretum. This magical event features over half a million LED lights and walks you through stunning gardens and unique landscapes. This event is great for the entire family – there’s even have a hot cocoa shack. Kids can also experience interactive games, a model train exhibit, free crafts, and a nature-themed animatronic children’s program. Every dollar goes towards their educational programs to keep the Arboretum up and running. A few years ago, Kristina from the Kidding Around team experienced the lights with her family and said it was beyond amazing.

Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, North Carolina

The annual Lake Julian Festival of Lights is a Lake Julian Park and is a quicker drive-through light display that benefits the Buncombe County Special Olympics. Lights include animated and stationary light displays. Tickets are $10 – $50 per car/bus.

Grab A Fresh NC Christmas Tree

Does your family want to chop down your own tree this year? Asheville has a variety of tree farms!

The Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm is known for its gorgeous rolling hills of Christmas trees. Trees are not the only things available at the farm, they also sell fresh wreaths, roping, and tree stand. It’s located at the foot of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains near Maggie Valley and Lake Junaluska and you can even stay the night in one of their cabins (dogs are welcome as long as they’re on a leash).

Please check with the farm before you head out to make sure they are open and have trees available.
Most are only open on select days.

  • Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm offers fresh-cut trees from November 16 – November 19, 2023, November 22 – November 26, 2023, November 28-30th, 2023, and December 1st-3rd, 2023
  • Mehaffey Tree Farm offers choose and cut trees on select dates from November 16th through December 10th, 2023
  • Cartner’s Christmas Tree Farm offers fresh-cut trees from November 23rd-26th, 2023 and December 2nd and 3rd, 2023
  • Sandy Hollar Farms offers fresh-cut trees on select dates from November 18th through December 10th, 2023
  • Elk River Evergreens offers fresh-cut trees from November 11th through November 24th, 2023

Asheville, NC Christmas Fun: Extra 2023 Holiday Events

Jingle Trolley at the Craggy Mountain Line in Asheville, North Carolina

Plan out the perfect day with our Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Asheville, NC!

parks with swings
About the Author
How does Kidding Around® bring readers high-quality and up-to-date content month after month and season after season? We have a dedicated team of writers and editors who regularly update our fabulous content to keep it current and relevant for our readers. This team combs lists of events, heads out into the community to experience new Upstate offerings, and communicates with local businesses. Many of our updated articles and event lists, like this one, reflect the contributions and hard work of multiple Kidding Around® team members.

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