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This large, interactive space in Rutherfordton offers fun indoor and outdoor exhibits where kids can learn and stimulate imagination through hands-on playing. There are 14 different interactive exhibit areas geared for kids 10 and under. For kids 11 and up they offer a hands-on maker space called The Factory that offers workshops. The Factory is one block KidSenses.
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.
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.
Sky Lanes Bowling Alley
This West Asheville bowling alley offers a great place for kids to have fun, bowl and maybe even get a strike! (Bumpers available) Kids birthday packages are offered from 11 AM-4 PM and includes shoe rental, 1 hr of bowling, food and drink. $12/child.
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.
Little Pigs BBQ
Serving locals and visitors alike since 1963, this family friendly barbecue joint serves meats smoked over hickory wood plus popular broasted chicken and hushpuppies. Known for their fast and friendly service, stop in for a combo plate and leave satisfied! 84 McDowell St
Great Smoky Mountains NC Travel Guide
Order the free 115-page Great Smoky Mountains North Carolina Travel Guide that includes activities and adventures in 7 counties that surround the national park, published by Smoky Mountain Host.
Mountain Farm Museum, Oconaluftee Visitor Center & Mingus Mill
Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, see historic farm buildings in an open-air museum and get plenty of great information from rangers. Nearby you can explore Mingus Mill, a historic grist mill dating from 1886.
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
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.
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.
See this 250-ft. waterfall from along US 64 (Mountain Waters Scenic Byway) in the Cullasaja River Gorge, located between Highlands and Franklin. It's just 5.5 miles from Dry Falls.
Hands On! Children's Museum
This children's museum in historic Downtown Hendersonville has interactive exhibits with focuses on science, identification, classification, fine and gross motor skills, technology, engineering, math and more. Party package includes admission for 24 total guests (adults + children), table/chairs for 12 kids, and a gift for birthday child. Packages start at $140.
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.
Summer Food Festivals
There's seldom a weekend in the summer without a great outdoor festival in Asheville and the surrounding small towns that includes plenty of food.
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.
WNC Cheese Trail
The WNC Cheese Trail includes several small cheesemakers and farms near Asheville. Sample cheeses and buy some to take home. Looking Glass Creamery is an easy drive from downtown Asheville.
Sunny Point Café
A favorite local spot in West Asheville since 2003, discover innovative comfort food with made-from-scratch products and a farm-to-table approach. They even grow some of their ingredients in their adjacent garden. Favorites include the huevos rancheros, cornmeal hot cakes, French toast and their killer shrimp and grits. Open every day at 8 AM and breakfast menu served until 2:30 PM. 626 Haywood Road.
Voted #1 Romantic Restaurant by Travel & Leisure, this Western Mediterranean tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville sets the mood for love. Enjoy the warm ambiance while indulging in farm-to-table tapas and exotic fine wine. Be sure to make reservations, they book up on weekends. 85 W Walnut St
Find the most romantic places to eat in Asheville, a longtime romantic destination for couples getaway. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or planning the perfect first date, there are a variety of cozy spots for just the two of you.
This cozy eatery serves up delicious Nepalese, Indian, and Tibetan dishes, with old-world ambiance. Dishes are created from fresh, local ingredients, including high altitude herbs, rice, lentils, potatoes, and green leafy vegetables most common in Nepal. Ask about their lunch special platter. 90 Patton Avenue
Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
They assist the National Park Service to preserve and protect the Great Smoky Mountains by raising funds and public awareness, and by providing volunteers for needed projects. Total disbursements to the Park surpass $50 million.
Shadow of the Bear
See this unique fall natural phenomenon in Jackson County just for a few weeks each year, evenings along US 64 near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest.
French Broad RiverCamp
This day camp by RiverLink offers a week of river and watershed exploration for campers through hand-on environmental education, service learning projects, and river recreation like rafting, tubing and swimming. 5-Day sessions run June-July, 9 AM-4 PM. Grades 3-8. Cost: $300/week.
Capella on 9
This large rooftop bar offers views of Asheville’s cityscape and surrounding mountains, an ideal setting to unwind and take it in. Order drinks and enjoy small plates from the tapas-style menu. Enter through the hotel lobby on Broadway and take the elevator to the 9th. 10 Broadway
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
Explore one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina, with historic antebellum homes and a downtown filled with shops, restaurants and one of the best children's museums in the state. And it's the site of the first minted gold coins in the USA!
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!
Gypsy Queen Cuisine
This Eastern Mediterranean eatery in West Asheville serves up a fresh cuisine of soups, salads, dips, wraps and bowls. Feast on tabouleh, hummus, baba ganoush, wraps with beef, lamb, falafel and more. Fun sides include fried brussels, grape leaves and Lebanese fries. Mon-Sat 11 AM-9 PM, Sunday 11 AM-8 PM. 807 Patton Ave
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
White Labs Kitchen & Taproom
This brewpub showcases craft cocktails, wine and 32 rotating taps of local beer. They serve wood-fired pizzas, farm-fresh salads and beer-infused dishes and desserts. Their winning cheeseburger features a grain-fed beef patty with smoked gouda, tomato jam, fried shallots, house pickles and special sauce. 172 S Charlotte 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 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 espresso bar while kids enjoy the kid-friendly space with toys and things to do.
Asheville Distilling Company, Asheville
Inspired by the moonshiners of Western North Carolina, this distillery produces Appalachian inspired moonshine, whiskey and bourbon under the Troy & Sons brand. They are located next to Highland Brewing Company in East Asheville. Free tastings are Fri/Sat 5-6:30 PM, no appointment needed. Group tours available by appointment.
ABYSA Soccer Camps
This summer soccer camp offers three camp options for varying skill sets, from beginner to experienced players. Campers will learn foundational skills like dribbling, passing, receiving, shielding, and shooting. Full day campers will have afternoon pool time. Weekly sessions run June-Aug with full and half-day options, age 7-14. $135-$235/week
WNC Overnight Summer Camps Guide
Discover the best residential camps for older kids and teens near Asheville in Western North Carolina, with sessions ranging from 3 days up to 8 weeks that include a wide variety of activities including whitewater rafting, zipline tours, creative writing, painting or science and technology workshops.
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.
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park
Open all year, ages 4+ can play in the trees with 77 challenge elements on 7 aerial trails including climbing, jumping, swinging and rappelling. 5 minutes from downtown at
the Adventure Center of Asheville including night climbs.
the Adventure Center of Asheville including night climbs.
In the heart of Asheville in Pack Square is this comfortable place for friends, families and strangers to simply lean in and enjoy each other's company. A place where food and drink is at its uncomplicated best. Chef John Fleer's 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. 7 Pack Square.
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.
(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.
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.
Nantahala Gorge Picnics
Picnic by the Nantahala River while watching whitewater rafters and kayakers negotiate the rapids. At NOC, Big Wesser cafe has street tacos and riverside outdoor tables. A few miles down the road is the Ferebee Memorial on the Mountain Waters National Scenic Byway with a picnic area featuring tables, charcoal grills, flush toilets, and river access.
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.
Cradle of Forestry
(2 miles loop, easy) Walk paved, accessible trails to see restored buildings from the early 1900s and learn about how forestry began in the United States. Perfect for strollers, wheelchairs and scooters.
Find easy drinking, clean Belgian and American-inspired ales in a taproom with games, community tables, live music, and a range of food options nearby in hip West Asheville. On Sunday in the warmer months, check out their Sunday Sessions from 3-6 PM with live local music. (265 Haywood Road, Asheville)
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.
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
This casual full-service vegetarian-friendly restaurant with two locations in West Asheville features Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, daily specials, and desserts. Enjoy a variety of local microbrews and wine. Open daily 11:30 AM-10 PM. 751 Haywood Rd
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.
Fall Leaf Color Show
The Asheville area has one of longest lasting fall color shows in the country. Fall foliage begins to change in the highest elevations in early October and finishes in the lowest valleys in early November. See our week-by-week color prediction and plenty of photos.
Carolina Living Choices Retirement Guide
Carolina Living Choices is a free printed guide for active, senior living retirement in Western North Carolina. They offer a wealth of information and expertise on real estate, 55+, and retirement communities near Asheville, including lifestyle resources for education, enrichment, recreation, and travel. See helpful articles and request a free digital retirement guide on their website.
Planning Your Move to Asheville
Find information for planning your move to Asheville and Western NC including counties, county services, utilities, schools, community resources, and more.
Beech Mountain Biking & Hiking
Hike, bike and golf in the highest town in eastern America, and enjoy cool temperatures all summer long. Their 20-mile trail system is open year-round.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in and around Asheville
Find plenty of kid-friendly restaurants in Asheville with extra “kid perks” like casual settings with outdoor space, play areas, arcade games, and more.
Meander tree-lined streets, explore 40 unique shops and relax at 10 cafes and restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Don't miss the fabulous New Morning Gallery.
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Visit Pack Square Park, dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!
Asheville Real Estate News
Founded in 2017, Asheville Real Estate News is a media outlet dedicated to local real estate with weekly podcasts and articles covering everything Asheville real estate has to offer.
Best 75 Mountain Hikes
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are in pristine national forests or parks. We picked our favorites and created extensive guides for each with photos and details. Find hikes for all skill levels in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
Traveling with your dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide to Asheville and the North Carolina mountains that includes lodging, hiking, Biltmore, kennels, dog parks and more.
Stroll down Marion's Main Street lined with historic buildings, churches and the courthouse. It sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains near popular attractions like Mt. Mitchell and Linville Falls. Don't miss the Livermush & Bigfoot Festivals!
County Health Departments in WNC
Amid the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, here's a list of county health departments in our region with accurate information and resources related to each county.
10 Reasons to Move to Asheville
See why Asheville receives countless accolades for being one of the best places to live in the United States, including our friendly small towns and communities high in the hills.
Find some of the most spectacular scenery with many hikes along the rim to peaks like Table Rock, Hawksbill and Shortoff. And don't forget Linville Falls!
Best Massage & Bodywork in Asheville
A top destination for massage therapy and bodywork, find the best massage in and around Asheville for the perfect wellness getaway. Western North Carolina (WNC) features a wide diversity of world-class licensed and insured massage therapists specializing in holistic wellness and healing arts.
Carolina Christmas Show
This Broadway-style show in Marion features live music, dancing, and comedy sure to put you in the holiday spirit! There are four performances to choose from throughout the weekend. Tickets are $12-25.
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas
Experience this dazzling holiday celebration! This all-new show comes to life with a cast of Flat Rock favorites, bringing magic and merriment to the stage- capturing the spirit of the holidays with seasonal classics and new adaptations and medleys.
Jump Off Rock, Hendersonville
Within 15 minutes of downtown Hendersonville, Jump Off Rock is one of the most easily accessible overlooks in WNC. On a clear day, peer into four states and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains.
(507 Haywood Rd) This craft beer collective in West Asheville is the perfect spot for beer snobs, offering a variety of hard-to-find craft, world-class craft beer. Choose from their 20 rotating taps and extensive bottle selection of craft beers, wines, meads, sakes, and ciders. Open daily 12-11 PM.
Fed by Greenland Creek, this falls features multiple sections of sliding cascades, totaling 45 feet in height. The waterfall’s namesake, Carlton McNeill died at age 86 in 2007 after years of living in and caring for the hiking trails and scenery of Panthertown Valley. It’s hard to find a veteran hiker of the area who doesn’t have a memory of McNeill stumbling out of the woods to give them a hand with their expedition.
Places to Stay in and around Dillsboro
Find places to stay in Dillsboro including historic Inns, cabins, vacation rentals, and hotels that offer riverfront lodging, walkability to town, scenic balcony views, pet-friendly accommodations, hot tubs, and access to plenty of outdoor activities.
Top Spas in and around Asheville
Relax and rejuvenate as you get pampered at a spa. From natural hot springs to world-class destination spas, there are plenty of choices. We have been a destination for wellness for centuries. Also, find a mecca for holistic and alternative wellness. In recent years, Asheville has become a well-known destination for travelers seeking holistic and alternative wellness.