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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.
Polar Express Train
Ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express Train at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to pick up Santa. It's fun for all ages. Departs from Bryson City. See our guide for all the details.
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.
Pow Wow at Cherokee
Experience authentic Indian dancing, drumming and tribal regalia. Dance competitions kick the excitement up even higher. Enjoy crafts, food and fireworks, too.
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.
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.
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
Get ready to laugh at the largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns with 40 comics performing at multiple venues in Asheville. Single event tickets & combo passes.
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
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!
Tryon Block House Steeplechase
A festive day with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and the sights & sounds of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
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!
At this festival, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, you can drive through and sample and buy some of the traditional foods and pastries such as lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita, gyro, souvlaki, and baklava. They will also offer delivery through KickbackAVL.
Fire On the Mountain
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from Penland School and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills. Iron & metal art exhibit, tool and gear vendors, forge-off, food trucks. Free admission. No pets.
See our Top 20 Things to Do on Valentine's Day and Week in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, with a photo tour of romantic getaway ideas.
NC Apple Festival
Spread out with a self-guided tour of orchards in the area with apples, food, vendors, shopping, and more at each location! This event will not have the downtown street fair, music, kiddie carnival, or parade. But come back to Hendersonville for added food and shopping all weekend! 10 AM-10 PM each day all weekend.
Craftspeople at the Folk Art Center share their inspiration and expertise in a variety of textile arts. Saturday demos include quilting and appliqué, doll making, weaving, mixed media fiber arts, clothing, printing design, tapestry weaving and natural dyeing. Two fashion shows on Sunday (Mother's Day)! Free admission.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azaleas, and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
Easter Hat Parade in Dillsboro
Old hat, new hat, yellow hat, blue hat. They're all welcome at Dillsboro's annual Easter Hat Parade at 2 PM, showcasing a variety of interesting hats atop participants of all ages, including pets.
Dillsboro Lights & Luminaries
Experience the magic as the charming village is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights, candles, laughter, and song! Shopkeepers provide live music and serve holiday treats with hot cider and cocoa.
Lake Lure Olympiad
One of the biggest sports festivals in NC, the event in the spectacular Hickory Nut Gorge is anchored by three major races: 10K Dam Run, Triathlon and Race up Chimney Rock. Events for kids, beginner athletes and spectators, too.
Christmas Day & Week Things to Do
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville, Biltmore and the surrounding mountain towns.
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and more!
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Montford Home Tour
Explore Asheville’s Montford historic neighborhood with Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Greek Revival and Dutch Colonial homes dating back to the late 1800s. Self-guided tour of 10 homes, 1-5 PM, $25/person. Tickets at Asheville Visitor Center (36 Montford Ave).
Asheville Art in the Park
See and buy fine arts and crafts from dozens of local artists at Pack Square Park in downtown. 10 AM-5 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.
Liver Mush Festival
Line up for your free Hunter's liver mush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest, and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
Parade of Nations
Folkmoot, an international music and dance festival, has its Parade of Nations down Main Street in Waynesville at 10 AM with elaborate costumes. Free to attend.
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.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, tastings, chef competition, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, and products from more than 20 local food vendors.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Returning to the gardens this year, the popular show will return to the traditional outdoor walk-through open-air format with glowing landscapes and plenty of new displays. The show will include the 50ft lighted tree, Quilt Garden, many of your favorite lighted designs, and new ones for 2021! We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area! The one in Bakersville NC is Friday & Saturday. In TN, it's Saturday & Sunday.
There's always plenty to see and do at this free street festival in quaint downtown Black Mountain to celebrate sourwood honey! 200 vendors, crafts, live music, kids' activities and food. Saturday 9 AM-8 PM and Sunday 9 AM-5 PM.
This street festival in downtown Waynesville is the ultimate cultural exchange with international and regional artwork, international dance and music from Folkmoot USA, and great food. 10 AM-5 PM. Free 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.
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
One of the biggest Scottish Games in the United States, with plenty of live music (bagpipes to rock), athletic competitions, dancing, food, heritage vendors, and more.
Village Art & Craft Fair
Fantastic fair in Biltmore Village with 100 hand-selected artists from 16 states, representing the full spectrum of craft media - jewelry, ceramic, wood, fiber, metals, two-dimensional art and more.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food, and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM on Lexington Avenue. Free admission.
Apple Butter Festival, Bakersville
Enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of autumn on the Creekwalk with music, crafts, and homemade apple butter making during peak fall color. Free admission. 92 Crimson Laurel Way. 10 AM-4 PM
America's Favorite Drive Package, The Omni Grove Park Inn
This fall, take in the crisp air, colorful vistas, and wide open spaces with a mountain getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountain at Asheville's iconic resort! The package includes deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast, Blue Ridge Parkway map, and overnight valet or garage parking.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Nantahala Outdoor Center offers whitewater rafting trips on the French Broad River just outside of Asheville, or just a short drive is 500-acres of family-friendly adventure near Bryson City with over 100 itineraries of river and land-based activities like rafting, kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, hiking and more. Enjoy riverside dining at two restaurants, shopping at the Outfitter’s Store, and live music all in the Nantahala Gorge.
Bryson City, Hometown to Polar Express
Bryson City is extra magical during the holiday season! Each November and December, 90,000 people climb aboard the Polar Express at the Depot and travel to the North Pole. Before or after your train ride, find many nearby shops and restaurants - see why it’s one of our Top Christmas Towns. The town is 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.
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!
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.
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.
Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp, Asheville
Get your teens outdoors with activities like rock climbing, paddling, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and caving at Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp! This teen day camp is designed specifically for rising 9th–12th-grade students who are seeking outdoor adventure, team building, and leadership opportunities. OTAC seeks to nurture a love of the outdoors in high school age campers, as well as help build confidence, strength, skills, and social intelligence. Teen Adventure Camp runs for three weeks from July 11th to July 30th.
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!
Huli Sue’s BBQ
Located in Asheville’s historic Grove Arcade, this mouth-watering BBQ & Grill serves up a Hawaiian spin on Texas BBQ. Dine on island time enjoying Hawaiian flavors, fresh fish, Texas BBQ, signature island cocktails, and big country cakes.
The Omni Grove Park Inn Dining
Asheville is recognized as having one of the strongest most innovative culinary scenes in the country. At The Omni Grove Park Inn, you will find some of the finest, locally-sourced restaurants in town that will delight the foodie in your family. From restaurants to bars to terraces with breathtaking mountain views, there are so many ways to please your palate at this resort. Find an updated list of dining options on their website. 290 Macon Avenue
Home to NC's most photographed courthouse, perched on a hill overlooking the busy historic Main Street with fantastic restaurants, breweries, general stores, shops, and festivals. Film location for 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing. Home to Terminus of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail ®️, the only fly fishing trail in the Country.
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 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.
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!
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.
This eclectic gift shop downtown features a variety of hand-crafted gifts, art, Asheville souvenirs and more by local makers, craftspeople and artists. Find t-shirts, magnets, stickers, buttons, shot glasses, plus a DIY photo booth! 25 Wall Street
Sauna House, Asheville
This Nordic-style bathhouse in downtown Asheville is a rejuvenating retreat with lots of experiences! With a cedar dry sauna, an aspen wood wet sauna, two private infrared saunas, a cold plunge, cold showers, heated furniture, and a team of massage therapists, it’s easy to unwind by experiencing a variety of hot and cold therapies in a relaxed, social environment. Enjoy a full coffee bar, organic loose leaf teas, and sparkling waters between sessions. All massages include a 2-hour visit to the bathhouse after your appointment.