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Mexican and Latin Food
Find fresh, delicious, and creative Mexican and Latin food at these restaurants. While tacos and burritos are always crowd-pleasing, also discover molcajetes, stuffed fried plantains, and ceviche. And don’t forget the margaritas.
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.
Blue Dream Curry
Located in downtown Asheville next to Pritchard Park, this casual eatery serves up global curries, small plates, soups and more. Enjoy local beer from rotating taps, kambucha, coffee and tea. Plenty of vegan options. 81 Patton Ave
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.
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.
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.
Asheville Museum of Science
Explore the rich treasures of the earth at this "mini-Smithsonian of gems" in downtown Asheville. Exhibits cover volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics and general geologic processes. 44 Patton Avenue.
Lake James State Park
(.5 to 3.5 miles, easy to moderate). This state park with a beautiful lake has seven hiking trails and a beach for relaxing afterwards.
This hidden waterfall flows beneath an historic stone arched bridge on NC Highway 215 over the West Fork of the Pigeon River, about four miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also see cascades above the bridge. A beautiful roadside setting.
Pack's Tavern, Asheville
Established as a go-to spot in downtown for good beer, delicious food and a great view overlooking Pack Square Park in a beautifully restored 1900s building. Offering multiple dining spaces: expansive North Bar with 32 taps and big TVs, South Bar with TVs and free live music every weekend, and a romantic outdoor patio. 20 South Spruce Street.
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.
Brevard Places to Stay
Find cabins of all sizes, hotels, B&Bs and luxury inns in the Brevard area from their official visitor center. It's the Land of Waterfalls. Includes Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Forest.
It’s all about the bbq and scratch-made sides at this local joint that draws inspiration from family recipes. Feast on ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken with sides like fried okra, collards, spicy vinegar coleslaw and more. They offer brunch on the weekends. 501 Merrimon Ave
Pisgah Brewing Company
(150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) is located in Black Mountain about 10 miles east of Asheville. They specialize in brewing hand crafted certified organic beer. Try the Pisgah Solstice, a Belgian-style ale, or the darkest ale, the rich and smooth Pisgah Porter.
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
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.
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.
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.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
This living history outdoor village portrays eighteenth-century Cherokee life on the mountainside above the town. Interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery and masks, weave baskets and beadwork, dance and participate in their daily activities. Open late April through early November.
Waynesville Recreation Center Indoor Pool
Have a pool party anytime of year at this indoor water park and pool in Waynesville. All pool parties are available on Saturdays only and rentable for 2 hours at a time. Option to add a private room with a kitchen is available. Party reservations start at $55.
West Asheville Restaurants
With a reputation for being cool and hip, West Asheville has fantastic local restaurants and pubs - especially along the main drag of Haywood Road. See our favorites.
A longtime French bistro with comfort food using local ingredients. A romantic, intimate and charming setting. Enjoy fresh mussels prepared multiple ways, Escargot, Burgundy’s signature stew Boeuf Bourguignon and their famous fries. Dine al fresco along bricked walkways. Pair hand-selected French wines. 62 Lexington Avenue.
Cedar Rock Falls
This 20-foot waterfall is along one of our favorite hikes up to the summit of John Rock. To reach the falls, hike about mile from the Fish Hatchery and Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.
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.
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
Oak & Grist Distilling Company, Black Mountain
Located just 20 mins from Asheville in Black Mountain, Oak & Grist crafts are regionally inspired, 100% scratch-made whiskey and gin using traditional Scottish distilling techniques. Book a tour online or stop by their tasting room. Hours: Mon-Thurs from, 12-6 PM and Fri-Sat, 12-8 PM.
Billy Graham Museum at The Cove
Take a free one-hour guided tour at the Billy Graham Conference Center, The Cove, located in Asheville. Tour includes the Chapel and exhibit on Graham's life.
Little Bee Thai
This beloved local food truck turned restaurant with a local following known for their fresh, seasonal menu. From classic Pad Thai to global curries, there is something for everyone, including weekly specials like Tom Kha soup on Wednesdays and fresh, North Carolina-caught seafood specials on Fridays. 45 S French Broad Avenue #190
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.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located in downtown Asheville. 52 N. Market Street.
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.
Trade & Lore
Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, this coffee shop on Wall Street serves up hot coffee and specialty drinks made from freshly roasted beans from Mountain Air Roasting. Try a delicious baked good courtesy of The Rhu, a local bakery. They also host fun pop-up events and educational classes. 37 Wall St
River Arts District Restaurants
Tucked away from the downtown Asheville and across the river, the River Arts District is known for its graffiti-clad warehouse buildings full of artist studios and galleries. See our top picks in its flourishing restaurant scene.
The Market Place
Asheville’s original farm-to-table restaurant, this downtown fixture since 1979 offers an seasonally-driven menu featuring organic ingredients from area farms and artisan producers. Enjoy extensive wine list, craft beer and cocktails too. Recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and more. 20 Wall St
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.
Located in Pack Square, this restaurant with an award-winning James Beard chef, serves farm-to-table New American fare. The menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients and pays homage to the bounty of regional and American cooking. A wood-fired oven and grill complement the rustic creations. Check out Sunday Suppers, offered weekly at 6:30 PM. 7 Pack Square.
Alexander's Ford Overmountain Trail
(1.5 miles, easy) Hike a section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail that was used for by local militia heading to an important battle in the Revolutionary War.
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.
The Hop Ice Cream Cafe
This local ice cream cafe has served up hand-crafted cones since 1978. A local favorite, Hop offers free family entertainment and events at each of their 2 locations in Asheville. Parents can enjoy their coffee and espressso bar while kids enjoy the kid-friendly space with toys and things to do.
Nantahala Brewing Company
(61 Depot St, Bryson City) Nantahala Brewing Company’s inaugural beer is made with pale malt and a generous amount of crystal malts. Appalachian Trail Extra (ATX) Pale Ale is a lighter golden version of the Nantahala Pale Ale with a crisp dry flavor and a touch of bitterness.
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!
Swannanoa Valley Museum
This local history museum is packed with interesting historical exhibits in downtown Black Mountain. Learn about the social, cultural and natural history of the Swannanoa Valley in Buncombe County with a rotating series of interesting exhibits. Or, take one of their guided hikes.
Dalton Distillery, Asheville
As downtown Asheville’s first legal distillery, Dalton Distillery features top-shelf rum and vodka. They also have fun specialty liquors like agave vodka, apple vodka, and coffee infused rums made from local roasters. Their full-service bar features a patio, billiards, arcade games and table tennis. Bar is open daily, 5 PM-2 AM.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted, artisanal, organic chocolates and pastries in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. Skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square
Barley's Taproom, Asheville
Enjoy fresh sourdough pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. Their stage showcases live bluegrass, jazz, and Americana music with no cover charge. Upstairs is the Billiard Room with four regulation slate billiard tables and five regulation dart lanes. 42 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville
Tamarind Thai Cuisine
Owned and operated by Bangkok native, Gai Wilson, this South Asheville restaurant offers a classic menu of fresh ingredients and authentic Thai cuisine. Traditional dishes include the Red Curry, Crispy Basil Duck, and Tom Yum. Try the steamed dumplings! 330 Rockwood Rd #112
Setrock Creek Falls
Located a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit at Milepost 344) on NC Highway 80, a 1/2-mile hike takes you to this 75-ft. waterfall. Nearby is Roaring Fork Falls.
There are dozens of farmer's markets throughout the mountains. The biggest by far is the Western North Carolina Farmers Market that is open every day in Asheville. In downtown, the City Market on Market Street is every Saturday 8 AM-1 PM and the French Broad Co-op Market is Wednesdays 2-6 PM. Find more markets and pick up the Local Food Guide by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.
Adventure Center of Asheville
Open all year and just minutes from Downtown! This center for adventure offers something for everyone, whether you're 4 or 94! Zip on the Canopy Zipline Tour with two 1,200 foot lines, or make it a family adventure on the KidZip, America's first zipline adventure designed for kids under 10. Climb the Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements, or ride through the Kolo Bike Park (bike rentals available). Great for individuals, families or groups! See our feature.
Wolverine Paintball Park
Geared for kids 8-11, this paintball course allows kids to play a fun game of tag, as they mark their opponents using a lower impact paintball gun. Party Pack Jr includes a private group with 6 players, equipment, paintballs and referee. Pizza and drinks add ons available. Package is $180.
Sand Hill Kitchen
Serving scratch-made Southern fare, this hidden gem offers many soul food staples like buttermilk fried chicken, biscuits & gravy, and meatloaf with some southwest flare. Try their award-winning fried chicken sandwich! 491 Sardis Road
With a large selection of classic and modern video games, pinball machines, air hockey, skeeball and more, this family-friendly business welcomes people of all ages.They offer a variety of party packages, that include 2-3 hours of play time, 25 passes, and table. You can even rent the entire arcade. Packages start at $200.
Picnic at Biltmore Estate
With thousands of acres to explore, there are plenty of options for picnics! While there is not an official "picnic" area, spread a blanket along one of the hiking trails, along the river, or in gardens (except the Walled Garden). For a more secluded picnic, take the Deer Park Trail that begins by the South Terrace. Other great spots include the Lagoon (pic), the Diana statue atop the hill facing the house, and the gazebo on Bass Lake. Bring your own or order a picnic at the Bake Shop, located adjacent to the Biltmore House.
Aquarium & Shark Lab, Hendersonville
This inland aquarium is home to 275 fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and salamanders with 2 dozen exhibits, including a shark study tank. With focuses on education, enrichment and exploration, there are many programs for students of all ages to learn about aquatic life. Kids can observe reptile, shark, and stingray feedings and even see pufferfish training! Admission is $4-5, children 2 and under are free. (511 N Main St)
This Thai-inspired food truck serves traditional steamed buns (bao) with fresh, seasonal ingredients, homemade sauces and locally sourced protein. Try their Pork Salapao with braised pork in Thai herbs. You can find their weekly schedule on their site.
This tiny town in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains has a famous school, church fresco, historic buildings with gallery and weaving museum, plus much more. Near Spruce Pine and Banner Elk.
Kids can explore the universe and beyond at this 200-acre historic campus in Pisgah Forest. Offering campers an out-of-the-world experience, the camp will focus on astronomy and planetary subjects like astrobiology. See a radio telescope and have fun with activities like building and launching model rockets. 6th-12th graders. 2-3 week sessions June-August 2022.
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.
(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.
Discovery Camp, NC Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum offers a variety of camps for varying ages and interests including outdoor exploration, hiking, arts & crafts, local ecology, geocaching, disc golf, biking, and more. Weekly sessions run June-Aug, 9 AM-4 PM, Grades K-8. $350-$395/week
Eagle Nest Outfitters (ENO) was founded in 1999 with a mission to create the most comfortable, packable, travel-ready parachute hammocks for outdoor lovers. The company has grown to produce a variety of high-quality hammocks, stands, straps, chairs, packs, lights and other gear. ENO gives back by committing 1% of annual sales to support nonprofit organizations focused on the environment.
Kolo Bike Camp, Adventure Center of Asheville
Kolo Bike Park at the Adventure Center of Asheville hosts 2 summer bike camps: Kolo Kiddie Camp (ages 5-7) and Kolo Flow Camp (ages 8-15). Campers will explore bike trails and pump tracks, learning new skills and jumps. See the website for camp details and skill levels. Weekly sessions run June-Aug, 8:30 AM-4:00.
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.
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.
Pizza Mind, Asheville
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
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Zip Line Tour
Take an exciting zipline tour in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 3-hour zip line flight is powered by gravity and a gradual 3 percent elevation change. The 1/2 mile air time canopy tour takes you through multiple ecosystems.
(147 Coxe Avenue, Asheville) Wicked Weed opened their nearby barrel house and sour tap room in the South Slope in late 2014 to store 1,000+ wine and bourbon barrels. This tasting room has 16 taps for sour and wild beer. Open daily. Read more about the South Slope Brewing District.
Fork Lore, Biltmore Park
Located inside the Hilton in Biltmore Park Town Square, they fuse southern comfort with modern sophistication, inspired by the chef’s grandmother’s kitchen. How about bananas foster French toast, eggs benedict many ways, and a variety of egg dishes from a nearby organic farm? Don't forget a mimosa or Bloody Mary. Serves breakfast 7:30-10 AM Monday-Friday and 7:30 AM-2 PM on Saturday/Sunday. 43 Town Square Blvd.
(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.
Guided Walking Tours
History at Hand offers tours to Downtown history and architecture, Montford architecture, Riverside Cemetery and more. All walking tours are given by appointment. Tours must be booked in advance.
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.
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
(6.5 mile loop, strenuous) This twin waterfall near Looking Glass Falls features two 100-foot cascades in view of each other, reached via a beautiful 4.5-mile roundtrip or 6.5-mile loop hike on the Buckhorn Gap Trail. It's near the Pisgah Forest Horse Stables, and they offer guided horseback rides to the falls.
Since 1994, they have protected 42,000+ acres in more than 150 projects in WNC, from the waterfalls of DuPont State Forest, to the rock faces of Hickory Nut Gorge, to the farms and rivers that provide us with food and water.
If you’re looking for good authentic Mexian food, you’re in for a treat! Enjoy tacos, nachos, burritos and more. Find them at Wedge Brewing on Tuesdays for Dinner. For a full weekly schedule, see their Facebook page.
Black Mountain Ciderworks
(100 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) Their Tasting Room has four ciders on tap, made from Henderson County apples.
Since 2002, this downtown favorite has served healthy organic vegetarian and vegan comfort food for lunch, dinner, and late night. It’s the perfect spot for late night healthy comfort food, treats and even a Buchi Bar for kombucha lovers! Open Mon-Sat until 11 PM. Closed Sundays. 116 N. Lexington Ave.