Christmas at the Biltmore
November 7, 2014–January 11, 2015
Biltmore is open Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Candlelight Christmas Evenings
November 7, 2014–January 3, 2015
The Biltmore House is even more magical when adorned for the holidays. The Christmas at Biltmore extravagant celebration includes 56 Christmas trees (including the favorite 35-foot Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall), 1,000 poinsettias, miles of garland and lights, live music and inspirational holiday demonstrations. This year’s design draws inspiration from the theme “A Vanderbilt Christmas Celebration.” Décor trends toward the opulent to create a sense of the Gilded Age, while incorporating elements that nod to George Vanderbilt’s legacy in Western North Carolina.
Tickets include tours of Biltmore House, the gardens and Antler Hill Village. The village is home to the Winery, where you may take a guided tour and enjoy a complimentary wine tasting.
December 5th, 2014
The Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) invites you to visit the more than twenty galleries that contribute to Asheville’s reputation as a vibrant arts community and “The Paris of the South.” Within a half-mile radius of Pack Square and the city’s center, you’ll find unparalleled diversity….from fine studio crafts, to glass, photography, folk art and contemporary painting, metalwork, textiles, jewelry and more by local, regional, national and international artists.
Along the way, you’ll discover three museums, the Southeast’s only gallery focusing exclusively on illustration art, the city’s largest artist gallery, contemporary glass sculpture from around the world, and traditional crafts by nationally-acclaimed artists, many of whom live in Western North Carolina. You’ll discover why Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains have inspired artists for generations, and in the process, you’ll make memories of your own. It’s one of the reasons why Asheville is consistently ranked as a top travel destination any time of the year.
You’ll find a complete listing of DAAD galleries, including a map with locations and contact information, in the Downtown Gallery Guide, available at each participating gallery, the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Pack Place.
November 26-December 31, 2014
Shadrack’s Christmas WonderlandDrive through Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher (near the Asheville Airport). This award-winning Christmas light and music extravaganza is a two-mile maze filled with hundreds of thousands of LED lights performing in perfect synchronization with the Christmas tunes playing through your car radio.
This season, catch a glimpse of how Santa and his friends spent their summer vacation at the beach with a section of huge displays featuring comical snapshots of the North Pole crew playing in the sand, rather than the snow. This tech-heavy show will also include the all-new animated arch with 3,600 computerized channels.
Drive slowly throught the maze with lots of twists and turns so you can view the displays from many angles. If you want to stop to enjoy, look for wide areas of the route to pull over out of the way of other drivers.
Shadrack hosted its first synchronized light show in 2007, and because of the tremendous response, has taken the show on the road. This spectacle takes light shows to a whole new level, integrating cutting-edge technology, lights, music and movement with all custom-built animated elements featuring 100% environmentally friendly LED li
At the end of the drive route, visit Santa’s Village with Santa Claus under a big tent. Refreshments like hot cocoa, S’mores, funnel cakes and more are available for purchase. Fun activities for kids include a Santa train, giant spider bungee jump and inflatables. Christmas Wonderland supports Toys for Tots.
With four shows in four states, the Shadrack Christmas Wonderland shows have gotten national media attention, and won a series of awards for their inventiveness and elaborate choreography.
Hours & Admission
Open everyday, 6-10 PM, even in the rain. Tickets are purchased on-site from the comfort of your own vehicle. Credit cards accepted! The cost to experience Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland:
Cars or Family Vans: $20
Activity Van or Mini Bus: $30
Tour/School Bus: $75
The Western NC Agricultural Center (Fairgrounds) is located at 1301 Fanning Bridge Rd, Fletcher. It's about 15 miles from downtown Asheville, just past the Asheville Regional Airport.
From downtown, take I-26 East to Exit #40 (Asheville Airport Exit). Turn right at top of exit ramp onto Highway NC 280 and drive about 1/2 mile.
November 22, 2014-January 4, 2015
The North Carolina Arboretum hosts its first-ever light exhibit, Winter Lights, transforming the gardens into a nighttime wonderland. Stroll through spectacular lighted displays and see the gardens in a completely new way. Designed with an artistic aesthetic, Winter Lights will enhance the natural beauty of the gardens as you celebrate the holidays.
The Arboretum has collaborated with Jerry Stripling, former designer and manager of holiday decorations, special projects and events for Walt Disney World®, to create a magical experience for visitors. Guided by green principles, the design team created a show composed entirely of energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which use 80% less energy than conventional lights.
Winter Lights will also feature a nightly DJ and dancing in the newly-completed outdoor courtyard of the Education Center. The Savory Thyme Café will offer food and beverages, including a hot chocolate and coffee bar. An outdoor s’mores station will give you the opportunity to roast marshmallows and build a gooey treat. Holiday gifts and souvenirs will be available in the Baker Exhibit Center Connections Gallery as well as a satellite outpost in the Education Center.
In addition to the dazzling display, see the new Rocky Cove Railroad, a special winter exhibit featuring G-Scale (garden scale) model trains. The railroad includes two tracks featuring trains similar to those used in western North Carolina at the turn of the century. A mixed train led by a small locomotive pulls logging cars, passenger cars and freight, and a second train loops through a replica of a small mountain town.
Winter Lights will be open nightly from 6 to 10 PM. Tickets go on sale October 15 and will be available exclusively through eTix.com. Tickets are date-specific and sold in limited quantities. All tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Pricing is $18 for adults and $16 for children (ages 5 to 11). Children age 4 and under are free. Members of The North Carolina Arboretum Society receive a discount on admission. Group tickets are available ($15 per person, minimum 20 people), though some restrictions may apply. Click here to buy tickets on their Web site.
The North Carolina Arboretum is located next to the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance ramp at Milepost 393. From I-26, take Exit 33 and follow Blue Ridge Parkway signs for two miles to the entrance ramp.
Saturday, December 6 & 13, 2014
Watch Santa Claus ready himself for clambering down chimneys across the world as he practices climbing one of the most famous chimneys of all, Chimney Rock! Watch him scale the 315-foot Chimney Rock before climbing down millions of much shorter chimneys all around the world on Christmas Eve. USA Today named Chimney Rock one of the top 10 places to catch up with Santa. Come and see why!
From 11 AM to 2 PM, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy live holiday music, complimentary hot cocoa, cookies and kids’ activities and see live critters. Annual Passholders are invited to a special holiday sale with 25% off their total retail purchase both days at Cliff Dwellers Gifts, which will be providing entertainment, artist demonstrations and refreshments. There is no additional cost with paid Park admission.
Mr. Claus will rappel from the top of Chimney Rock about every 30-45 minutes from 11 AM to 2 PM while spectators gather in front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts (parking area) for live holiday music, refreshments and kids’ activities. Santa will be available in front of Cliff Dwellers Gifts for photo opportunities. Mrs. Claus will serve delicious cookies and hot cocoa. Park mascot Grady the Groundhog or other live critters will make an appearance, and an educational display of animal skins and skulls will be on display by a State Park Ranger.
Each weekend, one lucky guest will win free two-hour rock climbing lessons for two with Santa’s professional helpers, Fox Mountain Guides. The winner of each drawing will be announced at 1:30 p.m. and you must be present to win. Chimney Rock was named one of “10 great places to catch up with Santa” and one of the 10 Best High Places in the World by USA Today.
New this year are performances by the Lake Lure Classical Academy’s fifth grade chorus, a group of 40 children, and their rock ‘n’ roll band. On December 14 only, the choir will perform at Noon, followed by the rock ‘n’ roll band comprised of high school and middle school students at 1 PM.
Chimney Rock is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville in the Hickory Nut Gorge on Highway 64/74-A. The Park is the focal point of the developing Chimney Rock State Park.
LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours: Their Special Holiday Tour (November 14-December 31)
on the purple bus takes you on a fun guided tour of the city. While their regular city tour is rated PG-13, their Holiday Tour is family friendly. Meet a real Asheville fruitcake, a lonesome pine tree, a traveling Gingerbread Man and possibly catch a glimpse of Santa whizzing by the bus! One of our talented tour performers will show you a hysterically, historical side of Asheville the likes of which you've never seen.
You can purchase tickets three ways. Online, over the telephone or upon boarding (if space is available). Buying tickets in advance online or reserving over the telephone with a credit card is the only way to reserve seating - and many tours sell-out. Online tickets and telephone reservations are taken until two hours before departure. In addition, they have a ticket "window" on 14 Battery Park Avenue, near Haywood, in downtown.
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