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Holiday Homecoming at Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Located near Cherokee at the Great Smoky Mountains entrance, see old-time crafts being demonstrated at the Mountain Farm Museum. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving and making baskets, dolls, apple cider and apple butter. 10 AM-2 PM. Free.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food and beer at this outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
Victorian Christmas at Smith-McDowell House
Tour Asheville's oldest home at the Smith McDowell House, decked out with decorations from the Victorian period. Located just a few miles from Biltmore and downtown. Open Wed-Sat.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Meet 200 craftspeople that come together in downtown Asheville with their fine handcrafted items, while local musicians play live on the arena stage and craft educators share their knowledge.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy great music, food and beer in downtown Asheville at this free popular outdoor concert. 5-9 PM
Art on Main, Hendersonville
Meet and buy from 90 juried fine art artists with paintings, clay, metal, wood, fiber, jewelry, glass and more. Watch demos. Main Street downtown Hendersonville has many galleries too, Sat & Sun 10 AM-5 PM
Spring Events & Festivals: Top 40
Check out our calendar of the best festival and events in Asheville and western North Carolina in April and May.
Lots of fun in Chimney Rock Village with a pancake breakfast, Cow Pie Bingo, recycled garden art contest, llamas strutting their stuff in a Main Street parade, a grilled dinner and a special outdoor performance by the Rutherford County Orchestra at the Gathering Place.
Christmas Day & Week Dining, Attractions
Find things to do and restaurants open on Christmas Day and week in Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
At this festival, hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Asheville, you can sample some of the traditional foods and pastries (such as lamb shank, pastichio, spanakopita, gyro, souvlaki and baklava), watch traditional dancing and enjoy the authentic Greek music.
Asheville Art in the Park
From pottery to jewelry, sculpture to two-dimensional art, this art festival brings together a wide array of traditional and contemporary mountain art downtown in Pack Square Park. 10 AM-5 PM
Small Town Christmas, Rutherfordton
Many events along Main Street throughout the day 1-9 PM. Shop sidewalk vendors at the Christmas Market from 1-5 PM and stroll by the storefront windows featuring live interactive displays 2-4 PM. Christmas Parade at 5 PM. Tree lighting at 6:30 PM at Courthouse. All free to attend.
Village Art & Craft Fair
Fantastic fair in Biltmore Village with 100 hand-selected artists from 16 states, representing the full spectrum of craft media - jewelry, ceramic, wood, fiber, metals, two-dimensional art and more.
LEAF Downtown Asheville
International music festival at Pack Square Park downtown with three stages of music, food trucks and 90 local and artisan vendors on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday until 10 PM. Free.
Western North Carolina Pottery Festival
Meet 45 master potters from 17 states as they come together in Dillsboro for this premier art event. Buy amazing creations that you will treasure for a lifetime.
Coon Dog Day Festival
A street festival for dogs and their people with great food, live music, a very fun parade, crafts, street dance, dog competitions and more in Saluda. Live entertainment until 11 PM. Free admission.
Snowbound @ ACT Theatre
Asheville Community Theatre's revival of this crowd-pleaser. It’s Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small town train depot where the snowy weather causes delays. Strangers become friends, friends become family, and the warmth of human connection is deepened through stories and songs. Fridays and Saturdays 7:30 PM; Sundays 2:30 PM
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Check our artwork by more than 60 vendors from many different disciplines. Also enjoy live music and entertainment, food vendors and the beauty of Lake Lure.
Lake Lure Olympiad
One of the biggest sports festivals in NC, the event in the spectacular Hickory Nut Gorge is anchored by three major races: 10K Dam Run, Triathlon and Race up Chimney Rock. Events for kids, beginner athletes and spectators, too.
Flock to Rock Birding Day
Led by birding experts, events at Chimney Rock Park includes bird walks, workshops ranging from bird photography to hummingbirds, hawk watches and family nature walks.
Wood Day at Folk Art Center
Join Guild woodworkers for an exciting day exploring various forms of woodcraft. Featuring the Annual Carve Off Competition. 10 AM –4 PM.
Montford Arts and Music Festival
One of the largest one day free music and arts festivals in Asheville, held on Montford and Soco near downtown, with 100+ vendors of art, crafts and food. Live music. 10 AM-7 PM.
Guild Holiday Makers Sale at the Folk Art Center
Get great deals on amazing art directly from the artists, offering over-runs, discontinued stock and studio seconds in a festive atmosphere. And don't miss the special exhibits and main store at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free admission. 10 AM-4 PM.
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils and more. $3/person. Also, go to Grassy Creek Gem Show at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors and free admission.
At North Carolina’s premier cider celebration, taste hard cider from 15 cider-makers, plus see local arts and crafts, taste unique food pairings and enjoy live music. Benefits Western NC Green Building Council. 1-5 PM at Salvage Station. $30/person advance tickets.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
This festival at Highland Brewing Company includes hands-on fun, chef competition, milking demonstrations, panel discussions, workshops, vendors and 19 cheesemakers from across the south. Advance tickets $14 for ages 12+. Tickets at the door $20. 12-4 PM.
New Year's Eve
Head to downtown Asheville for many dining and entertainment choices or go to celebrations throughout WNC. Special events on Jan 1st too. See our top New Year Celebrations and Things to Do.
Jeeves at Sea @ NC Stage Theatre
Professional theatre in downtown Asheville: Set sail for laughter as Bertie Wooster revels in life aboard the Vanderley yacht as the pampered guest of the lively Lady Stella accompanied by his peerless valet Jeeves. Wed-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM, Feb 9 &16 2 PM
Longtime favorite international cultural arts and music weekend festival by the lake, in Black Mountain with camping and limited tickets.
Earth Day at Chimney Rock
Join Chimney Rock State Park Rangers, biologists and other environmental educators to learn about the great work being done to protect our beautiful landscape. Booths will be located in Chimney Rock Village behind the Old Rock Café, 431 Main St. 11 AM-3 PM. Free.
Apple Orchards Open
Get your fresh mountain apples at an orchard in the largest apple-producing area in the east. Many orchards are open daily, several offer tours, events and pick-your-own apples. It's a quick drive from Asheville, with many orchards located along US 64 East of Hendersonville.
Church Street Art & Craft Show
Main Street in Waynesville transforms into an arts & crafts marketplace, one of the finest juried art shows in NC. Also enjoy live mountain music, clogging, entertainment and food. Browse many downtown galleries. Free. 10 AM-5 PM.
NOC Outdoor Elements Festival
Celebrate spring at Nantahala Outdoor Center with a free, family-friendly event by the Nantahala River with the 5K, vendor fair, gear demos, food, music and specials at the Outfitter's Store. 9 AM-8 PM
Weaverville Art Safari
This self-guided, make-your-own-agenda event throughout Weaverville and surrounding scenic valleys is a rare opportunity to interact with artists and see the process behind their critically-acclaimed works of art. And it's fun to buy directly from the artists!
Christmas at Biltmore
The biggest event of the holiday season. See America's largest home decked out in festive finery. Candlelight Evenings are especially magical. See our extensive guide with tips, photos and details.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Top art show! See and buy traditional and contemporary fine art and craft directly from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, with 200+ juried artists from mountain regions of nine states. Held inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown Asheville in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
Asheville Art in the Park
See and buy fine arts and crafts from dozens of local artists at Pack Square Park in downtown. 10 AM-5 PM.
Pow Wow at Cherokee
Experience authentic Indian dancing, drumming and tribal regalia. Dance competitions kick the excitement up even higher. Enjoy crafts, food and fireworks, too.
Autumn at Oz at Beech Mtn
There's no place like the Beech Mountain's Land of Oz. Stroll along the yellow brick road, experience a recreation of Dorothy's journey from her home in Kansas and meet many of the characters so central to "The Wizard of Oz." The event sells out fast!
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth neighborhood, just five minutes from downtown Asheville, annual Open Studio Tour features 20+ jewelers, painters, glass-workers, fabric artists, potters, woodworkers, photographers and more!
A weekend at LEAF is the equivalent of going on a year-long multicultural musical and dance odyssey - longtime favorite festival held in Black Mountain on a lake with camping and limited tickets.
Art in Autumn Fest
Fun outdoor arts and crafts festival in Weaverville that includes 100 juried artists, food and live music. Free admission and parking. Just 7 miles north of downtown Asheville.
Shindig on the Green
Musicians and dancers from across Western North Carolina gather to share the region's Southern Appalachian mountain culture and traditions in downtown Asheville in Pack Square Park. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for the "green."
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.
Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum
This quirky exhibit in downtown Brevard features dozens of vintage aluminum Christmas trees and ornaments inside the Transylvania Heritage Museum. A fun trip back in time. Wed-Sat. Free admission.
Downtown After Five
Free live music concert, as well as a wide variety of food and drink vendors. Lexington Avenue in Asheville. 5-9 PM.
Dahlia Tuber Sale & World Bonsai Day
See a big variety of dahlia tubers and chrysanthemum-rooted cuttings featuring cultivated varieties available for sale. Learn from Dahlia Society experts about how to produce plants with show-quality blooms. See their full bonsai collection with morning guided tours.
Potters and ceramic artists of the Southern Highlands Guild at the Folk Art Center share a variety of techniques such as throwing, sculpture and coil-building. Glaze and see the firing of raku pots. Watch the Clay Olympics. 10 AM-4 PM. Free admission.
Parade of Nations
Folkmoot, an international music and dance festival, has its Parade of Nations down Main Street in Waynesville at 10 AM with elaborate costumes. Free to attend. Many Cultures Day, 11 AM-4 PM, at Friendship Center.
Block House Steeplechase
Usher in spring with picnics, sundresses, elegant hats, tailgating and the sights & sounds of thoroughbreds thundering past in Tryon, at the longest running steeplechase in North Carolina. The National Steeplechase Association sanctions four of the races.
Come to Leicester Studio Tour
Take a free, self-guided tour to 23 studios and shops in Leicester, a community nestled in the mountains near Asheville. 10 AM-6 PM
Two Rhododendron Festivals (North Carolina and Tennessee versions) are held in the Roan Mountain area!
NC Apple Festival
Downtown Hendersonville features more than 150 vendors lining eight blocks of the main event area. There is continuous entertainment from 10 AM-10 PM each day. The King Apple Parade, always held on Labor Day, culminates the Main Street activities.
Mars Hill Heritage & Music Festival
Two long-running festivals celebrate mountain craft, music and dance: the Heritage Festival and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Music Festival. Both held downtown, adjoining Mars Hill University. Free. 10 AM-4 PM. Small fee for indoor evening concert.
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
Mt. LeConte & Alum Cave
(11 miles round-trip, strenuous) The Alum Cave Trail is the most-hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains. You'll see why, with interesting geological features and stunning views. To reach the 6,593-ft. summit of Mount LeConte (third highest peak in the Smokies), you'll climb 2,853 ft. in elevation in 5.5 miles.
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, find 70+ locally-owned restaurants with flavors from around the world. Plus, find many more award-winning chefs throughout the mountains. See our 40 favorite restaurants.
Enjoy a variety of concerts and events at this big riverfront complex on the French Broad, just a mile from downtown. It's a local's favorite with fun, casual outdoor and indoor spaces. Offers a restaurant and a full bar. 468 Riverside Drive.
Asheville Salt Cave & Spa
Experience a unique oasis in downtown, 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 a hot salt stone massage and other spa treatments. Read more in our full page feature on the Salt Cave.
The Montford Rooftop Bar
Soak in epic sunsets and mountain views from atop the Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown, while enjoying seasonal craft cocktails, local beer, wine and small bites. Both indoor and outdoor spaces. Valet parking. 199 Haywood Street, Asheville
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This majestic 150-ft. waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest can be reached via a hiking trail from Gorges State Park. Enjoy the falls safely on a boulder at its base or at the top. A little upstream is Turtleback Falls, a cool summer swimming hole.
Red Stag Grill
Located inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Biltmore Village with contemporary food, an extensive wine-by-the-glass menu and a lively bar within a casual setting. The beautiful dining room features hand-hewn beams, distressed oak floors, handmade wooden tables, an intimate bar and cozy booths. Traditionally-prepared European comfort food is updated with local ingredients. 11 Boston Way.
Lake Junaluska Golf
Play by a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The 18-hole course is 5,034 yards and par 68. Green fees start at only $15. Stay a few days with a variety of lodging options, from hotels to cabins. Located near Waynesville and Maggie Valley, a 30-minute drive west of Asheville.
This new restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville pairs Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Menu favorites include Palomilla Sliders, Ropa Vieja and Tostones. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Hotel adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic views. Open breakfast and dinner. 15 Page Avenue
Whether you desire panoramic mountain views, relaxation by a lake or a secluded woodlands setting, each stunning home is lovingly designed for luxury and comfort. $145-$425/night. Week... read more
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack
Feast on some “Tennessee style” hot chicken and southern soul food. They prepare their unique fried chicken to order, so it’s not spicy unless you want it that way! Ingredients are sourced locally and classic American recipes are made from scratch daily. Two locations in Asheville: West at 1455 Patton Avenue, and South at 3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden.
Greystone Inn Golf, Lake Toxaway
Stay at the luxury Greystone Inn to be able to play the private Lake Toxaway Country Club 18-hole championship golf course. It gets high reviews for its plush fairways and perfectly manicured Bentgrass greens. Master course architect Kris Spence finessed the course across beautiful mountain terrain with 6,418 yards of fairways and Augusta-style approaches that demand pinpoint accuracy. After a round, unwind at the inn with gourmet cuisine, in the spa or on a lake cruise.
Annual Pass Special, Biltmore Estate
Save $100 on a Biltmore Annual Pass when you purchase on November 1-30, 2018. Visit any day of the year, plus get discounts on shopping, dining, activities and wines. Great gift idea!
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 feet of elevation change. Fly above the treetops on breathtaking zip lines up to 350 feet high, from 360 feet to 3,600 feet long and at speeds up to 65 mph! Rappel, walk suspended sky bridges and see panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Navitat is rated among the nation’s best by many.
See professional theatre in an intimate setting in downtown Asheville. In addition to their own season of great plays, they host other local theatres, dancers and musicians. Tickets from $16/person! See our NC Stage feature.
Watch glassblowers at work and see their amazing creations on display in their working studio in downtown Asheville. Their taproom features local beer in hand-blown glasses! Open 7 days. No glassblowing on Tuesdays. 81 South Lexington Avenue.
A locally-owned destination for fine American-made art and craft – celebrating 25 years! This gallery features rotating exhibitions, an impressive second-floor studio furniture collection, outdoor sculpture gardens and working artist studios. Located in Grovewood Village adjacent to The Omni Grove Park Inn. Free on-site parking. 111 Grovewood Rd.
Pub and Grub Crawl
Explore Black Mountain with Creative Mountain Food Tours during a 2.5-hour guided walk, stopping at pubs, restaurants and a brewery for local beers and hard ciders paired with snacks made by local chefs. Usually one Saturday per month. $48/person.
Biltmore Package, Cumberland Falls B&B
Stay at this romantic, historic B&B near downtown, just 3 miles from Biltmore. Package includes two nights accommodations, two-course breakfast each day, and a pair of Biltmore tickets good for both days.