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The Magical Experience of Biltmore at Christmas You Need To See

biltmore estate in asheville at christmas time

Christmas at Biltmore is a magical time, especially at sundown (photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

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Local reviews the Biltmore experience at Christmas

I’m not what you’d call an upper-crust kind of guy. The few times I’ve tried to make my way into the more structured world of the elite, I didn’t like it. But what I do like? I like the trappings. I love the tapestries and giant fireplaces and everything that came with being insanely wealthy in old Europe or the new world. In short, I like Biltmore and places like it. The grandeur appeals to my imagination. And while I wouldn’t want to live in that world, I like to visit it, maybe even imagine myself in it.

Christmas at Biltmore is especially magical. And, the holiday doesn’t end on December 25. When you’re as rich as the Vanderbilts, you get to choose when Christmas is over. This season, Christmas at Biltmore begins Nov. 3, 2023 and extends to Jan. 7, 2024. Christmas decorations will stay up the entire time.

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billiard table with tree at biltmore during christmas
Each year, the Biltmore design team outdoes itself with rooms that feature beautifully decorated festive scenes with a variety of Christmas trees, wreaths, evergreens, traditional poinsettias, candles and ornaments (photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

What can you do at Biltmore? What to expect

The expansive mansion was built in the 1890s as a summer home for a ridiculously wealthy member of the Vanderbilt family George Vanderbilt. It is essentially a village with a hotel, an inn and cottages you can rent for overnight stays. There’s hiking, craft demonstrations and live music at the bandstand seasonally. There is also a farmyard where kids can see laying hens, lambs, calves, goats and draft horses.

So what do you even wear when you visit such a place? Since Biltmore is so opulent, many people feel compelled to dress up a little. But remember you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and exploring, so I’d focus on wearing clothes that are comfortable. You’re not going to be running into any of the Vanderbilts, so you don’t have to impress anybody. The only place you need to dress up at Biltmore is The Dining Room at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, where business casual attire is recommended. Finally, if you’re planning to visit for Christmas, the prices are a little higher, so expect to pay a little more.

banquet hall with dining table and tree at the biltmore
The Biltmore is decorated with lights, gift boxes and trees throughout the mansion for Christmas. Pictured: The Banquet Hall at the Biltmore House has a 35-foot-tall Fraser fir tree (photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

How much does Biltmore cost at Christmas?

During the holiday season, there are a few options – each with tiered ticket prices.

For $110 to $140 per person, you get a tour of the house with an audio guide, access to the grounds either the day before or after your evening visit as well as access to Antler Hill Village and Winery and a wine tasting.

For $145 to $175 per person, you get all that plus entrance to the art exhibit, Chihuly at Biltmore and free next-day access to the grounds.

Finally, the $380 to $410 tier offers an evening visit to Biltmore with an audio guide and a 90-minute tour that will give you the perspective of the Vanderbilts’ very first guests. All tiers come with complimentary parking. You can purchase tickets online here.

young daughter stands next to biltmore statue at christmas time
My daughter Sofia at the Biltmore house (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)

What can you do for free at Biltmore?

You may be wondering since you have to pay to hike the grounds if there’s anything you can do at Biltmore for free. The good news is, you have two options for free entertainment. If you like to window shop, you can visit the gatehouse shop or the Shops at Biltmore, located across from the entrance to the mansion. The Shops at Biltmore are a series of shops, restaurants and cafes. The village features tree-lined streets, vintage cottages and brick walkways. It’s charming. It’s picturesque. But it ain’t exactly Biltmore.

Also, admittedly, if you lack self-control and end up buying souvenirs from the gatehouse or the Shops at Biltmore, these experiences may become considerably less free rather quickly. Finally, if you’ve already purchased an admission ticket, you’ll be able to partake in free wine tasting at the Biltmore Winery.

man marks list at biltmore winery
An admission ticket is required to visit the Biltmore Winery, but once inside, tastings are free (photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company)

Is Christmas at Biltmore worth it?

I would say Christmas at Biltmore is worth the splurge, especially at the baseline tiers. It is a unique experience that you and your family will be unlikely to forget. That being said, the upper tier is a bit steep for my taste.

If you’re looking to save some cash, I recommend checking out some of the special offers and discounts, including military and senior citizen discounts, which are updated throughout the year on the Biltmore website. You may also be able to save a little extra money by booking a tour on a weekday instead of the weekend when pricing is usually a bit cheaper. Reserving your tickets early is also recommended if you want to save some money on admission. To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit the Biltmore website.

Have you visited Biltmore at Christmas? Let me know in the comments. Read the web story version of this article here.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at editor@thesmokies.com (preferred) or call 865-505-0648.

12 thoughts on “The Magical Experience of Biltmore at Christmas You Need To See”

  1. We love the Biltmore even more at Christmas! My husband and I have been there three times for Christmas season and three visits in spring and fall. It is fabulous anytime! We recently spent our 40th wedding anniversary at the Biltmore Estate and felt truly blessed to be surrounded by such beauty and opulence. We are looking forward to our visit next spring!

    Reply
  2. I have been to Biltmore many times as I live in the Carolinas, but I must say I love the candlelight tour the best. I bought tickets for my Husband and myself a few years ago for a romantic weekend. I wasn’t let down. Everything was amazing, like walking into a book from the past. All the decorations were breath taking. The fact that there were 73 christmas
    trees was amazing. I will probably do it again. I took my daughter and granddaughter in february for a girls weekend we had a great time.

    Reply
  3. Interesting a few years ago my wife want to visit chihuly at the Biltmore. we live in chicago and i stated to look into it. After view cost of the tcikets for the Biltmore and chihuly and looking at the airfare. I found that it was cheaper to just fly to Seattle to the chihuly museum and see chihuly flights were about the same . Biltmore is just too expensive to attract people from other metropolitan areas. They need to consider this if they want to attract national audiences

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  4. I’ve made a special to see Biltmore at Christmas. I’ve been several times before, but not at Christmas. My problem is that the lights are turned down so low inside the house that you can only see Christmas lights, nothing else. You miss some of the beauty of the house since it’s so dark.

    Reply
  5. Never been at Christmas but were there a week before “ Christmas opened” so we saw a lot of behind the scenes set up happening ( interesting to me DH not so impressed
    But your comment about attire – DH woke up the day before our Biltmore visit convinced he had “ nothing to wear” to the elegant Biltmore- we were referred to the Mast general store in Asheville where our sales clerk told us that “ hiker chic” was the suggested dress code

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  6. Christmas at the Biltmore is extra in a really bad way. The place screams ‘money, money, money’ without an ounce of style or authenticity. Christmas at the biltmore is as vulgar and plastic as it is all the rest of the year.

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  7. First the Biltmore is worth seeing anytime of the year. If you live in NC this place is a must see, the house the town! There is no way to live in NC and not experience the Biltmore, the history, who built the house, the grounds and inside during Christmas is unbelievable. The drive is worth it and the money you spend is worth it. They hotel is grand the winery is the best and the food is great. Don’t listen to anyone, and the pics don’t do it justice! Trust me I have been three times and still find something new to awe about!

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  8. Can I speak with a real person to make reservations for Christmas 2022?
    When can reservations be made ?

    Phone number??
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Bob! (800) 411.3812 is the only number I’m able to find. Sounds like they’re experiencing high call volumes but if you stay on, you should be able to talk to a representative. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  9. We just got home from there! We did the daytime regular tour but late enough the Christmas lights were on. It was absolutely beautiful! We would love to go back. Would love to have some true candle light tour but it was too expensive for us this trip.

    Reply

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