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25+ Fun Things to Do in Tryon and Nearby!

Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on May 16, 2024.

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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Tryon, North Carolina, prepare for an experience in “the friendliest town in the South.” This mountain town on the southwestern border of NC is a hub for equestrian activity and the arts.

Of course, there’s plenty more to enjoy here, which is why we created this NC travel guide to Tryon.

Tryon’s moderate weather and mountain views make it the perfect vacation spot in Western North Carolina. If you live in the Asheville and Charlotte areas and need a getaway, keep reading for a comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Tryon.

Here is how we have organized this guide:

  • Where is Tryon?
  • History of Tryon
  • Where to Stay
  • Annual Events
  • Things to Do in Tryon This Weekend
  • Where to Eat
  • Things to Do Near Tryon

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a local, our NC travel guide leaves no detail behind. If you live in the Tryon area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we know this guide will help you out! 

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

Where is Tryon, North Carolina?

NC Map with Dot on Tryon Image Credit Seth Ilys at English Wikipedia CC BY SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Tryon is a small town in Polk County, on North Carolina’s southwestern border with South Carolina. The rolling hills make it one of the best equine locations in the world.

As of the 2020 census, Tryon’s population is roughly 1,500. The town is only four miles west of Interstate 26 via Exit 67.

It is within a one-hour drive from Asheville, under two hours from Charlotte, and near major cities in South Carolina and Georgia. Tryon is also within a short drive from these lovely places in Western NC:

You can travel visually to Tryon and its neighbors using the following maps we’ve created using Google Maps:

History of Tryon

Tryon North Carolina 7

When you first visit Tryon, you’ll notice the historic buildings that make up much of its downtown. Understanding the stories behind them and the area is important before experiencing the best things to do in Tryon.

Here’s a quick breakdown with important historical tidbits:

  • The land that Tryon sits on was once part of Cherokee territory.
  • The area was subject to many conflicts between settlers and the tribe and was named for William Tryon, the NC governor who led negotiations between the two parties. Tryon Palace in New Bern is also named after William Tryon.
  • Tryon wasn’t incorporated until 1885 but thrived during the century as a “railroad town.” It was a popular stop for those traveling to the mountains and quickly became a hub for tourism once folks began noticing the moderate climate and the celebration of the arts.
  • The popularity of this mountain town is exemplified by the numerous authors, artists, and household names who came to Tryon to vacation or to live.
  • Some of the more famous people who visited include author F. Scott Fitzgerald and First Lady Grace Coolidge. And Tryon also claims the birthplace of singer Nina Simone, who began her musical career here.

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

Where to Stay in Tryon

Tryon North Carolina 1

Today, the community merges the arts, winemaking, and love for equine sports to create a sophisticated environment.

Before digging into the best things to do in Tryon, check out these stay options. A healthy selection of locally-owned bed and breakfasts, cottages, and rentals await.

  • GreenLife Inn at the Mimosa (65 Mimosa Inn Dr, Tryon, NC): This contemporary B&B opened in 2017, but the building was constructed in 1903 as an entertainment center for a hotel that has since burned down. You can choose from 7 rooms and 2 extended-stay suites.
  • Tryon International (25 International Blvd, Mill Spring, NC): Onsite lodging is your best bet if you’re in town for any events at Tryon International.

If you’ve stayed at a particular place in Tryon (or nearby), we’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments!

Check Hotel and Rental Availability in Tryon Via Booking.com and VRBO

Annual Events in Tryon

Tryon Equestrian Center Lights

Speaking of events in Tryon, no matter what time of year it is, something is always happening here!

  • FuseFest (February): Another example of Tryon’s love for the arts is FuseFest, a three-day immersive experience in glass and flame-based art. Registrants can partake in workshops hosted by three acclaimed artists and try their hand at creating their own art.
  • Super Saturday (March): This one-day festival focuses on the importance of art for children. The Children’s Theater Festival hosts it and seeks to encourage kids to engage with the rich arts scene in Tryon. The day consists of eight to ten performances of theater, music, storytelling, mime, dance, puppetry, and more.
  • Block House Steeplechase (April): The Tryon Riding & Hunt Club hosts this high-stakes horse race. Steeplechasing is a unique race where competitors race to a landmark, like a church steeple. As an equine town, this is the best place to be when visiting Tryon in April.
  • Summer Tracks (June to August): On Friday nights in the summer, most folks come out to the Roger Parks Amphitheater for a concert. This concert series, Summer Tracks, will feature names like Sol Driven Train, Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, and more. The organizers suggest a $10 donation.
  • Tryon International Film Festival (October): This annual film festival has attracted thousands of people to Tryon in recent years. Over the weekend, almost 100 films are displayed in six different venues, spanning various genres and perspectives worldwide.
  • Tryon Beer Fest (November): Tryon had much experience in winemaking and brewing until Prohibition, but this part of history has been rekindled. Beer Fest showcases local and regional craft beers in a festival setting, with additional food vendors, music, and games.
  • Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon Equestrian Center (November to January): Drive through and even enjoy wonderful Christmas lights at the Tryon Equestrian Center! Select performances include Christmas character favorites like The Grinch, Rudolph, and Charlie Brown!
  • New Year’s Eve Ball Drop (December 31): Tryon’s signature ball drop is a source of community bonding. On December 31, join the rest of the town for an evening of festivities before the ball drops.

Follow the NC Tripping Events Calendar

Fun Things to Do in Tryon NC This Weekend

Those annual events will keep you coming back but so will these things to do in Tryon this weekend and throughout the year!

  • Downtown Tryon
  • Art Galleries
  • Nina Simone Plaza
  • Tryon History Museum and Visitor Center
  • Tryon Theatre
  • Restaurants

Downtown Tryon

Beginning of Things to Do in Tryon NC Travel Guide starts downtown.

A charming mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries line Trade Street in downtown Tryon. The downtown is full of life, including vintage stores, art galleries, and more.

Trade Street is the heart and soul of Tryon and is usually our first stop!

Read More: 10 Ways to Support Amazing Local Businesses in NC Today

Art Galleries

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As mentioned, Tryon has more than its fair share of amazing art galleries and arts and crafts spaces. Here are a few of them:

  • Tryon Fine Arts Center (34 Melrose Ave, Tryon, NC): The Tryon Fine Arts Center has been the leading institution for the town’s art scene since 1969. There are always performances lined up and exhibits for visitors to watch. Catch a show or partake in a workshop or class.
  • Upstairs Artspace (49 S. Trade St, Tryon, NC): This contemporary art gallery was founded in 1978 with the intention of exhibiting 2D and 3D work by leading artists of the Southeast. Upstairs Artspace is renowned for its experimental approach to art and features dozens of pieces at a time.
  • 80Six Gallery (86 N. Trade St, Tryon, NC): 80Six features multi-dimensional work from local artists. In addition to featured pieces and exhibitions, 80Six hosts Fourth Friday events when it stays open later.
  • Carri Bass Photography (158 North Trade St, Tryon, NC): Photographer Carri Bass also services western NC and parts of South Carolina. The physical full-service photo studio and art gallery downtown showcase her talents and give you a glimpse into the world of photography.
  • The Tryon Arts and Crafts School (373 Harmon Field Rd, Tryon, NC): The Arts and Crafts School has had many names since its inception in the 1950s, but its mission has always been to educate and showcase the talents of Tryon’s artists. The School has a campus with exhibition and gallery spaces, an artists’ gift shop, and studios hosting classes in pottery, jewelry, glassmaking, and more.

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

Nina Simone Plaza

Address: 60-74 S Trade St, Tryon, NC

Tryon North Carolina 6

The town celebrates the life and legacy of Tryon native Nina Simone, a singer-songwriter known for her distinctive voice in music and activism. Simone was born Eunice Waymon in 1933 and was playing the piano at age four.

The Nina Simone Project is a tribute to this icon. The project allowed for the creation of the Nina Simone Plaza in downtown Tryon, where you can learn about her extraordinary life in a serene setting.

Read More: 50+ Bands from North Carolina That You Can Listen to Right Now

Tryon History Museum and Visitor Center

Address: 26 Maple St, Tryon, NC
Website

Tryon also has its own visitor center, which doubles as the History Museum. Open Thursday to Saturday, the museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of this railroad town.

There are occasional special events and speakers, so watch out if you’re in town.

Read More: The NC Museum of History in Raleigh (+7 Things We Love About It!)

Tryon Theatre

Address: 45 S Trade St, Tryon, NC
Movie Showtimes

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The Tryon Theatre has been in continuous operation since 1938 and is a wonderful place to catch a movie. It’s independently owned and more reasonably priced than any corporate theater.

Ticket prices stay the same ($10) no matter the time and concessions include classic snacks, candy, drinks, beer, and wine.

Read More: 10 Movies Filmed In North Carolina (and Set Here, Too!)

Where to Eat in Tryon (Restaurants)

Tryon’s artistic creativity and healthy tourism mean that the town’s restaurants are some of the best in the area. The cafes are charming and eclectic, while dinner places offer traditional Italian cuisine and sophisticated seafood.

Here are some we recommend trying.

Tryon Coffeehouse Co-op

Address: 62 A N Trade St, Tryon, NC
Facebook Page

Tryon North Carolina 4

Tryon Coffeehouse has been the town’s go-to downtown destination for 24 years. It’s a community gathering spot serving great coffee and baked goods like donuts.

What makes it even more unique is that it’s run by a co-op of volunteers rather than employees, creating a homey atmosphere that welcomes locals and visitors alike.

Come for the coffee and baked goods, but stay for the people!

Side Street Pizza and Pasta

Address: 135 S. Trade Street, Tryon, NC
Website

Side Street is an authentic Italian family-owned pizzeria in the heart of Tryon. It was founded by the five Capozzi siblings, who moved to town in the 1980s and wanted to share their father’s love for cooking.

Side Street is renowned in Western North Carolina for its delicious comfort food. The menu is a traditional mix of wings, subs, soups, and of course, pizza and pasta. This is a favorite amongst locals, and for good reason!

Caro-Mi Dining Room

Address: 3231 US Highway 176, Tryon, NC
Website

Caro-Mi Dining Room has served Southern cuisine to the Tryon community since 1945 when the Mehafey family moved from Miami. In fact, the name is intended to be a mix of “Carolina” and “Miami.” Caro-Mi changed buildings in 1957 to its current location along the Pacolet River, where it has been ever since.

The restaurant is only open for dinner. Choose from entrees like Carolina country ham, mountain trout, fried chicken, shrimp, and more. There is no alcohol for sale, but Caro-Mi has a brown bag policy that allows you to BYOB for a fee.

Katie D’s NY Bagels and Deli

Address: 255 N. Trade Street, Tryon, NC
Website

Even though we’re in the South, you can still enjoy authentic New York-style bagels at Katie D’s! The deli opened in 2017 when New York native Katie D’Oyen brought her experience in the food industry and love for NY bagels to Tryon.

Katie D’s prides itself on quality and freshness, using local suppliers for the deli meats and cheeses and flying in bagel dough straight from New York.

Katie D’s is one of Tryon’s top breakfast and lunch spots. The authentic, freshly-made bagels are a huge hit, but you may also want to try the specialty sandwiches or salads.

K.D.’s Sea Shack

Address: 80 N. Trade Street, Tryon, NC
Website

Katie D’Oyen and her husband Don Jaeger’s newest establishment is K.D.’s Sea Shack. Located in the center of Downtown Tryon, it opened in late 2022 and aims to provide the freshest seafood in town.

The delicious menu includes crab cakes, salmon, lobster mac n’ cheese, and other appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches. This distinguished and trendy restaurant is a Tryon must!

Things to Do Near Tryon NC

Tryon is surrounded by some of our favorite places in Western NC.

Here are the closest and most prominent things to do near Tryon, starting with the area’s most popular attraction:

Tryon International Equestrian Center

Address: 25 International Blvd, Mill Spring, NC
Website

One of the coolest things about Tryon is its stellar reputation on the equestrian world stage. The Tryon International Equestrian Center is a world-class equestrian facility most famous for hosting the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.

The center hosts a packed schedule of competitions and other equestrian events and shows annually.

Many Saturdays from spring to fall feature Saturday Night Lights, an evening of horse jumper shows, live music, activities, and more.

There are frequent horse shows and competitions to watch for free and exciting seasonal events like winter lights. This is definitely the top thing to do when visiting Tryon!

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

Wineries and Vineyards

After Tryon International, we move to three wineries and vineyards nearby that embody the town’s spirit of community and creativity.

  • Mountain Brook Vineyards (731 Phillips Dairy Road, Tryon, NC): Mountain Brook planted its first vines in 2002 and has grown into a Tryon staple. The 7.5-acre vineyard is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is open for tastings.
  • Overmountain Vineyards (2012 Sandy Plains Rd #8799, Tryon, NC): This boutique winery is situated on a 70-acre family farm on the outskirts of Tryon. Since opening in 2010, Overmountain has quickly become a favorite due to its diverse outdoor areas and exceptional wine tastings.
  • Parker-Binns Vineyards (2275 Whiteside Rd, Mill Spring, NC): Parker-Binns is a 40-acre vineyard that is the product of multiple generations of a family coming together.

Read More: Wonderful Wineries Near Asheville (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

Nearby Towns and Outdoor Spaces

Iron Key Brewing Columbus NC
downtown Saluda
  • Saluda (15 Minutes Away from Tryon): Saluda is popular spot for rafting and tubing along the Green River. A seasonally open museum commemorates the Historic Depot and Saluda Grade—the “steepest, mainline, standard gauge railroad” in the US. Stop by Pace’s General Store (operated since 1899)Thompson’s Grocery Market (North Carolina’s oldest grocery store), and Ward’s Grill for a delicious breakfast and lunch!
  • Little Bradley Falls: Little Bradley Falls is another epic waterfall in the area, off I-26 between Saluda and Columbus. A roughly one-mile trail leads to the 50-foot multi-tiered waterfall and swimming hole, which is popular on warm days.

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Brevard (Within 1 Hour)

Pearsons Falls in the Summer
  • Pearson’s Falls and Glen: We also recommend stopping by Pearson’s Falls and Glen between Tryon and Saluda. The 300-acre botanical park preserves more than 300 species of flora and the 90-foot Pearson’s Falls.

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

Carl Sandburg Home Flat Rock North Carolina
    Lake Lure Flowering Bridge walkway
  • Lake Lure (30 Minutes Away from Tryon): Lake Lure is a wonderful lakeside mountain town in NC. Relax on the sand, go boating, and don’t miss walking across the Flowering Bridge, a beautiful blooming garden that spans the Rocky Broad River.
Things to Do in Hendersonville NC Downtown
  • Hendersonville (35 Minutes Away from Tryon): Hendersonville is one of our favorite places to visit during apple season, given that this town’s orchards produce 85 percent of the state’s apple supply. Hiking and eating at many of the town’s restaurants are two of our favorite things to do, too. Stop by, and you’ll see why!
Things to Do in North Carolina Chimney Rock State Park
  • Chimney Rock (40 Minutes Away from Tryon): Chimney Rock State Park and nearby Chimney Rock Village are two of our favorite day trips from Tryon! The famed Chimney Rock attraction, Hickory Nut Falls, and hiking trails are complemented by Chimney Rock Village. The Village is a great base for exploring the park, with many historic shops, restaurants, and more.

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

Hikes near Asheville Bridal Veil Falls DuPont State Forest
  • DuPont State Recreational Forest (50 Minutes Away from Tryon): The last outdoor attraction near Tryon we’ll mention is DuPont State Forest, which is one of the most breathtaking places in NC. Parts of the first Hunger Games film and The Last of the Mohicans were filmed here, and you’ll see why. This park’s waterfalls (including High Falls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls) are enough to draw huge crowds, though Lake Dense and Lake Julia (part of the Three Lakes Trail), and Wintergreen Falls are worth exploring, too!

Read More: 25 of the Best Waterfalls in North Carolina

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

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

Ready to Experience The Best Things to Do in Tryon NC and Nearby?

Whether you’re seeking things to do in Tryon this weekend or any of the awesome annual events, we think you’ll have a blast here! At least that’s been our experience each time we’ve visited over the years.

If you’re familiar with Tryon or any of these surrounding areas, we’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite things to do?

Let us know in the comments and remember to share your Western NC adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!

Looking for More Things to Do in Tryon and Nearby? (NC Travel Guides)

We’ve featured the best things to do in Tryon and nearby in many of our NC Travel Guides. Here are a few of them.

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