57 Best Things To Do In Asheville, NC From Locals

Uncover the best things to do in Asheville, NC, both popular and off-the-beaten-path, from locals.

Let’s face it: It’s pretty hard to get restless in the mountains, and as residents, we could list endless things to do in Asheville. 

Hit the trails and chase those breathtaking waterfalls. Slide down waterfall rocks and kiss a dragon tree on its snout. Cheer for the Asheville tourists, and gawk at Biltmore Estate’s library.

See where Katniss found Peeta hiding in The Hunger Games or head to District 12. Get your birdwatching on, and hunt ghosts from the town’s purple drunk bus.

Stop at a scenic overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall in love over a picnic on top of a mountain summit.

Plus, Asheville has a rich and scandalous literary history, a terrific music scene, vibrant street art – with a mural for The Dude – and a historic downtown filled with unique gems. Old school candy store, anyone?

For fun things to do in Asheville, imagine playing vintage pinball and video games all day long. Meet a dinosaur – well, at least its bones.

Plus, this is “Foodtopia,” and the restaurant, brewery, food truck, and coffee scenes are on fire.

Taste local libations at a distillery, brunch on a rooftop bar, eat at a James Beard award-winning restaurant, and meet up for book club at a champagne bookstore serving lit cocktails.

Watch a comedic version of Shakespeare in the Park surrounded by fireflies. Was that really body glitter in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? And, day trip across Western North Carolina.

So, if you are wondering what to do in Asheville for 2 days, a week, or a lifetime, we got you!

Keep reading for the best things to do in Asheville, NC for couples, families, friends, solo travelers, and residents – potential, new, and native – from locals. Let’s get started!

Be sure to check out our Asheville Events Calendar.

Best Things To Do in Asheville NC from Locals with image of The Omni Grove Park Inn's facade with orange and purple sunset over Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains
Uncover the best things to do in Asheville, NC – from locals.

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Table of Contents

57 Best Things To Do In Asheville, NC

1. Hike the trails

It’s no secret that hiking is one of the absolute best things to do in Asheville, and we have quite a few favorite hikes near Asheville.

In fact, those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains are why we moved here. What are some of our favorite trails?

For the best hikes with 360-degree views, head to:

  • Mount Pisgah
  • Fryingpan Mountain Tower
  • Craggy Pinnacle
  • Max Patch

In addition, Lover’s Leap in Hot Springs is sure to make your stomach drop, and like Max Patch, the pathway crosses the Appalachian Trail.

If you want quieter hikes, Craven Gap – where the Obamas hiked – and Trombatore Trail to Blue Ridge Pastures are less scenic but still beautiful.

Little & Big Butt hikes are peaceful with views from the top.

For short and easy kid-friendly hikes, head to:

  • Bearwallow Mountain
  • Biltmore Estate trails
  • The NC Arboretum
  • Pink Beds
  • Laurel River Trail (Laurel Creek Trail on GPS)

Can’t decide? Consider this likely-to-sell-out and popular guided hiking tour boasting waterfalls and mountain views.

2. Chase breathtaking waterfalls

When looking for more of the “must do” things to do in Asheville, chase those waterfalls. Transylvania County is known as the “Land of Waterfalls,” after all.

Explore over 200+ waterfalls spanning across Western North Carolina. Parts of Asheville (NC Micropolitan Statistical Area) and Brevard fall into many of these areas.

Our favorite waterfall hikes near Asheville include:

  • Linville Falls
  • Catawba Falls
  • Douglas Falls
  • Graveyard Field’s Second and Upper Falls
  • Daniel Ridge Falls
  • Crabtree Falls
  • Moore Cove Falls
  • Rainbow Falls

Drive up to Looking Glass Falls, and catch a double waterfall, Soco Falls, in Maggie Valley.

We’ll get to one of the best places to go in Asheville, The Hunger Games waterfalls at DuPont State Forest soon.

These falls are also another one of our personal top Asheville things to do when friends are in town.

If you are worried about getting lost or don’t have the right gear, consider taking a Pisgah National Forest waterfall guided tour, complete with hiking pools.

3. Drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway

best things to do in Asheville, NC driving down Blue Ridge Parkway with picture of Craggy Pinnacle Blue Ridge Parkway NC in the summer with green grass, view oof Craggy Gardens Visitor Center parking lot, BRP road, and mountains around Craggy Gardens with blue sky and cloudsPin
The Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with beautiful views, lookout areas, waterfalls, and hikes. This is the view of the BRP from Craggy Pinnacle.

Cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is another one of the “must” Asheville things to do and one of WNC’s most popular attractions.

The BRP runs from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Hop on this 45 mph, two-lane road and explore all of the gorgeous waterfalls, hikes, and scenic overlooks.

Many people enjoy taking a relaxed and small guided BRP waterfall tour.

Drive through the mountains via tunnels, and know that this area turns into a mural of vibrant eye candy in the fall.

In fact, we’d dare say that driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the absolute best things to do in Asheville in October.

In the spring and summer, the Parkway fills in with gorgeous wildflowers and rhododendrons. It is a dream for bikers and motorcyclists.

Spy romantic fog, artists and birdwatchers pulled over at designated spots, and serene wildlife like black bears.

Just keep in mind that many parts of the BRP and its gates close in the winter for ice and weather. Fog may also obscure your views.

We recommend checking with the National Park Service for all Blue Ridge Parkway road and facility closures, especially if the Blue Ridge Parkway is on your Asheville bucket list.

And, if you don’t enjoy guided tours, you might love this budget-friendly Blue Ridge Parkway self-guided audio tour.

4. Watch a Grove Park Inn sunset

Catching a sunset at the famous and historic Omni Grove Park Inn is one of the best things to do in Asheville, NC at night.

You don’t have to stay on the property to access this gorgeous adult Disney World-like resort.

Treat yourself to dinner on Sunset Terrace, watching the sun melt into Downtown Asheville and Mount Pisgah.

We prefer grabbing a lighter and more budget-friendly dinner with some of our favorite cocktails at Edison.

Edison is truly one of Asheville’s most unforgettable dining experiences. Think grilled octopus, a famous burger, seafood, and pasta.

Just be sure to make advanced reservations online, and check those sunset times.

Or, if you are stuffed from lunch, snack on a charcuterie board with drinks at The Great Hall Bar. The second-level outdoor terrace is first-come, first-serve.

In the winter in Asheville, everyone flocks to Grove Park to see the Gingerbread House Competition while sipping on hot chocolate. On a cold day, sit in front of the floor-to-ceiling fireplaces.

The Historic Grove Park Inn is truly one of the most iconic Asheville landmarks along with Biltmore Estate.

5. Explore a state or national park

If you are wondering what to do in Asheville to fulfill your outdoor bucket list, North Carolina is also famous for its state and national parks like:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Chimney Rock State Park
  • Mount Mitchell
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Gorges State Park

Pisgah National Forest is one of North Carolina’s most popular parks with more than 500,000 acres of forest. You’ll find many of the waterfalls and BRP hikes mentioned above here.

Climb the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at Mount Mitchell with an elevation clocking in at 6684 feet. Spy all of your favorite mountains from afar.

Grandfather Mountain is filled with biodiversity. The mountain peaks at 5,946 feet above sea level.

One of the most talked-about and fun things to do in Asheville includes walking across Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge – if you dare.

Be sure to visit the animal habitats, too. On your way out of Grandfather Mountain, look for Forrest Gump Curve where scenes from the movie were filmed.

Spy elk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is one of the most visited national parks in America.

For an introduction to the Smokies, start at the Oconaluftee River Trail in Cherokee, NC. Right before the park entrance, catch Mingo Falls.

And know that even as locals, exploring the Smokies can be overwhelming. If you are adventurous or love off-roading, consider a small Jeep tour.

For the top two national park Asheville attractions, especially with limited time, we’d go with the Smokies and Grandfather Mountain.

6. Watch Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park Asheville seating with white man in law chair wearing gray hat and holding Malarkey mug in front of Shakespeare stagePin
Nothing beats sitting under the stars surrounded by fireflies while watching famous Shakespeare plays.

Wondering what to do in Asheville during the spring and summer?

One of our absolute favorite free things to do in Asheville includes grabbing dinner at Nine Mile or Tall John’s and watching the Montford Park Players perform a Shakespeare play.

Picture quirky and comedic theater under the stars as fireflies light up the night sky.

Most Friday through Sunday evenings, May through October, watch the Montford Park Players perform at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater in the Historic Montford neighborhood of Asheville.

Many of the plays are by Shakespeare, but they mix it up too. Think The Sword in the Stone and The Little Prince for non-Shakespeare plays.

Then, enjoy classics like Macbeth, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Bring or purchase boozy beverages. Theatergoers go all out with their professional picnic baskets. Rent or bring your own chairs and blankets

While tickets are free, leave a generous donation. Performers circulate the crowd at intermission with collection baskets.

Well-behaved pooches are welcome. There’s plenty of free parking around the area. Riverside Cemetery is nearby.

While some plays are family-friendly, attending Shakespeare in the Park is also one of the most romantic things to do in Asheville.

7. Sip craft cocktails on a rooftop bar

Rooftop bar hopping always makes the top of the list of the best things to do in Asheville, NC. You’ll see why…

The poshest Asheville rooftop bars promise sunsets, small plates filled with Southern favorites, and jaw-dropping views.

For the best rooftop bars in Asheville, we always recommend:

  • Capella On 9
  • Top Of The Monk
  • The Montford Rooftop Bar
  • Social Lounge
  • Hemingway’s Cuba

There is also Antidote – part of Chemist Spirits – and Pillar Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn.

You may wish to take an Asheville Rooftop Bar Tour to see them all with a designated driver.

8. Tour Biltmore Estate

Touring Biltmore Estate – America’s largest home – is one of the top Asheville attractions for first-time visitors.

Even as locals, we are annual passholders every year and head to Biltmore a few times a month. Yes, a ticket will cost you at least $60+, but it’s completely worth it.

Easily spend a day at Biltmore touring the house and wine tasting.

Grab a bite to eat, walk the gardens – especially in springtime for the blooms – and hike or bike one of the estate’s 22 miles worth of trails.

Take one of Biltmore’s delicious and intriguing special tours for wine and history lovers. Think red wine and chocolate.

Also, know that there are kid-friendly activities on the Estate, including a farmyard, playground, and live demonstrations.

Biltmore highlights include visiting Biltmore pool and library, taking a Behind The Scenes Winery Tour, and walking the lagoon and gardens.

For meals at Biltmore, Stable Cafe serves up the best sandwiches and cocktails in the coolest setting: The former Vanderbilt horse stables.

The cafe is also one of Asheville’s top kid-friendly restaurants for travelers.

Then, as an ode to their beloved Saint Bernard, Cedric’s Tavern in Antler Hill Village offers seasonal cocktails, delicious southern and American contemporary cuisine, and pickles.

Stay overnight at Biltmore’s gorgeous properties like The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate or The Inn On Biltmore Estate.

If you are visiting WNC from November through early January, Biltmore at Christmastime is spectacular and one of the best winter things to do in Asheville.

Enjoy a Candlelight Christmas Evenings Tour of the home with blazing fireplaces and Christmas trees in every room.

Make the most out of your Biltmore ticket with all of our Biltmore Guides, including our Biltmore facts cheat sheet.

And, don’t miss the best restaurants to eat at near Biltmore – think boozy milkshakes with burgers, Indian fine dining, and charcuterie in a ritzy hunting lodge.

Biltmore is one of the best Asheville landmarks where you get the most bang for your buck.

9. Attend an event at The NC Arboretum

Wondering what to do in Asheville next? How about visiting one of the most beautiful gardens in WNC?

We are members of The North Carolina Arboretum, located immediately before an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. In fact, it’s one of our favorite places to go in Asheville as locals.

Along with gorgeous nature, hiking, and biking trails, The NC Arboretum is most famous for its Winter Lights Festival.

This massive holiday lights display is by far one of the best winter things to do in Asheville.

In November and December, the Arboretum lights up its gardens with innovative creations, wildlife exhibits, and nature-themed light displays.

Drink peppermint hot chocolate with Christmas cookies throughout the gardens as holiday lights dance to music. Do you spy a unicorn or hungry caterpillar?

If you are visiting in the spring and summer, The NC Arboretum fills its gardens with special exhibits. Past displays include LEGO installations and art sculptures.

Of course, you can always see Bonsais, butterflies, and their famous Quilt Garden.

Grab lunch at the Bent Creek Bistro and picnic on the lawn. You must pay a small parking fee to enter the grounds.

10. Devour an unforgettable dinner

Bouchon French Restaurant Downtown Asheville NC with picture of close up of knife with bee engraved in it and duck entreePin
The small touches at Bouchon make this Downtown Asheville restaurant utterly charming.

Nicknamed “Foodtopia,” it’s no secret that eating out is one of the best things to do in Asheville for foodies.

Plant, Asheville’s top vegan restaurant, is a mind-blowing experience – and we aren’t vegan. RAD’s RosaBees serves up the best Polynesian.

Perfect date night restaurants before a concert include:

For mouthwatering Asheville fine dining, try:

  • La Bodega by Cúrate
  • The Bull and Beggar
  • Neng Jr.’s
  • Sunset Terrace
  • Tall John’s

Luella’s and Bear’s are great for Asheville BBQ.

For casual Asheville restaurants, try:

  • Shanghai Dumpling House
  • Pack’s Tavern
  • Haywood Common
  • Wicked Weed
  • Gemelli

We always recommend making dining reservations when possible. Many of the restaurants use Open Table or Resy.

If you’d prefer to order in, don’t miss our favorite Asheville takeout spots. Just be sure to add “eat all of the food” to your Asheville bucket list.

11. Picnic on a mountain summit

Craggy Gardens Picnic Asheville NC with white brunette male in black fleece and cargo shorts grilling burgers on charcoal grillPin
Enjoy a picnic at Craggy Gardens.

Are you looking for more budget-friendly and outdoor Asheville activities? Why not picnic?

Living in Asheville, we have transformed into professional picnickers. Pack a picnic for your hike or enjoy something lighter by a lake.

For easy picnics, head to a winery with your takeout subs like Sawyer Springs or Saint Paul. Stroll Beaver Lake in North Asheville or Lake Louise in Weaverville.

For the best hiking picnics areas near Asheville, we love:

  • Max Patch
  • Bearwallow Mountain
  • Bridal Veil Falls (DuPont location)
  • Trombatore Trail
  • Black Balsam
  • Pink Beds
  • Craggy Gardens
  • Mount Pisgah

Grab our full list of the best Asheville picnic spots – we couldn’t possibly name them all here.

12. Play vintage arcade games

Appalachian Pinball Museum Hendersonville NC with four lit up pinball machinesPin
Did someone say Frogger, Super Mario Kart, and old-school pinball?

Playing vintage arcade games is by far one of the most fun things to do in Asheville, especially on a rainy day.

Located behind the Grove Arcade (1 Battle Square Ste 1b), if you are a gamer, head to the Asheville Pinball Museum.

Spend $15+ for a wristband to play old arcade games as long as you like. Of course, kids are welcome too.

Find older games like Donkey Kong and Frogger, video consoles for Nintendo and Super Nintendo, and of course, pinball machines.

There is also the Appalachian Pinball Museum in Hendersonville. The Pinball Museums are great activities in Asheville and Hendersonville on rainy days.

Discover even more rainy day activities in Asheville, including salt caves, movies with beer, and trying your luck at the slot machines.

13. Learn about critters at the WNC Nature Center

For more educational Asheville things to do, meet the furry Western North Carolina locals in a safe environment (instead of on the trails or our front steps…).

Head to the WNC Nature Center, home to black bears, owls, wolves, otters, and red pandas. The center also houses snakes, turtles, hawks, goats, frogs, and donkeys.

Find plenty of exploration stations and themed playground areas for the littles – spider-web jungle gym included. Wide and paved walking paths are extra stroller-friendly.

During the summer – June through August – attend the WNC Nature Center’s Brews and Bears. After hours, enjoy the grounds with a beer or cider in hand. Find local eats too.

Like The North Carolina Arboretum, there is a small entrance fee. Or, become a member.

If you are a Buncombe County library card holder, reserve a ZOOM Pass for free admission.

Visiting the WNC Nature Center is one of the most kid-friendly things to do in Asheville.

14. Spend a day at the lake

Lake Morse Trail Lake Lure NC with white brunette male in blue shirt and tan shorts on paved path with Chimney Rock in backgroundPin
Walk around Lake Lure after visiting Chimney Rock.

Western North Carolina is known for its gorgeous lakes including:

  • Lake Lure
  • Lake Junaluska
  • Lake James
  • Lake Julian
  • Lake Louise
  • Lake Tomahawk

One of our top things to do in Asheville as locals, we love walking the 2-mile Perimeter Trail around Beaver Lake and dipping into the Bird Sanctuary.

Beaver Lake is perfect for a stroll after a North Asheville lunch or dinner. Bring a book and some binoculars. The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary houses a .5-mile boardwalk.

Birdwatchers can spy hawks, osprey, herons, vultures, kites, sparrows, woodpeckers, ducks, wrens, swallows, warblers, and bluebirds.

Although Beaver Lake is privately owned, the area is open to the public and free. Please consider leaving a donation in the parking lot box, though.

You will need a permit for your pooch, and there are no on-site restrooms. Beaver Lake is another one of our top low-key places to go in Asheville to get some fresh air.

15. Drink craft beer

Wicked Weed Brewing Brewpub Asheville NC with glass of foamy stout in front of outside area taproomPin
What’s the most famous craft brewery in Asheville? Wicked Weed!

Let’s be real, drinking beer is one of the best things to do in Asheville, NC, especially after a long hike. We are all about rewards.

Plus, if you are a boozy connoisseur, you cannot come to Asheville without trying as much craft beer as possible, which is most easily done on a Downtown Asheville guided beer tour.

As locals, our favorite Asheville craft breweries include:

  • Asheville Brewing
  • Zillicoah Beer
  • Wedge at Foundation
  • Hillman Beer
  • Green Man
  • 7 Clans Brewing (new in 2022 brewery & Indigenous and female-majority owned)

If basements are your jam, One World Brewing (Downtown) is a lesser-frequented AVL brewery.

South Slope guards our favorite breweries like Hi-Wire and Catawba, and don’t miss famous places like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Wicked Weed, and Burial.

For ginger beer – gluten-free and Keto – you have to try Ginger’s Revenge. For something different, Funkatorium (sours) are sure to impress or weird you out.

Whistle Hop is great for kids and dogs – and an Asheville destination since it’s all about those old train cars.

Read more about Asheville’s pet-friendly breweries and gluten-reduced beer too.

16. Visit The Hunger Games waterfalls

The best Asheville things to do are right out of the movies.

This makes even more sense when you realize that Wilmington, NC has one of the largest production facilities east of California.

Take the 40-minute drive to DuPont Forest located in Cedar Mountain. It’s worth it.

One of the top things to do in Asheville includes trekking the three waterfall hike at DuPont.

Parts of both The Last Of The Mohicans and The Hunger Games were filmed at DuPont State Recreational Forest’s Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

We suggest parking in the Hooker Falls Access Area. Head to Hooker Falls first – the easiest waterfall hike – and then loop back up to Triple Falls and High Falls.

If you still have energy, walk under the covered wooden bridge to Bridal Veil Falls, which adds 4 more miles to your hike.

If you need lunch afterward, drive 20 minutes to nearby Hendersonville – another one of our favorite towns and top Asheville activities. We’ll share more about Hendersonville below.

P.S. For even more Hunger Games filming locations, head to Henry River Mill Village, an abandoned NC town and home to District 12. It’s one of the coolest places to see near Asheville.

17. Celebrate the weekend with brunch

Social Lounge Asheville Sunday Brunch with southwestern egg bowl with peppers and waffle friesPin
Nothing beats brunch with cocktails and live music at Social Lounge.

What’s one of Asheville, NC’s best things to do on the weekend, especially after a long night out at the breweries and bars?

Brunch! Dine at a rooftop restaurant while live guitar music gently strums in the background. Think breakfast bowls, lox, handhelds, and pancakes.

A few brunch spots to get you started include:

  • The Social Lounge
  • La Bodega
  • Early Girl Eatery
  • Isa’s French Bistro
  • The Market Place
  • ELDR

One of our personal weekend brunch favorites includes Jerusalem Garden Cafe for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine in Downtown Asheville.

18. Meet Asheville’s ghosts

Haunted Pack Square Asheville NC with tall historic building with bullseye in the pavementPin
Do you know the urban legend of this bullseye in Pack Square?

One of the best things to do in Asheville, NC for dark tourists is to take a ghost tour, especially If you love paranormal stories and haunted houses.

Along with LaZoom – the purple drunk bus and one of the goofiest activities in Asheville – Gray Line Trolley Tours offers a fun 75-minute tour of haunted Asheville.

Three more popular Asheville ghost tours include:

For spooky adventures in Asheville, “meet” local ghosts, including the Grove Park Inn’s Pink Lady and Montford’s Zelda Fitzgerald.

See why you should never turn off your car at Helen’s Bridge. Eat at a haunted restaurant.

Then, uncover the urban legend of the bullseye in Pack Square – it’s gruesome – and always walk down Church Street with one eye out for a nun.

North Carolina is a state filled with cryptids, folklore, and monsters similar to Nessie and Bigfoot.  The Boojum isn’t just a beer.

For even more things to do near Asheville, explore NC’s abandoned sites and ghost towns.

19. Wine taste at the hipster wineries

pleb urban winery Asheville NC with bright mural logo and wine flight with red, pink, and orange winePin
Asheville and Western North Carolina are filled with sleek wineries with stunning views.

Since we are Uncorked Asheville, it’s no surprise that drinking wine is one of our top Asheville things to do.

And trust us, there is no shortage of wineries in and around Asheville.

Directly in Asheville, check out pleb urban winery in the River Arts District. Of course, Biltmore Winery is popular if you are on the estate, and wine tasting there is included with your ticket.

Biltmore also offers a Behind-The-Scenes winery tour and a Chocolate And Red Wine Tasting Tour.

If you head out of Asheville, our personal favorite wineries lie in Hendersonville such as:

  • Souther Williams
  • St. Paul Mountain Vineyards
  • Stone Ashe Vineyards
  • Sawyer Springs

In Flat Rock, we love Marked Tree Vineyard – and both Hendersonville and Flat Rock make for terrific day trips from Asheville.

20. Stalk that fall foliage

Are you wondering what to do in Asheville in the fall?

Asheville sees the most visitors in October and around the holidays. What’s the big deal? The leaves!

Growing up in CT, we thought New England was the boss of fall foliage. Who knew that the Western North Carolina mountains had an equally breathtaking fall season?

Our top fall things to do in Asheville, NC include trekking those breathtaking fall leaf hikes, picking pumpkins, and wine tasting at the vineyards with the best views.

For stunning fall foliage, head to:

  • Graveyard Fields & Loop
  • Black Balsam via the Art Loeb and Sam Knob Trails
  • Mount Pisgah
  • Craggy Gardens

Asheville in the fall is also a great time to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just be sure to check the fall festival and color forecast.

Personally, we think every Asheville bucket list should include becoming a leaf chaser…

21. Head to a roller skating rink

In the late spring and mid-fall, one of our favorite things to do in Asheville includes roller skating and rollerblading at Carrier Park.

Along with its outdoor skating and hockey rink, Carrier Park also houses a former NASCAR circuit turned velodrome – or “Mellowdrome,” as locals know it. 

Safely run, bike, and skate loops with Asheville’s residents.

Or, if you love those fun indoor rinks with music and strobe lights, head to Waynesville’s Smoky Mountain Sk8way, which also has mini-golf, inflatables, and comfort food.

22. Relax with 30 tons of pink salt

Asheville Salt Cave in North Carolina with two white brunette women taking selfie in front of the community salt cave which has orange lightingPin
Throw on some yoga pants and sweats, and head to the Asheville Salt Cave. No phones or food and drink are allowed inside.

As world travelers, we never imagined that one of the best attractions in Asheville would make you feel like you were in another country.

But that’s exactly the vibe at the Asheville Salt Cave. And yes, we were a bit skeptical of this unique Asheville experience at first.

Reservations are required, and if you can, visit on a cheaper and quieter Monday or Tuesday.

We love the community salt cave experience. Sit in zero-gravity chairs surrounded by 30 tons of pure pink salt.

They also have floor mats and blankets in case you get chilly. Listen to cascading water features and gently whisper to your bestie or partner before closing your eyes and breathing in that rich salt air.

Enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the salt and feel utterly relaxed.

They even have a children’s quiet play session, and offer other services like massages and sound healing concerts.

The Asheville Salt Cave is truly one of the coolest things to do in Asheville – and one that you won’t soon forget.

23. Gossip at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Thomas Wolfe Memorial Asheville NCPin
For bibliotourists, The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a must. Photo of Christine by Sarah Resta Photography.

We always recommend reading a book set in a destination before heading there, and Asheville is no exception.

Wolfe is a famous Asheville writer and one of those not-to-miss North Carolina authors.

You might recognize his name from his novel Look Homeward, Angel. The story is a loose retelling of Wolfe’s life growing up in Asheville, NC.

Most notably, Wolfe barely changed the names and spellings of his Asheville community members. As you can imagine, this was scandalous and ill-received gossip, at the time.

Today, one of the best Asheville things to do for book lovers includes taking a tour of The Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Head into Julia Elizabeth Westall Wolfe’s (Wolfe’s mother) boarding house on Market Street. Wolfe’s childhood home is no longer standing, but he spent most of his childhood in this business home.

Quite the character, Julia’s story is both inspirational and a tad frustrating. She was quite the entrepreneur. Also, watch a short video, and tour the museum.

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is another must-do Asheville landmark.

24. Appreciate breakfast like a local

Pulp and Sprout Asheville Breakfast Bowl with avocado, sprouts, beets, and cucumber and sandwich on plate behind itPin
Nothing beats a breakfast bowl from Pulp & Sprout.

Waking up in the mountains is rough, especially if there is fog. The darker mornings make it harder to get up and out the door early.

Fuel up for your Asheville adventures like waterfall chasing.

As foodies, one of our favorite things to do in Asheville includes getting breakfast – both like a local and a visitor.

If you are searching for a non-hotel breakfast, Tupelo Honey is one of Downtown Asheville’s most popular restaurants.

Not only do they serve breakfast all day, but they also offer lunch and dinner and locally source their food. Their mimosas are delicious.

For more local spots, though, Sunny Point Cafe is one of the best West Asheville restaurants. And, for a local vegan breakfast, head to Pulp & Sprout.

We also enjoy Montford’s All Day Darling, and 5 Points is the best old-school breakfast diner. Green Sage Cafe makes for a quick and healthy stop.

Or, grab pastries and coffee from Old Europe Pastries or Geraldine’s Bakery.

25. Play in the park

For more outdoor things to do in Asheville, know that the city is full of beautiful parks and gardens, perfect for casual strolls, picnics, and local sports.

Along with the skating rink and Mellowdrome mentioned above, Carrier Park has volleyball and basketball courts along with a playground and lawn bowling area.

Or, enjoy the French Broad River Greenway connecting French Broad River and Carrier Parks. French Broad River Park even boasts a dog park.

Personally, we cannot get enough of the newly renovated RAD Riverwalk with designated bike lanes and a strolling path along the scenic French Broad River.

While there, drop into RAD’s mouthwatering restaurants, artists’ studios, and breweries. Jam out in RAD’s Skatepark – one of the best places in Asheville for teens and tweens.

Lastly, attend a fun festival or arts and crafts fair in Pack Square. If you are wondering what to do in Asheville next, this Downtown park almost always has something fun happening.

Of course, playing in the park is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Asheville too.

26. Sip hot chocolate & eat truffles

If you are looking for Asheville, NC things to do in one place, Pack Square is always a good idea. Find a park, art museum, music, restaurants, and chocolate shops.

One of Asheville’s top attractions, French Broad Chocolate Lounge has everything a chocolate lover desires.

Select from gourmet desserts, hot cocoa, truffles, bonbons, cakes, custards, cookies, coffee, brownies, booze, and ice cream.

Most notably, French Broad Chocolates serves up lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, including vegan truffles, hot chocolate, and affogatos.

At the French Broad Chocolate Factory Riverside Drive location, take a 45-minute chocolate factory tour.

We also personally love nearby Asheville Chocolate. Asheville Chocolate specializes in tea, coffee, and hot chocolate with a variety of hand-crafted chocolates – with vegan and gluten-free options.

They’ve even sculpted chocolate in the shape of Scotties. Plus, find decadent gelato.

For more sweet things to do in Asheville, head to a tempting dessert cafe. Crave has hookah, extravagant dessert cocktails, and food.

Or, get ice cream sandwiches at Sunshine Sammies. Enjoy vegan and dairy ice cream scoops at one of The Hop’s numerous locations.

27. Laugh along with LaZoom

LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours Asheville NC purple bus with open windows and yellow trimPin
Are you wondering what that purple bus tearing through town is all about?

If you are looking for hilariously fun things to do in Asheville, check out the LaZoom bus.

How many times have you spied a purple bus tearing down the streets of Asheville full of giggling and rowdy adults?!

LaZoom offers different comedy tours, some designed for the entire family and others for the boozier folks with 18+ or 21+ age requirements.

We suggest purchasing tickets in advance. Get there early, too, as you board the bus based on your arrival order.

For Tom’s birthday, we booked the LaZoom Ghost Bus Tour. It was totally worth that ticket price, at least once.

Walk into a funky, kitschy bar full of eccentric tour guides and cat pillows before hopping on the drunk bus. Whoops; we don’t think that we are supposed to call it that…

Our tour took us around Downtown Asheville as “ghosts” hopped on and off, sharing the darker history of the city.

Zelda Fitzgerald stole our hearts – although she did hump a bush in the rain.

For the 21+ group, you are allowed to bring unopened drinks on the bus – to open once seated – purchased from LaZoom’s bar.

Find locally crafted bevies. They even hand you a personal cooler. Just don’t drink too much as some tours have no restroom stops. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

For cheesy but unforgettable Asheville things to do, LaZoom is it.

28. Dip into a local bar or pub

We just love the Asheville cocktail scene, and bar hopping is one of the best things to do in Asheville for bachelor and bachelorette parties, friends’ reunions, or a night out on the town.

Plus, there are so many dive, LGBTQ+, sports, and classy bars to choose from.

A few of the best bars in Asheville include:

  • Asheville Club
  • The Whale
  • Rankin Vault – serving up one of the best burgers in town
  • The Times Bar and Coffee Shop
  • The Odditorium
  • Banks Ave.
  • Bottle Riot

For Asheville pubs and taverns, try:

  • Barley’s Taproom (pizza!)
  • Bone and Broth
  • Red Stag Grill
  • Cedric’s Tavern (Biltmore Estate)
  • Bone & Broth

29. Walk the Asheville Art Museum galleries

Asheville Art Museum with blue ball statue out frontPin
The Asheville Art Museum has something for everyone.

For more educational things to do in Asheville – and perfect for a rainy day – check out the city’s plethora of museums and historic sites.

For art lovers, especially, head to the newly renovated Asheville Art Museum situated next to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

The Art Museum showcases American art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

Catch pop-up art featuring North Carolina pottery and the art of basketry. Study glass as a medium, and meet new and old American artists.

30. Apple pick and get lost in a corn maze

At the end of August, the best apple orchards around Asheville start opening. They won’t close again until late October or early November.

Hendersonville – about 40 minutes away from Asheville – is known as “Apple Alley.”

This is the place to be for top fall Asheville activities like apple and pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hot cinnamon cider donuts, farm animals, and even a bamboo forest.

Shoot apples from a cannon, and take a hayride. Enjoy cider – hot, cold, and boozy.

The top three apple orchards near Asheville we frequent:

  • Sky Top Orchard
  • Stepp’s Hillcrest
  • Jeter Mountain Farm

31. Become a coffee connoisseur

Summit Coffee River Arts District In Asheville NC with latte in turquoise cup on table with heart in foamPin
With so many coffee shops in Asheville, how do you choose?

One of the best Asheville things to do is drink coffee. How else can you adventure all day?

Not to mention that the moment friends and visitors land in town, the DMs start pouring in: “Where can we get the best coffee in Asheville?”

We get (and got) you! We love and live for coffee too.

For top Asheville coffee shops try:

  • PennyCup Coffee Co. is a small-batch roaster
  • Vortex has delicious donuts and coffee
  • Summit makes the strongest roast
  • Grab a possum shirt at Izzy’s
  • Rowan Coffee is simple but a delicious
  • Bebette’s serves beignets
  • Odd’s Cafe is one of the best, and they have vegan and gluten-free treats

If you are exploring Asheville’s neighboring cities and towns, we love Black Mountain’s Dripolator and Hendersonville’s Black Bear Coffee Co.

Can’t decide which one to pick? Take a guided Asheville coffee tour. We start (and end) all of our adventures in Asheville with coffee.

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32. Cheer for the Asheville Tourists

Asheville Tourists Baseball Game with baseball McCormick Field at night with players around the basesPin
Grab a hot dog and local brew while you watch the Asheville Tourists play ball.

For sports lovers and families, one of the most fun things to do in Asheville is to watch the Asheville Tourists play at McCormick Field.

The Asheville Tourists are a minor league baseball team. Tickets are a steal – although parking is a little funky.

Grab souvenirs, local beer, and of course, baseball food. Watch cheesy in-between-innings games, and join in for the wave. Snap a photo with Ted E. Tourist. Maybe even see fireworks.

We couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weeknight with friends and the entire family. It’s one of the best places to go in Asheville to show your local pride.

33. Devour lunch at a James Beard award-winning restaurant (& more)

You already know that one of the best things to do in Asheville is to eat.

Why not pull up at a James Beard award-winning Indian restaurant like Chai Pani? Devour Indian street snacks paired with a spicy cocktail. Even Samantha Brown stopped by.

For more lunch joints around Asheville, if you love pizza and burgers try:

  • Farm Burger
  • Asheville Pizza & Brewing
  • 828 Pizzeria
  • Manicomio’s
  • Rankin Vault
  • Baby Bull

Wicked Weed BrewPub, Baba Nahm, and Gypsy Queen Cuisine (GQC) won’t disappoint, and GQC has the best vegan and gluten-free options.

For amazing Asian cuisine, try:

Whether or not you are a vegan or vegetarian, Laughing Seed Cafe is another gem, and we devour subs – gf pizza and grinders available – at Apollo Flame Bistro, especially after a BRP parkway hike.

If you are craving beer and tacos, tour all of the best taco places in Asheville including White Duck Taco and our favorite, Taco Temple.

Or, head to Haywood Common and stop next door at The Whale for the largest local, national, and international beer selection in AVL.

34. Shop at a farmer’s market

Did you know that one of the best things to do in Asheville to get to know the city better includes shopping at a farmer’s market?

When we travel out of state or abroad, we love visiting local Farmer’s Markets and specialty grocery stores.

A little foodie shopping trip is perfect to try the area’s cuisine and meet a city in a brand new way.

In Asheville, the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market is the largest.

The other most popular Farmer’s Market is the Asheville City Market on Saturdays in Downtown AVL between Woodfin Street and East Walnut St. at 52 North Market Street.

We pop by this one on our way to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Of course, you can head to RAD’s Uncommon Market for antiques, vintage decor, and jewelry. Others love the North Asheville Tailgate Market.

35. Tour the urban art and studios in Asheville’s River Arts District

If you are looking for top Asheville things to do for art lovers, head to the River Arts District (RAD). This area is a mini-version of Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida.

RAD is where you will find the famous Instagram silo. You might just catch Gus Cutty, Ian the Painter, or Jerry Cahill working on a masterpiece. Spy Jerkface’s Homer Simpson mural.

Explore endless urban street art across warehouse space, and drop in and out of galleries, artists’ studios, and shops.

Marquee is Asheville’s newest European-style, high-end decor and design warehouse.

Plus, RAD is home to pleb urban winery, Bottle Riot, and Wedge Brewing. Uncover amazing RAD restaurants like The Bull & Beggar, Baby Bull, Guajiro, and RosaBees.

Perk up at a local RAD coffee shop like Summit. Shop for outdoor gear at Second Gear.

Watch an indie film at Grail Moviehouse or attend the Uncommon Market. Bike the new RAD greenway.

Listen to music at the Asheville Guitar Bar at Cotton Mill Studios or Salvage Station, and pick up gorgeous wooden sculptures at Foundation Woodworks.

If you are wondering what to do in Asheville, you could easily spend an entire afternoon and evening in RAD.

Or, take a popular tip-based guided River Arts District tour.

36. Attend a concert

Lionel Richie Mural by Gus Cutty The Orange Peel Asheville with Richie, a Black man, wearing a hot pink shirt and jeansPin
Head to Asheville’s The Orange Peel for a concert. Mural by Gus Cutty.

Thrillest named AVL as one of the best music cities in the United States. If you are looking for evening things to do in Asheville, attend a concert.

Asheville hosts a variety of festivals and concerts at places like:

We caught O.A.R. and Dispatch at Salvage Station.

Every Asheville bucket list should include a concert or show. And, know that Greenville’s Peace Center performs off-Broadway shows.

37. Relax in a cozy wine bar

If you are looking for relaxing Asheville things to do with a bottle or glass of wine, our favorite wine bars include:

  • 5 Walnut Wine Bar – Located in downtown Asheville, find an extensive list of wines in a cute rustic and pastel bar.
  • Bottle Riot – Situated in the River Arts District, enter a colorful wine bar with “baller bottles.” They also serve up delicious charcuterie.
  • Leo’s House Of Thirst – In West Asheville, enjoy tapas, Saturday brunch, dinner, and a sizable wine list. We love their outdoor garden patio.
  • Battery Park Book Exchange – This champagne bar and used bookstore is iconic in the heart of Downtown’s historic Grove Arcade.

38. Mountain bike

When visiting Asheville, many people love taking a guided Historic Downtown Asheville e-bike tour, which includes a bike, helmet, and guide.

For more adventurous Asheville activities, try mountain biking. We are not expert mountain bikers, by any means, but we do love hitting the trails.

Directly in Asheville, locals flock to Bent Creek Experimental Forest.  Here, find Lake Powhatan and numerous surrounding trails varying in length and difficulty.

Families teach their littles how to bike here, and the Hard Times Trail connects to The NC Arboretum.

Or, bike at Biltmore (with an annual pass, property stay, or ticket), including a fantastic trail from the Lagoon – with Biltmore House in the background – that leads visitors up to the side of the house and walled gardens.

Outside of Asheville, the best mountain biking trails include:

  • Daniel Ridge Loop
  • Old Fort Gateway Trails
  • Fonta Flora Trail
  • Point Lookout Trail
  • DuPont State Forest
  • Tsali Recreation Area
  • Swamp Rabbit Trail (Greenville, SC)

For a beautiful Rails-to-Trails option – and one of the best day-tripping Asheville things to do – hop on the Thermal Belt Rail Trail, traveling between Rutherfordton and Forest City.

This largely flat and paved trail is perfect for families or those looking for a long ride. The trail is about 13.5 miles each way with restrooms, water fountains, and spots to dip into town.

If you want to head to the mountains but aren’t confident enough yet, consider a guided mountain biking (e-bike) tour.

39. Explore WNC’s Mountain Towns

Beer and Gear Black Mountain NC with picture of amber beer in plastic cup in front of mural on brick wall that says Made x Mnts WNCPin
Head to the WNC Outdoor Collective in Black Mountain for beer and gear.

If you are spending more than a weekend in AVL, one of the top Asheville things to do includes touring Western North Carolina.

Hendersonville – mentioned above quite a bit – is a “must.”

Here, enjoy even more delicious restaurants like Haus Heidelberg and Umi Sushi, coffee shops and wine bars like Black Bear and Wine Sage & Gourmet, and hopping breweries including Oklawaha.

A stop in Hendersonville pairs nicely with a hike at DuPont State Forest, wine tasting, or a morning at the apple orchards.

Then, about 25 minutes from Asheville, Black Mountain is one of our personal favorite WNC mountain towns.

Enjoy a stroll around Lake Tomahawk, dine at Cousins Cuban Cafe, order coffee from Dripolator, and buy books at Sassafras on Sutton.

Immediately North of Asheville, check out Weaverville, which is home to a dog park bar, a brewery with a TARDIS, a Bob Ross bar, and eclectic Stoney Knob Cafe.

Of course, you have Chimney Rock/Lake Lure for hiking and boating, and Maggie Valley’s motorcycle museum.

40. Eat all of the donuts

Did you know that Asheville has the best donut shops?

In the fall, don’t miss Sky Top Orchard’s made-in-front-of-you donuts. West Asheville’s Hole Doughnuts is famous for its treats.

Plus, one of the best things to do in Asheville is to attend a festival. Grab gluten-free and vegan donuts at Asheville’s VeganFest. Or, head to Black Mountain’s Dough House.

A few other donut joints include Duck Donuts, Stay Glazed Donuts, and Geraldine’s Bakery.

41. Meet a Teratophoneus Curriei

Childrens Museums Asheville Museum of SciencePin
Littles will especially love the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS).

For the best things to do in Asheville for families and for your inner geologist, head to the Asheville Museum of Science.

A smaller science center, learn more about North Carolina geology and local specimen. AMOS has gemstones, dinosaur bones like the Teratophoneus Curriei – and animal installations.

Encounter hands-on exhibits and scavenger hunts, learn about the French Broad River, and dig for fossils. They even have a forest-themed playground with bears.

Don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the butterfly mural. If you are wondering what to do in Asheville on a rainy day with the kids, this is it.

42. Gain an appreciation for hard cider & mead

Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery Hendersonville NC with white hand holding up golden cider in glass in wooden barn taproomPin
We favor Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery in Hendersonville for the best cider around WNC.

For gluten-free things to do in Asheville, NC, head to the plethora of cideries and meaderies.

Urban Orchard and Noble are the most well-known cideries in Asheville. Botanist and Barrel and Bold Rock also opened Downtown Asheville taprooms.

Our favorite cideries near Asheville include:

  • Mills River’s Bold Rock Cidery
  • Black Mountain Cidery
  • Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery
  • Barndoor Ciderworks

Many of the local breweries and wineries serve cider on their guest taps too. In the fall, head to Jeter Mountain Farm and order a flight of their hard cider.

43. Watch a movie in a unique setting

Grail Moviehouse Asheville NC with street art on building and white garage door with film strip logoPin
Catch an indie movie at Grail Moviehouse.

If you are wondering what to do in Asheville on a rainy day, why not watch a movie?  But, not just any movie in any old theater…

Grail Moviehouse in Asheville’s River Arts District plays the coolest indie films.  We like to head there for an international shorts festival. Sit on cushy couches while snacking on popcorn.

Or, visit Asheville Pizza & Brewing’s Merrimon location.  Tom had to see the new Top Gun sequel, and there’s even a bar inside the theater.

Order pizza (with vegan and GF pizza options), drinks, and snacks, and sit in front of tables while watching an old-school or new movie. 

Discover more great movie theaters across Asheville.

44. Food truck hop

Guajiro Cuban Comfort Food Food Truck Asheville NC with Cuban sandwich topped with small and fried potato shavings on table with yellow flowersPin
Grab a Cuban sandwich at Guajiro and walk RAD’s Riverwalk.

If you are looking for foodie things to do in Asheville, you’ll love the rotating food truck scene.

Our favorite AVL food trucks include:

  • The Smokin’ Onion (vegan & GF)
  • Chop Shop’s Food Truck at Wedge at Foundation
  • Guajiro for Cuban in RAD

If you want crepes and Cuban sandwiches, Cecilia’s Kitchen has a permanent spot in North Asheville and a food truck that moves around to places like New Belgium.

45. Pays your respects at Riverside Cemetery

Thomas Wolfe Gravestone at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville NC with vase filled with pens and green grassPin
If you are looking for more local and lesser-known things to do in Asheville, head to Riverside Cemetery in the Montford District. Only 4,000 people visit this beautiful Victorian-influenced cemetery a year. Literary greats like Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry are buried here.

We bet you didn’t expect to see a cemetery on an Asheville things to do list, but here we are – and we promise, it’s worth it.

Be sure to visit Riverside Cemetery – in the Historic Montford District – to pay your respects to literary greats.

Famous authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter – O. Henry – are buried here.

Established in 1885, you’ll encounter ghost stories, tombstones for Civil War veterans, Victorian-style mausoleums, and W.O.’s famous Angels.

Grab a walking guide at the gates and stroll 3.5 miles of paved roads.

Please just remember to be respectful as this is an active cemetery. Park along the paved roads just inside the gate.

P.S. Lesser-known author, Wilma Dykeman is buried at Lewis Memorial Park. For dark tourist things to do in Asheville, NC, this is it.

46. Meander at the Botanical Gardens

white and yellow flowers at Botanical Gardens at AshevillePin
Hike the nature trails at the Botanical Gardens at Asheville.

Located within the UNC-Asheville campus of North Asheville, one of our favorite Asheville things to do is hang out at the Botanical Gardens. Plus, it’s free!

With 10 acres of streams, nature trails, bridges, and spots perfect for picnicking, this lesser-known gem is also a refuge for endangered wildflowers.

Pack a blanket and bring a book.

47. Celebrate the winter holidays

Just like fall, the holidays and Christmas in Asheville are pretty special.

As mentioned above, Biltmore has Candlelight Christmas Evenings, The NC Arboretum hosts Winter Lights, and Grove Park Inn showcases its Annual Gingerbread Competition.

For the best things to do in Asheville in December, locals flock to the Christmas tree farms to pick and cut their trees.

Winter hiking is best around the Pisgah National Forest since parts of the BRP close.

North Carolina residents flock to the ski resorts like Cataloochee and Beech Mountain for snow tubing, snowboarding, and skiing. 

Find special Christmas home and light tours, and shop for all of your holiday gifts.

48. Visit each of Asheville’s unique neighborhoods

Dolly Parton and RuPaul Mural West Asheville NC with portrait of her head and blue and pink flowersPin
Check out each of Asheville’s unique neighborhoods while you are in town, including West Asheville for Gus Cutty’s RuPaul & Dolly mural.

Did you know that AVL’s neighborhoods are very distinct and worth a visit? Each contains some of the best things to do in Asheville.

Parts of Montford are on the National Register of Historic Places. Find Riverside Cemetery, Montford Park Players, tons of Bed & Breakfasts, and gorgeous architecture.

West Asheville is pretty hipster with breweries, trendy restaurants, and a fun Dolly Parton and RuPaul mural. There is a vibrant LGBTQ+ community, and you’ll find a mix of millennials and GenXers.

North Asheville is home to the Grove Park Inn, UNC-Asheville, gorgeous Charlotte Street homes, a golf course, botanical gardens, and Beaver Lake.

Find delicious restaurants like Plant, Luella’s, and Taco Temple.

Downtown is where it’s at for beer, coffee, and concerts.

As mentioned above, RAD showcases the most vibrant street art and artists’ studios. Biltmore Village has cafes and shopping.

For local things to do in Asheville, NC touring the neighborhoods truly gives you a feel for residential life. Heck, it might convince you that you want to move to Asheville – like us.

49. Get your bookworm on

There are tons of things to do in Asheville, NC for book lovers.

Start with the city’s top bookstores, including Battery Park Book Exchange, Downtown Books & News, and Malaprop’s.

Battery Park Book Exchange is a multi-level champagne book bar. Located in the historic Grove Arcade, they sell used books and have extensive wine, cocktail, and champagne selections.

Battery Park Book Exchange also hosts readings, live music, and themed events.

Another beloved AVL bookstore, Malaprop’s holds numerous author events and has a fabulous newsletter that points out new releases and notable indie reads.

Then, you could easily spend a few days touring The Hunger Games waterfalls and filming sites at DuPont, Craggy Pinnacle, and Henry River Mill Village. Don’t miss Peeta’s bakery.

Along with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, visit the Carl Sandburg Home (in Flat Rock). He was the “Poet of the people,” after all.

For more bookish Asheville things to do, there’s Biltmore Library. Or, head to Pack Memorial Library to see AVL’s history along the walls.

Pay your respects to Zelda Fitzgerald, and tip your hat to F. Scott Fitzgerald while at the Grove Park Inn. Watch Shakespeare in the Park, and stroll Riverside Cemetery.

50. Go on a mural hunt

With such a vibrant art scene, it’s no surprise that Asheville has terrific murals and urban art.

One of the best things to do in Asheville is going on a mural hunt.

To start, we recommend heading to the River Arts District around Foundation Studios.  Then, dip into West Asheville along Haywood Street.

In Downtown Asheville, check out Triangle Park, which pays homage to the city’s most important people and moments in the Black community.

Around all of AVL, can you spot Dolly, RuPaul, Betty White, Ella the “Joan of Asheville,” Homer Simpson, and The Dude?

51. Shop until you drop

Rocket Fizz in Downtown AshevillePin
Which soda pop will you get at Rocket Fizz?

If you are wondering what to do in Asheville for shoppers, we got you!

Asheville has a plethora of independent stores, boutiques, and open-air markets in all of its districts.

The best shopping areas include Historic Biltmore Village, the River Arts District, West Asheville, and Downtown.

You’ll find everything you could ever need including old-school candy, unicorn hats, soda pop (Rocket Fizz), magnets, and books.

We love West Asheville’s Flora for plants. Downtown’s Moonlight Makers sells silly shirts and mugs. L.O.F.T. of Asheville has unique finds like cat pillows and fox planters.

Read our complete guide to the best shops and shopping districts in Asheville.

52. Walk the historic Grove Arcade

Historic Grove Arcade Asheville North Carolina with white brunette female holding a map of NCPin
Discover food, shopping, arts, and books at the historic Grove Arcade.

The Grove Arcade is architectural eye candy filled with love.

For Asheville things to do, find places like the Battery Park Book Exchange, Baba Nahm’s, Bebette’s Coffeehouse, and Asheville Proper.

E.W. Grove, also famous for constructing the Grove Park Inn, opened the Grove Arcade in 1929 as a retail center.

Grove was all about fresh mountain air and serving up quinine to fight diseases.

Like George Vanderbilt with Biltmore, Grove didn’t live to see his gem to fruition; however, the Grove Arcade bloomed into a thriving center for commerce and trade.

During WW2, the Arcade transformed into a more covert military hub. Then, in 1951 the National Weather Records Center took over the building until the city reclaimed the space in the 90s.

Today, find shops and restaurants.

53. Peruse the art galleries at Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center

One of the free things to do in Asheville, the Black Mountain College Museum offers contemporary and historic exhibitions, events, and research opportunities for the community.

We dropped in one afternoon and toured the current art exhibitions. Small but worth a quick visit, you can budget about 30 minutes here.

Please consider leaving a small donation. The museum is free to enter.

54. Day trip to Knoxville, TN

Downtown Knoxville TN Gay Street with buildings and cars on road with sign that says TennesseePin
Don’t forget about all of the great day trips that you can take from Asheville, including Knoxville.

A little under two hours away, we enjoy spending a day or even an overnight in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Like Asheville, Knoxville has a historic downtown filled with distilleries, breweries, bookstores, and endless fun.

One time we visited, we ice-skated in the historic square around the holidays.

Our good friend, Clayton, runs a Knoxville travel blog, KnoxRoadTripper. He shares all that there is to love about the city – and he’s full of unique tidbits and history.

55. Ride coasters at Dollywood

One of the best Asheville attractions for rollercoaster lovers is to head to Tennessee.

Our friend Justin introduced us to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. A little over 1.5 hours from Asheville, if you are Dolly-obsessed, this theme park is for you.

Find rides, southern cuisine, live shows, and everything Dolly Parton.

Plus, Pigeon Forge itself makes for a great day trip with its waterparks, Parrot Mountain and Gardens, the Titanic Museum, breweries, wineries, and zip-lining.

56. Soak your feet with a massage

Many people visit Asheville to get away and relax. Even as locals, we can never resist a spa day or massage.

One of the most unique things to do in Asheville includes a visit to Wake Foot Sanctuary in the Historic Grove Arcade.

In fact, this is the perfect Asheville activity if you have friends in town or a partner or family member you want to chill and bond with.

Of course, foot soaking is also a great solo activity to do in Asheville. Treat yourself.

Choose from a variety of soothing foot soaks filled with goodies to replenish and rejuvenate.

Personally, we’d go with the Salty Beach Rose soak, pictured above, with lavender, jasmine, and rose salts.

We also highly recommend pairing your 45-minute foot soak with a massage. Think neck, shoulders, and head, feet and legs, or hand and arms.

Staff reheat your tub as you are given a warm neck pillow and a comfy armchair. There is tea, wine, and light snack service.

We recommend advanced reservations. For top Asheville experiences, Wake Foot Sanctuary is transcendent.

57. Sip on a distillery cocktail

Oak and Grist Distillery Black Mountain NC with white male and female clinking glasses of orange and yellow cocktails with lime garnishes over a tablePin
Black Mountain’s Oak & Grist Distillery is one of the best places for cocktails near Asheville.

If one of your favorite Asheville activities is trying all of the local libations, you won’t want to miss the Asheville distilleries.

Think whiskey, Genever, vodka, rum, and liquors.

Our favorite distilleries in Asheville include:

  • Cultivated Cocktails
  • Rye Knot (also a brewery)
  • Chemist

Cultivated Cocktails sells fantastic cocktail schwag.

At all three, taste their local spirits and order a cocktail – although, at Chemist, you’ll need to visit their bar, Antidote, for cocktails.

Don’t miss Oak & Grist Distilling Company in Black Mountain, too. It’s our all-time favorite spot for drinks.

If you want to try Asheville’s spirits while learning the city’s history, take a tip-based sightseeing tour.

Where To Stay In Asheville

Explore the best places to stay in Asheville. A few of our top suggestions:

  • Aloft – Downtown Asheville – Centrally located and recently renovated, enjoy a rooftop pool, a gorgeous bar, and trendy rooms.
  • The Omni Grove Park Inn – Treat yourself to a luxury resort in North Asheville, complete with breathtaking sunsets, terrace bars and dining, and loads of Asheville history.
  • Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – A budget-friendly but renovated hotel on busier Brevard Road that’s perfect if you wish to stay between Biltmore Estate, Downtown Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Asheville Cottages – Gorgeous 1 to 3-bedroom cottages with a private deck, housing a grill and hot tub. Find luxurious heated-floor bathrooms with rain showers, a well-stocked kitchen, and the cleanest rooms in town.
  • Foundry Hotel – An oasis in Downtown Asheville, Foundry Hotel is a nod to AVL’s industrial history. Find famous restaurant Benne on Eagle while sleeping ensconced in charm and elegance.
  • Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Asheville Westgate, NC – Located off of the highway as you enter AVL, find a sleek and clean hotel at a great price. 
  • Black Walnut B&B Inn – Designed by Biltmore’s supervising architect, Richard Sharp-Smith, this 1899 inn is close to Downtown AVL and serves afternoon tea. Two rooms are pet-friendly.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.

Save Your Favorite Asheville Things To Do For Later:

Things to do in Asheville NC Pinterest pin with three images including tulips at Biltmore Estate's Walled Garden, Ian the Painter's urban art mural of Ella, and red, white, and orange wine flight on bar at pleb urban wineryPin
Save our list of the best things to do in Asheville, NC for later, and experience Asheville like a local with Uncorked Asheville.

What are your favorite things to do in Asheville, NC?

We know.  We know.  Our best things to do in Asheville, NC list is massive, and every year, it keeps growing as we update our guides.

If you only have 36 hours to spend in Asheville and want to see the blockbusters, we suggest visiting Biltmore Estate, hiking the Craggies or Black Balsam on the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading to a Downtown AVL brewery and restaurant, and waterfall chasing at DuPont.

If you have more time, visit Hendersonville, Lake Junaluska, and Black Mountain.  Attend a local event, like a concert, theater show, or festival.

What are your favorite things to do in Asheville?  Do you have any questions?  Let us know in the comments.

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Christine Frascarelli

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.

6 Comments

  1. Liked all that was said. My husband and I don’t drink, I just wish you had more art’s, I turn glass and My husband use to blow glass. I did read that there are glass blowers there. To watch or learn or buy. I didn’t see
    Any of that. More restaurants distillery and drinking places. But I did enjoy reading. Thank you

    1. Hi Dorene,

      For glassblowing, we love Lexington Glassworks over on Lexington Ave. in Downtown Asheville (you can buy glasswork and watch them make it), or you could head to the North Carolina Glass Center in the River Arts District. The NC Glass Center, especially, has workshops and classes.

      For more art related things to do in Asheville – you’ll find info mentioned above – you’d most likely enjoy the River Arts District (RAD) in Asheville, which is filled with artist studios for all art mediums. Many sell their works and some offer classes. Foundation and Cotton Mill Studios are two great areas to start. Spy all of the great urban art too! Or, head to Downtown’s Asheville Art Museum or the Black Mountain College Museum (which is free). We also have a full guide to exploring the River Arts District linked – there’s so much to explore.

      I hope you enjoy Asheville!

  2. I’d rewrite #14. Skinny Dip Falls has been destroyed by Tropical Storm Fred. There are dozens and dozens of other places to visit, and sadly, SDF just isn’t a good destination anymore.

    1. Hi Fred – I was eyeing this article for updating. Thanks so much for the feedback and reminder – Skinny Dip was devastated by those floods. I appreciate the note and will be updating, especially for the busy fall season.

  3. Hi Christine.
    Great article. I wish I could blink my eyes and move to the Ashville area. Your article made Ashville see quite enticing. I’ve read other articles about it that focused on the flooding problems. Could you please comment on your experience with flooding. Also, you said that you’d share the contact info of your real estate agent. I’d love to have it if the offer still stands. Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Shari,

      Thank you! Sometimes I feel like we blinked our eyes, and here we are. Haha.

      Hmmm, we have not personally had flooding problems, but we live pretty high up in Asheville. We suffer more from the ice on the mountain hills — and our
      roads are ‘secondary’ so they don’t always get cleared right away.

      I do, however, know that south of the airport floods and some of the lower Asheville neighborhoods have had flooding issues. My personal experience is that flooding hasn’t affected me/our home/getting to work, but it seems dependent on where you live. I hope that helps.

      Please drop me a quick email, and I’ll pass along my realtor (just to maintain a little privacy): hello (at) uncorkedasheville (dot) com. Thanks!

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