Fun Things to Do in Asheville This December

Asheville Neighborhoods Winter

What is it about a soft sweater, hot chocolate and a crackling fire during the winter months that make us feel a sense of peace and well being? So many of us love the change of seasons and the uniqueness each brings. Asheville, nicknamed the “Land of the Sky” because of it’s 2,500 foot elevation, is a mountain city with four distinct seasons.  It is has become a favorite spot to be during the holidays with many traditions that draw thousands each year.   

Twinkling lights, elaborate Christmas decor and a famous gingerbread competition represent winter time in Asheville drawing folks to enjoy this romantic city. There is so much to do in and around Asheville, we wanted to share with you some of the fun things to do in the month of December to help you get to know this magical place.

Do you know there over 800 events planned in Asheville with a wide array of choices?  Here’s a quick glimpse:

November 03, 2018 - January 05, 2019 - Candlelight Christmas Evenings happens daily starting at 5pm at the infamous Biltmore House at the Estate. Decorated to the hilt, this impressive estate is open to the public daily featuring flickering candles, blazing fireplaces and warm holiday music to get folks into the spirit of the season. Admission is by reservation only but is well worth the money spent for a step back in time to visit this prestigious home located at One Lodge Street in Asheville.  Evening visitors can enjoy free wine tastings offered at the Antler Hill Village & Winery for added pleasure.  In addition to evening visits, there is also a Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration that starts at 9am daily which is included with the estate admission.  There are over 55 trees that are decorated with twinkling lights, garland, and ribbons of every color that accent this impressive property.  Add some spectacular holiday menus at the exquisite dining venues and a glass of wine and the day is complete.  This tradition will create memories that last a lifetime.  No holiday is complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate near several of the best Asheville neighborhoods.

The North Carolina Arboretum is open from November 16 – December 31, 2018, from 6 to 10 pm.  Located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way this fascinating display of over half million holidays lights is magical.  Walking through this winter wonderland is another place to enjoy the holidays and is one of the most popular spots to visit this December.  Open daily, visitors can experience the true tradition of Christmas, Asheville style, to see a plethora of unique outdoor holiday creations and landscaping artwork that makes this a distinctive stop during a visit to this exceptional mountain town.  Holiday music adds to this adventure and a warm cup of cider, cocoa or a cold beer complete the equation.

Winter Wonderland offered November 16, 2018 - January 06, 2019 at the Grove Arcade at 1 Page Avenue happens daily from 5 to 8pm and is FREE!  Located in downtown Asheville, this unique display recaptures the holiday magic of yesteryear.  Folks love to visit and peruse the unique shops, dining and the live appearances from Santa Claus himself.  Starting November 21st, the halls feature a Gingerbread House Display celebrating the 26th year of it’s National Gingerbread House Competition in partnership with The Omni Grove Park Inn.  This is one holiday tradition that locals always look forward to.

November 30, 2018 - December 16, 2018 – Dan Goggin’s Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical will run weekly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7:30pm at the Hendersonville Community Theatre located at 229 S. Washington Street, Hendersonville, NC.  This comical holiday play evolved around six crazy nuns who get together along with students of Mt. Saint Helen’s most talented students to broadcast their first basement cable-based TV show Christmas Special.  The songs featured include "Twelve Days Prior to Christmas," "Santa Ain't Comin' to Our House," "We Three Kings of Orient Are Us" and "It's Better to Give than to Receive."  In addition to the typical Nunsense humor, a “Secret Santa” will engage the audience to join in the fun.   This holiday performance will make you laugh, sing along and enjoy a twisted version of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.  This is a family-friendly event that will bring smiles for all who attend.  Tickets are $26-15 by calling the Box Office at (828) 692-1082.

Asheville Gallery of Art December Show 2018 will take place November 28, 2018 - December 31, 2018 at 82 Patton Ave. daily from 5 to 8pm.  Admission is FREE and will feature works representing this year’s theme of “Energy and Life!” by Sun Sohovich and Kari Swanson.  The show runs from 11am to 6pm Monday through Saturday and until 4pm on Sunday.  Sohovich is an exceptional oil painter and is known for her unique landscape, seascapes and “still lives”.   The theme is about everyday life and finding joy and happiness in her creations.  Kari Swanson uses intense colors and the vibrant surrounding of Asheville to create her works of art.  The gallery, located at 82 Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville across from Pritchard Park, will host a reception for the artists on Friday, December 7, from 5-8 p.m. The work of these two artists, as well as the work of the other 29 gallery members, will be on display and for sale throughout the month of December. For further information about this show, you can contact Asheville Gallery of Art at (828) 251-5796.

The 2018 National Gingerbread House Competition™ Display takes place November 25, 2018 - January 03, 2019 at The Omni Grove Park Inn located at 290 Macon Avenue.  This 26th year annual event started in 1992 when community members started to showcase their gingerbread house creations.  Since then the event has become one of the most anticipated competitions in the country.  Guests not staying at the hotel are invited to enjoy the artistic creations after 3pm on Sundays and anytime Monday through Thursday.  A minimum $20 parking charge will be in effect.  There are exclusive dates to view the exhibits and black out dates are scheduled for the following dates: December 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31 and January 1, 2019.  Please contact the hotel directly for specifics.  This event has raised over $340,000 since inception at The Omni Grove Park in 2013 through the Holiday Parking Program.  Half of the parking fees are returned to the community to support local charities.  Great fun for the entire family, and to help those in need.

Looking for a one-of-a-kind dinner experience?  Try dinners offered at the Historic Princess Anne Hotel from November 09, 2018 - February 23, 2019 at 301 East Chestnut Street as it opens it doors for both locals and tourist to an exquisite prepared by Todd Ritter the in-house chef who creates a spectacular menu every Friday and Saturday night starting at 5pm.  Reservations are recommended.  Here is a sampling of some of the menu items offered at this one-of-a-kind dining experience:

Appetizers:  Alligator Boudin Sausage, Cauliflower Wings, Beef Tartare, Prosciutto Wrapped Apples and Fried Green Tomato Stack.

Salads:  Roasted Beet Salad, hydro greens, arugula, prosciutto, goat cheese, pickled pistachios, honey, lemon juice, olive oil, tarragon salt, Grilled Artichoke Salad, hydro greens, mixed olives, pecorino, feta, ricotta, beer battered anchovies, hard boiled eggs, fried sage, and niçoise dressing, or Brussels Sprouts Caesar.

Entrees:  Wild Mushroom Pappardelle, Venison Meatloaf, Seafood Pastalaya, Whole Roasted Coquelet, Basil Marinated Scottish Salmon, Chicken Pot Pie, or Frenched Boar Ribs.

The menu is delicious, the ambiance is captivating, and the dinner experience is quite memorable. Be sure to make reservations early.

In Asheville, the options for entertainment and dining can seem endless. These are two of the reasons this city has made its mark as one of the top travel destinations in North Carolina.

Yes, the holidays are when Asheville is sparkly and pretty but those who have come to know her, know it’s the abundant outdoor recreation and beautiful Asheville neighborhoods that are equally as appealing. This majestic mountain city is surrounded by cascading waterfalls, intriguing hiking trails and scenic lookouts along the Blue Ridge Parkway that could steal your breath away. It’s a place of inspiration that attracts artists and musicians from all over the world.

If you haven’t been to Asheville before, why not visit during December. Ask us for our complimentary Asheville relocation information to help you learn about the area and we’ll also send you the most recent Asheville Market Report.

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