The holiday season is without a doubt one of the best times of the year. We may be a little biased, but Asheville knows how to celebrate right! We’ve got your holiday bucket list ready, full of all the whimsy and magic.

This round up is perfect for those from out of town looking to make the most of their weekend trip, the local who is looking for ways to entertain their visitors, or the Asheville native who wants to try something new this year.

Christmas Lights
North Carolina Arboretum Winter Lights
The Winter Lights is a holiday must! This event takes place at the Arboretum from November 17–December 31. Walk through spectacular displays of over one million lights all uniquely crafted throughout the gardens. Enjoy live music, food, and fresh hot coco as you meander through the lights.

Lake Julian Festival of Lights
For a drive through option, check out the fun display of Christmas lights in Lake Julian Park. Be sure to stop at the beginning for popcorn, peanuts, or coco to make the experience even better.

Weaverville Candlelight Stroll
This classic small town holiday event is happening on Friday, December 8th. Walk down Main Street Weaverville lit up by lights and luminaries. Enjoy the tree lighting, shopping, and more.

Winterfest at Tyron Equestrian Center
More than just a light show, this event features all the winter holiday fun you could ask for! Christmas Market, ice skating, Christmas Village, and a fan favorite: Shadrack’s Light Show.

Classic Christmas Feels Around Town
Christmas at Biltmore
Christmas at Biltmore may be the quintessential holiday experience. There is nothing quite like the enchanting experience that comes from visiting America’s Largest Home during the holiday season. Daytime and Candlelight Evening opportunities are available.

National Gingerbread Competition
The National Gingerbread Competition hosted at the Omni Grove Park Inn is something everyone in the whole family will love. Creative gingerbread houses are displayed throughout the hotel for you to admire. Delicious holiday cocktails and mocktails, live music and more make the experience even sweeter.

Asheville Holiday Parade
What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a parade in Downtown Asheville? You can even stop by the Restoration Hotel afterwards for free photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This can’t miss event on Saturday, November 18th will get you in the holiday spirit and ready to take on all these other activities over the next few weeks.

Dickens in the Village
The first weekend in December, the Historic Biltmore Village transforms and takes you back in time with Charles Dickens-themed acts including dancing, caroling, chestnut roasting, and more.

Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley
Ride through Downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village and the Montford and Grove Park neighborhoods while you listen to holiday stories, sing along to everyone’s favorite Christmas carols, and view festive holiday decorations at every turn.

Asheville Ballet’s The Nutcracker
The Asheville Ballet’s Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition in Asheville for almost half a century. Don’t miss your opportunity to watch at Diana Wortham Theatre.

Winter Adventures Worth the Drive
The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad Polar Express
Put on your favorite Christmas jammies and climb aboard the Polar Express. While it’s a bit of a drive out of town, it is worth every minute to be able to enjoy the magic and wonder of journeying through the mountains to visit the “North Pole.”

Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
If you are looking for a full Hallmark experience walking through the field to find your own Christmas tree, a few of our favorite farms are Boyd Mountain Tree Farm, Red Barn Tree Farm, Mehaffey Tree Farm, and Sandy Hollar Farms.

Ski, Snowboard, or Snow Tube
For the truly adventurous at heart, a day trip to one of the local ski areas is a great way to spend time over the holidays. Cataloochee Ski Area usually opens for the season around Thanksgiving and boasts of beautiful ski slopes and opportunities for snow tubing. Another great option is Hatley Pointe, a brand-new experience at the ski mountain formally known as Wolf Ridge.

However you choose to spend your holiday season this year, we hope that it is full of sweet times enjoying old traditions and making new ones with friends and family.