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Asheville Urban Trail
(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.
This majestic waterfall on Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 362 is visible from an overlook falling along a cliff across the valley. It's most visible after heavy rains and with leaves are off the trees.
Attic Salt Theatre Company
See high-quality productions of classical, contemporary and original works in venues all around Asheville. They create some of the best children's theater in the area.
Swim and sun on a sandy beach in the mountains at Lake Lure, near Chimney Rock. Nestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake is surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs. Rent a pontoon or electric boat, canoe or kayak at the marina.
Tryon International Equestrian Center
Watch horse jumping competitions with the best riders in the country at this amazing new world-class equestrian resort south of Asheville. Free admission to many events.
There are dozens of farmer's markets throughout the mountains. The biggest by far is the Western North Carolina Farmers Market that is open every day in Asheville. In downtown, the City Market on Market Street is every Saturday 8 AM-1 PM and the French Broad Co-op Market is Wednesdays 2-6 PM. Find more markets and pick up the Local Food Guide by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.
(7 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the top of The Pinnacle for views looking down into Sylva and the surrounding valley. Climb 1,800 ft. in elevation with a steady grade.
Asheville Choral Society
This group of 100 auditioned singers have been inspiring audiences since 1977 with choral music performed at the highest artistic level at three concerts each season.
Linn Cove Viaduct
(1 to 8 miles roundtrip, moderate) Hike under and above the Viaduct from the visitor center. Hike south to Beacon Heights or continue north on the Tanawha Trail to Rough Ridge. Blue Ridge Parkway Milespost 304.
Stroll through this beautiful historic "mall" in downtown Asheville with high quality specialty shops and local restaurants. See local art and craft at the outdoor market.
Over Easy Café
This tiny café in downtown Asheville focuses on supporting local farmers, using organic ingredients whenever possible. A variety of dishes satisfy any food restrictions, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Enjoy organic fair trade coffee, breads from nearby bakeries and freshly-squeezed juices and seasonal smoothies. Open 8 AM-2 PM daily. 32 Broadway Street.
The Pisgah Conservancy
This new non-profit group is raising funds and coordinating projects to protect Pisgah National Forest (Ranger District) and help fund some much needed repairs. We are delighted to be a Founding Member!
Asheville Art Museum
Explore world-class special exhibitions and the museum's outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th-century American art.
Located at the big Western NC Farmer's Market, this is a great stop before you browse the market and meet local farmers. Their country breakfast includes huge scratch pancakes, thick French toast, omelets, farm fresh eggs cooked to order, livermush and, of course, grits. A special treat is their apple butter and molasses on the table for your biscuits. Open 7 days a week at 7 AM. 570 Brevard Road.
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park
Play in the trees with 50 elements from 12 to 45 feet above the forest floor, including climbing, zipping, walking, jumping, swinging and rappelling challenges -- all anchored to more than 30 trees. Near downtown Asheville, next to Asheville Canopy Tours.
Western NC Nature Center
Learn about the area's natural resources, see animals in their native habitats and view various exhibits on this 40-acre site. Open daily.
Mountain Gateway Museum
The westernmost branch of the NC Museum of History. Tour historic buildings and learn about the lifestyle and history of the earliest inhabitants of the mountains to the those of the twentieth century. Located in Old Fort.
Harrah's Cherokee Restaurants
A variety of restaurants satisfy any craving or appetite, all adjacent to exciting casino action. Chef's Stage Buffet is sure to please even the pickiest eaters, with interactive stations that offer tastes from around the world -- Italian, Mexican, Asian, barbeque, a soup and salad bar, and desserts. Other options include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Selu Garden Café and BRIO Tuscan Grille.
The Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville
See musicals and plays from late spring through fall at the longest continually-operating seasonal theater in North Carolina. Ticket prices for adults range from only $18-$22 per show.
Downtown has seen an influx of great shops and restaurants. Find antique malls, galleries, and the legendary O.P. Taylor toy store. Big events include the White Squirrel Festival on Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July celebration and Halloweenfest. Stellar summer music series at Brevard Music Center. This is the Land of the Waterfalls.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
This living history outdoor village portrays eighteenth-century Cherokee life on the mountainside above the town. Interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery and masks, weave baskets and beadwork, dance and participate in their daily activities. Open late April through early November.
(228 Redbud Lane, Bostic) Located near Morganton is the home of Defiant Single Malt Whisky. At Blue Ridge Distillery, enjoy a free guided tour of the mashing, fermentation, and distillation processes and culminate your visit with a sampling of Defiant Whisky.
(8 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap north four miles to this rocky ridge with spectacular views of the Smokies. You climb about 1,600 ft. in elevation, but it's gradual.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted, artisanal, organic chocolates and pastries in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. Skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square, downtown Asheville.
Located 20 minutes west of downtown Asheville, this vineyard grows 9 varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Grenache and Chasselat. They have tastings on Saturdays 12-7 PM in their French Cellar, as well as a traditional wine baptism. Open other times by appointment.
Roaring Fork Falls
Located just two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit near Milepost 344) and five miles from Crabtree Falls in Pisgah National Forest at the base of Mt. Mitchell. It's an easy one-mile round-trip hike, near Setrock Creek Falls.
Top 20 Picnic Spots
Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.
16 Scenic Drives
See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way.
Southern breakfast is served all day with a wide variety of made-from-scratch dishes with many ingredients from local farmers. A local favorite is the sausage and sweet potato scramble, create-your-own omelet, country ham, home fries and the veggie breakfast bowl. Check for daily specials on their board outside. Open 7 days, Monday 7:30 AM-3 PM, Tuesday-Friday 7:30 AM-9 PM and Saturday/Sunday 9 AM-9 PM. 8 Wall Street.
Orchard at Altapass
This 101-year old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies, sauces, sweets, gifts and more. Listen to music and pick up your apples!
Asheville Municipal Golf Course
The 18-hole golf course designed by Hall of Fame Golf Architect, Donald Ross opened for play in 1927. As in all of Ross's courses, it was designed to be challenging as well as fun. The Par 36 front nine, measuring 3,246 yards from the back tees, features a flat, wide-open course allowing the use of a driver on every hole. The 3,194-yard back nine has narrow fairways and also plays to a Par 36.
Penland School of Craft
Take a tour or sign up for a class at this internationally-known school for art and craft, tucked away in the mountains near Spruce Pine. Their multiple galleries are free to visit with amazing works created by students and teachers.
Since 1994, they have protected 42,000+ acres in more than 150 projects in western North Carolina. They work every day to create a network of protected farm, forest, park and natural lands.
(4 miles round-trip, moderate) At an elevation of 5,920 ft., this is the highest grassy bald in the Great Smoky Mountains. The hike near Clingmans Dome is not overly strenuous but includes a good bit of uphill and rocky sections. And you won't see the crowds that you find on other hikes in the Smokies.
Biltmore Ticket Specials
See the latest seasonal ticket specials and deals to tour Biltmore House, gardens and winery on our Biltmore Guide. Often, you can save $10/person or more if you buy tickets 7 days in advance! Senior & military discounts too.
Find one of the biggest varieties of wildflowers in the country. The Great Smoky Mountains alone is a world-renowned preserve of wildflower diversity with more than 1,660 kinds of flowering plants. Take a hike deep into Pisgah National Forest or enjoy wildflowers from your car as you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Wheels Through Time Museum
See hundreds of classic motorcycles and automobiles in Maggie Valley in one of best transportation museums in the country. This massive collection includes more than 300 of America's rarest and most historic classic motorcycles.
Gem mining has been a favorite activity for visitors to the mountains of North Carolina for many years. Most gem mines in the Asheville and Franklin areas are open from spring through autumn. Also tour several gem and mineral museums.
Botanical Gardens at Asheville
This 10-acre garden near the University of North Carolina in Asheville features Southern Appalachian plants, and includes peaceful hiking trails in the middle of the city.
Lake James State Park
This state park has a wide beach with a nice pavilion with changing rooms, open for swimming May-September. Also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing and more.
Green Sage Cafe
This certified green restaurant nurtures the well-being of its customers through its fair-trade organic coffee and tea, organic beer and wine, natural and organic local food for breakfast and lunch. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
This small town offers not one but two main streets, Upper Street (Oak Avenue) and Lower Street (Locust Avenue). A must-stop is the Toe River Arts Council Gallery. A walk around town leads to several public art projects, including the town clock on Upper Street. Don’t miss the Toe River Art Studio Tour twice a year.
(92 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) Recognized as one of the best beer bars in the world, they tap 1,000+ different beers a year. The upstairs bar features American Craft Beers with 20 rotating tap lines. Take the stairs down to the basement level to the Belgian Bar (50 Commerce St.) with 16 Belgian, European and rare beers on draught. An extensive bottle list will impress beer-snobs and novices alike.
Elopement Package, Mountain Magnolia Inn
Make your wedding getaway personal, simple, elegant and beautiful. Elope in Hot Springs with a room for two nights, ceremony planning, officiant, bridal bouquet, photographer, champagne, small wedding cake, five-course dinner and breakfasts.
Rate: From $1,415, off-season (Dec-Feb) deduct $100
Rate: From $1,415, off-season (Dec-Feb) deduct $100
Meander tree-lined streets, explore 40 unique shops and relax at 10 cafes and restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Don't miss the fabulous New Morning Gallery.
Nantahala Brewing Company
(61 Depot St, Bryson City) Nantahala Brewing Company’s inaugural beer is made with pale malt and a generous amount of crystal malts. Appalachian Trail Extra (ATX) Pale Ale is a lighter golden version of the Nantahala Pale Ale with a crisp dry flavor and a touch of bitterness.
Located in Brevard, this is the oldest frame house in western NC (dating back to 1815). Tour the home and beautiful grounds mid-May through mid-October on Saturdays 10 AM-4 PM and Sundays 1-4 PM. Operated by the Transylvania County Historical Society. 2753 Asheville Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC.
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. So many things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
Up Country Brewing Co
(1042 Haywood Rd, Asheville) They specialize in making beers that perfectly accompany any outdoor activity. Open every day. Live music many nights. West Asheville.
So many options for mountain bike riders of all skill levels. Plus, bike the Blue Ridge Parkway or a greenway.
Waterfalls Top 60
Of hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville, we picked the most spectacular falls that are easy to find. Some can be enjoyed with a short walk or even roadside. Others require a scenic hike. See full descriptions for each, with plenty of photos! Also see Waterfall Drives & Maps.
Alexander's Ford Overmountain Trail
(1.5 miles, easy) Hike a section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail that was used for by local militia heading to an important battle in the Revolutionary War.
This 60-foot gentle cascade is very easy to enjoy with a short walk. It's on private property in someone's back yard, but the owner is nice enough to share it with no admission fee. Located near Brevard, 3.4 miles south of US Highway 64 on US 178.
Oyster House Brewing Company
(625 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Oyster House creates craft beer in various styles, including their award-winning "Moonstone Stout" brew with oysters (shell and all) as an ingredient to give hints of sea salt, calcium and other minerals. They have a full food menu.
Silver Run Falls
Near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful 25-ft. waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. A short walk from roadside parking.
Picnic at Mt. Pisgah
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407: A large picnic area includes grills, tables and restroom facilities. All are ADA compliant and handicapped accessible. It is located near the Pisgah Inn (one mile south) where you can order picnic food (May-October). You can take a strenuous hike to the top of Mt. Pisgah, but there are no great picnic spots at the summit.
For the most upscale shopping in the mountains, head to downtown Highlands. It's a popular area for affluent travelers, many with a summer home in the area. This is one of the highest towns east of the Mississippi River, with an elevation at 4,118 feet. Nearby are many beautiful waterfalls, including the roadside Dry Falls.
(197 Hilliard, Asheville, South Slope) Hi-Wire is open every afternoon with four-year round beers: Prime Time Pale Ale, Hi-Pitch IPA, Bed of Nails Brown Ale and a pilsner lager, Hi-Wire Lager. They also offer seasonals. Visit their second brewery with a tasting room and beer garden in Biltmore Village, 2 Huntsman Place.
Wine & Cocktail Bars
Unwind at one of our favorite downtown Asheville wine bars and great places for cocktails.
Learn about Cherokee Indian heritage at several museums, including the Museum of the Cherokee and Oconaluftee Indian Village. Each summer, see Unto These Hills. Learn about and buy crafts at Qualla Arts.
Summer Food Festivals
There's seldom a weekend in the summer without a great outdoor festival in Asheville and the surrounding small towns that includes plenty of food.
(1.5-mile loop, easy) Hike the top of the highest summit along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the cool forest. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 431.
Jackson County Mountains Guide
Order a free visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.
See this 250-ft. waterfall from along US 64 (Mountain Waters Scenic Byway) in the Cullasaja River Gorge, located between Highlands and Franklin. It's just 5.5 miles from Dry Falls.
Fonta Flora Brewery
(317 North Green, Morganton) This microbrewery is striving to create a totally unique North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer. By utilizing local grains and foraging the countryside for wild flora, we are taking brewing back to its agricultural roots.
Specializing in European-Style breads and pastries, they bake over twenty varieties of artisan breads and rolls using centuries-old hand-shaping and baking techniques. Also, their master baker is constantly conjuring up new ideas for breads that stand out in flavor, texture and overall quality. Stop in for coffee, sandwiches, soup and salads too. 60 Biltmore Avenue.
Combo Pass, Adventure Center of Asheville
Enjoy a full day of fun that includes multiple outdoor activities near downtown. Explore the Asheville Treetops Adventure Park and Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures (11 zips!) in the same day, saving up to 30% off with their combo pass.
Black Mountain Ciderworks
(100 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) Their Tasting Room has four ciders on tap, made from Henderson County apples.
Downtown Asheville Top 25
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries and pubs. Dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!
This regional non-profit spearheads the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a destination for everyone to live, learn, work and play.
(1 mile roundtrip, moderate) Near Chimney Rock, hike to the summit of this bald mountain with wonderful views. It's an easy drive from downtown Asheville!
Mt. Mitchell Balsam Trail
(3/4 mile loop, easy) Take a loop hike through the dense, aromatic fir forest high atop on the summit of Mt. Mitchell. Great place for a cool walk on a hot summer day.
Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes and classes geared toward women.
Cathey's Creek Falls
This 80-foot waterfall in Pisgah National Forest is just six miles west of downtown Brevard near U.S. Highway 64. It's a short but steep hike to the cascade hidden away in a lush cove.
(1 mile round-trip, easy) A quick walk to the summit has a big payoff with spectacular views from several rock platforms to explore safely. Take a picnic! Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 305.