• Mount Airy was the birthplace and childhood home of American actor Andy Griffith, and is widely believed to be the inspiration for the fictional community Mayberry, the setting of The Andy Griffith Show and its sequel, Mayberry RFD.
  • Until he returned to Mount Airy, 45 years after the show, Griffith denied the connection. Several locations and names mentioned in both shows reflect real places and people in or near Mount Airy, including Mount Pilot (nearby Pilot Mountain and the town named for it) and Snappy Lunch, a restaurant which still operates in the city's downtown area and is famous for its pork chop sandwich.
  • The community holds an annual "Mayberry Days" celebration during the last weekend of September; the celebration regularly attracts thousands of visitors from around the world. In episode #154 of the Andy Griffith Show, "Aunt Bee's Invisible Beau" Andy is clearly seen in closeup reading what could be a Mount Airy newspaper. All that is visible are the words "Airy News".
  • The home of old-time music legend Tommy Jarrell and country singer Donna Fargo, Mount Airy has a long history with regional music. Mount Airy's WPAQ 740 AM radio is one of the few Bluegrass and Old-Time music stations still operating and has been airing the live radio show Merry-Go-Round from the Downtown Cinema Theatre since 1948.
  • Weekly bluegrass jam sessions at The Andy Griffith Playhouse and the annual Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention also serve to attract old-time musicians from across the region and the world.
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center with its amphitheater and music museum of old-time music is just a few miles away on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 213, near Galax, Virginia.
  • Surry County offers something for everyone. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy riding down the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking at Pilot Mountain State Park, or canoeing on the Yadkin River.

In the last few years, Surry County has become fertile ground for a booming vineyard and winery trade. One of the Southeast's largest vineyard estates, Shelton Vineyard is only 15 minutes from downtown Mount Airy. The only Main Street winery in North Carolina, the Old North State Winery, is located in Mount Airy. Other wineries within very close proximity include Black Wolf Vineyards, Round Peak Vineyards, Rag Apple Lassie Vineyards and Stony Knoll Vineyards. Mount Airy is located in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.