Tryon offers a lot of things to do for such a small town (population 1,700). It's home to an impressive arts community with several galleries downtown and a big equestrian community with many horse-related events, including a Steeplechase. Horse lovers from around the world are now coming to the new Tryon Equestrian Center, about 13 miles east of downtown. If you enjoy waterfalls, Pearson's Falls is a must-see.
Like neighboring Saluda, Tryon is a "railroad town" that grew quickly in the late 1800s as tourists flocked to the area to enjoy the mountain views and good climate. Many artists, writers and crafters chose to stay for a while, including the stage actor William Gillette, most famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This mix of locals, artists and retirees continues today, creating a vibrant, active community.
Downtown Tryon has a nice selection shops, art galleries and restaurants along Trade Street. Find a great selection of antique and vintage shops, along with several longtime book collectors and independent bookstores. About a mile south of downtown on US 176, find The Old Mill Market Square (151 Southern Mercerizing Rd) with more than 80,000 square feet of antiques and more from 90 vendors, open Friday-Monday.
Catch a movie at the tiny Tryon Theater or a performance at the Tryon Fine Arts Center. Next door, the Upstairs Artspace (49 South Trade Street) is a nonprofit contemporary art gallery with two and three-dimensional art and craft by leading artists of the Carolinas and Southeast. Many of the historic buildings on Trade Street were built before 1900.
Tryon Fine Arts Center (34 Melrose Avenue) has been a focus for entertainment and the arts since 1969. See outstanding performances or learn a new art or craft. Workshops and classes are offered in a variety of interests and skill levels. Browse the craft store and the Heritage Gallery that showcases the history of native mountain arts and crafts in the Tryon area.
Tryon Arts & Crafts School (373 Harmon Field Road) is over 50 years old, and not only offers classes and workshops in pottery, jewelry, weaving and fiber arts, blacksmithing, glass, lapidary, woodworking, and more, but also has exciting art gallery shows and a lovely gift shop showcasing the work of local artisans. Visit on Monday through Friday 10 AM-4 PM and Saturday 10 AM-1 PM.
Nina Simone Plaza in downtown Tryon is a tribute to Eunice Kathleen Waymon, born in Tryon 1933. She grew up to become Nina Simone, who introduced the world to a unique musical infusion of pop, gospel, classical, jazz, folk and ballads, that she called "Black Classical Music." Her voice and music were instrumental in the American Civil Rights Movement.
Watch the ball drop first in Tryon on New Year’s Eve! Their Tryon Midnight celebration runs 7-10 PM with a ball drop at 10 PM and a DJ playing dance tunes by the clock tower.
Morris the Horse, a well loved landmark standing on the corner of Trade and Pacolet Streets, has proudly represented Tryon since 1928. He is both a symbol of the community's love of horses and a replica of an era gone by when wooden toy horses just like him were made in Tryon and shipped to destinations all over the country. While there are no horseback riding stables, you can watch plenty of horse shows and races. Block House Steeplechase in ushers in spring with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and racing thoroughbred horses. The new and massive Tryon Equestrian Center opened in 2015 has weekly races much of the year and will expand greatly during the next few years. (More info below.)
Places to Stay & See
Tryon International Equestrian Center is part of the new $100 million Tryon Resort that attracts riders and visitors from around the world. Watch a variety of equestrian competitions and dine in a variety of restaurants. Visitors are welcomed any day of the year and most events are free to watch. On most Saturday nights in Spring through Fall, their big "Saturday Night Lights" includes plenty of activities and competitions - free to enjoy! Read more.
Visit the "Tryon Foothills Wine Country" with five wineries nearby. Read more!
See more of our Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns.