6 Places to visit dazzling holiday lights this Winter

Please note: the places mentioned in this blog are practicing social distancing guidelines with reduced capacity, face mask requirements and social distancing. Please plan ahead and book online when possible and check each sites requirements for visiting.

Are you ready to see the lights? For anyone spending time here with us during winter, there is a little added incentive to get out and enjoy the festive season here in Asheville.  We have a handful of ways to get out and safely view the bright displays of joy.

Here are our inspired ways for you to get out and see the winter lights around Asheville: 

Biltmore Estate 

The always glorious, largest home in America dazzles during the Christmas season and brings their A-game to Asheville visitors year after year.  This year will be no different but please expect smaller crowds, guests are required to wear masks with social distancing.

  • Candle Light at the House November 6, 2020 – January 10, 2021, The Biltmore Estate is magical this time of year so if you plan to visit the estate for the candlelight events, plan ahead! Tickets sell out so be sure to snatch yours up pronto. 

    The home is decorated elaborately with 55 hand-decorated trees, miles of garland lines the halls, thousands of poinsettias, wreaths and ornaments create the final touches for this extravagant home.

Antler Hill VillageNovember 6, 2020 – January 10, 2021, When you complete your time at the estate home, jump in your vehicle and dash over to Antler Hill Village where you will enjoy more sparkling displays of joy. Also located at Antler Hill Village is the very popular Biltmore Winery, estate ice cream, hot cocoa, food + dining spots, and more.

NC Arboretum Drive-Thru Winter Lights 

This year drive-thru the Winter Lights enchanted forest happening at the NC Arboretum November 20, 2020 – January 10, 2021. Due to 2020 safety protocols in place, the NC Arboretum is going the extra mile converting their walkable annual Winter Lights to be viewable from the comfort of your vehicle. 

Go drive the 1-mile of festive lights with your friends and family in a safe environment. As you cruise through the magnificent artistic effects, notice how these incredible light displays enhance the botanical features of the gardens. 

Please Note! YOU MUST PURCHASE TICKETS IN ADVANCE. Open 5:30pm – 10:30pm. Gates close at 10pm. Here is the link for tickets.

Grove Park Inn

For anyone who loves history combined with festive holiday decorations, The Grove Park Inn never disappoints. The historic halls and terraces are properly embellished with large glorious Christmas trees decorated extravagantly.

Normally, the annual Gingerbread House competition is on full display. However, like many things, they’ve modified this year’s competition.

The competition will continue virtually without a public display of Gingerbread Houses at the historic hotel due to restrictions surrounding COVID-19. Considering this, the hotel is generating unique, engaging experiences in place of a physical display, including socially distanced alternatives for hotel guests and fans at home to view the Gingerbread finalists.

Lake Julian Festival of Lights

One of the favorite local holiday light attractions close to Asheville is the Lake Julian Festival of Lights happening again this year December  1-23, 2020, (6-9pm). This annual drive-thru of artistic lights is made up of 50 animated and stationary displays bringing the whole adventure to life.

Guaranteed to make you smile and get you in the mood for the holidays, 20% of the admission fee is donated to the Buncombe County Special Olympics making this holiday outing even more merry. The festival organizers ask that visitors arrive at the festival of lights by 8:30pm, then expect the whole experience to last approx. 10 minutes, although, if you want to get a second look, you can do second drive thru for no extra cost.

Photo credit: WLOS

Photo credit: the828.com

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at Tryon International Equestrian Center

If you haven’t seen Shadrack’s Christmas Drive-thru, it’s the most extraordinary winter lights experience. Perfectly put together in sync with holiday music from your car radio, it’s the ultimate winter wonderland light display in Western North Carolina. 

Happening nightly November 20, 2020 – January 3, 2021, (6-10pm) – it’s worth the 48 mile road trip from the Asheville area to go witness the beauty of the Tryon Equestrian Resort brought to life with colorful displays of joy. On select dates, you can even enjoy LIVE performances from your favorite Christmas characters. 

To find out more information about nightly occurrences, check out the Tryon Resort website here.

Photo credit: Tryon Resort 

Photo credit: Tryon Resort 

Montford Neighborhood

Looking to stay more local with your winter lights viewing party? Drive straight to the oldest neighborhood in Asheville, Montford, where you can park right on the street for no cost, then get out and start walking. We recommend parking directly on the main drag, Montford Avenue where you can easily combine this outing with a dinner at Nine Mile or Chiesa, two highly regarded restaurants on Montford Ave. Then, follow the meal with a walk exploring the neighborhood street lines with Bed and Breakfast palaces who always show off by decorating with spectacular winter lights.