Your Guide of Top Things to Do in Asheville
Lonely Planet, the largest travel guide book publisher in the world, has named Asheville the undisputed capital of the North Carolina mountains.
"Cradled in a sweeping curve of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it offers easy access to outdoor adventures of all kinds, while downtown's historic art deco buildings hold stylish New Southern restaurants, decadent chocolate shops, and the homegrown breweries that explain the nickname "Beer City."
Things to Do Outdoors Around Asheville
Outdoor recreation and outdoor adventures are seemingly endless in the Western North Carolina Mountains, the outdoor playground of the Southeast. Visitors enjoy whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and experiencing the highest peaks in the entire Eastern U.S.
Things to Do in Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville is a rare place. Asheville skipped the urban renewal process that stripped the character from many downtowns. Today, its rich architectural legacy with its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles is the perfect backdrop to the city’s energy. Artists and street musicians converge with tourists and locals for vibrancy rarely found in a city of this size. There is always something happening downtown. People sip cups of Joe at one of several locally-owned coffee shops; sample a pint at one of the cities many breweries or listen to live music at a local club. They go on art walks, winding their way through downtown’s 30-plus galleries. Shoppers inspect unique boutique finds, or simply enjoy fine cuisine.
Asheville's Foodie Restaurant Scene
Asheville restaurants run the gamut from Mexican-California fusion to eclectic international Vegetarian and four-star cuisine to down-home cooking. The city’s vibrant restaurant scene goes well beyond its Southern cooking roots. Expect the extraordinary in Asheville, whether it’s organic, hormone-free beef, mountain trout caviar or sweet potato salad. Asheville is abundant with local Farmers Markets, many of them exclusively organic, providing chef’s with seasonal offerings and the freshest produce. There are several local farm to table restaurants and many restaurants also feature live music from jazz to bluegrass.
Things To Do in Asheville By Season
Asheville’s seasons are a palette of colors and experiences. Asheville blossoms every spring so take a scenic drive or hike the surrounding forests. Summertime in Asheville is alive with music, festivals and performances. Take a picturesque drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and see some of the best foliage in the east. Asheville’s splendid mix of mild temperatures with its proximity to snow-covered mountains makes it the ideal winter destination. Celebrate the holiday season in Asheville and visit the Biltmore Estate in all its festive splendor. In Asheville, you’ll find plenty to do no matter what time of year it is and here at Pinecrest we will help you, in any way we can, to ensure that your Asheville experience is everything you want it to be.
Historic Places and Museums
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore Estate was the vision of George W. Vanderbilt, who first opened his country house to friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. America’s largest home, the 250-room French Renaissance chateau exhibits the family’s original collection of furnishings, art and antiques. Biltmore Estate encompasses over 8,000 acres including renowned gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture. Also included on the grounds is the award-winning Biltmore Estate Winery, which offers tours and tastings, the four-star Inn on Biltmore Estate, the Equestrian Center and other outdoor activities.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Considered by many to be one of the giants of 20th Century American Literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and the Old Kentucky Home boarding house earned the historic Victorian home a place as one of American Literature’s most famous landmarks as the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.
Asheville Arts Museum
The Asheville Art Museum annually presents an exciting, inviting and active schedule of exhibitions and public programs based on its permanent collection of 20th and 21st century American art. Any visit will also include experiences with works of significance to Western North Carolina’s cultural heritage including Studio Craft, Black Mountain College and Cherokee artists. Special exhibitions feature renowned regional and national artists and explore issues of enduring interest. The Museum also offers a wide array of innovative, inspiring and entertaining educational programs for people of all ages.
Eat & Drink
Our guide to Asheville Restaurant & Breweries
When it comes to eating well, Asheville has it all. Deeply rooted in traditional Appalachian foodways and cross-pollinated by a robust strain of locavore ideology, the Asheville food scene is blossoming.
Learn more about Asheville's Foodtopia: A community of culinary collaborators who share their creativity, passion and local flavors to craft an experience that will nourish your soul.
Asheville Independent Restaurants is a community of innovative chefs, mixologists, brewers and bakers who are passionate about creating delicious food that not only feeds the body and soul but also fuels our local economy. You’ll find them all at AIR member restaurants, along with the warm hospitality and spirited vibe that have made Asheville one of the nation’s leading culinary destinations.
These are a few restaurants we have thoroughly enjoyed!
IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Casual Caribbean influenced menu just one block from Pinecrest. Portions are generous. They do not take reservations so go off-peak to avoid waiting.
Italian just two blocks from Pinecrest. They make their own pastas in house. Reservations highly suggested though their outdoor patio seating is first come, first serve.
All Day Darling
Counter service for sandwiches, salads, and Counter Culture coffee, just three blocks from Pinecrest. This is the casual sister restaurant of upscale Table that is downtown.
Little Jumbo Bar
Neighborhood watering hole serving up classic cocktails and house concoctions. Food menu is limited but ask about Tommy cakes! Requires $1 membership.
The Montford Rooftop Bar
Sleek hangout featuring craft cocktails, nibbles, and mountain views in a rustic-chic interior. Unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge at sunset; get there 1 hour early for seating.
Gan Shan Station
Hip spot featuring Asian curries, stir-fries & ramen dishes with creative twists, plus a full bar. There is a casual version in West Asheville. Get the ramen! 1.5 miles from Pinecrest, almost in our neighborhood.
One of the most highly regarded restaurants in Asheville located 1.2 miles from B&B right on Pack Square in downtown. Stylish Spanish tapas bar with open kitchen. Reservations required, or try to score a seat at their bar during off-peak hours.
Cool contemporary spot for farm-to-table New American fare. Not to be missed is the goat cheese burrata. 1.2 miles from Pinecrest.
Upscale American menu that pays homage to Southern traditions, changes daily. Reservations recommended. 1.1 miles from B&B.
The Marketplace Restaurant
Farm to table American cuisine and robust wine list in an upscale casual setting. Reservations recommended. 1.2 miles from B&B.
American eatery for foods from local farms & homemade treats in restored 1920s digs with a full bar. Reservations recommended. 1.3 miles from B&B.
Modern Californian & Mexican cooking plus creative cocktails served in a quaint, homey setting. Reservations required. 1.3 miles from B&B.
Restaurant melding the traditions of Italian cookery with ingredients found in the mountains of the American south. True food aficionados should consider the "What We're Cooking" chef's tasting menu for an indulgent night of superb dining. 1.2 miles from B&B.
Rustic-chic counter spot for upscale burgers made with grass-fed beef, plus shakes, beer & wine. Counter service only. Prepare for the long line during peak hours. 1.2 miles from Pinecrest.
Early Girl Eatery
Farm-to-table Southern comfort food, including all-day breakfasts, in a no-frills storefront. Reservations only accepted Tues-Sun from 3-9pm. 1.1 miles from Pinecrest.
Tupelo Honey Cafe
The original location started in 2000, serves up responsibly-sourced, scratch-made Southern fare, local beer & hand-crafted cocktails. No reservations. Be prepared for a lengthy wait. 1.0 miles from Pinecrest.
Eclectic bar/cafe offering Louisiana-inspired fare, plus a daily brunch & dog-friendly dining areas. No reservations. 1.0 miles from Pinecrest.
Modern tavern in a vintage building with over 35 rotating taps, live music & eclectic eats. Reservations EXCEPT after 5 pm on Fri/Sat. 1.4 miles from B&B.
Indian street food chaat--crunchy, spicy, sweet, brightly flavored snacks and homestyle platters. No reservations. 1.1 miles from Pinecrest.
En la Calle
Sister bar of Limones, En la Calle serves cocktails and elevated Mexican street food mainly in tapas portions. No reservations. 1.3 miles from Pinecrest.
Relaxed, family-owned joint serving Mexican food and cocktails. Outdoor patio and accommodating to large groups. Reservations accepted. 1.1 miles from Pinecrest.
OUTSIDE DOWNTOWN CORRIDOR
Mediterranean specialties & clever takes on European fare highlight the menu at this restaurant/wine bar. Reservations accepted. 3.3 miles from B&B in historic Biltmore Village area.
Upscale New American dining in a renovated, 100-plus-year-old Victorian home in a historic locale. Sister restaurant of Chestnut. Reservations accepted. 3.5 miles from B&B in historic Biltmore Village.
Creative, casual fare prepared using locally sourced ingredients and served in a relaxed atmosphere. Avenue M features a full bar, made complete by a diverse offering of regional craft beers and a great wine list. Reservations accepted. 2.0 miles north on Merrimon Ave.
Locally sourced & updated American specialties in artsy but unpretentious surrounds, plus a patio. Counter service only. 1.0 miles north on Merrimon Ave.
Smoky Park Supper Club
Scenic river view location serving farm to table, all cooked on a wood-fired grill. Unique dining room and outdoor deck built from 19 shipping containers. Reservations accepted. 1.9 miles just south of Montford.
OUR FAVORITE BREWERIES/COCKTAILS
Bhramari Brewing Company
Elevated pub food, each dish designed around their love of beer--whether it's beer-infused ingredients or the perfect pairing compliment. No reservations. 1.4 miles from Pinecrest in South Slope district.
Wicked Weed Brewing
Hip brewery with a tasting room & a restaurant serving high-end, locally sourced New American fare. Open air dog-friendly patio. No reservations. Be prepared for a long wait during peak hours. 1.4 miles from Pinecrest near South Slope district.
Asheville Brewing & Pizza
Microbrewery serving beers, pizzas & pub grub. Three locations; our favorite is on the South Slope at 77 Coxe Ave with an outdoor covered patio. No reservations. 1.2 miles from Pinecrest.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Tasting room with an outdoor patio on French Broad River. Rotating food trucks change daily. Expect very large crowds during peak hours. 2.4 miles from Pinecrest in the River Arts District.
A favorite among locals with a great selection of beers to taste in a flight, in a pint, or buy the can to go. Plenty of outdoor seating on multiple patios and food truck on site. 1.6 miles from Pinecrest on the South Slope.
Hip, multilevel bar with a vintage vibe serving craft cocktails & locally sourced New American fare. One of our favorite patios! 1.2 from Pinecrest.
Posana Contemporary American restaurant in the heart of downtown focused on local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine. They have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. 1.2 miles from Pinecrest.
Plant This all-vegan Asheville destination presents globally inspired plant-based dishes, from fried plantains to tofu bibimbap, supplemented by craft cocktails, local beers and sustainable wines. 0.9 miles from Pinecrest.
Laughing Seed Cafe Funky, no-frills cafe & bar serving organic, locally sourced global vegetarian & vegan fare. 1.0 miles from Pinecrest.
Recharge in Nature
North Carolina Outdoor Recreation
Scenic vistas, stunning waterfalls, and fresh mountain air are perfect ingredients for outdoor adventures in Asheville. Unplug in nature with some of these activities:
Why You Should Drive to Mount Mitchell
- Blue Ridge Parkway
Constructed in the 1930’s as a way to create work for the thousands of locals unemployed by the Great Depression, the Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive,” winds some 469 miles through mountain cuts and past ostensibly endless vistas. Split-rail fences, old farmsteads, lush greenery, mountains, and valleys are some of the many attractions the parkway incorporates. The parkway also offers visitor centers, camp grounds, picnic areas, trails, and in some instances lodges, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities.
- Mount Mitchell State Park
From milepost 355.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway take NC Highway 128 to Mt. Mitchell. At 6,684 feet, Mt. Mitchell is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. On a clear day, the 85-mile view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the observation tower is breathtaking. Allow time to hike in the tranquil 1,855-acre Mount Mitchell State Park, or enjoy lunch at the picnic area. With temperatures generally 10-15 degrees cooler than downtown Asheville, it’s an ideal place to find relief from the summer heat. In other seasons, bring a jacket. There is no admission fee. 2388 State Hwy 128 Burnsville, NC 28714
- DuPont State Forest
DuPont State Forest is located southeast of Brevard, and is in what the locals call, waterfall country. This region of Western North Carolina is remarkably alluring, and with a little exploration, at any of the 250 waterfalls this area boasts, one can come to appreciate and recognize just why Transylvania County is so spectacular. DuPont is home to approximately 100 miles of trails, unforgettable waterfalls, pristine lakes, and stunning vistas. To visit many of the falls and beautiful scenes one will need to do a minimal to moderate amount of walking or hiking. From Asheville, take I-26 east to Exit 40, and then take NC-280 toward Pisgah Forest. Turn left (east) on US-64 and go 3.7 miles to the Texaco station in Penrose. Turn right on Crab Creek Rd. and continue 4.3 miles and turn right on DuPont Rd. for 3.1 miles.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The US Department of the Interior says this, “No place this size in a temperate climate can match Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s variety of plant and animal species. Here are more tree species than in northern Europe, 1,500 flowering plants, dozens of native fish, and more than 200 species of birds and 60 of Mammals.” The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides near endless opportunity to view superb mountain scenery, take photographs, picnic, or hike and backpack along the abundant trails, and delight in an almost never-ending showcase that Mother Nature provides. The Park is located due west of Asheville and can be accessed from many locations.
- Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts no matter what their ilk. The National Forest offers a wide range of recreating options. To mention just a few, there’s hiking and back-packing, camping, fishing, biking, horse-back riding, swimming, rock climbing, car tour sightseeing, waterfalls, wildlife, historical areas, and a array of exceptional programs to choose from, including everything from lectures to guided hikes and square dancing. If you live in the Asheville Area, this is THE outdoor enthusiast’s playground location. There are so many beautiful places in this tract of nationally protected forest, that in one lifetime you couldn’t see all that it has to offer.
Note: Places of Interest in the Pisgah National Forest include, but are not limited to, the Pisgah Ranger District, Cradle of Forestry, Looking Glass Rock/Falls, Mount Hardy, Pink Beds, Richland Balsam, Bent Creek, Mills River, Davidson River, Shining Rock Wilderness Area, and the Middle Prong Wilderness Area.
- North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum centers on education, economic development, research, conservation, and garden demonstration. On 434-acre in West Asheville, the Arboretum is located on one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the United States. Asheville’s Mountain peaks surround the property’s visual perimeters and 1.8 miles of the Bent Creek stream run through the center of the Arboretum. The staff and other plant experts teach a wide variety of classes and workshops. Programs are available for all ages and range from bonsai demonstrations to nature walks. The North Carolina Arboretum is an institutional member of the American Public Gardens Association. 101 Frederick Law Olmsted Way Asheville NC. 28806
- Chimney Rock State Park
Brilliant scenery and awe-inspiring views are what one can find at Chimney Rock Park, located just south of Lake Lure. However, extraordinary scenery is not the only thing at Chimney Rock Park. A variety of rare and indigenous plants, a 404ft waterfall, astonishing geological formations, and special events are just a few of the many more things on can find to do in the area. If your route is 74A, you can also stop in one of the many little towns for shopping, a bite to eat, or stop at a few of the camp sites along the way. Offering amenities for RV camping, tenting or rental cabins, there is something for all levels of outdoor enjoyment. Your four legged friends are also welcome as long as they are kept on a leash. P.O. Box Chimney Rock NC 28720
Transylvania County, known as “Land of Waterfalls” is located to the southwest of Buncombe County and shares a large border with South Carolina. The rock mountain terrain and high rainfall totals, Transylvania is the wettest county in the state, make this county the best in Western North Carolina for waterfalls. In fact, Transylvania County is home to over 250 waterfalls, including some of the most popular in the entire state. The county seat is Brevard, NC, which is a popular tourist attraction in its own right. Transylvania County is also home to DuPont State Forest. DuPont has several spectacular waterfalls and numerous hiking trails. For this waterfalls guide we have chosen to feature only a few of the waterfalls near Brevard.
- Courthouse Falls
Directions: From Asheville, take the Blue Ridge Parkway south until it intersects with N.C. 215. Get on N.C. 215 South and drive 5.2 miles. The Summey Cove trailhead is located at a bridge (which is actually 1 mile south of where F.R. 140 intersects with N.C. 215) and a grassy parking area is on the side of the road. Get on the trail and remember to veer right where it forks near the beginning. Trail Length: Length is 2 miles. Trail Difficulty: Trail is moderate for most and difficult for some.
- Looking Glass Falls
Directions: Looking Glass Falls, definitely one of the most magnificent falls in NC, is located within the Pisgah National Forest. The parking area for Looking Glass Falls is just off of U.S. 276 (between U.S. 64 and the Blue Ridge Parkway). Trail Length: Falls can be viewed from the roadside, and there is a very short trail of well-maintained stairs that leads to the base of the falls. Trail Difficulty: No sweat! The roadside view is handicapped accessible, and the trail of stairs to the base is very safe and easy for the average hiker to use.
- Moore Cove Falls
Directions: The parking area for Moore Cove Falls is located one mile north of Looking Glass Falls on U.S. 276 on the right side of the road. Park, cross the bridge on foot, and begin the trail on the right at the Moore Cove sign. Trail Length: 0.7 miles. Trail Difficulty: Moderate
- Slide Rock Falls
Directions: Take U.S. 276 north to F.R. 475. Make a left onto F.R. 475 and drive 1.5 miles. Take a right onto F.R. 475-B and drive 1.1 miles, at which point you will reach a pull-off on the right side of the road. Trail Length: Falls can be viewed from the roadside. A very short walk will take you down to the base of the falls. Trail Difficulty: No sweat! The roadside view is handicapped accessible.
- Sliding Rock
Directions: Sliding Rock is also located within the Pisgah National Forest, not far from Looking Glass Falls. The paved parking area is just off of U.S. 276 (between U.S. 64 and the Blue Ridge Parkway). Sliding Rock is a popular and often crowded, recreational attraction. “Eleven thousand gallons of water per minute propel adventurous sliders 60 feet into a 6-foot-deep pool. A lifeguard is on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day” (Adams, Ken. North Carolina Waterfalls: Where to Find Them, How to Photograph Them. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1994. page 49). Trail Length: Very short. Trail Difficulty: No sweat! Only a short walk is required, and the man-made boardwalk trail is handicapped accessible.
- Selected Waterfalls of DuPont State Forest
Directions: From Asheville, take I-26 east to Exit 40. Turn right off the exit ramp onto NC-280 so that you are driving towards Brevard. Turn left (east) on US-64 and go 3.7 miles to the Texaco station in Penrose. Turn right on Crab Creek Rd. and continue 4.3 miles and turn right on DuPont Rd. for 3.1 miles. You will see a large, paved parking area on your right. The Hooker Falls trail starts from the parking lot itself. N35.19 W -83.85. Trail Length: 0.25 miles. Trail Difficulty: Easy
- Triple Falls
Directions: Follow the directions to Hooker Falls. From the paved parking area, carefully cross to the other side of the road and pick up the trail that leads to Triple Falls. Trail Length: 0.5 miles. Trail Difficulty: Moderate with some very steep sections.
- High Falls
Directions: Follow the directions to Triple Falls and turn left on the High Falls Trail at the intersection at the top of the hill. Trail Length: 5 minutes’ walk from the intersection at the top of the hill near Triple Falls. Trail Difficulty: Moderate with some very steep section. 8270
- Jump Skinny Dip Falls (Parkway South)
This three-tiered waterfall along the Yellowstone Prong drops a total of 30 feet through a rocky bend in an ice-cold mountain stream. Perched on the edge of the tallest falls is a rock that juts over a deep plunge pool. Jump at your own risk and clothing is optional. N 35.19 W -82.99
- Mountains to Sea (Parkway North MP 380)
The Mountains to Sea Trail parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway on the edge of Asheville, offering trail runners easy access to extensive forest runs. From the Folk Art Center, head north for a steady climb up to the Haw Creek Overlook, or head south for an easier out and back over rolling terrain. N 35.59 W -82.71
- Looking Glass Rock Trail (Pisgah National Forest, Brevard)
Looking Glass Rock’s stone face is one of the more recognizable landmarks from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The shear face is a popular climbing spot while the trail to the summit rewards hikers with stunning views. This moderately difficult hike climbs 1700 feet in 3 miles and is well marked with yellow blazes. As with all summit hikes, be careful when you reach the top.
- Deep Gap Trail (Mount Mitchell, Parkway North MP 388)
In just 4.5 miles, Deep Gap Trail crosses four 6,000-foot peaks while taking hikers across rocky out croppings and through spruce-fir forests. This trail takes you down Mt. Mitchell and up to the peak of Mt. Craig. Also, don’t forget your binoculars because this is a great spot to catch a glimpse of the Winter Wren and Blackburnian Warbler. N37.79 W -82.25
- Max Patch (Hot Springs)
This short, one mile hike on the Appalachian Trail takes you across the 4,600-foot grassy knob of Max Patch, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks. This is great hike with kids due to the easy access from the parking area. Likewise, kick back with a picnic and bring your kite. N 35.47 W -82.57
- Graveyard Fields Trail (Parkway South MP 410)
A moderate 3.2-mile out and back hike through a high alpine valley with two picturesque waterfalls. Start the hike at the lower end of the parking area. Be sure to stop at the first viewing platform to catch a glimpse of the first waterfall. N 35.19 W -82.50
- Cedar Rock Trail (Dupont State Forest, Mountain Bike)
Short but sweet, the 1.5-mile Cedar Rock Trail features a steep climb up eastern slickrock (large slabs of granite) topping out with killer views of Dupont State Forest. Take Big Rock trail from the top of the mountain for a fast, technical downhill over slickrock and single-track. We recommend a loop that includes Corn Mills Shoal to the Little River Trail to Cedar Rock Trail to Big Rock Trail. This loop is about 3 miles. Dupont has many trails so we highly recommend downloading a map from the site below or stopping at a local outdoor store to buy a map. N35.1 W -82.38
- RP to Looking Glass Rock Overlook (Parkway South, Road Ride, MP 388 to MP 417)
Roughly 27 miles of steady climbing on one of the most famous roads in America. You’ll pass several impressive overlooks, pedal through a handful of tunnels, and cap off the ride with a view of Looking Glass Rock, a towering dome of granite deep in Pisgah National Forest. Turn around and enjoy the downhill back to town. N35.50 W -82.76
- Town Mountain Hill Climb (City, Road Ride)
A classic road ride with a 1500-foot climb up Town Mountain that begins on the edge of downtown. The twisty ride features cityscape and mountain views. Hook it up with the Blue Ridge Parkway (north) and descend the steep Elk Mountain for a 30+ mile “in town” ride. N35.60 W -82.55
- Explorer/Lower Sidehill Loop (Bent Creek, Mountain Bike)
This intermediate 6.5-mile loop traverses some of Bent Creek’s most diverse terrain and features creek crossings, optional log rides, diverse woodlands & wildlife clearings with tremendous mountain vistas. After the ride be sure to cool off in Lake Powhatan. N 35.48 W -82.62
- Raft the Nantahala (Nantahala Gorge)
To get a sample of Western NC’s world class whitewater we suggest heading out to the Nantahala River in the Bryson City area. Paddle eight miles of class II whitewater through a steep, narrow mountain gorge. This classic rafting trip ends with the unnerving class III Nantahala Falls.
- Canoe the French Broad (City)
Canoe seven miles of the French Broad River as it meanders from the Bent Creek River Park to the Asheville Outdoor Center River Park. You’ll paddle through the Biltmore Estate, navigate mild rapids, and have plenty of opportunities for cool dips in the French Broad’s deep waters.
- Raft the Nolichucky (Nolichucky Gorge)
The Nolichucky River sits in the steepest river gorge east of the Mississippi River. The gorge is flanked by the Unaka Mountains which makes for an impressive wilderness setting. For more adventurous folks we suggest running the Nolichucky Gorge section and for the younger or more cautious tackle the Lower Nolichucky.
- Raft the Whitewater of the French Broad (Hot Springs)
The French Broad is calm as it cuts around downtown Asheville, but it’s a torrent of whitewater further west near Hot Springs. Run the half-day trip for an experience chocked full of class II-III rapids, or extend your trip to a full day and tackle the class IV Frank Bell’s rapid.
- French Broad Rafting Expeditions
Whether its adventure and excitement of whitewater rafting or the ease and relaxation of a calm water trip, French Broad Rafting Expeditions is the rafting outfitter for you, your family, or your group. 9800 US Hwy 25-70 Marshall, North Carolina 28753
- Asheville Outdoor Center
Canoeing, Kayaking, Rafting, and Tubing in Asheville, N.C. on the quiet, scenic French Broad River through Biltmore Estate property. This is truly a unique rafting, kayaking, and canoeing experience.521 Amboy Rd. Asheville North Carolina 28806
Western North Carolina is also home to numerous horse rental facilities. In many cases horseback riding rentals are offered by larger resorts, farms and ranches as part of a more complete set of vacation amenities, while other businesses focus entirely on horseback riding, riding lesions, and guided horseback adventures. Below you will find a list of featured horseback riding options in the Asheville area.
- Riverside Riding Stables
Offering pony rides, guiding trial rides, 2 hour river rides, and overnight packing trips. Swim with the horses. Located 36 miles East of Downtown Asheville. 1325 Freemantown Rd Rutherfordton, NC 28139
- Sandy Bottom Trail Rides
Riding options ranging from one hour to all day rides. Open year round.
Located 28 miles North of Downtown Asheville. 1459 Caney Fork Rd
Marshall, NC 28753-5476
- Whitewater Equestrian Center
Horseback ride on the 150 year old Hinkle family farm, with 375 acres of wilderness mountain land, spectacular views and abundant wildlife.
Located 55 miles South of Asheville
- Reems Creek Golf Club
The 18-hole “Reems Creek” course at the Reems Creek Golf Club facility in Weaverville, North Carolina features 6,492 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 71.9 and it has a slope rating of 133 on grass. Designed by Hawtree & Sons, the Reems Creek golf course opened in 1989. 36 Pink Fox Cove Rd. Weaverville, NC 28787
- Asheville Drifters
Asheville is located in the heart of some of the best trout fishing and smallmouth bass fishing in the country. They provide year ’round, world-class sport fishing opportunities in every direction. Whether interested in a float fishing trip for big trout in tailwaters, a wade fishing trip for wild and native trout, or float one of our freestone rivers in search of smallmouth bass and muskie they can make it happen. They also offer winter trout fishing trips.
Whether you call them “art walks”, “gallery hops or “studio strolls”, it all means one thing, lots of great Asheville art and an opportunity to connect with artists and other local art lovers. If this atmosphere sounds like your cup of tea, then you should check out the First Friday Art Walks that take place April through December between 5-8pm. Pick up a map at any of the 23 participating galleries or at the Chamber of Commerce and stroll, crawl, hop, or just walk your way through many fine galleries in Downtown Asheville.
River Arts District
The River Arts District consists of a vast array of artists and working studios in 22 former industrial and historical buildings spread out along a one mile stretch of the French Broad River. This eclectic area is an exciting exploration of arts, food and exercise. Plan on spending a day or more visiting artists working in their studios, grabbing a bite of local cuisine or a brew and taking time to find art that’s perfect for your world.
More than 200 artists work in paint, pencil, pottery, metal, fiber, glass, wax, paper and more. As unique and individual as their art, so too are their schedules. There are no official “Open Hours” for the River Arts District, but at any given time throughout the year, you will find a plethora of open studios and galleries. If you are coming to see someone in particular, your best bet is to check in with them before your visit. Look for "Studio Strolls" twice a year: the third weekend in May and second weekend in November.
Folk Art Center
Nestled among the pines and dogwoods of the Blue Ridge Parkway., yet only a few miles from Asheville, the Folk Art Center is the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s flagship facility. The Center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians. It houses the Guild’s century-old Allanstand Craft Shop, exhibitions in three galleries, a library and an auditorium.
Established in 1992, Grovewood Gallery is a nationally recognized gallery dedicated to fine American-made art and craft. We offer a large selection of handcrafted jewelry, pottery, fiber art, metalwork, and more, by over 400 artists and craftspeople from across the United States. The gallery also presents rotating exhibitions and features an impressive second-floor studio furniture collection and outdoor sculpture gardens. Visitors can enjoy craft demonstrations by local artists on the first Friday of every month during April – December.
Diane Wortham Theatre at Pack Place
In the heart of the Pack Square Cultural District is the city’s finest theatre, the Diana Wortham Theatre, an intimate 500 seat theatre inside the Pack Place complex, with convenient off-street parking and numerous restaurants within on block of the theatre. The theatre offers live performances of music, theatre and dance throughout the year by nationally touring artists (the Mainstage Series) as well as a wide array of performances by professional and avocational regional arts groups.
Asheville Community Theatre: In the 70th season, they offer classic and contemporary comedies, musicals and dramas in both the 399 seat Heston Mainstage Auditorium and the 49 seat black box theatre, 35below.
Fine Arts Theatre
Are commercial hyped big budget studio films not your cup of tea? Are you a fan of first-run independent films or foreign films? Well if you answered yes for either, then kick back and enjoy something different at the Fine Arts Theater in downtown Asheville. A dazzling array of art and independent films keep Asheville in the loop of being one of the few places in Western North Carolina where patrons who love the art of filmmaking can truly be fulfilled.
For a comprehensive list of theaters in Asheville, check ExploreAsheville.com.
Asheville's music scene is born of age old traditions, nurtured by a spirit of independence and the muse of the mountain landscape. Here you'll find our rhythm is proudly rooted in old time mountain music, but it's our full spectrum of innovative musicians who truly define our sound. Asheville offers a lively, and perhaps unexpected, experience for the musically-minded traveler. Listen for yourself and discover the toe-tapping sounds and soulful melodies propelling the Asheville songbook to the forefront of national attention.
The Orange Peel: Meet your new favorite music hall. The best part of catching a show at The Orange Peel is the intimacy of the performance space. No matter where you stand you’ll feel like you’re up close and personal with the band.
Grey Eagle: This laid-back performance space offers the chance to get up close and personal with your favorite emerging and established artists. Be sure to check out the full menu of local brew and bites at the in-house Taqueria.
US Cellular Center/Thomas Wolfe Auditorium: For most large-arena shows, the floor of the US Cellular Center is open to cut loose and dance, whereas Thomas Wolfe is perfect to catch a seated performance. Each space offers concessions ranging from family-friendly options to local brew and spirits.
Diana Wortham Theatre: The 500 seat opera-style theater and its massive stage hosts chamber orchestras, Asheville Lyric Opera and various touring theater companies and dance troupes.
Isis Music Hall: Perfect for date night, Isis combines their passion for food with music. Dinner shows are offered on a regular basis, but for those who only want to dance, the dining hall is often changed over to accommodate standing room shows as well.
A comprehensive list of music venues in Asheville can be found at ExploreAsheville.com.
Same Time Next Year
A Guide to Asheville Festivals
Montford Music & Arts Festival
Come, experience and enjoy Asheville’s largest, longest running, single day neighborhood street festival on Saturday in May from 10 am - 7 pm. Located on the main street of the Historic Montford neighborhood (just steps from Pinecrest B&B!), the festival has a new look with entertainment stages, artist and vendor booths, and central food court all now on one street, Montford Avenue. While visiting the neighborhood, you will walk the tree-lined street, where trolley’s used to travel, marvel at the unique architecture, from the turn of the century “Victorian” to Arts and Craft designs and observe the diversity mix of its proud neighbors, who yearly volunteer to be your hosts for the festival.
Downtown After 5
The concert series is the 3rd Friday of the month May through September on North Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville. Music starts at 5:15 pm and goes until 9 pm.
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
73rdd Anniversary in 2029 held July 16-19 and October 15-18 Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 pm + Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street | Downtown Asheville, NC
The variety of craft that will be on display ranges from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry.
General Admission, $8-12 and Children under 12 free
Biltmore Village Art & Craft Fair
The 47th annual Village Art and Craft Fair, August 1-2, 2020, continues a long tradition of bringing high-quality crafts to Biltmore Village. Presented by New Morning Gallery and Bellagio Art-to-Wear, the outdoor art festival is on the grounds of the Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village. (Take a look inside the beautiful church while you are there.)
The fair hosts 125 exhibitors from 20 states, representing the full spectrum of craft media – jewelry, ceramic, wood, fiber, metals, two-dimensional art and more. The craft fair is a great opportunity to encounter new artists and to talk with crafters one-on-one. Most exhibitors are not represented at New Morning Gallery, so visitors are sure to find new treasures along with a few old favorites.
Shindig On The Green
Held outdoors at Pack Square Park in the heart of downtown Asheville, Shindig on the Green is FREE and was voted the #1 Local Outdoor Concert in the Mountain Xpress "Best of WNC" survey for four years. Bring your instruments, your lawn chair or blanket, family, and friends and join the fun for these eight summer Saturdays.
The nation's longest running folk festival, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival showcases the top talent in traditional mountain music and dance during a three-evening festival in August at the wonderfully intimate Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place. Tickets on sale by visiting Diana Wortham Theatre's website.
Brew Grass Festival
Each year in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, we gather over 30 American breweries to showcase more than 100 different beers. We add a great lineup of national and regional bluegrass musicians. We also feature a variety of area food vendors and plenty of water. Put all these things together and you have the ingredients for the perfect beer
Day at the Spa
Sensibilities Day Spa
Welcome to Sensibilities Day Spa, Asheville’s oldest establishment dedicated to your health, wellness and relaxation. While visiting North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains or the Biltmore Estate, we invite you to join us for an afternoon of luxurious spa services. Relax and refresh at one of our beautiful locations – historic downtown or Biltmore Park in south Asheville.
An outdoor Japanese style hot tub retreat, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shoji Retreat is just 8-10 minutes east of downtown.
Originally constructed as housing for the employees of George Vanderbilt and his estate, the Biltmore Village recreates the old-fashioned atmosphere of a Victorian-era mountain community. Declared a historical site in 1979, today the Biltmore Village is home to over 30 unique shops, exquisite galleries and many fine, independent and locally owned restaurants. Most businesses are housed in historic cottages that are outlined with brick sidewalks and tree-lined streets, giving the Biltmore Village a charming ambiance. Slightly more upscale, and with a similar uniqueness to downtown Asheville, this is a delightful area to stroll through and explore.
Built by E.W. Grove, the visionary and creator of the Grove Park Inn, the Grove Arcade opened in 1929 and thrived until World War II as one of the country’s leading public markets. The historically renovated Grove Arcade has once again returned as a premier Asheville destination featuring the best this region has to offer from delicious dining, to one-of-a-kind art and an outdoor market where local merchants and artisans peddle their wares.
Art and antiques are practically synonymous in Asheville and its environs. Whether it’s new antique-art markets sprouting up like Asheville Flea for Y’All at the Riverside Salvage Station (last Sunday monthly May-October,) or gargantuan storage depositories like the Antique Tobacco Barn , antiquing has never been easier nor more adventurous.