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What To Do in Winter in Asheville, North Carolina

December 15, 2022

Winter travel never seems quite as simple (or as appealing) as a vibrant summer vacation. Thankfully, this is a city that never stops playing, even when the temperatures drop. You just need to know where to go and what to do in Asheville, North Carolina in the winter.

See the Lights

We all like to pretend that we visit holiday light displays for our children, but we all know the truth. A vivid and warming light show captures hearts of all ages, and somehow makes the winter seem less cold.

Here are two options to fill up your spirit:

  1. Biltmore Estate Candlelight Tour – Experience the magic of the holiday with a candlelight tour of America’s largest home.  Many B&Bs offer a promo code for savings on Biltmore tickets so ask your innkeeper.
  2. NC Arboretum Winter Lights – Stroll through gardens lit up for the season.
Night with christmas lights forming a rainbow over a unicorn
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum

Play Outside

Though there aren’t as many fun options for outdoor activities in the winter as there are the rest of the year, there are still great ways to get out and play.

A winter hike may sound daunting, but in reality it is one of the best times of year to catch a great view. Our gorgeous mountain vistas and overlooks are easier to enjoy when the foliage is at its thinnest; and the sunsets this time of year are unbeatable.

**Pro-tip: If you plan to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway, be sure to check for closures and rock slides.

Tubing and Skiing are two of the most popular attractions among Asheville’s winter visitors. Though it isn’t possible to do either within city limits, both can be accessed with just a short drive. The adventurous have two convenient options to choose from: Wolf Ridge and Cataloochee.

snow packed hill with two tubers sledding downhill and blue skies
Let’s go Tubing!

Keep in mind, cold temperatures and a mountain landscape don’t actually guarantee the existence of natural snow. Though you should be prepared for snowy weather, you really shouldn’t expect it. Often, the only way to see and play in snow in Asheville is by visiting the local ski resorts.

Play Inside

We always encourage you to get outside to enjoy the beautiful and exciting wilds of western North Carolina, but some days the weather just isn’t accommodating. Thankfully, there are still plenty of options to play inside. 

Indoor Things to do in Asheville:

Retrocade – Asheville’s favorite arcade that boasts retro video games and pinball, as well as traditional arcade games.

a room with a pool table 5 pinball machines
Pinball anyone? Go to Retrocade!

Pinball Museum – Exactly what it sounds like, you can pick your favorite machine and become the next pinball wizard.

Well-Played – If you enjoy a good board game battle then this is the one for you. Pick a classic you love or let their Game Masters teach you something new.

Axeville – This isn’t for the little ones, but adult visitors should test their abilities at Asheville’s only ax throwing bar.

The Track at Asheville – If you’ve ever dreamed of being a racecar driver then this is your chance. Go head-to-head against your friends on the simulated race track.

Where to go Shopping in Asheville

According to a recent article by TravelPulse, a survey conducted by American Express earlier this year revealed that 84% of people who plan to travel also plan to shop while they are on vacation. There’s no rodeo drive or 5th avenue here, so we put together a quick list of the best places to go shopping in Asheville.

Downtown Asheville and the Grove Arcade – Once you visit the shops in the Grove Arcade, hit the streets of downtown Asheville for more great shopping. Book your stay at a bed and breakfast in the historic Montford district for easy access to downtown. Think Carolina Bed and Breakfast, Pinecrest Bed and Breakfast, or the Wright Inn and Carriage House.

Haywood Road – Immerse yourself in the Asheville way with a trip to West Asheville and Haywood Road. You will find gifts and treasures that can’t be found anywhere else.

Biltmore Village – Quaint and walkable, Biltmore Village has an abundant number of shops and places to dine. Cedar Crest Inn is conveniently located right around the corner.

River Arts District – For art and antiquities, no doubt the best shopping is in the River Arts District.

Asheville Outlets – Located near Bent Creek Lodge, the Outlets are fairly commercial with stores like Nike and Banana Republic, but it’s also possible to find local gems hidden among the rest. Grab a cup of jo at Earthling Coffee, or find something totally custom at Monogram Asheville.

Hopefully with these tips your next winter trip to Asheville will be fun-filled and rewarding. There is a lot to do and see, and you may not be able to fit it all into one trip. We always recommend asking the innkeepers of Asheville’s bed and breakfasts for their tips and favorites. 



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