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LEAF Downtown Asheville
International music festival at Pack Square Park downtown with three stages of music, food trucks and 90 local and artisan vendors on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday until 10 PM. Free.
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Stroll down the main street in artsy Dillsboro and see works 40 of the best regional artisans, along with family entertainment and festival food. Many galleries, too. 10 AM-4 PM.
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.
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!
Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Located near Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains entrance, see old-time crafts being demonstrated at the Mountain Farm Museum. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving and making baskets, dolls, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free.
Cherokee Voices Festival
Experience the 11,000-year old Cherokee culture through dance, music, storytelling, arts and crafts. Held at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 10 AM-5 PM, with a blowgun contest at 11 AM. Traditional food available for purchase. Free admission.
Easter Weekend in Asheville
Easter Weekend brings blooms, bunnies, egg hunts, Sunday brunch, sunrise services and more in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains.
Bluff Mountain Festival
This free, family-friendly festival in Hot Springs (at the spa) features great old-time and bluegrass music, ballads, clogging, square dancing, as well as a silent auction and raffle of regional artwork, local crafts, vacation packages and more. 10 AM to 6 PM. Offers an array of delicious foods, too.
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!
Jeeves at Sea @ NC Stage Theatre
Professional theatre in downtown Asheville: Set sail for laughter as Bertie Wooster revels in life aboard the Vanderley yacht as the pampered guest of the lively Lady Stella accompanied by his peerless valet Jeeves. Wed-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Feb 9 &16 2 PM
Christmas at Biltmore
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Easter Sunrise Service at Chimney Rock
Celebrate Easter by watching the sun rise over Hickory Nut Gorge during the annual service atop Chimney Rock. Free admission.
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Asheville Community Theatre's revival of this crowd-pleaser. It’s Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small town train depot where the snowy weather causes delays. Strangers become friends, friends become family, and the warmth of human connection is deepened through stories and songs. Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 PM; Sundays 2:30 PM
Toe River Studio Tour
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally-known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission!
Mountain Life Festival Great Smoky Mtns
Experience the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life in the Great Smoky Mountains, including hearth cooking, apple butter and apple cider making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, broom making and quilting.
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.
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.
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 the US Cellular Center in 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.
Weaverville Art Safari
Drive scenic country roads to visit 35 artists in their studios and galleries about 10 minutes north of Asheville. Buy direct from them - find some great deals. Free.
Toe River Studio Tour
Drive scenic mountain roads to find 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium at their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
July 4th Week Festivals, Parades, Fireworks
Much is happening throughout the Week of July 4th with many parades and fireworks on Independence Day - in Asheville and many small towns in western North Carolina mountains.
Exhibition at the North Carolina Arboretum by Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society with award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care and history of roses.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 PM
The Big Crafty
150+ local indie artists, crafters, makers with food, drink and music in Pack Square Park downtown, 12-7:30 PM.
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
White Squirrel Festival
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much on Memorial Day Weekend.
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
Downtown After Five
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors. Lexington Avenue in Asheville. 5-9 PM.
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Featuring handmade creations from more than 60 artisans from across the region, including painting, photography, jewelry, leather, metal, soaps and more on Memorial Day Weekend. Admission is free. Across from the beach, 2771 Memorial Highway.
WNC Daylily Flower Show
Hundreds of daylilies will be on display and for sale at the North Carolina Arboretum, hosted by the WNC Daylily Society. Society members provide information on care and cultivation of daylilies.
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Meet 200 craftspeople that come together in downtown Asheville with their fine handcrafted items, while local musicians play live on the arena stage and craft educators share their knowledge. Admission.
River District Artists Studio Stroll
Head to the River Arts District near downtown Asheville to find 180+ artists at work in 25 converted industrial buildings along the river. Great deals on art! 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. See our guide for details.
Asheville Orchid Festival
The Western NC Orchid Society hosts a big show and competition at the North Carolina Arboretum. Hundreds of orchids will be on display and vendors will be selling them with plenty of advice.
Art After Dark
Downtown Waynesville galleries present special shows, with refreshments and live music 6-9 PM. Tree lighting too. Very festive small town atmosphere. Kicks off "Holly Days" weekend.
NOC's Guest Appreciation Weekend
This longtime favorite weekend at Nantahala Outdoor Center main campus near Bryson City features free attractions, live music and entertainment - along with great end-of-season deals.
Mountain State Fair
Enjoy lots of rides, exhibits, animals, food and much more. Fun for all ages! We especially love the impressive exhibits in various buildings. See the many competitions from quilting, photography, extreme garden vegetables, flowers, crafts and more. Watch craftspeople at work.
Lake Lure Polar Plunge
Jump into the chilly waters of Lake Lure to raise money for local charities. What a way to start the new year!
Montford Arts and Music Festival
One of the largest one day free music and arts festivals in Asheville, held on Montford and Soco near downtown, with 100+ vendors of art, crafts and food. Live music. 10 AM-7 PM.
Asheville Art in the Park
From pottery to jewelry, sculpture to two-dimensional art, this art festival brings together a wide array of traditional and contemporary mountain art downtown in Pack Square Park. 10 AM-5 PM
Dirty Dancing Festival
Fans of the cult-classic Dirty Dancing will relive memories of Baby's first dance in the film’s original, breathtaking backdrop of Lake Lure.
Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival
Two long-running festivals celebrate mountain craft, music and dance: the Heritage Festival and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music Festival. Both held downtown, adjoining Mars Hill University. Free. 10 AM-4 PM. Small fee for indoor evening concert.
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.
Weaverville Art Safari
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, chef competition, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, vendors and 19 cheesemakers from across the south. Advance tickets $14 for ages 12+. Tickets at the door $20. 12-5 PM.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste hard cider from 15 cider-makers, plus see local arts and crafts, taste unique food pairings and enjoy live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-5 PM at Salvage Station. $30/person advance tickets.
Madison Potters Market
Meet 20+ of the finest potters from Madison County and beyond at Marshall High Studios. This historic high school turned artist studios is on a small island in the French Broad River in downtown Marshall, 25 miles north of Asheville. 9 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
Wild Goose Festival
A festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts in Hot Springs. Talk, listen, eat and camp together, captivated and challenged by the call of radical humanity, and who seek to celebrate diversity and promote the common good.
Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
See things to do on the holiday weekend, including the best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Kick off the holiday season in style!
Wood Day at Folk Art Center
Join Guild woodworkers for an exciting day exploring various forms of woodcraft. Featuring the Annual Carve Off Competition. 10 AM –4 PM.
Asheville Holiday Parade
Downtown, 11 AM. A fun and creative parade that kicks off Asheville's holiday season with marching bands, floats, dance and theater troupes, walking groups and Santa Claus himself.
Roan Mountain Appalachian Trail
(1 to 7 miles, moderate hike) Famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendrons, Roan Mountain shelters a rich diversity of life, from spruce-fir forests to vast grassy balds. It is not one mountain, but a high ridge about five miles long, the highest point being 6,286 ft. Hike the ridge on the Appalachian Trail for sweeping views all along the way.
Ski & Stay Special, Beech Mountain
Take a mile-high midweek ski trip and save! Stay two nights (Sun-Thurs) in an condo or inn and get a lift ticket for two (Mon-Fri). Ski resort opening weather dependent. Excludes Dec 18-Jan 1, Jan 21, Feb 18.
Rate: $119/person, double occupancy
Rate: $119/person, double occupancy
Adventure Center of Asheville Mountain Biking
This outdoor playground, just five minutes from downtown, has Kolo Bike Park with five miles of purpose-built trails on rolling terrain, designed for all skill levels. Catch some air at Kolo's pump track and jump line. Bring your bike or rent a mountain bike for use here or any of the North Carolina bike trails. Combine your ride with a zip line canopy tour and a treetops adventure - all on one property.
Shoji Spa & Lodge
Soak away your stress at this outdoor Japanese retreat nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This upscale day spa features private hot tubs, a dry cedar sauna, an invigorating cold plunge and luxury slate showers--all on the edge of the National Forest. Shoji's 25 world-class licensed massage therapists specialize in couples' massage. Choose from any massage offered, such as Atama and Ashi, deep tissue, swedish, warm stone, Thai, shiatsu, herbal body wraps and more.
The Village Potters
A must-stop in the River Arts District, meet six very accomplished artists and watch them at work. Buy contemporary art in three galleries. Be a potter for an afternoon with their hands-on workshop. 191 Lyman Street
Sugar Mountain Ski Package, Banner Elk
Save up to 40% off at Best Western Mountain Lodge at Sugar Mountain. Package includes two nights lodging with breakfast. plus two days of lift tickets and ski rentals on Sunday-Thursday nights through February and every day in March. Excludes holidays. Book 7 days in advance.
Rate: From $394/couple
Rate: From $394/couple
Biltmore Package, Cumberland Falls B&B
Stay at this romantic, historic B&B near downtown, just 3 miles from Biltmore. Package includes two nights accommodations, two-course breakfast each day, and a pair of Biltmore tickets good for both days. April-September.
Appalachian Trail Day Hikes near Asheville
Take a "walk in the woods" in the most scenic sections of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail near Asheville, high in the North Carolina mountains. See our favorite six-day hikes for all fitness levels.
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.
The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn
Stars twinkle overhead, and the rock walls surrounding you resemble the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Plunge in near a waterfall, immediately hearing underwater music. Unwind with unique, luxurious treatments and healthy gourmet cuisine from the Spa Café. See more photos in our special feature.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
NOC's big Nantahala River campus offers rafting, zip lines, treetop adventures, paddleboards, hiking, biking, fishing and more for the whole family. It's like Disneyland for lovers of the outdoors! Near Bryson City.
This new restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville pairs Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Menu favorites include Palomilla Sliders, Ropa Vieja and Tostones. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Hotel adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic views. Open breakfast and dinner. 15 Page Avenue
See professional theatre in an intimate setting in downtown Asheville. In addition to their own season of great plays, they host other local theatres, dancers and musicians. Tickets from $16/person! See our NC Stage feature.
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.
Craggy Gardens Hikes
(1.5 to 3 miles, moderate) For one of the best panoramic mountain views in western North Carolina, hike the 3/4-mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail to the observation area. Also hike the Craggy Gardens Trail between the picnic area and visitor center through rhododendron that bloom in June. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364.
Looking Glass Rock
(6.5 miles roundtrip, strenuous) For 180+ degree views from a rock face, hike to the top of this iconic summit in the Pisgah National Forest. You'll hike the "backside" of the mountain, gaining 1,700 feet in elevation and a gradual climb almost the entire way.
Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures
Located just five minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from Biltmore, ride 11 zip lines from treetop platforms and adventure towers. Walk three sky bridges amidst 150-year old trees. Along the way, learn about the history of Asheville and the forest. After warming up on some shorter zips, enjoy a 1,200-ft. side-by-side zipline with panoramic views of the city and mountains.
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.
Enjoy a variety of concerts and events at this big riverfront complex on the French Broad, just a mile from downtown. It's a local's favorite with fun, casual outdoor and indoor spaces. Offers a restaurant and a full bar. 468 Riverside Drive.
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.
Jack of the Wood
(95 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) This lively British Isles-style pub features Irish food items such as bangers and mash, Irish stew, fish and chips along with 18 rotating taps and one cask tap. Sample brews while local musicians fiddle away on Irish reels or picking olde-time mountain music.
Since the late 1890s, tourists have flocked to this tiny railroad town of 700 residents. Main Street has many longtime businesses, including fantastic galleries and restaurants. A must stop is the 1899 Pace's "old time" General Store that is part museum. Since 1892 is Thompson's Store and Ward's Grill. Learn about the Saluda Grade at the Depot. Raft and tube on the Green River.
Highland Brewing Company
Head to Asheville's original craft brewery for great live music venues inside and outside, along with their tasting room with 15 of their brews on tap. You can tour the brewery, too.
Lake Junaluska Golf
Play by a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The 18-hole course is 5,034 yards and par 68. Green fees start at only $15. Stay a few days with a variety of lodging options, from hotels to cabins. Located near Waynesville and Maggie Valley, a 30-minute drive west of Asheville.