North Carolina Towns with the Best Downtown Areas

Travel Maven

North Carolina is comprised of so many small amazing towns that give the state charm and character. In honor of these communities, we put together a list of the ones with the most fantastic and vibrant downtown areas. Filled with plenty of shops and restaurants, history, and scenic sights, here are the best downtown areas in all of NC.

Banner Elk
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Nestled at the base of Beech Mountain and in between two fantastic ski resorts, Banner Elk's downtown area is filled with shops, galleries, restaurants, and plenty of charm. Banner Elk is also one of the most walkable cities in North Carolina.

Black Mountain
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A mountain town in western North Carolina known for its hospitality. Black Mountain became a haven for pioneers in the world of art, painting, music, poetry, and architectural design during the mid-twentieth century. Today, this lively downtown area is home to plenty of restaurants, galleries, and smiling people.

Blowing Rock
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A quaint village known as the "Crown of the Blue Ridge" Blowing Rock features a charming downtown area that includes over a hundred different shops and boutiques, art galleries, museums, and many restaurants including a couple of historic taverns and pubs.

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A picturesque town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone's downtown area is charming any time of year and is also in close proximity to many natural wonders like Grandfather Mountain, Elk Knob State Park, and the popular Blue Ridge Parkway.

Bryson City
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The gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City is a beautiful valley of a town surrounded by mountains and its downtown area is equally as enticing. Here you'll find bookstores, cafes, galleries, breweries, and even an excursion train.

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A suburb of the Charlotte metropolitan area, Davidson is a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly college town that exudes charm. Along Main Street, you’ll find charming restaurants, a hip coffee shop, several unique gift shops, and even an old-fashioned soda shop. Just across the street, is a large green space that is frequently used for town events, as well as a farmer’s market.

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A historic town found on the banks of the Tuckaseege River. The shops and restaurants here are wonderful and if you're looking for the perfect small town to visit during the holiday season, this is it. Dillsboro transforms into an illuminated wonderland the first two weeks of December during their annual Lights and Luminaries event.

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Nestled in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina along the banks of the French Broad River, Marshall is known for being a hub for the arts. Here, you'll find old-fashioned stores, art galleries, and plenty of shops with unique home decor and gifts.

West Jefferson
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A scenic small town in Ashe County known for its arts district featuring an array of interesting murals, distinctive public art, and numerous galleries. West Jefferson is also home to a wonderful farmers' market

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