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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.
Osega Gymnastics, Fletcher
This active camp (available in full and half-day options) is fun for kids of all skill levels with a once a week visit to the pool for full-day campers. Activities include daily ninja & gymnastics lessons, games, arts & crafts, and free play in the gym. Weekly sessions run June-Aug, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, ages 3-14. $95-$160/week
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.
(1 to 12 miles, easy to strenuous) More than 12 miles of hiking trails range in difficulty from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry challenges. Our favorite is taking the Grandfather Trail from the Swinging Bridge area and returning along Underwood Trail. The popular Profile Trail is a 7-mile roundtrip, strenuous trek up to the highest peak.
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.
Go to these spots for authentic Thai staples like pad Thai, tom yum, drunken noodles, red curry, and other creative Asian fusion dishes.
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.
Mellow Mushroom, Asheville
Serving delicious stone baked pizza, this pizzeria is a popular place to enjoy a slice. In addition to pizza, they serve calzones, hoagies, salads and a great local beer selection. Vegan and gluten-free options available. Enjoy the large patio for downtown people watching! 50 Broadway St.
Asheville Art Museum
Designed for young visitors, the Art PLAYce is a creative space for everyone to play and learn together in a sensory-rich environment with free exploration of colors, shapes, textures, and patterns. Kids can try out a variety of one-of-a-kind interactive pieces created by regional artists, or make art of their own. See family programs like Tot Time, Artful Adventures, Baby & Me and more.
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
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.
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
Farm Visits & Tours
Visit farms and learn about their local food. See buffalo and alpacas, sample local cheeses, watch bees make honey, visit wineries, pick apples and more. Plus, tour historic farms at Biltmore and in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Enjoy a slice at this pizzeria in the heart of downtown Asheville with your K-9 friend. The large, friendly patio welcomes dogs and humans, alike. They serve pizza, calzones, hoagies, salads and have a great local beer selection. 50 Broadway St.
Fork Lore, Biltmore Park
This locally-owned independent restaurant features a made-from-scratch American menu, sourcing from local purveyors whenever possible. The indoor dining space includes a private dining room and a full bar, known for its bourbon selection. Or enjoy cocktails or brunch on the outdoor patio. Located in the Hilton Asheville in Biltmore Park, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. 43 Town Square Blvd, Asheville.
Bull & Beggar
Savor high-end, European inspired Appalachian cuisine with a raw bar and craft cocktails at this popular restaurant next to the Wedge Brewery. Or go casual with the popular “Burger Mondays” for a half-priced double cheeseburger and fries. Be sure to make a reservation, they fill up! Open daily 5 PM-10PM, with brunch on Sundays 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. 37 Paynes Way
The Hop Creamery & Cafe
Kids scream for ice cream at this local creamery and cafe, offering two locations for birthday parties! Packages include rental space for 2 hours, host, and decoration with options to add balloon artist, face painting, ice cream bar, games and more. Packages start at $50.
The Grey Eagle Taqueria
This taqueria located in The Grey Eagle Music Hall & Pub, features Latin-American cuisine with gluten-free and vegan options. Enjoy local brews or a fresh-made margarita with tacos, burritos, rich soups, fresh guacamole and more. Open daily 11 AM-8 PM. 185 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.
Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar
Their musicians impress with their repertoire of thousands of popular songs from the last 50 years. It's an all request show. Rock-and-roll and sing-along while you enjoy cocktails, wine or a craft beer in their beautifully restored historic building on one of the last brick-paved streets in downtown Asheville. 22 North Market Street.
Asheville Music Hall
This mid-size concert venue is in the middle of downtown with a 360-person capacity. They host many musical legends and have a full restaurant and bar downstairs. Its an all-genres venue that provides an intimate, live music experience for all music fans. 31 Patton Avenue.
Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians
Through exhibits and videos, learn about past fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Open Mon-Sat, 9 AM-6 PM. Free admission. 210 Main Street (Chamber of Commerce) in Bryson City.
Penland School of Craft
Take a tour or sign up for a class at this internationally-known school for art and craft, tucked away in the mountains near Spruce Pine. Their multiple galleries are free to visit with amazing works created by students and teachers.
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
This buzzing coffee house invites you to stop in or stay all day in their creative multi-level space near 12 Bones and The Wedge Brewing in River Art’s District. Menu includes pour over coffee, well-crafted espresso drinks, seasonal beverages, bagels, pastries baked in-house, craft beer and wine. Open Mon-Wed, 7 AM-5 PM, Thurs/Fri 7 AM-7 PM, Sat 8 AM-7 PM, Sun 8 AM-5 PM. 4 Foundy St.
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.
(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.
Orchard at Altapass
This 101-year old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies, sauces, sweets, gifts and more. Listen to music and pick up your apples!
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!
This locally loved, art filled coffee house serves freshly roasted coffee, specialty drinks, beer, wine, house baked goods and snacks. Try their fun seasonal drinks like the Mexican Mocha with cayenne pepper. They have two locations: Downtown Asheville: 74 N Lexington Ave / West Asheville: 976 Haywood Road.
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.
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.
White Duck Taco
This popular riverfront taco shop located in the River Art’s District of Asheville is a casual, kid & dog-friendly restaurant with a large outdoor space with picnic tables. 388 Riverside Dr
828 Family Pizzeria, Asheville
Formerly known as Marco’s Pizza, this 4th generation family pizzeria fires up New York style pizza that is crispy and full of flavor. They serve other Italian favorites like salads, pastas, sandwiches, calzones, and strombolis. 946 Merrimon Avenue
Black Mountain Ciderworks
(100 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) Their Tasting Room has four ciders on tap, made from Henderson County apples.
Asheville Symphony Chorus
The fabulous 100-voice chorus provides a wide range of classical and contemporary music in concert with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, as well as via independent concerts.
(2.8 miles roundtrip, moderate) Hike back in time as you discover the rock foundations of Rattlesnake Lodge, an early 1900s family retreat. The hike is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Asheville. You can extend the hike since it is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 375.
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.
Fahrenheit Pizza & Brewhouse
This family owned South Asheville neighborhood pizzeria serves up delicious, crispy New York Style pizza out of their top of the line stone brick oven. Enjoy a great selection of local brews from self serve, pay by the ounce beer taps. Also try the smoked wings! 17 Lee St. South
Fonta Flora Brewery
(317 North Green, Morganton) This microbrewery is striving to create a totally unique North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer. By utilizing local grains and foraging the countryside for wild flora, we are taking brewing back to its agricultural roots.
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway, they preserve the past, enhance the present, and safeguard the future of the 469-mile scenic drive. Show your love and support of the Blue Ridge Parkway with their NC specialty license plate for your car.
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
Wine & Cocktails
Unwind after a busy day of sightseeing at one of the many wine and cocktail bars in downtown Asheville. Our favorite is the Battery Park Champagne Bar in Grove Arcade (pic). Social Lounge has a great rooftop!
Green Knob Tower
(1 mile roundtrip, moderate) Get a close up view of the historic fire lookout tower visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway - with views Mt. Mitchell from its staircase. Parkway Milepost 350.
Winery Visits & Tours
In addition to the nation's most visited winery at Biltmore, take a winery tour in the foothills area including around Hendersonville and Morganton. Sample the local wines while enjoying the mountain views. See our Top Wineries to see in western North Carolina.
Relive the romantic Victorian era in Asheville's oldest house (circa 1840). Explore opulent period rooms, history exhibits and grounds designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers. 1.5 miles from downtown Asheville.
This locally owned downtown taqueria serves a variety of taco favorites like California-style fish tacos, pulled pork, steak, and adobe chicken. Enjoy fresh taco toppings like pico de gallo, avocados, pickled onions, pineapple salsa, baja sauce and more. Corn tortillas ground onsite daily. Weekly specials include Margarita Mondays and Taco Tuesdays. 77 Biltmore Ave
Creekside Taphouse, Asheville
Located in the Haw Creek neighborhood of East Asheville, this taphouse specializes in burgers, wings and brews. This large, casual setting is great for kids with games, large outdoor space with patio, volleyball court, playground area and flowing creek. Kids and dogs are welcome! 8 Beverly Rd
Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)
Ideal for children ages 3-9, this museum offers 2-hour science themed birthday parties with educator-led activities in STEM classroom, table & chairs, games and free time in the exhibit hall for up to 25 kids. Parties are $275 and offered on Sat/Sun only.
Silver Run Falls
Near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful 25-ft. waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. A short walk from roadside parking.
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.
Nantahala River Rafting Guide
The most popular river for whitewater rafting and kayaking is about 12 miles west of Bryson City in the beautiful Nantahala River Gorge. The site of the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships, find class II and III rapids, along with calm sections perfect for a dip. Fun for ages 7 and up, with no experience necessary. Choose from nine outfitters, all offering a variety of options.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Located in downtown’s South Slope, this doughnut and coffee shop is off the charts with fun flavors like orange creamsicle and chocolate glazed with pretzel crumbles. They offer a classic menu of espresso drinks, signature drinks, and pour over style coffees. Find a variety of vegan, cake, and yeast doughnut options. See their weekly menu on their Facebook page. 32 Banks Ave, Ste 106
Bricks 4 Kidz, Asheville
These half-day enrichment camps give campers motorized building challenges each day, along with crafts, games and time for creative building. June-Aug, 9 AM-12 PM and 1-4 PM, Ages 5+
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.
Morganton & Burke County
Stroll through downtown shops and galleries, visit craft breweries and enjoy great restaurants. Take the Catawba Valley Wine Trail. It's also home to the Waldensian Heritage Museum and movie locations for The Hunger Games.
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.
(2.2 miles, moderate) Located next to the Black Balsam hike, this 6,045-foot peak provides panoramic views from the top. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
Specializing in European-Style breads and pastries, they bake over twenty varieties of artisan breads and rolls using centuries-old hand-shaping and baking techniques. Also, their master baker is constantly conjuring up new ideas for breads that stand out in flavor, texture and overall quality. Stop in for coffee, sandwiches, soup and salads too. 60 Biltmore Avenue.
Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains
See the world-famous Synchronous Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each spring in late May and early June. Sign up early for the lottery for parking passes to see the show in the Elkmont area.
This skinny waterfall on Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 362 is visible from an overlook. Falling along a cliff across the valley, it's most visible after heavy rains and with leaves are off the trees.
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.
The Grey Eagle
This listening room-style concert venue is a longtime local's favorite just outside of downtown Asheville features a big variety national and regional groups. Capacity is 550 standing. Great beer selection and a Taqueria Latin cuisine. 185 Clingman Avenue.
(4 miles round-trip, moderate) At an elevation of 5,920 ft., this is the highest grassy bald in the Great Smoky Mountains. The hike near Clingmans Dome is not overly strenuous but includes a good bit of uphill and rocky sections. And you won't see the crowds that you find on other hikes in the Smokies.
This favorite downtown Italian restaurant is filled with the aromas of house baked artisan bread and mouth watering cuisine. Focuses on fresh ingredients, biodynamic and organically-produced wine selections. Offers traditional recipes from Italy, featuring hand-tossed pizzas, savory pastas, housemade desserts, gluten-free and vegetarian options. 27 Broadway.
Modern Californian and Mexican cooking plus creative cocktails served in a quaint, homey setting. Dinner specialties include entrees such as grilled au natural rib-eye steak with hazelnut-ancho chile sauce, or Tequila-lime cured salmon with watercress and avocado salad. Try their Sunday brunch with traditional selections such as Mexican sweetbreads and house-made sausage, including chorizo. 13 Eagle St
Top 11 Christmas Small Towns
Take a photo tour of our Top 11 Christmas Towns & Villages near Asheville, each decorated with plenty of festive things to do in the North Carolina mountains.
Short Street Cakes
This family-owned, southern-style cake shop in West Asheville whips up scratch-made cakes, cupcakes, pies and pastries. Order a custom cake for an anniversary or birthday, or pick up some cupcakes to indulge in! 225 Haywood Rd
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, Asheville
Enjoy fresh New York style pizza, along with lasagna and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. Kitchen features late night hours for locals and tourists alike. Live music, billiards, and darts. 42 Biltmore Ave
Picnic at Mt. Pisgah
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407: A large picnic area includes grills, tables and restroom facilities. All are ADA compliant and handicapped accessible. It is located near the Pisgah Inn (one mile south) where you can order picnic food (April-October). You can take a strenuous hike to the top of Mt. Pisgah, but there are no great picnic spots at the summit.