Planning a festive day trip that’s close to home? Asheville, North Carolina offers a variety of things to do for the holidays. From Asheville’s 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.
Make the most of your trip, with the Kidding Around Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Asheville, NC
Christmas Time in Asheville
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 are always 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.
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 Christmas season.
The Asheville Holiday Parade
November 19th, 2022 | 11 AM to 12:30 PM, with streets closing and traffic beginning around 7 AM
Downtown 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 Grove Arcade from 2 pm to 4 pm following the parade.
Attend A Tree Lighting Ceremony or Festival In Asheville
Enjoy the annual tree lighting ceremony at Grove Arcade, kicking off the start of Winter Wonderland.
Go See The Gingerbread Creations at 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 Carla Hall of “The Chew,” a judge for the 2018 competition. 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.
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. They have 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.
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!
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.
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.