10 Things to do in Asheville North Carolina – 2024 Ultimate Guide

asheville, NC

Table of Contents

Welcome

Nestled in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a vibrant city renowned for its eclectic culture, stunning natural beauty, and a myriad of things to do in Asheville, North Carolina. From exploring the historic Biltmore Estate to indulging in farm-to-table dining experiences, Asheville offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, artistic charm, and Southern hospitality. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, foodie, or art lover, this charming city has something to offer every traveler. Join us as we uncover the top attractions and hidden gems that make Asheville a must-visit destination for your next getaway.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Biltmore Estate:

Essential Information

– Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: $64-$99 per adult
– Visit Duration: 2-4 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, architecture enthusiasts, garden lovers

Overview

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, stands as a testament to America’s Gilded Age opulence. With its grand architecture and sprawling grounds, this historic landmark offers visitors a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the Vanderbilt family. The estate’s meticulously preserved rooms showcase exquisite period furnishings and art collections, providing a fascinating insight into the past. Beyond the mansion, the expansive gardens and scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains make Biltmore Estate a must-see destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike. Whether exploring the house’s elegant interiors or strolling through the picturesque grounds, a visit to Biltmore Estate promises a memorable experience rich in history and beauty.

Blue Ridge Parkway:

Essential Information

– Address: Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28801
– Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, road trip enthusiasts

Overview

The Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina, offers a scenic drive through the stunning Appalachian Mountains, making it a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and road trip lovers alike. With its picturesque views of rolling hills, lush forests, and vibrant flora, the parkway provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re looking to unwind amidst nature’s beauty or capture breathtaking photos of the landscape, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a tranquil setting for all visitors.

As you traverse the winding roads of the parkway, you’ll encounter numerous overlooks and hiking trails that showcase the region’s natural splendor. From the vibrant hues of fall foliage to the blooming wildflowers in spring, each season brings its own unique charm to this scenic route. Whether you’re embarking on a leisurely drive or seeking adventure through outdoor activities like hiking or picnicking, the Blue Ridge Parkway promises a memorable experience for all who venture along its path. So pack your camera, grab some snacks, and hit the road to discover the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, North Carolina.

The North Carolina Arboretum:

Essential Information

– Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $14 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Nestled in the heart of Asheville, The North Carolina Arboretum is a must-see destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in nature. With over 400 acres of gardens, trails, and exhibits, this botanical paradise offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a family looking for a fun day out, or an outdoor lover in search of adventure, the Arboretum has something for everyone.

As you wander through the meticulously curated gardens, you’ll be greeted by a stunning array of native plants and flowers, each carefully labeled for educational purposes. The Arboretum’s diverse collection of flora showcases the beauty and biodiversity of the North Carolina landscape, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and botany enthusiasts alike. Don’t miss the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, where you can marvel at the intricate artistry of these miniature masterpieces.

For those looking to stretch their legs and soak in the fresh mountain air, the Arboretum offers miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through lush forests and meadows. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek, the Arboretum’s trails cater to all skill levels. Be sure to bring your camera along to capture the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains that serve as a stunning backdrop to your outdoor adventure.

In conclusion, The North Carolina Arboretum is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. With its tranquil surroundings, educational exhibits, and outdoor activities, it’s the perfect destination for a day of relaxation and exploration in the natural beauty of Western North Carolina.

Asheville Botanical Gardens:

Essential Information

– Address: 151 W.T. Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Tuesday-Sunday)
– Fee: Free admission (donations appreciated)
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, and botany enthusiasts

Overview

Asheville Botanical Gardens in North Carolina offers a serene escape into the natural beauty of the region. With its diverse collection of native plants and flowers, this botanical oasis provides a peaceful retreat for visitors seeking a tranquil experience in the heart of Asheville. The well-maintained pathways wind through various themed gardens, showcasing the rich biodiversity of the Southern Appalachian region. From vibrant wildflowers to towering trees, the gardens offer a glimpse into the unique flora that thrives in this part of the country.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast looking to learn more about indigenous plant species or simply seeking a relaxing stroll amidst lush greenery, Asheville Botanical Gardens is a must-see destination. The educational signage throughout the gardens provides valuable insights into the local ecosystem, making it a great place for families and botany enthusiasts alike. Take a leisurely walk through the peaceful surroundings, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and appreciate the natural wonders that abound in this hidden gem of Asheville.

Asheville Pinball Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 1 Battle Square, Suite 1B, Asheville, NC 28801
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 1pm-10pm, Sunday 1pm-6pm
– Fee: $15 for adults, $12 for children under 10
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, groups of friends, pinball enthusiasts

Overview

Asheville Pinball Museum is a vibrant hub of retro entertainment in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina. This unique attraction offers a nostalgic journey through the history of pinball machines, providing a fun and interactive experience for visitors of all ages. With a vast collection of vintage and modern pinball machines, this museum is a must-see destination for families, groups of friends, and anyone looking to enjoy a classic arcade experience.

Step inside the Asheville Pinball Museum and be transported back in time as you explore rows of colorful pinball machines buzzing with excitement. From classic favorites to rare gems, each machine offers a chance to test your skills and relive the thrill of arcade gaming. Whether you’re a seasoned pinball pro or a newcomer to the game, the museum’s friendly staff is on hand to provide guidance and ensure a memorable visit.

Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Asheville Pinball Museum, where every flip and tilt brings a sense of joy and nostalgia. Plan your visit today and discover why this dynamic attraction is a beloved gem in the vibrant city of Asheville.

Western North Carolina Nature Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28805
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Monday-Sunday)
– Fee: Adults $14, Children (3-15) $10, Seniors (65+) $12
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, Nature Enthusiasts

Overview

Nestled in the heart of Asheville, the Western North Carolina Nature Center offers a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. This educational attraction showcases the diverse wildlife and natural habitats of the Southern Appalachian region. From playful river otters to majestic red wolves, the center is home to a variety of native species that are sure to delight animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

As you wander through the well-maintained exhibits and scenic trails, you’ll have the opportunity to observe black bears, cougars, and other fascinating creatures up close. The center’s knowledgeable staff are passionate about conservation and eager to share their expertise with guests, making it a perfect destination for those looking to learn more about the local ecosystem.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat into nature or a fun-filled day out with the family, the Western North Carolina Nature Center promises a memorable experience that highlights the beauty and biodiversity of the region. Don’t miss the chance to connect with the natural world and gain a deeper appreciation for the wonders of North Carolina’s wildlife.

Asheville Urban Trail:

Essential Information

– Address: Asheville, North Carolina
– Opening Hours: Open 24/7
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, art enthusiasts

Overview

Asheville Urban Trail is a unique way to explore the vibrant history and culture of Asheville, North Carolina. This self-guided walking tour takes you through 30 stations scattered around downtown, each marked by a piece of public art or a plaque that tells a story about the city’s past. From the historic architecture to the local legends, the trail offers a fascinating glimpse into Asheville’s rich heritage.

One of the highlights of the Asheville Urban Trail is the opportunity to discover lesser-known facts about the city, such as its role during the Prohibition era or the significance of its art deco buildings. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the local culture, this trail provides a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. So, lace up your walking shoes and embark on a journey through Asheville’s past on the Asheville Urban Trail.

Folk Art Center:

Essential Information

– Address: 382 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28805
– Opening Hours: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm daily
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Art enthusiasts and cultural explorers

Overview

The Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina, is a must-see destination for art enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike. This renowned center showcases a diverse collection of traditional and contemporary Appalachian crafts, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the rich heritage of the region. From intricate handwoven textiles to beautifully crafted pottery and woodwork, the Folk Art Center celebrates the talent and creativity of local artisans.

As you wander through the center’s galleries, you’ll have the opportunity to admire a wide range of handmade pieces, each telling a story of craftsmanship and tradition. Whether you’re interested in learning about the history of Appalachian folk art or simply appreciate the beauty of handmade goods, the Folk Art Center provides a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. With its welcoming atmosphere and engaging exhibits, this cultural gem is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who appreciates the artistry and heritage of the Appalachian region.

Smith-McDowell House Museum:

Essential Information

– Address: 283 Victoria Rd, Asheville, NC 28801
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm
– Fee: $10 for adults, $5 for children
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History enthusiasts, families

Overview

The Smith-McDowell House Museum in Asheville, North Carolina, stands as a testament to the rich history of the region. This historic house, built in the mid-1800s, offers visitors a glimpse into the past, showcasing the lifestyle of the affluent Smith and McDowell families. Stepping inside, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by period furnishings, elegant decor, and intriguing artifacts.

Exploring the Smith-McDowell House Museum is a must for history enthusiasts and families alike. The knowledgeable guides provide fascinating insights into the lives of the families who once called this grand estate home. From the intricate architecture to the well-preserved rooms, every corner of the museum tells a story of a bygone era. Whether you’re a local looking to delve into Asheville’s history or a visitor seeking a cultural experience, a visit to the Smith-McDowell House Museum is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the past.

Asheville Museum of Science:

Essential Information

– Address: 43 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm
– Fee: Adults $10, Children (3-15) $7, Seniors (65+) $9
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, Science Enthusiasts

Overview

The Asheville Museum of Science is a captivating destination in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina. With its interactive exhibits and engaging displays, this museum offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. From hands-on activities exploring the wonders of nature to informative displays on the latest scientific discoveries, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the world of science.

A visit to the Asheville Museum of Science is a must for families looking to combine entertainment with learning. Children can enjoy interactive exhibits that spark their curiosity and encourage them to explore the world around them. Meanwhile, adults will appreciate the museum’s informative displays that delve into various scientific topics, making it an ideal destination for science enthusiasts seeking to expand their knowledge.

Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist visiting Asheville, a trip to the Asheville Museum of Science promises an enriching experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the wonders of science. So, plan your visit today and embark on a journey of discovery at this fascinating museum.

Food and Cuisine

Asheville Hot Chicken

Why is it so special:

Asheville Hot Chicken is a local twist on the famous Nashville hot chicken. What sets it apart is the unique blend of spices used in the fiery hot sauce that coats the crispy fried chicken. The dish offers a perfect balance of heat and flavor, making it a must-try for spice lovers.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic Asheville Hot Chicken experience, head to Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack or Benne on Eagle. These local spots are known for serving up delicious hot chicken that will leave your taste buds tingling.

Appalachian Trout

Why is it so special:

Appalachian Trout is a regional specialty that showcases the fresh flavors of the local mountain streams. The trout is typically pan-seared or grilled to perfection and served with simple yet flavorful accompaniments like lemon, herbs, and butter. This dish highlights the pristine waters of the Appalachians and the commitment to sustainable seafood practices in the region.

Where to Try It:

For a taste of Appalachian Trout, visit The Market Place or C├║rate. These restaurants source their trout locally and prepare it in a way that honors the natural flavors of this beloved mountain fish.

Asheville Cheeseburger

Why is it so special:

The Asheville Cheeseburger is a classic comfort food elevated to gourmet status. Made with locally sourced beef, artisanal cheese, and fresh toppings, this burger is a true indulgence for burger enthusiasts. The combination of high-quality ingredients and creative twists on traditional toppings make this dish a standout in the Asheville culinary scene.

Where to Try It:

To savor an Asheville Cheeseburger at its best, visit Farm Burger or Chestnut. These eateries are known for their dedication to using fresh, sustainable ingredients and creating mouthwatering burgers that will satisfy your cravings.

Events and Festivals

Biltmore Blooms

Biltmore Blooms is a popular springtime event at the Biltmore Estate, featuring thousands of vibrant flowers in bloom across the estate’s gardens and grounds. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, live music, and special events throughout the season, making it a must-see attraction for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts.

LEAF Festival

The LEAF Festival is a biannual music and arts festival held in Black Mountain, just outside of Asheville. This family-friendly event features a diverse lineup of musical performances, dance workshops, art installations, and local food vendors. With a focus on community and cultural exchange, the LEAF Festival offers a unique and immersive experience for attendees of all ages.

Asheville Beer Week

Asheville Beer Week is a celebration of the city’s thriving craft beer scene, featuring a week-long series of events, tastings, and brewery tours. Beer enthusiasts can sample a wide variety of local brews, attend educational seminars, and participate in beer-themed activities throughout the city. Asheville Beer Week is a must-visit event for anyone interested in experiencing the best of Asheville’s craft beer culture.

Interesting Facts

– Asheville is home to the largest privately-owned house in the United States, the Biltmore Estate, which boasts 250 rooms and sits on 8,000 acres of land.
– The city is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, studios, and art events throughout the year, making it a haven for artists and art enthusiasts.
– Asheville has been named one of the top food cities in the United States, with a diverse culinary scene that includes farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, and unique food trucks.

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