Things to Do

Why Asheville NC?

Asheville was #1 in Yoga Journal’s “10 Towns with Top-Notch Yoga” and was listed as the #1 “Coziest Cities in America” by Elle DECORE magazine. Asheville area is world renowned as a bustling tourist destination, named one of twelve must-see travel destinations in the world by Frommer’s travel guides.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Great Smoky National Park with the Shenandoah National Park and runs right through Asheville, is a great launching point for hiking and biking, or for those looking for a scenic picnic at an overlook.

Mountain adventures await your visit to the Asheville area, whether you’re planning a culinary travel experience with a tour of restaurants and microbreweries, or if you’re checking out the area’s top-rated outdoor sports activities. There’s so much to see and do in Asheville, that the only problem is narrowing the options!

Learn more of what Asheville has to offer at www.exploreasheville.com

Explore Asheville attractions such as shopping, tours, parks, art galleries, music concerts, and hundreds more.

Asheville Tourists Baseball

Take yourself down to the ballgame at McCormick Field as you watch Asheville’s minor-league heroes, The Tourists, confront a host of regional contenders. Go Tourists!

Appalachian Trail

This national scenic trail begins in Georgia and stretches across 2,144 miles of Appalachian Mountain ridge lines to end in Maine. Along the way, it traverses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and parts of Western North Carolina. For more information on the trail, and day hike suggestions, contact the Appalachian Trail Conference.

Asheville Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, North Carolina is located in one of the three most diverse temperate ecosystems on earth – the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Our collections are primarily native species displayed in both natural settings and in ways designed for ease of examination and beauty.

Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre

The Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre’s work includes family oriented dance theatre productions, collaborative shows, community involvement, dance networking, educational training, touring shows and presentations, and an international exchange program.

Bent Creek Experimental Forest

The Bent Creek Experimental Forest is the oldest federal experimental forest east of the Mississippi river. It encompasses nearly 6,000 acres within the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, North Carolina. It was established in 1925 for the purpose of conducting research on silvicultural practices that would aid in the rehabilitation of cutover, abused lands and promote sustainable forestry, and also to provide a field demonstration of forest management practices.

Biltmore Estate

George Vanderbilt created Biltmore Estate in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains more than a century ago as a retreat for family and friends; a place to rediscover gracious hospitality and revel in nature’s beauty. His vision holds true today. Explore Biltmore House, a magnificent 250-room château filled with priceless art and antiques. Stroll through century-old gardens designed by America’s first landscape architect. Savor award-winning wines and taste our chefs’ creations using estate-raised foods. Enjoy our 8,000 acres of forests, farmlands, and rivers on bikes, horseback, and rafts.

Biltmore Park Town Square

Get your perfect place in town squared away. Discover beautiful townhomes and condominiums perfectly sized for your life. Make your home in Biltmore Park Town Square and you’ll be just steps away from some of the most savory dining choices in the mountains. Not to mention world-class shopping and lively entertainment and the tallest mountains east of the Rockies right outside our window.

Carl Sandburg Home

This historic site consists of a 22 room house, barns, sheds, rolling pastures, walking trails, two small lakes, ponds, flower and vegetable gardens, and an orchard. This is where Carl Sandburg felt the peace and solitude he required to write.

This is 12,000 sq. feet of “hands-on” experimental exhibits that include live animals, earth and physical science, toddler areas and natural history exhibits. Located on the SALT block in the Arts & Sciences Center of Catawba Valley, 243 Third Ave., NE in Hickory.

Cherohala Skyway

This new two-lane skyway spans 40 miles to link Tennessee’s Tellico Plains to Robbinsville, NC. Many scenic overlooks allow for beautiful view, excellent photography, and picnic lunches. Allow 1-1/2 to 2 hrs travel time.

Chimney Rock Park

If you’re ready for some exercise, we’ve got the spot for you. The Park features six different hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy-to-moderate to moderate-to-strenuous. Some lead to 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls; others lead through the woods through old growth forests, dazzling displays of wildflowers and interesting rock formations. The Great Woodland Adventure features fun, whimsical sculptures of some of the animals that call the Park home. Guided bird and wildflower hikes are just a few that are offered throughout the season. The Park, a Natural Heritage Area, is located 25 miles SE of Asheville in scenic Hickory Nut Gorge. Open all year. Live it up!

Cradle of Forestry

This is a historical site and interpretive center in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. The Cradle of Forestry is a beautiful place to visit any day of the week.

Learn the history and meet the people of the Cherokee Indian Reservation. Visit the Oconoluftee Indian Village and see “Unto These Hills” for a great educational opportunity.

Colburn Earth Science Museum

Located in Pack Place, the heart of Asheville’s thriving downtown cultural area, Colburn Earth Science Museum ignites imagination, enhances science capability, and unlocks innovation. For more than 50 years, the Colburn Museum has fostered an appreciation for the Earth and its resources and environments through its exhibits, educational programming, and the care of its collection.

Comfort Suites Outlet Center

NEWLY RENOVATED ALL SUITE HOTEL at the Asheville Outlets I-26 Exit 33. Comfort Suites Outlet Center is located adjacent to the Asheville Outlets. Walk to restaurants, pharmacy, shopping, groceries and movie theater. Free Fast Internet. Senoir Rate. Group & Meeting Friendly Facility & Rates. Free Hot Breakfast Buffet. Pet Friendly. Fitness Center & Seasonally Heated Pool. AAA & AARP APPROVED!

Crabtree Meadows

Crabtree Meadows marks the last stretch of the Parkway through the Blue Ridge Mountains. At Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 339.5, turn into Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area. Waterfall is accessible year-round. If campground is closed, the hike to falls is an additional 0.3 miles. Moderate trail distance is 2.5 mile loop.

Fox Mountain Guides and Climbing School

Fox Mountain Guides and Climbing School is the south’s only AMGA Accredited Guide Service. They offer rock climbing, ice climbing guiding and rock climbing courses across North Carolina. A great and exciting way to see the Mountains! FMG also offers a teen adventure summer camps June through August. We only use American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) trained and certified Instructors and Guides. No other guide service in the Southeastern USA upholds this incredibly high standard. Excellence in Rock Guiding and Instruction since 1994.

Flat Rock Playhouse

The State Theatre of North Carolina, and one of the finest local playhouses in the United States. Highly acclaimed throughout the theater world. The Playhouse’s dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a ten-show professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; performances and cabaret series by the YouTheatre; year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 90,000 patrons annually and is a major contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.

Folk Art Center

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, The Folk Art Center is the home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, representing craft artists fromSouthern Appalachia. The Allanstand Craft Shop carries the work of over 300 of these guild members. Open: Jan-March 9am-5pm daily; April-Dec 9am-6pm daily.

Gorges State Park

The newest addition to North Carolina’s state parks is right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gorges State Park has over 80 inches of rain a year making it a temperate rain forest. The plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls, and concentration of rare and unique species makes this a wonderful park to visit.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

The country’s most visited national park, offering a variety of trails for hikers of any age or skill level. Trail maps and assistance are available at the Park Visitor Centers.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

With the romance and mystique of an era gone by, guests on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will enjoy year-round scenic train journeys through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Great Smoky Mountains. Nantahala Gorge Excursion (4½ hour round trip), Day Out With Thomas™, Peanuts™ Pumpkin Patch Express, and the Polar Express™, are just a few of the wonderful trips available to passengers. Call for additional information, or to make advance reservations.

Grove Arcade Arts and Heritage Gallery

The gallery features an state-of-the-art, interactive exhibition that uses a solid terrain model animated with regional voices, video, music and lasers to bring the culture and history of Western North Carolina to life. The Grove Arcade Arts & Heritage Gallery is a project of the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation. Opened in January 2006, the gallery features the crafts, music and stories of the Blue Ridge. Visit the gallery and experience the places, objects and activities that authentically represent the people of Western North Carolina. The Gallery’s mission is to strive to help drive the local economy of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area by establishing strategic partnerships and promoting the region’s arts, crafts, music and cultural heritage.

America’s most visited National Park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the Blue Ridge Parkway going through it, so it is to access with great vistas around every turn.

LaZoom Tours

Asheville is widely known as a unique, lovely, giddy little city. There’s never been anything quite like it, and there’s never been anything anywhere like the multiple award-winning LaZoom Comedy Tours! Asheville and LaZoom were made for each other! There’s no better way than riding with LaZoom and its wild guides to discover Asheville’s living, beating heart and quirky sense of humor! LaZoom is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Get on the bus for the ride of your life!

Linville Caverns

Located in WNC near Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns are worth the visit. Deep beneath Humpback Mountain, nature has sculpted a veritable masterpiece in stone. Toiling many centuries, slowly moving ground water has been the primary artist for this creation of underground labyrinths. The water dissolved out an incredible series of rooms and passages. The cavern was discovered in the 1800’s by men intrigued by the mystery of fish swimming out of the mountain. Since then, extensive research has been done to acknowledge the history, folklore, geology and biology of Linville Caverns. The mystery is still alive.

Land of the Waterfalls

Visit over 250 majestic waterfalls throughout Transylvania County. We’re in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the air is cool, the waters are pure, and the welcome is warm!

MTN Merch

Asheville-themed gift and apparel for locals and visitors alike. This unique store offers a wide range of apparel including community-inspired t-shirts, jackets, hoodies and hats for adults and children – along with their higher-end line, NCline. MTN Merch offers a select number of locally-made products and gifts from woodworking to leather, soaps and food items. MTN Merch’s mission is to provide products that embrace the adventurous mountain lifestyle of the Asheville area while supporting the local community through proceeds and initiatives.

Mast General Store

Authentic general store featuring quality goods, traditional clothing and custom fit shoes. Since 1883, Mast General Store has been outfitting the Appalachians with traditional mercantile goods, comfortable clothing, rugged footwear and quality outdoor gear for all mountain seasons. Discover for yourself why….. some times are just too good to leave behind, and why it is a simple pleasure to just browse throughout the store.

Mineral & Lapidary Museum

The museum is located at 400 North Main Street below the Genealogical and Historical Society.

Mount Mitchell State Park

There are a few places in the world that still stand apart from the ordinary. Rising more than a mile high, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places.

North Carolina Arboretum

A 427-acre facility with a Visitor Education Center, state-of-the-art greenhouses, beautiful gardens, and walking trails. Surrounded by lush folds of the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum is adjacent to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 393, and is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in America.

The Orange Peel

The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club of Asheville, North Carolina was voted one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 5 Rock Clubs in the country. Asheville’s premier downtown live music club is a smoke free facility that features a state of the art sound and lighting system. Musical acts appearing on stage have included Bob Dylan, The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper, Blondie, Spoon, Sonic Youth, My Morning Jacket, Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire and many more. Our warm atmosphere and beautiful facilities are also ideal for private parties and events of all kinds. We look forward to seeing you at the Peel!

Pearson’s Falls

Pearson’s Falls is located in the foothills of Western North Carolina off Hwy. 176 between Tryon and Saluda. This wildlife and bird sanctuary is comprised of 268 acres of native forest, granite, spring-fed streams and a moderate 1/4 mile trail to a 90 ft. waterfall. There are over 200 species of rare wildflowers and plants. The Tryon Garden Club has owned this 250-acre site for nearly 70 years. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 – 12, with free admission for children under 6.

Pisgah Forest Fish Hatchery

Housed at the base of John Rock, the hatchery raises the thousands of trout used to stock area streams. Feeding the fish is a real treat for kids, and an educational center with programs and interpretive walking trail will educate and entrain all ages.

A multi-agency wildlife center focusing on the wonders of NC native wildlife. Attractions include aquarium, guided walks, tour of fish hatchery, and gift shop. The center also offers a verity of schedules programs for groups. Special-event programs and educator workshops are also scheduled during the year. Free admission. FR 475 off us 276 N. Pisgah Forest.

Pisgah National Forest

Nearly 500,000 acres of protected forest, featuring hundreds of miles hiking, biking, and horse trails, waterfalls, and beautiful mountaintop views.

Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre

SART’s purpose has been to produce quality theatre by a professional non-profit company and to present plays concerning Appalachia that portray the rich culture and heritage of its people and to promote the development of original plays.

If you are planning a visit to the Asheville area for the color season, you might want to plan a visit to the Smith-McDowell House Museum. Built circa 1840 by James McConnell Smith, the Smith McDowell House is Asheville’s oldest surviving house and the oldest brick house in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Small admission fee.

Sliding Rock

Test your sense of adventure at this popular natural water slide fueled by 11,000 gallons of water a minute! Wear old jeans or shorts for the 150-foot long ride down slick rock into a six-foot-deep pool of chilled mountain water. And for safety’s sake, there’s a life guard or two watching the fun and aiming to keep it that way. Located in the Pisgah National Forest just north of Brevard. 7.6 miles from the junction of US Highways 64 and 276, is Sliding Rock, one place where you’re invited to “take the plunge” down a 60-foot slippery cascade into the 50-60 degree, 7-foot deep pool.

Shoji Spa & Lodge; Asheville’s only Japanese outdoor hot tub spa

The Lodge, Loft and Studio at Shoji offer unique, luxurious and cozy accommodations surrounded by the majesty of nature overlooking the Pisgah National Forest and minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, serenity and scenery are paramount, yet only 8 minutes from downtown Asheville. Spectacular views and fireplaces in each unit make this the perfect couple’s escape! Spa packages and extended stay discounts available.

Thomas Wolfe House

The boyhood home of the author Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel) is furnished with family posessions and open for tours (appx. 30 min.). A number of special events take place each year. Small admission fee.

On Reems Chreek Road off US 25 near Weaverville is the restored late 18th century homestead of North Carolina Senator and Civil War Governor Zebulon B. Vance. Open year-round. Admission is free.

WNC Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature Center is the first place where area children meet the animals they have read about. Deers, bears, cougars, wolf, racoons, birds and even farm animals are there for all to learn about. Exhibits on area poisonous snakes are worth absorbing. An aviary, self-guided nature trail and petting zoo make this a great place for the family. Small admission fee.

YMI Cultural Center

For years, the 18,000 square foot YMI building was the social and economic center of Asheville’s Black community. Currently YMI is a cultural center operating with support from the City of Asheville. Its impressive Tudor-style structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features four galleries and a 300-seat performing arts theatre.