Things to Do This November in Asheville


November in the mountains is a festive time, straddling the blazing beauty of fall leaf changes at the beginning of the month and ushering in the holiday season with Thanksgiving at the end. What this means for our guests, is the there is plenty to see and do this time of year! If you’ve waited all year for the weather to cool, crowds to slow down, and kids to go back to school before booking a weekend getaway, November is the perfect time to come.

Christmas at Biltmore | November 3 – January 6

One of the premier events during Asheville’s winter months is undoubtedly Christmas at Biltmore. Guests from around the world come to partake in the stunning spectacle of America’s largest private home adorned for the holiday season. The house and grounds glow with the twinkling lights of over 55 live Christmas trees! A thousand poinsettias, over five hundred wreaths, and a mile of garland embellish the property during this time. Indeed, many of our guests are coming just to see the Biltmore in such splendor. 

Due to its popularity, dates and times for both daytime visits and candlelight tours sell out in advance, so we strongly recommend booking tours in advance, especially for the candlelight tours, when choirs and musicians perform. Candlelight tickets are separate from daytime admission, and reservations are required. However, a daytime visit is included for the same or next day with any Candlelight ticket.

If you’re in town for the Christmas Tree Raising November 1, it arrives at 10 am and the festivities of decoration continue all day.

Traditional Christmas Historic Home Tour | November 14 – January 5

This tour is a terrific opportunity for Victorian and Confederate era history buffs, as well as those interested in Asheville’s history. You will see the Smith-McDowell House, Asheville’s first mansion and oldest structure, which has been restored as a history museum for the city and surrounding region. You’ll get a look at restored period rooms, special history exhibits, and fascinating look into Southern plantation living. For reference, our own Hill House is older by a scant 15 years!

To celebrate the season, the mansion and history museum are authentically decorated with the ornaments and toys of the Victorian Period and feature gold, silver and glass from period collections. The cost is $9 for adults and $5 for children, ages 8-18.

Twilight tours are available November 30 and December 1 where small groups will enjoy the home with live music. The cost is $20 per person, and reservations are required.

Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum | November 16 – December 31

If you’re traveling as a family, (and even if you’re not!) this is a terrific stop during your November trip to Asheville. The North Carolina Arboretum puts on a delightful display of artistically designed LED-light displays throughout the various gardens. But the fun doesn’t stop with the 8,000 individual bulbs! 

Campfires are glowing, with s’mores and hot cocoa available for purchase. The education center is set up with animatronic animals young ones are sure to love, and all the while, holiday music sets a festive tone! 

This is an outdoor experience, from 6 pm – 10 pm nightly. So remember to dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for children 5-11 (+ tax). Like many popular November events, dates do sell out, so the staff at Hill House recommends getting your tickets in advance.

Asheville Holiday Parade | November 17 at 11 am

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with Asheville’s Holiday Parade?! This event  takes place over a mile of Asheville’s downtown streets and is sure to be fun for all ages, featuring marching bands, performances and… you guessed it! Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves! 

It’s a popular event, with over 70 years under its belt, so Hill House staff recommends getting downtown early to secure parking. We suggest taking the opportunity to shop at some of Asheville’s wonderful and unique local shops afterward, to get a jump on your holiday shopping.

National Gingerbread House Competition at The Grove Park Inn | November 25 – January 4

The Grove Park Inn is a historical treasure in its own right, and a terrific spot to sip cocktails or dine among the sweeping vista of downtown Asheville and surrounding mountains. We like to pop in this time of year, order hot cocoa and rock in the Mission style rocking chairs in front of the two dualing fireplaces in the lobby.

However, if baking is your thing… or just love to see the amazing creations of some of the country’s top Gingerbread House makers, then this event is for you! Creativity abounds as participants have only loose guidelines to follow. The only rules are that, besides the base, the structure must be entirely edible. Sounds fun already, doesn’t it?

It’s also hosted for a good cause. The Grover Park Inn has been putting on this event for 26 years and donates half the proceeds to a local charity. We’ll be going, that’s for sure!

Old Fashioned Dickens of A Christmas Festival at Biltmore Village | November 30 – December 1

Biltmore Village, if you haven’t yet been, is an historic district of Asheville located across from the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. It is renowned for its shopping, boasting tons of shops, galleries, cafes and eateries. This quaint area is lovely to explore on its own and easy to access with free parking. However, the last weekend of November is the time to go! 

During this weekend, the area transforms itself into a Victorian village, complete with concerts, strolling vocalists and instrumentalists, and carriage rides – all presented in period costumes. There is no admission, so you’re free to enjoy the revelry at your leisure. The festivities kick off on Friday at 6 pm with a tree-lighting and continue until Saturday evening.




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