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Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum
Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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.
Escape to the Great Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains is one of America's most visited national parks. This International Biosphere Reserve is home to rugged mountains (many peaks in excess of 6,000 ft.), historic homesteads and 100,000 different types of plants and animals. Four entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within 50 miles of downtown Asheville. Free admission!
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.
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.
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.
Brew Horizons Beer Festival
Held in downtown Asheville inside the big US Cellular Center 2-6 PM, tickets include a souvenir tasting stein for sampling from 20+ regional craft breweries and cideries, food tastings, live music, artisan vendors. Fundraiser for our clean energy future. $41/person. Limited tickets, so buy in advance.
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.
Marshall Handmade Market, Marshall
This arts festival & holiday market is held indoors at Marshall High Studios on Blannahassatt Island in the French Broad River, 25 minutes north of Asheville. Classrooms-turned-studios open their doors for 60 artists to share process and art. Food trucks too. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM
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.
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.
Twisted Laurel Eatery and Lounge
Enjoy fresh Italian and Greek dishes with an American twist. Their downtown Asheville location (130 College Street) has dog-friendly outdoor dining and an upstairs bar with music. Also find them in artsy Weaverville at 10-A South Main Street.
DuPont Forest Festival
New! Celebrate DuPont State Recreational Forest with many special events on National Public Lands Day, such as guided tours, educational lectures, hands-on demonstrations and more. Free admission.
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.
Compassionate Expressions Mountain Inn & Healing Sanctuary
A 40-acre private Certified Wildlife Retreat near Asheville where a world of magic, serenity, natural beauty and unlimited healing possibilities await you. Renew your body and spirit with exceptional spa services: energy healing, massage, cranial-sacral, past life regression, hot tubs by the creek and sauna. Choose a "day" or "stay over" spa experience.
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.
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.
Gran Fondo Bike Race
Join the fun of this cycling event for various levels of experience for a 30, 60 or 100-mile scenic course, starting and ending in the River Arts District in Asheville. It's a fundraiser for Friends of the Smokies.
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.
This modest waterfall is dwarfed by the towering cliffs above, creating a majestic setting. And it's an easy walk with other waterfalls nearby (French Broad Falls & Mill Shoals).
(1.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) For our favorite 360-degree mountain view along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike to the top of this 5,892-ft. peak at Craggy Gardens. Trailhead at Milepost 364.1.
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.
Get Pampered at a Spa
Be it a simple weekend of relaxation, a romantic couple’s getaway in the mountains or a chance to improve your health, Asheville is the ultimate destination for those seeking spas and wellness. Take some time for yourself for relaxation and rejuvenation. See our Top 15 spots.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This quaint mountain village at 3,700 feet elevation has great restaurants, breweries, shops, Wildcat Lake beach, and many events including the Woolly Worm Festival in October. Near Beech Mountain skiing and Grandfather Mountain hiking.
Red Stag Grill Sunday Brunch
Located inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village, this elegant "chic rustic lodge" restaurant has a fabulous Sunday Brunch Buffet 10 AM-2 PM with classic favorites and European comfort food. $39/person. Liquid features include the bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Reservations highly recommended.
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.
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.
Visit 20 farms in the Asheville area that are not normally open to the public and see what happens behind the scenes. Presented by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), farms are located in many counties. 12-5 PM. Passes $30/car in advance, $40/car day of.
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.
Rumbling Bald Resort Golf
Stay and play two championship golf courses at a waterfront resort on Lake Lure. Bald Mountain Golf Course has gorgeous mountain views and towering rock faced cliffs. It has four sets of tees and measures 6,283 yards with a course rating of 70.9 and a slope rating of 128. Apple Valley Golf Course is a 72 par, 18-hole course, designed by Dan Maples. It measures 6,756 yards from the tees, has a slope rating of 140 and a 73.2 USGA rating.
Living Alchemy Ayurveda
Find optimal wellness through ancient wisdom with Ayurvedic health consultations, clinical massage, yoga therapy, and cleanse and renewal programs. They specialize in women’s health, digestive health, and pain management.
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!
Roan Mountain Picnics
Picnic with the rhododendron each June. Or picnic along the Appalachian Trail atop one of the balds with panoramic views.
Best 40 Museums & Historic Sites
Explore a big variety of very interesting museums and historic places in Asheville and the surrounding mountain small towns, filled with the fascinating history and culture of the Appalachian Mountains. Many are free to visit.
Top 30 Hotels & Resorts
Find the best hotels in Asheville and western North Carolina, including luxury resorts, limited service hotels and full-service country inns. Stay downtown, near Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in one of the cool small towns throughout the mountains.
Hendersonville & Flat Rock Places to Stay
Find many choices and great deals for bed & breakfasts, hotels, resort and cabin rentals in Henderson County, just south of Asheville, including Mills River, Flat Rock, Etowah, Bat Cave, Fletcher and DuPont State Forest.
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
French Broad River Outfitters
Kayak, canoe, tube or paddleboard down the river through Asheville. Start your trip near downtown at the area's largest paddle shop - with shuttle service, rentals, camping gear, disc golf supplies and more. Three locations along the French Broad River.
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
Nourishing Winter Warmer Spa Package, Shoji Spa
Soak in your private, outdoor Japanese-style hot tub. Then get a combined Swedish Shiatsu Massage with warm shea butter hand mitts for deep hydration. Forest setting in Asheville. Allow 3 hours.
Rate: $225 Single /$450 Couple
Rate: $225 Single /$450 Couple
Mountain Heritage Day
Held on the campus of Western Carolina University, this long-running outdoors celebration features the sights, sounds, crafts and flavors of yesteryear. Get a taste of southern Appalachian culture, art and music. 10 AM-5 PM. Free.
Meet Artists in River Arts District
Our top pick for art lovers is exploring the River Arts District to watch artists at work, ask them about the process and buy art as a souvenir of your visit! More than 200 artists work in 25 buildings, including old warehouses and factories along the river near downtown and Biltmore.
Waldensian Heritage Winery
Centuries ago in Italy, the Waldensians learned the craft of creating great wines and brought their traditions to the small town of Valdese (in Burke County) since the terrain, climate and soil composition here was similar to their homes in Italy. Built of local field rock and timbers, the Waldensian Heritage Winery opened in 1930. All production, distribution, marketing and tours are by volunteers. Address: 4940 Villar Ln NE, Valdese. Open Thursday-Sunday, 1-6 PM
Maggie Valley Summer Arts and Crafts Show
Meet 100 artisans and crafters from the Southeast with a big variety of art, outdoors at the Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Road) in Maggie Valley. 9 AM-4 PM each day. Free admission and parking.
Military Discount, Wildberry Lodge B&B
Active military receives 15% discount on any room and suite rates at this luxury, log-constructed mountain lodge, offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the valley, just 12 miles from downtown Asheville.
Rate: From $169/night
Rate: From $169/night
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.
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.
Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway
Drive one of America's most scenic roads. Enjoy a leisurely excursion filled with nature's beauty through dense forests and atop mountain ridges. You'll find breathtaking overlooks, numerous hiking trails and great spots for picnics. Drive north for panoramic views at Craggy Gardens and Mt. Mitchell. A drive south takes you through a dozen tunnels and the highest section of the Parkway. See our favorite 50 stops.
Susan Marie Designs
Award-winning jewelry designer and goldsmith Susan Marie Phipps works with the finest natural color gemstones, diamonds and pearls. Enjoy seeing Susan’s collection of elegant creations at her gallery/studio. 19 Biltmore Avenue in the heart of downtown Asheville.
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.
NC Veterans Cemetery & Memorial
Pay respects at the Western North Carolina Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, open every day with a special service on Memorial Day. Also see the Veterans Memorial in downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park.
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
The Market Place
A world-class favorite located on charming Wall Street. Chef William Dissen's inventive menu features seasonal and organic ingredients from area farms, plus an extensive wine list. Recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and more. Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the bar and lounge. Reservations recommended. 20 Wall Street.
Militia Muster & Encampment
Experience life in a 18th-century muster camp at Vance Birthplace State Historic Site, 10 miles north of Asheville. Watch the militiamen practice musket drills and learn about county militia, candle making, weaving, campfire cooking and more. Free. 10 AM-4 PM
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the coolest town on our list for temperature (highest town in the eastern USA at 5,506 feet elevation). While it's very popular for skiing and snowboarding each winter, they have an impressive trail system for hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Summer golf and scenic chairlift rides too. Each fall, follow the yellow brick road at Autumn at Oz.
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) See panoramic views of Pisgah National Forest from atop the historic fire tower near Mt Pisgah. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6.
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.
Head to Maggie Valley to celebrate mountain country living with music, crafts, big car show, moonshine and TV celebrities.
Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival
This outdoor show in Banner Elk is strictly fine art and master crafts by juried artists. 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.