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Take in the grandeur of our country's largest home, the "Downton Abbey" of America. Explore the many rooms inside the house, walk through breathtaking landscapes and gardens, taste vintages at the winery and enjoy fine dining. See many things to do with our detailed insider's guide!
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.
Wesser Bald Lookout Tower
Hike to this 30-foot tall tower atop Wesser Bald on the Appalachian Trail for 360-degree mountain views of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains. Located near the Nantahala River rafting area.
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.
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.
Lake Lure Boat and Car Show
See antique and classic boats along with classic cars and 1917 Lake Lure Speedwagon at this lakeside show, free admission. Food, beer and wine on the beach. Saturday 10 AM-4 PM. Kicks off with boat parade on Friday at 3 PM.
The Big Crafty
Local's favorite art & craft show with 170 hand-selected local artists. Local food & beer too. Inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville (87 Haywood St). Saturday 1-8 PM ($5/person) and Sunday 11 AM-6 PM (free).
Home to an impressive arts community, with galleries and an arts center downtown. Also boasts a big equestrian community, with many horse-related events, including a Steeplechase each spring. The amazing Tryon International Equestrian Center attracts horse lovers and riders from all over the world. Near Saluda.
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.
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.
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 40 Spring Events & Festivals
April & May: See our top picks for Spring events and festivals in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Many are free!
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.
Blue Ridge Travelers Guide
Order this free, print guide for Marion, Little Switzerland, Linville Falls, Old Fort and Lake James areas of McDowell County - east of Asheville.
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
This team picks the perfect outdoor location for couples that love nature, including waterfalls and mountaintops. A variety of packages include professional photography session with gorgeous scenery, videography and custom ceremony with officiant. Book weekdays (Mon-Thurs) for more private settings at some of the most iconic mountain locations.
Rate: From $1250
Rate: From $1250
Cider Wine & Dine Weekend
Visit the Hendersonville area for a big variety of 50 happenings at wineries, cideries and tasting rooms. Events include special tastings and new releases, orchard and vineyard tours, pairing dinners, food trucks, live music, festivals and more. Many events are free.
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.
This favorite downtown Italian restaurant is filled with the aromas of house baked artisan bread and mouth watering cuisine. Focuses on fresh 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.
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.
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.
Appalachian Medley Scenic Byway
The 45-mile North Carolina Scenic Byway is named for the rich history of local music. It follows NC 209 from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs, through farmland and Pisgah National Forest. Stop at the Trust General Store and the tiny St. Jude's Chapel of Hope.
Located about 60 miles east of Asheville, Morganton's charming downtown centers around the stately historic courthouse. Shop, eat and taste local brews at three breweries. Just outside of town is Lake James, Catawba Valley wineries and Linville Gorge. In September, don't miss the big Morganton Festival.
This historic town in Madison County is nestled between rocky cliffs and French Broad River. This "one street wide and a mile long" town of 889 residents has a Main Street with artists’ studios, galleries, music venues, restaurants, Zuma Coffee and shops. Walk across the river to Blannahassett Island and the Marshall High Studios with many events.
Asheville's public market features specialty shops, restaurants, and sidewalk vending with fresh food and crafts. This block-long historic building has an interior "mall" and shops around the entire exterior. A must stop!
Downtown on Battery Park and O. Henry Avenues.
Downtown on Battery Park and O. Henry Avenues.
This premiere craft cocktail bar is a great place eat, drink and be social. Find original cocktails, fine wines, local brews and creative food with local ingredients in a contemporary space that is stylish and intimate. The rooftop patio is just the spot to unwind and elevate your spirit. 29 Broadway.
Beech Mountain Hikes
(1 to 20 miles, easy to strenuous) The Town of Beech Mountain, the highest town in eastern America, has 20 miles of maintained trails atop their mountain. A great place to keep cool since their summer temperatures seldom go above 75 degrees!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
French Broad River Tubing
Drift down the French Broad River through Asheville on a lazy summer day. Find rentals and shuttle just a few minutes from downtown, then begin your 4-mile river tube adventure in the River Arts District.
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.
Flat Rock Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway
(6/10 mile, easy) Hike a loop trail to a flat rock summit with expansive views and great picnic spots. Hidden away at Milepost 308.3 on the Blue Ridge Parkway - near Linville Falls.
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.
Handle With Care @ NC Stage Company
This bilingual romantic comedy brings together an unlikely pair. Is their inevitable love an accident or is it destiny, generations in the making?
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
Creative Mountain Food Tours
Take a 2-3 hour guided walking tour of Black Mountain. Enjoy food, beverage and dessert tastings at five or more local and unique eateries, with local history tidbits along the way. Most Saturday afternoons March-November. Also book private tours for 8+ on any day.
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.
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.
French Broad Falls & Mill Shoals
See three waterfalls with one stop on NC Highway 215 near Rosman / Brevard, about 7.5 miles north of Highway 64. See this twin waterfall, then walk a short distance riverside to see more cascades and a majestic cliff by Cathedral Falls. All of this is right off the road, but most visitors miss it since there are no signs.
The Esmeralda Restaurant
Enjoy lunch or dinner in the shadows of Chimney Rock. Carefully crafted dishes feature many local ingredients and the freshest seafood possible. For the ultimate romantic surprise, ask about reserving the chef's private table. Patio seating has cliff views. Exceptional wine list. Reservations recommended. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
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!
Early Girl Eatery
A local's favorite in Asheville since 2001, featuring area farmers from day one. Southern dishes served in a friendly diner vibe. Breakfast all day. Meat & two dishes with plenty of veggies. Made from scratch cakes & pies too! Two locations: 8 Wall Street downtown & 444 Haywood Road West Asheville
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.
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
Asheville Wellness Tours
Specializing in crafting custom itineraries with a variety of experiences like yoga hikes, private group yoga, tarot readings, mobile massage, essential oil blending, downtown walking tour and more. Join one of their public experiences or let them hand craft an itinerary for your group.
L'Ecluse a Bouchon
Above Bouchon, the longtime favorite French restaurant downtown, is a cozy cocktail lounge with comfy seating, small plates and a Sommelier that guides you through their impressive wine selection. Open Monday-Saturday at 4 PM. 62 North Lexington, Asheville
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.
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.
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
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.
This longtime mountain resort town has kept much of its local charm with vintage motels and plenty of gift shops with arts and crafts. Tour Wheels Through Time collection of classic cars and motorcycles. Ski at Cataloochee. Festivals include Hillbilly Jam and Elk Fest.
(3 miles round-trip, strenuous) Mt. Pisgah can be seen from downtown Asheville on a clear day. Hike up to the top of the 5,721-ft. summit on this popular hiking trail. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 407.6.
Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley
Located at 5,400 ft. in the Great Smoky Mountains, their 18 slopes have 100% snowmaking with 5 lifts on 50 acres. Ski and snowboard rentals, packages, kids & adult school and nearby tubing park. Gentle slopes for novices while seasoned experts take on Upper Omigosh. Located 40 miles west of Asheville in scenic Maggie Valley.
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.
Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains
Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.
The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf
Discover the course that Golfweek magazine included in its “America’s Best” listings and Golf Digest named as “one of the ten best courses in the United States that is 100 years old or more.” Designed by the legendary Donald Ross, this is a shot-maker’s course, emphasizing accuracy over power in its 6,720 yard, par 70 layout. The ascent from the somewhat flat, yet undulating front nine to the gentle slopes and sometime steep inclines and descents of the back nine brings with it spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Downtown Rutherfordton's Main Street is filled with crafts, vendors, food, live music, demonstrations, and plenty of kids activities - including a Pinewood Derby Race. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
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.
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
See works from 90 of the finest 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.
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.
7th Night Free, Yellow Rose Rentals
Stay 6 nights and get the 7th free in a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, including Bryson City, Cherokee, Nantahala River and Fontana Lake. Choose 1-5 bedrooms, variety of amenities. Pet-friendly options too.
Rates: From $125/night
Rates: From $125/night
(3.2-mile loop, moderate) Hike from downtown Hot Springs via the Appalachian Trail. You will climb to a rock outcropping for beautiful views of the river and town. It's a romantic spot, but don't leap!
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.
Sensibilities Spa at the Hilton
Located in the Hilton Asheville at Biltmore Park, enjoy a full range of luxurious treatments including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures performed in a beautiful and distinctive environment. Their Eminence organic treatments are customized according to your specific needs.