What are your goals for 2022 and the months ahead? Are they to try something new, get out more (even figuratively), and enjoy life? If so, we know how to start off the new year right!
Here are 16 local events across Western North Carolina to help you ring in 2022:
Editor’s Note: Start 2021 safe and well. If you do choose to go out, maintain social distancing guidelines.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
November 19–January 1, 2022 | Asheville
Don’t miss the North Carolina Arboretum’s elaborate Winter Lights show! This year’s event welcomes members and guests back into the gardens as it returns to the traditional outdoor walk-through, open-air show format. Enjoy the famously tall 50-foot lighted tree and the Quilt Garden, outfitted with new designs in lights. And spot popular arrangements throughout the gardens that mingle with ones never seen before. Pets are not allowed.
Learn more: ncarboretum.org/winter-lights
Winterfest at Tryon Resort
November 24–January 2, 2022 | Tryon
Enjoy hundreds of thousands of lights animated to music from the comfort of your vehicle for an unforgettable family experience this holiday season, with tickets available by the carload. Then park and take in the magic of the holiday season in Legends Plaza, the heart of Tryon Resort, at the 2021 Winterfest Village. One ticket gets you in to everything the Winterfest Village has to offer, including Santa’s North Pole Experience, Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Kitchen, and live music and holiday performances.
Learn more: tryon.com
2021 Heritage New Year’s – License to Chill
December 31–January 1, 2022 | Asheville
Your first mission of 2022 begins at The Omni Grove Park Inn. In traditional Bond style, with a nod to E.W. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic, this package comes with two tickets to the New Year’s Eve heritage dinner, License to Chill. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a plated dinner and a live jazz band. The package also includes two nights of luxurious accommodations, two tickets to the Saturday night comedy show, and two admission wristbands to the New Year’s Eve party, From Grove Park with Love, where you’ll stroll down the red carpet to enter a celebration of this timeless secret agent.
Learn more: omnihotels.com
2022 New Year’s Eve “Apple Rise” Celebration
December 31 @ 5:00–7:00PM | Hendersonville
Want to celebrate 2022 with your entire family, without busting the kids’ bedtime routine? Henderson County Parks and Recreation has organized a family celebration of the New Year at the Historic Courthouse. This family-oriented event will begin at 5:00PM with a countdown and “Apple Rise” at 7:00PM. Families will enjoy children’s crafts and activities, hot beverages, NYE party favors, and a DJ playing top hits from 2021. Warming stations will be available.
Learn more: hendersoncountync.gov
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
December 31 @ 5:30 or 7:05PM | Bryson City
All aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible 75-minute round trip ride! From the Bryson City depot, journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit to the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. Tickets required.
Learn more: gsmr.com
New Year’s Eve Dinner Party
December 31 @ 6:30PM–12:30AM | Lake Lure
It’s been a year in the making. Ring in the new year with family and friends at Rumbling Bald’s New Year’s Eve Dinner Party at Legends on the Lake. Enjoy music, dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight. Reservations are strongly encouraged: (828) 694-3045.
Learn more: rumblingbald.com
Oskar Blues’ 9th Annual NYE Hootenanny
December 31 @ 7:00PM | Brevard
The Oskar Blues NYE Hootenanny is a WNC tradition, complete with foot stompin’ music and Brevard-brewed beers! Celebrate another trip around the sun on the heated patio, with food trucks on site and beer flowing all night. Enjoy live music from West Fork Fiasco, High Flying Criminals, and Jeff Sipe’s Electric Buddha featuring Melissa Reaves. Free shuttle service (weather permitting) from local Brevard hotels and downtown at D.D. Bullwinkel’s. This event is FREE and open to the public. A percentage of proceeds goes to Friends of Ecusta Trail.
Learn more: facebook.com
Fare Thee Well 2021
December 31 @ 8:00PM | Asheville
District 42 is hosting a black tie affair to say farewell to the year. Enjoy bubbles and bites, as well as live music from Little Posey Ensemble. Then, watch the countdown in real time. Reservations begin at $50/person.
Learn more: district42avl.com/nye
New Year’s Eve: Queens of Soul
December 31 @ 8:00PM | Asheville
Experience the best of Motown, R&B, and Soul with Morgan James and Erica Gabriel at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. This special program features works by Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, and more—all backed by your Asheville Symphony. Ring in the new year like a queen: with style and bubbly (the crown is optional).
Learn more: ashevillesymphony.org
Smoky Mountain Parties
December 31 @ 8:00PM–1:00AM | Maggie Valley
Celebrate the season at the Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley! They end their holiday party triple feature with a New Year’s Eve bash at Skylark Speakeasy. Enjoy hog jowl, black eyed peas, and greens in a way you’ve never had before. Their cash bar will hand out a champagne toast at midnight. And grab a few party favors while you’re there. $15 for guests; $25 for non-guests.
Learn more: visitncsmokies.com
Annual Gold Nugget Drop
December 31 @ 8:30PM–12:30AM | Marion
What’s better than the New York City Times Square ball drop to welcome in the new year? Head to the small town of Marion to watch a six-foot, 80-pound gold nugget drop into a pot of gold! This free, fun, quirky celebration also includes a cosplay costume contest (10:00PM), wagon rides, and more! Music, food, and craft vendors will be scattered throughout the 310 District of Downtown Marion. The beer and wine garden will feature many nearby wineries and breweries.
Learn more: romanticasheville.com/nugget-drop
Ring Inn the New Year
December 31 @ 8:30PM–12:30AM | Chimney Rock
Ring “inn” the new year at the Broad River Inn in Chimney Rock. They will have a live DJ, party favors, games, and more. Plus, enjoy hors d’oeuvres and the open beer and wine bar. $65. Ages 21+.
Learn more: hickorynutchamber.org
Popperpalooza! NYE Party & Drag Show
December 31 @ 10:00PM–2:00AM | Asheville
Enjoy spacious indoor and outdoor areas fully decorated for the holidays at Getaway River Bar!
The party starts at 10:00PM with DJ Ganymede, who will also be hosting the Drag Show at 11:00PM. There will be a full bar, pool tables, and a friendly crowd. Take part in the toast at midnight. Then party until 2:00AM! Ages 21+.
Learn more: getawayontheriver.com
First Day Hike
January 1, 2022 @ 8:00–10:00AM | Chimney Rock
Kick off a new year of year-round recreation at Chimney Rock State Park during this First Day Hike! A park ranger will offer an informative discussion about the park’s history while the group strolls, hikes, or bikes up to the 3.2-mile entrance road. Usually restricted to motor vehicle traffic only, there will be no cars in your way if you show up for this special, early morning hike that’s free to participants. Meet at the Old Rock Café at 8:00AM. Registration is not required.
Learn more: ncparks.gov/chimney-rock-state-park
2022 New Year’s Resolution Run
January 1, 2022 @ 10:00AM–12:00PM | Asheville
Celebrate the love of running, fitness, and the new year at the 8th Annual Resolution Run in Downtown Asheville. This annual in-person running event has assigned wave start times beginning at 10:00AM, so you can watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve and still get up in time to kick off the first day of the year on the right foot. Families and participants of all ages are welcome to run or crawl their way to completing their first resolution!
Learn more: idaph.net/resolution-run
Run in 2022 5K
January 1, 2022 @ 11:00AM | Cullhowee
Happy New Year! Enjoy one of our favorite annual 5K races with the Jackson County Parks & Recreation Department. And kick off your resolutions on a positive note. Run in the New Year 2022 kicks off at 11:00AM on New Year’s Day. Shirts are guaranteed to the first 100 to pre-register. Registration is $20.
Learn more: runsignup.com