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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.
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
Spring Herb Festival at WNC Ag Center
Largest herb festival in the Southeast with 50+ businesses with plants, books, soaps, herbal crafts, medicinal herbs, lotions, dried flowers, baked goods, herbal gifts and much more. Free admission.
Wood Day at Folk Art Center
Join Guild woodworkers for an exciting day exploring various forms of woodcraft. Featuring the Annual Carve Off Competition. 10 AM –4 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas
Experience this dazzling holiday celebration! This all-new show comes to life with a cast of Flat Rock favorites, bringing magic and merriment to the stage- capturing the spirit of the holidays with seasonal classics and new adaptations and medleys.
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.
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.
Tryon Block House Steeplechase
A festive day with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and the sights & sounds of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
Toe River Studio Tour
Drive scenic mountain roads to find 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium at their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
Woolly Worm Festival
Celebrate the coming of the snow season with woolly worm races, live entertainment and lots of food and craft vendors in downtown Banner Elk during peak fall color. Highly popular!
Santa on the Chimney
Watch Santa practice for his world-wide chimney-dropping tour on his "practice chimney," the 312 ft. tall Chimney Rock monolith. Included with park admission.
Lake Glenville Waterfalls
Lake Glenville, one of the highest lakes east of the Rockies, has four hidden waterfalls along its 26-mile shoreline. Accessible only by boat these beautiful falls are majestic and serene. Hire a guide such as Lake Glenville Waterfall Cruises to give you a tour of all four or rent a boat and explore on your own – both Signal Ridge Marina and Lakeshore Marina offer rentals. Below are their GPS coordinates if you explore on your own: Mill Creek Falls: 35.175646, -83.170844 Hidden Falls: 35.172896, -83.153930 Norton Falls: 35.156688, -83.150239 Hurricane Falls: 35.136782, -83.125198
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and more!
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather to share the region's stirring Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions outdoors in downtown Asheville. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and stake out a spot on the "green."
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.
Brevard Music Center Summer Festival
One of the country's premier summer music festivals with 100+ performances by 500 students from around the world - joined by faculty and visiting artists for symphony, opera, pops, chamber, cabaret, Americana, and jazz. Artist Director is Keith Lockhart (Boston Pops).
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.
Asheville Art in the Park
From pottery to jewelry, sculpture to two-dimensional art, this art festival brings together a wide array of traditional and contemporary mountain art downtown in Pack Square Park. 10 AM-5 PM
Lake Lure Autumn Arts Festival
See and buy craft and art by 90+ artists from many different disciplines. Also enjoy live music and entertainment, many food vendors and the beauty of the lake. Sat 10-6, Sun 10-4. Free admission. 119 Arcade St, Lake Lure
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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.
Mountain State Fair
Enjoy lots of rides, exhibits, animals, food, and much more. Fun for all ages! We especially love the impressive exhibits in various buildings. See the many competitions from quilting, photography, extreme garden vegetables, flowers, crafts, and more. Watch craftspeople at work.
A weekend at LEAF is the equivalent of going on a year-long multicultural musical and dance odyssey - longtime favorite festival held in Black Mountain on a lake with camping and limited tickets.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azaleas, and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony
Held on the Roger McGuire Green Stage of Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville starting at 2:30 PM with the Army National Guard's Army Band performing a half-hour before and after the ceremony. Free.
Apple Butter Festival, Bakersville
Enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of autumn on the Creekwalk with music, crafts, and homemade apple butter making during peak fall color. Free admission. 92 Crimson Laurel Way. 10 AM-4 PM
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.
Madison Potters Market
Meet 20+ of the finest potters from Madison County and beyond at Marshall High Studios. This historic high school turned artist studios is on a small island in the French Broad River in downtown Marshall, 25 miles north of Asheville. Enjoy artisan coffee and pastries from a local baker and delicious lunches from one of Asheville's favorite food trucks. 9 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Great BBQ with live bluegrass, antique tractor show, jamming stage, championship clogging teams, artists & crafts vendors, and local food vendors. At the Riverside Park across the river from downtown Spruce Pine, 305 Tappan Street.
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.
NOC's Guest Appreciation Weekend
This longtime favorite weekend at Nantahala Outdoor Center main campus near Bryson City features free attractions, live music and entertainment - along with great end-of-season deals.
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
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.
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.
Exhibition at the North Carolina Arboretum by Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society with award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care and history of roses.
North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Still Point Wellness Massage & Float Spa
Their unique combination of world-class services, including Salt Water Floatation (sensory deprivation), Esalen Massage®, Cranial Sacral Therapy, and Somatic (body) Psychology, is designed to encourage effortless relaxation and an opportunity to reconnect to your body’s wisdom.
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
The Omni Grove Park Inn Dining
Asheville is recognized as having one of the strongest most innovative culinary scenes in the country. At The Omni Grove Park Inn, you will find some of the finest, locally-sourced restaurants in town that will delight the foodie in your family. From restaurants to bars to terraces with breathtaking mountain views, there are so many ways to please your palate at this resort. Find an updated list of dining options on their website. 290 Macon Avenue
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.
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).
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.
There's a lot happening in this lake town! In addition to a beach to keep cool on hot summer's day, there's a wonderful Town Center Walkway that connects the beach to the beautiful Flowering Bridge. Take a boat tour of the lake or bring your mountain bike for their new trail system at Buffalo Creek Park.
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.
Sauna House, Asheville
This community bathhouse is downtown Asheville is a wellness destination, focused on hot and cold contrast therapies. Amenities include traditional saunas, cold showers, cold plunges, and heated furniture. They offer private therapeutic experiences such as infrared sauna cabins and the brand new Hot Cold Relax rooms. Equipped with their own sauna, cold plunge, and red light therapy panels, these Hot Cold Relax rooms are perfect for a quiet introduction to sauna and cold therapy or to spend some quality time with your special people. While using the space, enjoy organic loose-leaf teas, sparkling waters, and kombuchas.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.