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Hike Bike Kayak Asheville
Offering hike and kayak tours throughout Western NC lead by certified Blue Ridge and WNC naturalist. Tours include exploring the French Broad River and many lakes around Asheville, scenic hiking with waterfalls, wildflowers, and stunning views. They also do bike rentals. Even snowshoe walking tours! Groups are small- no more than 4 unless a group of 5 or 6 books together.
Momentum Art Gallery
See spectacular contemporary art from artists in western North Carolina and throughout the United States - browsing is welcome in this downtown gallery. 52 Broadway.
Highland Brewing Co.
(12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville) Visit the pioneers of craft beer in Asheville, brewing since 1994. Stop by their big Tasting Room to sample 15 brews every day of the week, along with live music and many outdoor concerts. Take a 45-minute guided tour of the fascinating brewing and packaging process. Easy parking.
Highland Brewing Company
Head to Asheville's original craft brewery for great live music venues inside and outside, along with their tasting room with 15 of their brews on tap. You can tour the brewery, too.
Mt. LeConte & Alum Cave
(11 miles round-trip, strenuous) The Alum Cave Trail is the most-hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains. You'll see why, with interesting geological features and stunning views. To reach the 6,593-ft. summit of Mount LeConte (third highest peak in the Smokies), you'll climb 2,853 ft. in elevation in 5.5 miles.
(1.5 to 8 miles round-trip, moderate to strenuous) This unique hike offers plenty of breathtaking viewpoints and a wooden boardwalk over fragile vegetation. The Tanawha Trail features many rock outcrops to enjoy sweeping mountain panoramas. Turn around at any time or continue the trail to Beacon Heights (4 miles). Milepost 302.8 Blue Ridge Parkway.
Chimney Rock Park Hikes
(1 to 4 miles, easy to strenuous) Hike a variety of trails with spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge or a 400-foot waterfall. Often overlooked, the challenging Four Seasons Trail begins near the Meadows and takes you through a beautiful deciduous forest and boulder fields.
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
Flat Rock Playhouse
North Carolina's State Theatre in Flat Rock presents the best of Broadway musicals, comedy and drama from May through December. Located 29 miles south of Asheville near Hendersonville.
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 the Thermal Belt Trail, ziplines, waterfalls, hikes, camping, and more!
Black Wall Street AVL
Visit this marketplace in the River Arts District, which hosts pop-ups from Black-owned businesses 10 AM-2 PM each Saturday. They also host a series of events throughout the week. 8 River Arts Place
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
(Up to 9 miles round-trip, moderate) Our favorite quick hike at Mount Mitchell is the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig, a two-mile round-trip hike. Continue on the Deep Gap Trail for another 3.5 miles. For a more challenging hike, take the 5.5-mile Mt. Mitchell Trail from the Black Mountain Campground.
Jackson County Ale Trail
For a more laid back, small town beer adventure, head to three cool towns near Asheville: Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers - home to six breweries with taprooms and restaurants.
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This majestic 150-ft. waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest can be reached via a hiking trail from Gorges State Park. Enjoy the falls safely on a boulder at its base or at the top. A little upstream is Turtleback Falls, a cool summer swimming hole.
Isa’s French Bistro
Chef Peter Crockett has created a brunch menu crafted by the flavors of the Carolinas, featuring dishes such as NC Chicken & French Toast, Bistro Skillet Hash, and Eggs Benedict Du Jour. Enjoy delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches such as the Croissant Madame, French Dip, and Pete’s Burger. Great outdoor dining location. Serving Weekend Brunch each Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM-3 PM. Free Valet Parking at Haywood Park Hotel next door. Downtown at One Battery Park Avenue.
Pillar Rooftop Bar
Atop the Hilton Garden Inn at the corner of Charlotte and College streets, this “garden-to-glass” bar offers signature craft cocktails, regional beers and sustainable wines. Enjoy the southern fusion cuisine, sharing small plates and sipping cocktails with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Easy walk from Pack Square Park. 309 College Street
Shoji Spa & Lodge
Soak away your stress in the only outdoor Japanese-style retreat on the east coast, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This unpretentious and unique wellness retreat features completely private salt hydrotherapy tubs, a wet cedar sauna, and invigorating double cold showers - all on the edge of the National Forest. Shoji’s world-class Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapists provide Zen, Okubukai, Awasu, among other offerings. Post tub soak, Senjo outdoor exfoliation, Chea Massage Chair Pods, and our Savasana Retreat are some of our more unique retreat choices. Come and relax 2500’ above stress level.
The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and updated streetscapes with flowers and art. Find many spots for outdoor dining and a big variety of quality shops and galleries along a six-block stretch of Main Street. Don't miss two street festivals, the Garden Jubilee and the huge NC Apple Festival.
Dining at Biltmore
Experience Biltmore's legacy of food and wine inspired by their heritage of fine dining and sustainable agriculture, with the finest ingredients from their pastures and gardens. Dine at the Bistro, Cedric's Tavern, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Cafe and the Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Admission ticket or annual pass is required to dine.
Baba Nahm, Downtown Asheville
This Mediterranean eatery in downtown Asheville offers a Middle Eastern-inspired menu of Israeli street food with easy grab & go convenience. They offer gluten-free options and the entire menu is free of chemicals and preservatives. Try the chicken shawarma and bring home some Gozleme flatbread!
Round Mountain Creamery Farm
Meet the goats and learn all about the goat-to-cheese process at this dairy farm south of Black Mountain. Tours by appointment, any day of the week. Featured on the Food Network.
Chimneys Hike, Linville Gorge
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) Hike across and through towering rock formations called the Chimneys atop the rim of the spectacular Linville Gorge, starting at the Table Rock trailhead parking area.
Wayah Bald Fire Tower
From Wayah Bald at 5,342 ft. in the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin, see panoramic views to the Great Smoky Mountains. A short walk from the summit parking area takes you to the 1937 stone fire tower.
Apple Harvest Festival
Find all things apple in downtown Waynesville, including cider, fried pies and other apple delicacies. Also find live mountain music, dance, craft and demo booths along scenic Main Street for the iconic small town fall festival.
Great Smoky Mountains Top 20 Attractions
See our favorite attractions and things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains in the western North Carolina - inside the national park and just outside.
Top 50 Summer Events & Festivals
June, July, August: From street festivals to outdoor concerts, check out our top summer picks for Asheville and the surrounding NC mountain towns. Most are free.
Spruce Pine Gem Mining District
Find gems in what is touted as the “most important mining district in the world”. Find fun options for gem panning, rock hounding and mine tours. Also home to the NC Mineral & Gem Festival. See their "Mining For Treasure" guide.
This historic town in Madison County is nestled between rocky cliffs and French Broad River. This "one street wide and a mile long" town of 889 residents has a Main Street with artists’ studios, galleries, music venues, restaurants, Zuma Coffee and shops. Walk across the river to Blannahassett Island and the Marshall High Studios with many events.
Asheville Community Theatre
For 70 years, our Community Theatre has been presenting outstanding musicals, comedies and dramas in downtown. Watch the "Mainstage" shows in the 400-seat theatre or a big variety of more adventurous productions in their 50-seat black box theatre called 35below.
Old-Time Plowing and Folkways
Take a time-warp at the Cradle of Forestry to the days of the Biltmore Forest School. Meet homesteaders and watch their draft horses plow the heritage garden. Then take a turn at it yourself. Living history guides bring traditional Blue Ridge culture to life. 9 AM-5 PM.
Visit 20 farms in the Asheville area that are not normally open to the public and see what happens behind the scenes. Presented by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), farms are located in many counties. 12-5 PM. Passes $35/car in advance, $45/car day of.
Flat Rock Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway
(6/10 mile, easy) Hike a loop trail to a flat rock summit with expansive views and great picnic spots. Hidden away at Milepost 308.3 on the Blue Ridge Parkway - near Linville Falls.
First Peak Visitors Guide
Get your free guide to the "First Peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains," including the cool small towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, as well as the Green River Gorge with tubing and zip lines.
It took 34 years to build North Carolina's most expensive highway, winding up and over 5,400-foot mountains for 15 miles, from Robbinsville through the Nantahala National Forest and descending another 21 miles into the Cherokee National Forest of Tennessee. This 36-mile National Scenic Byway shows little evidence of civilization. Stop at many overlooks.
Mermaid Parade & Festival, Marshall
The legend is that for one day each year, sea creatures and mermaids leave their ocean home and travel the French Broad River to Downtown Marshall. Parade at 5 PM with costumes and lots of water balloons and guns. Downtown festivities are happening until 10 PM so stick around town and enjoy eats, drinks, and live music at some of your favorite downtown businesses
Christmas Wonderland Lights @ Tryon
Drive through an extravangant, 2-mile Christmas light show, synchronized to music at the Tryon International Equestrian Center - open every night of the week.
20 Winter Hikes Near Asheville
Hiking during the winter has many advantages - including better views thanks to leafless trees, few fellow hikers, no bugs, brilliant skies with more distant views and cool temps. See our top places for winter hikes in the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains.
(3 miles round-trip, strenuous) Mt. Pisgah can be seen from downtown Asheville on a clear day. Hike up to the top of the 5,721-ft. summit on this popular hiking trail. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407.6.
WNC Bigfoot Festival
A quirky festival that celebrates the legendary Sasquatch, held in downtown Marion 36 miles east of Asheville. In addition to Bigfoot-themed items and local crafts, talk with sighters from across the country with evidence that it exists. Calling contest too!
Wesser Bald Lookout Tower
Hike to this 30-foot tall tower atop Wesser Bald on the Appalachian Trail for 360-degree mountain views of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains. Located near the Nantahala River rafting area.
Marry or Renew Vows
What a beautiful and romantic setting to celebrate your love and commitment! Asheville is the hot spot for destination weddings and elopements. Our Wedding Guide has a long list of indoor and outdoor venues and resources to help plan the big day.
I-26 Scenic Highway
This is the only interstate section in the state to be selected as a scenic byway. Begins on I-26 at Exit 9 at Mars Hill. As you travel north, there is a scenic overlook offering views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A second scenic overlook will be on the return route, where the NC Welcome Center is located. The highest point is Sam’s Gap (3,760 feet), where the Appalachian Trail crosses under the highway. Exit at Flag Pond in Tennessee and make a u-turn to return.
Great Smoky Mountains Rivers, Lakes & Watersports, NC
Explore and play in these 9 pristine lakes and rivers in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina - with a variety of water sports including boating, fishing, whitewater rafting, paddleboarding and more.
STORM Rhum Bar & Bistro
Find a warm, cozy atmosphere where the food and service will delight your senses. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, ample wine offerings, a selection of local draft beer, an extensive rhum list, and of course, delicious food prepared by Chef Owen McGlynn. Free parking in their private lot downtown. 125 South Lexington Avenue.
Top Bed & Breakfasts
See our favorite and best Asheville bed and breakfast inns in the western North Carolina mountains near Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway. All have luxury accommodations with a long list of amenities. Innkeepers are delighted to help with special occasions and requests.
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.
Have lunch at the soda fountain, see an amazing collection of vintage cars and catch a baseball game in small town American. Every winter, the Forest City’s Hometown Holidays celebration lights up Main Street with more than one million lights.
French Broad Adventures
Asheville’s closest adventure experience, offering whitewater rafting, ziplines, and canyoneering expeditions just 30 minutes from Downtown Asheville. Experience a fun-filled rafting adventure with knowledgeable guides or choose a milder calmwater trip in the heart of the scenic valley near Hot Springs. Enjoy both indoor and outdoor experiences. Half and full-day trips.
Bare Dark Sky Observatory, Burnsville
Located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County, this nationally recognized observatory is open to the public for 360-degree views of the moon, planets, and stars through custom-built telescopes. Each 2-hour stargazing session offers a chance for visitors to learn more about the night sky. Adult tickets at $20.
Silver Run Falls
This 25-ft. waterfall cascades into a calm pool to create a picturesque setting for sure. It's located four miles south of Cashiers and accessed by a short trail in the Nantahala National Forest. A popular summer swimming hole.
St Claire Art
At this must-stop studio in River Arts District (344 Depot Street, #104), watch Stephen create brilliant paintings that come to life with intense color and contrast. His fascinating “Dialuminism” process allows light to pass through layers of paint, reflecting off metal. Open Mon-Sat 10 AM-5 PM, Sun 11 AM-3 PM.
(5 miles loop, strenuous) Just a mile from the trailhead to Looking Glass Rock is a rewarding loop trail that takes you to the top of another rock face with panoramic views. From John Rock, you have a great view of Looking Glass Rock. And you'll find many fewer hikers here.
Tuckasegee River Rafting & Tubing
Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tube in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river trips.
Maggie Valley Arts & Crafts Show
Meet 100 artisans and crafters from the Southeast on Labor Day Weekend with a big variety of art, outdoors at the Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Road) in Maggie Valley. 9 AM-4 PM each day. Free admission and parking.
History Museum of Burke County
A must-stop in downtown Morganton! Take a free one-hour guided tour through a maze of rooms on two floors, packed with many thousands of fascinating items. Each room has a theme (especially love the vintage beauty parlor and music rooms) that makes your journey through time lots of fun. Open Tues-Fri 10 AM-4 PM and Sat 10 AM-2 PM. 201 West Meeting Street.
Pisgah National Forest Guide
Explore and play in 500,000+ acres surrounding Asheville with some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, creating some of the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America. Pisgah National Forest covers much of the north and central western mountains of North Carolina - with rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.
Rumbling Bald Golf
Stay and play two championship golf courses at a waterfront resort on Lake Lure. Bald Mountain Golf Course has gorgeous mountain views and towering rock faced cliffs. It has four sets of tees and measures 6,283 yards with a course rating of 70.9 and a slope rating of 128. Apple Valley Golf Course is a 72 par, 18-hole course, designed by Dan Maples. It measures 6,756 yards from the tees, has a slope rating of 140 and a 73.2 USGA rating.
Glass & Metal Day at Folk Art Center
Artists showcase the elements of metal and glass inside the Folk Art Center on Blue Ridge Parkway. Includes blacksmithing, glass blowing, knife making, bezeling, repoussé, copper etching, stained glass, forging and more. 10 AM-4 PM. Free.
Autumn in the Mountains Car Show
Go to the British Car Club of Western NC annual show to see 120+ British and European classic cars, race cars, racing motorcycles, rare-exotic sports cars and antique motorcycles. Held at Asheville Outlets. Free admission. 9 AM-4 PM
Veteran's History Museum of the Carolinas
A fascinating tour of US history through the eyes of Carolina veterans. The museum covers “modern” wars from World War I through Afghanistan, including the Cold War. Learn intriguing stories of those who served and see one-of-a-kind artifacts, uniforms, weaponry, original newspapers, and more. Open Wed-Sunday, March-December. Free admission.
The Fire of Freedom @ NC Stage Company
Professional theatre in downtown Asheville: Story of Abraham Galloway deepens our insight into the Civil War and Reconstruction as experienced by African Americans in the South. Wed-Sun
Apple Hill Alpaca Farm
Take a guided walking tour of this farm near Banner Elk with the alpacas, llamas, angora goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and other animals. Fiber from the angora goats is made into mohair and sold in the farm store, along with alpaca socks. Open year-round.
Packages & Specials for Asheville & Mountains
Pick a package or special perfect for your vacation, with discounts and travel deals for hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, country inns and cabin rentals in the North Carolina mountains.
Land Rover Experience Driving School
Explore back roads and forests on Biltmore Estate while learning to drive the latest Range Rover loaded with technology. Develop off-road skills on extreme terrain with your guide, departing from Antler Hill Village.
Family-Friendly Places to Stay
Find family-friendly resorts, hotels, cabins and more places to stay in Asheville and the Blue Ridge, with special amenities, programs and itineraries for children.