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This large, interactive space in Rutherfordton offers fun indoor and outdoor exhibits where kids can learn and stimulate imagination through hands-on playing. There are 14 different interactive exhibit areas geared for kids 10 and under. For kids 11 and up they offer a hands-on maker space called The Factory that offers workshops. The Factory is one block KidSenses.
Sky Lanes Bowling Alley
This West Asheville bowling alley offers a great place for kids to have fun, bowl and maybe even get a strike! (Bumpers available) Kids birthday packages are offered from 11 AM-4 PM and includes shoe rental, 1 hr of bowling, food and drink. $12/child.
North Carolina Arboretum Community Partner
This 434-acre public garden is an affiliate of the University of North Carolina to cultivate connections between people and plants with gardens, trails and many special events and exhibits.
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.
Setrock Creek & Roaring Fork Falls
(2 miles roundtrip, easy) Take two one-mile roundtrip waterfall hikes, just a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit onto NC 80) near Mt. Mitchell.
With so many farms surrounding Asheville, it’s no wonder we are a haven for farm-to-table restaurants. Find the best places to eat with award-winning chefs that seek out the best seasonal, local and organic ingredients.
Sunny Point Cafe
A favorite local spot 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 daily 8 AM-2:30 PM. 626 Haywood Road.
(92 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) Recognized as one of the best beer bars in the world, they tap 1,000+ different beers a year. The upstairs bar features American Craft Beers with 20 rotating tap lines. Take the stairs down to the basement level to the Belgian Bar (50 Commerce St.) with 16 Belgian, European and rare beers on draught. An extensive bottle list will impress beer-snobs and novices alike.
Picnic at Craggy Gardens
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 365: Located 24 miles from downtown Asheville is Craggy Gardens. Before you reach the visitor center, a road on the left takes you to a large picnic area with many picnic tables and some beautiful hiking trails. Pink and purple rhododendron bloom in June. The picnic area is open mid-May through the end of October. For a picnic with a 360-degree mountain view, continue north on the Parkway past the Craggy Visitors Center and hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle. Take a jacket, it is always 15-20 degrees cooler atop the summit than down in the city. Great spot for sunrise and sunset.
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.
WALK (West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen)
This causal local hang out serves everything from wings and burgers to salads, tacos and sandwiches, with regular vegan and vegetarian menu options available. Local craft beers on draft, cocktail specials and 2 billiard tables. Weekly specials include Taco Tuesday and Sunday Brunch. Open Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-1 AM, Fri/Sat 11:30 AM-2 AM, Sunday 10:30 AM-12 AM. 401 Haywood Rd
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.
WNC Air Museum, Hendersonville
Celebrating flight, this air museum has an impressive collection of historic airplanes, flight manuals, engines, historic photographs of airplanes and pilots, and more. See and touch airplanes from the 1910s to the1980s. Admission is free, and donations are appreciated!
Chimney Rock Park
Children, ideally ages 5-12, explore nature-based, hands-on activities at this state park with trails, rock climbing, animals and more. They offer two birthday party packages that include admission, animal demonstrations, scavenger hunt and designated picnic area. Options to add climbing walls are available. Packages start at $300.|
Early Girl Eatery
A local's favorite in Asheville since 2001, featuring area farmers from day one. Southern dishes served in a friendly diner vibe. Breakfast all day. Meat & two dishes with plenty of veggies. Made from scratch cakes & pies too! Two locations: 8 Wall Street downtown & 444 Haywood Road West Asheville
Smoky Mountain Sk8way
Parties include admission, skate rental, inflatables, prize tokens for each guest and roller skating games. Tables, paper goods, balloons, and drinks are also included with pizza purchased separately. No outside food, cake and ice cream welcome. Packages start at $119.
Buxton Hall Barbecue
This South Slope BBQ joint is the shared vision of James-Beard nominated chefs. They serve wood-smoked, whole-hog East Carolina BBQ and traditional Southern sides. Try a bourbon and Cheerwine slushie! 32 Banks Ave
India Garden Restaurant
Curries, tandoori items, and other classic Indian fare are featured in a clean and comfy environment in East Asheville. Locals love their bountiful lunch buffet offered from 11 AM-3 PM daily. Enjoy a nice selection of imported Indian beer. 80 S. Tunnel Rd
Montford Park Players Shakespeare Festival
North Carolina's longest-running Shakespeare Festival presents free theatre under the stars all summer long at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater in Montford. Located in a park near downtown Asheville.
Enjoy an impressive season of masterworks concerts, including classical, pops and choral, in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium downtown. Each concert features their 100-member orchestra and a guest artist.
Malaprops Bookstore & Coffee Shop
Enjoy java in this wonderful independent bookstore that has been a fixture downtown for 20+ years. Browse their diverse collection, enjoy goodies in their coffee and pastry shop, or use their free wi-fi. Stop by for a reading and autograph on many evenings. Or enjoy open mic nights for local poets. Open until 10 PM on Friday & Saturday. 55 Haywood St.
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
Picnic Atop Table Rock
Have a picnic on one of the biggest tables in the country! The rocky summit of the elongated rock summit provides plenty of spots on the rim of the Linville Gorge, with a moderate 2.2-mile round-trip hike.
Mountain Farm Museum, Oconaluftee Visitor Center & Mingus Mill
Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, see historic farm buildings in an open-air museum and get plenty of great information from rangers. Nearby you can explore Mingus Mill, a historic grist mill dating from 1886.
Smoky Mountain Sk8way, Waynesville
This large skating rink offers open skate sessions, bounce houses, obstacle course, arcade games, snack bar a more with various themed events. Find a variety of skate rental options, including skate trainer for beginners. Admission + skate rentals start at $9. (Closed Mon-Wed)
Grand Bohemian Hotel Spa
Stay at this Biltmore Village luxury hotel and nourish your mind and body at their Poseidon Spa. Whether enjoying a hot and cool stone massage or a luxurious pedicure, the stylish atmosphere and unparalleled service will pamper you.
Swim and sun on a sandy beach in the mountains at Lake Lure, near Chimney Rock. Nestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake is surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs. Rent a pontoon or electric boat, canoe or kayak at the marina.
Cradle of Forestry for Kids
Located in Pisgah National Forest near Sliding Rock, learn all about our forests and environment at the location of the nation's first forestry school. Watch a movie, explore 15 hands-on exhibits, ride the fire fighting helicopter simulator and go underground to see animals. Paved hiking trails take you by a locomotive and historic buildings. The Adventure Zone is especially designed for children and adults with autism.
The Magnetic Theatre
Asheville's only professional theatre company dedicated to original works, performed at Magnetic 375 in the River Arts District. 375 Depot Street.
Mandala Springs Eco Retreat, Blue Ridge Parkway
This 30-acre eco-retreat surrounded by national forest is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway with some of the best fall color views in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Enjoy camping, glamping, tiny home rentals, trout stream, hiking, and more! They also have onsite yoga classes and bodywork treatments.
Point Lookout Trail
(7.2 miles round-trip, moderate) The best paved greenway near Asheville is a blast for biking or hiking. This paved path in Pisgah National Forest was formerly part of Old US Highway 70, winding through the woods with views of the mountains, railroad and forest. While the trail is only 3.6 miles one way, it climbs 900 ft. in elevation from Old Fort to Ridgecrest.
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.
All Souls Pizza
This wood-fired pizzeria located in the River Arts District of Asheville features pizza dough made with freshly milled grains and high quality, seasonal ingredients. They also offer an array of salads, polenta and pasta dishes. Family-friendly! 175 Clingman Ave
Brevard Little Theatre
Founded in 1935, this community theatre in the small town of Brevard has been entertaining residents and visitors alike with dramas, comedy, musicals and more.
Known for her genuine warmth, sense of humor, and familiarity with a wide range of religious and secular beliefs and practices, Jeanne Sommer (M.Div., Ph.D.) creates one-of-a-kind ceremonies.... read more
Located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, Chestnut offers a unique take on hand-crafted food and cocktails. The palette is best described as Southern American with a variety of ethnic twists. The menu changes monthly and features a wide range of local and seasonal produce and proteins. Open 7 days a week for dinner only starting at 5 PM. To make a reservation, visit the website or call 828-575-2667. 48 Biltmore Avenue.
For the most upscale shopping in the mountains, head to downtown Highlands. It's a popular area for affluent travelers, many with a summer home in the area. This is one of the highest towns east of the Mississippi River, with an elevation at 4,118 feet. Nearby are many beautiful waterfalls, including the roadside Dry Falls.
Green River Tubing
Rent a tube and set sail for a lazy day on the beautiful Green River near Saluda. Choose from three- to six-mile float trips. It's great for beginner kayakers, too. Tubing companies provide transportation. Stop at the jump-off rock to rope dive!
Max Patch Picnics
You may want to run across the meadow and sing the "Sound of Music" atop this grassy summit along the Appalachian Trail. Find plenty of spaces to spread the blanket for a picnic with 360-degree mountain views. The summit is a short uphill walk from the parking area. Roan Mountain and Black Balsam Knob are two more great bald mountains for picnics.
One World Brewing
(10 Patton Avenue, Asheville) Small-batch, hand-crafting nano-brewery and ale house located underneath the Farm Burger in downtown, near Pack Square. With a 1.5-barrel system with 10 fermenters in constant rotation, 10 taps feature 1 local cider and 9 rotating OWB taps. Mon-Thurs 12-11 PM, Fri/Sat 12 PM-12 AM, Sun 12-9 PM. West Asheville location: (520 Haywood Rd)
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.
Gwynn Valley Camp, Brevard
This overnight summer camp for kids located on a working farm offers farm activities, nature lessons, hiking, sports, blacksmithing, climbing, archery, crafts, and more. Programs focus on sustainability, community, outdoors, wilderness, and leadership. 7-day to 3-week sessions, June-August 2022. Completed grades: K-10th. Cost: $2,050-$5,550/session
Mineral & Lapidary Museum, Hendersonville
Featuring many diverse underground treasures like raw minerals, meteorites, gemstones, and fossils the museum is a great place to take kids to see the many exhibits and especially highlights like a tyrannosaurus rex skull, a mastodon tusk and teeth, and a wooly mammoth leg bone. (400 N Main St)
Ideal for kids 6 and up, this hands-on program uses Legos to help kids develop problem solving and critical thinking skills as they build machines and other constructions, utilizing engineering, architecture and physics. Their mobile program can be found at local schools, events, camps, parties and more.
Smoky Park Supper Club
This unique restaurant along the French Broad River in the River Arts District is a great date night spot with rustic ambiance and charm. Enjoy seasonal wood-fired dishes in the dimly lit indoor space with large windows facing the river. Or enjoy cocktails on the patio or riverside with plenty of cozy seating for two. They have a great selection of craft beer, cocktails, and music. 350 Riverside Dr
Located in Madison County, this college town has a quaint downtown of historic buildings and homes. Enjoy many educational and cultural opportunities at the university, including stage plays, art exhibits, the national clogging champions.
Urban Orchard Cidery
(210 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Visit one of the few “True Cider Bars” in the nation. Their taproom offers several varieties of their naturally gluten-free hard apple cider on tap.
Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack
Feast on some “Tennessee style” hot chicken and southern soul food. They prepare their unique fried chicken to order, so it’s not spicy unless you want it that way! Ingredients are sourced locally and classic American recipes are made from scratch daily. Two locations in Asheville: West at 1455 Patton Avenue, and South at 3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden.
Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)
This fully interactive science museum in downtown Asheville is a must visit for the whole family! Exhibits include elements of forestry, minerals, planetary exploration, dinosaurs and more. Check out the STEM laboratory and hurricane simulator- they even have a “toddler nest,” for the littlest ones to experience hands-on learning.
Diamond Brand Gear, Asheville
This 138 year old company manufactures hand-crafted durable outdoor gear made from a wide range of materials,from heavy to high performance to ultra-lightweight. Products include tents, bags, packs and more.
Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum at Grovewood
If you are a car buff, this collection of 20 antique automobiles will delight. Located near downtown Asheville in Grovewood Village. Open April-December. Free.
Mt. LeConte Picnic, Great Smoky Mountains
For a challenging-yet-amazing full-day hike with a "catered" picnic, hike to 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 on the spectacular Alum Cave Trail. LeConte Lodge sits atop the mountain with lunch and snacks for day hikers. Myrtle Point lookout on the summit is a fabulous perch.
Wake Foot Sanctuary
Located in the heart of Asheville’s shopping district, this unique communal space allows you to take a break from exploring the city, cozy up in a plush chair and enjoy a custom foot soak made from essential oils, dried herbs and botanicals. Sip on hot tea with treats while you soak. Add on massage by a licensed massage therapist and soak up the bliss!
(2.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the summit (6,292 ft.) of the 16th highest mountain in the eastern United States. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 451.
Camp Highlander, Mills River
Adventures and activities including canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, water skiing, arts and crafts, pottery, archery, riflery, and more. 1-3 week sessions, June-August 2022. Ages 5-16. Cost: $4,100-$9,200.
Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge
This favorite local hangout features creative American fare, local beer and craft cocktails.Their delectable Vault Burger features 100% grass-fed beef from local farms, taking home local awards year after year. Enjoy the patio or sit at the walnut bar inside. They’re open until 2 AM, perfect for a late night craving. 7 Rankin Ave
Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective
This hard-working, non-profit group works with performance artists and groups to present works which confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way by providing opportunities for audiences to explore visions of our diverse world. Shows are at the 65-seat black box BeBe Theatre at 20 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville.
Founded in 2002, this gear company creates high performing products for wilderness athletes, focusing on building them in the least toxic, lowest impact way. They create durable, high-quality footwear, life jackets, apparel and dog beds in the cleanest, most sustainable way.
A popular taco spot in West Asheville, Taco Billy serves tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Build your own taco or choose from their creative menu with fun ingredients like plantain tortillas, chili-stewed pork and potatoes, goat cheese, pecan and black bean hummus and more. Many gluten-free and vegan options available. 201 Haywood Rd
River Arts District Artists
This membership group supports and promotes the vast array of artists and working studios in 22 former industrial and historical buildings along French Broad River in Asheville.
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Designated by Congress in recognition of our region's unique character, culture and natural beauty, they protect, preserve, interpret and develop the unique natural, historical and cultural resources of Western North Carolina. Explore with their Blue Ridge Heritage, Music and Craft Trails.
An Asheville staple since 1999, this bakery specializes in European-Style breads and pastries, as well as pies, muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, and sweet breads like their Chocolate Cherry Sourdough. Stop in for coffee, sandwiches, soup and salads too. 60 Biltmore Avenue.
Cultivated Cocktails Distillery, Asheville
Located in downtown Asheville at the iconic Grove Arcade, this tasting bar offers samples of craft distilled spirits, along with a signature cocktail menu. While you sample, learn more on their process of distilling- from “Grain to Garnish.” Shop retail space for cocktail supplies, bar accessories, gifts and more. Open Tues/Wed 1-8 PM, Thurs-Sat 1-9 PM.
This family friendly pizza restaurant in West Asheville offers signature and build-you-own pizza pies, along with a great local beer selection and extensive wine list. Kids can enjoy the arcade! 285 Haywood Rd. Suite 10
Located in West Asheville, this full-service neighborhood restaurant offers friendly service, rotating draft and bottle selection, and one of the more dog-friendly patios in town. Their menu features build-your-own burger options, along with delicious signature burgers. Don’t forget the tater tots! 784 Haywood Rd
ABYSA Soccer Camps
This summer soccer camp offers three camp options for varying skill sets, from beginner to experienced players. Campers will learn foundational skills like dribbling, passing, receiving, shielding, and shooting. Full day campers will have afternoon pool time. Weekly sessions run June-Aug with full and half-day options, age 7-14. $135-$235/week
Located in Asheville’s South Slope, this brewpub showcases a rotating selection of small batch beers and late night menu for those nighttime munchies. Enjoy their great indoor & outdoor space. Open Sun-Thurs until 12 AM, Fri/Sat until 1 AM. 101 S Lexington Ave
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
See art exhibits at this downtown Asheville gallery and learn about the fascinating history of Black Mountain College. 56 Broadway
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
This fascinating National Park Service site honors the accomplishments of Carl Sandburg and wife Lilian. Tour their home with all original furnishings, visit the goat farm and hike trails at Connemara. Many programs. Located in Flat Rock, just south of Hendersonville.
Land of Oz
Take the yellow brick road to Emerald City at this abandoned theme park atop Beech Mountain that reopens a few times a year with characters from the Wizard of Oz.
Looking Glass Rock
If you are a looking for a nice reward after a challenging hike, head to this well-known rock face summit in Pisgah National Forest. You will ascend about 1,700 feet in just over three miles. The views from the top are well worth the effort. There is plenty of space to relax on the rock face with your picnic! Then it's downhill all the way back to the car.
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.