It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in western North Carolina. The trees have shed most of their leaves, while houses and businesses are being decorated for the season. Many families will travel all over the country, but many will welcome relatives from out of town. It is understandable why your family members and friends want to visit their loved ones in the mountains, right?

If you are traveling to the Asheville area or welcoming friends and family to your western North Carolina home for the holidays, you’ll want to make the most of your time. In this article, we’re talking about what you can do with families and with kids in Asheville during the holidays. 

Holiday Outdoor Activities 

While the cold months are not necessarily associated with outdoor activities, for a mountainous area, temperatures can still be quite mild through the season. Winter hiking and biking provide unique views not visible when the leaves are still on the trees. 

Winter Hiking

A few winter hikes your family or visitors will enjoy include:

  • Mount Mitchell
  • Crabtree Falls
  • DuPont State Forest
  • Mount Pisgah
  • Rainbow and Turtleback Falls
  • Craggy Mountain and Gardens
  • Linville Falls

Winter Mountain Biking

Mountain biking does not close for winter. Some of the best winter mountain biking options include:

  • Ride Kanuga
  • Kolo Bike Park
  • Riveter
  • Dupont State Forest
  • Brevard/Pisgah National Forest
  • Biltmore Estate
  • Bent Creek Experimental Forest
  • Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge  – Old Fort and Black Mountain, NC

Holiday Events and Festivals

Night Before Christmas | Waynesville | 6 pm to 9 pm December 10

Night Before Christmas is an annual Christmas ceremony that takes place downtown. Enjoy carolers, live music, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon rides against a backdrop of hundreds of candles lining the brick walkways, glittering lights in the trees and windows, lamp posts draped in red velvet ribbon and garland with giant bows.

Candlelight Stroll | Weaverville | 6 pm to 9 pm December 10

From 6 pm to 9 pm on December 10th, Main Street Weaverville will be lit for the Candlelight Stroll, which will feature carolers, Santa, children’s activities, and more.

National Gingerbread House Competition | Asheville|  November 28 – January 2

Since it began 30 years ago, the National Gingerbread House Competition has become a beloved Christmas tradition in Asheville.

This renowned event and exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina, features quirky and ornate, handcrafted gingerbread houses of every size, shape, level of intricacy, and theme. Your own gingerbread customs may be inspired by the cute rustic homes, gumdrop-adorned castles, and sugary landscapes you find there.

Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum | Asheville | November 18 – December 31

Winter Lights is a spectacular open-air walk-through light show made from over one million lights!”

This year’s event includes traditional elements like the Quilt Garden and the renowned 50-foot lit tree, as well as charming new additions that are meant to surprise and enthrall. 

The Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries | Dillsboro December 2-3 and 9-10

The first two weekends in December, this mountain community of artisans is illuminated by the Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries festival. Dillsboro’s celebration is a throwback in an age of electrical gadgetry and LED lights, and it has been recognized as one of the “Top 20” events in the Southeast for the month of December. 

More than 2,500 candles in white bags line the streets, along with more than a dozen establishments (mainly galleries and artist studios), in a Scandinavian tradition of illuminating the path for the Christ child.

Saluda Hometown Christmas | Saluda | 6 pm to 9 pm December 10

The main event will occur in McCreery Park with music and entertainment provided by local talent on the Ella Grace Mintz Stage. Also, in the park will be laser lights, a campfire for roasting s’mores, a toy donation box, and a Christmas carol sing-along. A visit from Santa is expected.”

Along Main Street, there will be elf stations where walkers can get free treats and hot drinks. Due to COVID-19 issues, not all stores will be open, but they are all adorned and illuminated for nighttime strolls from the Saluda Visitors Center to Nostalgia Courtyard. The city will supply the ingredients for s’mores in the park, and neighborhood businesses will donate treats for the elf stations.

Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum | Brevard | November 12 – December 24 

“The world-renowned Aluminum Tree & Aesthetically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum and Research Center (commonly known as ATOM) is on exhibit for the 3rd time at the Transylvania Heritage Museum.” 

Brevard is just a short drive from Asheville and a great town in which to explore after you have experienced this fun, unique event. 

76th Annual Asheville Holiday Parade | Asheville | 11 am November 19

This year will be the 76th annual Asheville Holiday Parade

“Parade entries include a little something for everyone with the Grand Marshal entry sponsored by Apple Tree Honda, decorated floats, adoptable pets from area rescue organizations; our Honored Veterans float sponsored by Deerfield, marching bands, performances, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus, brought to you by the NC Arboretum’s Winter Lights. An application for entry in the parade is available here.”

Premium Holiday Events 

Christmas at Biltmore | Biltmore Estate | November 4 – January 7

One of the most magical holiday events in the Asheville area is Christmas at Biltmore

Christmas at Biltmore Daytime

“By day, the elegant rooms of Biltmore House shimmer, beautifully bedecked with Christmas trees, ribbons, garlands, and thousands of twinkling lights.”

Christmas at Biltmore Evenings

“Flickering candlelight, glowing fireplaces, and live music invite you to imagine yourself a guest at the first Vanderbilt family Christmas in 1895.”

Holiday blossoms in the gardens, a light show in Antler Hill Village, and special Christmas wine at the Winery are just a few of the Biltmore estate’s festive touches for the season.

In order to make each holiday season at Biltmore distinct, Christmas at the mansion has a different theme and color palette every year. Taking friends and family to this event will be a memorable way to introduce them to the holidays in western North Carolina.  

Polar Express – Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is back in 2022! The 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole.”

Guests on board will enjoy hot chocolate and a snack while listening to and reading along with the enchanting narrative as it is set to the sounds of the movie soundtrack. When the train arrives at the North Pole and Santa Claus is waiting, the joy on the faces of the kids conveys the enchantment of the season. 

Santa will then board, greeting the children and giving each one a unique gift, a silver sleigh bell, just as in the narrative. As they make their way back to the Bryson City Depot, holiday songs will be performed.

Energetic Indoor Activities Like GellyBall, Laser Tag, VR, and Battle Cage at Black Mountain Adventure Zone

The holidays are a magical time of family togetherness; however, after a few days cooped up indoors, you may need to take the kids (and adults) out to burn some energy. 

You can book a holiday party to play GellyBall, Laser Tag, VR, and Battle Cage at BMAZ!

GellyBall at Black Mountain Adventure Zone

“Gellyball is a new, lower impact shooting experience for players as young as five and yet still exciting for teens and adults!” 

In a variety of gaming settings, players shoot at targets and other players using our battery-powered, automated blasters. The unusual gel-based water orb ammo has a rubber band-like sensation when used. No players become dirty or wet. 

Kids and adults alike will have a blast. A GellyBall party can be the perfect gift!

Laser Tag at Black Mountain Adventure Zone

“Laser tag at BMAZ is not your typical arcade-style activity. Featuring LaserWar technology with multiple games and weapon modes, so every battle is different and exciting.”

We host a variety of games, including team fights, capture the flag, traitor town, one-on-one or two-on-two championships, and more, depending on the sort of event, age level, and the number of players. The games during your party will be planned and overseen by your BMAZ Host.

VR at Black Mountain Adventure Zone

We are excited to announce the launch of our VR Games and VR Escape Rooms in time for the holiday season!

“Depending on your selected type of event, age group, and the number of players, we currently have 5 VR Games to choose from or 7 VR Escape Rooms. Your BMAZ Host will organize and run the games during your party.

Up to five players at a time can play together in our VR Arena. Every play is different. We allow players as young as five because the equipment is easy to use; however, your players may need some assistance from an adult in your party. 

Battle Cage at Black Mountain Adventure Zone

Battle Cage Sword-Fighting Game at Black Mountain Adventure Zone. Players challenge their buddies to a battle participants will never forget. This sword combat experience will blow you away, from the sound effects to the live score, thanks to the clever belt and blade combination. Plus, while they wait their turn, your viewers can cheer on their favorite contestant from the sidelines.”

Book Your BMAZ Holiday Experience

Black Mountain Adventure Zone is located just fifteen minutes from downtown Asheville in charming Black Mountain. There is plenty to do here in town during the holidays. Whether you are visiting from out of town or entertaining guests, booking a party at BMAZ is the perfect holiday experience!

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