Dillsboro, NC Arts Town

Dillsboro, NC Artsy Village

The charming village of Dillsboro (population 237) is our top small town for local art and craft. Within its few blocks, find works from hundreds of artists. A longtime artisan community, it's located in Jackson County on the banks of the Tuckasegee River. Dillsboro has been a tourist destination since the late 1800s. Then many visitors arrived by train, and they still do today on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad via an excursion from Bryson City. It's just 1.5 miles from downtown Sylva.

Dogwood Crafters Dillsboro

Dogwood Crafters (90 Webster Street) should be your first stop! This craft cooperative features 100+ mountain artists with an amazing array of items packed into their log store. Friendly volunteers will help you navigate the many rooms. It's been here since 1976. Another top stop nearby is Tunnel Mountain Crafts (94 Front Street).

Innovation Station (40 Depot St, Dillsboro) opened in 2018 with a wrap-around covered patio and creek-side seating. The brewery has 32 taps that include non-alcoholic Ginger Ale, three local ciders, three wines, and 25 hand-crafted beers. Read more about the Jackson County Ale Trail with additional nearby breweries.

Top restaurants include Haywood Smokehouse (403 Haywood Road) voted top BBQ join in NC, Boots Steakhouse (64 Front St) and Foragers Canteen (42 Depot Street). Don't miss the Chocolate Factory's homemade fudge and chocolate liquer shooter (28 Church Street). Pair their special set of to-go chocolates with a specially made beer flight at Innovation Station.

Dillsboro NC

Just a mile from shops in the village is the fascinating Jackson County Green Energy Park that uses renewable energy resources to create art. The glass studio, kiln and blacksmithing metals shop are one of few in the world utilizing landfill methane gas as a fuel. Watch artists at work, shop for a souvenir or take a class. Read more.

American Museum of the House Cat

The American Museum of the House Cat, about five miles south of Dillsboro, is packed with 10,000+ cat curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques. Check out this quirky roadside gem. Read more.

Dillsboro River Company

Raft, kayak or tube down the scenic Tuckasegee River from town at the Dillsboro River Company or Smoky Mountain River Adventures during the summer months - gentle enough for small children. Read about river trips on the Tuck.

Dillsboro Art Festival

Even their street festivals are art focused! See dates below. During the Front Street Arts & Crafts Show in June, interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. See the festival calendar below.

Dillsboro Festival of Lights

Dillsboro is one of our Top 12 Christmas Towns in the mountains. With festive decorations, Lights and Luminaries is held during the first two weekends in December and plenty of one-of-a-kind gifts, you'll definitely get in the holiday spirit! 

Read more about Jackson County things to do. See more of our Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns. Western Carolina University is seven miles down the road in Cullowhee.

Directions from Asheville: Take I-40 West to exit 27 and follow US Highway 74 towards Waynesville. Go 26 miles to exit 81 (US Highway 23/441) to Dillsboro. 52 miles from Asheville, 1-hour drive.

Lodging & Free Guide

Jackson County Places to Stay
Jackson County Places to Stay
Choose from historic B&Bs, mountaintop log cabins, Airbnb rentals, lakeside resorts and camping in the great outdoors in the Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers areas. Find a mountain getaway for any budget.
Jackson County Visitor Guide
Jackson County Mountains Guide
Order a free 73-page visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.
Best Western Hotel Dillsboro
Relax and get away from it all while experiencing breathtaking views on the Tuckasegee River. From your spacious riverside room, watch as rafters make their way down the river. Amenities include a full hot breakfast, high-speed WiFi, heated indoor pool and spa, riverside deck and fitness center. 65 rooms and suites, $120-$300, cable TV with... read more
Places to Stay in Dillsboro NC
Places to Stay in and around Dillsboro
Find places to stay in Dillsboro including historic Inns, cabins, vacation rentals, and hotels that offer riverfront lodging, walkability to town, scenic balcony views, pet-friendly accommodations, hot tubs, and access to plenty of outdoor activities.
Dillsboro Restaurants
Restaurants in Dillsboro
Find plenty of dining options, including family-friendly, pet-friendly, fast-casual, riverside dining, and a brewery offering 32 taps!
Dillsboro Things To Do
Dillsboro Things to Do
Enjoy a variety of things to do and see in Dillsboro including riverfront shops, restaurants, art, pottery, galleries, fun festivals, excursions on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, and more.
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Dillsboro Festivals

Dillsboro Colorfest
Saturday, October 15, 2022
The artsy village of Dillsboro welcomes 40 demonstrating artists along Front Street with their colorful creations. Browse many nearby galleries too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM.
Front Street Arts and Crafts, Dillsboro
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants. Entertainment and festival food round out a great family day that celebrates mountain art and culture. Free admission. Pets welcomed. 10 AM-4 PM.
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
Saturday, April 15, 2023
Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets.
Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
Friday, December 2, 2022, Saturday, December 3, 2022, Friday, December 9, 2022, Saturday, December 10, 2022
Experience the magic as the charming village is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter, and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Saturday, November 5, 2022
Meet 40+ master potters from across the country at this premier juried art event. Watch them in action and buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Sylva is a very fun and picturesque small town (population 2,500) in Jackson County at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Stroll its "all American" Main Street,... read more
Lake Glenville is pristine reservoir located just 8 miles from Cashiers in Jackson County. Located in a beautiful North Carolina mountain... read more
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers scenic train excursions through the North Carolina mountains along Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, across valleys and through tunnels. All of the train... read more
Just 50 miles from Asheville is Cherokee, located in Jackson County at the main North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (via US Highway... read more