Ding dong, ding dong, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (again!). Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays around the globe. People love it for different cultural and religious reasons, but most Christmas celebrations involve gathering with family and loved ones, sharing traditional food, and treating each other with gifts.
We have many exciting shopping districts where you can find locally-owned mom-and-pop stores featuring regional arts and crafts. We also have malls, farmers’ markets, and seasonal festivals and pop-ups.
Downtown, the River Arts District, and Biltmore Village are home to shops, boutiques, and art galleries – all places where you can get holiday decorations, presents, and gift cards for your loved ones. Plus, you’re never far from excellent restaurants, cafés, and holiday vibes.
Our city has so many wonderful stores and events for your holiday shopping. I’ve included some of them, but there are many more!
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The 15 Best Places for Holiday Shopping in Asheville
1. The Big Crafty
The Big Crafty is “a hand-to-heart celebration of creative exuberance at the heart of Asheville.” It has been voted WNC Best Arts/Crafts Fair by Mountain Xpress every year since its creation in 2008, and it’s a great place to buy some wonderful Asheville holiday gifts.
What’s so unique about this festival? It offers an inclusive space for all artists to showcase and sell their work, not only to those who are the most well-known. It happens twice a year in July at Pack Square and during the first weekend of December at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center.
By “supporting creative venturers and crafting warm communities of creative practice,” they have created one of the best holiday events where you can get meaningful Asheville-made presents for everyone.
You’ll find new treasures every time. Last year, I fell in love with Fair Isle‘s whimsical, repurposed wool toys and handmade goodies. Of course, local seasonal treats and drinks are included in the party!
2. Mast General Store
Mast General Store is one of my top 10 places to shop in Asheville for the holidays. It has everything – from clothing and outdoor gear to candles, games, toys, gourmet food, endless stocking stuffer possibilities, holiday decorations, and so much candy!
This downtown Asheville icon opened in 1999 and is located on Biltmore Avenue in a building from 1846. Mast General Store is part of a small chain in the Southeast, and it’s visited by locals and visitors who love its old-fashioned atmosphere and Southern hospitality.
The windows are big, and the decorations are always fun, but the holiday displays are extra cute. They include huggable stuffed animals, lovely Christmas scenes, and lots of plaid. Plus, street performers are always outside the shop playing music.
The classic, cozy ambiance of this store is enhanced by the sweet smell that made my son exclaim, “Mami, this store smells like Christmas!” You’ll love the variety of things to choose from: there is something for everyone and every budget.
The candy selection is outstanding, and it varies according to the season. Your kids will love filling the green baskets with treats! I love the assortment of timeless toys and classic family games. The ready-to-go gift baskets and kits are filled with local, seasonal products and make excellent gift options.
There is a vast selection of ladies’ clothing, and the downstairs section has everything for your outdoor adventures.
Mast General Store: 15 Biltmore Ave, Asheville.
3. North Asheville Tailgate Market’s Holiday Bazaar
Asheville is all about local businesses and growers, and its farmers’ markets are fabulous. Many are open year-round, and you’ll find many treasures not sold elsewhere. Plus, there is live music and the atmosphere couldn’t be friendlier. To understand Asheville more deeply, go to a farmers’ market!
The North Asheville Tailgate Market occurs every Saturday morning, and the Annual Holiday Bazaar goes from the last Saturday of November to the third week of December, with more vendors joining the regular ones and holiday music and activities.
You’ll love choosing from various seasonal produce, foods, and flowers and getting one or two Asheville holiday gifts handcrafted by the same people selling them. The best part? You can also buy a Christmas tree here!
The North Asheville Tailgate Market takes a break after this holiday bazaar and returns in February with its Winter Market edition.
North Asheville Tailgate Market: 3300 University Heights, Asheville.
4. Vintage Pop-Up Markets
Have you seen all those signs around town reminding folks how worthy of everything good they are? Asheville’s full of them these days; they pop up in every corner like wildflowers.
“Be Kind,” “This is a Positive Sign,” “Love is the Answer,” and “You Are Loved” are some of them. Who is behind these random acts of kindness? Well, only a fairy could be!
The Booth Fairy Project is a “mobile happiness delivery service” led by Elle Erickson, an Asheville fairy with the most contagious smile. She brings people together to hold positive signs, pick up trash, visit nursing home residents, and create the famous signage. You can hire the Booth Fairy for private events or join her in her mission to spread kindness. Sign up here.
The Vintage Pop-Up markets are fun and a sure sign you’re in Asheville. Think tarot readings, vintage items and clothing, bodywork, and the only opportunity in town to shance (shop and dance at the same time!). You can check upcoming market dates here.
5. Woolworth Walk
Even if an old-fashioned soda fountain wasn’t part of your youth, you can go back in time and order a grilled pimento sandwich, fries in a cone, and a banana split at this red and chrome lunch counter built to resemble the original 1938 Woolworth Luncheonette. Plus, you can have a fantastic Asheville holiday shopping experience afterward!
The old Woolworth department store is now Woolworth Walk, a 20,000-square-foot art gallery in downtown Asheville showcasing the work of about 170 local artists in a historic building restored in 2001. This project won the Griffin Award twice for Historical Accuracy, another reason to check it out.
You’ll love the holiday decor, Christmas tree ornaments, and gifts in various mediums, from lovely handmade holiday cards, art, and home goods to candles, jewelry, and ceramics – all with price tags ranging from $5 to $1,975!
The entrance of Woolworth Walk is another great spot in downtown Asheville to listen to buskers perform bluegrass and folk music.
Woolworth Walk: 25 Haywood St, Asheville.
L.O.F.T. (Lost Objects, Found Treasures) is one of the most exciting downtown shops all year round, but their holiday goodies are over the top! Even if you don’t recognize the name, I’m sure you’ve seen the dozen outdoor decorations outside this shop.
The display with pride dwarf figures, Frida Kahlo planters, spinners, feeders, rain chains, chimes, and mobiles is a sure sign you’re in downtown Asheville. Our city’s center wouldn’t be as festive without them!
Take a look at L.O.F.T.’s Christmas tree ornaments. I’m sure you could use a Valium ornament around the holidays – they also make excellent original gifts!
Snag a Small Boob Glass ornament for your breastfeeding best friend (they come in mocha, pink, mauve, and gold). I’ve picked up an Elvis ornament and the cutest Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy ornaments for my kids, who used to be big fans of the books.
They also have many stocking stuffer options, mugs, celebrity candles (think Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles), and inflatable, “larger than life” ornaments to decorate your yard. One thing’s for sure: shopping at L.O.F.T. is hilarious and will cheer you up! The staff is the best too.
L.O.F.T. of Asheville: 53 Broadway St, Asheville.
7. Madam Clutterbucket’s
Madam Clutterbucket’s Neurodiverse Universe is one of the most interesting downtown Asheville gift shops, and everyone should visit it at least once. They have many vintage and new goodies, as well as disability advocacy, punk rock, pride, and other adorably quirky items. You can even buy Annie B’s homemade ice cream sandwiches to eat while shopping!
Spending time here is one of my favorite things to do on a rainy, cold afternoon in Asheville. I love finding things I never knew existed and buying one or two unique gifts to give on special occasions. I’m currently thinking about who would enjoy the new games I got: “Porno or Pacino,” “Rude Hand Gestures Around the World,” and the “Fortune Telling Cards.”
They also have a collection of neurodivergent arts and crafts, sensory fidgets and toys, and a fun array of T-shirts with “Keep Asheville Weird” ones in every color. Their pet gift section is cute, too, and you can get clothing for Fido, “Lil Piss Machine” caps, and fun treats.
You’ll find many treasures here that make fantastic holiday decorations or meaningful, hilarious gifts. Plus, the staff is the smiliest!
Madam Clutterbucket’s Neurodiverse Universe: 21 Battery Park Ave, Asheville.
8. Grove Arcade
The Grove Arcade is Asheville’s oldest mall, and visiting it is one of the most fun things to do in Asheville in December. All of Grove Arcade’s retailers are local or regional, and there are restaurants, cafés, a brewery, and a foot spa.
The mall’s Winter Wonderland festival begins on the third Saturday of November with a tree-lighting ceremony, including live music and a visit from Santa. It runs through the end of December, and there are festive decorations, free family events, and many photo ops with Santa.
The shops offer wonderful local spices, handmade musical instruments, fine jewelry, arts and crafts, clothing, and more. I love ADORAtherapy, which offers personalized perfumes based on the insights gained by your aura reading. Enter the Earth carries fossils, rocks, and minerals from around the world, and there are excellent gift options, too. You can see the complete list of shops here.
Also, the Makers Market on Battery Street is the Grove Arcade’s rain or shine outdoor market, featuring a dozen local artists selling handmade products and produce. It’s a lovely place to shop!
Grove Arcade: 1 Page Ave, Asheville.
9. Malaprop’s Bookstore
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café is an independent bookstore founded in 1982 and an Asheville landmark. They “bring books, writers, and readers together in an environment that nurtures community and the joy of reading.”
Every visit to Asheville should include a stop (and a photo) at this indie bookstore. They carry a curated selection of books for adults, children, and young adults, including local and regional authors, and host weekly literary events.
Malaprop’s also has the cutest gifts for bookworms, and their unique holiday finds will make fun stocking stuffers. The café has seasonal beverages and a vast selection of local treats to enhance the holiday feel.
The children’s section is cozy and welcoming and has everything needed to instill a love of books and reading. Dogs are also welcome here! The Instagram page Malapups: A Literacy Canine Compendium features four-legged visitors weekly, so snap a photo of your pup at their favorite bookstore.
Fun fact: The word “malapropos” comes from the French phrase mal à propos, made up of mal, “badly,” à, “to,” and propos, “purpose, subject,” and means “inappropriate.”
Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café: 55 Haywood St, Asheville.
10. Kress Emporium
Kress Emporium features the work of over 80 regional artists and craftspeople, plus antiques and collectibles. They have a wide selection of jewelry, fine art, mixed media, home goods, clothing, photography, and many gift options for all budgets.
The neoclassic Kress Building was built in 1928 and is an architectural landmark in downtown Asheville. You’ll love the cheerful entrance with the cutest metal garden decorations and so many things to buy.
This is a great place to purchase locally-made Christmas ornaments and decorations. You can choose from some of the cutest felt and stuffed animals you’ve ever seen, glass ornaments, and beautiful hand-painted ornaments featuring scenes of the area’s flora and fauna.
A couple of years ago, I gave my kids money so they could get their holiday shopping done there. They spent several hours finding treasures while I listened to music and enjoyed the sun in the small park across the street. They found beautiful things for their friends and family while practicing their math!
Kress Emporium: 19 Patton Ave, Asheville.
11. River Arts District
The River Arts District is one of the best places to get your holiday shopping done in Asheville. With its 200 art studios and shops located in 23 buildings, beautiful restaurants, cafes, breweries, skate parks, music venues, a movie theater, street art, and access to the French Broad River and its greenways, you can easily spend a whole day here, and it won’t be enough.
The Second Saturday event offers open studios, special deals, classes, workshops, and extended shopping hours. The one in December will have holiday events and surprises.
The ArtsAVL CONNECT Trolley is a free ride that connects downtown and the River Arts District with two overlapping loops and is a super enjoyable experience. You can enjoy the ride from one shopping district to another without worrying about traffic and parking.
You’ll love strolling around the studios. Check out Curve Studios, North Carolina Glass Center, The Foundation Studios, and Asheville Cotton Mill Studios, which dates from 1887 and is one of the oldest buildings in Asheville!
12. Miracle Marquee Holiday Party
Marquee is another awesome place to do your holiday shopping in Asheville. This converted 50,000-square-foot warehouse in the River Arts District has 291 vendors offering an eclectic mix of new things, antiques, vintage items, local arts and crafts, and even plants.
But this is not only a wonderful place to shop; the events are phenomenal, and they all include drinks from the on-site bar, Saint Brighid’s. The Marquee Masquerade in October, the Sunday Brunch/Sip/Shop gatherings, and the Miracle at Marquee holiday party are outstanding!
The Miracle at Marquee holiday party includes extended shopping hours until 8 pm and special deals on Christmas ornaments and decorations. There is live music, sweet treats, seasonal drinks, and the Ugliest Sweater Competition, in which you could get a $100 Marquee All Access Pass prize for making your ugly sweater more hideous.
Marquee: 35 Foundy St, Asheville.
13. Uncommon Holiday Market
Uncommon Holiday Market is the December edition of the Uncommon Market Asheville, “Asheville’s largest curated, pop-up market for antiques, art, vintage decor, jewelry, and beyond.” The founders of this art show are also the founders of Marquee and Splurge, a custom lighting and antique business inside of Marquee.
This joyous holiday market happens every December for a weekend at Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center. Admission and parking are free! You’ll find everything there, from holiday chocolate and bonbons, handmade wreaths, and vintage clothing to candles and treats. There’ll never be a dull moment while shopping here.
You’ll adore the live music and the fact that you can also shop outdoors, making it an ideal Asheville holiday market to bring your furry friends to. Follow Uncommon Market Asheville on Instagram to participate in their fantastic holiday giveaways.
14. Folk Art Center
The Folk Art Center is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild and one of the best places to get your holiday shopping done in Asheville. There are exhibitions, daily demonstrations, educational programs, and a wonderful shop where you’ll find high-quality, authentic Southern Appalachian crafts.
There are two craft fairs in the summer and fall in the Harrah’s Cherokee Center, and the Holiday Second Sale occurs during the first or the second weekend of December. You’ll love the seasonal decorations and ornaments and the many gift options. Make sure you follow them on social media to get the updates.
The center is on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a short 8-mile scenic drive from downtown Asheville. Admission and parking are free. You can also shop for their stuff at various galleries closer to town.
Folk Art Center: 382 Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville.
15. Holiday Greens Market
The French Broad River Garden Club Foundation’s Holiday Greens Market is a beautiful little Christmas market and a local tradition of almost 100 years.
Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts, delicious treats, and beautiful custom greens, wreaths, pots, twigs, branches, pine bundles, holly berries, and garlands that will become the highlight of your Christmas decor.
“Influenced by the French Broad River Garden Club Foundation’s mission of environmental and horticultural education and practices, the Greens Market fulfills the Club’s mission by promoting conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources in Western North Carolina.”
The best part? All proceeds from the Greens Market support horticultural and environmental scholarships awarded to students attending local higher education institutions.