When you head to hotspot cities for tourists, the downtown area can often be pretty disappointing, packed with souvenir shops that are anything but noteworthy, but that is not what you’ll find located in downtown Blue Ridge GA. In fact, it’s anything but.
On a recent visit to the city with my mom, I found surprise after surprise in many of the stores, but a few really blew me away. And if you want to bring your guy along, know that there are shops you can send him to as well, that’ll keep him happy for hours. Just know he may end up spending more than you do when that happens (more on that later).
In this article, we’ll start with the spots you’ll see first in the heart of downtown, then the buildings on the outer perimeter, and work our way into the shops. This is a list of my favorite spots to spend time (and money) in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia. There are always new ones opening, so let me know if you spot one worth sharing.
After you do all the shopping (and eating, because there are great restaurants downtown, too), hang around for live music on the weekends, and plan to check out some of the hiking trails throughout the area to work off some of what you ate, and just to see more of the beauty Blue Ridge has to offer.
COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN BLUE RIDGE
- Best Near Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: The Comfort Inn & Suites hotel is located in Fannin County, just one mile from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway historic train ride. This hotel is minutes from Lake Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge City Park, and other popular Blue Ridge sites. Breakfast is included!
- Best Downtown: Hampton Inn Blue Ridge, GA in Blue Ridge provides accommodations with a restaurant, a fitness center and a shared lounge. Guests can have a drink at the snack bar too. Located just minutes away from Mercier Orchards.
- Best Cabin Near Hiking: At this Luxury Cabin with Water Views, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and river, and a great location near hiking trails. This cabin has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.
BLUE RIDGE SCENIC RAILWAY
When you turn onto West First Street leading into Blue Ridge, the first thing you’re likely to see (besides the Hampton Inn, which offers up a great place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city) is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
You can take a ride on a vintage rail car between March and December, with four hour trips and two hour trips offered each day.
Even boarding is a bit of an adventure, with the 1905 Blue Ridge Depot downtown selling tickets much like it would have decades ago, with ticket booths and a museum of sorts inside the building where you get your pass.
The train will take you on the Scenic Railway, running along the Toccoa River (Toccoa means beautiful in Cherokee) through the mountain towns from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. Fun fact about the Toccoa: It’s one of the few Southern rivers that flows north.
What you’ll see will vary depending on the time of year when you ride. The spring offers up views of wildflowers and the land coming to life. Fall foliage trips are especially popular in October and early November. And they have fun Holiday Express trips over the holidays and Winter Trips, too. Oh, and at New Year’s there’s a Wine Train. I’m all aboard for that one!
Read More: YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SPRING AND FALL ON THE BLUE RIDGE SCENIC RAILWAY
BLUE RIDGE CITY PARK
Blue Ridge City Park is in the heart of downtown Blue Ridge. It’s a great place to kill an hour with the kids, who are likely not going to want to go shop to shop all day.
If you’re lucky, you may spot one of the roosters wandering around the park, strutting their stuff like they own the place. Because well, they are here a lot more than you are and make it clear they aren’t worried about you taking over their space.
The park here is a greenspace where you can have a picnic while the kids climb and slide and run around the playground. There are even grills you can use if you’d like.
Read More: 50+ BEST ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE GA
THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN ARTS CENTER
Located in the historic Fannin County Courthouse is the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center. It was the small replica of the Statue of Liberty I saw first, and it’s key to art in the area.
The city decided during the nation’s bicentennial celebrations back in 1976 to hold an arts festival. That launched the ‘Blue Ridge Art in the Park’ event that has evolved to what the Arts Center is today.
The other fun sculptures in front of the building are also dead giveaways that what’s inside is special. The Center hosts all kinds of art exhibits and events to keep growing the love of the arts that this area has embraced. You’ll see in the stores, there’s no shortage of artists around Blue Ridge, and their talent is oozing out all over the downtown area.
BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY THEATER
The Blue Ridge Community Theater is the set for several performances each year in downtown Blue Ridge.
There are typically seven productions and more than 80 performances each year. And they host special events, like film festivals and concert series.
HIGH COUNTRY ART GALLERY
Since we’re on the topic of the arts, we should mention there are a number of art galleries in downtown Blue Ridge, with High Country Art Gallery among the most well known. Local artists and crafters showcase their work in this space. They have events and exhibitions throughout the year.
You’ll find all kinds of art, from folk to fine, traditional and contemporary. All of the art comes from talent nearby, including Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.
4 ELEMENTS GALLERY
This fine art gallery was a total surprise to me, and I almost didn’t go in because the sign outside said custom framing, and well, I don’t need anything framed. But I’m so glad the guys across the street at Cohutta Fishing Company (more on them later) told me about the talents found at 4 Elements Art.
The artist has really unique art pieces on display where you’ll see how he uses the four elements of nature (thus, the store name) into his work. Please make this a must-stop when you’re in town. You’ll likely be as impressed as I was. And yes, they offer custom framing, too.
Multitudes Gallery was another favorite for me. This is one of those shops you walk into and you can’t decide which direction to look first, because there’s so many fascinating things all around you.
The store even meanders outside where you’ll find metal sculptures out back. There’s art glass, fine art and jewelry, along with pottery, mosaics, and photography. There are even lamps made with real leaves that you really need to see firsthand.
I dare you to walk out without buying something. I know I couldn’t. (My purchase was a spinner ring to help with meditation, with a pink tourmaline stone on it that is supposed to help me finish a book I started, but I digress).
Speaking of stones, you also should go into Pezrok. They actually have two stores with similar products. Most people like the upstairs version which is packed with gemstones and driftwood carvings, but I preferred the store on the lower level.
The craftsmanship there is going to blow you away, with exotic wood tables and petrified wood sinks. Everything in the store is nature inspired and again, I couldn’t get out the door without buying something. For me, it was the glass vase melted into the wood of a tree found in Bali. The melting glass look was something that reminded me of a Dali painting and the natural wood just took me to the beach. I couldn’t resist.
A fun fact that an employee shared is that the store name is the owner’s name spelled backwards. Here, they truly believe that neither painter or sculptor can surpass nature’s artistry, but they do a glorious job merging the two together.
BLUE RIDGE COTTON COMPANY
The Blue Ridge Cotton Company is right next door to the Pezrok stores, and is also two levels, though in their case you can reach both levels without having to leave the store.
This is more of a feel-good store than an art mecca, but again, I couldn’t get out the door without buying something I found for myself and a friend. This time, the items that got me were little ceramic red cardinals and a sign that reads “What a Wonderful World”. The cardinal is about my dad who I lost a decade ago, and the sign is a reminder to focus on the good that I do have with me still.
There are shirts, mementos, and inspirational gifts throughout the store, and I am certain at least one of the unique signs will make you smile.
OLIVE AND PINE
Olive + Pine is a clothing store, and probably the most affordable one you’ll find in Blue Ridge. It’s not necessarily a unique to Blue Ridge kind of store, but I think it’s worth a mention because nothing in the store is over $30. If you’re used to paying twice that for any outfit, definitely stop in.
I had to pick up three necklaces here just because they were such a good deal.
Canoe was hard for me to leave. I bought two bracelets I really liked, but saw 10 more I would have loved to have bought, along with earrings and necklaces too, but there was a point where I just had to draw the line.
The handmade jewelry is exquisite artistry that you get to wear each day, and I just couldn’t get enough of the good stuff here. If you want a great gift for your gal, go here. If you really want to splurge, head toward the middle to the jewelry made with feathers. I know that doesn’t sound luxurious, but it is and it’s stunning. Exquisite.
BLUE RIDGE ANTIQUE MALL AND CONSIGNMENT
Blue Ridge Antique Mall and Consignment is the spot to visit if you love a good treasure hunt. It’s packed with fun finds and will take you on a visit through your past as you make your way booth to booth.
If you love the search as much as the find, this is the place for you.
BLUE RIDGE ADVENTURE WEAR
The Blue Ridge Adventure Wear store is proof that you can buy functional clothes for hiking or fishing and still look good wearing them. Who doesn’t want that?
They have the quality wear you know will hold up while you put it through the ringer of outdoor life, from Kavu to Keen, Teva to Toad & Co.
This might be a good spot to point your husband if he’s had enough of the arts and clothing stores.
COHUTTA FISHING COMPANY
The Cohutta Fishing Company store also has a ton of quality gear, including coolers that’ll keep you refreshed while you’re looking good, but beyond that, you’ll find the gear you need to go fly fishing, too. And if you haven’t gone fly fishing, then they’ll take care of that, as well. They offer guided tours. You can arrange the ones where you wade out in the water, or some where you float to the spots to try your luck.
This is definitely the spot to send your guy if you want to feel better about all the money you spent, because he will likely leave here spending more than you did. No one has to feel guilty then, right?
I’m holding on to their card for my next adventure to Blue Ridge, to take my guy fly fishing as a surprise. What I loved about the guys running this store is they were so eager to brag about the businesses surrounding them, not just their own. Total Blue Ridge props to these fellows, and a promise that I’ll be back.
Read More: THE ESSENTIALS FOR A PERFECT LAKE BLUE RIDGE GETAWAY
OYSTER FINE BAMBOO FLY RODS
If you decide you like fly fishing enough to have your own rod, you’ll definitely want to make a stop at the Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods shop next door to Cohutta Fishing Company. The guys at Cohutta could not say enough great stuff about Oyster (Bill Oyster is his name), who is the only professional bamboo fly rod maker in the world who personally hand engraves his own rods. He was even commissioned to make the fly rod for President Jimmy Carter.
People from around the world (England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand) fly in to make their rods with him and his classes for making rods with him are booked up for the next two years because he’s so well-respected for his work.
I did see spots open for 5 people at the end of 2024 at the time I was writing this, so grab them fast if you’re interested.
FANNIN COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
I wouldn’t normally say a city’s chamber of commerce is a good place to visit on a vacation, but in Fannin County, it’s also home to a full-time Visitor Information Center, so you’ll want to consider stopping in just to make the most of your visit to town.
The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce offices aren’t in downtown Blue Ridge directly, though they are nearby, and there’s a satellite office on Main Street. This is a super helpful stop if you’re going to be making the scenic drive or just want to know more about the area in general.
They even have a cool app you can download to find all the best restaurants, places to stay, things to do, and the key thing for me was mapping your plan when you’re doing the scenic drive. My mom is a great shopping buddy for downtown, but not so great at navigation, and you don’t want to get lost while making your way out to the swinging bridge, like we did. Just make the stop and you’ll be glad to not waste your time later.
BLUE RIDGE HISTORIC WALKING TOUR
If you want to learn more about the history of Blue Ridge, consider taking a self-guided Blue Ridge Historic Walking Tour.
This historic walking tour features 19 downtown spots that will help you learn more about the area and the history that helped shape it into the awesome place it is today.
Take a leisurely walk down Main Street and visit spots we’ve already mentioned, along with new places like the Baugh House, the Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast, the Gartrell Building, and more. You can find the self-guided walking tour map here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO BLUE RIDGE
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- RESTAURANTS: These 27 Blue Ridge GA Restaurants Showcase Culinary Delight In The Mountains
- CABINS: 33 Dreamy Blue Ridge Cabins
- TREEHOUSE: 6 Reasons To Stay At This Incredible Blue Ridge Treehouse Hideaway
- MERCIER ORCHARDS + MORE: Essential Apple Picking Georgia Guide
- HORSEBACK RIDING BLUE RIDGE GA: 9 Best Spots For Fun In The Mountains
- WITH KIDS: 17+ Awesome Family Things To Do In Blue Ridge GA You Don’t Want To Miss
- WINERIES: 7 Amazing Wineries In Blue Ridge GA (And Surrounding Areas)
- ROMANTIC BLUE RIDGE: 9+ Fun & Romantic Things To Do In Blue Ridge GA For Couples
- WATERFALLS: 9+ Amazing Waterfalls In Blue Ridge GA You’ll Want To Chase
WHERE TO STAY IN BLUE RIDGE
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