Spring Events Around Asheville
Check out our guide below to take advantage of all of the eclectic fun and events Asheville has to offer this time of year!
First, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of your time. Spring is a beautiful season in the mountains, but remember that the conditions and temperature can be a little unpredictable. To be prepared and stay comfortable be sure to wear layers and plan for rain.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
Biltmore Blooms: March 20 – May 24
Countless blooms burst forth in every color imaginable at the Biltmore Estate. You can expect to see orchids of all varieties, multi-colored tulips, and daffodils. As we progress into Spring, you can expect to see irises, roses, and azaleas.
Downtown First Fridays Art Walks: April-June (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Discover Asheville’s vibrant art scene as you explore 20 galleries within a half-mile radius of the city center. You can expect to see an array of mediums and practices from fine studio crafts to glass, photography to folk art, and contemporary painting to metalwork.
Donut Festival: April 21st
The Donut Festival in Marion, NC will include all kinds of fun activities – from a half marathon to strolling around the various dessert booths, a donut pageant, and donut eating contest – there will be something for everyone’s sweet tooth!
Weaverville Art Safari: April 28-29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Explore the art scene in Weaverville! This self-guided tour allows you to go behind-the-scenes with artists at your own pace. Get a sneak peek at the art during the preview party on Friday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival: April 29th (12 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Come prepared to taste delicious cheeses, meet the cheesemakers and local livestock, and participate in some friendly competitions at this day-long celebration at Highland Brewing.
Downtown After 5: May – Sep
Presented by the Asheville Downtown Association, this event occurs every month from May – Sep and includes a free concert, food trucks, and plenty of beer from local breweries. This popular event attracts about 5,000 people per event so be sure to plan for parking and remember no pups are allowed within the festival grounds.
Summer of Glass: May – Oct
Dozens of local glass artists, studios and galleries are creating events and exhibits across the Asheville area in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition at Biltmore. Among other activities, you’ll have the chance to watch demonstrations of glass blowing, glass jewelry making, stained glass, enameling and working with glass beads.
Asheville Herb Festival: May 4-6
Celebrating 29 years as the largest herb festival in the US and Canada, the Asheville Herb Festival is a great opportunity to learn from growers and herbalists, experience various demonstrations, and take advantage of the various soaps, tinctures, and medicinals that will be for sale.
French Broad River Festival: May 4-6
Festival features regional and national recording artists a river raft race, and mountain bike race. Spend the weekend along the banks of the French Broad River in beautiful Hot Springs just 35 miles north of Asheville.
Asheville Bread Festival: May 5-6 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Experience the newly-revamped Asheville Bread Festival, which offers you the opportunity to work with professional bakers, improve your baking skills and, of course, enjoy delicious breads! This year’s event has a theme of “A Celebration of Rye.” New Belgium Brewery hosts the bread fair event on Saturday with additional workshops and lectures happening around town. Sunday features a Master Class for professional bakers. A pre-festival tour of the Bread Wheat Trial plots will take place Friday, May 4.
LEAF Festival: May 10-13
Join together with thousands of music lovers gathered at beautiful Lake Eden in the nearby town of Black Mountain to experience powerful music, art and culture. This 20-year tradition takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. The event is headlined by Ani DiFranco, Snarky Puppy and Rising Appalachia.
Montford Music & Arts Festival: May 19 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
With tree-lined streets and historic homes, Montford Avenue provides the perfect stage for some of the best music, arts and crafts and food trucks together in one place for a one-day event. In this 15th year of the neighborhood festival, more than 20 musical acts will perform continuously throughout the day.
Mountain Sports Festival: May 25-27
Celebrate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with other outdoor sports enthusiasts, gear makers, and adventure companies. In addition to adventurous competitions, this free event also features live music and great food!
Asheville Beer Week: May 25-June 2
Cheers to this festival, which dedicates nine full days to celebrating all things beer. Taste great local craft brews, pair beers with a smorgasbord of delicious food, and learn about brewing at events around town. More than 40 breweries are on tap to participate. Beer Week closes with the popular Beer City Festival in Pack Square Park (June 2), which celebrates the local brewing industry with taps from dozens of breweries and plenty of live music.
Black Mountain Art by the Tracks: June 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
More than 50 fine artists and master crafters join together on Sutton Avenue near the Old Train Depot in historic downtown Black Mountain for this 21st annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
VeganFest: June 8-10
Celebrate the vegan lifestyle at its best with plenty of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods. On Saturday, nationally-recognized experts will discuss the latest vegan trends. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy an outdoor festival with more than 75 vendors showcasing vegan food, beer and lifestyle products.
XPand Fest: June 9 (12-9 p.m.)
Expand your vision of all art disciplines during this free outdoor street festival in Asheville’s South Slope Brewery District. The festival is put on by XPand Your Vision, an Asheville-based non-profit organization dedicated to the arts.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Apart from the numerous festivals, don’t forget to take in all of the natural beauty our mountain town has to offer! There are countless trails to explore, not to mention that we’re in the perfect place to access many national parks and forests like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail also runs through Asheville and provides lots of opportunities for single or multiday hikes. When hiking, bring sunscreen and/or bug spray – Western North Carolina is a temperate rain forest, which means you’ll likely experience humidity, varying temperatures, and wildlife.
Lover’s Leap Loop is a moderate 1.6 mile trail that steadily ascends Lover’s Leap Ridge in Hot Springs, NC. Panoramic views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs make this a major attraction for hikers and visitors to the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, follow 25/70 East for .5 miles before turning left onto Silvermine Road. Take the first left to continue following Silvermine Road. Just past the bridge, you’ll see a trailhead for the Silvermine trail. Continue walking down the road, passing the Silvermine Trail, and get on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked with white blazes. Once on the trail, markers indicating Lover’s Loop will be easy to spot.
This 6.2 mile out and back trail sits at 927 feet and is rated moderate. Hikers can expect to see beautiful native flora and fauna all along the trail. To access this trail from Black Mountain, head southeast on Montreat Road toward E State Street. Merge onto NC-9 S and continue on this road for about 15 miles before turning Left onto Shumont Road. The trail head will be located on your right.
Bald Knob Ridge Trail is 2.8 miles up a ridge before reaching a summit which offers breathtaking and expansive views of the Black Mountains. Though the switchbacks on this moderate trail provide for a difficult ascent, the sight from the top is well worth the effort. To get to this hike from Downtown Burnsville, follow directions to Briar Bottom Trail. Instead of pulling in to the parking lot on Forest Service Road 472, continue on until you pass the Buncombe Horse Range Trail Sign. Bald Knob Ridge Trail is marked with a trailhead sign.
With 360 degree views, this 1.5 mile loop affords great views of downtown Asheville and surrounding peaks. Located in Pisgah National Forest, you can access the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Western North Carolina is also home to countless waterfalls so be sure to allot some time to go waterfall hunting. There are a variety that are easily accessible within a short walk from the car. Looking for more of an adventure? Don’t worry, there are also plenty of waterfalls that require a decent hike to get to – the end result is always worth the effort. Dip your toes into the cool waters at the base or on a really hot day go for a swim. Just keep a few things in mind to hike safely: since the rocks surrounding a waterfall are often wet, they’re usually slippery too, so don’t climb, swim or hike on, around or over a waterfall. The best time to visit is usually not after a recent rain: a high-volume waterfall can be dangerous and loses some of its picturesque beauty anyway.
Easy, dog-friendly hike just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard. Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, and Pink Beds are also in the area so if you’re going to be South of Asheville be sure to stop and see these beautiful wonders.
At barely a quarter mile, roundtrip, it’s more of a roadside attraction than our conventional definition of a hike. But it’s really, incredibly beautiful. The Dry Falls Trail wraps behind the 65′ waterfall, offering a unique behind-the-falls waterfall view.
It’s not a long hike. But at just over a half mile, round trip, this hike packs a ton of scenic beauty into a short stretch of trail. Hike to two overlooks on the trail to catch views of Upper Whitewater Falls as it tumbles and cascades more than 400 feet. It’s the highest waterfall in North Carolina, and simply stunning.
Rainbow Falls is 3.6 miles round trip. The falls tumbling down over a towering, 150-foot cliff in a single, dramatic drop. Hike this trail from Gorges State Park near Cashiers, NC to a series of spilling falls on the Horsepasture River and abundant summertime wildflowers.
This outstanding hike at DuPont State Forest visits an enormous cascade deep within the park, scoring some serenity at one of DuPont’s lesser-visited (but ultra-beautiful) waterfalls. Hike across a covered bridge over the towering High Falls, visit the banks of the glassy Lake Julia, and then view the unique drops, veils and tendrils of Bridal Veil Falls from a viewing platform and the blocky outcrops at the base of the falls.
Don’t forget about the many activities Asheville has to offer year-round:
Considered to be a ‘museum without walls’ the Asheville Urban Trail is a must-do for art and history lovers alike. This 1.7 mile trail takes you through the streets of downtown Asheville where you’ll experience Asheville’s history as told through 30 stops. Each stop boasts a public sculpture that functions as a landmark on your tour.
This guided tour will take you through downtown Asheville and focus on the diverse architectural history and styles and of area. Experience the impressive array of buildings and experience the city through a historical lens.
The 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate has an array of activities for the whole family including exploring the largest home in the United States, tasting the estate’s own brand of wine at the winery, enjoying the famous gardens, going horseback riding, and many others!
Here is a list of resources to keep you up-to-date:
Art Walk Social This Friday
Come join us at our new office in Downtown Asheville Friday at 4pm for a pre-art walk social. We will be serving Wine, Beer, & Hors d’oeuvres. Following our social explore more than 20 downtown galleries, studios and museums — all located within a half mile radius of historic downtown Asheville. Visit Asheville Downtown Galleries for more info.
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