LGBTQ 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:
- 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!
- February 13 & 14, 2015: Valentine's Day Drag Queen 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. 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.
Move to Asheville!
Touring the Biltmore House is easily the number one indoor attraction in Western North Carolina. Spend a day or two and find out why! In addition to touring the "castle", explore 8,000 acres with gardens, the winery, Antler Village, shopping, restaurants and more! See our extensive guide with many photos and tips.
Enjoy java in this wonderful independent bookstore that has been a fixture downtown for 20+ years. Browse their diverse collection, enjoy goodies in their coffee and pastry shop, or use their free wi-fi. Stop by for a reading and autograph on many evenings. Or enjoy open mic nights for local poets. Open until 10 PM on Friday & Saturday. 55 Haywood St.
Enjoy many choices for great theatre, plays, music, dance and more in Asheville and nearby areas.
Taste your way on a tour of the many craft breweries and pubs in and near Asheville. Many are located downtown, so you can create your own walking tour. Or take a guided tour!
In addition to the big winery at Biltmore, visit a dozen wineries in western North Carolina and taste their wines while enjoying the beautiful scenery at their vineyards.
Find a fun and welcoming environment for visitors and locals to socialize and enjoy great coffee and food. They roast their own coffee and bake their pastries, while using the finest local products to support the community and work to minimize impact on the environment. Edna showcases local artists and musicians. Open 6AM to 10PM. 870 Merrimon Avenue, two miles north of downtown.
Take the most fun city tour ever in a bright purple LaZoom bus! Through captivating stories, outlandish comedy skits, and an enthralling musical soundscape, experience Asheville's history, current culture and counterculture with their 90 minute interactive bus tours that depart from downtown. Haunted and beer tours too!
Check out our very diverse and passionate food and drink scene. Be a little adventurous and try something new. Or enjoy time honored classics. In downtown, walk to 60+ locally owned restaurants, many use local food and offer outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to a host of local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
Unwind at one of our favorite downtown Asheville wine bars and great places for cocktails.
Did you know that Asheville is the one number small city for art in the country? In addition to dozens of galleries in downtown, Biltmore Village and River Arts District, visit artist studios and more galleries in the surrounding towns and mountain valleys. Browse and shop! Also see our calendar of Art Events, Festivals & Tours.
Some 185 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Find an amazing variety of art and see how the artists create it. It's just a few miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
Realtors Kelly and Troy combine their passion for real estate and design to help you mindfully buy, sell and find resources for creating a warm and clean home that works for you and today's modern lifestyle in the mountains. Specializing in Architectural, Modern, Mid-Century, Ranch, Vintage and Lofts.
Gay Dance Clubs
- 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).
Resource: GayAshevilleNC.com - 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