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, 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.
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.
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
One of the most popular and highly rated family attractions in South
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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,
peacocks, owls, snakes and more. The petting zoo is a big hit with
kids. The Nature Center is open rain or
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.