Things to Do in Asheville, NC
Like any community, there are plenty of great things to do in Asheville, NC. Sometimes these events, attractions and restaurants are well known, while other times it takes a well-trained eye or local guide to introduce you to them. If you are looking for more variety, the more populous cities in North Carolina are certain to accommodate your desires of activities.
Asheville’s arts and culture scene continues to grow as more artists, crafters and musicians settle here. The city's arts districts, museums and festivals stimulate the senses and inspire creativity. Events Throughout the year, there are exciting events for all ages. Explore Asheville’s beautiful downtown district and kick off a summer of fun with live music and great local cuisine during the Downtown After Five street festival beginning each May.
With art-focused festivals, musical events, a variety of fun attractions and much more, Asheville is home to a diverse, well-rounded cultural scene. Famous Film Draws Tourists
Magnificent mountain scenery and warm Southern hospitality have long attracted artistic types to Asheville and the surrounding area. Some of the most famous literary figures of the past 100 years were either Asheville natives or lived here during their lifetimes.
Surrounded by the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, The Grove Park Inn is the perfect place to enjoy a family vacation or romantic mountain getaway. This beautiful resort and spa, located just two miles from downtown Asheville, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and considered one of the top spa resorts in the country.
Whether it’s a sold-out Bob Dylan show, a rock opera or an up-and-coming local band, The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club is a must-see in Asheville, NC. The Orange Peel has sold nearly half a million tickets since its reopening in 2002 and has been named one of Rolling Stone magazine's Top 5 Rock Clubs in the country.
Throughout its history, Asheville’s riverfront has seen an economic ebb and flow of abundance and hardship along the waters of the city’s French Broad River. Today, abundance is flowing again, as a riverfront renaissance is riding a crest in Asheville’s flourishing and eclectic River Arts District (RAD). Setting the Stage
Music rocks the city of Asheville with the coming of Moogfest, the three-day, multivenue event where artists, audiences and energy coexist in harmony. But the music remains long after the curtains close on Moogfest's final act. Creatively Contagious
Asheville's creativity and offbeat spirit doesn't stop with its dining, shopping and music scene. The city also offers any number of festivals and events – some of which are so unique they defy categorization. ActionFest New in spring 2010 was the inaugural edition of ActionFest, the world’s first film festival for action films and those who make action cinema possible, from filmmakers to stuntmen and fight choreographers.
Asheville's famous Biltmore is many things: a National Historic Landmark, America's largest home, a renowned winery, a world-class luxury inn and even more.
Sound pioneer Bob Moog revolutionized popular music in 1964 when he invented the Moog synthesizer. A slate of rock's most influential bands — including the The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Beach Boys Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd and Parliament & Funkadelic — used Moog's invention to create new sounds and push rock music in new directions. Moog Synthesizers Today
Local. Home grown. Farm fresh. Serious foodies like to know about their food – and they want it to measure up, not just from farm to table, but from first bite to last. Home to hundreds of independent restaurants, Asheville has garnered attention from locals and visitors alike for its diverse flavor choices. Area restaurants, featuring everything from barbecue to Indian food, offer samplings of a slice of life as varied and original as Asheville itself. Barbecue
Asheville's 12 Bones Smokehouse is the go-to-spot for great smoked barbecue. This casual dining restaurant serves everything from baby back ribs, smoked turkey and chicken to vegetarian selections and sides.
Experience the unique and complex flavors of international vegetarian cuisine at Laughing Seed Café. Locally grown products and organic ingredients, combined with the flair for global fusion, give this restaurant's dishes a distinctive and delicious character that vegetarians and meat lovers alike will love.
As home to more than 250 independent restaurants, 16 annual food festivals (plus five annual beer festivals), 13 farmers markets and nearly a dozen microbreweries, there's no shortage of things to eat (and drink!) in Asheville, the city dubbed Foodtopia.
The farm-to-table movement that helped Asheville earn its status as a "Foodtopia" continues to grow as more restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets offer meats, vegetables, fruits and other foods that were locally grown and produced. This expansion of farm-fresh food has been embraced by residents and visitors who receive the benefit of eating the freshest foods they can find, while also helping the local economy.
As aficionados know, there’s chocolate, and then there’s chocolate: The kind some swear is better than – well, you know. And fortunately, available right here in Asheville. Indian Kulfi, Dragon’s Sigh, Ancient Pleasures, Canela Picante and Masala Chai may sound like exotic treasures – and they are. All are unique chocolate truffle flavors you’d be hard-pressed to find in an ordinary sweet shop, but are right at home in Asheville’s finest chocolate shops. French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Known as "Foodtopia" for its impressive array of fine restaurants, commitment to locally grown ingredients and variety of food-related events and initiatives, Asheville soon may also lead the nation in green restaurants. With 100,000 residents, the city already has an oversize devotion to culinary excellence and variety. It boasts more than 250 independent restaurants, 17 active farmers markets, longstanding support for the farm-to-table movement and a bevy of local farmers.
Asheville has refreshing answers to whatever "ales" you, thanks to 10 microbreweries doing business in the community. In 2011 and for the third consecutive year, Asheville won the national title of Beer City USA as voted by readers of Examiner.com and organized by the Denver, Colo.-based Brewers Association.
A city doesn’t call itself “Foodtopia" without having a vibrant dining scene, and Asheville restaurants helped the town live up to its nickname even in the worst economy. When things turned bad in 2009, it would have been understandable if many locally owned eateries simply turned off the ovens and closed their doors. Oddly enough, the exact opposite has happened. Asheville’s top independent restaurateurs have actually reinvigorated the city with an impressive selection of new spots to grab a meal.
If you’re coming to Asheville, you better bring your appetite. The city is famous for great food, and local restaurants serve up their specialties in style. A Trip for the Taste Buds
Some of the highest peaks in the East can be found in western North Carolina. With miles of trails winding through them, the terrain attracts mountain bikers from all over the world. Even Asheville locals – some of whom are world-renowned cyclists themselves – can find a quick, easy ride nearby.
Abundant waters and mild temperatures year round make Asheville a great fly-fishing destination. Reba Brinkman, a fly-fishing instructor with local outfitter Hunter Banks, has been fly-fishing for more than a dozen years. “There is an abundance of water and fishing opportunities in Asheville. We have great waters within a one-hour drive. The Davidson River is the most popular and (is) less than an hour’s drive,” she says.
Asheville residents enjoy being active by taking advantage of the city's parks and recreational outlets. The area's natural beauty – including mountain streams and rolling hills – and its moderate climate draw locals outdoors. Here's a look at some of the sports and recreation amenities Asheville has to offer: Float or Stroke
In Asheville, the music scene is in full swing and the crowd is primed. “Asheville has grown exponentially, and much of this is due to the public’s overwhelming support of it as an arts destination,” says Laura Blackley, a musician who has lived in Asheville since 1996, and hosts/produces two radio shows that spotlight local and regional music talent. “There is a certain, dare I say, spirituality about making one’s living as an artist. The Asheville scene reflects that, and as a general rule supports it,” she says. Make Your Own Music
Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty of room to roam in Asheville, with Outside Magazine recognizing Asheville as one of the best cities in America for outdoor recreation. Here are some of the attractions: North Carolina Arboretum
Relax and spend the day exploring the one of the many scenic parks that Asheville has to offer. Pack Square Park
In Asheville, outdoor recreation is out of sight.
1. Visit the famous Biltmore estate, a historical and architectural wonder. 2. Spend a day (or two) exploring the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. 3. Test your bravery on Sliding Rock waterfall, a 60-foot natural water slide.
Western North Carolina makes it easy to lace up your walking shoes and hit the trail. That’s what brought me to the area, and the trail guides I write give me a life-enriching opportunity to share my enthusiasm for our mountains with newcomers.
Asheville may be far enough north for snow, but it does not have a hockey team. And those who want to see live football should be prepared to visit a high school on a Friday night. Yes, the town was almost completely devoid of any full-contact spectator sport until a few tough ladies laced up their roller skates and decided it was time to dish out a little pain. Actually, it looks like a lot.
In Asheville, you'll find all the tried and true retailers like Dillard's, Old Navy, JCPenney and Gymboree. But also nestled in this western North Carolina community is a plethora of eclectic shops selling unique gifts, artwork, toys and furniture. Asheville Supports and Values Small Businesses Tops for Shoes has been a downtown staple since 1960. Owner Bob Carr says his staff – many of whom have been at the store for 15 to 30 years – can find a shoe for anyone.
Shoppers, grab your walking shoes if you’re heading to Asheville – the city offers a variety of retail opportunities, including boutiques, shopping malls and antique shops, located throughout the city. Read on to learn more about Asheville’s thriving shopping scene. Downtown