Explore the Culture and Beauty of Asheville, North Carolina
Arts & Culture
Asheville was long known as a hidden gem in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. In recent years however, this culturally rich city has now become a hot spot for the most adventurous and relaxed tourists alike. Asheville combines historical landmarks, culinary delights, awe-inspiring natural beauty and a thriving music and art scene.
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Where to stay in Asheville, North Carolina
The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Beautifully appointed guest rooms and suites on North Carolina's notable Vanderbilt estate.
The Omni Grove Park Inn
The Omni Grove Park Inn offers the tradition of southern hospitality amidst the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Kimpton Hotel Arras
Where Asheville's vibrant culture meets luxury and comfort in the heart of downtown.
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Things to do in Asheville, North Carolina
Walk around the streets of downtown and stop in the many art galleries, excellent restaurants and cafes, and shops. A few highlights include Woolworth Walk which is an old soda store turned two-story local artist co-op selling everything from pottery to jewelry and The Grove Arcade, which is an art-deco historical landmark that was converted into shops and restaurants.
No trip to Asheville would be complete without a day at the former home to the Vanderbilt family and one of North Carolina's most popular tourist destinations. Spend an entire day exploring this 8,000-acre landmark by taking a full audio tour of the home, strolling the beautiful gardens, wine tasting at the on-site winery, shopping and eating in Antler Village, or enjoying a seasonal exhibit on the premises. You can also stay in one of the three hotel accommodations on site during your trip.
Take a Drive along the Blueridge Parkway
This National Parkway runs 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties and is known for its scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. While this drive is beautiful any time of year, the most idyllic time is during the fall months as the leaves are changing colors.
Chimney Rock State Park and other Blueridge Parkway Stops
There are many stops you can take along your drive on the Blueridge Parkway, including quaint towns like Blowing Rock and nature trails like the hike to the gorgeous waterfalls that make up Linville Falls. However, the 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge at the top of Chimney Rock are truly breathtaking. You can make the challenging hike or take an elevator to the top and take in the beauty of the mountains. There are also hiking trails and various family-friendly educational experiences too.
A Visit to The Omni Grove Park Inn
You don't have to be a guest at this resort to enjoy this stunning architectural beauty of a resort that has been in operation since 1913. There are art shops and restaurants, but a sunset cocktail looking out at the spectacular mountain views at the Sunset Terrace Restaurant is an absolute must.
Learn about the unique town of Asheville and it's history on this historical and hysterical comedy tour. There are different kinds of tours such as the City Tour, Ghost Tour and Kids Tour, but all of them will leave you laughing. Plus, you can enjoy wine and beer on board from the LaZoom Room Bar where you begin each tour!
Breweries and Wineries
With over 50 local breweries, there's a reason Asheville has been consistently named "Beer City, USA." Some of the most notable include Wicked Weed Brewing, Highland Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. If wine is more your style, check out Burnshirt Vineyards in both Hendersonville and Chimney Rock, plēb urban winery and of course the Biltmore Winery.
Downtown Drum Circle
Let loose and enjoy one of Asheville's favorite traditions. Every Friday night (April - October and on the warmer nights of other months), people of every age gather in Pritchard Park to dance and play the drums together from 6pm to 10pm. Bring your own drum, dance your heart out or just have fun people watching during this thunderous, wild party!
Along with some of the sites mentioned along the Blueridge Parkway, there are endless day trips to take within a two-hour drive of Asheville. Head to Waynesville for cute shops and restaurants, Hendersonville for the annual North Carolina Apple Festival every September, Dupont State Forest for beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails and Grandfather Mountain to walk along America's highest suspension footbridge. This is just to name a few!
My family has had a second home in Asheville for the past decade so I have been here many times. It is a truly unique, diverse, beautiful, fun place that has something for any type of tourist!
Places to eat & drink in Asheville, North Carolina
Tupelo Honey Cafe - Chicken and waffles and of course biscuits and fresh jam are staples at this Southern kitchen.
Biscuit Head - Enjoy all sorts of biscuit sandwiches and even biscuit donuts or french toast!
Sunny Point Cafe - The long waits are worth the breakfast at this West Asheville staple.
White Duck Taco Shop - An eclectic taqueria with a rotating menu.
Laughing Seed Cafe - Delicious vegan and vegetarian fare in Downtown.
Cúrate -This 2022 James Beard Award winner serves eclectic Spanish tapas like Galician-style octopus and goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers. Reservations are difficult to snag, so make sure to make one as soon as you book your trip.
Salsas - This menu mixes Caribbean and Mexican food for a tasty combination of flavors and delicious margaritas too!
Chestnut - Classic food with a twist, and crafted cocktails.
Red Ginger Dimsum & Tapas - An open style kitchen gives an inside look into the preparation of the elegant Chinese-style dim-sum and tapas such as pot stickers and pork buns.
Crave Dessert Bar - This romantic spot serves decadent desserts along with cocktails (thicker than a Snicker is my personal favorite), coffee and light bites.
French Broad Chocolate - Handcrafted bonbons, chocolate bars, and ice cream are just a few dessert options to choose from.
Vortex Doughnuts - Enjoy interesting flavor combinations such as Cream Cheese Hot Honey and Blueberry Waffle cone Lemon.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Miguelina Abreu’s guide, Asheville: A Weekend Off-The-Beaten-Path.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Asheville.