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Sierra Nevada Brewery
(100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River) See their impressive east coast brewery in south Asheville - complete with a taproom, big restaurant, free tours, events and live music.
This skinny, 200-ft. waterfall is located near Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a short hike up a long staircase.
World Equestrian Games Test Events
Attend these "practice" rounds at the Tryon International Equestrian Center for free and get a sneak peek at the Eventing and Vaulting competitions coming at the FEI World Equestion Games in September. Free admission.
Pisgah National Forest Guide
Explore and play in 500,000+ acres surrounding Asheville with some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, creating some of the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America. Pisgah National Forest covers much of the north and central western mountains of North Carolina - with rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.
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.
Around Town Mobile Massage
Why travel to have your massage when you can be pampered exactly where you are? This network of licensed and insured massage therapists offer a wide variety of massages and specialty treatments for individuals, couples or groups such as girls getaways, wedding parties and reunions. Specializing in couples massage, therapists arrive with tables, linens, oil and music to create a nurturing, relaxing environment.
This favorite downtown Italian restaurant is filled with the aromas of fresh baked artisan bread and mouth watering cuisine. Focuses on local ingredients, biodynamic and organically-produced wine selections. Offers traditional recipes from Italy, featuring hand-tossed pizzas, savory pastas, housemade desserts, gluten-free and vegetarian options. 27 Broadway.
Fine Art and Mastercraft Festival
This outdoor show in Banner Elk is strictly fine art and master crafts by an invitation-only. Held on the lawn of the historic Elementary School (185 Azalea Cir SE). Mixed media, jewelry, sculpture, glass, pottery, painting, photography, wood & more. Friday 1-5 PM, Saturday 10 AM-5 PM, Sunday 10 AM-4 PM.
Big Butt Trail
(4.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) This lofty hike keeps you above 5,000 ft. elevation as you hike to Point Misery and Little Butt, so it's perfect for a hot summer's day. On the Blue Ridge Parkway MP 358.9 near Mt. Mitchell.
Haunted Comedy Tour by LaZoom
Ride the purple bus to discover Asheville's strange and sordid past. Spooky guides uncover mysteries and scandal. Laugh and scream. Adults only, ages 17 and up. 60-minute tour begins at 76 Biltmore Avenue (you can grab a beer there to take along). Tours book fast, so buy tickets in advance.
Soak in Mountain Views
Where are the best places for spectacular views to celebrate being alive? Hike to a remote mountaintop or see sweeping views from your car. Watch the sunset or picnic on top of the world.
Hot Springs Mineral Soak
Soak in the natural hot mineral springs by the river, used by visitors for centuries seeking the legendary healing powers. Located about an hour's drive north of Asheville on the Appalachian Trail.
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
See works of 90 fine artisans from the Southeast on the Village Green in Cashiers, 10 AM-5 PM. Find ironwork, woodcraft, textiles, cakes, jams, pottery and more. Free admission, but donations accepted.
Take a Tour
Go on a guided tour or experience to add special memories to your visit. Tour the town on a purple bus or a beer cycle. Go on a hike, see waterfalls, watch elk or sample local foods. See our Top 25.
St Claire Art
At this must-stop studio in River Arts District (344 Depot Street, #104), watch Stephen create brilliant paintings that come to life with intense color and contrast. His fascinating “Dialuminism” process allows light to pass through layers of paint, reflecting off metal. Open Mon-Sat 10 AM-5 PM.
This tiny town of 567 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (goes right through downtown) and the French Broad River. Hike from town up to Lover's Leap for a great view of the town.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
The closest ski resort to downtown Asheville with 15 runs, terrain park and 4 lifts. Lift ticket specials: Tuesdays are BOGO, on Wednesdays 1/2 off for women and on Thursday nights college students $15. Located in Madison County just 5 miles from I-26, 30 minutes north of Asheville
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit.
Experience the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes, food, art and extraordinary talent of Latin America. Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville. 12-8 PM. Free admission.
Marry or Renew Vows
What a beautiful and romantic setting to celebrate your love and commitment! Asheville is the hot spot for destination weddings and elopements. Our Wedding Guide has a long list of indoor and outdoor venues and resources to help plan the big day.
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.
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.
Harvest Festival, Stecoah Valley
Experience quintessential traditional mountain life with Appalachian dance, music, food, arts and crafts in the beautiful Nantahala National Forest at Stecoah Valley, near Fontana Lake and Robbinsville.
Asheville is one of the top USA cities for vegan living. Speakers and workshops 9-5 at Orange Peel on Friday & Saturday. Outdoor festival in Pack Square Park Sunday 11 AM-5 PM. All day events are free. Ticketed evening benefit events.
Rainbow & Ramps Festival
Join the Cherokee people as they honor their elders, celebrate ramp season and kick off trout fishing season. Warrior dancing, games, tournaments and $12 lunch plates of local favorites.
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in downtown Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Laughing Seed Cafe
Asheville's original vegetarian restaurant downtown has been serving local organic cuisine with an international flair for more than 20 years. Farm to table lunch and dinner every day except Tuesdays. Sunday brunch 11-3. 40 Wall Street, downtown.
Newfound Gap Road
Drive the very popular U.S. Highway 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Cherokee. First stop should be the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum. Then drive 18 miles and climb 3,000 ft. to Newfound Gap on the Tennessee border. Many turn around here or drive up to Clingmans Dome. Another option is a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Fall Events & Festivals
Find our favorite autumn events and festivals during September and October in Asheville and the NC mountains.
Black Mountain Rag to Chimney Rock
Take exit 64 off Interstate 40 at Black Mountain to follow N.C. Highway 9 South, named for an old fiddle tune and musical term. A "rag" is a tune with multiple twists and curves up and down the scales. In 16 miles, arrive in Bat Cave and turn left on U.S. 64 to Chimney Rock with spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge as you drive. Continue to Lake Lure to walk across the Flowering Bridge and along the beach before you return.
Top 35 Bed & Breakfasts
See our favorite and highest reviewed Asheville bed and breakfast inns in the western North Carolina mountains near Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway. All have luxury accommodations with a long list of amenities. Innkeepers are delighted to help with special occassions and requests.
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.
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Welcome Center
Stop by for free travel guides, brochures and advice for fun in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Rutherford County. See a display of movies filmed here, including Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans. The “Map Room” includes a wall-sized timeline of local heritage with folklore, local culture, and topography map of Hickory Nut Gorge. Open daily! 2932 Memorial Highway (US-64/74), Lake Lure
Best of the Blue Ridge Scenic Loop Drive
See the best mountain views, waterfalls and gardens, along with shopping and sampling of local beers, with this 60-mile loop drive that starts and ends in Asheville. Includes Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Solar Eclipse Viewing in Jackson County
See the rare Total Solar Eclipse on Aug 21, 2017, at special viewing locations and enjoy special events all weekend in Jackson County and towns of Sylva, Cashiers and Dillsboro.
Mingus Mill & Smokemont Church
See two historic structures within a few miles of each other in the Great Smoky Mountains, both located near the North Carolina entrance on Newfound Gap Road / US 441 near Cherokee.
This outdoor music festival celebrates and supports the farmers of Polk County with music by Asheville's Town Mountain, Aaron Burdett Band and others, plus food, beer and wine. At Harmon Dairy Farm with mountain views, near Columbus. 4-10 PM. $30/person
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Explore downtown Asheville's best restaurants on a walking food tour. Daytime tasting tours visit six restaurants and food shops for savory and sweet tastings. Learn about downtown along the way. Evening tasting tours feature bites from the city's best chefs, all paired with craft cocktails, wine and beer in some secret, speakeasy spaces.
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Walk across one of the most beautiful highway bridges that you'll ever find! It has been transformed into a gorgeous garden with impressive array of plants and flowers, whimsical planters, sculpture and plenty of butterflies.
Chimney Rock Village
The tiny village (population 109) has a busy downtown at the entrance to popular Chimney Rock Park. Behind the shops and restuarants, the Rocky Broad Riverwalk takes you along the cascading river with places for a picnic. Take a step back in time in this authentic tourist town that has kept the charm of the 60s and 70s.
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.
Take a guided tour of historic barns in Madison County, presented by the Appalachian Barn Alliance. The motorcoach tour begins at 1:30 PM with last stop at 4 PM with food and cloggers. Concludes at 7 PM. Advance purchase of tickets required, on sale May 1st for $45/person (limited seats).
History Museum of Burke County
A must-stop in downtown Morganton! Take a free one-hour guided tour through a maze of rooms on two floors, packed with many thousands of fascinating items. Each room has a theme (especially love the vintage beauty parlor and music rooms) that makes your journey through time lots of fun. Open Tues-Fri 10 AM-4 PM and Sat 10 AM-2 PM. 201 West Meeting Street.
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.
Escape to a Mountain Cabin
Snuggle up in a cozy cabin rental. Choose from a wide variety of sizes and types of cabins and cottages - some in the city of Asheville and others are way out in the country nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many are secluded in our mountains, some by ponds, lakes or rivers.
Asheville Art Studio Tours
Get a behind-the-scenes look inside artist studios in the River Arts District near downtown Asheville and Biltmore. These small, intimate, artist-led walking tours last about two hours. They also offer custom, hands-on and VIP art tours.
The Swag Dining
Enjoy an elegant dinner or Sunday brunch at this secluded mountaintop, luxury lodge at 5,000 feet elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains. Sunday brunch buffet has two carving stations and home-made desserts. Lunch picnics too! Reservations required. Open late April through early November. 2300 Swag Road, Waynesville
Old-Time Plowing and Folkways
Take a time-warp at the Cradle of Forestry to the days of the Biltmore Forest School. Meet homesteaders and watch their draft horses plow the heritage garden. Then take a turn at it yourself. Living history guides bring traditional Blue Ridge culture to life. 9 AM-5 PM. $6/person, children under 16 are free.
Upper French Broad Riverfest
Celebrate the headwaters with outdoor fun for all ages, 10 AM- 3 PM including canoe relay, outdoor gear flea market, hands-on activities, free tubing, music, food trucks and more. Champion River Park and Rosman Town Hall (6 Main Street, Rosman)
The Nantahala Byway
This North Carolina Scenic Byway travels 45 miles along U.S. Highway 19/74 from Bryson City to Marble, taking you through the beautiful Nantahala Gorge with whitewater rafting, zip line canopy tours and a beautiful riverside drive. Stop at Nantahala Outdoor Center to watch the river fun or enjoy a riverside lunch.
St. Jude's Chapel of Hope
Stop for a peek inside this tiny chapel in Madison County in the tiny town of Trust along a scenic drive.
Choose Your Own Autumn Experience, High Hampton Resort
Book a three-night stay and get a fourth night free! Package includes meals for 3 days, plus a $75 resort credit for a big variety of experiences on the 1,400-acre resort in Cashiers – with spa, golf, lake, falconry, guided hikes & more. August 6-November 18, 2018
Rate: Starts at $299/night for a couple
Rate: Starts at $299/night for a couple
This tiny town of 600 residents is big on things to do in Graham County, home to Fontana Lake, Lake Santeetlah, Stecoah Arts Center, Cherohala Skyway and hikes and waterfalls in Nantahala National Forest.
Holiday Carriage Rides
See our top spots to take a horse drawn carriage ride down Main Streets covered in lights and during specials events near Asheville in western North Carolina during the Christmas season.
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.
(2 miles roundtrip, moderate) A scenic hike takes you to this waterfall in the Highlands area, deep in the Nantahala National Forest. You'll see two separate cascades, so you get two waterfalls for one hike.
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.
(4.5 miles round-trip, strenuous) Located near Lake James, a beauty of a hike to the top of a plateau summit with spectacular views of Linville Gorge.
Elk in Cherokee
Watch majestic elk graze and interact in meadows at the Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Visitor Center and other areas around Cherokee.
Housed in a 118-year-old house in charming Biltmore Village, the Corner Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Open 7 days a week. Cool, comfortable, with farm-to-table cuisine and cocktails. A favorite since 2004. Great patio! 3 Boston Way.
Turkey Tail Wine Festival
Sample wines from 8 wineries on the grounds of the grand Inn at Glen Alpine near Morganton. Live music, festival food, and arts and crafts. Bring your own blanket or chair! No pets. 12-5 PM. Tickets $20 in advance or $25 at the gate (cash only).
Overmountain Victory Celebration
Explore a living history 1780s militia encampment at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals on Blue Ridge Parkway, telling the story of the Overmountain Men battling British forces. Tour camp on Saturday 9-2. Re-enactment of Battle of King’s Mtn at Orchard at Altapass 2-4 PM.
South Mountains State Park
(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Combine several trails for a much longer hike.
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.
Just a mile from downtown Asheville is a new riverfront complex on the French Broad with restaurant and concert/event venue with great indoor and outdoor spaces. The menu includes sandwiches and some hearty meat-and-three selections. Full bar. Dinner Tuesday-Sunday, plus lunch Friday-Sunday. Live music and concerts many nights. 468 Riverside Drive.
Titanic Movie Costumes at Biltmore
See the fabulous costume exhibition inside Biltmore House, “Glamour on Board: Fashion from Titanic the Movie” with 53 costumes and stories about the Vanderbilt travels and connection to the Titanic.
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.