Discover so many fun things to do in Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Since we cover a 90-mile radius around Asheville (16 counties), there is something for everyone, no matter your interests. Starting in Asheville’s vibrant downtown area and expanding out to every corner of our fair city and beyond, you'll find national treasures, award-winning restaurants, museums, shopping, music, performing arts, galleries and tours. If you love outdoor activities, there are so many places to go in our national forests and parks, filled with hiking trails, waterfalls and spectacular mountain views. Start making your wish list below - and click the links for many more ideas!
Asheville & WNC: Top Things to Do & Places to Go
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Take a scenic train ride on excursions along the Nantahala and Tuckasegee Rivers, over the mountains, across valleys, and through tunnels. Choose from a variety of train adventures departing from Bryson City. Many special event train rides including beer, wine, and Polar Express.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
Nantahala Outdoor Center offers whitewater rafting trips on the French Broad River just outside of Asheville, or just a short drive is 500-acres of family-friendly adventure near Bryson City with over 100 itineraries of river and land-based activities like rafting, kayaking, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, hiking and more. Enjoy riverside dining at two restaurants, shopping at the… read more
North Carolina Arboretum
Stroll through a variety of gardens and on peaceful woodland trails, located in Asheville adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Don't miss their impressive bonsai garden exhibit and many special events during the year.
Adventure Center of Asheville, Outdoor Family Fun!
Family adventures for ages 4 and over: Climb our Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements with 7 different aerial trails, zip our Kid Zip park (ages 4-10), or Asheville Zipline Canopy Tours (ages 8+), or ride Kolo Bike Park. Open all year and just minutes from downtown Asheville. See our feature.
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.
Downtown's quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries and general store take you back to a more leisurely time. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world.… read more
Navitat Canopy Adventures
Just 22 minutes from Asheville, Navitat Canopy Adventures is a world-class eco-adventure with huge ziplines traversing a secluded 242-acre mountain cove with 1,200 ft of elevation change. Fly… read more
Asheville Salt Cave & Spa
Experience a unique oasis in Asheville, a salt-enriched microclimate that allows the body and mind to gain relaxation and balance. The power of salt therapy has been known for centuries. Plus, get… read more
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery,… read more
Discover a hidden gem rich with art and history adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. This site is home to Grovewood Gallery, an outdoor sculpture garden, two museums, and Eldr restaurant. 111… read more
Highland Brewing Co.
(12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville) Visit the pioneers of craft beer in Asheville, brewing since 1994. Stop by their big Tasting Room to sample 15 brews every day of the week, along with live… read more
Take the most fun city tour ever in a bright purple bus full of laughter! Through captivating stories, comedy skits, and an enthralling musical soundscape, experience Asheville's history, current… read more
Shoji Hot Tub Retreat & Spa
Soak away your stress in a private hot tub under a canopy of trees, dip into an invigorating cold plunge and relax in the cedar sauna. After your soak, get a customized massage and a variety of… read more
Sierra Nevada Brewery
(100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River) See their impressive east coast brewery in south Asheville - complete with a taproom, big restaurant, free tours, events and live music.
NC Stage Company
Enjoy professional theatre in the heart of downtown Asheville with world-class productions in a very intimate setting (only 127 seats!). They also host concerts and other events, so there's… read more
American Museum of the House Cat
See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country… read more
Grove Arcade, Downtown Asheville
This historic building houses 30 local shops, restaurants, and lifestyle services. Their Makers Market, an open air market featuring local artisans, is open daily. Grove Arcade is pet-friendly and… read more
Bare Dark Sky Observatory, Burnsville
Located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County, this nationally recognized observatory is open to the public for 360-degree views of the moon, planets, and stars through custom-built… read more
French Broad Adventures
Asheville’s closest adventure experience, offering whitewater rafting, ziplines, and canyoneering expeditions just 30 minutes from Downtown Asheville. Experience a fun-filled rafting adventure… read more
Sample wines in the Tasting Room, included in admission to Biltmore Estate. Enjoy specialty tastings and a variety of tours. Shop for all the Biltmore wines and plenty of gift items. Located in… read more
Western North Carolina Farmer's Market
Come and enjoy the atmosphere and bounty of the mountains. The retail area features displays of high-quality fruits and vegetables, mountain crafts, jams, jellies, preserves, sourwood honey and… read more
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located in downtown Asheville. 52 N. Market Street.
The Learning Center at PARI
This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection,… read more
Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch or Lover's Leap, soak in natural hot springs, go horseback riding, raft down whitewater rapids, ski, bike, fish, camp and explore the unspoiled mountains… read more
North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours.
Learn pottery skills from this husband and wife team in their quaint, professional pottery studio! In 2 hour lessons, guests will make 4 pieces, including a turn on the wheel. Choose from 8… read more
Tryon International Equestrian Center
Watch horse jumping competitions with the best riders in the country at this amazing new world-class equestrian resort south of Asheville. Free admission to many events.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino
Play a huge variety of games and 3,800+ slots, along with live action tables for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and more. Find a big variety of great restaurants, hotel, spa, shopping and more.
Morganton & Burke County
Stroll through downtown shops and galleries, visit craft breweries and enjoy great restaurants. Take the Catawba Valley Wine Trail. It's also home to the Waldensian Heritage Museum and movie… read more
Top 8 Zip Line Canopy Tours
Fly above the trees and experience the mountains' natural beauty from a bird's perspective. See our favorite zip line canopy courses to enjoy in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge… read more
Find Foodie Favorites
Check out our very diverse and passionate food and drink scene. Be a little adventurous and try something new. Or, enjoy time-honored classics. In downtown, walk to 60+ locally-owned innovative… read more
Find the best places to tube down a river on a hot summer day, including the French Broad River through Asheville, Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains and Green River Gorge - with rentals and… read more
Enjoy many choices for great theatre, plays, music, dance and more in Asheville and nearby areas.
Hands-On Learning & Children's Museums
Find children's museums and other hands-on learning centers in Asheville and Western NC including STEM-focused, interactive play, science museums, aquariums, and more.
Wine & Cocktail Bars
Unwind at one of our favorite downtown Asheville wine bars and great places for cocktails.
Western North Carolina Nature Center
Kids of all ages will love this 42-acre wildlife park, providing a home for 60+ animals native to this region, including foxes, bears, wolves, bobcats, cougars, river otters. Don’t miss the Red… read more
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… read more
Live Music & Dancing, Downtown Asheville
Asheville offers a multitude of places to go for live music and dancing any day of the week.
Top Spas in and around Asheville
Relax and rejuvenate as you get pampered at a spa. From natural hot springs to world-class destination spas, there are plenty of choices. We have been a destination for wellness for centuries.… read more
Shop 75 national and local outlets in this beautiful, new outdoor shopping village. It's located on I-26, just six miles from Biltmore and seven miles from downtown Asheville. It's pet-friendly,… read more
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… read more
Best 75 Mountain Hikes
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails near Asheville, many of which are in pristine national forests or parks. We picked our favorites and created extensive guides for each with photos and… read more
Waterfalls Top 60
Of hundreds of waterfalls near Asheville, we picked the most spectacular falls that are easy to find. Some can be enjoyed with a short walk or even roadside. Others require a scenic hike. See full… read more
Jackson County Top 30
So many things to do - art, train excursions, heritage sites and more! Includes the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.
18 Scenic Drives
See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way.
The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and updated streetscapes with flowers and art. Find many spots for outdoor dining and a big… read more
Top Restaurants in & near Asheville
From casual to sophisticated, there are many restaurants for all tastes, with flavors from around the world. Plus, find many more award-winning chefs throughout the mountains. See our top picks… read more
Drive to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This state park has an observation tower, plenty of hiking and a restaurant. Be prepared… read more
Top Guided Tours & Experiences
Take a guided tour for sightseeing, art, wildlife, history, food, beer, waterfalls, wellness and more in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our list of favorites.
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.
Chimney Rock Park
See breathtaking 75-mile views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hickory Nut Gorge, and Lake Lure. The park also features the highest waterfall in an NC State Park and hiking trails. Shopping and… read more
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… read more
Cradle of Forestry
Travel back in time with historic cabins, crafters, old logging equipment, guided tours, movies, food and shopping. Home of the first forestry school (opened in 1898) in America. In Pisgah… read more
Top Beer & Local Craft Brews
Taste your way through Beer City USA at craft breweries and pubs in and near Asheville. Many are located downtown, so you can create your own walking tour. See our top spots for local brews.
Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
We are lucky enough to have six rivers near Asheville that are good for rafting and kayaking. Find professional companies that provide rafting guides, so no experience is necessary. You can even… read more
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit… read more
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the… read more
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… read more
This tiny town of 567 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (goes right through downtown) and the French… read more
Weekend Getaways: Discover Top 40 Coolest Mountain Small Towns Near Asheville
There are lots of options if you want to plan a few fun day trips while you are in Western North Carolina. Explore our favorite cool small towns in the NC mountains near Asheville, each with its… read more
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Visit Pack Square Park, dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or… read more
Top Art Galleries
Visit a gallery to be amazed at a big variety of local art and craft, including glass, paintings, pottery and every other medium you can imagine. Asheville and the North Carolina mountains are… read more
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.
This small town offers not one but two main streets, Upper Street (Oak Avenue) and Lower Street (Locust Avenue). A must-stop is the Toe River Arts Council Gallery. Visit for many festivals and gem… read more
Top 75+ Outdoors - Asheville & NC Mountains
Explore our mountains with hikes, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and many thousands of acres of national forest and park land. Get outside in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains with our 70… read more
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Top 30 in NC
Explore the most visited national park in the country! See our top places and things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina side near Asheville. Four entrances to the Park are… read more
Bryson City, Smoky Mountains
Find much to do! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries, or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in the Smokies … read more
Meander tree-lined streets, explore 40 unique shops and relax at 10 cafes and restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages and buildings. Don't miss the fabulous New Morning… read more
Sliding Rock & Swimming Holes
Be a kid again and splash around in a cool mountain swimming hole. Ride down Sliding Rock, swim under a waterfall, sun on a mountain beach or pristine lake, or spend a lazy day tubing down a river… read more
Asheville Art Classes & Lessons
Take an afternoon- or week-long painting or pottery class/workshop in Asheville at studios in the River Arts District. Group or private lessons are designed for beginners and experienced. Take… read more
Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes and classes geared toward women.
Gem Mining Top Spots
Gem mining has been a favorite activity for visitors to the mountains of North Carolina for many years. Most gem mines in the Asheville and Franklin areas are open from spring through autumn. Also… read more
Top 20 Picnic Spots
Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission… read more
Wineries Near Asheville
Find many fun, friendly wineries for sampling local wines, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery at their vineyards. Many are located near each other - perfect for visiting several in a day… read more
Asheville Festivals & Events
Check our calendar of events for festivals during each season, including art and craft shows, throughout the year including most weekends. Most of these things to do are free!