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Explore Downtown Asheville
During the day, downtown Asheville bustles with shoppers browsing more than 200 galleries, antique shops and local boutiques. Each evening, enjoy street entertainers, restaurants, breweries, festivals and music. Walk the Urban Trail and tour historic sites. See our Top 25 things to do downtown.
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.
Laughing Seed Cafe
Asheville's original vegetarian restaurant downtown has been serving 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.
Western NC Fly Fishing Trail
Welcome to the first fly fishing trail in the United States with the best 15 spots for catching brook, brown and rainbow trout. With 92,800 fish stocked in its waters annually, Jackson County was named North Carolina Trout Capital. See detailed maps and fishing reports.
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)
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.
Asheville Amadeus Festival
Asheville Symphony presents 10 days of multi-genre events and concerts for all tastes and ages at multiple venues - including collaborations with many arts groups, often paired with beer and food.
Tuckasegee River Rafting & Tubing
Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tub in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river trips.
Russian Chapel Hills Winery
This vineyard rests below the beautiful St. Anna Chapel, which is part of the Eastern Diocese of the Russian Church. They use all of their own grapes for seven varietals, including reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and whites Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Plus, they have a Muscadine dessert wine. 2662 Green Creek Drive, Columbus, NC. Open Thursday-Sunday, 1-6 PM.
Children ages 4-10 can now enjoy zip lines at this first-of-a-kind park built for kids. Ride nine zips from 50 to 250 ft. long and explore four climbing elements. It's a self-guided tour with an adult escort for children 4-6. Kids ages 7-10 may zip alone or with an adult. Located just five minutes from downtown at the Adventure Center of Asheville.
20 Winter Hikes Near Asheville
Hiking during the winter has many advantages - including better views thanks to leafless trees, few fellow hikers, no bugs, brilliant skies with more distant views and cool temps. See our top places for winter hikes in the Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains.
Mid-Week Savings, Hill House B&B
Stay Sunday-Thursday and get 1/3 off all nights after your first night. Or extend a weekend stay and get 1/3 off your third night. This historic B&B near downtown Asheville has hearty breakfasts and many amenities including Jacuzzi tubs. Excludes holiday periods.
Rate: From $109/night
Rate: From $109/night
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. Dance the night away!
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.
(3 miles roundtrip, easy) This waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest is just three miles from I-40 in Old Fort. Hike by the river to the lower falls, a 100-foot cascade. Experienced hikers and rock climbers can continue on to a challenging hike to the stunning Upper Catawba Falls.
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.
An Angel Christmas @ Thomas Wolfe Home
A special open house at the fascinating 29-room Thomas Wolfe Home in downtown Asheville with period decorations, special tours, angel wreath auction, kids' activities, snacks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. $5/adult, children 17 & under free.
Season's at Highland Lake
Located on the grounds of historic Highland Lake Inn & Resort, find inspired seasonal cuisine and impressive wine list in a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a casual lunch, romantic dinner or big Sunday Brunch buffets, including holidays. Only five minutes from Hendersonville and 30 minutes from Asheville. 86 Lily Pad Lane, Flat Rock.
This rare twin waterfall is located roadside near Maggie Valley and Cherokee. You can easily miss it since there are few signs! The observation deck is a short walk from a small parking area. You can also hike down to the base of both falls.
A Vanderbilt House Party Package, The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Stay in Biltmore's luxury four-star inn to see the elaborate clothing exhibition inside the House on February 8–May 27, 2019. Includes overnight accommodations, Chef's Breakfast Buffet, afternoon tea, admission to the House, premium audio tour, valet parking and estate shuttle.
Cold Mountain Music Festival
Outdoor festival with plenty of live music, food trucks, beer & wine and more at Lake Logan in Pisgah National Forest south of Waynesville, about 30 miles from Asheville. Weekend tickets $75/person. Camping and accommodations available - reserve early.
Wildcat Rock Trail
(6 miles roundtrip, strenuous) This gorgeous new trail in the Hickory Nut Gorge area climbs 1,800 feet in elevation by cliffs, 100-foot Little Bearwallow Falls cascade and panoramic views from Wildcat Rock. Many spring wildflowers. Just 18 miles from downtown Asheville.
6 Mountain Beaches near Asheville
Hit the beach on pristine, cool mountain lakes in the NC mountains near Asheville, complete with sandy shores, lifeguards and plenty of summer fun in the water.
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.
DuPont State Forest Hidden Lakes
(4 miles, moderate) Discover some hidden lakes on the quieter side of DuPont State Recreational Forest, as well as an airstrip with a great mountain view. Fawn Lake and Lake Julia are great swimming holes, too.
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 Feb 9-March 20.
Rate: From $431
Rate: From $431
River Arts District
Some 185 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Find an amazing variety of art and see how the artists create it. It's just a few miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
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.
Mountain Glory Festival
Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 140 arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a 5K walk/run, quilt show, and so much more. Free admission. 9:30 AM-6 PM.
Explore the environment through photography and photo-media at this citywide event with nationally known speakers, exhibitions, films and special projects at venues throughout Asheville. Many events are free.
Stand-Up Paddleboard Trips
Find the best places to stand-up paddleboard in and near Asheville on the pristine waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent SUPs, take lessons and even take a guided river trip. Fun way to see fall color, too!
STORM Rhum Bar & Bistro
Find a warm, cozy atmosphere where the food and service will delight your senses. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, ample wine offerings, a selection of local draft beer, an extensive rhum list, and of course, delicious food prepared by Chef Owen McGlynn. Free parking in their private lot downtown. 125 South Lexington Avenue.
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.
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.
Tsali Mountain Biking
Find mountain biking heaven in the Nantahala National Forest with 40 miles of trails overlooking Fontana Lake. Located near Bryson City, where you can find bike rentals and supplies.
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.
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
Big Band Dance Weekend
Swing dance away the weekend at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on Friday & Saturday nights. Two night package from $918/couple.
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.
Dill Falls and Upper Dill Falls
(1 mile round-trip, easy) Hike to two waterfalls, Upper and Lower Dill Falls, via easy walks from the end of a forest service road deep in Nantahala National Forest. 4.6 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Romance Package, Haywood Park Hotel
Book a romantic getaway in the heart of downtown Asheville at this boutique hotel. Oversized suites, luxurious baths, red roses, handmade chocolates, early check-in and late check-out.
Rate: From $730 for 2 nights/2 people
Rate: From $730 for 2 nights/2 people
Brevard Adventure Guide
Order your free 48-page Adventure Guide for Brevard and Transylvania County, Land of the Waterfalls, with scenic drives, hikes, waterfall map, festivals, art, museums and picturesque Main Street.
Graveyard Fields Waterfalls
This popular hiking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway has two waterfalls. Second Falls (in pic) is just 1/3-mile walk from the Parkway. Upper Falls is on a four-mile loop trail in the mile-high meadow.
Bechtler House & Gold Mint Site
In 1832, Christopher Bechtler minted the America's first one-dollar gold coin in Rutherfordton, 17 years before the U.S. Mint. During the mid-1800s, the Bechtlers minted more than $2.24 million in one dollar gold coins. Two sites in town tell the story in Rutherford County.
Roan Mountain Scenic Drive
Drive Highway 261 to Carver's Gap at Roan Mountain for spectacular views, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, winter snow along the mile high ridge and summer rhododendron blooms. The 12-mile drive starts in Bakersville.
Jingle Bell Trolley Train Ride
Ride the trolley on the Craggy Mountain railroad line, just five miles north of downtown Asheville. Saturdays, 10 AM-6 PM. After the 30-minute ride, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies along with visiting Santa and Mrs Claus. It's fun for all ages. $12/person
Grove Arcade Winter Wonderland
Shop and dine in the beautifully restored and decorated historic arcade in downtown Asheville. Find a big variety of local shops and galleries and see gingerbread house creations in one of the first enclosed malls in America. Open 7 days.
Experience an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration and street festival in Bryson City with a 5K, crafts, food, contests, live music and the best fireworks show in the Smokies.
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.
Biltmore Industries Tour
Take a guided tour of historic Biltmore Industries at Grovewood Village and time-warp back to closing day in 1981 as you see untouched rooms with looms loaded with wool. April-November. Also, visit their Homespun Museum and Car Museum.
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.
Winter Solstice, Rumbling Bald Resort
Stay by Lake Lure at this golf resort with restaurants, spa, indoor pool, trails and much more. Package includes one night lodging, two rounds of golf at Apple Valley and access to all resort amenities. Through March 15, 2019
Rate: From $318/couple
Rate: From $318/couple
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.
French Broad Adventures
Asheville’s closest whitewater experience. Experience a fun-filled rafting adventure with knowledgeable guides or choose a milder Calm Water Float Trip in the heart of the scenic valley near Hot Springs. And the French Broad River is warmer and less crowded than other area rivers. Half and full day trips.
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.
Go to Chimney Rock Park to see if Greta the groundhog sees her shadow to predict an early spring or a long winter. Other activities for kids of all ages.
Winter Getaways to Jackson County
Find the perfect winter romantic getaway in Jackson County in January-March. Take your sweetie to the fun small towns of Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers for cabins, beer, chocolate, spa days and more.
WNC Bigfoot Festival
A quirky festival that celebrates the legendary Sasquatch, held in downtown Marion 36 miles east of Asheville. In addition to Bigfoot-themed items and local crafts, talk with sighters from across the country with evidence that it exists. Calling contest too!
Wolf Laurel Stables
Enjoy a scenic, guided horseback trail or wagon rides on 20 miles of trails with experienced guides and gentle horses. Take in the fabulous 360-degree views of the Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests from the top of Big Bald Mountain at over 5,500 ft. elevation! Or, enjoy a cool horse ride through beautiful mountain forests along Bald Mountain Creek near Mars Hill and Burnsville.
Massage on Wheels
This on-demand mobile spa provides massages in Asheville and 40-mile radius. Choose from a team of licensed therapists with a variety of advanced specialties. Same day bookings available. They bring table, sheets, and even music, so it's perfect for your hotel or vacation rental. Rates from $75.
Yellow Creek Falls
Hike just a third of a mile to reach this 50-ft. waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville and Lake Santeetlah. It's a great summer swimming hole, too!
This serene swimming spot in Pisgah National Forest is near popular Rainbow Falls and the natural water slide Turtleback Falls. It's family-friendy but a 2.5-mile roundtrip hike to reach.
Head to Maggie Valley to celebrate mountain country living with music, crafts, big car show, moonshine and TV celebrities.
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.
3rd Night Free, Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds
Stay in a cabin near Biltmore and downtown Asheville for two nights and get the third night free in January, February and March. Warm up in the hot tub and relax by the wood burning fireplace.
Rate: From $320 for three nights
Rate: From $320 for three nights
Biltmore Wine Package, Hampton Inn
Includes two nights accommodations for two at one of the Asheville Hampton Inn hotels, breakfast each morning at the hotel, 2 tickets to Biltmore Estate, one souvenir guidebook and a bottle of Biltmore Estate wine.
Rate: From $380
Rate: From $380
Mindfulness: Great Tree Zen Women's Temple
Come practice meditation in a beautiful natural setting. Nourish your happiness with mindfulness. Beginners welcome! Retreats and weekly meditation offerings allow you an opportunity to connect with yourself in a deep way.
Silver Fork Winery
Located near Morganton (just a few miles from I-40), a beautiful tasting room and rural setting provide a breathtaking view overlooking vineyards and the South Mountains. Sample Silver Fork's refined and distinctive Bordeaux-style wines in their Tasting Room or on their terrace: Chardonnay, Rosé, Chambourcin, Four Dog Red, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 5000 Patton Rd, Morganton. Wednesday-Friday, 12-7 PM & Saturday-Sunday 12-6 PM.
Tryon Beer Fest
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music and great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. 12-6 PM. Tickets: $30/person through August. $35 after Sept 1. $40 at event. Tickets capped at 1,000.
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.