Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is a vibrant and eclectic city with a rich history and culture.
Downtown Asheville is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries and museums, as well as a number of historic landmarks.
Asheville is also known for its many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing and camping.
Asheville was founded in 1797 and named after Samuel Ashe, the first president of the state of North Carolina.
The city quickly became a center for trade and commerce, as well as a popular tourist destination. Today, Asheville is home to a population of over 87,000 people.
Asheville has a thriving arts and culture scene. The city is home to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Asheville Art Museum and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Whether you want to go mountain biking through the nearby national forests, rock climbing in the southern Appalachian mountains or visit an Asheville museum, there are tons of fun things to do in Asheville North Carolina.
Things To Do In Asheville NC
1. Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is a historic house located in Asheville, North Carolina. Built in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, it is the largest privately-owned home in the United States.
Biltmore is a Chateauesque-style mansion that features 250 rooms, 43 bathrooms, 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and a bowling alley. The estate also includes four acres of formal gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the creator of New York City’s Central Park.
George Vanderbilt built Biltmore as a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. He commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the house, and construction began in 1889.
Vanderbilt wanted Biltmore Estate to be self-sufficient, so he also hired Olmsted to design the gardens and grounds. The estate was completed in 1895, and Vanderbilt opened it to the public in 1930.
Biltmore Estate is now one of Asheville’s most popular tourist attractions.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the house, explore the gardens, go horseback riding, visit the Winery, or dine at one of the estate’s restaurants.
Address: 1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC 28803-2662
2. The North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum is a public garden, founded in 1986.
The arboretum covers 434 acres (1.76 km2) of land, and includes 65 acres (260,000 m2) of cultivated gardens.
The arboretum’s mission is to “inspire people of all ages to appreciate plants and conserve our natural heritage through education, research and stewardship.”
The North Carolina Arboretum is home to a wide variety of plant life, including over 10,000 different types of plants.
The arboretum also has a number of gardens and exhibits, such as the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, the Native Plants Garden, and the Heritage Garden. The arboretum also offers a variety of educational programs and events, such as plant walks, gardening classes, and lectures.
The North Carolina Arboretum is open to the public year-round, and admission is free.
Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806-9311
3. Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens is a beautiful mountain area located in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina.
The area is known for its stunning views, hiking trails, and wildflowers. Craggy Gardens is a popular spot for picnics and photography.
The area was named for its rocky cliffs and crags, which are covered in mosses and lichens.
Craggy Gardens is home to a variety of plant and animal life.
The mountain laurel is the state flower of North Carolina, and it can be found blooming throughout the Craggy Gardens area in late spring.
Black bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, and other wildlife can also be seen in the area.
The Craggy Gardens Visitor Center is a great place to learn more about the area.
The center features exhibits on the history, geology, and ecology of Craggy Gardens. Rangers are also on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Address: Milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC 28805
4. Basilica of Saint Lawrence
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and parish church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The church was built in 1887 to serve the growing population of Catholics in the city.
The basilica is named for St. Lawrence, a third-century martyr who is the patron saint of cooks and chefs.
The church was designed by architect A.W.N. Pugin, who also designed the Gothic Revival Cathedral of St. Louis in Missouri.
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is one of only two churches in the United States that were designed by Pugin. The other is St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is built in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The exterior of the church is made of red brick with limestone trim.
The interior of the church is decorated with stained glass windows, marble altars, and mosaics.
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also a National Historic Landmark. The basilica is open to the public for tours and Masses.
Address: 501 N Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601-1732
5. Lexington Glassworks
Founded in 2001, Lexington Glassworks is a family-owned and operated glass studio located in the historic River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina.
The studio specializes in creating blown glass art, functional glassware, and custom lighting.
Lexington Glassworks is best known for their one-of-a-kind blown glass pendants, which are inspired by the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. The studio also offers a variety of other blown glass items, including vases, bowls, and plates.
In addition to blown glass, Lexington Glassworks also offers fused glass, which is a type of glass that is heated and cooled in a kiln to create unique patterns and shapes.
The studio’s lighting fixtures are all handmade and can be customized to fit any space.
They offer a variety of chandeliers, pendants, sconces, and table lamps. All of their lighting is made with high-quality materials and is designed to last for many years.
In addition to selling their own products, Lexington Glassworks also offers classes for people who want to learn how to blow glass or fuse glass. They offer both group classes and private lessons.
Address: 81 S Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801-3541
6. The Folk Art Center
The Folk Art Center in North Carolina is a hidden gem.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the traditional arts of the Appalachian region.
The Folk Art Center was founded in 1963 by Mrs. Lucy Morgan, a former schoolteacher with a passion for the arts. Mrs. Morgan started the center as a way to provide opportunities for local artists to sell their work.
Over the years, the center has grown into a thriving community of artists, crafters, and musicians.
The Folk Art Center offers a variety of classes and workshops taught by experienced instructors. There are also regular demonstrations and performances by regional artists.
The center also houses a museum with rotating exhibits of folk art from the Appalachian region.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, the Folk Art Center is the place to go.
The center’s three galleries offer a wide selection of handmade arts and crafts. You’ll find everything from pottery and jewelry to quilts and folk art paintings.
The Folk Art Center is also home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, a cooperative of over 900 craftspeople from nine states.
Address: 382 Blue Ridge Rd, Asheville, NC 28805-9325
7. Western North Carolina Nature Center
Situated right in the heart of Asheville, the Western North Carolina Nature Center is one of the best places to go to get up close and personal with some of the state’s most iconic wildlife.
With over 60 acres of land to explore, there are plenty of opportunities to see animals like black bears, river otters, red wolves and more in their natural habitat.
One of the best things about the Nature Center is that it offers something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stroll through the woods or an educational experience about the local wildlife, you’re sure to find it here.
And if you have kids in tow, they’ll be sure to love getting up close and personal with some of their favorite furry friends.
Address: 75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805-2820
8. River Arts District
Asheville’s River Arts District is a truly unique and special place in Asheville, North Carolina.
Once an industrial area full of warehouses and factories, the district has been transformed into an arts mecca, with over 60 working artist studios, galleries, restaurants and businesses.
The area is constantly buzzing with energy and creativity, and there is always something new to see and do.
The River Arts District has something for everyone.
Whether you’re looking to buy a one-of-a-kind piece of art, enjoy some delicious food or just take a leisurely stroll and take in the sights and sounds, the River Arts District is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening.
There are countless events and festivals throughout the year, so there’s always something going on.
If you’re an artist looking for a place to showcase your work, the River Arts District is the perfect place for you.
With over 60 working artist studios, there’s sure to be a perfect fit for you.
The district also has several galleries that feature rotating exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
And if you’re looking to get your hands dirty and try your hand at a new art form, there are plenty of opportunities to do that as well.
From pottery and painting to glass blowing and metalworking, there are countless ways to get creative in the River Arts District.
Address: 240 Broadway St, Asheville, NC 28801-2818
9. Grovewood Village
Grovewood Village, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is home to a variety of businesses, including galleries, studios, shops, restaurants, and a winery.
The village is situated on 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of land and features several historic buildings that date back to the early 1900s.
Grovewood Village is also home to The Grovewood Gallery, which showcases American art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the village or participate in one of the many workshops and classes that are offered.
Grovewood Gallery features an impressive collection of American art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The gallery is dedicated to promoting the work of both established and emerging artists.
The Grovewood Gallery also offers a variety of workshops and classes that are open to the public.
Address: 111 Grovewood Rd, Asheville, NC 28804-1062
10. Thomas Wolfe Memorial
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a historic house museum and the childhood home of author Thomas Wolfe and is now a National Historic Site.
The museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Thomas Wolfe and his family.
The house is open for tours and features exhibits on the life and work of Thomas Wolfe.
Thomas Wolfe was one of America’s most influential writers of the early 20th century. His novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River catapulted him to literary fame.
His writing was marked by its lyrical beauty, intense emotion, and vivid descriptions of place.
Wolfe was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1900. He lived in the house with his mother and brother until he left for college in 1919.
After college, Wolfe worked as a journalist and editor in New York City. He returned to Asheville in 1924 to care for his ailing mother.
Wolfe began writing Look Homeward, Angel during his time in Asheville. The novel was published in 1929 to great acclaim. It is based on Wolfe’s own life and tells the story of a young man’s coming-of-age in the Appalachian Mountains.
Of Time and the River was published in 1935. The novel follows the life of its protagonist, Eugene Gant, from childhood through his years at Harvard University and into his early adulthood.
Wolfe continued to write and publish novels throughout his career. His other works include You Can’t Go Home Again, The Web and the Rock, and The Hills Beyond.
Thomas Wolfe died of tuberculosis in 1938 at the age of 37. His ashes are buried at his mother’s grave in Asheville.
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday. Visitors can tour the house where Wolfe was born and raised, see exhibits on his life and work, and view a short film about the author.
Admission to the museum is free.
Address: 52 N Market St, Asheville, NC 28801-1623
11. Asheville Pinball Museum
The Asheville Pinball Museum is a family-friendly destination that celebrates the history and nostalgia of pinball machines.
Visitors can step back in time and enjoy classic pinball machines from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
The museum also features modern machines, which are updated regularly.
The games are set to free play, so visitors can enjoy hours of fun without spending a dime.
The Asheville Pinball Museum first opened its doors in December of 2014. Since then, it has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
In addition to housing an impressive collection of machines, the museum also offers monthly tournaments and special events.
Whether you’re a seasoned pinball wizard or a first-time player, the Asheville Pinball Museum is sure to provide a fun and unique experience.
Address: 1 Roberts St, Asheville, NC 28801-2822
12. Pack Square
Pack Square is a public park located in the heart of downtown Asheville.
The park is home to a variety of sculptures, monuments, and public art.
It is also the site of many festivals and events throughout the year.
Pack Square has been a central gathering place in Asheville for centuries. The Cherokee Indians used the square as a meeting place long before the arrival of European settlers.
In 1797, a courthouse was built on the square, which served as the center of government for Buncombe County.
Today, Pack Square is home to a number of historical buildings and monuments. These include the Vance Monument, the North Carolina State Museum of Art, and Pack Memorial Library.
The park is also home to a variety of public artworks, including sculptures by Fredrick Nichols and John A. Wilson.
Pack Square is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. It is the perfect place to take a stroll, enjoy the sights and sounds of downtown Asheville, and soak up some of the city’s history and culture.
Address: 121 S Pack Sq, Asheville, NC 28801-2822
13. Asheville Botanical Gardens
Asheville Botanical Gardens is a gorgeous spot in North Carolina to see a variety of native plants.
The gardens feature over 600 species of plants, many of which are rare or endangered.
Asheville Botanical Gardens is also home to a number of animals, including songbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies.
The gardens were founded in 1989 by Harry Browning and Mary Jo Hetzel.
Browning and Hetzel’s goal was to create a space where people could learn about and appreciate the native plants of Western North Carolina.
Today, the gardens are open to the public year-round and offer a variety of educational programs for all ages.
Address: 151 WT Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804-2822
14. Whitewater Raft The French Broad River
The French Broad River is a great place to go whitewater rafting, with its many rapids and beautiful scenery.
The French Broad River is located in western North Carolina. It is one of the oldest rivers in the United States, and is considered one of the most scenic rivers in the country. The river is approximately 200 miles long and flows through the Appalachian Mountains.
The French Broad River has many different types of rapids, ranging from Class I (the easiest) to Class V (the most difficult). Rafters can choose their level of difficulty depending on their experience and comfort level.
The French Broad River is home to many different types of wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, herons, and kingfishers. The river is also a popular spot for fishing, with trout being the most popular type of fish to catch.
Whether you’re an experienced rafter or a beginner, the French Broad River is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise.
15. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States.
Each year, millions of people visit the parkway to enjoy its scenic beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities. Along the parkway you’ll find many hiking and biking trails to choose from.
Originally conceived as a way to connect the Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the parkway was designed to provide visitors with a leisurely driving experience that would allow them to take in the stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains.
Construction of the parkway began in 1935 and took more than three decades to complete.
Today, the 469-mile long Blue Ridge Parkway is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country.
The parkway winds its way through Virginia and North Carolina, offering visitors stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as a number of other attractions along the way.
16. Grove Arcade
Grove Arcade is one of Asheville’s most iconic landmarks.
Built in the 1920s, this historic structure was once the largest indoor shopping mall in the southeastern United States.
Today, it is home to a variety of businesses, including restaurants, shops, and offices.
The five-story structure was designed by architect Charles N. Parker, and it cost approximately $1 million to construct.
When it opened its doors to the public in 1929, the Grove Arcade was the largest indoor shopping mall in the southeastern United States.
The original plans for the Grove Arcade called for an even larger complex that would have included a hotel, convention center, and movie theater. However, the onset of the Great Depression prevented these additions from being built.
Despite this setback, the Grove Arcade quickly became a popular destination for Asheville residents and visitors alike. In its heyday, the mall boasted over 60 businesses, including restaurants, shops, and offices.
The Arcade was also home to the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper, which had its offices and printing presses located in the complex.
The Grove Arcade continued to thrive until the 1970s, when a decline in downtown foot traffic led to several businesses moving out of the mall.
In an effort to revitalize the complex, the City of Asheville purchased the Grove Arcade in 1979. A renovation project was completed in 2002, and today the Grove Arcade is once again a thriving destination in downtown Asheville.
Address: 1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801-2382
17. The Omni Grove Park Inn
Built in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Omni Grove Park Inn is a historic AAA Four-Diamond hotel that originally opened in 1913.
The hotel was designed by architect Fred Loring Seely and built by Edwin Wiley Grove, a pharmacist and businessman who developed the mineral springs resort industry in Asheville.
The Omni Grove Park Inn has been visited by many U.S. Presidents over the years including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In fact, FDR stayed at the hotel more than any other president and even had a fireplace added to his suite so he could enjoy the views of the mountains while relaxing in front of a warm fire.
Today, The Omni Grove Park Inn continues to be one of Asheville’s most popular tourist destinations, offering visitors a chance to experience the hotel’s rich history and enjoy its luxurious amenities.
Address: 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804-3711
What is Asheville best known for?
Asheville is best known for its rich culture, stunning scenery, and thriving food scene. The city is home to a number of art galleries, museums, and music venues, as well as a variety of restaurants and breweries. Asheville is also popular for its outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and camping.
Is Asheville NC a party town?
Asheville is known for its nightlife and live music scene, but it is not necessarily a party town. There are a number of bars and clubs in the city, but many locals prefer to spend their time exploring the outdoors or enjoying the city’s cultural offerings.
For those looking for great drinks, checkout the Highland Brewing Company.
How many days should I spend in Asheville NC?
Most visitors spend at least a few days exploring Asheville and the surrounding area. There is a lot to see and do in the city, as well as in the nearby mountains. If you want to really experience all that Asheville has to offer, plan on spending at least a week in the area.
Is Asheville a walkable city?
Yes, Asheville is a very walkable city. The downtown area is small and easy to navigate, and there are plenty of sidewalks and pedestrian-friendly streets. You can easily explore the city on foot, or take advantage of the city’s public transportation system.
Most popular destinations are in walking distance,
What is the best month to visit Asheville North Carolina?
The best time to visit Asheville depends on what you want to do while you’re in town. The summer months are the busiest, but also offer the most opportunity for outdoor activities. The fall is a popular time to visit due to the beautiful foliage, and the winter and spring offer a quieter atmosphere and cooler temperatures.
Is Asheville safe?
Yes, Asheville is a safe city. The crime rate is relatively low, and visitors should not have any trouble exploring the city on their own.
There are very few complaints from Asheville tourists about encountering any issues in the Asheville area.
How far is Asheville from the beach?
Asheville is located approximately 2 hours from the nearest beach. However, there are a number of lakes in the area that offer opportunities for swimming, boating, and other water activities.