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The Haunted Trail, Adventure Center of Asheville
Celebrating the Halloween season, this family-friendly haunted trail is ideal for ages 3-12 and features live actors, spooky sounds, and props for a no-touch, no-contact heart-pumping experience. Also enjoy spooky live entertainment, no-touch activities, and food and beverages available including hot chocolate. 11 nights in October, 7-9 PM.
Fire On the Mountain
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from Penland School and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills. Iron & metal art exhibit, tool and gear vendors, forge-off, food trucks. Free admission. No pets.
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, so buy tickets ahead.
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.
Winter Events & Valentine Outings
See our top picks for things to do and events in January, February and March - including Valentine's Weekend!
National Gingerbread House Competition
Sip hot cocoa and stroll through the amazing gingerbread house displays at The National Gingerbread Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville!
Christmas Day & Week Things to Do
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville, Biltmore and the surrounding mountain towns.
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 in downtown Asheville.
A festive day at New Belgium Brewery on the French Broad River near downtown Asheville with live music, food trucks, craft beers, and more - benefits RiverLink. Our favorite is the Anything that Floats Parade competition. Free admission.
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
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.
At this festival, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, you can drive through and sample and buy some of the traditional foods and pastries such as lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita, gyro, souvlaki, and baklava. They will also offer delivery through KickbackAVL.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area! The one in Bakersville NC is Friday & Saturday. In TN, it's Saturday & Sunday.
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.
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.
Art on the Island Fest in Marshall
A free fall fair of artisans, crafters, and music on Blannahassett Island near downtown Marshall. 10 AM-5PM
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap, and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils, and more - indoors at 31 Cross Street. Mine tours also. Grassy Creek Gem Show outdoors at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors.
Arbor Evenings, NC Arboretum
Sip and stroll through the NC Arboretum gardens after dark (5:30-8 PM) with live music. Beer, wine, and nonalcoholic drinks available for purchase and food available by preorder only. Admission is free with a $16/car parking fee for non-members. Arbor Evenings run Thursdays and Fridays, June 23 - September 30, 2022.
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.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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.
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.
See our Top 20 Things to Do on Valentine's Day and Week in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, with a photo tour of romantic getaway ideas.
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.
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.
Front Street Arts & Crafts Show
Stroll downtown artsy Dillsboro and interact with more than 40 of the region's best artisans. Browse the many shops and galleries while experiencing some of the area's best restaurants. Entertainment and festival food round out a great family day that celebrates mountain art and culture. Free admission. Pets welcomed. 10 AM-4 PM.
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.
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.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste 90 different varieties of cider and mead from 20+ makers, plus see local arts and crafts, taste unique food pairings, and enjoy live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-4 PM at Olivette Riverside Community & Farm, 1069 Olivette Road. $39/person advance tickets.
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.
LEAF Down by the River, Asheville
International music festival happening at The Outpost with cultural youth performances, live music, artisan and food vendors, bounce houses, river fun, and more! Saturday, 11 AM-8 PM. Free.
Cherokee Voices Festival
Experience the 11,000-year old Cherokee culture through dance, music, storytelling, blowgun contest, arts and crafts. Held at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, 10 AM-5 PM. Traditional food available for purchase. Free admission.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 PM
Chow Chow Food Festival
Savor Asheville's creative culinary scene with many events, chef demos, and hands-on experiences. Meet and connect with the makers and collaborators who nourish, nurture and create in our Appalachian Mountains.
Brevard Music Center Summer Festival
One of the country's premier summer music festivals with 100+ performances by 500 students from around the world - joined by faculty and visiting artists for symphony, opera, pops, chamber, cabaret, Americana, and jazz. Artist Director is Keith Lockhart (Boston Pops).
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azaleas, and elaborate floral displays inside Biltmore House.
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!
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 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!
Dillsboro, Festival of Lights & Luminaries
This event illuminates this mountain artisan village the first two weekends in December. In an era of electronic gadgetry and LED lights, Dillsboro’s celebration is a throwback and has been being named one of the "Top 20" events in the Southeast for the month of December. Adapted from a Scandinavian custom of lighting the way for the Christ child, more than 2,500 candles in white bags line the streets with more than a dozen shops (mostly galleries and artist studios) to explore.
North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.
Sauna House, Asheville
This community bathhouse is downtown Asheville is a wellness destination, focused on hot and cold contrast therapies. Amenities include traditional saunas, cold showers, cold plunges, and heated furniture. They offer private therapeutic experiences such as infrared sauna cabins and the brand new Hot Cold Relax rooms. Equipped with their own sauna, cold plunge, and red light therapy panels, these Hot Cold Relax rooms are perfect for a quiet introduction to sauna and cold therapy or to spend some quality time with your special people. While using the space, enjoy organic loose-leaf teas, sparkling waters, and kombuchas.
Bryson City, Hometown to Polar Express
Bryson City is extra magical during the holiday season! Each November and December, 90,000 people climb aboard the Polar Express at the Depot and travel to the North Pole. Before or after your train ride, find many nearby shops and restaurants - see why it’s one of our Top Christmas Towns. The town is decked out with garland and holiday lights, with a 50 ft Christmas tree in the town square. At the Visitor Center (255 Main St) kids can enjoy cookies and hot cocoa while they write letters to Santa.
Hemingway's Cuba, Asheville
You can't beat the view at this restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville, pairing Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Menu favorites include Empanadas, Tostones Board, Ropa Vieja and Vaca Frita. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Downtown Asheville, adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic views of Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Open breakfast and dinner, Monday – Sunday, and Weekend Brunch. 15 Page Avenue
Asheville By Foot Walking Tours
Take a guided walking tour through downtown Asheville and discover its rich and fascinating history, whether it’s your first time or tenth time visiting! These walking tours highlight Asheville’s rich history, unique culture, and stunning architecture. Explore historic neighborhoods, downtown architecture, murals, and more on their four tour options. Tours are $30/adult and run 1.5 - 2 hrs.
America's Favorite Drive Package, The Omni Grove Park Inn
This fall, take in the crisp air, colorful vistas, and wide open spaces with a mountain getaway to the Blue Ridge Mountain at Asheville's iconic resort! The package includes deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast, Blue Ridge Parkway map, and overnight valet or garage parking.
Find much to do! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries, or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in the Smokies features camping, hiking, trout fishing and the ever-popular tubing. Raft the Nantahala River. And that's just the beginning!
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.
Give the Gift of “Cook Now & Stay Later," Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
The Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association (ABBA) invites you to stay home for the holidays with a "Cook Now & Stay Later" offer. Purchase the "Morning in the Mountains" cookbook for $25 now and receive a $50 gift certificate for a future stay. With over 100 delectable recipes, you can cook up the best breakfast in town. Later, come stay at one of the premier B&Bs located in Asheville.
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery, Mountain Brook Vineyard and Green Creek Winery. It's an easy 45-mile drive from Asheville via I-26 East (near SC line).
There's a lot happening in this lake town! In addition to a beach to keep cool on hot summer's day, there's a wonderful Town Center Walkway that connects the beach to the beautiful Flowering Bridge. Take a boat tour of the lake or bring your mountain bike for their new trail system at Buffalo Creek Park.
Give the Gift of Museum-Quality Art, Momentum Gallery
Gift a piece of art, to treasure for a lifetime. Momentum Gallery presents museum-quality works that celebrate material-based traditions rich in our area. The gallery’s collection moves gracefully between style and medium to tell a story of the creative human spirit and reverence for nature. At once diverse and cohesive, everything at Momentum is designed to pique curiosity or challenge perception.
Book directly through the Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association to receive the best rates for unique Inns in Asheville and surrounding countryside and mountains. Stays include historic homes on the National Register of Historic Places, quaint cottages, cabins, rustic lodges, and more.
Asheville Salt Cave & Spa
Experience a unique oasis in downtown, a salt-enriched microclimate that allows the body and mind to gain relaxation and balance. The power of salt therapy has been known for centuries. Plus, get a hot salt stone massage and other spa treatments. Read more in our full-page feature on the Salt Cave.
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours
See the city’s scenic beauty and historic landmarks atop some of Asheville’s highly acclaimed rooftop bars! This fun guided tour in the heart of the city offers fascinating stories and photos from the city’s past while you sample cocktails (or mocktails) at three rooftop bars. Rooftop sunset tours, too. Tours are rain or shine, with covered and heated areas including fire pits for year-round enjoyment. Van chauffeured transportation!
Home to NC's most photographed courthouse, perched on a hill overlooking the busy historic Main Street with fantastic restaurants, breweries, general stores, shops, and festivals. Film location for 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing. Home to Terminus of the WNC Fly Fishing Trail ®️, the only fly fishing trail in the Country.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Nantahala Outdoor Center offers whitewater rafting trips on the French Broad River just outside of Asheville, or just a short drive is 500-acres of family-friendly adventure near Bryson City with over 100 itineraries of river and land-based activities like rafting, kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, hiking and more. Enjoy riverside dining at two restaurants, shopping at the Outfitter’s Store, and live music all in the Nantahala Gorge.
Adventure Center of Asheville, Outdoor Family Fun!
Family adventures for ages 4 and over: Climb our Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements with 7 different aerial trails, zip our Kid Zip park (ages 4-10), or Asheville Zipline Canopy Tours (ages 8+), or ride Kolo Bike Park. Open all year and just minutes from downtown Asheville. See our feature.
The Spa At The Omni Grove Park Inn
Revitalize your body and rejuvenate your senses at The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn. Built into the side of the mountain, this award-winning subterranean Spa brings the outdoors in with breathtaking natural light and stunning rock formations. Whether enjoying a soak in the restorative mineral pools, a transformative full-body massage, or dining at Sunset Terrace, you’ll soon understand why The Spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn is consistently voted as one of the top resort spas in the world.
Asheville Bed & Breakfast Association
This group of top B&Bs offers unique stays ranging from historic inns near downtown Asheville to small-town getaways to country retreats with spectacular mountain views. All are inspected and meet the highest standards of health, safety, and hospitality. Innkeepers love to help you plan the perfect trip!
Give the Gift of Nature, The North Carolina Arboretum
Treat the nature lover in your life to the gift of beauty and solace. Gift memberships to The North Carolina Arboretum Society include one year of access to 65 acres of magnificent landscapes and gardens, 10+ miles of forested trails for walking, biking, and hiking, free parking, and more! Gift memberships purchased before December 31st will receive an extra three months.
Gift a Star-Studded Gingerbread Class, The Omni Grove Park Inn
Gift the art of Gingerbread Making from the Omni Grove Park Inn via a three-part online cooking class series, “Baking Spirits Bright,” featuring All-Star Chefs and National Gingerbread Competition Judges (including celebrity chef, Carla Hall). A portion of the proceeds goes to ACFEF’s Chef and Child Initiative. Class takers also receive 15% off future stays Jan. - Mar. ’21 and have access to the classes for 9 months.