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A innovative, fun outdoor festival in the South Slope near downtown Asheville showcasing the creative arts as a tool for positive change in our world. 12-10 PM. Free admission.
Labor Day Weekend Events & Things to Do
See our special list of top events, festivals and things to do during Labor Day Weekend in Asheville and the surrounding towns and mountains.
Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
A two-day festival at Lake Junaluska featuring top bluegrass and acoustic musicians, with Balsam Range and more. Workshops throughout the day. Single concert tickets and weekend packages.
Upper Whitewater Falls
See the upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, plunging 411 ft.! The best part is that you can get a great view with a short walk. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps.
Waterfall Byway: US Highway 64
Drive 98 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, through charming towns and by plenty of beautiful waterfalls. Begin in Chimney Rock and travel west on U.S. Highway 64 by Lake Toxaway and through Cashiers and Highlands. Stop at roadside waterfalls Dry Falls and Bridal Veil as you enter the Cullasaja River Gorge. The last section is also called Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.
Moore Cove Falls
(1.5 miles roundtrip, easy) Walk behind this 50-foot waterfall located near the popular Looking Glass Falls. Beautiful hike along the way. While the water flow is not impressive, it's a beautiful setting that is overlooked by many since there are no signs.
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.
Tumblestone Waterfall Tours
Get picked up at your accommodation in the Asheville area for a guided, half-day waterfall excursion that will take you to three impressive waterfalls in two protected forests. Plus, ride on a very scenic portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Licensed & Insured.
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!
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.
Space Day at PARI
Explore this former NASA campus hidden in Pisgah National Forest that is now a research and educational center for space and science. Tours, star gazing, minerals, NASA artifacts, meteorites, hands-on exhibits and more for all ages. Free admission. 10 AM-11 PM.
Mountain Magnolia Inn Dining
While the setting is elegant and the food exceptional, the atmosphere is relaxed and the dress is casual. Cuisine features herbs grown in the Inn's garden and organic ingredients. Dinner at the historic Victorian Inn makes a perfect evening after a soak at the nearby springs or a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome. 35 miles north of downtown Asheville.
South Creek Winery
Visit this boutique winery on a farm near Marion. Taste wines in an Italian Renaissance Farmhouse or on an outdoor deck: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and signature-blend Maestro. Located 4.4 miles off I-40 at exit 90. 2240 S Creek Rd, Nebo, NC (6 miles to Silver Fork, 4 miles to Belle Nicho, 9 miles to Lake James Cellars). Open Wednesday-Saturday 11 AM-5 PM & Sunday 1 PM-5 PM.
National Get Outdoors Day
The Cradle of Forestry celebrates with free admission and plenty of outdoor activities in Pisgah National Forest near Sliding Rock, including hikes, demos, historic buildings, and kid's educational fun. 10 AM-4 PM.
Cherokee Indian Fair
Experience a country fair with plenty of local Cherokee traditions, including Indian games, food, competitions, music and dance. Meet the locals and discover more about their culture. Big parade on opening day.
Original Mast General Store
See the original location of the historic Mast General Store near Banner Elk in small picturesque community of Valle Crucis. Take a photo tour.
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival
Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM-5 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Fall Events & Festivals
Find our favorite autumn events and festivals during September and October in Asheville and the NC mountains.
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
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.
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.
Mermaid Parade & Festival, Marshall
The legend is that for one day each year, sea creatures and mermaids leave their ocean home and travel the French Broad River to Downtown Marshall. Arts, crafts and music 11-7 PM, seafood cook-off and parade at 6 PM with costumes and lots of water balloons and guns.
Shelton House, Waynesville
This grand, historic home built in 1875 is home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, with every room packed with craft, art and furnishings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Open May-October.
North Carolina Ceramic Arts Festival
This one-day shopping and demonstration show features 40 ceramic artists with a diverse array of tilework, sculpture, jewelry and pottery. Watch raku demonstrations and enjoy live music. Food trucks too. Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, 11 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
Arts & Crafts Conference
Perfect for the passionate collector or those just interested in the Arts and Crafts period. The three-day agenda includes lectures, small group discussions, special exhibitions, book exhibits, a contemporary crafts show and the finest of the antiques shows devoted to the Arts and Crafts period. Get advance tickets!
Waynesville Lighted Christmas Parade
Enjoy the illuminated evening Christmas Parades down the historic Main Street in downtown Wayneville starting at 6 PM with 120+ entries.
(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.
Small Town Christmas, Banner Elk
Many events during this weekend in our top ski town of Banner Elk. Tree lighting and variety show on Friday evening. Saturday highlights include a 5k, Alpaca Farm tours, Parade of Lights at 6 PM. Tate-Evans Park has train rides, luminaries and light shows. Take home a Christmas Tree from a farm.
South Slope Brewing District
On the southside of downtown, explore the fast-growing "Brewery Distrtict" with eight breweries and a growing number of restaurants and shops, transitioning from sleepy industrial warehouses to a hip neighborhood.
Hickory Nut Falls
(1.5 miles roundtrip, easy) This 404-foot waterfall at Chimney Rock Park is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The trail takes you to a platform at the bottom of the cascade featured in the movie, The Last of the Mohicans. Especially impressive after a good rain.
This quaint and very historic village is located three miles south of Hendersonville. A longtime summer retreat, it's home to the Playhouse state theatre, Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, Sky Top Orchard, galleries and shops.
Elk in Cherokee
Watch majestic elk graze and interact in meadows at the Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Visitor Center and other areas around Cherokee.
Mother-Daughter Biltmore Getaway, Pinecrest B&B
Bring your mom, daughter or best buddie to see Biltmore’s new clothing exhibition “Vanderbilt House Party”. Package includes 2 nights in the historic inn near downtown, 2 Biltmore tickets for 2 days, breakfasts, afternoon dessert and more. Available through May 27, 2019.
Rate: From $482
Rate: From $482
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.
Blue Spiral 1
A must-stop for art lovers with three floors of fantastic contemporary fine art and craft. An extensive exhibition schedule, presenting 15 shows annually, often featuring 4-5 simultaneously within various venues inside the gallery. 38 Biltmore Avenue
Held at Emerald Village near Little Switzerland, enjoy many free events, including guided hikes, music, exhibits, talks and more. Also, pay for gem-mining, pan for gold and take a black light mine tour.
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp
Epic adult day camp at Sierra Nevada Brewery includes obstacle course, keg bowling, hammerschlogan, silent disco, costume contest and more. Pair those with their iconic and special collaboration beers, along with great food. 12-6 PM. $25/person includes entertainment, games and shuttle.
Elk River Falls
Welcome to the Land of the Waterfalls! There are so many waterfalls in nearby state and federal parks (with no admission fee) to discover. While many require a walk or hike to reach, several are roadside. Take one of our waterfall drives to enjoy several. See our favorite 60!
Banner Elk Wineries & Breweries
Visit three wineries in the Banner Elk area (Banner Elk Winery, Grandfather Vineyard and Linville Falls Winery). Also visit three breweries (Flat Top Mountain, Blind Squirrel and Beech Mountain Brewing). Along the way, enjoy a scenic drive high in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Brevard Cycling Capital
The Cycling Capital of the South, Brevard attracts both road and mountain cyclists from across the country. In Pisgah National Forest & Dupont State Forest, find 300 miles of peerless single track, hundreds more miles of fire roads and an endless variety of road cycling options. Also find a cool bike culture in town.
Bridal Veil Falls, DuPont State Forest
(4.4 miles roundtrip hike, moderate) This beautiful 120-foot waterfall is near High Falls and other DuPont Forest falls and lakes. Hike or bike to it. Many hike combinations due to a network of trails.
Adelaide Spa & Salon
Their tranquil and meditative environment near downtown provides therapeutic massages, facials and body therapies in an elegant and tranquil environment, along with enhancing services for skin, nails and waxing delivered with boutique quality products by leading cosmetologists and estheticians. They can accommodate groups of all sizes with well-deserved pampering and relaxation therapies and customized packages.
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.
Banner Elk Lodging
Stay high in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a variety of vacation rentals, log cabins, condos, mountaintop homes and hotels. Near ski resorts, Grandfather Mountain and endless outdoor adventures.
Lake James Cellars
This family winery located near beautiful Lake James and Morganton is solar-powered! Step inside a restored 1915 textile mill building, located in Glen Alpine, to discover a variety of handcrafted wines - created from local fruits, as well as fruits from around the world. Enjoy a dry red wine, a dry white wine or a fruity sweet wine. Take time to stroll through the aisles of Old Mill Antiques, located in the same building. Address: 204 E Main St, Glen Alpine, NC. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM & Sunday 1-5 PM.
Romance Package, Orchard Inn
This grand couples getaway at an historic inn in the cool small town of Saluda includes two weekend nights in a private cottage, couples massage, elegant dinner for two in their farm-to-table restaurant, bottle of French Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, breakfast each morning.
Biltmore Horseback Trail Rides
Take a guided expedition through the Biltmore Estate to match your skill level. The western-style, one-hour guided ride is perfect for beginner to intermediate-level riders. A private three-hour trail ride with picnic lunch is designed for someone with riding experience. Offered daily. Two-day advance reservations are required. Available for 2-4 people ages 8 and up. If you’re bringing your own horse to explore 80 miles of Estate trails, please visit Biltmore’s Equestrian Center.
A Swannanoa Solstice
A local's favorite holiday concert - 16th year! Appalachian music showcase with world influences. Many artists playing mandolins, harps, bagpipes, dulcimers and world percussion. 2 & 7 PM at Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. $45/adult
Home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, find a large variety of ways to experience the Indian heritage. Tour the museum and Indian Village and watch "Unto These Hills." Shop for local crafts, see their painted bears, attend a pow wow or try your luck at the huge Harrah's Casino. It's also a major gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama
America's most popular outdoor drama is the tragic and triumphant story of the Cherokee Indians. Set against the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains in Cherokee, the drama is presented under the stars at the beautiful Mountainside Theater nightly from June through mid-August.
The French Broad Overview
This 17-mile N.C. Scenic Byway just north of Asheville starts at I-26, Exit 19. Take U.S. 25/70 toward Marshall and turn left at the first stoplight onto Monticello Road. Go three miles to N.C. Highway 251. Turn right and drive along the French Broad River to Marshall. Stop at Ledges Whitewater River County Park and watch the kayakers while you picnic.
Asheville Outdoor Center
Kayak, paddleboard, raft or tube down the French Broad River in Asheville and through the Biltmore Estate. You can also rent a bike or mine for gems. Just five miles from downtown.
Concerts on the Creek, Sylva
Unwind on Fridays with this free outside live music summer series in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park, two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (so come early!). Family-friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket.
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.
Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend
Beech Mountain Ski Resort will bend the space-time continuum for a righteously rad celebration with live 80s music nightly, retro skiing daily and plenty of throwback activities in between.
Fishing in the Smokies
Discover one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world with four rivers and dozens of mountain streams throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, and the deep, cold waters of Fontana Lake. You can even fish the Tuck in downtown Bryson City. Greatly enhance your chances of catching trophy fish by hiring a professional fishing guide. Find 26 best fishing spots and guide services.
Folk Art Center
Art lovers should not miss the Folk Art Center. It showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians and includes rotating exhibits, live demonstrations and a large gallery shop. Free admission. 8 miles from downtown. Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 382 near the US 70 intersection.
Cataloochee Valley Tours
Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains is a special place. Take a guided eco-tour with a naturalist to see the elk on one of their tours: Morning & Evening Elk Eco-Tours, Spring Wildflower Hike or Synchronous Firefly Night Walks. Reservations required.
Since 2012, they have delighted with classics done right, with a touch of cutting edge. Unwind with carefully crafted cocktails made with in-house elixirs, shrubs and syrups. Open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch (Sat/Sun 10-3). 48 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville.
Saturday Nights Lights
Watch horse competitions with the best riders in the country at the impressive Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring entertainment, food, kids' fun and Venetian carousel rides. Activities start at 5 PM. Arena action 7 PM. Free admission.
The Flying Bike - Electric Bike Tours & Rentals
See Asheville the best way possible - by electric bike! Get up close to the must-see spots, meander down beautiful greenways and catch stunning views. Electric-assist bikes make Asheville’s hills easy and fun. Tours daily, departing from their downtown location. Electric bike rentals also.
Asheville Community Theatre
For 70 years, our Community Theatre has been presenting outstanding musicals, comedies and dramas in downtown. Watch the "Mainstage" shows in the 400-seat theatre or a big variety of more adventurous productions in their 50-seat black box theatre called 35below.
Skinny Dip Falls
Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway via a 3/4-mile hiking trail, Skinny Dip has beautiful waterfalls, a jumping off rock and several areas to soak and wade in very cool mountain waters.