Tourists and visitors pack into Bele Chere, an annual street, music and arts festival
held in downtown Asheville each July.
Photo Credit: anoldent, via Flickr. Licensed CC.

In the mood for a spring or summer getaway, but not turned on by the sand and water of the coast? Never fear, Asheville is here! This charming, LGBT-friendly city has much to offer any traveler on any budget.

According to, “the beautiful mountain town is eclectic, artsy and very diverse with so many things to do. Within a few blocks, visitors can dance with hippies at the drum circle, browse galleries for exquisite art, dine at world-class restaurants and sample 50 local craft beers. All of this could be after a day of seeing waterfalls.” They share their findings in a 600-page online travel guide with photos, tips and more and provided a top 10 favorite outings for gay and lesbian visitors.

The Biltmore House is one of the many key attractions that visitors flock to see and the area has a host of bed and breakfast, mountain cabin, hotel and other accommodations to satisfy almost every palette.

Libations are aplenty from hometown breweries to mountain wineries. To go along with that, live music and theatre provide a cozy backdrop to this gay and lesbian friendly location. Club Hairspray, 38 N French Broad Ave., and O.Henry’s , 237 Haywood St., provide a spot for LGBT visitors to hang out.

For those who enjoy the out of doors, there are miles of hiking trails, zip lines, whitewater rafting and more along the Blue Ridge Mountains or nearby Great Smoky Mountains.

The city also hosts a variety of unique antique shops and other shopping experiences, including more than 200 locally-owned stores. suggests Malaprops, a funky, alternative and LGBT-friendly bookstore named a “Best Bookstore in the Southeast.” Thirty galleries in downtown are within walking distance.

Full detail on the full top 10 list is available on the RomanticAsheville site. : :

Asheville Summer Events

Bele Chere
July 26-28
Music and arts festival hosted annualy in downtown Asheville, featuring local, regional and national entertainment, art and antique vendors and more.

Gay 5K
Rainbow Romp

July 13
Blue Ridge Pride presents a 5K competitive fundraising run and a non-competitive “Rainbow Romp.”

Annual Pride

Hosted each October, Blue Ridge Pride will be held Oct. 5 in downtown Asheville’s Pack Square Park. For more information, visit

— Matt Comer contributed

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.