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10 Favorites for Asheville Gay and Lesbian Visitors

Also see: Asheville Gay Owned/Friendly Inns | Blue Ridge Pride Photos

Asheville Gay Guide

Blue Ridge PrideLGBTQ visitors find plenty of fun things to do in Asheville. What could be better? Enjoy the great outdoors of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the day, and return to downtown Asheville for an evening of fine food and drinks. If you are not into hiking or driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, there are plenty of options for shopping and museums. And don't forget Biltmore! Here are some ideas for you:


Gay Pride Asheville
See photos from Blue Ridge Pride.

THE BIGGIE! Blue Ridge Pride Festival on October 3, 2015
Join the fun in Downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park, 12-7 PM. The Main Stage will feature the hilarious, the zany, and the truly talented entertainers. The Kids Area will offer children and families a non-alcoholic area to enjoy children's entertainment, craft activities, games, bounce houses, and a stage. Check out the 120 for-profit and non-profit vendors who will do their best to feed, cloth, accessorize, entertain, or educate you. This year's festival is expected to be the biggest, most entertaining Blue Ridge Pride festival yet with over 12,000 of your friends and family in attendance!  Click here to visit their Web site.

February 13 & 14, 2015: Valentine's Day Drag Queen Bingo
This is not your grandma's bingo. Back by popular demand, join Brother Wolf Animal Rescue for eight zany bingo games with prizes, refreshments, raffle items, and fantastic entertainment. Happy hour begins at 6 PM and games run 7-9 PM. Admission $25/person. Buy tickets online. All proceeds benefit homeless pets.

February 15, 2015: Mardi Gras Parade
Family-friendly, fun parade in Downtown Asheville that includes Blue Ridge Pride group. Read more.

April 17-18, 2015: LGBT in the South Conference
Presented by Campaign for Southern Equality, the conference will connect and educate Southern organizers and local practitioners to better serve the LGBT community. The core themes of this year’s conference are intersectionality and collaboration. Includes workshops to build organizing skills, facilitated discussions about topics impacting LGBT Southerners, and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) sessions for attorneys on topics of LGBT law. Go to their Web site.

June 26, 2015: White Party
Presented by Blue Ridge Pride. Click here to visit their Web site.

July 11, 2015: Doggie Adoption & Family Fun Day & Gay 5K
Presented by Blue Ridge Pride. Click here to visit their Web site.

Throughout 2015: Same sex marriage is legalized in North Carolina!
Come to Asheville to get married. See resources on our LGBT Guide and Wedding Guide.

Edna'sEdna's of Asheville
Mike, Tom and their Pug named Edna welcome you to their "mid-century modern coffee house" in North Asheville, just two miles from downtown. They provide a fun and welcoming environment for visitors and locals of all orientations to gather, socialize and enjoy great coffee and food. They roast their own coffee and bake their own pastries. And they use the finest locally sourced products to support our community. Edna proudly showcases local artists and musicians. Put the Pug on your Mug! Open 6AM to 10PM - 870 Merrimon Avenue.
Click here to visit their Web site

Gay Asheville
This is the go-to resource site for everything LGBTQ in Asheville and Western North Carolina. You will find a complete monthly calendar of meetings and events, listing and contact information for social and service organizations and listing of gay welcoming places of worship. YES (Your Equality Speaks) Gay Welcoming Businesses and Services are featured on the site. ENews and a monthly online magazine with local, state and national items of interest to the LGBTQ community are also included.
Click here to visit their Web site

gay friendly dining Asheville

1. Foodie Heaven: With more than 50 great restaurants, downtown Asheville offers something for everyone! Most any of them are gay friendly if you want to hold hands and be yourself. Plus, there are many other choices in and out of town. See our Asheville Restaurant Guide.

Also see our Top 12 Foodie Favorites.

2. LaZoom Tour: Yes, that's a guy in bad drag swallowing fire. Sister Bad Habit and other zany characters will entertain you on this hilarious 90-minute bus tour of Asheville. Read and see more about the purple LaZoom Bus.
happy hour Asheville

3. Happy Hour: Welcome to Beer City USA! Sample more than 50 local brews, walking from pub-to-pub downtown. Is wine more your style, stop by one of our wine bars. Smokey's Tavern (18 Broadway St) is a small gay bar that is convenient to drop in while walking around downtown. You will also find a dozen coffee shops downtown with local flavor and great atmosphere.

Malaprops Asheville, NC 4. Explore Malaprops: To experience a true slice of Asheville, hang out in the place voted "Best Independent Bookstore in the Southeast." Lesbian-owned, it has a spirited atmosphere which draws a diverse crowd for readings and live music. For premium people watching, have a cup of coffee in their café or enjoy outdoor seating in the summer. Downtown, 55 Haywood St. Go to their Web site.
Biltmore Estate 5. Biltmore Estate: Don't miss seeing the largest home in America, with an amazing collection of art and antiques, grand gardens, wine tasting at the winery, and the outdoor equestrian center. And there are numerous places to escape from the crowd for a romantic picnic or walk. See our Biltmore Estate Guide.
Live Music in Asheville 6. Live Music or Theatre: To listen and dance to some great jazz and blues, go to Tressa's (28 Broadway), which has a mixed straight and gay crowd. For folk music, interesting variations of blue grass, swing, and more, head to Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Ave). For a variety of music headliners, check out The Orange Peel (101 Biltmore Avenue). In the mood for the performing arts? There are several community and repertory theatre groups in town. Or see a first-run independent film or often a gay-themed film at the Fine Arts Theatre (36 Biltmore Ave). Pick up the Mountain Express weekly entertainment guide when you arrive. For more, visit the After Dinner & Nightlife Guide.
antique ahopping Asheville 7. Antique Shopping: Downtown Asheville has several antique shops and malls in close proximity. The Antique Tobacco Barn is a must stop! Many couples plan a visit to Asheville around a Robert Brunk Antique Auction, one of the premier auction houses in the southeast. Visit the Shopping Guide for more.
gay friendly art and galleries 8. Gallery Hopping: John Cram owns the two biggest galleries in Asheville, Blue Spiral I downtown (38 Biltmore Ave) and New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village. Blue Spiral has an incredible collection of fine art and crafts; better than many art museums. There are dozens of galleries downtown, plus more in Biltmore Village and the River Arts District. Visit the Gallery Guide and Art Festivals Guide for more.
9. Get Outdoors: For great hikes, visit the Asheville Hikes & Walks Guide. Drive and picnic along the Blue Ridge Parkway. See our Top 100 Outdoor Guides for other ideas. Explore Chimney Rock Park, go whitewater rafting (NOC and Wildwater are especially gay friendly) or zip line on a canopy tour.
Asheville gay friendly clubs

10. Gay Bars and Dance Clubs: There are three LGBTQ bars in downtown Asheville!

The largest Asheville gay nightclub for dancing is Scandals, downtown (11 Grove Street near Patton Avenue) in a brick building called "Grove House" that looks like a large house. It has three levels, four bars (including the Boiler Room and Club Eleven), and three dance floors.

O.Henry’s (237 Haywood Street) is the longest running gay bar in North Carolina. 35 Years strong, it has recently undergone a complete renovation with new ownership. Taking on a comfortable lodge-like look with a cool vibe, O.Henry’s continues to offer up a great friendly staff that draws locals and travelers alike. O.Henry’s also houses a cool industrial bar in the back called “The Underground”. It plays host to multiple special events from Hip Jazz & Blues, female impersonation shows, Dance Your Ass Off Parties and home for the WNC Leathermen (first Saturday of every month).

Smokey's Tavern (18 Broadway St) is a small downtown bar with a couple of pool tables and friendly guys. It's a good place to stop before hitting the other clubs.


Smokey's Tavern is a friendly gay bar at 18 Broadway in Downtown Asheville


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Your lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community guide to Asheville, North Carolina Mountains
Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved