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The Big Crafty
150+ local indie artists, crafters, makers with food, drink and music in Pack Square Park downtown, 12-7:30 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
NOC Spring Fling
Celebrate spring at Nantahala Outdoor Center with a free, family-friendly event by the Nantahala River with the 5K, vendor fair, gear demos, food, music and specials at the Outfitter's Store.
Bonsai Expo at NC Arboretum
This horticultural extravaganza features a juried display of bonsai by clubs from across the southeast, a renowned bonsai marketplace, workshops, free demonstrations and a popular Ikebana exhibit.
Easter Weekend in Asheville
Easter Weekend brings blooms, bunnies, egg hunts, Sunday brunch, sunrise services and more in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains.
Footloose Musical, Asheville Community Theatre
Energetic musical version of the 1984 film with the Top 40 score amplified with new songs, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of opening minds and listening to the voices of young people. Fri & Sat 7:30 PM; Sun at 2:30 PM; Thurs 2/21 and 2/28 at 7:30 PM. Tickets from $15/person
A weekend at LEAF is the equivalent of going on a year-long multicultural musical and dance odyssey - longtime favorite festival held in Black Mountain on a lake with camping and limited tickets.
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
Saluda Arts Festival
Outstanding festival with 100% hand-picked regional artists along Saluda's historic Main Street. See a big diversity of art media and enjoy music representing Americana, blues, folk and contemporary. Watch artist demonstrations. Free. 10 AM-4 PM.
Longtime favorite international cultural arts and music weekend festival by the lake, in Black Mountain with camping and limited tickets.
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.
Downtown Brevard Halloweenfest
This festival features a Flight of the Vampire 5K, 10K and Children’s Fun Run, along with a costume contest and parade, chili cook-off, pie bake-off, street vendors, a pumpkin-carving contest, haunted house and more.
Blue Ridge Pride Festival
The biggest LGBTQ pride festival in western North Carolina is held in downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park, with more than 100 vendors, entertainment, as well as a kids area with lots of fun activities.
Spring Events & Festivals: Top 40
Check out our calendar of the best festival and events in Asheville and western North Carolina in April and May.
Holiday Season Top 50 Events (November & December)
See our favorite events, festivals and art shows during the holiday season in Asheville and western North Carolina mountains, including many small towns and Biltmore Estate.
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.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer in downtown Asheville, starting at 5 PM. Free admission.
Dillsboro Festival of Lights & Luminaries
Experience the magic as the entire town 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.
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.
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.
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat.
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.
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!
Flat Rock Playhouse Christmas
Dazzling new production featuring favorite holiday songs with an all-star cast from across the USA, Studio 52 Students, Playhouse Chorus and dancers of all ages. Near Hendersonville.
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.
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!
Heritage Weekend at Folk Art Center
This free festival features traditional music, dancing and heritage craft demonstrations. A highlight is the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition on Saturday.
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.
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Great BBQ with live bluegrass, antique tractor show, jamming stage, championship clogging teams, artists & crafts vendors, and local food vendors. At the Riverside Park across the river from downtown Spruce Pine, 305 Tappan Street. Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 10-10. Tickets $5/person.
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils and more - 31 Cross Street. Also, go to Grassy Creek Gem Show at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors.
Laugh Your Asheville Off Comedy Festival
Get ready to laugh aa the largest stand-up comedy event in the southeast returns with 40 comics performing at mulitple venues in Asheville. Single event tickets & combo passes.
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.
Woolly Worm Festival
Celebrate the coming of the snow season with woolly worm races, live entertainment and lots of food and craft vendors in downtown Banner Elk during peak fall color. Highly popular!
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
Mountain Dance & Folk Festival
Since 1928, mountain fiddlers, banjo pickers, dulcimer sweepers, dancers, balladeers and others have come together the first weekend in August for a showcase of authentic bluegrass music and dancing in Asheville.
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.
Autumn at Oz at Beech Mtn
There's no place like the Beech Mountain's Land of Oz. Stroll along the yellow brick road, experience a recreation of Dorothy's journey from her home in Kansas and meet many of the characters so central to "The Wizard of Oz." The event sells out fast!
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.
Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk
Galleries stay open late with special exhibits and artists mingling throughout downtown, 5-8 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.
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.
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.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
At this festival, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, you can sample some of the traditional foods and pastries (such as lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita, gyro, souvlaki and baklava), watch traditional dancing and enjoy the authentic Greek music.
Chimney Rock Park Hikes
(1 to 4 miles, easy to strenuous) Hike a variety of trails with spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge or a 400-foot waterfall. Often overlooked, the challenging Four Seasons Trail begins near the Meadows and takes you through a beautiful deciduous forest and boulder fields.
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.
Mt. LeConte & Alum Cave
(11 miles round-trip, strenuous) The Alum Cave Trail is the most-hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains. You'll see why, with interesting geological features and stunning views. To reach the 6,593-ft. summit of Mount LeConte (third highest peak in the Smokies), you'll climb 2,853 ft. in elevation in 5.5 miles.
Skyterra Wellness Retreat
A beautiful mountain retreat in the Land of the Waterfalls where you set aside life’s obligations to focus on your own health and well-being. This caring community of stress management, fitness, and culinary experts helps you break old cycles, jumpstart new habits, and embrace the healthy, revitalized lifestyle you deserve. Stay for a week, or as long as you'd like. Rates include daily yoga, fitness, meditation, and education classes, private room, and chef-prepared meals.
Jackson County Ale Trail
For a more laid back, small town beer adventure, head to Sylva’s Main Street for Balsam Falls and Innovation Brewing. Then venture to Innovation's new Dillsboro riverside spot and Whiteside Brewing in Cashiers.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Transport your senses to faraway lands with authentic made-from-scratch Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy belly dancing and live music. Lunch and dinner every day. See our Jerusalem Garden Cafe feature with pics and video. 78 Patton Avenue.
Couples Mind/Body Spa Package, Still Point Wellness
This four-hour spa escape for two includes a 90-minute Salt Water Float and a 75-minute Esalen Massage back to back. While you are receiving a massage, your partner is floating; then you switch. Downtown Asheville.
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.
Winter Time Savings, Jackson County
Stay between January 6-March 28 and save 20% on 60+ cabin rentals in the scenic mountains near Sylva, Cashiers, Dillsboro and Cherokee - with a big variety of sizes and amenities. Perfect for romantic getaways or gatherings of family and friends.
From: From $152/2 nights
From: From $152/2 nights
Ski & See Package, Carolina Mornings
With each stay between Dec 14-Feb 28, receive a Wolf Ridge ski pass and Biltmore admission (up to $150 value). Choose from 120 unique cabins and rental homes, most pet-friendly. Scenic Wolf Cabins are adjacent to slopes.
Rates: From $100/night studio, $134/night 1BR, $185/night 2BR
Rates: From $100/night studio, $134/night 1BR, $185/night 2BR
Brevard Summer Music Festival
Choose from 80 public concerts, staged operas and musicals during a seven week period (mid June through early August) at their campus in Brevard, 32 miles from downtown.
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.
Momentum Art Gallery
See spectacular contemporary art from artists in western North Carolina and throughout the United States - browsing is welcome in this downtown gallery. 24 North Lexington
The charming town of Valdese celebrates the "Glorious Return" of the Waldenses from exile in Switzerland to their native Italy in 1689. Find 170+ vendors crafts, great food and top-quality entertainment. Main Street. 9 AM-6 PM. Friday night concert also. Near Morganton.
The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and updated streetscapes with flowers and art. Find many spots for outdoor dining and a big variety of quality shops and galleries along a six-block stretch of Main Street. Don't miss two street festivals, the Garden Jubilee and the huge NC Apple Festival.
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.
Whether you desire panoramic mountain views, relaxation by a lake or a secluded woodlands setting, each stunning home is lovingly designed for luxury and comfort. $145-$425/night. Week... read more
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
Tupelo Honey - Downtown Asheville
Longtime favorite for both locals and visitors! This is where Tupelo began in 2000 as a destination for scratch-made Southern food rooted in the Carolina Mountains. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served every day. Enjoy craft cocktails, specialty beers and famous honey dusted fried chicken at their new lounge, adjacent to original space. 12 College Street.
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This majestic 150-ft. waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest can be reached via a hiking trail from Gorges State Park. Enjoy the falls safely on a boulder at its base or at the top. A little upstream is Turtleback Falls, a cool summer swimming hole.
The Montford Rooftop Bar
Soak in epic sunsets and mountain views from atop the Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown, while enjoying seasonal craft cocktails, local beer, wine and small bites. Both indoor and outdoor spaces. Valet parking. 199 Haywood Street, Asheville
With 25 craft breweries in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, where to begin? Use our Beer Guide to plan your strategy. You can walk to many breweries in downtown Asheville, especially in the South Slope Brewing District. Two recent big additions include Sierra Nevada and New Belgium.