Try your luck at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee. It is located 50 miles west of Asheville at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the town of Cherokee and Jackson County. Find plenty to do there to create a very fun day outing - including a big variety of restaurants, spa, shopping and a world-class concert venue.
The casino includes 150,000 square feet of gaming space, so there's something for everyone including 3,800 slots and 158 table games. Exciting live action include Blackjack for a fast-paced game of 21, Craps and the most popular game played in the world, Roulette. Others include Three Card Poker and Let It Ride, a spin-off of Five Card Stud. Go to their Web site for a list of games and descriptions.
A variety of restaurants satisfy any craving or appetite, all adjacent to exciting casino action. Chef's Stage Buffet is sure to please even the pickiest eaters, with interactive stations that offer tastes from around the world -- Italian, Asian, barbeque, a soup and salad bar, and desserts. Other options include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Selu Garden Café and BRIO Tuscan Grille.
Stroll along the second floor walkway to visit the River Shops. The Grand Rotunda features eight 75-foot LED lit trees and twin 68-foot waterfalls.
The 3,035-Seat Cherokee Events Center is the biggest entertainment and concert venue in western North Carolina. Click here to visit their Web site for the current line-up of shows and national touring bands.
The ultra-pampering Mandara Spa integrates elements of Native American culture into Balinese-inspired treatments, bringing you the best in therapeutic luxury. "The Pools" feature heated indoor and outdoor pools with Vegas-style cabanas and walk-up bar.
The 1,100-room Harrah's Cherokee Hotel is the largest in all of North Carolina with four-star hotel amenities including indoor and outdoor pools. It's pet-friendly with a special PetStay Rooms for up to two dog children. Go to their Web site to read more their hotel and book a room. For overnight accommodations, plan well in advance. This is a very popular place!
The casino revenue have meant wonderful transformations for the Cherokee area and tribal members. The Tribal Government’s General Fund (about $100 million/year) and Cherokee Preservation Foundation (given $58 million since 2002) have funded a new $120 million K-12 school campus, a Cherokee language immersion school, dialysis clinic, funding for low interest housing and business loans, full college scholarships, training programs, perpetuation of Cherokee artistic traditions, leadership development, support of entrepreneurship to diversify the regional economy, broadband for rural schools in a five county area with technology-based learning tools, and renewable energy efficiency and amenities for the community like a movie theater, cultural attractions, golf course and parks. Half of casino profits is split directly among the tribe’s 14,000 enrolled members.
A $250 million project will add 83,000 square feet of meeting space, a parking garage and 700 more hotel rooms to the already bustling resort by 2020.
Cherokee Things to Do
There are many things to do in the Cherokee area, including an authentic Indian Village, Unto These Hills outdoor drama, shopping and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. See our Cherokee Guide for more.
Cherokee is just 50 miles from Asheville via I-40 West to Exit 27, then U.S. 19 to U.S. 441 in Cherokee (just over an hour's drive). Or you can take the more scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, but this could take three to four hours. A great day trip is to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cherokee and return the faster way via I-40 back to Asheville.