Get your fuzzy socks and hot cocoa ready Asheville. From light displays and holiday performances to festive parties, winter is where AVL thrives.
Gather the family and friends and celebrate what makes the holiday season special with this guide featuring 30 winter events happening between December and February.
The Nutcracker | Through Sunday, Dec. 11| Times vary | Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 18 Biltmore Ave. | $15-$25| The Asheville Ballet performs this holiday classic.
Caroling By Gaslight | Through Saturday, Dec. 17 | Thursdays, Fridays + Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 4 p.m. | The Magnetic Theatre, 375 Depot St. | $25 | This devious retelling of the Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol” shows just how good Ebenezer Scrooge is compared to his neighbors.
A Swannanoa Solstice | Sunday, Dec. 18 | 2 p.m., 7 p.m. | Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 18 Biltmore Ave. | $58 | Enjoy festive renditions of Celtic, Appalachian, Scots-Irish, and world-influenced holiday music.
The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley | Through Sunday, Dec. 18 | Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.| Be Be Theatre, 20 Commerce St. | $20-$22| This Christmas-themed production centers around characters from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”
A John Waters Christmas | Tuesday, Dec. 20 | 8 p.m. | Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, 18 Biltmore Ave. | $50-$125 | “The Pope of Trash” makes the holiday hilarious and debaucherous.
A Flatrock Playhouse Christmas | Through Thursday, Dec. 22 | Times vary| Flat Rock Playhouse, 2661 Greenville Hwy., Flat Rock | $45-$65 | The state theater of North Carolina celebrates the season with nostalgic renditions of holiday standards.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians | Through Friday, Dec. 24 | Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. | Attic Salt Theatre Company, 20 Commerce St. | $20 | Follow the hijinks that result when the leader of Mars kidnaps Santa Claus to give Martian children their own Christmas.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights | Through Friday, Dec. 23 | 9 p.m. | Lake Julian Park, 37 Lake Julian Rd., Arden | $10-$50| Watch the lights twinkle over the lake and listen to your favorite seasonal tunes while driving through a magical winter wonderland.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum | Through Saturday, Dec. 31 | Time varies| The North Carolina Arborteum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way | $25-$150 | This walk-through light show features over 1 million twinkling holiday lights.
Shadrick’s Christmas Wonderland | Through Sunday, Jan. 1 | 6-10 p.m. | Tryon International Equestrian Center, 25 International Blvd., Tryon | $35-$75 | Illuminate the season with this drive-thru event that features two miles of festive lights synced up to music.
Deck the Trees | Through Monday, Jan. 2 | Time varies| Downtown Black Mountain | Free, donations encouraged | Explore 35+ uniquely decorated trees at this annual event benefiting the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry Fuel Fund.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings | Through Saturday, Jan. 7 | Time varies| Biltmore Estate, 1 Lodge St. | $119-$424 | Be dazzled by America’s largest private residence — decked out in thousands of ornaments amidst the soft glow of candles, fireplaces, and twinkle lights.
New Year’s Eve
Roaring Twenties NYE Celebration | Saturday, Dec. 31| 8 p.m.-1 a.m.| Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave.| $65 | Dress to impress at this speakeasy-style soirée featuring dancing, live music, and entertainment.
New Year’s Eve with 007 | Saturday, Dec. 31| 8 p.m. | Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, 87 Haywood St. | $32-$82 | Ring in the new year with iconic hits from Bond movies throughout the years.
The Dolly Disco: The Dolly Parton Inspired Country Western Dance Party | Saturday, Dec. 31| 9:30 p.m. | Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave.| $20 | Giddy up into 2023 with this Dolly Parton-inspired country and western dance party.
New Year’s Eve Intention Setting Practice with Richard Fabio | Saturday, Dec. 31| 7-9 p.m.| Asheville Yoga Center, 62 Orange St.| $30 | All experience levels are welcome at this event, which will utilize yoga to help connect us with needs and resolutions for 2023.
New Year’s Eve Tapas Class | Saturday, Dec. 31| 6-9 p.m.| Asheville Mountain Kitchen, 185 Clingman Ave.| $120 | Bid adieu to 2022 deliciously by preparing a variety of vibrant small bites like Taiwanese pork belly buns and ceviche.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Resolution Run | Sunday, Jan.1| 10 a.m.-12 p.m.| Pack Square Park, 1 Court Plaza| $40-$55 | Lace up your kicks and literally race through downtown and into the new year.
New Year’s Day Yoga Celebration | Sunday, Jan.1 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | One World Brewing West, 520 Haywood Rd. | $15 | Expect strength-building at this mixed-level class, which features complementary mimosas or non-alcoholic beverages afterwards.
New Year’s Day Mini Retreat with Luna Ray & The Sisters | Sunday, Jan.1 | 3-5 p.m. | Asheville Yoga Center, 62 Orange St.| $30| Set the tone for the new year through live music, meditation, and devotional chants.
New Year’s Day At-Home Retreat | Sunday, Jan.1| 10 a.m.-5 p.m.| Virtual | $95-$125 | Gentle yoga, qigong, guided meditation, group resting, and other mindfulness-based practices will help relieve stress, open the heart, and welcome another 365 days.
Forest Bathing | Sunday, Jan. 1| 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | The North Carolina Arborteum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way | $45 | Heal yourself by communing with nature.
2023 First Day Hikes | Sunday, Jan.1 | Times vary | Locations vary | Free | Start the year off on the right foot with a free guided “First Day Hike” at Chimney Rock Park or South Mountains State Park.
Pop Legends Weekend | Friday, Jan.13-Saturday, Jan. 14|8 p.m.| The Omni Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave. | $85 per show | Spend Friday night grooving to the sounds of ABBA and Saturday night dancing the night away to the King of Pop’s greatest hits.
Asheville Hot Chocolate Races | Saturday, Jan. 21 | 7:30 a.m. | 125 Hill St. | $20-$55 | Proceeds from Asheville’s flattest 10K — which offers a 5K option, a Marshmallow Dash for teeny participants, and a 1K Hill Climb for older kids — benefit Isaac Dickson Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Knuck If You Buck | Saturday, Jan. 28 | 1-6 p.m. | 133 Livingston St. | $15-$25| See who’s the baddest majorette team at the Majorette Dolls of Asheville’s first annual competition.
Outhouse Races | Saturday, Feb. 18 | 3-4 p.m.| Free | Sapphire Valley Ski Resort, 127 Cherokee Trl., Sapphire | Watch competitors “drag race” homemade outhouses.
Asheville Mardi Gras | Sunday, Feb. 19 | 3:05 p.m.|Free| South Slope | New Orleans returns to Asheville in the 16th iteration of this beloved festival.
Rock ‘N Roll Weekend| Friday, Feb. 10-Saturday Feb. 11 | 8 p.m.| The Omni Grove Park Inn, 290 Macon Ave. | $85 per show | Relive your rock and roll fantasies with a tribute to Queen on Friday night and the inimitable sounds of Journey on Saturday.