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A festive day at New Belgium Brewery on the French Broad River near downtown Asheville with live music, food trucks, craft beers, and more - benefits RiverLink. Our favorite is the Anything that Floats Parade competition. Free admission.
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.
Top 50 Summer Festivals & Events
See our list of the best festivals and summer events in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains during June-August.
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants. Entertainment and festival food round out a great family day that celebrates mountain art and culture. Free admission. Pets welcomed. 10 AM-4 PM.
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.
Fire On the Mountain
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from Penland School and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills. Iron & metal art exhibit, tool and gear vendors, forge-off, food trucks. Free admission. No pets.
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.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
Bluff Mountain Festival
This free, family-friendly festival in Hot Springs (at the spa) features great old-time and bluegrass music, ballads, clogging, square dancing, as well as a silent auction and raffle of regional artwork, local crafts, vacation packages and more. 10 AM to 5 PM. Offers an array of delicious foods, too.
Holiday Season Top 50 Events (November & December)
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina mountains, including many small towns and Biltmore Estate.
NC Apple Festival
Spread out with a self-guided tour of orchards in the area with apples, food, vendors, shopping, and more at each location! This event will not have the downtown street fair, music, kiddie carnival, or parade. But come back to Hendersonville for added food and shopping all weekend! 10 AM-10 PM each day all weekend.
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.
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.
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.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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!
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.
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.
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).
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
One of the biggest Scottish Games in the United States, with plenty of live music (bagpipes to rock), athletic competitions, dancing, food, heritage vendors, and more.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 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.
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.
Montford Arts and Music Festival
One of the largest one day free music and arts festivals in Asheville, held on Montford and Soco near downtown, with 100+ vendors of art, crafts and food. Live music. 10 AM-7 PM.
We are one stop shop for family fun in the sun.
Christmas Day & Week Things to Do
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville, Biltmore and the surrounding mountain towns.
NOC Spring Fling
Celebrate spring at Nantahala Outdoor Center with a free, family-friendly event by the Nantahala River with the 5K, vendor fair, gear demos, food, music and specials at the Outfitter's Store.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Blue Ridge Pride Festival
The biggest LGBTQ pride festival in western North Carolina is held in downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park, with more than 100 vendors, entertainment, as well as a kids area with lots of fun activities.
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.
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!
Liver Mush Festival
Line up for your free Hunter's liver mush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest, and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
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.
Mountain Dance & Folk Festival
A favorite showcase since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers, and others come together for a showcase of authentic bluegrass music and dancing in Asheville.
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.
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).
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.
Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp, Asheville
Get your teens outdoors with activities like rock climbing, paddling, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and caving at Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp! This teen day camp is designed specifically for rising 9th–12th-grade students who are seeking outdoor adventure, team building, and leadership opportunities. OTAC seeks to nurture a love of the outdoors in high school age campers, as well as help build confidence, strength, skills, and social intelligence. Teen Adventure Camp runs for three weeks from July 11th to July 30th.
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.
Sauna House, Asheville
This Nordic-style bathhouse in downtown Asheville is a rejuvenating retreat with lots of experiences! With a cedar dry sauna, an aspen wood wet sauna, two private infrared saunas, a cold plunge, cold showers, heated furniture, and a team of massage therapists, it’s easy to unwind by experiencing a variety of hot and cold therapies in a relaxed, social environment. Enjoy a full coffee bar, organic loose leaf teas, and sparkling waters between sessions. All massages include a 2-hour visit to the bathhouse after your appointment.
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!
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.
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.
America's Favorite Drive Package, The Omni Grove Park Inn
This fall, take in the crisp air, colorful vistas, and wide open spaces with a mountain getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountain at Asheville's iconic resort! The package includes deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast, Blue Ridge Parkway map, and overnight valet or garage parking.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Bryson City, Hometown to Polar Express
Bryson City is extra magical during the holiday season! Each November and December, 90,000 people climb aboard the Polar Express at the Depot and travel to the North Pole. Before or after your train ride, find many nearby shops and restaurants - see why it’s one of our Top Christmas Towns. The town is decked out with garland and holiday lights, with a 50 ft Christmas tree in the town square. At the Visitor Center (255 Main St) kids can enjoy cookies and hot cocoa while they write letters to Santa.
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.
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.
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.
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
Huli Sue’s BBQ
Located in Asheville’s historic Grove Arcade, this mouth-watering BBQ & Grill serves up a Hawaiian spin on Texas BBQ. Dine on island time enjoying Hawaiian flavors, fresh fish, Texas BBQ, signature island cocktails, and big country cakes.
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.
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
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.
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.