November 18, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Open Nightly: 6 – 10 p.m.

Experience Asheville’s BRIGHTEST holiday tradition atWinter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum. Open nightly November 18, 2016 – January 1, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m., Winter Lights is an outdoor holiday light exhibit placed throughout the Arboretum’s nationally-known gardens. Walk through a winter wonderland and enjoy uniquely-lit displays and landscapes composed of nearly 500,000 energy-efficient LED lights. Listen to the sounds of your favorite holiday tunes or enjoy a cup of holiday-inspired cocoa, cider or beer. Additional food and beverage items are available for purchase and the Arboretum’s Savory Thyme Café will offer a special holiday dinner buffet, December 21 – January 1 (reservations recommended; please check website for available seating times). All Winter Lights tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance; tickets will not be sold at the gate.

Ticket holders may enter the exhibit anytime between 6 – 9 p.m. (Note, if you are using a transportation service such as a taxi, Uber or Lyft, your ride must pick you up no later than 9 p.m. before the entrance gates close).


Ticket Price Ticket Price with Member Discount*
Adult (ages 12+) $18 $16
Child (ages 5-11) $16 $14
Child (4 & under) FREE FREE
Group (minimum of 20 people) $15 $13
Tuesdays (adults & children ages 5-11) $15 $13


*Discounts will be applied upon checkout. 

To cover operational costs and ticket processing for The North Carolina Arboretum Society’s Winter Lights fundraiser, a $1.50 processing charge will be added to each ticket. A standard 3.2% credit card fee will also be added to each ticket purchase and North Carolina’s sales tax applies. Proceeds generated from Winter Lights will help the Arboretum continue to expand its educational programs, exhibits and facilities year-round.


Friends & Family Discount Night – Tuesdays

  • All tickets are $15 each.

Crazy for Cocoa Night – Thursdays

  • Ticket holders on Thursday nights will receive one (1) FREE cup of hot chocolate.

Winter Lights Holiday Tour – Fridays & Saturdays

Available on Fridays and Saturdays only, this special ticketed event offers visitors the chance to enjoy a holly, jolly ride from downtown Asheville or Hendersonville to Winter Lights courtesy of The Trolley Company. Upon arrival, tour guests will receive a complimentary cup of hot chocolate and access to the Winter Lights exhibit. Pick-up is at 6:00 p.m. from downtown Hendersonville’s Visitor Center or downtown Asheville’s Renaissance Hotel, and guests will be dropped back off at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $27 per person (children 4 & under are free) and can be purchased through The Trolley Company’s website here. (Note: Arboretum member discounts do not apply for this tour). For additional questions, please call Eva Ritchey at The Trolley Company at 828.606.8606.

Fire Pits  Are Open Again

Thank you to everyone who supported the Arboretum’s “Swap Your S’mores for Supplies” donation campaign. It was a tremendous success, and we were able to donate much needed supplies to our firefighters and emergency responders.

Thanks to the rain that we received in early December, the U.S. Forest Service, the North Carolina Forest Service and the Buncombe County Fire Marshal have all lifted their fire bans. As a result, The North Carolina Arboretum re-opened its fire pits and s’mores stations during Winter Lights starting on Thursday, December 8.

The Arboretum is taking extra precautions to ensure fire safety. Our fire pits are all located in irrigated landscapes and placed a safe distance from forests and other debris. Our fire pits are created using fireproof bricks and are set upon steel plates. Each evening, the fire pits are extinguished and covered with a steel lid to ensure that sparks do not escape. Water and fire extinguishers are placed at each fire pit station, and the fire pits are continuously monitored by staff and volunteers. Fire pits will not take place on windy nights that may pose a fire hazard or if any new fire bans are issued.

Don’t forget to stop by the Cocoa Shack and purchase your s’mores kit to roast over the fire.

Volunteer at Winter Lights

Looking to give back this holiday season? Volunteer at Winter Lights! From greeters to fire pit attendants to G-scale train operators, there are a variety of volunteer positions available. Opportunities are available for individuals and groups. Volunteers must be 18 years or older.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs allowed? What time do gates open and when does the exhibit end? How do I get to the Arboretum? Please click here to learn more about Winter Lights and review its policies and procedures.

Need additional information about Winter Lights or your ticket? Please call the Winter Lights Box Office at 828-665-2492, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., or e-mail

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