Explore all that you can see, eat, and drink along with the best things to do in North Asheville — from locals.
Less than 10 minutes from Downtown, this Asheville neighborhood is full of local love and promises satiated appetites and soul-fulfilling nature walks.
The North Asheville neighborhood houses a secret garden, a beautiful lake for bird watching, and one of the best spots to catch a sunset with drinks.
There’s also a brewery serving up pizza with a movie theater and delicious sushi, BBQ, seafood, taco, and burger joints. The North Asheville restaurants are stellar.
If you love hiking, find easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the Craggies and Mount Mitchell. Enjoy a peaceful spring or summer picnic among wildflowers.
So, what are the best things to do in North Asheville, NC? Where should you eat, drink, and stay?
As locals, we’ll share why you cannot miss this fantastic Asheville neighborhood. Let’s get started!
Read more about Asheville’s best neighborhoods.
Table of Contents
7 Best Things To Do In North Asheville, NC
1. Visit The Botanical Gardens At Asheville
Located at UNC-Asheville, enter a world that resembles scenes from The Secret Garden. Encounter quaint bridges, short nature trails, babbling brooks, and sprawling green landscape.
It’s free to park and enter the grounds. Peruse the Visitor Center — with restrooms — and then head out to enjoy this 10-acre oasis on the outskirts of the bustling city.
Explore even more of Asheville’s relaxing parks and gardens.
Botanical Gardens at Asheville | 151 WT Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804
2. Stroll Beaver Lake’s Perimeter Trail
Beaver Lake is a privately owned lake in North Asheville. However, the public is allowed to walk the beautiful 2.1-mile perimeter trail around the lake.
You will need a permit for those pooches, though.
The mostly flat dirt path is perfect for running, biking with the family, and taking a casual stroll. Benches surround the lake, and many locals store their kayaks and fishing boats here.
You might even catch a few picnickers, paddleboarders, and readers in their hammocks. A Free Little Library hides inside Beaver Lake’s loop.
Most of the year, follow the loop around the lake, which dips behind Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. Back here, enjoy a romantic little picnic table.
Sometimes, parts of the trail behind the sanctuary are closed for repairs and maintenance — which means that you may have to double back. The trail will grow muddy in the rainy season.
In the late summer, don’t miss the field of sunflowers across the street. Beaver Lake is gorgeous at sunset.
Park in the surrounding lots along the lake or at Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. Parking is free with donation boxes/polls throughout the grounds.
If you love the WNC lakes, Lake Louise is nearby in Weaverville.
Beaver Lake & Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary | Lots & street parking around 1056 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, NC 28804
3. Bird Watch At Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary
Along with Beaver Lake, visit the free bird sanctuary, which has a small boardwalk and informational signs throughout the area.
Bring your binoculars to spy a variety of species of birds, including hawks, herons, osprey, kites, vultures, sparrows, ducks, woodpeckers, swallows, wren, warblers, and bluebirds.
The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary provides a fantastic introduction to some of Western North Carolina’s wildlife and wildflowers. Relax on benches, and listen to the birds.
The Blue Ridge Audubon hosts free events and walking bird tours here. Be sure to check out their calendar of events.
Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary | 1056 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28804
4. Catch A Sunset At The Omni Grove Park Inn
Even as locals, we can appreciate all that the historic Omni Grove Park Inn has to offer. We frequent this luxury resort, situated on Sunset Mountain, for drinks, restaurants, and events.
Opened in 1913, Edwin Wiley Grove hoped that the fresh mountain air would cure people of life-threatening illnesses of that time period.
Today, the Grove Park Inn offers a world-famous spa, and most notably for travelers, the resort is one of the top sunset spots in the city.
Make fine dining reservations at Sunset Terrace or the more casual Edison (our pick), two incredible rooftop restaurants. The property has four restaurants in total.
These are, of course, some of Asheville’s most romantic spots, promising fresh American cuisine with our favorite seasonal cocktails in all of the city.
If you aren’t incredibly hungry, head to The Great Hall Bar for delicious charcuterie and drinks inside by the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces or outside on the second-level terrace.
One of the top Asheville winter activities, be your own judge at the Grove Park Inn’s famous Gingerbread House Competition while sipping hot cocoa.
Nothing beats an Appalachian Asheville Christmas.
Either park in an outdoor lot out front or in the Vanderbilt parking garage. For parts of the year, the first three hours of self-parking are complimentary. The Grove Park Inn also offers pricer valet parking.
The Omni Grove Park Inn | 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
5. Tour The Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum
One of Asheville’s smaller and free museums, you’ll usually catch a few of the Antique Car Museum’s gorgeous older cars sitting in front of The Omni Grove Park Inn.
Travel back in time with these antique and vintage automobiles.
The Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum showcases a rare 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and Asheville’s 1922 American LaFrance fire truck.
The museum is open seasonally from around April through December and sits in Grovewood Village, which also houses artist studios and galleries.
We highly suggest dropping into the gorgeous Grovewood Gallery while here. They sell artisan jewelry, pottery, paintings, blown glass, and woodwork, and are one of our favorite Asheville shops.
Next to the car museum, also find the free Biltmore Industries Homespun Museum to learn a little more about Biltmore’s history.
Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum | 111 Grovewood Rd, Asheville, NC 28804
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6. Hike The Blue Ridge Parkway
While visiting Asheville, you cannot skip driving along sections of the infamous and scenic Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP).
Adequately named “America’s favorite drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 2-lane, 45-mph road spanning 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina.
Two of the best ways to access the Blue Ridge Parkway from AVL include South and North Asheville.
South Asheville drops you off for nearby access to Mount Pisgah, Fryingpan Mountain Tower, Graveyard Fields, and Black Balsam.
Craggy Gardens provides another fabulous Asheville picnicking spot with charcoal grills and restrooms.
Craggy Pinnacle is a short and moderate hike to a 360-degree pinnacle, overlooking the Asheville watershed and BRP.
Also, find lesser-known hikes like Craven Gap — a hike the Obamas enjoyed on one of their Asheville visits — and Little Butt/Big Butt trails.
Keep driving north for the famous Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet.
Read more about all that you can do in Asheville, NC.
7. Pick A Pumpkin At Grace Episcopal Church (Fall)
Nothing beats an Asheville fall with that gorgeous mountain foliage.
You’ll know that it is officially autumn when the pop-up pumpkin stand arrives at Grace Episcopal Church in North Asheville.
Picking pumpkins here is by far one of our favorite fall things to do, and the stunning red door and gray and tan brick come to life with those orange, blue, and white pumpkins.
Pay by the size and weight of the pumpkins you choose.
Grace Episcopal Church | 871 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804
Where To Drink In North Asheville
Like all of Asheville, one of our favorite things to do in North Asheville is eat and drink.
The North Asheville breweries, bars, coffee shops, and restaurants will grow fairly busy with locals, but some stay quieter than Downtown Asheville’s most well-known restaurants.
A few of our favorite places to drink in North Asheville include:
- Asheville Pizza and Brewing – Serving up some of the best pizza in Asheville, Asheville Brewing has multiple locations across the city. However, the North Asheville location is the best with a movie theater and arcade, making it a great family restaurant. Find gluten-free and vegan pizza options along with sandwiches and apps. Their beer selection features delicious stouts and IPAs.
- PennyCup Coffee Co. – With multiple locations across the city, PennyCup is one of Asheville’s top coffee shops. Their North Asheville location is perfect for digital nomads with extra seating in the back. Grab some roasted beans to-go or as a delicious souvenir for home.
- Zillicoah Beer Company – Technically situated on the border of North Asheville and Woodfin, Zillicoah is our go-to for ambiance as one of the best breweries in Asheville. Sit along the French Broad River at a picnic table with a light beer. This is a 21+ brewery except on Sundays. They are also pet-friendly. Nearby on the edge of Asheville’s River Arts District, enjoy GF ginger beer at Ginger’s Revenge. Uncover even more great AVL food trucks.
Where To Eat In North Asheville
Best North Asheville Restaurants
The North Asheville neighborhood is filled with restaurants for both locals and travelers.
Read more about all of North Asheville’s must-try restaurants, and know that a few we recommend include:
- Plant – A nationally-recognized AVL vegan restaurant, Plant is a must whether or not you are vegan. This is our go-to restaurant for special occasions. Everything on the menu is vegan with plenty of gluten-free options. Be sure to order a cheese plate, and save room for dessert. Of course, this is also a great restaurant if you are lactose-intolerant.
- Luella’s Bar-B-Que – One of our personal favorite BBQ spots, Luella’s North Asheville restaurant serves up plentiful portions of your most coveted BBQ meats and sides. Sit inside or out, and get those takeout boxes ready.
- The Madness – There are plenty of fresh sushi restaurants in Asheville, and The Madness is perfect if you have both sushi and burger lovers in your group. Along with unique cocktails, The Madness features an extensive menu with appetizers, handhelds, and artisan sushi rolls. We also enjoy North Asheville’s Zen Sushi and Mr. Sushi.
- Jettie Rae’s Oyster House – For New England-style seafood, Jettie Rae’s is a must. Order a delicious shrimp cocktail with fried clams and drinks. Enjoy the covered patio or sit inside this renovated Gulf gas station. North Asheville’s Charlotte Street is home to restaurants, historic houses, and cafes.
- Mamacita’s Taco Temple – Another Charlotte Street restaurant, Taco Temple is a must for tacos in Asheville, even serving up delicious breakfast selections. The inside is decorated like a quaint church, and the menu has vegan and gf options.
- Bone & Broth – For local Asheville pubs that are casual but also atmospheric, Bone & Broth is a mix of neighborhood bar meets low-key fine dining. Serving up the best cocktails along with meats from The Chop Shop, choose from Southern apps, handhelds, or steak entrees.
- Rye Knot – Where can you find a restaurant, brewery, and distillery all in one? Rye Knot is a local go-to dinner and weekend lunch spot hidden behind Cecelia’s and Fresh Market on Merrimon Ave. Find casual American cuisine along with delicious cocktails. Explore more of Asheville’s distilleries.
Read more about all of Asheville’s top restaurants.
And, if you are looking for AVL restaurants in the Biltmore Estate area, North Asheville is a great breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot – most are only 10+ minutes by car from the estate.
Pastries & Dessert in North Asheville
There’s also no shortage of dessert shops across Asheville, including donut and ice cream places.
If you are hoping to fight that sugar craving head to:
- The Hop Ice Cream Cafe – One of the best ice cream spots with locations across Asheville, The Hop features dairy and vegan ice cream treats along with floats and shakes.
- Geraldine’s Bakery – Geraldine’s is a local bakery serving up pastries, cakes, cookies, and donuts. Smile at their Blue Ridge Mountains mural as you order NY-style specialties. If you are looking for more donut shops in Asheville, North AVL also has Duck Donuts.
North Asheville Neighborhoods – For Living/Moving Here
If you are thinking about moving to Asheville, North Asheville is one of the best Asheville neighborhoods with quick access to the city (under 10 minutes) and less congestion — with the exception of Merrimon Ave.
North Asheville is known for its pricy houses and the Asheville Country Club, a golfer’s dream — that comes with a price tag.
Along with those multi-million-dollar mansions, though, find starter (and slightly dated homes) in gorgeous and well-established neighborhoods.
Spanish-style villas, craftsman bungalows, Colonials, contemporary homes, and Tudor houses line the streets.
A few popular North Asheville neighborhoods include Beaverdam, Lakeview Park, and Grove Park.
This area of the city is home to retirees, UNC-Asheville college students, young families, and professionals. You’ll also see wildlife, including black bears, deer, wild turkeys, and bobcats.
The recent housing boom and competitive market have driven up the price of housing in North Asheville. What once sold for $200,000 may go for $500,000 to $850,000+.
Lastly, North Asheville is filled with specialty grocers, including Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods.
Where To Stay In North Asheville
If you wish to be at the heart of it all, we always suggest staying in one of Downtown Asheville’s gorgeous hotels.
Around North Asheville, though, enjoy the resort life or a quaint historic Bed and Breakfast.
- The Omni Grove Park Inn – Vacation in luxury at the Grove Park Inn on top of Sunset Mountain. Unwind at the Grove Park’s world-famous spa, dine at unforgettable restaurants with sunset views, and relax in the vast reception area with floor-to-ceiling fireplaces. The resort overlooks Downtown Asheville and Mount Pisgah. Downtown AVL is under 3 miles away and Biltmore is about a 15-minute drive.
- Princess Anne Hotel – Enjoy a historic hotel just minutes from Downtown that boasts of a happy hour and made-to-order breakfast. Outside, sit by the fountain, and know that this is a great accommodation for couples. The Princess Anne Hotel has been in operation since 1924.
- Chestnut Street Inn – This is a historic 1905 Colonial Revival Bed and Breakfast. This boutique inn has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine and has 8 guestrooms.
- Beaufort House Inn – Another Bed & Breakfast in the Historic Chestnut District, sleep in an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian. Spend time in the gardens or on the wrap-around porch. Enjoy breakfast, snacks, and wine time. The inn features 11 individually-designed guestrooms.
- Five Points by Sheraton – For a larger and pet-friendly hotel with free parking, a pool, and a fitness and business center, enjoy spacious rooms in a great location.
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What are your favorite North Asheville things to do?
What do you love most about North AVL? Where do you like to eat? What are your favorite breweries? Let us know in the comments!
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Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.