Cultural Attractions in Western North Carolina

From movies, music and theatre to history, nature and the visual arts, the mountains have something you'll enjoy, no matter where your interests lie.

The Bascom

The Bascom, a nonprofit center for the visual arts in Highlands, sits on a six-acre pastoral campus where it serves people through rotating high-quality art exhibitions, classes and educational presentations. The campus features historic buildings, a covered bridge, a nature trail, a 27,500 square foot main building for two-dimensional adult and children's art, a separate reconstructed Studio Barn for three-dimensional art, a shop, a terrace for venue rentals, and much more.
554 Main Street
Highlands, NC 28741
(828) 526-4949
www.thebascom.org

Biltmore House

Biltmore House is the largest privately owned home in America. This incredible 175,000 square foot home has 255 rooms and was opened to the public in 1956 as a house museum. Built as George and Edith Vanderbilt's country home, the estate was originally 125,000 acres. After Mr. Vanderbilt's death in 1914, Mrs. Vanderbilt sold 85,000 acres to the federal government. Today, the estate is made up of 8,000 acres. Visitors can tour the home, 75 acres of formal gardens, winery, equestrian center, farm and much more. You can also dine and stay overnight on the property. Biltmore House is open year round and offers a full calendar of special events, including concerts, wine tastings and exhibitions.
1 Approach Road
Asheville, NC 28803
(800) 411-3812
www.biltmore.com

Gem and Mineral Museum

Franklin, North Carolina is known as the Gem Capital of the World. Mining for rubies and sapphires in Macon County began in 1870. Gems and minerals were shipped out by the wagon load. Today, rockhounds and gem enthusiasts come to the area to try their luck at gem mining. You can also visit one of the gem shops or stop in at The Gem and Mineral Museum, located in the historic Old Jail in downtown Franklin. Thousands of gems, minerals, fossils and artifacts are on display; individual and group tours of the museum are available by appointment.
25 Phillips Street
Franklin, NC 28734
(828) 369-7831
www.fgmm.org

Greenville Zoo

One of the most popular and highly rated family attractions in South Carolina, The Greenville Zoo is home to wildlife from across the globe. Giraffes, orangutans, lions, elephants are just a few of the exciting animals that visitors can see.
150 Cleveland Park Drive
Greenville, SC 29601
(864) 467-4300
www.greenvillezoo.com

Highlands Playhouse

The Highlands Playhouse is the oldest theatre in North Carolina. Created and sustained by the Highlands-Cashiers community, it offers an exciting, ever-changing summer schedule of musicals, comedies and dramas. The Highlands Playhouse Movie Theater is now showing first-run films year round. Check the website for the lastest movie schedule.
632 Oak Street
Highlands, NC 28741
(828) 526-9443
www.highlandsplayhouse.org

Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center

The Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center is an intimate 200 seat facility with exceptional acoustics. Bluegrass, jazz, singing, dancing, story telling with local and international talents can be seen at the Center.
507 Chestnut Street
Highlands, NC 28741
(828) 526-9047
www.highlandspac.org

Oconaluftee Indian Village

Oconaluftee Indian Village is an authentic, working Cherokee Indian Village. Step back in time to 1750 to watch a potter making and firing pottery using the methods that have been used for 3,000 years; a canoe being made the traditional Cherokee way by burning away the center of the log into dug out form; and the sharpening of arrowheads and blades. Be sure to visit the dancing grounds and see the drumming, song and dance, as well as the Council House, where the clans gathered. Guests can participate in "Hands On Cherokee" and create their own handicrafts, such as pottery, fingerweaving, baskets and beadwork.
Drama Road
Cherokee, NC 28719
(866) 554-4557
www.cherokee-nc.com

Peace Center for the Performing Arts

Just an 90-minute drive from Cashiers, the Peace Center for the Performing Arts offers an impressive calendar of events, including musical acts, Broadway shows, comedians, orchestras, ballet and much more. Located in the heart of downtown Greenville, the Peace Center is convenient to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and coffee houses.
300 South Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
(800) 888-7768
www.peacecenter.org

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

This new, state of the art facility features performances from a wide range of artistic genres, including dramatic plays, musicals, dance troupes, choral festivals and recitals, as well as an array of popular musical artists. The 2009 season features The Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Aida, Annie, Blue Ridge Fall Colors Concert, Smoke on the Mountain and much more.
1028 Georgia Road
Franklin, NC 28734
(866) 273-4615
www.greatmountainmusic.com

Western Carolina University Heritage Center

Visit the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the southern Appalachian region. Through exhibits, publications, programs and demonstrations, you'll discover the rich traditions of the mountains and come away with an enhanced understanding of its land, culture and people.
150 HF Robinson Building
Cullowhee, NC 28723
(828) 227-7129
www.wcu.edu/2389.asp

Western North Carolina Nature Center

Learn about animals and their habitats and support the conservation of endangered species native to the Appalachian region. The whole family will enjoy touring the grounds and seeing domesticated and wild animals, including black bears, otters, bobcats, red and gray wolves, cougars, calves, peacocks, owls, snakes and more. The petting zoo is a big hit with kids. The Nature Center is open rain or shine.
75 Gashes Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28805
(828) 298-5600
www.wildwnc.org

The Zachary Tolbert House

The Zachary Tolbert House was built 150 years ago in the Greek Revival style, which is rare to the area. True to its history, the house has no plumbing, electricity or interior paint. However, it does have a remarkable number of pieces of the original furniture built by 19th century furniture maker Mordecai Zachary.
1940 Highway 107 South
Cashiers, NC 28717
(828) 743-7710
www.cashiershistoricalsociety.org