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Catawba Valley Wine Tour
Visit wineries in the foothills of the Catawba Valley located east of Asheville, between Marion and Morganton. Three of them (Silver Fork, South Creek and Lake James Cellars) are along a 15-mile drive near I-40, so very convenient!
Since 1982, Asheville's largest high-energy dance club is renowned throughout as the epicenter for creativity, diversity and entertainment. Don't miss their midnight show, premiering the best drag anywhere. Dance the night away with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
Top 50 Summer Events & Festivals
June, July, August: From street festivals to outdoor concerts, check out our top summer picks for Asheville and the surrounding NC mountain towns. Most are free.
NC Arboretum Hikes
(Many options, easy to moderate) Located just 10 miles south of downtown, the Arboretum has 10 miles of easy to moderate walking and biking trails. Our pick is the Natural Garden Trail, a one-mile loop starting from the Plants of Promise Garden to the Core Area Gardens.
Sweet Treats of the Carolinas Festival
Western NC's sweetest festival includes thousands of delicious donuts, food trucks, donut-eating contest, pageant, crafts, 5K, half-marathon and a variety of vendors on Main Street in Marion, 10 AM-3 PM.
Swain County Heritage Museum
Located on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Bryson City, see photos, exhibits and video about the early settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains, including a restored log cabin porch. Free admission.
Nantahala National Forest
The largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres) covers much of the western tip of the state. Find a wealth of outdoor activities, including whitewater on the Nantahala River, waterfalls and plenty of scenic views.
Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
Head to Asheville Outlets mall for a big gathering of 25 food trucks. Buy a big variety of food, along with craft ales and beers from 50 breweries. Music, lawn games and artisan market. 12 Noon-5 PM next to Field & Stream. $5/person in advance and $10 day of.
Cool Off in Mountain Swimming Holes
Refresh yourself and have fun in our cool mountain waters in our lakes, rivers and waterfalls. See our favorite swimming spots (including popular Sliding Rock), tubing spots, pools and beaches.
Sweet Retreat, Shoji Spa
3 hours of bliss begins with a one-hour private outdoor salt tub with a box of locally crafted aphrodisiac chocolates and bottle of Champagne. Then, relax with a side-by-side 90 minute couples massage with Japanese Shobu oil, plus your choice of body brushing or foot reflexology.
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Bee-to-Honey Farm Tours
This unique hands-on tour of Killer Bees Honey Farm above Pisgah National Forest includes putting on a bee suit, pouring your own honey and a delicious honey tasting and pairing. Located near Lake Toxaway and Brevard. Small groups, advance reservations only.
Flat Rock Ciderworks
(305 North Main St, Hendersonville) Visit this tasting room in downtown to try their Wicked Peel and Blackberry Gold hard ciders made from local apples and blackberries from their nearby orchard. Open Wed-Sun afternoons.
Red Stag Grill Sunday Brunch
Located inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village, this elegant "chic rustic lodge" restaurant has a fabulous Sunday Brunch Buffet 10 AM-2 PM with classic favorites and European comfort food. $39/person. Liquid features include the bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Reservations highly recommended.
This quaint mountain village at 3,700 feet elevation has great restaurants, breweries, shops, Wildcat Lake beach, and many events including the Woolly Worm Festival in October. Near Beech Mountain skiing and Grandfather Mountain hiking.
Hunger and Thirst
Eat, drink, have a great time at the best restaurants, breweries, wineries and cideries in Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Mills River and Chimney Rock and take advantage of great savings, special menus and events.
Cooking grounded in the traditions and ingredients of the Carolinas with modern southern seasonal farm-to-table menus, fresh catches from the coast of the Carolinas, as well as local microbrews, prestigious wines, and inventive cocktails. Weekend brunch starts at 9 AM. 47 Biltmore Avenue, downtown.
Only 30 minutes from Asheville, experience the renewing power of this magical mountain retreat and certified wildlife habitat. Enjoy clean and thoughtfully designed cabin-like retreat houses or... read more
DuPont Forest Festival
Celebrate DuPont State Recreational Forest with many special events on National Public Lands Day, such as guided tours, educational lectures, hands-on demonstrations and more. Free admission.
Wonderful Life & 12 Dates @ NC Stage
Two shows alternate! The uplifting story Live From WVL Radio Theatre: It’s A Wonderful Life celebrates George Bailey and Bedford Falls. The second show The Twelve Dates of Christmas brings laughter and light heartedness with a one-woman show. Perfect for date night in downtown Asheville, Wed-Sun.
Top 90 Art Festivals 2019
See our favorite art festivals, events and shows this year in Asheville and surrounding towns in the western North Carolina mountains.
Mediterranean meets mountains! Wood-fired Greek recipes served in a romantic, old-world setting mixed with modern design in lovely Grovewood Village. Tucked behind Grove Park Inn - just a few miles from downtown Asheville. Lunch and dinner. Closed Monday. Parking, outdoor dining, sculpture garden.
Pioneer Day & Mountain Thunder Car Show
Two events in Old Fort: See traditional Appalachian crafts, food, games and storytelling (10-5) at the Mountain Gateway Museum. Then stroll by a big variety of classic cars and trucks on Commerce Street (9-2). Free admission.
Picturesque Main Street has many local shops, restaurants, galleries, brewery, museums and favorite O.P. Taylor toy store. Big events include the White Squirrel Festival, 4th of July celebration, Brevard Music Festival and Halloweenfest. This is the Land of the Waterfalls with hiking, biking and famous Sliding Rock.
Cleghorn Golf and Sports Club at Tryon Resort
Located near the Tryon International Equestrian Center, this 18-hole championship course tips out at 6762 yards with a course rating of 73.3 and slope of 136. The George Cobb design offers pristine conditions, named as one of the best courses in NC by the PGA. Also go to their Cleghorn Gun Club for a sporting clay course with 15 stations for every shooter level. 183 Golf Circle, Rutherfordton
Town Mtn / Elk Mtn Loop
If you're in downtown Asheville and time is limited for a scenic drive, this is it. Drive up N.C. Highway 694 (Town Mountain Road) from College Street. Wind up the mountain and arrive at the Blue Ridge Parkway in 6.3 miles. Turn left on the Parkway (north) and take the first road on the left (sign for Weaverville). Go a short distance and turn left on Elk Mountain Scenic Highway. Drive down the mountain ridge for 7 miles. Take a right on Beaverdam Road and left on Merrimon Avenue to return. Allow one hour.
Hole-in-One Golf Package, Rumbling Bald Resort
Stay on Lake Lure for two nights with plenty of amenities including a beach, boating, spa and pool. Included are golf rounds at both of their courses, range balls and breakfasts.
Rate: From $290/person, double occupancy
Rate: From $290/person, double occupancy
Smoke on the Mountain: Sanders Family Christmas
The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) annual Christmas show, a southern gospel, blue grass and traditional carol family friendly musical. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 PM and Saturday / Sunday 2:30 PM.
Concerts on the Creek
Unwind on Fridays Memorial Day through Labor Day with live music outdoors in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park. It's just two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (come early!). Family friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket. Free.
Art on the Greene
Find a big variety of 40 artists working with metal, glass, pottery, wood, jewelry and more in downtown Banner Elk. Many restaurants, shops and things to do nearby. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
300 Things to Do
See our master list of places to see and things to do in the western North Carolina mountains, including Asheville and our many small towns.
Lake Lure Cruises
Take a scenic Lake Lure cruise from Rumbling Bald Resort. Choose from their daily scenic cruise, lunch stop cruise or late afternoon wine cruise. All tours depart from their North Shore Beach Cabana. Before or after, walk the beach or dine in one of their restaurants.
Sparkling Soiree: Gilded Age Masquerade at Biltmore
Kick off Valentine's with this new, masquerade party in the Amherst grand ballroom on the estate. Don a mask and your most stunning attire for an evening of elegance with live entertainment, aerial artist, dancing, food, wine, photobooth, dancing and introduction of Mariporta wine. 8-10 PM. $150/person++. Passholders 10% off, wine club members 20% off. Reservations required, call 1-800-411-3812 x3.
Namaste in Nature Yoga Hikes
Connect with nature during a 3-hour guided yoga hike on weekends in March-November. Includes easy-moderate hike, yoga, meditation, yoga mats and pictures. Enjoy forests, waterfalls and mountain views including the Blue Ridge Parkway & Appalachian Trail. Beginners, men, women, couples and groups welcome.
Asheville Fringe Arts Festival
Local and national artists explore the edges of their work, collaborate across genres and bring innovative performances to culturally adventurous audiences. Includes dancers, installation artists, theatre companies, Butoh dance, puppetry, modern dance, and performance art.
This popular summer swimming hole in Banner Elk includes a white sandy beach, swimming pier and fishing dock. The adjacent Tufts Memorial Park has a bath house and picnic tables. Owned by the Grandfather Home for Children. No admission fee, but they appreciate donations.
Military Discount, Wildberry Lodge B&B
Active military receives 15% discount on any room and suite rates at this luxury, log-constructed mountain lodge, offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the valley, just 12 miles from downtown Asheville.
Rate: From $169/night
Rate: From $169/night
This gorgeous lake in Graham County is mostly surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. Swim, boat, camp and fish in the pristine waters, near Robbinsville.
(5 miles loop, strenuous) Just a mile from the trailhead to Looking Glass Rock is a rewarding loop trail that takes you to the top of another rock face with panoramic views. From John Rock, you have a great view of Looking Glass Rock. And you'll find many fewer hikers here.
Elopement Packages, Miss Caroline's Country Wedding Chapel
Get married in an adorable tiny church in Maggie Valley, surrounded by the Smoky Mountains. Package includes a ceremony, recorded music and photographs. Extras include flowers or overnight cabin stay.
Rates: From $449
Rates: From $449
The Market Place
An ingredient-driven menu sources from local farms and artisan producers. Breakfast and lunch items will suit your palate, along with craft beer, wine and cocktails. A favorite is the wood-grilled burger with tomato jam, pickled red onions and smoked cheddar. On Sundays, their Motown Brunch has live music 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. In April-December, brunch is also served on Saturdays. Reservations recommended. 20 Wall Street.
This well-known downtown concert venue has state-of-the-art sound and lighting with a capacity of 1,100 standing. It's a great setting for enjoying the premier musicians who perform here. The dance floor is several hundred square feet of springy wooden slats, and the stage is in perfect view from any angle on the floor. 101 Biltmore Avenue.
Christmas at Biltmore
See the final week of the elaborate holiday decorations inside Biltmore House during a quieter time on the estate. Open New Year's Day.
Holmes Educational State Forest
(.5-3.5 miles, easy to strenuous) Hike a variety of trails and learn about the forest in this largely unknown gem near busy DuPont State Forest. Open mid March-mid November, find a tranquil and diverse forest along with picnic tables and exhibits. 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
Dog City USA
See our top spots to visit in downtown Asheville on the Dog City USA trail, which includes the Doggie Welcome Center, a restaurant with a dog menu, a bakery and a hotel with rescue pooches.
Cedar Rock Mountain, DuPont Forest
(4.5 miles loop, moderate) This hike provides wonderful views and dramatic scenery - and it's not difficult. Rising only a few hundred feet above the surrounding plateau, walk across areas of granite with great views.
Land Rover Experience Driving School
Explore back roads and forests on Biltmore Estate while learning to drive the latest Range Rover loaded with technology. Develop off-road skills on extreme terrain with your guide, departing from Antler Hill Village.
Traveling with your dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide to Asheville and the North Carolina mountains that includes lodging, hiking, Biltmore, kennels, dog parks and more.
Newman's Restaurant, Saluda
Located inside the historic Orchard Inn, their farm-to-table prix-fixe menu changes weekly, with much of the produce from their organic garden. Enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and extensive wine list. Make reservations in advance for this special dining experience. 35 miles south of Asheville
Early Girl Eatery Breakfast
Southern breakfast is served all day with made-from-scratch dishes with ingredients from local farms. Favorite include sausage and sweet potato scramble, create-your-own omelet, country ham, home fries and veggie breakfast bowl. Open Mon-Fri 7:30 AM & Sat-Sun 8 AM at 8 Wall Street downtown Asheville. Also in West Asheville at 444 Haywood Road, opens at 8 AM every day.
Visit 20 farms in the Asheville area that are not normally open to the public and see what happens behind the scenes. Presented by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), farms are located in many counties. 12-5 PM. Passes $30/car in advance, $40/car day of.
Located inside a historic house in Biltmore Village is a popular spot with simple and flavorful American fare, such as corned beef hash, bagel and lox, johnny cakes, hash browns, fried grits and cream cheese scrambler with a griddled bagel. Breakfast served 7:30 -11 AM Monday-Friday. Weekend brunch is 9 AM-3 PM. 3 Boston Way.
Tom's Creek Falls
This 80-ft., two-tier waterfall is accessed via an easy hike in Pisgah National Forest (near US Highway 221) north of Marion. It's a great hike for families. One of the few waterfalls with an accessible trail and observation deck for those with walking challenges.
Labor Day Weekend Events
Find Labor Day Weekend things to do and events in the NC mountains in and near Asheville for a great holiday getaway.
Romance Package, Beaufort House Inn
Stay in this grand, historic B&B near downtown Asheville and romance it up with flowers, champagne and Godiva chocolate truffles. Plus, enjoy a two-course gourmet breakfast, wine reception, free parking and more.
Rate: $84/couple in addition to room
Rate: $84/couple in addition to room
New Morning Gallery
This 13,000-sq. ft. gallery represents 500 American artists with hand-crafted furniture, home accessories, pottery, glass, jewelry, garden sculpture and other imaginative gifts. Located in Biltmore Village at 7 Boston Way.
This modest waterfall is dwarfed by the towering cliffs above, creating a majestic setting. And it's an easy walk with other waterfalls nearby (French Broad Falls & Mill Shoals).
Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival
Downtown Bryson City welcomes vendors to display and demonstrate all types of fly fishing equipment - rods, fly tying, apparel and accessories, kayaks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. Just a few blocks away is the Delayed Harvest stocked section of the Tuckasegee River.
Mother's Day Weekend
Find ideas for events and things to do with mom or grandma in Asheville and the mountains, including flowers, shopping, art, spas and more.
Wild Food Foraging Tours
Take a "forage to table" tour with No Taste Like Home and play with your food. Our area is a Garden of Eden with over 300 wild edibles. During a guided tour, gather wild mushrooms, plants and other “extreme cuisine.” Then a chef transforms your finds into a delicious meal.
Little Switzerland Places to Stay
Find hotels, cabins and B&B inns in charming Little Switzerland, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including favorite mountain retreats that have been there for generations.
Waterfalls & Wine Tour
Find six waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, with short, guided hikes "off the beaten path" with the Pisgah Field School, and end with a wine tasting. Mostly Thursdays & Fridays, May-October. Small groups, book in advance. $75/person.
Winter Events & Outings
January, February, March: These months are the most serene time of the year in Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it's the perfect time for a romantic North Carolina mountain getaway - maybe a Valentine's escape. See our Top 12 Asheville winter things to do and the best events.
Sample beers from 45 breweries at The Salvage Station near downtown Asheville, while listening to a bluegrass-infused live band. Buy food from local vendors. This 21 and older event is held 1-6 PM. $45/person. Buy tickets in advance, starting Aug 15.
Biltmore Village Food & Spirits
Find a variety of great restaurants in this charming historic village outside the entrance of Biltmore - including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try local brews at several breweries. Located just two miles south of downtown.
Penland School Open House
A rare chance to explore the working studios at this international center for craft education, with hands-on studio experiences in clay, iron, glass, wood, paper, photo, print, textiles and more. Located near Spruce Pine. 1-5 PM. Free admission.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission.
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) See panoramic views of Pisgah National Forest from atop the historic fire tower near Mt Pisgah. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6.
High Falls at Lake Glenville
(1.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) Also known as Cullowhee Falls, this 150-ft. waterfall at Lake Glenville near Cashiers becomes the most powerful a few days of the year when extra water is released from the dam for kayakers. A new hiking trail takes you to the base for a great view.