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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hendersonville Home for the Holidays
Main Street twinkles with thousands of lights with many festive events including carriage rides, parade, Broadway shows, tours, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
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!
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.
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.
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area! The one in Bakersville NC is Friday & Saturday.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Village Art & Craft Fair
Fantastic fair in Biltmore Village with 100 hand-selected artists from 16 states, representing the full spectrum of craft media - jewelry, ceramic, wood, fiber, metals, two-dimensional art and more.
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.
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
Flock to Rock Birding Day
Led by birding experts, events at Chimney Rock Park includes bird walks, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches and family nature walks.
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.
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.
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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!
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.
This festival of flowers celebrates two months of spring blooms that include 75,000+ tulips, orchids, azalaeas 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!
Forest Festival at Cradle of Forestry
More than 80 traditional craftsmen, exhibitors and entertainers celebrate our forests at the site of the first forestry school in America. Wood carvers, weavers, blacksmith, archery, horse-drawn wagon rides and lumberjack competition at the adjacent Pink Beds picnic area.
Top 50 Summer Festivals & Events
See our list of the best festivals and summer events in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains during June-August.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Garden Jubilee Festival
This huge plant and crafts festival covers eight blocks of Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Free seminars and tips from expects - including decks and patios. Memorial Day Weekend.
Spring Herb Festival at Western NC Farmer's Market
Largest herb festival in the Southeast with 50+ businesses with plants, books, soaps, herbal crafts, medicinal herbs, lotions, dried flowers, baked goods, herbal gifts and much more. Free admission.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lake Julian Festival of Lights
This drive-thru light show in south Asheville features 50 animated light displays and thousands of colored lights in a lakeside park. $10 per car. 6-9 PM. Walk through on Dec 1.
Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum
Stroll through impressive light displays in the Arboretum gardens, especially designed to compliment the plants and trees in this beautiful setting. We are delighted to be a sponsor of this festive event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
Asheville Art Classes & Lessons
Take an afternoon- or week-long painting or pottery class/workshop in Asheville at studios in the River Arts District. Group or private lessons are designed for beginners and experienced. Take home a souvenir of art that your create!
Looking Glass Falls
Roadside 60-ft. waterfall in Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Enjoy from the parking area or take the steps down for an up-close look. 10 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway.
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.
Blue Ridge at The Omni Grove Park Inn
Feast on a farm-to-table artisanal buffet at this historic resort with mountain views. The Art of Breakfast buffet features two big rooms filled with countless options. Open at 6:30 AM daily. Reservations recommended for the popular Champagne Sunday Brunch 12 Noon-2:30 PM (longer hours for holidays including Easter & Mother's Day). 290 Macon Avenue
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 Omni Grove Park Inn Dining
Four restaurants! Sunset Terrace serves the finest prime beef and seafood on the outdoor veranda. Blue Ridge Dining Room specializes in farm-to-table comfort cuisine, served a la carte or grand buffet. EDISON Craft Ales + Kitchen focuses on local beer, cocktails and Southern comfort food. Vue 1913 is an American twist on a European style restaurant. 290 Macon Ave.
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.
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
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.
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.
Downtown's quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries and general store take you back to a more leisurely time. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world. The Museum of NC Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House. On summer Friday nights, come down for the Mountain Street Dances.
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.
The Amazing Pubcycle
Ride through downtown on a wicked-cool 13-person pedal powered (motor-assisted) contraption like no other. Imagine riding your bike sideways, hanging out at your favorite pub on wheels. Pubcycle is a BYOB activity, so get your brew on!
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.
Max Patch on Appalachian Trail
(1.4 or 2.4 miles, easy) Hike a section of the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail (or AT) near Hot Springs. What a picnic spot, with 360-degree mountain views! The 1.4-mile short loop crosses the summit. The 2.4-mile loop circles the mountain for outstanding views from all the sides. Or extend your hike in either direction of the AT.
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.
Beer City Festival
Sample brews from 30+ local breweries downtown in Pack Square Park, with live music and local food. Hosted by Asheville Brewers Alliance, part of Beer Week. Buy tickets in advance (often sells out).
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.