20+ Awesome Things to Do in Black Mountain and Nearby

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

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We’ve spent years exploring the small towns of this state and have a soft spot for all the wonderful things to do in Black Mountain, NC. This mountain town sits within an easy day trip from Asheville and is a convenient I-40 stop, which is a part of why we fell in love with Black Mountain many years ago.

We think this guide will convey just how much we love this town, along with our favorite things to do in Black Mountain.

Things to Do in Black Mountain NC

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this guide will help you out!

There is quite a bit of ground to cover in town and nearby, so we’ve organized this Black Mountain travel guide into the following sections:

  • Where is Black Mountain?
  • When to Visit
  • Where to Stay
  • Annual Events
  • Year-Round Things to Do in Black Mountain
  • The Best Restaurants in Black Mountain
  • Local Craft Breweries
  • Nearby Attractions
  • The Best Things to Do in Black Mountain (Our Picks)
  • More NC Travel Guides

You can scroll ahead to any section or keep reading about Black Mountain NC’s location and some quick facts.

Read More: Western North Carolina (and 100+ Wonderful Places to Visit)

Where is Black Mountain?

Buncombe County North Carolina Black Mountain highlighted by Rcsprinter123 CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Rcsprinter123, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Black Mountain sits against Pisgah National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Buncombe County town is just 20 minutes east of Asheville and a very accessible day trip, as I-40 (Exit 64) and US-70 both run through Black Mountain.

NC-9 connects Black Mountain to some of NC’s most popular attractions, including Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

Black Mountain is within a short drive from quite a few more places in Western NC, including some of our favorite cities and towns:

You can visually plan your Black Mountain NC trip with our North Carolina Travel Map.

Read More: Western North Carolina Map (400+ Wonderful Places Listed)

The History of Black Mountain

Black Mountain Depot

The history of Black Mountain is also worth investigating, whether you’re settling down here or prepping for an awesome small-town vacation.

Here are some major events that have shaped Black Mountain into the place we know today:

  • Before it was known as Black Mountain, the Cherokee and Catawba People called it Grey Eagle.
  • They lived on and hunted on the land that makes up Black Mountain today.
  • The small town was mostly a collection of farms until the railroad arrived in 1879.
  • Thanks to the influx of new residents and visitors, in 1893, the Town of Black Mountain was founded.
  • Multiple religious retreats and conference centers were built in the area, hoping to take advantage of the cool mountain air and beautiful scenery. Montreat and Ridgecrest are a couple of examples.
  • In 1912, a fire devastated downtown Black Mountain and destroyed many of its original wooden structures.
  • Black Mountain College opened in 1933 and remained a solid liberal arts institution until it closed in 1956.
  • Roberta Cleopatra Flack was born in 1937 in Black Mountain. The Grammy Award-winning music legend and her family moved to Virginia shortly after she was born.
  • Some of the places to visit in this guide reflect Black Mountain’s history. They include the Swannanoa Valley Museum, the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, and the Presbyterian Heritage Center in Montreat.

Read More: 125+ Important Facts About North Carolina You Should Know (History, Geography, and More!)

When to Visit Black Mountain Today?

Trailhead Black Mountain

Today, Black Mountain is a thriving town with plenty of things to do for any type of traveler. It also serves as a gateway to and from Asheville.

  • We have enjoyed trips to Black Mountain during most of the year, including winter and around Christmas. The town hosts its annual Christmas parade in December and Black Mountain is within a short drive from holiday attractions like Christmas at Biltmore and The NC Arboretum Winter Lights.
  • Summer in Black Mountain is excellent, considering the town doesn’t get as hot as its neighbors in Central NC and Eastern NC.
  • Of course, spring and fall are equally cool. That’s mostly because of the blooms and foliage you’ll find in Black Mountain and nearby during those times of the year.

Read More: 14 Wonderful Winter Getaways in North Carolina

Where to Stay

We have enjoyed rentals in Black Mountain and nearby Ridgecrest, either via VRBO or the local Greybeard Rentals.

There are Bnbs in the area that all look inviting, including the Arbor House Bed and Breakfast. We have shared our experiences staying in Black Mountain on our social media pages and look forward to exploring more accommodations.

Read More: 20 Amazing Hotels in North Carolina (+ Inns, Resorts, & Rentals)

Annual Events

Black Mountain Train

Enjoy Black Mountain’s natural beauty and tight-knit community by attending one of these annual events.

  • Black Mountain Marathon and Mount Mitchell Challenge (February): This annual marathon is not for the faint of heart! Taking place in February, this marathon is a challenging 40-mile race from Black Mountain all the way to the top of the 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell. Elite athletes are invited to participate and test their skills against Mother Nature, but be sure to read the safety guidelines beforehand.
  • {Re}HAPPENING (April): {Re}HAPPENING is a dinner and performance event that seeks to fundraise for the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center. This special event draws in hundreds of visitors to browse local artwork and connect with the community.
  • Black Mountain Tailgate Farmers Market (May to November): The Black Mountain Tailgate Farmers Market is where local vendors come to sell their organic and local produce, meat, cheese, eggs, and more. The seasonal community event happens on Saturdays typically from May to November.
  • LEAF Global Arts Retreat (May) and Festival (October): LEAF Global Arts has grown from its origins as Lake Eden Arts Festival to become one of NC’s biggest music festivals.
  • Downtown Street Dance and Fireworks (July 4): Black Mountain loves celebrating the Fourth of July! Each July, visit Downtown Black Mountain and enjoy the holiday with the entire community.
  • Sourwood Festival (August): For two days in August, Black Mountain comes together to host a festival full of food, arts and crafts, rides, and bees! The mountains surrounding the town are filled with sourwood tree flowers, which allows for the production of sourwood honey, a staple in the mountains!
  • Holly Jolly (December): On the first Friday in December, visit downtown for an evening of holiday spirit. Shops are open late and the streets are lined with live performances and refreshments.

Read More: How to Spend Christmas in North Carolina (25 Holiday Events)

Things to Do in Black Mountain All Year

The town’s annual events are worthy of a spot on your calendar but here are things to do in Black Mountain throughout the year.

  • Downtown
  • Black Mountain Center for the Arts
  • More Black Mountain Art Galleries
  • Town Hardware
  • White Horse Black Mountain
  • Lake Tomahawk Park
  • Restaurants
  • Breweries

We will include addresses all specific Black Mountain attractions like businesses, parks, and restaurants.

Explore Downtown Black Mountain

Downtown Black Mountain

Downtown Black Mountain is a beautiful main street lined with charming shops, boutiques, and restaurants. Visitors can walk through this street, admiring the vintage items in the shops, eating some great food, and enjoying the spectacular mountain views.

What really makes downtown stand out is its thriving arts scene. Black Mountain is home to a number of arts centers and galleries, all of which you can visit!

Read More: Why and How to Support Amazing Local Businesses Every Day

Black Mountain Center for the Arts

Address: 225 West State St, Black Mountain, NC
Free Admission

Black Mountain Center for the Arts (BMCA) has been a cornerstone of the area’s art district since 2000 when the center was founded to celebrate local artists and artwork.

Visitors to the BMCA can browse the gallery, which changes every year or so, and attend events like “mimosas in the morning” and “gallery art talk.” The center also offers an extensive variety of arts classes, like ballet and contemporary dance, pottery, and banjo, among other topics.

The BMCA is located right on Main street, so it is very accessible to artists and visitors alike. This is a great place to explore the artistic style of Black Mountain!

Read More: NC Museum of Art in Raleigh (A Special Place that Keeps Us Coming Back)

More Black Mountain Art Galleries

Black Mountain downtown

The creativity of the Blue Ridge Mountains has attracted many artists to the area, with many of them showcasing their work at art galleries. Black Mountain is filled with unique art galleries that exhibit the work of local artists. Here are some great galleries you should visit on your next trip to Black Mountain:

  • Seven Sisters Gallery (119 Broadway Ave): The Seven Sisters Gallery represents over 250 local artists who create pottery, jewelry, glasswork, etc.
  • Mountain Nest Gallery (133 Cherry St): Mountain Nest displays work that captures the beauty of the natural world, through handmade jewelry, paintings, wooden bowls, and more.
  • Old Depot Arts and Crafts (207 Sutton Ave): This gallery is a non-profit organization located in a 100-year train depot. It’s focused on preserving the heritage of mountain culture.
  • AnTHM Gallery (100 State St): AnTHM is both a gallery and gift shop that focuses on handcrafted items, such as soaps, cards, and candles.
  • Black Mountain Iron Works (203 Padgettown Rd): This gallery is a little different, as it is a blacksmith shop that forges and sells iron fixtures for homes and gardens.
  • Chifferobe Home and Garden Art Gallery (132 Cherry St): Chifferobe celebrates the use of color and fun designs in home decor. This gallery handpicks unique pieces from local artists and sells them to customers with the promise of spicing up their homes.

Read More: The Asheville Art Museum (How to Visit + 7 Great Things to Do)

Take A Hike Mountain Outfitters

100 Sutton Ave, Black Mountain

Take A Hike Mountain Outfitters has you covered for hiking gear and info for nearby trails, which we’ll detail in the “Nearby” section. Whether you need to walk off a meal at one of the town’s awesome restaurants or just want to browse at high-quality outdoor gear, we think you’ll enjoy this shop.

Town Hardware

Address: 103 W State St, Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain Hardware Store

Town Hardware & General Store spans three historic buildings in downtown Black Mountain and is a staple of the community.

In addition to the basic hardware items, Town Hardware prides itself on offering hard-to-procure items in home living, toys, and tools. Enjoy an “old-timey” environment at Town Hardware!

White Horse Black Mountain

Address: 105 Montreat Rd, Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain Mural

Calling all music lovers! White Horse Black Mountain exhibits a variety of music and performance events, from storytelling to theatre to poetry.

The institution prides itself on providing an easygoing setting where music and creativity can be performed and celebrated.

On any given night, you can listen to live music in genres like jazz, bluegrass, pop, and more.

Lake Tomahawk Park

Address: 401 Laurel Cir Dr #3061, Black Mountain, NC

Black Mountain Lake Tomahawk

Lake Tomahawk Park is a great space for visitors to engage in all kinds of outdoor activities. This Black Mountain attraction spans 16 acres, with the lake itself comprising 9 acres. Visitors can partake in some of these activities:

  • Walk the 0.5-mile trail around the lake
  • Swim
  • Fish from the piers
  • Play tennis on the courts
  • Picnicking
  • Horseback riding

Read More: 75+ Great Hikes Near Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Eat at the Black Mountain Restaurants

Black Mountain Louise Kitchen
Louise’s Kitchen.

Black Mountain’s dining options are just as vibrant as its arts scene. There’s a restaurant that offers just about any cuisine you may be craving.

  • Cousins Cuban Cafe (108 Broadway Ave): This Black Mountain restaurant is ready for you to come and enjoy a tasty Cuban meal! This cafe is owned by cousins who hope to bring their family’s traditional recipes to the Black Mountain community.
  • Louise’s Kitchen (115 Black Mountain Ave): Grab some breakfast served all day or one of the many tasty lunch entrees served at the homey Louise’s Kitchen. Sit out on the covered porch and start your day right at this amazing Black Mountain restaurant.
  • Open Oven Brunch and Bakery (102 Church St): For the best start to your day, you can’t go wrong with Open Oven Brunch. Their menu includes waffles, eggs Benedict, avocado toast, sandwiches, and more. Take one of their bakery items to go!
  • Trailhead Restaurant and Bar (207 W State St): This is the go-to restaurant for Black Mountain locals. After a day of exploring, choose from a menu that names its dishes after local hikes and waterfalls.
  • Phil’s Bar-B-Que Pit (701 NC-9): Phil’s is the premier BBQ place in Black Mountain. It was founded in 2007 by couple Phil and Jackie Garrison, who wanted to bring their favorite BBQ styles to Black Mountain from their home state of Alabama.

Read More: North Carolina Barbecue (27 Iconic Restaurants, History, and More)

Drink Craft Beer at these Local Breweries

After a day of exploring the mountains, unwind in the evening with a visit to one of the three breweries in town.

  • Black Mountain Brewing (131 Broadway Ave): Founded in 2017, Black Mountain Brewing has spent the past years building one of the best breweries in NC. In terms of their offerings, there are seven rotating taps ranging from light to dark. Black Mountain Brewing is a great place to experience the community ties that run deep in Black Mountain.
  • Lookout Brewing Company (103 S Ridgeway Ave #1): Lookout Brewing prides itself on experimenting and developing new and unique blends. Since 2013, the brewery has come up with over 80 beers, many of which visitors can try. Lookout also opened a new food truck serving burgers and beer, which you can find around Black Mountain.
  • Pisgah Brewing Company (2948 US-70): Pisgah Brewing has produced some of the finest quality ales in Western North Carolina since 2005. The brewery features specially-flavored beers and an outdoor bar in summer and fall with weekly live music.

Read More: 50+ Beautiful Waterfalls Near Asheville (Within 2 Hours)

Stop by NC Distillery Oak and Grist

Address: 1556 Grovestone Rd, Black Mountain

Oak and Grist is one of the only grain-to-glass distilleries in Western North Carolina. This place mixes a family Scottish legacy and local ingredients to create uniquely Appalachian spirits.

Riverbend Malt House in Asheville supplies their grain sourced from North Carolina farmers.

In addition, 10 percent of all Oak and Grist profits from Dark Rhythm Gin is sent to OUR Voice. That non-profit serves Buncombe county individuals affected by sexual assault and abuse. 

Enjoy These Things to Do in Black Mountain’s Surroundings (Nearby Attractions)

As mentioned earlier, Black Mountain is surrounded by some of the most beautiful views in the state. There are many outdoor places for you to enjoy these views!

Montreat

Montreat is a nearby small town with some big highlights. Some of the best-known landmarks here are the Montreat College and Montreat Conference Center, a non-profit center that hosts events and also encompasses miles of protected wilderness.

Hiking through Montreat’s wilderness is one of the best ways to connect with the area. Two notable trails here are the Graybeard Trail and Lookout Trail. While Lookout Trail is a relatively moderate and short path, Graybeard is a 4.5-mile hike, both of which offer stunning views.

Read More: 75+ Fun Day Trips from Asheville (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Nearby Blue Ridge Parkway Stops

Craggy Pinnacle Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville NC
Craggy Pinnacle.

North Carolina’s famed Blue Ridge Parkway runs near Black Mountain. There are some great stops close by to check out.

  • Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.4-367.6): Craggy Gardens is one unique stop along the Parkway. Named for the jagged and rocky “crags,” the summit is also one of the most beautiful flower displays in the area.
  • Folk Art Center (MP 382): This Asheville art center exhibits the best that Southern Appalachian culture offers. There are three galleries, a library, and more waiting at this Blue Ridge Parkway stop.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (MP 384): You can learn all you need about the 469-mile Parkway from the Visitor Center.

Read More: NC Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes (30 of the Best Trails!)

Asheville

View of Downtown Asheville North Carolina from the Omni Grove Park Inn
View of Downtown Asheville from the Omni Grove Park Inn.

As mentioned, Black Mountain is just 20 minutes east of Asheville, and close to attractions like the Western North Carolina Nature Center and Highland Brewing. From Black Mountain, you can easily venture into Asheville and visit some of this city’s best breweries and restaurants.

While in Asheville, you can’t miss out on seeing or even staying at the Biltmore Estate, which is the largest privately-owned house in the United States. This mansion attracts 1.7 million people annually.

Read More: How to Visit the Awesome North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville

Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock

Black Mountain is a 30-minute drive to Chimney Rock State Park, a popular state park that is most well known for the 315-foot tall Chimney Rock attraction. The 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls is also a major attraction here, as it is one of the tallest waterfalls in North Carolina and also, the Eastern United States.

At Chimney Rock State Park, you can climb to the top of Chimney Rock, hike one of the many trails, and enjoy the expansive views.

Read More: 41 North Carolina State Parks Sites and How to Enjoy them All!

Lake Lure

Things to Do in North Carolina Lake Lure

Forty minutes from Black Mountain is the small town of Lake Lure, which is named after the lake around which the town was built. The beautiful lake has been the filming location for many movies and shows, including Dirty Dancing.

You can’t visit Lake Lure without stopping by the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The flowering bridge is actually a repurposed historic road that contains whimsical structures, various gardens, and interactive activities.

This is a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be found anywhere else in North Carolina.

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do In North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

The Best Things to Do in Black Mountain NC (Our Picks)

We had a hard time narrowing down the 5 best things to do in Black Mountain. Nevertheless, here’s what we think are the best of the best:

  • Walk Around Downtown
  • Blue Ridge Biscuit Company
  • Art Galleries
  • Black Mountain Breweries
  • Lake Tomahawk Park

More Things to Do in Black Mountain and Nearby (Travel Guides)

We’ve covered these things to do in Black Mountain and the Asheville area in more NC travel guides featured below.

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