Attractions, Tours and Daytrips

Places to See and Things to Do in Asheville and Western North Carolina


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Local Attractions


The Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

Visit Their Website
1 Approach Road
Asheville, NC 28803
800-543-2961

Tue-Sat 10-5pm Fri 10-8pm Sun 1-5pm
Price varies from Adult $25-$44, Child(10-16) Free-$22, See site for more details.

Visit our Biltmore Estate guide to learn more.

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore Estate was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt, who first opened his country house to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. America's largest home, the 250-room French Renaissance chateau exhibits the family's original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore Estate encompasses over 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Also included on the grounds is the award-winning Biltmore Estate Winery, which offers tours and tastings, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, the Equestrian Center and other outdoor activities, as well as Biltmore Estate For Your Home, the estate's licensed products store. Visit our Biltmore Estate guide for more information.


The Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

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See our Blue Ridge Parkway page for more details.

Constructed in the 1930's as a way to create work for the thousands of locals unemployed by the Great Depression, the Blue Ridge Parkway, "America's Favorite Drive," winds some 469 miles through mountain cuts and past ostensibly endless vistas. Split-rail fences, old farmsteads, lush greenery, mountains, and valleys are some of the many attractions the parkway incorporates. The parkway also offers visitor centers, camp grounds, picnic areas, trails, and in some instances lodges, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities.


The Grove Arcade - Upscale Shopping in Downtown Asheville

Grove Arcade

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Mon-Sat 10-6pm w/ optional hours on Sun. designated at each individual business. Restaurants are open earlier and/or later depending on the establishment.

Built by E.W. Grove, the visionary and creator of the Grove Park Inn, the Grove Arcade opened in 1929 and thrived until World War II as one of the country's leading public markets. The historically renovated Grove Arcade has once again returned as a premier Asheville destination featuring the best this region has to offer from delicious dining, to one-of-a-kind art and an outdoor market where local merchants and artisans peddle their wares.


WNC Nature Center

Western North Carolina Nature Center

Visit Their Website
75 Gashes Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28805
(828) 298-5600

Open daily: 10-5pm.
Adults: $7* Seniors: $6* Youth (3-15): $3 *Discounts to Asheville City Residents.

A sanctuary for many varieties of native animals, the WNC Nature Center has served for decades to protect and educate. Inside Asheville's "little zoo", Adults and children can come face to face with many wild species including wolves, otters, cougars, peacocks, hawks, turtles, snakes and bears. On site there is a "hands-on" Nature lab and Educational Farm with a petting area, aviary, a nature trail and more. Many of the staff at the Nature Center are recognized as regional specialists and the center is open year round with indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Visit our Asheville Zoos page for more information about Zoos, Nature Centers, and Theme Parks with Animals that you can visit from Western North Carolina.


Biltmore Village

Biltmore Village

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Located 2 miles south of downtown off of Hwy 25.

Originally constructed as housing for the employees of George Vanderbilt and his estate, the Biltmore Village recreates the old-fashioned atmosphere of a Victorian-era mountain community. Declared a historical site in 1979, today the Biltmore Village is home to over 30 unique shops, exquisite galleries and many fine, independent and locally owned restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages that are outlined with brick sidewalks and tree-lined streets, giving the Biltmore Village a charming ambiance. Slightly more upscale, and with a similar uniqueness to downtown Asheville, this is a delightful area to stroll through and explore.


The North Carolina Arboretum

North Carolina Arboretum

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100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
Asheville, North Carolina 28806
(828) 665-2492

April-October: 8-9pm November-March: 8-7pm
$6 per vehicle. No charge for pedestrians, bicyclists, and NC Arboretum Society Members.

The North Carolina Arboretum centers on education, economic development, research, conservation, and garden demonstration. On 434-acre in West Asheville, the Arboretum is located on one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the United States. Asheville's Mountain peaks surround the property's visual perimeters and 1.8 miles of the Bent Creek stream run through the center of the Arboretum. The staff and other plant experts teach a wide variety of classes and workshops. Programs are available for all ages and range from bonsai demonstrations to nature walks. The North Carolina Arboretum is an institutional member of the American Public Gardens Association.


The Asheville Tourists

Asheville Tourists

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30 Buchanan Place
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 258-0428

Adults: $7 Children, Seniors, & Military: $6 Box Seats, package deals, and season tickets are also available

Visit our Asheville Tourists Baseball guide to learn more.

Everyone's favorite summer sport, baseball, has had a home in Asheville for over a century. Currently, our local AA farm team appropriately named the Tourists, feeds into the major league Colorado Rockies' division two team. The Tourists offer a full season running from May through early September, and every Thursdays is Thirsty Thursday where one can enjoy a tasty draft beer for $1.00. The Asheville Tourists play their home games at recently renovated McCormick Field located on the south side of Downtown Asheville just off of Biltmore Ave. Even if you aren't an avid baseball fan, this is a great place to people watch, or just enjoy a night out doing something different. To learn more about the Asheville Tourists and McCormick Field visit our Asheville Tourists Baseball guide.


The Botanical Gardens at Asheville

Botanical Gardens at Asheville

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(adjacent to UNCA campus)
151 W.T. Weaver Blvd
Asheville, NC 28804-3414
(828) 252-5190

Free

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville is an independently managed, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the native plant species of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, one of the most diverse temperate ecosystems in the world. The gardens and walking paths are maintained for the enjoyment of the public. Educational programs and research resources are provided for the community to increase public awareness of this region’s unique botanical diversity. The gardens, which are free and open year round, sunrise to sunset, contain a stunning array of wildflowers, flowering trees, shrubs, and other native plants. The Garden Path Gift Shop offers garden-themed gifts, journals, hand tools, a large selection of books on native plants, and local field guides. The Botanical Gardens is funded through memberships, donations, endowments, program fees, and proceeds from the gift shop.


Downtown Gallery Tours - Stroll the Donwtown Asheville Art Galleries

Downtown Gallery Tours

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First Friday of April, June, August & October 5-8pm
Free

Whether you call them "art walks", "gallery hops or "studio strolls", it all means one thing, lots of great Asheville art and an opportunity to connect with artists and other local art lovers. If this atmosphere sounds like your cup of tea, then you should check out one of the five annual City Center Art Walks that take place on the first Friday of April, June, August, and October between 5-8pm. Pick up a map at any of the 29 participating galleries or at the Chamber of Commerce and stroll, crawl, hop, or just walk your way through many fine galleries in Downtown Asheville.


Downtown Drum Circle - A local Asheville favorite

Drum Circles in Downtown Asheville

Friday Evenings
Downtown Asheville
Various Locations

Free

A longtime underground festival tradition, drum circles are something that connect and move people through the pulsating, and tantalizing beats. Locally, Friday night impromptu drum circles can be found in several places, such as downtown Asheville's Pritchard Park on Patton Avenue and College Street or at the Vance Monument. If you happen to stumble upon a spontaneous drum circle, take a moment and enjoy this display of folk from every age and walk of life, or even join in the dancing, drumming, and festivities. At any drum circle, all are welcome and encouraged to take part.


River District Studio Strolls - See Cutting Edge Art in Asheville NC

River District Studio Strolls

Visit Their Website
2nd Weekend in June & November
10-6pm

Free

This is another example of an emerging area in Asheville. The burgeoning River Arts District is home to a fresh approach to art. Old abandoned factories have been refurbished into studios and galleries for Asheville artists to display a wide array of art mediums. Each building has it's own vibe, from youthful contemporary, to traditional folk; this is a great area to see the "hidden" art scene in Asheville. If looking to buy, one can also find some awesome deals. During normal hours, most galleries are open to the public, however twice a year, on the 2nd full weekend of June and November from 10-6pm, all of the galleries and studios are open for tours, meet-and-greet with the artists, or purchasing some very fine artwork.


Cinema in the Park - Catch a Movie in Downtown Asheville

Cinema in the Park

Occasionally Friday Evenings
Pritchard Park
Downtown Asheville

Free

Held in Downtown's Pritchard Park (located at the intersection of Patton Avenue, College Street and Haywood Ave.) every Friday evening around dusk, live bands play as old silent films are projected on a big screen, free for the public during the spring and summer months.



Area Attractions & DayTrips


Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad

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300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
(800) 526-5740

June-August: 9-6pm May, September, and October: Fri-Sun 9-6pm.
Adults: $27 Children (3-12): $19

TWEET, TWEET! All aboard for a ride into the "wild frontier" on the Tweetsie Railroad, the main attraction at North Carolina's first theme park. Tweetsie delights its visitors with old-west fun, such as meeting cowboys and outlaws on the old-time Main Street, riding numerous amusement park rides, watching lively western theater and dance shows, and of course riding the famed steam-powered Tweetsie train. Along with these main attractions Tweetsie also offers numerous special events for the entire family, such as their 4th of July extravaganza, a week of performances by The Purina Dog Chow Incredible Dog Team, a special exhibit of a working replica of Thomas the Steam Engine, and much more. Check it out if you are in the Boone or Blowing rock area.


The Town of Lake Lure - A Mountain Getaway 30 minutes South of Asheville North Carolina

Lake Lure

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Located 26 miles Southeast of Asheville.
Visit their website for directions.

The town of Lake Lure sits in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, southeast of Asheville. The Rocky Broad River snakes its way through a series of rapids and cascades down through the gorge, and eventually makes its way to Lake Lure. Encompassing 13.25 square miles, Lake Lure encompasses deep waters, an island of seven acres and many small bays and inlets. Set in a backdrop of forested mountains, Lake Lure lies in the "thermal belt" of Western North Carolina and therefore is unusually temperate year round. Provides many activities and adventures for outdoor enthusiasts and tourists alike with swimming, golfing, hiking, rock climbing, and is a popular gathering spot for motorcyclists. A wide variety of water activities can be enjoyed, ranging from canoeing, fishing and water skiing.


Chimney Rock Park

Chimney Rock Park

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Highway 64/74A
Chimney Rock, NC 28720
(800) 277-9611

8:30-5:30pm (Daylight Savings) 8:30-4:30pm (Eastern Standard Time)
Adult: $14 Youth (6-15): $6 Group Rates for 20 or more are available as well.

Brilliant scenery and awe-inspiring views are what one can find at Chimney Rock Park, located just south of Lake Lure. However, extraordinary scenery is not the only thing at Chimney Rock Park. A variety of rare and indigenous plants, a 404ft waterfall, astonishing geological formations, and special events are just a few of the many more things on can find to do in the area. If your route is 74A, you can also stop in one of the many little towns for shopping, a bite to eat, or stop at a few of the camp sites along the way. Offering amenities for RV camping, tenting or rental cabins, there is something for all levels of outdoor enjoyment. Your four legged friends are also welcome as long as they are kept on a leash.


The Smoky Mountain Railroad - Ride this old fashioned Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Visit Their Website
119 Front St.
Dillsboro, NC 28725
(800) 872-4681

Standard trips start at $29.00 for adults and $17.00 for children. Visit website for more complete pricing and excursion list.

Experience a time long past aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Passengers will enjoy a scenic journey across these beautiful mountains, which are home to fantastic views and landscapes. Choose one of several routes across the 53 miles of track, through the 2 tunnels, and over the 25 bridges along the railroad, which makes stops in Dillsboro and Bryson City. For an even more memorable evening choose one of the special excursions that include, but are not limited to Gourmet Dinner Train, Gourmet Beer Train, or Mystery Theater Dinner Train.


Cradle of Forestry in America - Educational Forest

Cradle of Forestry

Visit Their Website
Highway 276
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
(828) 877-3130

April 15th-November 5th 9-5pm
Adults (over 16): $5 *FREE for everyone on Tuesdays! *FREE for Golden Age, Golden Eagle and Golden Access Passports.

Founded in 1898 by Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate, The Cradle of Forestry in America is the site of the first forestry school - the Biltmore Forest School. Today it serves as a 6,500 acre historic site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the US. Visit the Forest Discovery Center and you can learn the story of forest conservation in America, and come to better understand both forests and the benefits of forest management through interactive exhibits and activities. The Cradle of Forestry grounds also feature two nature trails that offer a glimpse of the building that first housed the school of Forestry as well as other historical buildings, and an antique logging locomotive and sawmill.


Linville Caverns and Falls

Linville Caverns and Linville Falls

Visit Their Website
19929 Us 221 N
Marion, NC
(828) 756-4171

Hours change with the seasons, call for details. (Approximately 9-5pm-ish)
Adults: $6 Children (5-12): $4 Seniors: $4.50

In the depths of Humpback Mountain, Mother Nature has sculpted a true masterpiece in stone. A myriad of cavernous rooms and passageways display impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Located on scenic US 221 between Linville and Marion, the caverns have been renovated with lighting and level pathways, which are wheelchair accessible.


Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain

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2050 Blowing Rock Highway
Linville, NC
(800) 468-7325

Adult: $14 Senior: $12 Children (4-12): $6

Grandfather Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in the world and is recognized as a nature preserve. Enjoy the 360-degree vistas of this spectacular mountain range, whose profile against the sky resembles the face of an old wise man. Take a nature stroll or hike in the backcountry, glimpse native animals and walk across the famous mile-high Swinging Bridge. Learn about conservation at Grandfather Mountain visitors center, which offers naturalist programs daily.


Cherokee Indian Village

Cherokee

Visit Their Website
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
498 Tsali Blvd.
Cherokee, North Carolina 28719
(800) 438-1601

One of the few Indian reservations on the east coast, the historic village of Cherokee is a living testament to these people and their way of life. Founded by the few who escaped the horrid march to the west on the Trail of Tears, this village and the surrounding valley serve to preserve the Cherokee traditions and way of life, as well as educate the public about their tribe.

Oconaluftee Cherokee Indian Village

Oconaluftee Indian Village

Visit Their Website
U.S. Highway 441 North
Cherokee, North Carolina 28719
(828) 497-2315 or (828) 497-2111

9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. daily, open seasonally from May 5th until October 22nd.
Children (6 & under): free, Children (6-13): $6, Adults: $13

Taking a walking tour through this historical village, one can see tribe members demonstrating traditional crafts and tasks of historical Cherokee life. Watch and learn as they show their skills in canoe hulling, beadwork, weaving and mask carving. Along the trail, educational talks are given about the purpose of the Council meeting hut, typical dwellings and the art of hunting with blowguns. At various points, signs point out and highlight the medicinal uses of native plants. Witness the Cherokee peoples' patience and craftsmanship as they demonstrate their abilities that once proved invaluable when they were relied on for daily survival.

Museum of the Cherokee Indians - Cherokee NC

Museum of the Cherokee Indians

Visit Their Website
Highway 441 and Drama Road
Cherokee, North Carolina 28719
(828) 497-3481

Opens daily at 9 a.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Admission for adults: $9, children (ages 6-13): $6, children (under 6): free. Group rates are available, as well as discounts for AARP or AAA members.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian educated visitors on the history of civilization in the 100 square mile area that was once encompassed in the tribe's territory. Delivered in the form of stories so that visitors may learn in a fun way that also helps to place them in the time period. Historic artifacts from pre- and post- colonial Cherokee history are on display as well as seasonal exhibits focusing of special topics. The museum's store is a great place to purchase crafts seen on the educational trail, or mementos to take home.

Unto These Hills

Unto These Hills

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Mountainside Theater, 441 Highway N
Cherokee, NC 28719
(828) 756-4171

Nightly June 8 thru August 19 (except Sunday) Show starts at 8:30 pm.

For nearly 50 years, theatrically inclined members of the Cherokee Indian tribe have retold their story through the production of Unto These Hills. In 2006 the show was completely revamped in an attempt to transform its history-book style to a more culturally authentic and historically accurate portrayal of the tribe's history during the 300 years of the colonial period. Stunning costumes, beautiful music, a dramatic new set, and an impressive mix of choreography make this a must see for anyone visiting Cherokee.

Harrah's Cherokee Casino - Cherokee, NC

Harrah's Cherokee Casino

777 Casino Drive
Cherokee, NC 28719
(828) 497-7777

After a day of education and tribal life, mosey on over to the infamous Harrah's Casino at Cherokee for gambling and nightlife. Featuring video gaming and video poker in a variety of denominations. Las Vegas caliber dining and exciting entertainment await you at this 4-star hotel/casino with all of the amenities and first-class service. Proceeds of the casino benefit the Cherokee Tribe and its efforts of preservation and education.


Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education

Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education

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Off U.S. Highway 276
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
(828) 877-4423

Open daily 8 am to 5 pm, outdoor exhibits close at 4:30 pm. Closed on all state holidays except Memorial Day.

Indoor and outdoor exhibits show visitors native animals and plants, as well as typical habitats of western North Carolina. The center is designed to educate about the relationship between people and wildlife, focusing on resource sharing, conservation and management. One unique feature is the man-made wetland that doubles as the sewage treatment for the facility. The center offers on-site programs and special evens that change with the seasons.


Holmes Educational State Forest

Holmes Educational State Forest

Visit Their Website
1299 Crab Creek Road
Hendersonville, N.C., 28739
(828) 692-0100

Comprised of a series of well-marked trails, accentuated by placards and exhibits offering educational information about native plants and regional ecology you are viewing along the trails. Specializing in outdoor classrooms and Ranger-lead group educational activities intended.


Hot Springs North Carolina

Hot Springs

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Located 35 miles Northwest of Asheville
Visit their website for directions.

A popular stop-off on the Appalachian Trail, this cozy town offers great regional dining and rejuvenating hot tubs fed naturally by the hot springs. Located near the hot springs, and just off the banks of the French Broad River, are campgrounds that offer RV sites, tent sites and snug cabins for rent. In the surrounding area, there are plenty of hikes for every ability level. Natural Springs, whitewater, and popular hikes such as Max Patch are among the many treasures that you will find in this beautiful mountain community.



Tours in Asheville


Historic Montford Tours - Tour Asheville's Historic Montford District

Historic Montford Tours

Visit Their Website
235 Montford Avenue.
Asheville, NC 28801

All tours leave from the Montford Arts Center
Adults: $17 Students under 14: $9

Coming Soon!


Asheville Historic Trolley Tours

Asheville Historic Trolley Tours

Visit Their Website
55 Haywood Street.
Asheville, NC 28801
888-667-3600

All tours leave from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center
Adults: $18 /AAA & AARP Members: $17 /Small Group Rate: $14 per participant (10 through 24) /Large Group Rate $13 per participant (25 or more)

Sightsee Asheville in style aboard our beautiful state-of-the-art Touring Trolleys. See the best of Asheville on board a vintage Trolley and enjoy our fully narrated Trolley Tour covering all major points of interest in Asheville including: the Grove Park Inn, Biltmore Village, the Grove Arcade, the Montford Historic District, the downtown shopping and restaurants district, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the Asheville Museum and Art Gallery district, the Asheville Chamber and Visitors Center and much more! Your guide will combine humorous stories and historical information into a fun filled tour. Deboard the trolley at any of our convenient stops to shop, dine, or sightsee, then reboard and continue the tour.


Asheville Urban Trail Guided Tours - Tour the Walking Art Museum of Downtown Asheville NC

Asheville Urban Trail Guided Tours

Visit Their Website

Coming Soon!


Asheville Brews Cruise

Asheville Brews Cruise

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(828) 545-5181

Tour operates Wednesday through Saturday from 5:45 until around 9:30.

$37 per person or $70 per couple. Local & group rates available. Call for more info.

Asheville Brews Cruise (ABC) is the quinessential experience for anyone interested in locally brewed craft beers. Brews Cruise is a mobile tour company that gives the "cruiser" an opportunity to go behind the scenes of Asheville's renowned brewing scene. The tour consists of transportation to three of Asheville's five microbreweries. VIP experiences at each stop to include generous samples as well as "beer 101" at one of the stops. There is also live music along the way, and the last stop allows extra time for dining. Snacks and water are also provided on board and a commerative pint glass is given to each rider at the conclusion of the tour. ABC operates Wednesdays through Saturdays beginning at 5:45 ending around 9:30. The cost is $37 per person or $70 per couple. Call about local and group rates. 828-545-5181.


Haunted Ghost Tours of Asheville

Haunted Ghost Tours of America, Inc. - Asheville Tour

Visit Their Website
(828) 257-4001

March 1st through October 31st. Call for fall and winter schedule.
Adults: $17, Children ages 8 - 14: $9. Reservations required.

Step into the world of the unknown with the Haunted Ghost Tour of Asheville for a hair-raising 90 minute walking tour into the spirit realm of this mountain town. Join us as we take a leisurely stroll and search along the shadowy streets of Asheville to hear stories of the strange and unexplained. Bring a camera and get paranormal pictures of your own. Departs nightly at 9 P.M. from the atrium of the Haywood Park Hotel at 1 Battery Park Ave and the corner of Haywood St. from March 1st through October 31st. Call for fall and winter schedule November 1st through Febuary.


Joshua P. Warren's Haunted Asheville Official Ghost Tours

Joshua P. Warren's Haunted Asheville Official Ghost Tours

Visit Their Website

Coming Soon!


Blue Ridge Motion Pictures Studio Tours

Blue Ridge Motion Pictures Studio Tours

Visit Their Website

Coming Soon!


LaZOOM Daily Tours of Asheville

LaZoom Comedy Tours of Asheville

Visit Their Website
90 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
828-225-6932

Adults: $22 Children (ages 5-12): $12 Seniors: $18 Ashevillans: $18

Hop aboard the big purple bio-diesel fueled fun bus and learn the history of Asheville like you've never heard it before! Enjoy a 90-minute theatrical comedy tour exploring Asheville. Fun for the whole family. Get on the bus!


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