Sylva is a very fun and picturesque small town (population 2,500) in Jackson County at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Stroll its "all American" Main Street, packed with local restaurants, friendly stores, galleries, bookshops and breweries. Visit for many events during the year, including the big Greening Up the Mountain street festival to welcome spring and Concerts on the Creek summer weekly concerts.
The historic Jackson County Courthouse on Main Street was built in 1914. Considered to be the "most photographed courthouse" in North Carolina. the Courthouse can be reached by climbing 107 steps from Main Street - look back for a nice view of downtown and the mountains (pic below). To get plenty of ideas of things to do, stop at the Visitor Center (773 West Main St). Sylva is one of our top Christmas Towns in western NC and a delightful spot for holiday shopping.
Top local restaurants include Lulu's (678 West Main) and Guadalupe Cafe (606 West Main). For downhome cooking, head to The Coffee Shop (385 West Main Street), a local's favorite since 1926. Did I mention their homemade pies? And for the sweet tooth, stop at Baxley's Chocolates (628 West Main Street).
Sylva’s Main Street is home to 4 breweries.
- Innovation Brewing (414 West Main Street): With 32 brews on tap, homemade ginger ale, and three ciders, this seven-barrel brewhouse has a handful of mainstay traditional ales as well as several IPAs and experimental beers.
- Balsam Falls Brewing (506 West Main St) has 16-20 beers on tap including a rotating selection of IPAs, pale ales, and sours, along with six staple beers.
- Lazy Hiker Brewing - Sylva Taproom (617 W Main Street) is home to a wide selection of brews, with accompanying Mad Batter Kitchen bites.
- Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost (5 Grindstaff Cove Road) has over 40 taps, award-winning beers, and family-friendly fun.
The Sylva area has hosted the filming of several movies lately, including transforming downtown for the 2018 Oscar-nominated movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing (read more)!
Outdoor lovers will be overwhelmed with the options for hiking, waterfalls, fishing, biking, and more in the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains - including Nantahala National Forest. In fact, the town owns Pinnacle Park with a 7-mile round-trip trek to a 5,000-ft. peak with great views. The Blue Ridge Parkway is just 11 miles from downtown via US 23 North / US 74 East.
Sylva is home to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail ®️, attracting anglers from around the world. The Tuckasegee River is known for its whitewater and trout populations.
Artsy Dillsboro is just a few miles west with studios, shops, and galleries, along with some great art festivals. Read more about Jackson County things to do.
Greening Up the Mountains Festival
Celebrate the arrival of spring at this big downtown Sylva street festival, about an hour's drive west of Asheville. Three stages of music, crafts, music, more. Free admission.
Jackson County Ale Trail
For a more laid back, small town beer adventure, head to three cool towns near Asheville: Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers - home to six breweries with taprooms and restaurants.
Sylva July 4th Concert & Fireworks
Enjoy concerts and fireworks in a picturesque all-American small town! Live music begins at 4 PM with dancing until 9:30 PM at the Bridge Park Pavilion. Stroll Main Street's shops, restaurants and… read more
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… read more
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.
WNC Fly Fishing Trail®️
Welcome to the first and only 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… read more
Jackson County Places to Stay
Choose from historic B&Bs, mountaintop log cabins, Airbnb rentals, lakeside resorts and camping in the great outdoors in the Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers areas. Find a mountain getaway for… read more
Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Sylva
Conveniently located off of Highway 441/74, rediscover the beauty of nature as you relax in the indoor heated pool or spa and gaze out over the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. Minutes from Western… read more
Sylva’s Pinnacle Park
(7 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike to the top of The Pinnacle for views looking down into Sylva and the surrounding valley. Climb over 3,000 ft. in elevation with a steady grade.
Jackson County Mountains Guide
Order a free 73-page visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.
Western Carolina University is seven miles down the road in Cullowhee.
There is great hiking on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, including hikes at Devil's Courthouse, Graveyard Fields, Waterrock Knob and Black Balsam Knob.
Other nearby small towns include Franklin, Cashiers, Highlands, Cherokee and Waynesville. See more of our Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns.
Sylva Directions from Asheville: Take I-40 West to Exit 27 and follow US Highway 74 West past Waynesville to exit 83 for downtown Sylva. 50 miles, 1 hour drive.