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Indoor Activities for Kids
Find a variety of indoor activities for kids including indoor playgrounds, swimming, STEM centers, hands-on learning and children museums.
Laurel River Trail
(7 miles roundtrip, easy) This scenic creekside trail follows Big Laurel Creek as it flows to the French Broad River in Pisgah National Forest near Hot Springs.
Tamarind Thai Cuisine
Owned and operated by Bangkok native, Gai Wilson, this South Asheville restaurant offers a classic menu of fresh ingredients and authentic Thai cuisine. Traditional dishes include the Red Curry, Crispy Basil Duck, and Tom Yum. Try the steamed dumplings! 330 Rockwood Rd #112
Since 2002, this downtown favorite has served healthy organic vegetarian and vegan comfort food for lunch, dinner, and late night. It’s the perfect spot for late night healthy comfort food, treats and even a Buchi Bar for kombucha lovers! Open Mon-Sat until 11 PM. Closed Sundays. 116 N. Lexington Ave.
See multiple cascades at the roadside Waterfalls Park in Newland, complete with picnic tables. Three falls total about 50 ft., with a short trail to get a closer look at the different tiers.
Adventure Camp, Adventure Center of Asheville
Campers will experience a variety of outdoor adventures at this camp, including ziplines, rafting, treetop course, tree climbing, bike park, and daily swimming. Campers will participate in daily team-building games, fun activities, creative learning, and age-appropriate outdoor education immersive learning. Weekly sessions run June-August 2023. 8:30 AM-4 PM. Ages 8-13.
Nantahala River Jump Off Rock
Enjoy riverside sunning and splashing at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Just a few miles up river is Jump Off Rock. There is a small parking area along U.S. Highway 74. If you are rafting, you can park your raft, climb and jump!
The Learning Center at PARI
This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection, hands-on research and star gazing nights. Previously called Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.
Flat Rock Playhouse
See a fabulous professional show at the State Theatre of North Carolina, about 30 miles south of Asheville, with an eight-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy and drama.
With a large selection of classic and modern video games, pinball machines, air hockey, skeeball and more, this family-friendly business welcomes people of all ages.They offer a variety of party packages, that include 2-3 hours of play time, 25 passes, and table. You can even rent the entire arcade. Packages start at $200.
B&Bs & Inns: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find a great vareity of historic B&Bs and inns in the towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, the First Peak of the Blue Ridge. Includes award-winning Pine Crest Inn and Orchard Inn with exquisite dining.
(1 mile round-trip, moderate) This short-but-steep trail climbs a half-mile to the peak for spectacular views. The bare rock profile named Devil's Courthouse is sinister in appearance and legend. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 422.
The most popular natural waterslide in North Carolina for generations is in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Slide down a 60-ft. smooth rock waterfall into a pool of chilly water. Bathrooms and showers are open and lifeguards on duty during warmer months.
Tupelo Honey Cafe
Longtime favorite for both locals and visitors! This is where Tupelo began in 2000 as a destination for scratch-made Southern food rooted in the Carolina Mountains. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served every day. Enjoy craft cocktails, specialty beers and famous honey dusted fried chicken at their new lounge, adjacent to original space. 12 College Street.
Wilderness Cove Tubing
Tubing the Green River in Saluda is an exciting float that includes class I & II rapids. Enjoy the splashing water, great swimming holes and relaxation, with tube rentals and shuttles available for 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-hour floats. Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.
Barley's Taproom, Asheville
Enjoy fresh sourdough pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. Their stage showcases live bluegrass, jazz, and Americana music with no cover charge. Upstairs is the Billiard Room with four regulation slate billiard tables and five regulation dart lanes. 42 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville
This chef-driven, locally owned restaurant elevates vegan dining in Asheville with their picture-worthy dishes of delicious, scratch-made vegan food. Enjoy foods like smoked portobello, curries, ravioli, and even “queso!” Enjoy the patio in warmer months. Dinner only. 165 Merrimon Ave
Double Decker Coffee House
You may do a double-take walking along Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. Yes, it's a authentic double decker bus from London. Enjoy gourmet coffee and teas, along with some great hot chocolate! 41 Biltmore Avenue.
Asheville Visitor Guide
Explore Asheville’s annual Visitor Guide offers 90 beautifully-designed pages of original, trip-planning content to help you get the most out of your visit to the city.
Learn about Cherokee Indian heritage at several museums, including the Museum of the Cherokee and Oconaluftee Indian Village. Each summer, see Unto These Hills. Learn about and buy crafts at Qualla Arts.
Wicked Weed Brewery
(91 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville) This 15-barrel downtown brewhouse has a Tasting Room in the basement and another bar and restaurant upstairs with 20 beers on tap. They specialize in west coast-style hoppy ales, open fermented belgian beers and barrel-aged sours. Open daily.
Twisted Laurel Downtown
Feast on Mediterranean comfort foods like handmade pasta and smoked meats in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere across from Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville (130 College Street) and in Weaverville. Each with dog-friendly patios and a very popular Doggie Menu so your pup can enjoy a meal out with you!
Green Sage Cafe
A local favorite, this certified green restaurant nurtures the well-being of its customers through its fair-trade organic coffee and tea, organic beer and wine, natural and organic local food for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy fresh juices, sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee drinks and more. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
Battery Park Champagne Bar
Sip a fine wine, Champagne or cocktail while you peruse thousands of used and rare books in this "Book Exchange" in the historic Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. Many nooks for great conversations. 1 Page Avenue
(8 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap north four miles to this rocky ridge with spectacular views in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You climb about 1,600 ft. in elevation, but it's gradual.
Eagle's Nest, Pisgah
Encourages boys and girls to live and grow simply, rooted by intentional experiences and connection to the community. Activities promote self-expression, personal growth, skill-building, and fun. With wilderness activities, music and drama, athletics, and more. 1-3 week sessions, June-August 2022. Grades K-9.
This pristine, scenic mountain lake is surrounded by a community with many things to do - located near Brevard. Take a lake cruise at Greystone Inn, be a beekeeper for a day, stay at a wellness retreat and see Toxaway Falls.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted, artisanal, organic chocolates and pastries in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. Skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square, downtown Asheville.
Jackson County Green Energy Park
Tour this fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill, providing heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing, greenhouses and heating. Their gallery features art made on-site.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted, artisanal, organic chocolates and pastries in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. Skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square
Their small downtown area is filled with restaurants, galleries and interesting local shops. And it's only 10 minutes from both downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Twice a year, they host the big Weaverville Art Safari with dozens of artists opening their studios to visitors. Nearby is Vance Birthplace State Historic Site.
Friends of DuPont Forest
Volunteer service organization working to enhance the public use and enjoyment of the DuPont State Recreational Forest while protecting its natural resources. Funds help with trail building and maintenance, along with building projects.
Western NC Nature Center
Learn about the area's natural resources, see 60+ animals in their native habitats including red pandas and red wolves. Explore many exhibits on this 42-acre wildlife park in the city of Asheville. Open daily.
Tin Can Pizzeria
Beloved by locals, this pizzeria on wheels is parked at local Asheville breweries like Wedge, Highland and Pisgah Brewing. They serve a rotation of crispy, thin crust pies that pair well local craft beer. See their up-to-date weekly schedule on Facebook.
Green Sage Cafe
This certified green restaurant nurtures the well-being of its customers through its fair-trade organic coffee and tea, organic beer and wine, natural and organic local food for breakfast and lunch. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
Smoky Park Supper Club
Enjoy scenic views of the French Broad River in an elegant and airy space made from shipping containers on two acres of land. Grab a drink and watch the sun go down over the river on their sweeping deck (your dog is welcome outside, too!), and enjoy inventive seasonal, woodfired American plates. Open Tues-Thurs, 5-9 PM, Fri/Sat 4-10 PM, Sun 10:30 AM-9 PM. 350 Riverside Dr.
Voted #1 Romantic Restaurant by Travel & Leisure, this Western Mediterranean tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville sets the mood for love. Enjoy the warm ambiance while indulging in farm-to-table tapas and exotic fine wine. Be sure to make reservations, they book up on weekends. 85 W Walnut St
Sylva’s Pinnacle Park
(7 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the top of The Pinnacle for views looking down into Sylva and the surrounding valley. Climb over 3,000 ft. in elevation with a steady grade.
Fall Leaf Color Show
The Asheville area has one of longest lasting fall color shows in the country. Fall foliage begins to change in the highest elevations in early October and finishes in the lowest valleys in early November. See our week-by-week color prediction and plenty of photos.
Lazoom Kids Comedy Tour, Asheville
All aboard the big purple bus for this kid-centric comedy tour featuring a blend of Asheville’s history and humor. Geared for kids 5–12, the tour includes magic, jokes, and more with outlandish tour guides leading the way. Tour is 1 hour, kids 3 and under are free. Kid tickets are $17.
This casual full-service vegetarian-friendly restaurant with two locations in West Asheville features Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, daily specials, and desserts. Enjoy a variety of local microbrews and wine. Open daily 11:30 AM-10 PM. 751 Haywood Rd
Gypsy Queen Cuisine
This Eastern Mediterranean eatery in West Asheville serves up a fresh cuisine of soups, salads, dips, wraps and bowls. Feast on tabouleh, hummus, baba ganoush, wraps with beef, lamb, falafel and more. Fun sides include fried brussels, grape leaves and Lebanese fries. Mon-Sat 11 AM-9 PM, Sunday 11 AM-8 PM. 807 Patton Ave
This neighborhood restaurant in West Asheville, called UJ by locals, offers classic pub food, local drafts, and a friendly environment. The Universal Fries are a house favorite and the ultimate comfort food! Dine indoors or enjoy the large, dog-friendly patio. Open: Mon-Thurs until 1 AM, Fri/Sat until 2 AM, Sunday until 12 AM. 784 Haywood Rd.
Located at the corner of the 5 points intersection in the heart of the River Arts District this specialty coffee shop offers a full espresso bar, pastries, paninis, bagels, salads and more. Vegan and gluten-free options available. Enjoy Open Mon-Fri, 7 AM-5 PM. Sat/Sun, 8 AM-5 PM. 242 Clingman Ave
See the top places to eat if you have celiac disease, are gluten-sensitive, or just prefer to eat gluten-free food. Even find certified gluten-free kitchens where you don’t have to worry about any cross-contamination.
Waterfalls for Kids
Find safe, kid-friendly waterfalls that are easy to access or only require a short hike to get to with perks like wading pools for splashing, areas for picnics and more.
Sunny Point Cafe
A favorite local spot in West Asheville since 2003, discover innovative comfort food with made-from-scratch products and a farm-to-table approach. They even grow some of their ingredients in their adjacent garden. Favorites include the huevos rancheros, cornmeal hot cakes, French toast and their killer shrimp and grits. Open every day at 8 AM and breakfast menu served until 2:30 PM. 626 Haywood Road.
All Sevens Brewing / Westville Pub
(777 Haywood Road, West Asheville) This local's favorite neighborhood bar has more than a dozen taps pouring a frequently-changing variety of local and regional craft beers including those from their brewhouse known as All Sevens Brewing.
Western North Carolina Farmer's Market
Come and enjoy the atmosphere and bounty of the mountains. The retail area features displays of high-quality fruits and vegetables, mountain crafts, jams, jellies, preserves, sourwood honey and dozens of other farm-fresh items. The market is open year-round, seven days a week.
This cozy eatery serves up delicious Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan dishes, with old-world ambiance. Dishes are created from fresh, local ingredients, including high altitude herbs, rice, lentils, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables most common in Nepal. Ask about their lunch special platter. 90 Patton Avenue
Teen Water Adventure Camp, Asheville Parks & Recreation
This three-day camp is perfect for campers who like to spend their summer splashing around. Activities may include tubing, snorkeling, paddling, hiking to waterfalls, and whitewater rafting on a river. July 2022. 9 AM-5 PM, ages 11-14. $105/session
All Souls Pizza
This beloved pizzeria specializes in heavenly woodfired pies with seasonal ingredients, and a masterful crust (they mill their own flour with local grains). They also offer an array of salads, polenta and pasta dishes. Family-friendly! Open for lunch Fri-Sun 11:30 AM-5 PM, Dinner Tues-Sun 5 PM-10 PM. 175 Clingman Ave
Lake James State Park
(.5 to 3.5 miles, easy to moderate). This state park with a beautiful lake has seven hiking trails and a beach for relaxing afterwards.
For the best view with your breakfast, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Pisgah Inn, located at 5,000 ft. elevation with panoramic mountains views. They are open seven days a week, serving hearty breakfast dishes 7:30-10:30 AM in April through October. Get there early to get a great table (no reservations), especially on weekends. Located at milepost 408.7 (about 15 miles south of Asheville - allow about 30 minutes driving time).
Vegan and vegetarian soul food are at the heart of this downtown eater that serves lunch, dinner, and late night food. Rosetta’s is a local favorite with affordable, plant-based fare. 116 N. Lexington Ave
Harrah's Cherokee Restaurants
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, Mexican, Asian, barbeque, a soup and salad bar, and desserts. Other options include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Selu Garden Café and BRIO Tuscan Grille.
Western North Carolina Air Museum
See award-winning restored, antique replica and vintage airplanes at the Hendersonville Airport. Take a close-up look to airplanes and talk to people who love them.
(5-mile loop, moderate) Hike 30 miles in this wilderness area with waterfalls and dramatic cliffs. A great half day hike is a five-mile loop to Schoolhouse Falls, Greenland Creek Falls and Little Green Mountain. It's easy to extend the hike in the network of trails.
Fox-N-Otter Adventure Escapes, Asheville
This locally owned, family-friendly business creates brain-twisting puzzles where participants try to escape perplexing scenarios. Younger children are welcome, puzzles are geared towards kids ages 10-15. Single admission is $28/person, with group packages available.
For a taste of the big island, this newcomer eatery crafts Hawaiian dishes (including poke), cakes, and pastries paired with specialty cocktails. Their Synergetic Smores feature marshmallows in rotating flavors, and house-made Graham crackers and chocolate. Open for lunch and dinner Tues-Sat, 11:30 AM-3 PM, 5-9 PM, Sunday 11:30-3 PM, 5-9 PM. 27 Foundy Street, Suite 20
Tropical Gardens Mini Golf
This popular, adventure-filled miniature golf course offers a great setting for a birthday party. They also have batting cages, gameroom, sno-cones and more. Parties can be reserved for 1 hour and include decorated gazebo,1 round mini golf, drinks, and paper products. See website for prices.
Kidventure Camp, Asheville Parks & Recreation
This four-day camp focuses on outdoor activities including hiking, geocaching, shelter and fire building, raft making, fishing, swimming, archery, climbing wall, and an inflatable kayak trip. July 2022. 9 AM-5 PM, ages 9-11. $105/session.
Oskar Blues Brewery
(342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard) Oskar Blues' east coast brewery opened in 2012. The Tasty Weasel taproom is open daily with free tours of the brewery. Sample specialty draft ales, enjoy live music and gather with friends.
This American bar and restaurant features regional ingredients on their menu, along with specialty cocktails. Their Animal House Burger placed in the 2018 WNC Battle of the Burger, putting their winning patty on the map. Enjoy the seasonal patio or stay late for the DJ dance parties on the weekend. Open until 2 AM nightly. 68 North Lexington Ave
Mountain Play Lodge
This large indoor play space for kids 10 and under offers two age-appropriate play floors with miniature village, toddler slides, large jungle gym, large slides and more. For parties, they offer themed party rooms with host and cleaning services included. You may bring your own food, drinks and cake, or use in-house beverage service. Room rentals start at $139 + admission for party guests.
Find your happy place at this authentic tearoom serving over 100 varieties of fresh loose leaf tea and herbs. Vegan and vegetarian menu includes robust salads, soups, gluten-free desserts and more. They have two locations: 78 N Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville and 707 Haywood Rd in West Asheville.
Purple People Feeder
Specializing in hibachi style cuisine, this purple bus whips up delicious plates under $10 like fried rice and veggies with chicken, steak, pork, and tuna served with ginger sauce. You can find them parked at breweries and various West Asheville locations. See their Facebook page for a weekly schedule.
Conveniently located near downtown Asheville, this all-inclusive wellness campus offers acupuncture, massage, metaphysics, naturopathy, psychotherapy, reiki, T'ai Chi, yoga, spiritual advising, and homeopath services all in one place.
Julian Price Park
(2.7 miles and 2.3 miles, easy) Hike around a beautiful lake or to the top of Green Knob. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 297.
Asheville Art Museum
Offering to rising K–12th students, all classes are age appropriate. Sessions may include drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and more. Materials included. Half-day (9 AM-12 PM and 1-4 PM) and all-day (9 AM-4 PM) sessions. See website for details.
Heintooga Road & Balsam Mtn, Great Smoky Mountains
The less-crowded Heintooga picnic area and campground at Balsam Mountain is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway. And go "car hiking" on the 14-mile Heintooga-Round Bottom Road that starts at an altitude of 5,535 ft. and descends through the lush forest to Cherokee.