Culture, Events and Activities in Asheville, NC

Downtown Asheville, NC Street Performers
Downtown Asheville, NC Street Performers

With art-focused festivals, musical events, a variety of fun attractions and much more, Asheville is home to a diverse, well-rounded cultural scene.

Famous Film Draws Tourists

Asheville and the surrounding areas have set the stage for several films including one of the most popular movies of 2012: The Hunger Games. The blockbuster movie is bringing tourism dollars to the state as fans clamor to visit the locations where the actors spent their time, as well as where filming took place.

A Hunger Games four-day itinerary is available on www.visitnc.com, which takes fans from Charlotte to Asheville and back. The Asheville portion of the tour includes stops at the cast's favorite restaurants and the hotels where they stayed, while nearby cities showcase the places where important scenes were filmed such as "The Reaping.”

Because of the appealing nature of the Asheville area – diverse locations, attractive scenery and an established crew base – a variety of additional movies have been filmed in the region including Dirty Dancing, Hannibal, Cold Mountain and Patch Adams.

Musical, Artsy Festivals

Lake Eden Arts Festival, commonly known as LEAF, takes place in nearby Black Mountain. The event features live musical performances from artists such as The Mickey Hart Band, The Be Good Tanyas, George Porter Jr. & the Runnin' Pardners, and more. LEAF also includes original artwork created by more than 50 artisans, as well as gourmet food, a poetry slam and other offerings.

Another festival focused on music and art is All Go West, which is a free, one-day event held in West Asheville in front of Harvest Records. Attendees enjoy performances from bands such as Floating Action, Secret B-Sides and The Critters, as well as beer and barbecue tastings, a fashion show, exhibits and more.

Music Venues, Events

Asheville embraces just about every kind of music, whether it’s rock, jazz or bluegrass, and all you have to do to experience the city’s diverse musical menu is spend an evening club-hopping. The Orange Peel and Grey Eagle are great places to start. Jack of the Wood, on Patton Avenue is another popular spot for listening to live music.

There’s also plenty of music to be heard outdoors at community celebrations such as Shindig on the Green, Downtown After Five and Goombay Festival.

Extraordinary Finds

Shopping in Asheville is anything but ordinary, thanks to unusual shopping destinations such as the Grove Arcade. Built in 1929 and recently restored, the Grove Arcade is a 269,000-square-foot public marketplace that houses locally owned restaurants and specialty stores selling everything from clocks and furniture to designer jewelry and handmade bath products.

Other fun cultural destinations include the lavish Biltmore; the North Carolina Arboretum; Pack Square Park; Unto These Hills (a drama depicting Cherokee history); Chimney Rock; Pack Place Education, Arts & Science Center; Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site; the nearby community of Black Mountain; and The Grove Park Inn.

Read more about the music scene in Asheville.

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