Tucked in the mountains of North Carolina, Asheville’s scenic landscape, rich culture, and bustling downtown come together to create a “must stop” Christmas time destination.
The Biltmore Estate (Nearby Hotels)
Since the late 1800s the Vanderbilt home, known as the Biltmore Estate, has been hosting lavish, yet traditional, Christmas festivities. Visitors can purchase an estate tour, which includes an extensive self guided walk through the castle-like home adorned with Christmas trees, garland and lights. You’ll get to explore the library, Banquet Hall with 70-foot ceilings, 65 fireplaces, the indoor pool, and a bowling alley. Shops and a free wine tasting await you in Antler Village, which is a minute’s drive from the house. Be sure to try the white and red Christmas wines.
The Omni Grove Park Inn (Nearby Hotels)
Families come from all over to spend their holidays at the magically festive Omni Grove Park Inn. Intricate gingerbread houses from The National Gingerbread House Competition line the lobby level hallways, and this year’s winner, “The Three Ghosts”, is displayed in a magnificent refrigerated case. A life size gingerbread house serves up festive beverages and cookies near the main entrance and garland drapes over every overhang. As if the historic Arts and Crafts Hotel wasn’t already incredible enough, it truly looks as if it were pulled straight from a story book during Christmas.
Unplug (Nearby Hotels)
Asheville is an artsy city overflowing with great food and plenty of wellness hotspots; it’s effortless to find great places to retreat from the mayhem of the season. The Asheville Salt Cave offers deep relaxation through their natural salt room complete with walls, floors and ceilings made out of the revitalizing mineral. Guests simply relax in a cave, and lounge on zero gravity chairs or comfy cushions; it’s one of the best “bang for your buck” spa experiences out there, with a 45 minute session being only 25$.
Explore Downtown (Nearby Hotels)
A cozy restaurant or shop is situated on every corner of Asheville’s downtown streets; from The Noodle Shop to the Gourmet Chip Company, little nooks with some of the best food is all right there. Finding Christmas gifts in the eclectic stores is a piece of cake, and the surrounding mountains and twinkling lights really puts one in the holiday mood.
Go On Winter Hikes (Nearby Hotels)
Most can admit to being a bit too sedentary over the holidays, but a hike in the mountains will refresh and revitalize. Whether it be a short stroll in the Boatanical Gardens of Ashevillle, or an extensive mountain trek to Daniel Ridge Falls, hiking during the winter means incredible views as leaves and brush aren’t blocking the way. Be sure to check the forecast, dress in layers and pack snacks and a charged cell phone before heading out on a winter hike.
See the Winter Lights at North Carolina Arboretum (Nearby Hotels)
The gardens are blanketed by thousands of lights for the season, with the colorful Quilt Garden being one of the most beautiful parts of the display. Treasure hunt for Christmas trinkets and souvenirs in the Baker Exhibit Center Connections Gallery, and you can purchase s’more supplies from the Cocoa Shack, so you can roast them up over various fire pits in the gardens. It’s a fantastic experience that will get the family outside; but be sure to book in advance.
Carolina Bed and Breakfast (Nearby Hotels)
Bed and breakfasts like the Carolina scream Christmas. Fireplaces warm the Arts and Crafts home, while the smell of fresh baked goodies floods the common areas. Personal touches in every room provide the most heartwarming, home-like environment, and the Carolina Bed and Breakfast is quite renowned for their locally sourced, mouthwatering meals. With its yellow hue and wood trim giving off major “A Christmas Story” vibes, you’ll find yourself envisioning a leg lamp in the window.
Go On the Lazoom Bus Tour (Nearby Hotels)
Lazoom is a comedy bus tour running through Asheville all year. Before you board the hilarious bus complete with big lips and teeth, you’ll start out at their quirky pop up bar, the Lazoom Room. During the holidays a few special bus tours become available, like the Caroling for a Cause ride on December 13th. The $20 ticket will get you some awesome hot chocolate, lots of Christmas cheer and a rich tour of Asheville. All proceeds go to charity for this special ride.