AVLtoday intern Jordan Puckett is an Asheville native, recent University of Tennessee graduate + lover of all things outdoors, brews + eats.
Seasons greetings, Asheville. ❄️To help you get the most out of the most wonderful time of the year, we’ve compiled our Asheville winter bucket list, complete with 30+ events and activities to try. So jingle all the way through this list to make sure you don’t miss anything. ☃️
Take pictures of the local plant life at the Asheville Botanical Garden
Take time to stroll through the Asheville Botanical Garden near UNC Asheville for viewing local plants + trees – even in the winter. The multi-trail garden is perfect for family photos. Protip: Snap your shot at their beautiful bridge above the river.
Run a race
Evade obstacles in the treetops at Adventure Center Asheville
Illuminated trails + obstacles are tons of fun for kids (and kids at heart) aged four and older at the Holiday Twilight in the Treetops event.
💡 Where to see lights
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland | Tues., Dec. 1-Sun., Jan. 3 | Tryon International Equestrian Center, 25 International Boulevard, Mill Spring | $35 | Drive-thru lights with performances from holiday characters like The Grinch, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer + more.
Winter Lights | Fri., Nov. 20-Sun., Jan. 10 | The North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way | $20 per vehicle | Due to the pandemic, the Winter Lights have been transformed into a drive-thru show that features unique exhibits covered in dreamy lights.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings at Biltmore | Fri., Nov. 6-Sun., Jan. 9 | 1 Lodge Street | $114+ | This event starts with a magical tour of the Biltmore House, featuring live music + choirs. The grounds feature a 55-foot tree with 45,000 lights.
🎄 Local tree farms
Check out their selection Fraser firs at their choose + cut, pet-friendly farm with your furry friend. Offering trees up to 10 feet in size.
Wagon rides, fresh wreaths + garlands are just a few of the things you can find along with your tree. This choose + cut farm is a family favorite for our intern, Jordan.
Although the choose + cut farm is sold out for 2020, you can still find one of their fresh cut trees at their retail lot near Lake Junaluska.
Check out their fraser fir in all sizes, wreaths, garland + pre-cut trees until Christmas Eve or until they run out.
🎟️ Winter holiday markets
Shop for locally-made gifts like art, jewelry, dried flowers + wreaths, soap, body care, CBD products, gourmet specialty foods + more.
Shop from over 80 small businesses + check off your gift list for the holiday season.
Check out a variety of craftsmen, potters, bakers + more at Gateway Church’s market.
Holiday tunes, handmade goods + more at this outdoor event.
Sip champagne + shop at multiple vendors with amazing handcrafted art, unique crafts + jewelry.
Holiday Vendor Market | Sun., Dec. 13 | Mills River Community Center, 120 School House Rd., Mills River | Free
See a variety of vendors + local craftsmen and find everything from handmade items to unique toys for children.
With over 70 vendors, snatch that perfect last-minute gift for your loved ones.
🎭 Plays + virtual events
This year, experience the magic + merriment of ringing in the holidays with this local favorite Christmas show in your home.
The National Gingerbread House Competition | Dec. | Virtual
The fan favorite 28th Annual National Gingerbread House Competition is in a virtual format this holiday season. Check out the Omni Grove Park Inn’s gingerbread activities, online classes + more here.
Meet + learn from local artists from Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, Blue Spiral 1, Center for Craft, LEAF Global, Momentum Gallery, Penland Gallery, Pink Dog Creative, River Arts District Artists, Southern Highland Craft Guild + Tracey Morgan Gallery. Viewings are via Zoom, daily from 5-6 p.m.
☕ Food + drinks
The Golden Snowflake from Earthling Coffee
Grab your coffee fix before snuggling up fireside with this toasted caramel blizzard of white mocha + vanilla.
Peppermint Eggnog from Whirly Bird
With notes of chocolate peppermint bark + full fat eggnog.
Peppermint Bark from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge
This fan favorite is back in time for you to snag stocking stuffers + maybe just a few for yourself.
Mini-Pies from Malvern Hills Bakery
Already missing those Thanksgiving pies + looking for something to hold you over until Christmas? These mini-pies are perfect for the job.
Check out the Annual Holiday Pet Food + Supply Drive by Animal Hospital of North Asheville. They will be collecting wet or dry pet food, supplies, + monetary donations for the Asheville Humane Society + Meals on Wheels of Asheville & Buncombe County.
Help save a life by donating blood at one of the American Red Cross’ Blood Drives.
Volunteer with or donate to Manna FoodBank + help feed local families in need for the holiday season.
Donate a book to local students during the United Way’s Holiday Book Drive by purchasing online or in store at Barnes + Noble. The books come from a diverse suggested reading list suited for children of many ages.
See our full roundup for more ways to give back to the community this holiday season.
❄️ Skiing, snowboarding + everything in between
Moonshine Mountain has over 500 feet of snowy mountain fun for kids + adults of all ages. Group discounts are available.
Three snow tubing lanes of pure fun, with a nighttime tube available until 9 p.m.
Shred the slopes + view beautiful mountain scenery. Check out their packages, rates + offers here.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort | Open Soon | 578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill | Prices Vary
Ski, snow tube, snowboard + more in the beautiful Mars Hill mountains.
🍾 NYE events
Ring in the New Year + set your 2021 intentions with Richard Fabio of Asheville Yoga Center. All levels are welcome to join this live Zoom session to reflect on the year + plan your intentions for the upcoming one.