Arts Tourism

 Jump to Arts Trails

The North Carolina Arts Council was an early leader in cultural tourism and gained national recognition for one of the most innovative arts tourism programs in the country – one based on arts assets with a national and international appeal.

In western North Carolina, our Blue Ridge Music Trails and Cherokee Heritage Trails led to the designation of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and set the N.C. Arts Council on a statewide path to document other significant arts assets, including craft, literary heritage and African American music.

In partnership with UNC Press, we have published seven guidebooks. Blue Ridge Music Trails of Western North Carolina, Cherokee Heritage TrailsAfrican American Music TrailsLiterary Trails of the North Carolina MountainsLiterary Trails of the Piedmont and Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina. (The guidebooks are available at UNC Press or other book retailers.)

The Arts Council also celebrates our rich traditions in music and craft by sponsoring stages and demonstration areas at the National Folk Festival and the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, part of IBMA held in downtown Raleigh.

With an arts infrastructure that reaches into all 100 counties arts and cultural experiences abound for North Carolina residents and visitors.

Explore the Arts Trails

Authentic North Carolina adventures are at your fingertips with the N.C. Arts Council's arts tourism trails!

African American Music Trails

Experience the deep ties between music and community along the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, including stops at the Kinston Music Park, historic sites and local eateries.

Visit Website | Purchase Guidebook


Blue Ridge Music Trails

Traditional old-time and bluegrass music has deep roots in North Carolina, none deeper than in the communities surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Visit Website | Purchase Guidebook


Cherokee Heritage Trails

Cherokee Heritage Trails provides information about Cherokee historical and cultural sites that you can visit in the southern Appalachians.

Visit Website | Purchase Guidebook


Literary Trails of North Carolina

Three regional volumes invite residents and out-of-state visitors to explore North Carolina while reading literature from our state's finest writers.

Purchase North Carolina Mountains Guidebook
Purchase North Carolina Piedmont Guidebook
Purchase Eastern North Carolina Guidebook