Forest City brings southern charm and historic preservation together with modern innovation. Located in Rutherford County (near Rutherfordton), their historic downtown is has a variety of boutiques, antique shops and local eateries. During the Christmas season, the Hometown Holidays celebration lights up Main Street with more than one million lights. Classics like soda fountains, vintage cars and summer baseball round out the small town American experience. The Main Street Program is part of the National Main Street Center at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here are our favorite things to do here:
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum (241 Vance Street) has been named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). Brothers Buddy and Joe Bennett have collected 70+ vehicles representing decades of history. Their pristine collection of antique and modern cars ranges in age from a 1913 Model T to the newest late model classics, including many rare vehicles, motorcycles and even a fire truck. Read more!
At the Rutherford County Farm Museum (240 Depot Street): See artifacts reflecting life on the farm and in textile mills in late 18th and early 19th century Rutherford County. In addition, 200 feet of murals depict the cycle of cotton production and textiles in the county.
What could be more American than a small-town baseball game? And Forest City happens to be home to a two-time league champion collegiate baseball summer team, ranked in the top 10 in attendance two years in a row! The Forest City Owls Baseball team is a member of the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer baseball league, featuring top notched college players from throughout the nation. The Owls play at McNair Field, a state of the art baseball park with intimate stadium-style seating with inflatables for the kids and a beer garden for the adults.
Return to simpler times and enjoy an old fashion soda or milkshake at The Fountain at Smith’s Drugs (139 East Main Street). They are famous for their grilled pimento cheese sandwich! At Twisted Pear (106 East Main Street), find an eclectic mix of home decor, a large selection of his and her gifts, affordable fashion accessories and jewelry, as well as a huge selection of craft beer and wine.
Completed in 2019, The Thermal Belt Rail Trail is a 13.5 paved path for biking, jogging and walking - connecting the towns of Ruth, Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City - with plenty to see along the way. Read more.
Forest City's Hometown Holidays celebration lights up Main Street with a million lights, kicking off on Thanksgiving Night and runs through early January. Read more.
Bostic and Golden Valley
Drive the scenic Cherry Bounce Trail through the rolling green hills to the tiny hamlet of Bostic. Continuing the county’s theme of early American history, the Bostic Lincoln Center preserves and exhibits key accounts and facts that support the theory that President Abraham Lincoln was born here! The scenic drive in Golden Valley is visually stunning, showcasing the backdrop of the South Mountains.
Step back in time at Washburn’s General Store (2425 Bostic Sunshine Hwy, Bostic) as you visit the oldest, continually run family-owned and operated business in North Carolina. Evoke childhood memories as you enjoy snack time with an old-fashioned RC Cola and Moonpie. And bring your holiday shopping list as you might just find the perfect gift! Closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Becky’s Country Store and Grille (2259 N.C. Hwy. 226, Bostic) is known for the best burgers in town. Inside this country store built inside an old gas station, come back in the evenings to listen to local artists and bluegrass entertainment.
Rutherford County Outdoors
The scenic foothills of Rutherford County include the towns of Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City, and more! Explore the expansive outdoors surrounding these small towns including… read more
Rutherford County B&Bs, Cabins & Hotels
Find plenty of unique inns, bed and breakfasts, local boutique hotels, cabins and campgrounds near all the things to do in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton and Forest City.
The Foundation Performing Arts
The "big city" 1,300-seat performing arts center is located on the Isothermal Community College Campus in tiny Spindale and features an impressive Mainstage Performing Arts Series featuring music… read more
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Guide
Order a free copy of the award-winning travel guide to the Rutherford County foothills that includes Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City and much more!
Explore one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina, with historic antebellum homes and a downtown filled with shops, restaurants and one of the best children's museums in the state. And it'… read more
Forest City Festivals
Hot Nights, Cool Rides Auto Show
One of the largest car shows in the South lines Main Street in Forest City, with a big variety of 400 vehicles including hot rods, motorcycles, model T's and classic Mustangs. Food and live music… read more
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in our top Christmas Town Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Cherry Bounce Festival
Go to Forest City to celebrate a famous moonshiner with music, crafts, food trucks and cherry-inspired dishes and drinks. Kicks off Friday evening with a big, free outdoor concert.