Lake Julian Lights


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This festival of light is open through the 18th of December 2023, operating nightly from five-thirty in the evening to nine. The drive circling the Lake Julian park becomes an animated and magical tour through tunnels of stationary, animated as well as dazzling curtain lights displays.

You are invited to witness the flare lights shine over the lake and to turn on your favorite local radio station playing Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Lake Julian Lights
Festival highlights

Arrive by 8 in the evening. It takes approximately ten minutes to drive the loop. On slower evenings, you are able to go around a second time for free.  This yearly event thrives from its connection to the community; parts of the earnings will go directly to the  Buncombe County Special Olympics, while the rest is reinvested to improve the festival in the coming years.

lights Festival dates (2023)

A preferred drive-through Christmas lights display by locals and visitors takes over a renowned park at Lake Julian. The yearly festival of lights takes account of 50 animated as well as stationary light displays. Everyone has been invited to this amazing event.  The festival happens nightly, starting from the 3rd of December to 18th, and the show begins from 5:30 in the evening to 9 in the evening.  This is a three-week celebration that you shouldn’t miss.

Festival Where About

The festival of lights takes place in Lake Julian Park. This is located at 406 Overlook Extension in Arden, only off of Long Shoals Road. Lake Julian Park is a popular recreational facility for families situated on the thirty-acre Lake Julian riverbank in Arden. This park provides boating, picnicking, fishing, playground, special events as well as other outdoor games. The lake has been an abundance of catfish, bass, crappie, brim, as well as imported tilapia.

There are many ways to reach Julian Lake Park, such as via bus, which is only 27 minutes ride from Mission Children’s Clinic, or a 100-minute ride from Sketchers Factory Outlet.  The nearest bus station is at Hendersonville Rd at Glenn Bridge Rd. Bus line to Lake Julian is S3.  However, it is advisable to bring your own car, as this event is a drive-through.

If you liked Lake Julian Lights, you might want to check out these other lights festivals as well:

Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights

Oglebay Festival of Lights

Festival Hours

The festival of lights is open from 5:30 PM to 9 PM. So, it is just more or less a four-hour show. Therefore, make sure to be at the entrance before five-thirty to be the first to witness the amazing curtain lights show.

How much does it cost to visit the festival?

Organizers are yet to release ticket information for this year. Previous ticket prices include an admission of $10 per passenger car, $25 for big vans, and $50 for buses and motor coaches. Advanced tickets should be bought online. Part of the proceeds goes straight to the BCSO. This is a ten-minute drive so ensure to bring your families and loved ones.

For the latest updates on ticket pricing, stay tuned or visit the festival’s official website.


December is a cold month in Arden, with average temperatures differing between 1 degree Celsius and 9.1 degrees Celsius.


The average high temp in Arden decreased a little bit from a moderate 13.2 degrees Celsius in the month of November to a chilly 9.1 degrees Celsius. In December, the average low temp is 1 degree Celsius.


May, September, as well as December are months with the highest humidity in NC, with an average humidity of 78 percent.


December is the month with the most rainfall when rain falls for 8.4 days and usually aggregates up to 2mm of precipitation.

What to Wear?

North Carolina weather is unpredictable, particularly during December. So, it is ideal for making a packing list that fits all versions of NC weather to let you know what to wear to the Julian Lake festival of lights in December.

Consider wearing long sleeve shirts, hats, pants, tennis shoes, as well as a coat. The evenings and mornings in NC will be cooler, and the humidity can really make it feel chilly at night when it is raining.

Hotels nearby Lake Julian Lights?

If you plan to stay in Arden, NC, for a couple of nights s, then the good news is their cheap hotels to stay. Some of these are:


This is a very luxurious apartment complex situated at the top of the hill facing out beyond all development. Therefore, you can experience why many guests, locals, and internationals flock to the Arden NC area- those stunning mountain views of the  Blue Ridge- only outside the balcony or living room window. Take pleasure in the proximity to downtown Asheville National Forest, NC Arboretum as well as Biltmore Estate. This hotel is near breweries and wineries.


  • Beach sun loungers
  • Shared and communal pool
  • Fence around the pool
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Stovetop
  • Microwave

Holiday Inn Hotel &Suites Arden -Asheville Airport

When visiting Arden, NC, for the Julian Lake Festival of Lights, you will feel at home at this hotel because it provides high quality accommodation and unmatched services. Visitors can maximize the lively place has to offer. The location of the hotel is very convenient and has fast access to many destinations. 

Each effort is made to make you feel comfortable. This hotel offers the best amenities and services. A wide selection of top-rated facilities like free fitness center, self-parking can be enjoyed here. You can choose from 100 rooms; all exude an atmosphere of harmony and peace. 

Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Asheville Airport Fletcher

Featuring free internet connection all through the hotel, this property provides accommodation in Fletcher. Each room is air-conditioned and has a flat-screen television. Some units have a designated seating area for everyone to unwind following a rather hectic and busy day at the park. Each room has a private bathroom armed with a shower and bath. For additional comfort, there is a free hairdryer and toiletries. Free shuttle service is also provided. 

What to eat in Lake Julian?

Many restaurants near Lake Julian serve amazing foods such as:

Pomodoros Café

This is one of the best restaurants near Lake Julian. Upon entering the café, you will be greeted and welcomed by the friendly waitress and staff. They are properly dressed and professionals. The whole place is relaxing, not messy and crowded. This is the best place to go if you are looking for Mediterranean, Italian, and Greek cuisine. The best thing about them is that they also offer special diets such as vegan options, gluten-free options, and vegetarian friendly. You will experience the best meals in town without spending a lot.

Pomodoros Greek and Italian Café

Another remarkable restaurant that is worth visiting during your stay at Lake Julian is the Pomodoros Greek and Italian Café. This restaurant has lots of positive reviews due to the quality of foods and services they offer to the customers. They offer various kinds of cuisine, and the environment is very pleasant. The service is second to none, while the pricing is moderate and of good value. The location of this place is also convenient with wide parking. Numerous menu choices are available, ranging from various kinds of pizzas, wraps and pasta, burgers, chicken, and a whole lot more! The food is super delicious. Saganaki is very good and worth trying! Great wait-staff and prompt service! The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful. They offer Italian, Greek cuisines with special diets. Meals include dinner and lunch. Takeout reservations are also offered.

Firehouse Subs

If you are craving fast food, then this is the place to be. They serve lunch and dinner and features takeout services. This is wheelchair accessible fast food restaurant. The place is very comfortable and not crowded. 

More Things to Do in the Area

There are a lot of things to do and see in this place such as:

Mountain Play Lodge

Positive reviews by previous guests leave no doubt that this area will keep little ones busy with its amazing and exciting attractions as well as imagination-sparking activities. One perk of the Mountain Play Lodge is the presence of many seats sorted out inside of the play center.

Launch Trampoline Park

If your loved ones are searching for an exciting indoor activity, then you must visit Launch Trampoline Park. It may appear like a place for kids only. However, there is no doubt that adults will take pleasure in visiting this park too because it provides many activities of different levels such as battle pit, trampoline courts, dodgeball, furry laser tag, and many others.

12 Bones Smokehouse South

Sharing delicious food is a good bonding experience for the family. Why not bring your loved ones to a good place to experience amazing meals. 12 Bones Smokehouse South is considered one of the best and most visited places in Arden, where you are able to experience delicious foods worth taking home! Don’t miss trying ribs, pulled pork as well as brisket as they are the highly recommended ones.


1. How does parking work for a drive-through lights festival like Lake Julian Lights?

Answer: Since Lake Julian Lights is a drive-through festival, attendees remain in their vehicles, eliminating the need for traditional parking. However, there might be designated areas for cars to queue before entering the light trail or special zones for photo stops.

2. Is smoking allowed during the drive-through?

Answer: For the safety and enjoyment of all attendees, smoking inside the vehicle while on the festival grounds is discouraged. We ask that visitors refrain from smoking to ensure a pleasant atmosphere, especially when windows are down.

3. Can I bring my pets to the Lake Julian Lights festival?

Answer: Pets are generally allowed as long as they remain inside the vehicle. Ensure that your pets are comfortable with bright lights and remain calm in moving traffic to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

4. Will there be any food or refreshment options available?

Answer: Some drive-through light festivals offer snack or refreshment stations at the beginning or end of the route. It’s best to check the Lake Julian Lights’ official website for specific details on available amenities.

5. What is the speed limit inside the festival grounds?

Answer: Typically, vehicles are advised to maintain a slow and steady pace, often around 5 mph or less, to ensure safety and allow everyone to enjoy the light displays.

6. Are there specific vehicle size restrictions?

Answer: Some drive-through events may have restrictions on vehicle height, length, or type (e.g., buses, RVs). It’s recommended to check the event’s guidelines ahead of your visit.

7. Can we stop our vehicle to take photos?

Answer: For the safety and flow of traffic, vehicles are generally discouraged from stopping on the main route. However, some festivals have designated photo op zones where visitors can pause to capture memories.

8. What happens if there’s inclement weather?

Answer: Drive-through light festivals often proceed regardless of weather, but in the event of extreme conditions, the festival might be delayed, rescheduled, or canceled. Visitors should check the Lake Julian Lights’ official channels for real-time weather-related updates.


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