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July 4th in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

In that long and sweaty section of the year between Easter and Thanksgiving, which some may call “summer,” I find that Independence Day provides a breath of fresh air in a timeframe nearly void of proper big-bash holidays. And you know me: I do love a good holiday.

Merrymaking, consorting with friends and family, and eating things that you’re not allowed to eat at other times of the year. That's all my major hobbies, rolled into one.

With all that in mind, I’m proud to say that from the fireworks to the fried onions, July 4th in Asheville is always one heck of a good time. So, if you’re up here visiting distant relations, or simply taking a vacation to enjoy summer in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and you’d like to beef out your holiday schedule, simply read on and discover some of the best things to do for July 4th in Asheville.

July 4th in Asheville - ribs on grille
Image from Wix

I do believe barbecue is my favorite genre of food, and so I get along just splendidly with the time-honored tradition of an Independence Day cookout. Maybe you’re up in here Asheville visiting some worthy homeowners with barbecuing facilities of their own. Let the smoked meat fly. Maybe you have the good fortune of booking a luxury cabin furnished with your very own grille, just what you need to make your July 4th in Asheville as celebratory and full of dry rub as it is back home.

But if neither is the case, and you’re still hankering for the most patriotic of our culinary traditions, then you’re in luck. Asheville has a plethora of excellent barbecue restaurants, some even with national acclaim, which you can read more about right here.

The only addendum I’d add, is if you go looking for barbecue up near downtown, you ought to check out Buxton Hall on the South Slope, or Daddy Mac’s Down-Home Dive for some of the most decedent smoked-meat sensations you’ll find anywhere in town.

Special Mention: The Grove Arcade’s Huli Sue’s Hawaiian Barbecue is a great place to try some ‘cue with a tropical flair, and is one of my current favorite downtown eateries.

July 4th in Asheville - hiking trail
Image from Unsplash

Summer in Asheville brings some of the broadest stretches of clear weather you’ll find all year, making it the perfect time to enjoy the rolling blue mountains of WNC. Hiking's one of my favorite subjects here on the blog, and a top-recommend particularly for first-time visitors, although the sheer number and variety of hikes means that there’ll always be a new place to try out.

For July 4th in particular though, I have in mind a tour of the region’s waterfalls and watering holes. Nothing like a refreshing dip in some pure mountain water once the temperature crosses eighty. For reasons unknown to yours truly, these streams and pools remain freeze-your-nostril-hairs cold all throughout the year. If only we could harness that power for my AC, then we’d be in business.

Special Mention: Visit Sliding Rock to careen down nature’s own slip-and-slide. Just be sure to bring water shoes and $5 per person. They recommend avoiding the busiest hours: noon to 4pm.

July 4th in Asheville - row of beer in mugs
Image from Wix

All that hiking’s liable to work up a might thirst, but the ever-industrious entrepreneurs of Asheville have worked up just the cure: local craft beer.

For the densest concentration of these breweries, look no further than the South Slope, just south of downtown. Here you can find the staples of the Asheville brew scene—Green Man, Wicked Weed, Thirsty Monk, etc.—alongside a slew of hip restaurants, some of which have already mentioned, as well as the Well-Played Board Game Café. In short, there's plenty to keep you busy here, whether you’re waiting for fireworks, or simply looking to get in touch with one of Asheville’ signature diversions.

Special Mention: Check out the schedules at the Orange Peel and Rabbit Rabbit if you want to round out your visit to the South Slope with some killer live music.

July 4th in Asheville - base balls
Image from Unsplash

If there’s ever any doubt as to how much the tourism industry matters to Asheville, all you have to do is look at our local minor league team. I’ll give you one guess what their name is. No, it’s not the Black Bears. That was taken. It’s the Tourists.

This does make for the occasional confusing headline. “Tourists Thrashed by Crawdads, Thousands Cheer” “Tourists Crush Grasshoppers: A Day of Reckoning.” Just some examples.

Anyways, if you tourists want to see the Tourists take the field for America’s favorite past-time this July 4th, check out their schedule right here. Depending on how the year shapes up, July may see a more-than usual concentration of home games, complete with promotions including “Thursday Thursdays” for discount local brews and post-game fireworks on the 3rd.

Special Mentions: McCormick field, Asheville’s ballpark, was featured in the 1988 film Bull Durham, making it the second most famous site of baseball history in town, behind the elementary school athletic yard where I once suffered the consequences of an errant plastic bat.

July 4th in Asheville - fireworks
Image from Wix

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: shells full of razz-dazzle exploding in the night air, forming plumes of fiery shrapnel in every color of the rainbow.

To see fireworks in Asheville, one and all are invited to come on up to downtown’s Pack Square Park. Food trucks and beverage vendors open at 5pm—in case you haven’t had enough of Asheville’s famous local fair—and live music kicks off at the very same time. The fireworks go off at 9:30pm, but you’ll want to claim your spot early. Pack Square’s one of the only spots downtown with an unobstructed view.

If, however, you can’t make it to the city’s center, take a ride to South Asheville’s Lake Julian Park for many of the same festivities: food trucks, live music, and of course, fireworks. Parking can be found at Estes Elementary School, with shuttles running from 8am to 6pm.

Special Mention: Wherever you go, bring a watermelon, and the means to crack it open.

Businesses Mentioned

Buxton Hall Barbecue


32 Banks Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Daddy Mac's Home Down Dive


161 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Green Man Brewery


27 Buxton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Wicked Weed Brewpub


91 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Thirsty Monk


92 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

McCormick Field


30 Buchanan Pl, Asheville, NC 28801


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