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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.
A Night Before Christmas
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the holiday season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. Small town Christmas at its finest. 6-9 PM
Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival
This outdoor show in Banner Elk features juried fine art and master crafts. Held on the lawn of the historic School (185 Azalea Cir SE), find mixed media, jewelry, sculpture, glass, pottery, painting, photography, wood & more. Friday 1-5 PM, Saturday 10 AM-5 PM, Sunday 10 AM-4 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
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.
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.
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.
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. Many Cultures Day, 11 AM-4 PM, at Friendship Center.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather to share the region's Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions in downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the "green."
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.
Lake Lure Spring Arts Festival
See and buy craft and art by 90+ artists from many different disciplines during Memorial Day Weekend. Also enjoy entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of the lake. Free admission. 119 Arcade St, Lake Lure
HardLox Jewish Festival
Come enjoy lots of delicious Jewish foods in downtown Asheville, have your name written in Hebrew, learn about Jewish holidays and the Torah, and join in singing and dancing.
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.
National Gingerbread House Competition
See the winning gingerbread houses and creations on display at The Omni Grove Park Inn, elaborately decorated for the season. Public viewing Sunday-Thursday except Christmas week. See our guide for all the details.
Art on the Island Fest in Marshall
A fall fair of artisans, crafters and music on Blannahassett Island near downtown Marshall. 10 AM-5 PM.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony
Held on the Roger McGuire Green Stage of Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville starting at 2:30 PM with the Army National Guard's Army Band performing a half-hour before and after the ceremony. Free.
Easter Weekend in Asheville
Easter Weekend brings blooms, bunnies, egg hunts, Sunday brunch, sunrise services and more in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains.
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.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 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.
Art on Main, Hendersonville
Meet and buy from 90 juried fine art artists with paintings, clay, metal, wood, fiber, jewelry, glass and more. Watch demos. Main Street downtown Hendersonville has many galleries too, Sat & Sun 10 AM-5 PM
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Year's Eve
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
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.
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.
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.
Line up for your free Hunter's livermush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 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.
Fire On the Mountain
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from regionally- and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills from 10 AM to 4 PM. This event celebrates the mountain tradition of blacksmithing, with Master Blacksmiths sharing their expertise and talent. Free to attend.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
DuPont State Forest Waterfalls
(1 to 7 miles roundtrip, easy to moderate) This state forest has many miles of hiking trails. While there are quite a few waterfalls in DuPont, you can see three of the most impressive, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls with a moderate 3-mile hike. And a 4.4-mile roundtrip hike takes you to Bridal Veil Falls. See three of the biggest falls on a 7-mile waterfall hike.
Greystone Inn Golf, Lake Toxaway
Stay at the luxury Greystone Inn to be able to play the private Lake Toxaway Country Club 18-hole championship golf course. It gets high reviews for its plush fairways and perfectly manicured Bentgrass greens. Master course architect Kris Spence finessed the course across beautiful mountain terrain with 6,418 yards of fairways and Augusta-style approaches that demand pinpoint accuracy. After a round, unwind at the inn with gourmet cuisine, in the spa or on a lake cruise.
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.
OM Sanctuary, Asheville
Find rejuvenation at this holistic retreat destination. De-stress, rest, and renew with nature, while being just two miles from downtown. Explore transformational life practices, silence, personal time and optional wellness programs such as meditation, yoga, qigong, massage and holistic fitness. With 16 rooms and nine cottages, the inn features complimentary breakfast, nature trails and serenity garden.
Dining on Biltmore Estate
Experience Biltmore's legacy of food and wine inspired by their heritage of fine dining and sustainable agriculture, with the finest ingredients from their pastures and gardens. Dine at the Bistro, Cedric's Tavern, Deerpark Restaurant, Stable Cafe and the Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Admission ticket or annual pass is required to dine.
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 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.
Deerpark Restaurant @ Biltmore
This grand Sunday brunch buffet on Biltmore Estate has been a favorite for many years. Located in a converted barn with walls of windows, Deerpark's big menu includes estate-grown greens, berries, eggs, and hand-carved meats. It’s especially popular for special occasions and holidays (including Easter & Mother's Day), so make reservations well in advance. Sunday 10-2. Admission ticket or annual pass required.
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, find 70+ locally-owned restaurants with flavors from around the world. Plus, find many more award-winning chefs throughout the mountains. See our 40 favorite restaurants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Biking
Rent a mountain bike at NOC’s Tsali Bikes on the Nantahala River! We’re just 10 minutes from Tsali, or ride across the river on our own Flint Ridge Trail. Service and repairs, bike sales.