With more than half-a-million holiday lights covering three acres of cultivated and natural landscapes, there’s plenty of things to see and do at Winter Lights at The North Carolina Arboretum. First time visiting or need a refresh? Check out our Winter Lights “Know Before You Go” section below to help you prepare for your evening at Winter Lights.

Know Before You Go

  • From sweet treats to savory snacks to delicious beverages, there is something for everyone to eat, sip and enjoy at Winter Lights.

    Cocoa Shack

    Upon entry, stop by the Cocoa Shack and stock up on a variety of food and beverages, including beer, wine, hot chocolate, cider and more. Light snacks are available for purchase along with the Arboretum’s famous 3-D glasses! Please note: outside food and beverages are not permitted at Winter Lights.

    Bent Creek Bistro

    Located inside the Education Center, Bent Creek Bistro offers an array of handmade, locally-sourced food and beverages.

  • The Arboretum works hard to make Winter Lights accessible for all ages and abilities. Several reserved handicap spaces are available in the main parking area and visitors can also drop off patrons with mobility issues at the front entrance upon request. Wheelchairs are available for loan for free at the ticket check-in area of the Baker Exhibit Center, and there are several benches and resting areas placed throughout the gardens. Some exhibit areas with stairs, including Rocky Cove Railroad and the Quilt Garden Overlook, can be accessed and viewed from different vantage points and paths. Please ask for accessibility assistance or an accessibility map upon entry.

    Caregivers of ticketed visitors with disabilities can request a complimentary Caregiver Pass by contacting the Winter Lights Ticket Office, Monday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 828-665-2492 or by emailing winterlights@ncarboretum.org.

    View Accessibility Map

  • Located inside the Education Center next to Bent Creek Bistro, Winter Lights offers nightly live musical performances for local and regional musicians.

  • All tickets are date and time-specific. Upon check-in, please have your printed ticket ready to scan or you can display your purchased ticket from your smart phone. Additional tickets are available for purchase at the door on non-sell out nights for an additional $5 per ticket. On sell out nights, non-ticket holders can purchase tickets at the door only if they are traveling in a vehicle with people who have already purchased tickets.

    Driving Directions

    Best Address for GPS:
    20 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
    Asheville, NC 28806

    Please note: Many GPS units do not correctly identify the Arboretum’s location within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, therefore we DO NOT recommend the use of a GPS device for navigation to the Arboretum. If your navigation system directs you to the Arboretum service entrance off Wesley Branch Road, please turn back and follow the road to the traffic light. Turn right (south) onto Brevard Road/Hwy. 191 and continue in the right lane, which will become a turn only lane. Turn right at light and the entrance to The North Carolina Arboretum is ahead on the right.

FAQ & Policies

  • No. Due to safety concerns, pets are not allowed at Winter Lights. (Service animals are permitted by law.)

  • All tickets sales are final (no refunds are permitted for any ticket; no exchanges for General Admission or Discount Night tickets).

    Flex Tickets

    This year, the Arboretum is offering guests the opportunity to purchase Flex Tickets for Winter Lights. Unsure about your travel plans, weather or other circumstances? Flex Tickets give visitors the option to easily exchange the date of their purchased ticket for another night without an additional penalty.

    Exchanges must be requested by 5 p.m. on your ticket date by calling the Arboretum at 828-665-2492 or emailing winterlights@ncarboretum.org. (Exchanges can only be made for non-sold out nights).

  • Winter Lights will be held rain or shine, unless the Arboretum closes for a weather-related emergency. In the event of rain or snow, some Winter Lights features, such as Rocky Cove Railroad and the s’mores fire pits, may not be operating. Any closures will be announced by 3 p.m. on the Arboretum’s website and Facebook page, unless circumstances develop later on that warrant a closure after the event opens.

    ***If the Arboretum closes due to a weather-related emergency, all tickets will be refunded for that night and ticket holders can re-purchase their ticket(s) for another night online or by calling 828-665-2492.

  • Transportation services such as taxis, Lyft or Uber are permitted at Winter Lights.

  • Service fees are often included in ticketed public events and concerts likeWinter Lights to cover costs for ticketing software and processing operations. A processing fee of $1.50 per ticket is charged along with a 3.2% credit card fee and 7% state sales tax. In addition, all tickets purchased on-site at the show will be charged an additional $5 per ticket.

    Winter Lights is The North Carolina Arboretum Society’s largest annual event fundraiser and proceeds generated from the event help support the Arboretum’s educational programs, exhibits and facilities year round.

    All Winter Lights tickets include free parking at The North Carolina Arboretum.

  • No. The use or possession of any weapons is prohibited on The North Carolina Arboretum Campus. It is a violation of state law (N.C.G.S. 14.269.2).

  • No.Winter Lights is an outdoor walking experience and designed for pedestrian traffic only. Wheelchairs are available for loan for free at the Baker Exhibit Center upon check-in.

  • Please note that Winter Lights is for pedestrian-use only. Bicycles, skateboards, scooters and other motorized vehicles are not permitted in the gardens. Ticket-holders can enter the Arboretum via their vehicle, by foot or by bicycle through the main gate, but must leave their bikes outside of the main garden areas.