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Asheville Orchid Festival
The Western NC Orchid Society hosts a big show and competition at the North Carolina Arboretum. Hundreds of orchids will be on display and vendors will be selling them with plenty of advice.
Polar Express Train
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
Chow Chow Food Festival
Savor Asheville's creative culinary scene with many events, chef demos, and hands-on experiences. Meet and connect with the makers and collaborators who nourish, nurture and create in our Appalachian Mountains.
Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival
Two long-running festivals celebrate mountain craft, music and dance: the Heritage Festival and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music Festival. Both held downtown, adjoining Mars Hill University. Free. 10 AM-4 PM. Small fee for indoor evening concert.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this big outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
Christmas at Biltmore
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area! The one in Bakersville NC is Friday & Saturday. In TN, it's Saturday & Sunday.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 PM
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Tickets must be purchased online.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Meet 200 craftspeople that come together in downtown Asheville with their fine handcrafted items, while local musicians play live on the arena stage and craft educators share their knowledge. Admission.
White Squirrel Weekend
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much more on Memorial Day Weekend.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, tastings, chef competition, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, and products from more than 20 local food vendors.
Moses Creek Falls
Calling all daredevils: While this 100-foot waterfall is a bit difficult to see, those comfortable with steep climbs and limber exploration might enjoy the thrill of finding the right angle for the perfect snapshot. The Forest Service closed the cascade to vehicle access, but its base is relatively easy to reach on foot. The perks of partially-concealed, hard-to-hike scenery? You probably won’t have to elbow any crowds to see this long series of slides, fed by West Fork Moses Creek.
See our Top 20 Things to Do on Valentine's Day and Week in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, with a photo tour of romantic getaway ideas.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
Lake Lure Spring Arts Festival
See and buy craft and art by 90+ artists from many different disciplines during Memorial Day Weekend. Also enjoy entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of the lake. Free admission. 119 Arcade St, Lake Lure
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Returning to the gardens this year, the popular show will return to the traditional outdoor walk-through open-air format with glowing landscapes and plenty of new displays. The show will include the 50ft lighted tree, Quilt Garden, many of your favorite lighted designs, and new ones for 2021! We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
A big street festival in downtown Morganton that includes fine arts and crafts, festival cuisine, a beer garden, teen and kid zones, four stages of entertainment, a sunrise run on Saturday and much more. Free admission!
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
Get ready to laugh at the largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns with 40 comics performing at multiple venues in Asheville. Single event tickets & combo passes.
Flock to Rock Birding Day
Led by birding experts, events at Chimney Rock Park includes bird walks, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches and family nature walks.
Parade of Nations
Folkmoot, an international music and dance festival, has its Parade of Nations down Main Street in Waynesville at 10 AM with elaborate costumes. Free to attend.
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap, and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils, and more - indoors at 31 Cross Street. Mine tours also. Grassy Creek Gem Show outdoors at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors.
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Head to the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art! 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather to share the region's Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions in downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the "green."
A sandy oasis of rosebay rhododendron, laurel, and white pine, this waterfall features a small island at the downstream end of its pool—perfect for just the right photo angle. While there are no boulders to lounge on, throw down a towel for some sunbathing in this picturesque spot. Or, go for a swim in the large pool at the bottom of the long, steep slide from the Tuckasegee River, surrounded by dense underbrush.
July 4th Week Festivals, Parades, Fireworks
Much is happening throughout the Week of July 4th with many parades and fireworks on Independence Day - in Asheville and many small towns in western North Carolina mountains.
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
Spring Events & Festivals: Top 40
Check out our calendar of the best festival and events in Asheville and western North Carolina in April and May.
Autumn at Oz at Beech Mtn
There's no place like the Beech Mountain's Land of Oz. Stroll along the yellow brick road, experience a recreation of Dorothy's journey from her home in Kansas and meet many of the characters so central to "The Wizard of Oz." The event sells out, so buy tickets ahead.
Easter Weekend in Asheville
Easter Weekend brings blooms, bunnies, egg hunts, Sunday brunch, sunrise services and more in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains.
Candlelight Stroll, Weaverville
Main Street Weaverville is illuminated for this festive evening with music, entertainment, Santa, kid activities, carolers, refreshments, horse carriage rides, and more. Also stroll through local shops for gifts! 6-9 PM.
Lake Lure Olympiad
One of the biggest sports festivals in NC, the event in the spectacular Hickory Nut Gorge is anchored by three major races: 10K Dam Run, Triathlon and Race up Chimney Rock. Events for kids, beginner athletes and spectators, too.
Potters and ceramic artists of the Southern Highlands Guild at the Folk Art Center share a variety of techniques such as throwing, sculpture and coil-building. Glaze and see the firing of raku pots. 10 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
Cherokee Voices Festival
Experience the 11,000-year old Cherokee culture through dance, music, storytelling, blowgun contest, arts and crafts. Held at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 10 AM-5 PM. Traditional food available for purchase. Free admission.
Saluda Arts Festival
Outstanding festival with 100% hand-picked regional artists along Saluda's historic Main Street. See a big diversity of art media and enjoy music representing Americana, blues, folk and contemporary. Watch artist demonstrations. Free. 10 AM-4 PM.
Still Point Wellness Couples Packages
Experience the benefits of a side-by-side world-class massage with someone you love! Choose from a variety of couples massage services and packages for a unique relaxation experience together. Packages include saltwater floats, world-class Esalen® Massages, massage tutorials, and more.
Asheville Salt Cave & Spa
Experience a unique oasis in downtown, a salt-enriched microclimate that allows the body and mind to gain relaxation and balance. The power of salt therapy has been known for centuries. Plus, get a hot salt stone massage and other spa treatments. Read more in our full-page feature on the Salt Cave.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Take a scenic train ride on excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys, and through tunnels. Choose from a variety of train adventures departing from Bryson City. Many special event train rides including beer, wine, and Polar Express.
Forest City, Hometown Holidays
Our top pick for Christmas towns decks out Main Street with a million lights! The lighting ceremony is on Thanksgiving night (just like those Hallmark movies!). Ride horse-drawn carriages down the street on Friday and Saturday nights. Come for lunch and step back in time with hand-patted hamburgers, cherry Cokes, and milkshakes at the old-fashion soda fountain at Smith's Drugs. Plus, see an impressive classic car collection.
Home to NC's most photographed courthouse, perched on a hill overlooking the busy historic Main Street with fantastic restaurants, breweries, general stores, shops, and festivals. Film location for 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing. Home to Terminus of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail ®️, the only fly fishing trail in the Country.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
NOC offers French Broad River Rafting Trips just outside of Asheville or take on even more adventure at their 500-acre Nantahala River Campus with rafting, zip lines, treetop adventures, kayaking, mountain biking, and more for the entire family. It’s the Disneyland of the outdoors! Dine at two riverside restaurants. Near Bryson City.
Find much to do! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries, or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in the Smokies features camping, hiking, trout fishing and the ever-popular tubing. Raft the Nantahala River. And that's just the beginning!
This eclectic gift shop downtown features a variety of hand-crafted gifts, art, Asheville souvenirs and more by local makers, craftspeople and artists. Find t-shirts, magnets, stickers, buttons, shot glasses, plus a DIY photo booth! 25 Wall Street
Hemingway's Cuba, Asheville
You can't beat the view at this restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville, pairing Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Menu favorites include Empanadas, Tostones Board, Ropa Vieja and Vaca Frita. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Downtown Asheville, adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic views of Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Open breakfast and dinner, Monday – Sunday, and Weekend Brunch. 15 Page Avenue
Asheville By Foot Walking Tours
Take a guided walking tour through downtown Asheville and discover its rich and fascinating history, whether it’s your first time or tenth time visiting! These walking tours highlight Asheville’s rich history, unique culture, and stunning architecture. Explore historic neighborhoods, downtown architecture, murals, and more on their four tour options. Tours are $30/adult and run 1.5 - 2 hrs.
Give the Gift of Nature, The North Carolina Arboretum
Treat the nature lover in your life to the gift of beauty and solace. Gift memberships to The North Carolina Arboretum Society include one year of access to 65 acres of magnificent landscapes and gardens, 10+ miles of forested trails for walking, biking, and hiking, free parking, and more! Gift memberships purchased before December 31st will receive an extra three months.
Give the Gift of “Cook Now & Stay Later," Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
The Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (ABBA) invites you to stay home for the holidays with a "Cook Now & Stay Later" offer. Purchase the "Morning in the Mountains" cookbook for $25 now and receive a $50 gift certificate for a future stay. With over 100 delectable recipes, you can cook up the best breakfast in town. Later, come stay at one of the premier B&Bs located in Asheville.
Dillsboro, Festival of Lights & Luminaries
This event illuminates this mountain artisan village the first two weekends in December. In an era of electronic gadgetry and LED lights, Dillsboro’s celebration is a throwback and has been being named one of the "Top 20" events in the Southeast for the month of December. Adapted from a Scandinavian custom of lighting the way for the Christ child, more than 2,500 candles in white bags line the streets with more than a dozen shops (mostly galleries and artist studios) to explore.
NC Wine Gals
Offering weekly food & wine tours of Western NC wine country around Hendersonville. Vineyard tours feature a charcuterie board, curated wine selections, family-style food pairings, and a wine tasting over 3 vineyards. Expect to learn a lot about wine, pairing food & wine, and the amazing history of North Carolina wine.
The Spa At The Omni Grove Park Inn
Revitalize your body and rejuvenate your senses at The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Built into the side of the mountain, this award-winning subterranean Spa brings the outdoors in with breathtaking natural light and stunning rock formations. Whether enjoying a soak in the restorative mineral pools, a transformative full-body massage, or dining at Sunset Terrace, you’ll soon understand why The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn is consistently voted as one of the top resort spas in the world.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Nantahala Outdoor Center offers whitewater rafting trips on the French Broad River just outside of Asheville, or just a short drive is 500-acres of family-friendly adventure near Bryson City with over 100 itineraries of river and land-based activities like rafting, kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, hiking and more. Enjoy riverside dining at two restaurants, shopping at the Outfitter’s Store, and live music all in the Nantahala Gorge.
Gingerbread Package, The Omni Grove Park Inn
Celebrate the gingerbread tradition at The Omni Grove Park Inn during The Annual National Gingerbread House Competition! The package includes a deluxe stay, daily breakfast, holiday gingerbread cookie, and overnight parking. Stay dates: November 22 - December 30, 2022
Gift a Star-Studded Gingerbread Class, The Omni Grove Park Inn
Gift the art of Gingerbread Making from the Omni Grove Park Inn via a three-part online cooking class series, “Baking Spirits Bright,” featuring All-Star Chefs and National Gingerbread Competition Judges (including celebrity chef, Carla Hall). A portion of the proceeds goes to ACFEF’s Chef and Child Initiative. Class takers also receive 15% off future stays Jan. - Mar. ’21 and have access to the classes for 9 months.
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours
See the city’s scenic beauty and historic landmarks atop some of Asheville’s highly acclaimed rooftop bars! This fun guided tour in the heart of the city offers fascinating stories and photos from the city’s past while you sample cocktails (or mocktails) at three rooftop bars. Rooftop sunset tours, too. Tours are rain or shine, with covered and heated areas including fire pits for year-round enjoyment. Van chauffeured transportation!
Isa's French Bistro
Executive Chef Peter Crockett brings culinary finesse to the table, preparing innovative, seasonally-inspired French cuisine with a local twist. Menu favorites include Escargot & Bone Marrow, Steak Tartare, Scallops Au Poivre, Steak Frites, Lamb Chop, Cedar Salmon Niçoise and Duck A L’Orange. Located downtown, the covered sidewalk patio is great for outdoor dining. Friendly bar and large wine selection. Private dining in The Cellar for groups of 8-120. Complimentary Valet Parking at Haywood Park Hotel next door. Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch. Sun-Thurs 7 AM-9 PM, Fri/Sat 7 AM-10 PM. 1 Battery Park Avenue.
Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
This group of top B&Bs offers unique stays ranging from historic inns near downtown Asheville to small-town getaways to country retreats with spectacular mountain views. All are inspected and meet the highest standards of health, safety, and hospitality. Innkeepers love to help you plan the perfect trip!
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery, Mountain Brook Vineyard and Green Creek Winery. It's an easy 45-mile drive from Asheville via I-26 East (near SC line).
Adventure Center of Asheville, Outdoor Family Fun!
Family adventures for ages 4 and over: Climb our Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements with 7 different aerial trails, zip our Kid Zip park (ages 4-10), or Asheville Zipline Canopy Tours (ages 8+), or ride Kolo Bike Park. Open all year and just minutes from downtown Asheville. See our feature.
Bear's Smokehouse Asheville
This smokehouse in Asheville’s South Slope offers award-winning K.C. Style BBQ with signature items like brisket burnt ends, smoked sausage, loaded baked potatoes, and more. They also offer vegan options like tempeh and Impossible Meatloaf and a variety of craft beer to enjoy! Open 7 days a week with online ordering and delivery available. 135 Coxe Ave
Jackson County Top 30
So many things to explore- hikes, waterfalls, river rafting and tubing, biking, kayaking, skiing, WNC Fly Fishing Trail®️, train excursions, heritage sites, and more! Includes the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville, and Sapphire.
Give the Gift of Museum-Quality Art, Momentum Gallery
Gift a piece of art, to treasure for a lifetime. Momentum Gallery presents museum-quality works that celebrate material-based traditions rich in our area. The gallery’s collection moves gracefully between style and medium to tell a story of the creative human spirit and reverence for nature. At once diverse and cohesive, everything at Momentum is designed to pique curiosity or challenge perception.