Sylva is a small town located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. The town is surrounded by beautiful mountains, forests, and rivers, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is close to sylva, is one of the most visited parks in America. It offers over 800 miles of hiking trails, including the famous Appalachian Trail.
Visitors can also drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the town and offers breathtaking views of the mountains.
In addition to outdoor activities, Sylva is also known for its historic downtown area. The town’s main street is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries and is home to the Jackson County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The community also offers a variety of cultural and educational opportunities, thanks to the presence of Western Carolina University. The university offers many events and programs throughout the year, including concerts, lectures, and exhibits.
Sylva has many events and festivals throughout the year, like the Mountain Street Dance Festival, the Jackson County Fair, Sylva Wings and Wheels Festival, and other attractions.
Read on as we take you through the most exciting things to do in Sylva (NC):
Fun Things To Do In Sylva (NC)
1. Go Hiking on Cullowhee Mountain Trail
Cullowhee Mountain Trail is a 6.5-mile out-and-back trail in the Western North Carolina town of Cullowhee.
The trail is rated moderate to difficult due to its steep inclines, rocky terrain, and a few stream crossings. The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains will surround you as you hike.
You will have the opportunity to see a variety of plant and animal life, including wildflowers, rhododendrons, and hardwood forests. You may also see deer, turkey, and other wildlife.
The trail also offers several opportunities to see waterfalls, including the beautiful Cullowhee Falls.
You can have a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The trail is also popular with mountain bikers, runners, and horseback riders. The trail is open year-round, but the best time to hike is during the spring, summer, and fall when the weather is mild and the foliage is most vibrant.
It is important to be prepared for the hike with good hiking shoes, plenty of water, and a trail map. Check the weather forecast before you set out and let someone know your hiking plans.
2. Visit the Judaculla Rock
Judaculla Rock is a large soapstone boulder that measures approximately 7 feet high, 20 feet long, and 11 feet wide. It is located on private property near Sylva, North Carolina, and is accessible to the public.
The rock is believed to have been used by the Cherokee people for religious and ceremonial purposes. It is covered in ancient petroglyphs, which are carvings or designs that are etched into the rock.
The petroglyphs on Judaculla Rock are believed to have been created by the Cherokee people, and they depict various designs, including animals, humans, and geometric patterns.
Many carvings are thought to have a spiritual or religious significance, and some experts believe that the rock may have been used as a calendar or a map.
The site is open to visitors during daylight hours and has a small parking lot.
Visitors can tour the rock by themselves, and interpretive signs are provided to help visitors understand the history and significance of the site. Additionally, there are hiking trails nearby that offer scenic views of the surrounding area.
As it is a sacred site for the Cherokee, it is important to respect the location and surroundings.
3. Go Fishing on the Tuckasegee River
The Tuckasegee River in western North Carolina is an amazing place for couples to visit and offers a variety of fun activities such as fishing, rafting, kayaking, tubing, camping, hiking, swimming, and scenic driving.
The river is surrounded by beautiful scenery, including lush forests and rolling hills, making it a popular spot for outdoor activities.
The Tuckasegee River is also home to various fish species, making it a popular spot for fly fishing.
The area also hosts festivals and events all year round, such as the annual Tuck Fest, which features live music, food, and outdoor activities. Overall, the Tuckasegee River is a great place for couples to unwind, enjoy nature, and have an active adventure.
Things To Do In Sylva (NC) At Night
1. Grab a Drink at Lazy Hiker Brewing
Lazy Hiker Brewing in Sylva, NC, is a microbrewery and taproom that offers a variety of handcrafted beers and a laid-back atmosphere.
The brewery is located in downtown Sylva, making it a famous spot for locals and visitors. They offer a rotating selection of beers on tap, including IPAs, stouts, lagers, and more.
Additionally, they have a cozy tasting room with a laid-back atmosphere, perfect for couples to enjoy a pint together. They also feature live music and food trucks on certain nights and are dog-friendly.
They also have a great outdoor seating area with a beautiful view, perfect for nice weather.
Visitors can tour the brewery to learn more about the brewing process and try some beers. Overall it is a great spot for couples to unwind, enjoy a beer, and have some good company.
2. Go Stargazing at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park gives a variety of night activities for visitors.
Some popular options include stargazing, as the park is known for its dark skies, ranger-led campfire programs, and night hikes.
However, it’s important to note that backcountry camping and overnight parking are prohibited in some areas of the park, and certain roads and facilities close at night, so check with park officials before planning any night activities.
3. See a Movie at Mad Batter Food and Film
Mad Batter Food & Film is a unique spot that offers a variety of options for couples looking for a fun and different date experience.
The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, featuring a menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, and baked goods. The menu is simple but tasty and made with local ingredients when possible.
The bakery offers a variety of bread and pastries made from scratch daily, including pastries, cakes, cookies, and pies. You can enjoy a meal before or after the movie.
The movie theater plays independent and foreign films and some Hollywood blockbusters.
The theater also offers special events such as movie trivia nights, film festivals, and live performances. The seating is comfortable and intimate, making it a great spot for a movie date.
Mad Batter Food & Film is a great place to enjoy a casual and relaxed meal with your partner while also enjoying a film that might not be available in mainstream cinema. It’s also a great spot for couples who want to support independent films and local businesses.
Things To Do In Sylva (NC) For Couples
1. Take a Scenic Drive through Blueridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Park is a great destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The park offers a variety of activities that can be enjoyed together, such as hiking, picnicking, and scenic drives. The park is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through the park, is a popular scenic drive for couples, offering beautiful views of the mountains and valleys.
The park also offers some romantic picnic areas where couples can enjoy a meal together while enjoying the natural surroundings. Additionally, there are some historic sites and visitor centers that couples can explore together.
2. Grab Dinner at Guadalupe Cafe
Guadalupe Cafe is a casual Mexican restaurant that would be a great option for couples looking for a laid-back dining experience.
The menu features a variety of traditional Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, as well as more unique options like mole and tamales.
The cozy and friendly atmosphere makes it a comfortable spot for a casual date night. The restaurant is known for its friendly service, and it’s often considered a great place to go for a casual and relaxed meal with your partner.
3. Go Camping at Balsam Mountain Campground
Balsam County Campground is a great destination for couples looking to spend some time outdoors and enjoy nature together.
It’s located in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and offers various camping options, including tent camping, RV camping, and cabin rentals.
The campground is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including mountains, forests, and streams, which makes it a great place for couples to hike, fish, and explore together.
The campground also offers a variety of recreational facilities, such as a playground, a basketball court, and a horseshoe pit.
The campground also has a camp store where you can buy essentials, firewood, and souvenirs. You can also find a laundry facility and showers on-site.
Balsam County Campground is a great destination for couples who want to spend some time outdoors and enjoy nature together. It’s an awesome way to get away from the everyday life’s hustle and bustle and spend quality time together in a peaceful and beautiful setting.
Things To Do In Sylva (NC) For Kids
1. Visit the Jackson County Green Energy Park
The Jackson County Green Energy Park is a great destination for families with children interested in learning about renewable energy and sustainable living.
The park features a variety of educational exhibits and hands-on activities that teach visitors about solar, wind, and water power, as well as energy conservation and recycling.
The park has various interactive exhibits designed to be fun and educational for children of all ages.
They can learn about renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and water wheels, and explore ways to conserve energy and reduce waste.
There is also a playground and a picnic area where families can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
The park also offers educational programs and workshops, such as guided tours and science experiments, which can help children learn more about renewable energy and sustainable living.
It’s a nice way to spend a day with your children, learning and having fun simultaneously.
Jackson County Green Energy Park is a unique and educational destination for families with children interested in learning about renewable energy and sustainable living.
2. Go Skating at Sylva Skatepark
Sylva Skatepark, also known as the Jackson County Skate Park, is a great destination for families with children who enjoy skateboarding, BMX, and other action sports.
The park features a variety of obstacles and features, including rails, ledges, quarter pipes, and a large bowl. The park also has lights so that it can be used at night.
It’s the perfect place for kids to learn and practice their skateboarding and BMX skills and have fun with other kids who share the same interest. The park is open to everybody and free of charge, making it a great option for families on a budget.
However, it’s important to note that the park can be dangerous for children who have not experienced skateboarders or BMX riders or are not wearing the appropriate safety gear.
Parents should supervise their children and ensure they wear helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
Sylva Sk8park is a great destination for families with children who enjoy action sports and want to spend some time outdoors having fun and learning new skills.
3. Visit the Cherokee Indian Museum
The Cherokee Indian Museum in Sylva, NC, provides various exhibits and educational opportunities for visitors of all ages, but it can be especially fun and engaging for kids.
The museum showcases traditional Cherokee art and crafts, including pottery, beadwork, and basketry, as well as tools and other items used in daily life.
There are also interactive exhibits that allow children to learn about different aspects of Cherokee culture, such as hunting, fishing, and farming.
The museum also offers educational programs for school groups and children, such as guided tours and hands-on workshops.
These programs are designed to be age-appropriate and interactive, and they can help children understand and appreciate the rich history and culture of the Cherokee people.
Indoors Activities To Do In Sylva (NC) For Adults
1. Spend Time at Jackson County Public Library
The Jackson County Public Library in Sylva, NC, is a great destination for couples looking for a quiet and peaceful place to spend time together.
The library offers a wide range of books, magazines, newspapers, and other materials for adults, teens, and children. The library also provides access to computers, the internet, and other technology resources for those who need them.
It is a great place for couples to spend some quiet time together, reading or studying. The library’s peaceful atmosphere is perfect for couples who want to relax and unwind.
The library also offers events such as book clubs, author talks, and educational workshops that couples can attend.
It’s a great way for couples to expand their minds and explore new ideas together.
Additionally, the library is a great place to explore and learn new things through books, events, or educational resources. It’s a great way to spend a quiet and peaceful afternoon together.
2. Watch Court Sittings at Jackson County Courthouse
The Jackson County Courthouse in Sylva, North Carolina, is a historic building built in 1914. It is a two-story brick structure with a hipped roof and features a central clock tower and a projecting entrance portico.
The courthouse has undergone several renovations but has largely retained its original architectural style and design.
The courthouse is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, except for holidays.
Visitors can access the Clerk of Court, Register of Deeds, and Tax office to conduct business or obtain public records. Court sessions are also held in the courthouse, and visitors can observe court proceedings or attend hearings.
The courthouse also houses the Jackson County District Attorney and Public Defender offices and courtrooms for the Jackson County District Court and Superior Court.
The courthouse serves as an important center for the administration of justice in Jackson County and is a valuable resource for residents and visitors alike.
3. Take Dance Lessons at Jackson Recreation Center
The community center in Sylva, NC, is a multi-purpose facility that serves as a gathering place for residents and visitors. It offers a variety of activities, events, and programs for all ages, including fitness classes, dance classes, sports programs, and educational workshops.
The community center usually has a large gymnasium, a fitness room, a dance studio, and a multi-purpose room that can be used for meetings, events, and parties. Some amenities available at the community center may include a weight room, cardio equipment, a sauna, and a pool.
The community center allows couples to participate in recreational activities and stay active together, such as registering for a fitness class or swimming. It also provides a space for the community to gather for events and activities, such as concerts, plays, and festivals.
It’s worth checking out the community center website for a schedule of events, classes, and programs. It’s a great way for couples to stay active and engaged with their community.
Romantic Things To Do In Sylva (NC)
1. Take a Scenic Drive Down the Famous’ Tail of the Dragon’ Road
The Tail of the Dragon road is a popular destination for couples looking for a thrilling and scenic drive in the fall.
The road is known for its 318 curves in 11 miles, making it a favorite among motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts.
The road is located in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee, and it offers beautiful fall foliage views with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees.
Driving on the Tail of the Dragon road can be a romantic and exhilarating experience for couples.
The road winds through the mountains and offers spectacular views of the surrounding wilderness. Along the way, there are several pull-off areas where couples can stop and take in the views or take a walk together.
Note that the road is also heavily trafficked and is dangerous for inexperienced drivers. It’s important to obey the speed limits and be aware of other drivers on the road. It’s also suggested to avoid the peak season, as it can get busy and crowded.
Overall, The Tail of the Dragon road is a great option for couples looking for a thrilling and scenic drive in the fall, but please drive safely.
2. Go on a Dinner Date at the City Lights Cafe
City Lights Cafe is a great choice for couples in Sylva, NC, for romantic dates. The restaurant’s atmosphere is cozy and intimate, making it perfect for a romantic evening out.
The menu features a mix of Mediterranean and American cuisine, which is diverse and has something to offer everyone.
The restaurant is known for its delicious appetizers, entrees, and extensive wine list. The staff is also friendly and attentive, which creates a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.
The restaurant has a great ambiance, dim lighting, and candlelight, which adds to the romantic atmosphere.
You can also opt for outdoor seating on the sidewalk or in the courtyard, which gives a great view of the night sky and downtown Sylva.
City Lights Cafe is an excellent choice for a romantic fall date in Sylva, NC.
3. Attend the Concerts on the Creek
Concert on the Creek is a concert series held in downtown Sylva, North Carolina.
The concerts are typically held on Friday evenings in the summer and feature a variety of musical acts, including local and regional bands.
The concerts are held outdoors, usually in Bridge Park, along the Tuckasegee River. The concerts are free to attend and are open to the public.
They are a great way to enjoy live music, socialize with friends, and experience the beauty of downtown Sylva.
They also may have food and craft vendors. The concert series may also be a fundraiser for a local non-profit organization. Concert on the Creek is a popular event in the area and a great way to spend a summer evening in Sylva.
Free Things To Do In Sylva (NC)
1. Visit the Sylva Confederate Monument
The Sylva Confederate monument is located in Sylva, North Carolina, commemorating soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
It was erected in 1910 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The monument has been controversial recently, with some calling for its removal due to its association with the Confederacy and its history of slavery and racism.
2. Take a Stroll Downtown Sylva
Downtown Sylva, North Carolina, is a historic area that offers a variety of things to see and do for visitors.
Some notable options include: visiting the Jackson County Courthouse, a beautiful and historic building that serves as the county’s seat of government; exploring the Sylva Historic District, a collection of more than 50 buildings that date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries; shopping and dining in the many locally owned stores and restaurants.
Take a stroll along the Tuckasegee River; visit Bridge Park, which offers a walking bridge and playground equipment; check out the local art scene by visiting the Gallery of the Mountains, the Sylva Art Walk, and more.
3. Explore Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University (WCU) is a public university that offers a variety of things to see and do for students and visitors.
Some notable options include; the Mountain Heritage Center, a museum and research center that focuses on the history, culture, and art of the southern Appalachian region; the Fine Art Museum, which features rotating exhibits of contemporary art and works by WCU students and alumni.
The University Center serves as the hub of student life on campus and offers various services and amenities.
The University’s Botanical Garden features a wide variety of plants and flowers, walking trails, and a butterfly garden; The Belk Building is a historic building that now serves as the home of the university’s College of Business.
Cheap Things To Do In Sylva (NC)
1. Take a Walk in the Bridge Park
Bridge Park is a public park located in Sylva, NC. The park is situated along the Tuckasegee River and features a walking bridge that spans the river, offering a scenic view of the surrounding area.
Other amenities at Bridge Park include picnic tables and benches, playground equipment, and a large open field for sports and other activities.
The park is great for fishing, walking, jogging, and picnicking. There may be facilities for basketball, tennis, and other sports available. Depending on the time of year, events and festivals may be held at the park, such as music concerts, food festivals, and holiday celebrations.
2. Take a Walk down Haywood County Fairground
The Jackson County Fairground in Sylva, NC, is the site of the annual Jackson County Fair, which typically features a variety of events and activities such as live music and entertainment, carnival rides, games, agricultural and craft exhibits, food vendors, and more.
The fairground also hosts other events throughout the year, such as livestock shows, community festivals, and concerts. Some things you can do on the fairground include visiting the exhibits, going on rides, watching live performances, participating in contests and competitions, and trying different types of food.
Additionally, the fairground has various rental facilities, like conference halls, exhibition halls, and arenas.
3. Visit Sylva’s Community Garden
Sylva’s community garden is a community-based gardening program that allows individuals and families in the Sylva area to grow their vegetables, fruits, and flowers in a shared space.
Community gardens are a great way to improve access to healthy food, promote community development and social cohesion, and provide a space for people to come together and learn about gardening and sustainability.
Community gardens are usually managed by a committee or a non-profit organization and are open to the public, usually for a small fee or free of charge.
The garden is usually divided into individual plots, each of which is tended by a different gardener or group of gardeners.
They have various facilities like water, composting, and tools. Community gardens are an excellent way to get involved in the local community and learn about gardening and growing fresh, healthy food.
Cool Things To Do In Sylva (NC)
1. Visit Pinnacle Park
Pinnacle Park is located on the eastern edge of Sylva, North Carolina, and covers approximately 150 acres of land.
The park features several hiking trails that wind through the woods and offer scenic views of the surrounding area. These trails range in difficulty from easy to moderate and are suitable for hikers of all skill levels.
The park also has several picnic areas with tables and grills, making it a popular spot for family picnics and gatherings.
In addition to hiking and picnicking, Pinnacle Park has a disc golf course, playground, and a shelter for group events. The disc golf course is a challenging 18-hole course that is a popular destination for disc golfers of all skill levels.
Fishing is also popular at Pinnacle Park, a small lake stocked with bass, catfish, and bluegill, and a small stream home to trout and other fish species.
Visitors can fish from the shore or rent a small boat to explore the lake.
It is generally a great place to spend a day outdoors, enjoying the area’s natural beauty and participating in various recreational activities.
2. Attend the Annual Folkmoot Festival
The Folkmoot Festival is an annual event in Sylva, North Carolina, celebrating the cultural heritage of the southern Appalachian region.
The festival typically features a variety of performances and activities, including traditional dance and music, parades, arts and crafts, and international food vendors.
The festival is held for two weeks and features performers from around the world.
Folkmoot Festival started in 1984 and is the state’s official international festival.
The festival is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the southern Appalachian region, featuring traditional dance and music, parades, arts and crafts, and international food vendors. Performers come from around the world to participate in the festival.
Folkmoot also includes a Youth Ambassador Program, where young people from different cultural backgrounds come together to learn about each other’s cultures, promote cultural understanding, and develop lifelong friendships.
The festival is a great opportunity for visitors to experience the diverse cultural traditions of the southern Appalachian region.
3. Shop at Sylva’s Farmers Market
This is a local market in Sylva, North Carolina. Farmers, artisans, and other vendors come together to sell fresh produce, handmade crafts, and other locally-sourced products.
It is great for buying fresh, locally-grown produce, handmade crafts, and other locally-sourced products, meeting local farmers and artisans, learning about their products and techniques, and supporting the local community.
The market features vendors selling various fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products, baked goods, and other food items. Visitors can also find handcrafted items such as pottery, jewelry, soaps, and other locally made goods.
Many farmer’s markets also have live music, cooking demos, and activities for kids, making it a fun and engaging experience for the whole family.
Overall, the Sylva Farmers Market is a great place to buy fresh, locally-sourced products and support the local community while enjoying a fun and festive atmosphere.
It is no doubt the city of Sylva, North Carolina, has a lot of tourist attractions to keep you engaged throughout your stay. Don’t miss the fun; let our checklist of things to do in Sylva (NC) be your guide.
From leisure parks to nightclubs and fancy restaurants, Sylva is surely the place to visit. Tell us which attraction you fancy the most via the comment section we’d like to know.