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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.
Wai Mauna SUP Tours
Enjoy a variety of private guided paddleboard tours on the French Broad River in Asheville and Brevard! They also offer paddleboard rentals, river shuttles, and paddleboard delivery to any lake home in Western North Carolina. The season runs from April- October 31.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort
As the highest ski and snowboard area in the eastern US, ride 17 slopes on 95 acres. Find runs for every skill levels, with a vertical drop of 830 feet and 80+ inches of annual snow. The Alpine Village has ice skating, brewery and even a mountaintop bar. Snow tubing and terrain park. Ski vacation packages and lessons.
Outdoor Gear Made in the NC Mountains
Find outdoor gear companies that manufacture and operate here in the Blue Ridge Mountains! These companies support the local economy by providing jobs and by sponsoring outdoor industry events, competitions, and professional outdoor athletes in the NC Mountains.
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.
Tupelo Honey - Downtown Asheville
Longtime favorite for both locals and visitors! This is where Tupelo began in 2000 as a destination for scratch-made Southern food rooted in the Carolina Mountains. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served every day. Enjoy craft cocktails, specialty beers and famous honey dusted fried chicken at their new lounge, adjacent to original space. 12 College Street.
High Falls, DuPont State Forest
This 150-ft. waterfall is in the middle of an amazing 10,000-acre nature sanctuary. One of the most impressive NC waterfalls, it is an easy hike from the parking area (1.2 miles roundtrip). Walk or bike to additional waterfalls nearby. Very popular, so expect crowds especially on weekends.
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.
The Moogseum celebrates the life, work, and legacy of synthesizer pioneer Bob Moog, who lived in Asheville for over 25 years. Find a variety of experiential exhibits, interactive touch screens, play a synthesizer, and more. Closed for construction January 11-31, 2022.
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, West Asheville
This iconic concert venue, bar, and eatery is located in the heart of West Asheville. The Art Deco style building retains its original name when this historic cinema was built in the 1930s. Today, with two indoor stages, multiple bars, and an outdoor stage and patio, Isis Restaurant and Music Hall is one of the hottest spots in the city for live music.
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.
Red Stag Grill
Located inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village with contemporary food, an extensive wine-by-the-glass menu and a lively bar within a casual setting. The beautiful dining room features hand-hewn beams, distressed oak floors, handmade wooden tables, an intimate bar and cozy booths. Traditionally-prepared European comfort food is updated with local ingredients. 11 Boston Way.
Walk With Me Tours
Offering private and customizable tours of downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, the River Arts District, and auto tours along the Blue Ridge Parkway with scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They also offer private guided hikes to waterfalls and stunning views. Tours include comfortable transportation, complimentary water, Gatorade, and snacks.
Give the Gift Worthy of an Art Collector, Grand Bohemian Gallery
The Grand Bohemian Gallery makes fine art available to the collector in us all. Showcasing contemporary painting, wood, artisan-made jewelry, and sculpture by local, regional, and internationally recognized artists. Explore the exhibitions, receptions, and “art & wine” dinners.
Located in the River Arts District, GRIND offers a plush, sophisticated place for good coffee, co-working, community gathering, and hanging out. Enjoy local coffee and a wide variety of donuts, pastries, ready-made sandwiches, and hot-press Paninis. The creation of entrepreneur and nonprofit leader J Hackett and chef and Black business community leader Gene Ettison, GRIND is the first Black-owned coffee shop in Asheville. Open 7 AM-10 PM, daily.
The artsy village of Dillsboro welcomes 40 demonstrating artists along Front Street with their colorful creations. Browse many nearby galleries too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM.
Check out these kid-friendly restaurants in and around Asheville that offer extra “kid perks” like more casual settings with outdoor space, play areas, arcade games and more.
Labor Day Weekend Events
Find Labor Day Weekend things to do and events in the NC mountains in and near Asheville for a great holiday getaway.
This longtime mountain resort town has kept much of its local charm with vintage motels and plenty of gift shops with arts and crafts. Tour Wheels Through Time collection of classic cars and motorcycles. Ski at Cataloochee. Festivals include Hillbilly Jam and Elk Fest.
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.
This tiny town of 600 residents is big on things to do in Graham County, home to Fontana Lake, Lake Santeetlah, Stecoah Arts Center, Cherohala Skyway and hikes and waterfalls in Nantahala National Forest.
This fine art gallery in the center of downtown Asheville specializes in contemporary figurative and abstract works of United States and international artists creating exceptional paintings and sculptures at all stages of their careers. The gallery focuses on a modern aesthetic in a sophisticated white cube format and enjoys a sterling reputation as the area’s top fine art gallery. 29 Biltmore Ave, downtown Asheville
NC State Bluegrass Festival
This big outdoor concert weekend in Marion is on the grounds of Tom Johnson's Camping Center - complete with camping options, pavilion and dozens of performers. Single day and weekend tickets.
Barns of Madison County
Drive the country roads of Madison County to see many historic barns preserved by the Appalachian Barn Alliance - five scenic routes take you by farms and mountain views.
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
See the 360-degree scenic view from the tallest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a half-mile walk or enjoy views from the parking area. Open April-November.
Great Smoky Mountains Cabin Rentals in NC
Find vacation cabin rentals on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - ranging from rustic log cabins to luxury mountain top homes.
See the spectacular panoramic view of Linville Gorge at Wiseman's View in Pisgah National Forest, overlooking Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains. Near Linville Falls.
Little Switzerland Places to Stay
Find hotels, cabins and B&B inns in charming Little Switzerland, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including favorite mountain retreats that have been there for generations.
Shelton House, Waynesville
This grand, historic home built in 1875 is home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, with every room packed with craft, art and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Open May-October.
NOC French Broad River Rafting
Take a guided whitewater rafting trip near Asheville on the scenic French Broad River with its splashy Class II and III rapids! Ideal for families and groups. The full-day trip finishes with Frank Bell's Rapid, a thrilling Class IV drop.
Hot Nights, Cool Rides Auto Show
One of the largest car shows in the South lines Main Street in Forest City, with a big variety of 400 vehicles including hot rods, motorcycles, model T's and classic Mustangs. Food and live music. Free admission. Cruise-in Friday night starting at 6 PM. Show is Saturday 9 AM-8 PM.
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.
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.
Marshall Handmade Market, Marshall
This arts festival & holiday market is held indoors at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassatt Island in the French Broad River, 25 minutes north of Asheville. Classrooms-turned-studios open their doors for 60 artists to share process and art. Food trucks too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM
Soak in Mountain Views
Where are the best places for spectacular views to celebrate being alive? Hike to a remote mountaintop or see sweeping views from your car. Watch the sunset or picnic on top of the world.
Tupelo Honey Cafe Brunch
This landmark in downtown Asheville serves up Southern cooking, sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and earning national accolades. Try their fried chicken and biscuits, shrimp and grits, sweet potato pancakes, pecan pie French toast or omelet stuffed with pimento cheese. Don't miss the Queen Bloody Mary. Often a long wait on weekends. Open daily at 9 AM. 12 College Street.
Mountain Glory Festival
Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 140 arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a 5K walk/run, quilt show, and so much more. Free admission. 9:30 AM-6 PM.
Hot Works Asheville Fine Art Show
See juried art and buy directly from the artist in Pack Square Park in the middle of downtown Asheville. Find paintings, sculptures, clay, glass, fiber, jewelry, wood, and more. 10 AM-5 PM each day. Free admission
Thermal City Gold & Gem Mine
Visit this authentic gold mine and travel back to the 1800s gold rush. Pan for gold and gems, talk to a real prospector and explore the "Old West" buildings with plenty of interesting things to see. Open mid March-October. South of Marion.
Winter Getaways to Jackson County
Find the perfect winter romantic getaway in Jackson County in January-March, during the quieter winter months. This "Secret Season" is a great time to enjoy the clear and crisp mountain air with fewer crowds, affordable accommodations, and scenic trails all to yourself!
Fishing in Cherokee
Find an abundantly trout-filled stream system in Cherokee with 30 miles of freestone streams that include secluded forest settings, suburban roadside areas, and even the Cherokee town center.
Stroll through this public garden in Hendersonville that includes an half-mile trail through the Native Woodland Garden, popular Fairy Garden, Dahlia Daze in September and much more. Free, but donations accepted. Near apple orchards & wineries. 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville
Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway
Another nationally-recognized scenic drive is this winding 79-mile route that crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway twice (milepost 412 at U.S. Highway 276 and milepost 423 at N.C. Highway 215). The Forest Heritage Scenic Byway is also named the Copperhead Loop by motorcyclists who love all the curves. Stop at waterfalls, hiking trails, Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry. In the photo is Sunburst Falls.
Blaze Dance Studio
This South Asheville dance studio offers a fun and supportive environment for Aerial yoga (flying yoga), flexibility training, pole dancing, open studio sessions, and more. Private sessions and parties are also available. Try the fun Friday night workout for just $5.
Canton Labor Day Festival
Big celebration in Canton since 1906. Sunday features music festival, art, and food, 12-9:30 PM at Sorrells Park, and free gospel concert at Colonial Theatre. Monday features a big Labor Day Parade at 10 AM, plus a music festival and car show, 12 PM-9 PM. 20 minutes west of Asheville.
Benne on Eagle, Downtown Asheville
Located in downtown Asheville, this eatery serves modern soul food inspired by Appalachian ingredients. Open daily for breakfast & dinner. Brunch on Sundays.
Elk River Falls
Biltmore Estate Hiking Trails
(Many options, easy to moderate) There are 23 miles of trails, for all fitness levels, to explore at Biltmore. You can walk several miles around the gardens near the house, including a half-mile stroll around the Bass Pond. Our favorite hike at Biltmore is the 1.3-mile Deer Park Trail, offering great views of the house.
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) See panoramic views of Pisgah National Forest from atop the historic fire tower near Mt Pisgah. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6.
Holiday Carriage Rides
See our top spots to take a horse drawn carriage ride down Main Streets covered in lights and during specials events near Asheville in western North Carolina during the Christmas season.
Folk Art Center
Art lovers should not miss the Folk Art Center. It showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians and includes rotating exhibits, live demonstrations and a large gallery shop. Free admission. 8 miles from downtown. Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 382 near the US 70 intersection.
Showcasing a variety of artists, both studio and tattoo, whose work manifests a range of concepts, styles, media, and diversity. They also host art workshops, monthly maker markets, and daily still life activities. Live music and comedy shows are also offered, on occasion. Their grand hall is available for weddings, gatherings, and meetings. 147c 1st Ave E, Hendersonville.
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.
This music festival features regionally and nationally known bluegrass acts, plus a curated list of 100 beers and ciders at nine bars on the festival grounds at The Salvage Station near downtown Asheville.
(2.5 miles roundtrip, easy) Located along the very scenic Cherohala Skyway, this 5,560-foot bald summit has 360-degree views of the Nantahala National Forest. Near Robbinsville.
Bryson City Outdoors
This well-equipped outdoor store in downtown Bryson City has everything for your adventure. Services include kayak, paddleboard and gear rentals, a hiker shuttle, and guided tours! Their craft beer taproom & bottle shop has 10 rotating brews on tap with an additional 200+ bottles and cans to go.
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.