Memorial Day Weekend 2018 Asheville: Things to Do & Events

Memorial Day Weekend, Asheville & NC Mountains

Start the summer season in Asheville during Memorial Day Weekend with many things to do and a big variety of events and festivals.

Kick off the weekend on Friday night with:

  • Concerts on the Creek, Sylva: Free outside live music in downtown Sylva, with Ian Ridenhour (Alternative Rock/Pop) 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park (76 Railroad Ave), two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries. Family friendly, bring a chair or blanket. Read more about the concert.
  • Drum Circle: The popular Friday night tradition includes many drummers and dancers in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville, from 6-10 PM. Read more about the Drum Circle.

Get Outdoors (or Indoors)!
Hit the trails, zip line, raft, tube and find waterfalls. And that's just a few ideas. See our Top 70 Outdoors Things to Do including ​​Chimney Rock Park (pic at top of page) and North Carolina Arboretum (Making Scents exhibit opens)! Also find plenty of inside fun with our Indoor Things to Do.

Biltmore Estate
It will certainly be a busy weekend at Biltmore - Chihuly glass sculptures just arrived. See our Biltmore Insider's Guide with plenty of tips and the latest ticket offers (save $10 if you purchase tickets online 7 days in advance). And explore thousands of gorgeous acres with many options for outdoor adventures at Biltmore like biking, rafting, Segways, fishing and more.

Places to Stay
Book your room early to get your top choice. See our accommodation guides for top picks for a great getaway: Bed & Breakfasts | Hotels | Cabins | Camping | Packages & Specials

May 23rd update: Heavy rains last week caused some road closures due to mudslides - including the Green River Gorge (popular tubing area). Also, the reopening of the Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway was delayed. The rest of the Parkway is open.

Memorial Day Weekend Top 15 Things to Do

Waterfalls Top 60
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 descriptions for each, with plenty of photos! Also see Waterfall Drives & Maps.
Mountain Hikes Top 60
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 details. Find hikes for all skill levels in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
NC Mountain Beaches
6 Mountain Beaches near Asheville
Hit the beach on pristine, cool mountain lakes in the NC mountains near Asheville, complete with sandy shores, lifeguards and plenty of summer fun in the water.
Downtown Asheville
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.
Fontana Lake
Fontana Lake & Dam
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, enjoy fishing, boating, camping and swimming in this beautiful lake. Or walk the Appalachian Trail across the highest dam east of the Rockies.
Swimming Holes
Cool Off in Mountain Swimming Holes
Refresh yourself and have fun in our cool mountain waters in our lakes, rivers and waterfalls. See our favorite swimming spots (including popular Sliding Rock), tubing spots, pools and beaches.
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. So many things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
Farm-to-Table Dining
Favorite Restaurants
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.
Tubing near Asheville
River Tubing
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 shuttle services. 
Asheville Beer
Asheville Beer & Brewery Guide
Downtown Asheville is the epicenter of the local craft beer explosion. See a complete list of the craft breweries, pubs, taverns, taprooms, brewery tours and more in our Asheville Beer Guide.
Lake Glenville & Signal Ridge Marina
Lake Glenville
This pristine reservoir near Cashiers has the highest elevation of any lake east of the Mississippi. Signal Ridge Marina rents a variety of Bennington pontoons and tritoons, as well as tubes, paddleboards, skis, wakeboards and kneeboards. There's even a beach!
Zip Line Tours Asheville
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 Mountains. No experience is needed. Canopy guides provide all instruction and assistance. It's fun for all fitness levels!
Art Galleries & Studios
Top 20 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 home to hundreds of world-class artists. Here are our favorite galleries to see the their creations.
Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock
The most popular natural waterslide in North Carolina for generations is in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Slide down a 60-ft. smooth rock waterfall into a pool of chilly water. Bathrooms and showers are open and lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Picnics
Top 20 Picnic Spots
Dine outdoors in nature! Plan a picnic at some amazing locations where you can enjoy sweet views.
Lake Santeetlah, NC
Lake Santeetlah
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. 
Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
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 learn how to kayak in the rapids or paddleboard on a lake.
WNC Military History Museum
WNC Military History Museum
Appreciate and honor the men and women who served so bravely in our Armed Forces at this new learning center packed with one-of-a kind artifacts, uniforms, weaponry, original newspapers, personal letters, and more. Open Wed-Sunday. Free admission. 21 East Main St, Brevard.

Memorial Day Weekend Events

Biltmore Chihuly Glass
Chihuly Glass Sculptures @ Biltmore
Thursday, May 17, 2018 to Sunday, October 7, 2018
Spectacular outdoor and indoor exhibition in the gardens and Biltmore House, featuring the monumental glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. Included in the regular admission price. Special evening tours also.
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Lake Lure Arts Festival
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Monday, May 28, 2018
Featuring handmade creations from more than 60 artisans from across the region, including painting, photography, jewelry, leather, metal, soaps and more on Memorial Day Weekend. Admission is free. Across from the beach, 2771 Memorial Highway.
Garden Jubilee Hendersonville
Garden Jubilee Festival
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
This huge plant and crafts festival covers eight blocks of Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Free seminars and tips from expects - including decks and patios. Memorial Day Weekend.
Tryon International Equestrian Center, NC
Saturday Night Lights
Saturday, May 5, 2018, Saturday, May 12, 2018, Saturday, May 19, 2018, Saturday, May 26, 2018
Watch horse jumping and riding with the best jockeys in the country at the impressive, new Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring music, food, kids' activities and Venetian carousel rides. Events vary each week. Free admission.
Banner Elk Art
Art on the Greene
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
Find a big variety of 40 artists working with metal, glass, pottery, wood, jewelry and more in downtown Banner Elk. Many restaurants, shops and things to do nearby. Benefits their historic school renovation. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
Arts & Crafts Fair
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
See works from 90 of the finest artisans from the Southeast on the Village Green in Cashiers, 10 AM-5 PM. Find ironwork, woodcraft, textiles, cakes, jams, pottery and more. Free admission, but donations accepted.
White Squirrel Festival
White Squirrel Festival
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
Go nuts at the White Squirrel Festival in downtown Brevard that features a parade, plenty of live music, food, arts and much on Memorial Day Weekend.
Mountain Sports Festival, Asheville
Mountain Sports Festival
Friday, May 25, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a newbie trying an event for the first time, the annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville offers something for you. Memorial Day Weekend. 
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Kenilworth Artists Open Studio Tour
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
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!
Rose Show
Rose Show
Saturday, May 26, 2018 to Sunday, May 27, 2018
Exhibition at the North Carolina Arboretum by Asheville-Blue Ridge Rose Society with award-winning roses of every color and size. Experts on hand to answer questions and provide information about the selection, care and history of roses.
Pack Square Park
Memorial Day Concert and Ceremony
Monday, May 28, 2018
Held on the Roger McGuire Green Stage of Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville starting at 2:30 PM with the Army National Guard's Army Band performing a half-hour before and after the ceremony. Free. 

Lake Lure Beach

Yes, we have sandy beaches in the mountains - including Lake Lure! See our Top 6 Beaches Near Asheville.

Rumbling Bald Resort kicks off summer on their beach on Lake Lure for their overnight guests with beach parties, cookouts, live music, marshmallow roast and many lake activities. Read about the resort.

Western NC Veteran's Cemetery

Pay tribute to our heroes at the Western North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain, with an American flag placed at all 5,700+ graves. A Memorial Day service takes place at 10 AM on Monday. Read more about the Veterans Cemetery

For events throughout the year, see our list of seasonal calendars.

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