One of our favorite holiday events in Asheville is the annual National Gingerbread Competition held by the Omni Grove Park Inn. It’s such a fun way to get in the holiday spirit and enjoyable for all ages.
This article shares details on admission to view the gingerbread competition, parking and what to expect when visiting Omni Grove to see the gingerbread houses.
What You’ll Find In This Article
Admission to View The Gingerbread Houses
While viewing the gingerbread houses is free, you do need to pay to park at the Omni Grove Park Inn during the holiday season. Self-parking is $25 and valet is $35. There’s a parking garage and an open parking lot.
It can get really busy as the holidays approach and the parking lots will fill up. Our advice is to go early in the season and early in the day!
Another option is to take the Hop On / Hop Off Trolley to the Omni Grove Park Inn because you won’t need to pay for parking. You will need to buy a ticket for the trolley, but it’s valid for two days. It drops off and picks up at an entrance on the side of the Grove Park Inn and makes for a very easy and fun day.
Dates For The Omni Grove Gingerbread House
You can begin viewing the gingerbread houses on November 27, 2023. However, it’s not open to the public every day. The public can see it Monday through Thursday and on Sundays after 4pm. It’s reserved for guests of the Omni Grove Park Inn on Fridays, Saturdays and before 4pm on Sundays.
The houses are available to view through January 2, but the exhibit is closed December 23-25 and December 30-January 2. And I want to repeat it one more time to make sure it isn’t missed– only guests can view the houses on the weekends! The only exception is on Sundays after 4pm.
Our recommendation is to go earlier in the season because it tends to get busier as Christmas approaches. We went two days after it opened this year and it was very quiet and enjoyable. It was a much different experience than when we went the week before Christmas last year!
Viewing The Omni Grove Gingerbread Houses
The Great Hall at The Omni Grove Park Inn
You’ll enter at the Great Hall and it’s here where they construct a life-size gingerbread house for the holidays. They sell hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies out of the house. You’ll also find spiked hot chocolate on the menu. It’s a bit expensive, but the drinks are delicious and you get to keep the commemorative mug.
The Great Hall also has a ton of seating and the two iconic giant fireplaces. There are several rocking chairs in front of the fire. You can also walk out the doors at the back past the giant gingerbread house for a wonderful view. This is also where you’ll find a reindeer and sleigh display.
The Vanderbilt Wing
The gingerbread houses are spread out in the resort. The grand prize winner is located to the right in the Vanderbilt Wing. It’s just past The Marketplace. It has a dedicated wall and is inside a glass case. The winner spins around so you can see each angle.
There are additional gingerbread houses as you walk into the next room. These are typically submissions for the child and youth part of the competition.
The Sammons Wing
You’ll also find gingerbread houses on the other side of the Great Hall in the Sammons Wing. To get here, take a left from the entrance of the Great Hall and walk past the shops and the Edison restaurant.
You’ll pass a giant Christmas tree and then you’ll see tables of houses along the wall of windows. The gingerbread houses are protected by fencing but you can still easily see them. There’s a lot of signage around and everyone is happy to point you in the right direction if you need help.
Even though the grand prize winner isn’t located in this part of the resort, this is typically where our favorite houses are found. We can never get over just how impressive and intricate each house is. There’s also natural sunlight here which helps!
Disclaimer: Hours, pricing, menus, etc. may have changed since we last updated this post, so make sure to confirm all of this directly prior to visiting any business or attraction listed on our site.
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