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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.
(11.8 miles round-trip, strenuous) The hike up from Big Creek is a 5.9-mile constant climb with a gain of about 3,000 ft. in elevation. The stone fire tower on top affords fabulous views as your reward for the climb.
Green Sage Cafe
A local favorite, this certified green restaurant nurtures the well-being of its customers through its fair-trade organic coffee and tea, organic beer and wine, natural and organic local food for breakfast and lunch. Enjoy fresh juices, sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee drinks and more. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
Asheville Picnic Company
Asheville Picnic Company caters to your adventurous spirit! Order one of their specialty picnics while out enjoying the area’s beautiful offerings and they’ll deliver right to you. The souvenir food baskets are curated with you in mind and filled with local favorites, allowing you to truly experience the taste of Asheville while on the go! Explore more with Asheville Picnic in hand!
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
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.
This neighborhood restaurant in West Asheville, called UJ by locals, offers classic pub food, local drafts, and a friendly environment. The Universal Fries are a house favorite and the ultimate comfort food! Dine indoors or enjoy the large, dog-friendly patio. Open: Mon-Thurs until 1 AM, Fri/Sat until 2 AM, Sunday until 12 AM. 784 Haywood Rd.
All Souls Pizza
This wood-fired pizzeria located in the River Arts District of Asheville features pizza dough made with freshly milled grains and high quality, seasonal ingredients. They also offer an array of salads, polenta and pasta dishes. Family-friendly! 175 Clingman Ave
Picnic Atop Table Rock
Have a picnic on one of the biggest tables in the country! The rocky summit of the elongated rock summit provides plenty of spots on the rim of the Linville Gorge, with a moderate 2.2-mile round-trip hike.
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
Tropical Gardens Mini Golf
This popular, adventure-filled miniature golf course offers a great setting for a birthday party. They also have batting cages, gameroom, sno-cones and more. Parties can be reserved for 1 hour and include decorated gazebo,1 round mini golf, drinks, and paper products. See website for prices.
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
A popular taco spot in West Asheville, Taco Billy serves tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Build your own taco or choose from their creative menu with fun ingredients like plantain tortillas, chili-stewed pork and potatoes, goat cheese, pecan and black bean hummus and more. Many gluten-free and vegan options available. 201 Haywood Rd
Sunset Terrace at The Omni Grove Park Inn
The Omni Grove Park Inn’s Sunset Terrace restaurant scores big on romance! The outdoor veranda sets the mood with a perfect view of the sunset over Asheville. Indulge in the finest prime beef and seafood, along with cocktails and wine. 290 Macon Ave.
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!
An Asheville staple since 1999, this bakery specializes in European-Style breads and pastries, as well as pies, muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, and sweet breads like their Chocolate Cherry Sourdough. Stop in for coffee, sandwiches, soup and salads too. 60 Biltmore Avenue.
Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch or Lover's Leap, soak in natural hot springs, go horseback riding, raft down whitewater rapids, ski, bike, fish, camp and explore the unspoiled mountains just north of Asheville.
Double Decker Coffee House
You may do a double-take walking along Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. Yes, it's a authentic double decker bus from London. Enjoy gourmet coffee and teas, along with some great hot chocolate! 41 Biltmore Avenue.
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.
Wilderness Cove Tubing
Tubing the Green River in Saluda is an exciting float that includes class I & II rapids. Enjoy the splashing water, great swimming holes and relaxation, with tube rentals and shuttles available for 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-hour floats. Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.
Mt. Mitchell Balsam Trail
(3/4 mile loop, easy) Take a loop hike through the dense, aromatic fir forest high atop on the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Great place for a cool walk on a hot summer day.
This local hot spot offers handmade biscuit dishes, sides, a jam bar and even a gravy flight! They serve breakfast and brunch in a casual atmosphere with gluten-free biscuits and other options. They get busy, so plan ahead and arrive early! Downtown: 417 Biltmore Ave, Ste 4F
High Five Coffee Bar
Formerly called the Dripolator, this local's favorite is on the other side of I-240 with their own parking area. Their barista's are Counter Culture Coffee-trained to craft only the finest beverages. 190 Broadway Street.
Swim and sun on a sandy beach in the mountains at Lake Lure, near Chimney Rock. Nestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake is surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs. Rent a pontoon or electric boat, canoe or kayak at the marina.
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria
Enjoy fresh sourdough pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. They showcase regular live music and have 4 billiard tables and 5 dart lanes upstairs. Open Sun-Wed until 9 PM, Fri/Sat until 1 AM. 42 Biltmore Avenu
Jackson County Green Energy Park
Tour this fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill, providing heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing, greenhouses and heating. Their gallery features art made on-site.
Picnic in Cataloochee Valley
Tailgate and watch elk graze nearby in meadows just after sunrise or just before sunset in this beautiful valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Don't feed the wildlife.
While it's part of the city, West Asheville has its own vibe and busy Haywood Road lined with restored buildings filled a big variety of restaurants, bars, breweries, and funky shops.
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.
The Bull and Beggar, River Arts District
Classic European cuisine, cocktail bar and raw bar set in a warm warehouse revamp in the River Arts District. Menu highlights include a two tier raw seafood platter with fresh oysters, clams, shrimp or go big with their 34 oz dry-aged, bone-in ribeye. Reservations recommended. 37 Paynes Way, #007
Jargon, West Asheville
Located in the heart of West Asheville in a small, nationally registered historic building. Their menu is made of seasonal ingredients, featuring dishes like scallops & pork belly, seafood gumbo, and liver pate. Enjoy craft cocktails, local beer and specialty 5-course dinner events. 715 Haywood Road
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
(2 miles loop, easy) See an old growth cove hardwood forest with 400-year old towering poplar trees. Near Lake Santeetlah in the Nantahala National Forest, it is about 100 miles west of Asheville.
KidSenses Hands-On Learning
This large, interactive space offers fun indoor and outdoor exhibits where kids can learn and stimulate imagination through hands-on playing. Their party packages include 20 guests, a party room for one hour, play time in museum, invitations, balloons, and T-shirt for birthday child. Add-ons include character parties, paper goods and favors. Base price: $135.
Cultivated Cocktails Distillery, Asheville
Located in downtown Asheville at the iconic Grove Arcade, this tasting bar offers samples of craft distilled spirits, along with a signature cocktail menu. While you sample, learn more on their process of distilling- from “Grain to Garnish.” Shop retail space for cocktail supplies, bar accessories, gifts and more. Open Tues/Wed 1-8 PM, Thurs-Sat 1-9 PM.
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.
Located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, Chestnut offers a unique take on hand-crafted food and cocktails. The palette is best described as Southern American with a variety of ethnic twists. The menu changes monthly and features a wide range of local and seasonal produce and proteins. Open 7 days a week for dinner only starting at 5 PM. To make a reservation, visit the website or call 828-575-2667. 48 Biltmore Avenue.
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.
WNC Nature Center, Asheville
This camp creates fun, educational experiences to show campers the wonders of the natural worlds with themes focusing on reptiles, amphibians, birds, bugs, butterflies, and more. All sessions include animal encounters, outdoor recreation, crafts, and group activities on the Nature Center grounds. Camp runs June-August 2022. 8:30 AM-3 PM (Aftercare available: 3 PM-5 PM), Grades K-4. $200/week
Wicked Weed Brewery
(91 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville) This 15-barrel downtown brewhouse has a Tasting Room in the basement and another bar and restaurant upstairs with 20 beers on tap. They specialize in west coast-style hoppy ales, open fermented belgian beers and barrel-aged sours. Open daily.
Astronomy Club of Asheville
Stargaze with members of one of the top astronomy clubs in the country with monthly stargazing events at observatories, on mountaintops or along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Located at the base of Roan Mountain and the mile-high scenic drive, this town has several galleries and studios. Home to the Rhododendron Festival. Penland School of Crafts is nearby.
Western North Carolina Air Museum
See award-winning restored, antique replica and vintage airplanes at the Hendersonville Airport. Take a close-up look to airplanes and talk to people who love them.
Camp Highlander, Mills River
Adventures and activities including canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, water skiing, arts and crafts, pottery, archery, riflery, and more. 1-3 week sessions, June-August 2022. Ages 5-16. Cost: $4,100-$9,200.
Creekside Taphouse, Asheville
Located in the Haw Creek neighborhood of East Asheville, this taphouse specializes in burgers, wings and features over 20 craft brews. Great for watching the big game with 9 TVs- 7 inside, 2 outside. Enjoy their large outdoor space with patio, volleyball court, playground and flowing creek. 8 Beverly Road.
For delicious southern and soul comfort food, head over to these finger lickin' good places for buttermilk biscuits, crispy fried chicken and sweet tea.
WALK (West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen)
This causal local hang out serves everything from wings and burgers to salads, tacos and sandwiches, with regular vegan and vegetarian menu options available. Local craft beers on draft, cocktail specials and 2 billiard tables. Weekly specials include Taco Tuesday and Sunday Brunch. Open Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-1 AM, Fri/Sat 11:30 AM-2 AM, Sunday 10:30 AM-12 AM. 401 Haywood Rd
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.
Cooking grounded in the traditions and ingredients of the Carolinas with modern southern seasonal farm-to-table menus, fresh catches from the coast of the Carolinas, as well as local microbrews, prestigious wines, and inventive cocktails. 47 Biltmore Ave
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.
Find the best food trucks that are going fender to fender to bring you delicious, unique comfort food on wheels. They are inspired by a variety of global influences with plates like gourmet grilled cheese, tacos & burritos, Thai, BBQ, hot dogs, Lebanese, Korean street food and even brunch.
A little further into the RAD, Fresh West offers woodfired pizza in a casual environment, with a great menu of local brews, fresh salads, soups and specials. Open Mon/Wed/Thurs 11 AM-9 PM, Fri/Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Sun 12-9 PM, Closed Tuesday. 342 Depot St
With two locations in North and West Asheville, this eatery serves up southern fare using locally sourced ingredients. Comfort items include fried chicken biscuit, cheesy grits, catfish po’boy and more. Also find plenty of vegan options available. 371 Merrimon Ave and 219 Amboy Rd
Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack
Feast on some “Tennessee style” hot chicken and southern soul food. They prepare their unique fried chicken to order, so it’s not spicy unless you want it that way! Ingredients are sourced locally and classic American recipes are made from scratch daily. Two locations in Asheville: West at 1455 Patton Avenue, and South at 3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden.
Asheville Visitor Guide
Explore Asheville’s annual Visitor Guide offers 90 beautifully-designed pages of original, trip-planning content to help you get the most out of your visit to the city.
Bubbling Spring Branch Cascade
This modest 25-foot waterfall in Pisgah National Forest is a short walk from the road, located 1.8 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway on NC 215, between Wildcat Falls and Sunburst Falls.
Rumbling Bald Trail
(1.5 miles, moderate) Hike this loop trail in Chimney Rock State Park to the boulders and cliffs of Rumbling Bald Mountain, a popular rock climbing spot. Free access area near Lake Lure.
This downtown cafe and bakery serves fresh breads, pastries, salads, sandwiches, soups, and more. Shop the pantry for local and regional foods, housewares, and artisanal products. They’ll even pack a picnic for you to take on your mountain adventures! Open Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-4 PM, Sat/Sun 8 AM-5 PM. 10 S Lexington Ave
Learn pottery skills from this husband and wife team in their quaint, professional pottery studio! In 2 hour lessons, guests will make 4 pieces, including a turn on the wheel. Choose from 8 finishing colors and have your pieces shipped to you once completed. No experience necessary!
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!
Known for their upscale craft cocktails, this bar and restaurant offers a late night menu with comfort food favorites like burgers and tater tots, along with creative munchies like chickpea fries and ramen. Late night menu is available: Mon-Thurs until 12 AM, Fri/Sat until 2 AM. 29 N. Market St
Cabin & Cottage Rentals: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find log cabin, condo or cottage vacation rentals by ponds or with mountain views in the First Peak of the Blue Ridge - many options near the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
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 old school, greasy spoon diner in West Asheville is a local favorite for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their menu offers a long list of specialty burgers, all under $8, making this a budget-savvy burger option. They also have a Brunch Burger with a fried egg on top.
Bryson City Restaurants
For a small town, you'll find a nice variety of restaurants, ranging from southern home cooking to a brewery and gourmet dining. A nice reward after a day of exploring the Great Smokies and Nantahala River.
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.
Roaring Fork Falls
Located just two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit near Milepost 344) and five miles from Crabtree Falls in Pisgah National Forest at the base of Mt. Mitchell. It's an easy one-mile round-trip hike, near Setrock Creek Falls.
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!
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.
Downtown Asheville Picnics
The best place in downtown Asheville for a picnic is Pack Square Park. Get takeout from many nearby restaurants or pick up a gourmet picnic.
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, 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
Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center
Tucked away in small village near Fontana Lake and Nantahala River is an amazing gallery that showcases the work of 180+ area artists and hosts a great summer concert series. Many artist studios nearby.
Mela Indian Restaurant
This popular, award-winning Indian hub in downtown Asheville stands out for their authentic tandoori dishes, offered in an airy, modern setting. Locals love their lunch buffet and favorite dishes include their chicken masala and tandoori chicken with a mango lassi. 70 N. Lexington Avenue