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LEAF Down by the River, Asheville
International music festival happening at The Outpost with cultural youth performances, live music, artisan and food vendors, bounce houses, river fun, and more! Saturday, 11 AM-8 PM. Free.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Tickets must be purchased online.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food, and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue. Free admission.
A big street festival in downtown Morganton that includes fine arts and crafts, festival cuisine, a beer garden, teen and kid zones, four stages of entertainment, a sunrise run on Saturday and much more. Free admission!
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
Autumn at Oz at Beech Mtn
There's no place like the Beech Mountain's Land of Oz. Stroll along the yellow brick road, experience a recreation of Dorothy's journey from her home in Kansas and meet many of the characters so central to "The Wizard of Oz." The event sells out, so buy tickets ahead.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 PM
Coon Dog Day Festival
A street festival for dogs and their people with great food, live music, a very fun parade, crafts, street dance, dog competitions, and more in Saluda. Live entertainment until 11 PM. Free admission.
Lots of fun in Chimney Rock Village with a pancake breakfast, Cow Pie Bingo, recycled garden art contest, llamas strutting their stuff in a Main Street parade, a grilled dinner and a special outdoor performance at the Gathering Place.
This free festival in downtown Asheville is a celebration of African-Caribbean culture with music, craft market, food vendors, dance performances and competitions, a special area with activities for kids and much more!
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.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Top art show! See and buy traditional and contemporary fine art and craft directly from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, with 200+ juried artists from mountain regions of nine states. Held inside in downtown Asheville.
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.
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.
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."
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this big outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
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.
Art in Autumn Fest
Fun outdoor arts and crafts festival in Weaverville that includes 100 juried artists, food and live music. Free admission and parking. Just 7 miles north of downtown Asheville.
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. 10 AM-4 PM. 119 Arcade St, Lake Lure
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
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.
Rough Butt Creek Falls
Far off the beaten path and fed by Rough Butt Creek, this scenic, 30-foot waterfall features cascading falls, a small pool, and banks overflowing with fern and rhododendron, and rocks coated in moss. Without the old railroad running by one bank of the river, you might get the sense that you’re in the middle of the rainforest, thanks to the explosion of greenery. The 40-foot cascade hits a small pool at the bottom, which you can easily wade across for a better view. But be careful—the rocks may be slippery.
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.
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.
New Year's Eve
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste 90 different varieties of cider and mead from 20+ makers, plus see local arts and crafts, taste unique food pairings, and enjoy live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-4 PM at Olivette Riverside Community & Farm, 1069 Olivette Road. $39/person advance tickets.
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.
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.
White Squirrel Weekend
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much more on Memorial Day Weekend.
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.
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
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azaleas, and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Book directly through the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association to receive the best rates for unique Inns in Asheville and surrounding countryside and mountains. Stays include historic homes on the National Register of Historic Places, quaint cottages, cabins, rustic lodges, and more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rock and Roll Weekend Package, The Omni Grove Park Inn
Kick-off and Turn up the classics with this rockin’ weekend. Featuring the legendary sounds of Absolute Queen, The Ultimate Tribute to Queen and Departure, The Journey Tribute Band. Package includes two nights of accommodations, daily breakfast, two tickets to each concert, and overnight parking. *Individual tickets can be purchased outside of package. Dates: February 10-11, 2023
PARI Summer Camps
Kids can explore the universe and beyond at this 200-acre historic campus in Pisgah Forest. PARI’s summer STEM camps are designed to inspire your young scientist’s curiosity, passion, and confidence to discover something extraordinary. They offer campers experiences that encourage deeper thinking and problem-solving skills while finding opportunities for comradery, adventure, and fun in the incredible Pisgah Forest region. PARI provides three meals a day and snacks. 6th-12th graders. Offered June-July 2023. Cost: $1700-3960
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.
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.
Bryson City, Christmas Spectacular
Not only is Bryson City the hometown of Polar Express, but it will also host its first drive-thru Christmas light show in 2022! As one of our Top Christmas Towns, you'll also find ice skating, fresh cut Christmas trees, and a main street 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 “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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
This group of top B&Bs offers unique stays ranging from historic inns near downtown Asheville to small-town getaways to country retreats with spectacular mountain views. All are inspected and meet the highest standards of health, safety, and hospitality. Innkeepers love to help you plan the perfect trip!
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).