If you drive south for about 40 minutes from Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll find the charming and bustling town of Hendersonville. This town has a pretty perfect balance: just big enough to have a lot of nice conveniences but small enough to feel like a neighborly and fun place to spend time. The backdrop of gorgeous mountains really makes it the best place for a great day out in nature but also just a walk down Main Street.
From the excellent Hendersonville restaurants to the unique Hendersonville shops, you’ll find that there’s something to do or explore around every corner. We’ve compiled some of our favorite Hendersonville activities, including things to do near Hendersonville if you’re ready to slip outside a bit. You won’t lack for great places to eat in Hendersonville, either, so make sure you take your time to see all that this place has to offer!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: A Complete Guide to Hendersonville, NC
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The Best Things to do in Hendersonville, NC
So why do people come to Hendersonville in the first place? A big part of it is the natural beauty of Western North Carolina, which is suffused with most of the fun activities available in the area, but it’s so much more than that too. From the fun and easygoing downtown to the surrounding farms and hikes, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy during a beautiful long weekend in Hendersonville.
1. Go Apple Picking and Visit Fall Festivals
Fall is a bit of the “peak season” for Hendersonville because it is right next to “Apple Alley,” an area in the rolling hills where apples grow well, and multiple apple farms have devoted themselves to making an autumn destination out of their spaces. Rather than just buying your apples at the supermarket, you can buy a box of apples grown only a few yards away, or you can participate in the many festival-like events at these orchards.
Places like Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard and Sky Top Orchard have children’s activities like hayrides, apple cannons, and corn mazes in addition to u-pick apple orchards, where you pay by the pound or by the box. Hendersonville is also the home of the North Carolina Apple Festival, one of the top Hendersonville events, which brings both a wide variety of apple vendors as well as music, entertainment, sidewalk sales, and all kinds of other fun to the streets of downtown.
2. Mountain Sports and Hiking
When it comes to things to do in Hendersonville, there are many options for enjoying the mountains around town. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes only 15 miles to the north, with many scenic overlooks and places to hike along its winding, beautiful route.
Other hikes include Bearswallow Mountain, the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Chimney Rock State Park, and DuPont State Recreational Forest (among many other natural areas) offer many trails both for hiking and mountain biking. For a simpler walk, the Cane Creek Greenway in nearby Fletcher is a beautiful walk through the woods without quite as much strenuous incline walking, as does the Oklawaha Greenway through the heart of Hendersonville.
3. Sip Your Way Along the Cheers! Trail
Hendersonville has a lot of really fun spots for craft beverages, and to make it more fun, they’ve created the Cheers! Trail Passport. This is one of the most fun Hendersonville activities, and you can buy a passport online for $10. It’ll be mailed to you so that you can take it with you to each venue along the path.
Options include cideries (Appalachian Ridge Artisan Ciders, Bold Rock Hard Cider, and the Cider Barn at Jeter Mountain Farm) and wineries (Bear Falls Wine Company, Burntshirt Vineyards, Marked Tree Vineyard, Point Lookout Vineyards, St. Paul Mountain Vineyards, Sawyer Springs Vineyard, Souther Williams Vineyard, and Stone Ashe Vineyards).
And then there’s the beer (Blue Ghost Brewing Company, Burning Blush Brewery, D9 Brewing Company, Dry Falls Brewing Company, Guidon Brewing Company, Mills River Brewing Company, Oklawaha Brewing, Sideways Farm and Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing, and Southern Appalachian Brewery), spirits (M & T Distilling and Two Trees Distilling), and even Mead at World’s Edge Meadery. Even if you focus on the kinds of drinks you like most, a journey along the Cheers! Trail will surprise and delight.
4. Explore Museums and Playgrounds
One of the best things to do in Hendersonville for families is to visit the Hands On! Children’s Museum, a place where toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children can use their imaginations to explore a child-sized science lab, a tree house, a grocery store, and so many more exhibits. It draws children from all over Western North Carolina to learn about science and nature and practical life skills, all through play!
Visiting the many apple orchards in the area is always fun, too, especially the covered playground at Jeter Mountain Farm during their seasonal openings. There are multiple playgrounds and green spaces around town, and older children and teens may get a kick out of the Mineral & Lapidary Museum, the Appalachian Pinball Museum, and the Historic Railroad Depot.
Best Restaurants in Hendersonville
Many of the best Hendersonville restaurants are concentrated downtown on Main Street. If your group isn’t totally sold on a particular place, a great option is to just walk up and down the most densely-packed downtown blocks, surveying daily specials and posted menus till something strikes your fancy. However, here are five picks that tend to be crowd-pleasers!
One of the better views in Hendersonville is to be found from the rooftop of Shine, a tasty eatery offering both eclectic and traditional dishes. One of the best restaurants in Hendersonville if you’re visiting as a group, there’s something for everyone on their brunch, afternoon, and dinner menus.
You’ll find everything from a good list of salads to a dozen different worldwide appetizers, a sandwich menu, and even a wide variety of dinner plates that vary from Thai Curry Beef & Scallops to Steak Frite. Brunch includes the many egg dishes you’d expect but also special additions like Fried Frog Legs, Sweet Potato Ravioli, and even Escargot.
Their beer and wine list is extensive, and they make beautiful classic cocktails of various types, making them a particularly good option for creating a memory while watching the Hendersonville sunset.
2. Never Blue
You’ll find so much in the scratch kitchen Never Blue, and it’s truly baffling to find such a varied and exciting menu in a fairly small town’s Main Street. Delicious salads, an extensive tapas small plates list, and world-inspired main courses all share space with top-tier tacos and chicken wings, as well as memorable desserts.
I’m particularly intrigued by the Dickers, a dessert that includes Medjool dates stuffed with caramel, peanut butter, and honey-roasted almonds, then coated in milk chocolate and a sprinkle of salt – yum!
Add a great drink menu, and then check out the “Take Homes,” a variety of take-home dishes that serve a crowd but come with the same level of care and flavor attention that the rest of Never Blue exudes. Try something new every time you go!
3. The Book & Bee Cafe and Tearoom
I’ve always daydreamed about a cozy tea shop where I serve a limited menu where everything is delicious, including an afternoon tea complete with all the dainty and perfect snacks. I don’t need to make it myself, though, because The Book & Bee exists!
They offer a brunch and lunch menu, but the reservation-only afternoon tea is truly the star. Alongside one of their many literary-themed teas, like The Stevenson, a mango green tea, you can partake in their three-tiered tray of finger sandwiches, scones, and other sweet treats, alongside jam, lemon curd, and Devonshire cream – so decadent!
If you don’t happen to remember to get a reservation, a more simplified cream tea is still possible, with scones and all the tasty condiments as well as your pot of tea. It’s truly a step out of the everyday and a place of peace and conversation – well worth a stop by.
4. Joey’s New York Bagels
Hendersonville might not be the first place you’d imagine to find that perfect chewy and soft combination that a real boiled bagel offers, but you’ll be surprised and pleased to discover that Hendersonville has an amazing and authentic deli.
From the chewy bagel sandwiches that give Joey’s New York Bagels its name to high-quality deli sandwiches for lunch and plenty of good coffee, you’ll find a great, simple meal here that has you feeling like you’ve landed in the Big Apple.
They’ve found such success in Hendersonville that they’ve expanded to a Fletcher location, and they do quite a bit of delivery business as well. Give them a try when you need a filling and flavorful meal.
Hendersonville is full of more talent than you might figure, given its size, and that extends to the fine dining scene. Postero is a New American restaurant that features worldwide flavors made by industry long-timers who know restaurants well but who chose Hendersonville especially for its pace and good quality of life.
Start your meal with an amazing Curried Sweet Potato Bisque flavored with coconut, lime, and ginger, then enjoy a Baby Kale Caesar Salad or an amazing side of Baby Bok Choy with miso and butter.
For your main course, choose from a variety of well-prepared main courses, from shrimp scampi to flounder straight from the NC coast. Thoughtfully sourced, beautifully combined, and in an understated but opulent atmosphere, Postero is made to impress, whether it’s a major anniversary or a family reunion. If you’re looking for the best of the best Hendersonville restaurants, Postero won’t disappoint.
Enjoy Hendersonville’s Evening Bar Scene
While Hendersonville is a town, meaning that it isn’t often a bustling and busy evening scene, there are a variety of fun places to spend time, relax with friends, or even enjoy energetic live music. Some of these choices are also places to eat in Hendersonville, but even if the menu is limited, the fun is unlimited. Here are some of the nightlife options available.
1. The Kingmaker’s Draft
Board game bars have become a popular option for hanging out with friends and enjoying one of the many games available. The Kingmaker’s Draft encourages you to try one of their craft beverages and sample from their simple and tasty food menu while you roll dice and pull cards and move your pieces.
The bar also creates opportunities for private events, group gaming events, and even playtesting nights where customers can play games that are still in development and give feedback. They even hosted a karaoke party recently! For folks who prefer their beer with a side of cards or chess, this is one of the coolest Hendersonville attractions.
2. The Poe House
An Edgar Allen Poe-themed bar and restaurant in the heart of historic Hendersonville? Sign me up.
The thoughtful proprietors at The Poe House combine literary decor, a deep list of wine, beer, and craft cocktails, and a great food menu to make sure everyone finds something to enjoy. They even have a retail section to make sure that you can take some beer and wine home if you found something new that you love.
The Poe House is also a destination for events, allowing you to rent it out for weddings, lunches, dinners, receptions, and more. Visitors love the decor and good service, making it one of the best things to do in Hendersonville if you were the one always saying “Nevermore!” in your high school English class.
3. Renzo’s Speakeasy
Renzo’s is a high-style Italian restaurant, but if you are really looking for that intimate, dim-lighting bar experience, go downstairs to Renzo’s Speakeasy, where you have to walk through a secret black door and get transported to a 1920s speakeasy-style bar.
Instead of ducking Prohibition, though, it’s just a celebration of the Roaring Twenties, complete with classic cocktails from the ‘20s and lots of live music to keep you enjoying your evening, even late. Depending on the event, you might even find people up and dancing. Though the art deco fun of the space doesn’t feel like a stereotypical modern dance club, most people find they like it even more.
4. Black Rose Public House
Between shooting pool, picking from literally 50 beers on tap, and eating food until late at night, Black Rose Public House checks all the boxes for a great Hendersonville haunt. People love the focus on tasty pub food, and the older building feels a bit like you’ve been transported “across the pond.”
Follow the Black Rose crowd of regulars and try the tasty Fish and Chips, the Reuben, or another Irish classic. For relaxing and having a nice time even late, this is one of the coolest Hendersonville restaurants.
5. Oklawaha Brewing
Oklawaha Brewing is a wonderful example of how a local brewery really brings a whole community together. While they do have wonderful beer, they have so much more – from Mountain Music Jams on Wednesday nights and singer-songwriter nights on Thursdays to open mic nights, trivia nights, and NFL Football on Sunday.
A great feature is that they offer a wide variety of beers, from their Kellerbier and Kolsches to sour fruited beers, IPAs of various types, porters, and Imperial stouts. If you haven’t ever been much for beer, never fear – a wide variety of local hard ciders round out their list and keep everyone in your group happy and drinking. Make Oklawaha your hangout when you’re looking for fun things to do in Hendersonville!
Wander Main Street’s Shops in Hendersonville
Downtown Hendersonville has a compact, easily walkable feel, and once you’ve had your tasty brew and eaten well at the many Hendersonville restaurants and bars, what’s next?
Well, Hendersonville shops, of course! From women’s clothing to art to jewelry, there’s something for everyone on your list if you choose to do some gift shopping, and there’s plenty to decorate your own home and garden as well!
1. Art on 7th
Contemporary art is a wonder to behold, and if you’re in the market for something truly unique to adorn your home or share as a gift, you’ll have to slip off Main Street and make your way to Art on 7th.
From gorgeous glasswork to impressive abstract canvases, you’ll find primarily artists on the rise, people whose work is being exhibited both nationally and internationally. This gallery is part of the revitalizing area called the Creative Edge of Hendersonville, making it a good place to visit if you find yourself shopping in Hendersonville, NC.
You’ll often find works with a variety of textures that can really tie a room together, be it wood, fiber, or other sculptural materials. Find what matches your tastes in this carefully curated collection of impressive artwork.
2. Narnia Studios
I love Narnia Studios not just because of a childhood obsession with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but because they’ve made their boutique florist shop into what feels like another world. Whether you’re shopping for beautifully carved wood-spirit faces, pottery, or flags for your garden, they can outfit your green space to look just as beautiful as their incredible and customized floral arrangements.
Whether you’re sending flowers for condolences or congratulations, people will be touched by the selection of thoughtfully-combined greens and blooms. It’s one of the must-visit Hendersonville shops and a wonderful place to add some color to your day.
3. La Vida Loca
I love the beautiful, breezy style in so many of the outfits at La Vida Loca, a women’s boutique in the heart of Hendersonville’s Main Street. When you want to go shopping in Hendersonville, go here to find satiny slip dresses, cozy oversized sweaters, elegant turtlenecks, professional blazers, and flowing sundresses, all under the same roof and curated to offer you the best of the best.
The owner is known for being friendly and having a good eye for which outfit is going to really flatter a given person’s look, including the scarves and other accessories that will pull it all together.
4. The Sanctuary Boutique
If your passion for designer looks sends you out to explore all the Hendersonville shops, look no further than The Sanctuary. They’ve found designers that fit the bill for creating trendy but also timeless styles, as well as the glittery jewelry, classy handbags, and other accessories that will make your outfit complete.
The customer service is attuned to give you the boutique experience, where your customer service associate is ready to help you understand all the store has to offer that might fit what you have in mind.
When curating their collection, the Sanctuary team takes special care to opt for clothing that holds up during travel and is easy to care for, all while being sophisticated and classic. It’s a tall order, and they want to make sure you leave happy and looking your best.
5. Gypsy Heart
If you have a hippie streak and a love for tie-dye, Gypsy Heart is one of the most unique Hendersonville shops. From candles and soaps to jewelry and a wide variety of incense, you’ll recognize so much of the great gear.
Gypsy Heart recently made a special push to feature as many local artists as possible, which they’ve done for a while but which is becoming even more of a focus. There are also tapestries, beads and beading supplies, and posters of all kinds, ready to help you either decorate with the work of others or create your own works of colorful art. Use your clothing as your canvas with the wide variety of bright colors available here as well.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Hendersonville! What are your favorite things to do in Hendersonville, NC? Let us know in the comments.
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