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Concerts on the Creek
Unwind on Fridays Memorial Day through Labor Day with live music outdoors in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park. It's just two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (come early!). Family friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket. Free.
It took 34 years to build North Carolina's most expensive highway, winding up and over 5,400-foot mountains for 15 miles, from Robbinsville through the Nantahala National Forest and descending another 21 miles into the Cherokee National Forest of Tennessee. This 36-mile National Scenic Byway shows little evidence of civilization. Stop at many overlooks.
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!
A Doll’s House - Part 2 @ NC Stage Company
This comedy delivers laughs while also posing thoughtful questions about marriage, gender equality and human rights. How much, in a century-plus, has life changed for the characters?
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.
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.
Concerts on the Creek, Sylva
Kick off Memorial Day Weekend with free outside live music in downtown Sylva 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park, two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries. Family-friendly, bring a chair or blanket.
5 Scenic Drives, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Drive these top scenic roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side, including Newfound Gap Road, for the best views and places to stop along the way.
In the heart of Asheville in Pack Square is this comfortable place for friends, families and strangers to simply lean in and enjoy each other's company. A place where food and drink is at its uncomplicated best. The menu is inspired by seasonal ingredients and pays homage to the bounty of regional and American cooking. A wood-fired oven and grill complement the rustic creations. 7 Pack Square.
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.
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.
Hendersonville Cheers Trail
Visit and taste at 15 different wineries, cideries, breweries and even a meadery in Hendersonville’s downtown and nearby scenic countryside. See all the stops on this self-guided tasting experience. Download a map.
Addison Farms Vineyard
This family-owned vineyard and winery is 17 miles northwest of Asheville. Sample wines from their six grape varieties at their Tasting Room with mountain views: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Petit Verdot and Petit Manseng. Open Friday-Sunday afternoon. Also open Thursdays May-Oct. 4005 New Leicester Hwy, Leicester.
Contemporary Craft Cooperative owned and operated by the artists. Featuring eleven local, award winning artists, this downtown Asheville gallery is a premier showcase for handmad jewelry, ceramics, metalwork, fiber, glass, woodwork and furniture. Meet and purchase directly from local artists. 19 Biltmore Avenue
Thermal City Gold & Gem Mine
Visit this authentic gold mine and travel back to the 1800s gold rush. Pan for gold and gems, talk to a real prospector and explore the "Old West" buildings with plenty of interesting things to see. Open mid March-October. South of Marion.
Asheville Parks & Greenway
Just a couple miles from downtown and Biltmore, find two parks along the river connected by the French Broad River Greenway: Carrier Park and French Broad River Park. Picnic, bike, hike and play.
Check out these kid-friendly restaurants in and around Asheville that offer extra “kid perks” like more casual settings with outdoor space, play areas, arcade games and more.
Rutherford County Campgrounds
See the Top 10 places to camp in the Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Forest City areas in the foothills, including RV and motorcoach resorts. Find a big variety of campground amenities with many things to do in the Hickory Nut Gorge.
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.
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.
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.
Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest
Located near Triple Falls, it is an easy 1/2-mile roundtrip stroll from the parking area. While it's only 12 ft. tall, it's wide and cascades into a beautiful pool that is a popular swimming spot.
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.
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.
Zen Asheville Inn & Spa Retreat
Escape the daily grind with this boutique lodging experience promoting rejuvenation and restoration. The serene setting has meditative spaces, gardens, five elegant rooms and a private spa for overnight guests only. Spa amenities include steam showers, massage therapies, body treatments and more. Combine this with a simple self check in and discreet, invisible hosting for a relaxing retreat. Located just blocks from vibrant downtown Asheville.
Carmel's Kitchen and Bar
With a prime corner location in the beautiful Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, find superior local and organic produce and meats for a bounty of fresh flavors with contemporary style. Lunch features soups, salads, hand-tossed pizzas and burgers. Dinner offerings range from mussels and calamari to locally sourced steaks and pork, along with signature cocktails and local brews. Prime outdoor dining patio. 1 Page Avenue.
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.
National Get Outdoors Day
**Due to COVID-19 concerns, this event is canceled for 2020. 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.
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.
Cherry Bounce Festival
Go to Forest City to celebrate a famous moonshiner with music, crafts, food trucks and cherry-inspired dishes and drinks. Kicks off Friday evening with a big, free outdoor concert.
Craft Your Adventure: Mitchell County
Get plenty of trip ideas and find places to stay in Mitchell County, home of Roan Mountain, Spruce Pine, Little Switzerland, Bakersville, Penland School of Craft, rivers, gem mining, festivals, scenic drives and more.
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.
Stroll through this public garden in Hendersonville that includes an half-mile trail through the Native Woodland Garden, popular Fairy Garden, Dahlia Daze in September and much more. Free, but donations accepted. Near apple orchards & wineries. 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville
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.
Barns of Madison County
Drive the country roads of Madison County to see many historic barns preserved by the Appalachian Barn Alliance - five scenic routes take you by farms and mountain views.
Oskar Blues's Burning CAN Beer Festival
The weekend-long lawn jam on their scenic REEB Ranch by DuPont State Forest includes a beer fest with 50+ craft-canning breweries, internationally touring bands, camping, food trucks, and plenty of mountain sports.
(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!
Well @ NC Stage Company
A funny and touching comedy about mothers and daughters, mind over body, social activism and theatre itself.
Dessert, Donuts, and Ice Cream
If you have a sweet tooth and are looking to indulge, you’ll find quite the paradise for dessert-lovers in Asheville. Find our top picks for decadent, hand-crafted desserts including chocolates, ice cream, donuts and more.
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.
See petroglyphs created by Cherokee Indians 1,500 years ago on a boulder near Sylva and Western Carolina University. The small outdoor park is open every day.
15% off, Quality Inn Biltmore
Use this link to get 15% off all rates at this affordable hotel with plenty of value-added amenities, including a complimentary, full, hot breakfast buffet. Five miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore.
Rate: From $79/night
Rate: From $79/night
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.
Downtown Asheville Restaurants
A food-lover’s paradise filled with some of the best restaurants in the region, downtown Asheville has a wealth of independent restaurants, serving up fresh, seasonal, scratch-made fare with top-notch hospitality.
This hip west Asheville restaurant serves food for everyone from vegans to omnivores all entirely gluten-free. Owner and Chef Reza Setayesh accomplishes the feat with flavorful dishes from around the world. Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Monday - Saturday and Brunch on Sunday. Bright and cozy. Kid-friendly. Dog-friendly patio. Barista Station, Bakery, and Bar. 697 Haywood Road
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.
Conundrum Escape Adventures
Stop in for an intriguing Escape Adventure with local actors and imaginative worlds, and stay for a prohibition era cocktail at their underground Speakeasy under the old Battery Park Hotel in downtown Asheville.
Carson House Museum, Marion
Tour one of the most interesting house museums in the state, dating back to 1793, with a big collection covering 200+ years on three floors.
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.
DuPont Forest Festival
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.
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Shop at the big gallery and save 10% on all art and craft while enjoying free cider, cookies and wine. Also, watch artist demos, take a free factory tour and get free admission to Antique Car Museum. Asheville. 10 AM-5:30 PM
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.
Fishing in the Smokies, Bryson City
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.
Asheville is one of the top USA cities for vegan living. Outdoor festival features vegan food, beer, lifestyle vendors and educational speakers in Pack Square Park 11 AM-6 PM. Free admission.
NC Travel Guide & Map
Order the printed, official North Carolina Travel Guide, a great state highway map for the car, Civil War Trails, winery guide or Access NC guide for travelers with disabilities - all are free!
Blue Ridge Hiking Company
Expert guides offer a wide array of hiking excursions, including outfitting gear. In addition to group hikes, they can also customize a trip just for you. Experience sunsets, waterfalls and high peaks at a variety of locations including the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, DuPont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest and more.
Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains, NC
See our comprehensive camping guide for the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina side with many options, tips and places including backpacking sites and campgrounds.
Indian Lakes Scenic Byway
This 60-mile drive takes you by Fontana and Santeetlah Lakes in far western North Carolina, through the historic communities of Stecoah and Robbinsville, in rural Graham and Swain counties.
Extended Stay Discount, The Windover Inn B&B
Spend three nights or more at this historic inn in Waynesville and take advantage of $10 off/night for a room and $15 off/night for a suite.
Rate: From $110
Rate: From $110
Glamping Near Asheville
Find our top glamping locations near Asheville. This combination of glamour and camping satisfies both the city slicker and nature lover. Arrive to a fully set up mountain campsite in our Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, no assembly or equipment required.
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.