Best Things to do in Asheville, NC: Your Ultimate Guide

Wondering what to do in Asheville, NC? We’ve got you covered!

Downtown Asheville. Photo by Explore Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina, is a charming city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and foodies alike. With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and delicious cuisine, Asheville offers something for everyone.

There are so many things to do in Asheville that it may seem daunting just to pick a select few you can do in your limited time in the city. Well, don’t worry because we’ve got just the thing for you. We’re outlining some of the best things to do in Asheville, plus what makes them such a great choice to add to your itinerary.

One of the top things to do in Asheville is to explore the great outdoors. The city is surrounded by national forests, including Pisgah and Nantahala, which offer miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, and breathtaking views. Visitors can also experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains by driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which winds through the region and offers stunning vistas at every turn.

For those who prefer indoor activities, Asheville has plenty to offer as well. The city is home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, museums, and theaters showcasing the work of local and regional artists. Visitors can also indulge in Asheville’s renowned food and drink scene, which features everything from farm-to-table restaurants to craft breweries and distilleries.

Read more about what else you can do in the city with our list of the best things to do in Asheville, NC!

Historical Landmarks

Asheville, NC is home to several historical landmarks that provide a glimpse into the city’s rich past. Here are a few must-visit landmarks for history buffs:

Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is a 250-room French Renaissance chateau that was built by George Vanderbilt II in the late 1800s. It is the largest privately owned home in the United States and features a stunning collection of art and antiques. It’s a massive estate with 8,000 acres of gardens, plus walking paths. There have been many additions to the mansion, including a chance to stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate.

Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the house and explore the gardens and grounds. They also have various guided tours and seasonal events to catch. The estate also offers a variety of dining and shopping options.

Omni Grove Park Inn

The Omni Grove Park Inn is a historic hotel on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has hosted several famous guests over the years, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Edison, and Harry Houdini. The hotel features a unique Arts and Crafts-style architecture and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

The resort includes high-class amenities like a subterranean spa, championship golf course, various dining and bar options, and of course, mountain views from your rooms. The mountain spa is a real highlight and even if you don’t choose to stay here, the Omni Grove Park Inn spa is worth visiting.

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a historic home that was once the residence of famous author Thomas Wolfe. The house has been preserved as a museum and features exhibits about Wolfe’s life and work. Visitors can take a guided tour of the house and explore the surrounding neighborhood, which was the inspiration for many of Wolfe’s stories.

Outdoor Activities

Asheville, NC is known for its beautiful natural scenery and outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and more. Here are some of the top outdoor activities in Asheville:

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the country. It stretches 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains, from Virginia to North Carolina. Visitors can enjoy stunning vistas, hiking trails, and picnic areas along the way. The parkway is open year-round, but the best time to visit is in the fall when the leaves change color. The main visitor center is in Asheville where you can learn more about the parkway, its history, and more.

Asheville Botanical Gardens

The Asheville Botanical Gardens is a 10-acre garden that showcases the native plants of the Southern Appalachians. Visitors can wander through the garden’s trails and see a variety of plants, including wildflowers, ferns, and trees. If you can, the best time to visit is mid-April and mid-August. This is when you’ll find lots of plants blooming. The gardens are open year-round from sunrise to sunset, and admission is free.

North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is the bigger public garden for more plants and more plant enthusiasts! The arboretum spans 434 acres that you’ll find inside Pisgah National Forest. It features a variety of plants, including bonsai, roses, and native plants. Plus, there are different exhibitions, gardens, and natural museums that spotlight special plants. If you’re with the little ones, there are also activities for kids and the Nature Discover Room will be right on their alley.

Aside from the greenery, visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking trails and special events throughout the year. The arboretum is open year-round, and admission is free.

Culinary Experiences

Asheville, NC is known for its vibrant food scene, featuring an array of farm-to-table restaurants, breweries, and food tours. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a unique culinary experience, Asheville has something to offer.

Asheville Food Tours

One of the best ways to explore Asheville’s food scene is through a food tour. Asheville Food Tours offers a variety of tours that showcase the city’s local cuisine. The tours include stops at some of the city’s most popular restaurants, breweries, and food shops. Some of the tours also offer behind-the-scenes access to the kitchens and breweries.

One of the most popular tours is the “Downtown Asheville Food Tour.” This tour takes you on a three-hour walking tour of downtown Asheville, highlighting the city’s best food and drink. You’ll visit six local restaurants and breweries, tasting everything from artisanal cheese to craft beer.

Another popular tour is the “Asheville Brewery Tour.” This tour takes you to some of the city’s best breweries, including Highland Brewing Company and Wicked Weed Brewing. You’ll learn about the history of beer in Asheville and sample some of the city’s best brews.

Brewery Tours

Asheville is also known for its craft beer scene, with more than 40 breweries in the area. Many of these breweries offer tours, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process.

One of the most popular breweries is Sierra Nevada Taproom. The brewery offers daily tours that take you through the brewing process, from the hop fields to the bottling line. You’ll also get to sample some of the brewery’s award-winning beers.

Another popular brewery is New Belgium Brewing Company. The brewery offers tours that take you through its state-of-the-art brewing facility. You’ll learn about the brewing process and get to sample some of their unique beers.

Cultural Attractions

Asheville is a city with a rich cultural heritage, and visitors to the area can explore many different cultural attractions. Here are two of the most popular:

River Arts District

The River Arts District is a must-visit destination for art lovers. Located in the historic industrial area of Asheville, the district is home to over 200 artists and craftspeople. Visitors can wander through the district’s studios and galleries, watching artists at work and purchasing unique pieces of art.

The River Arts District is known for its vibrant and diverse art scene. Visitors can find everything from traditional oil paintings to contemporary mixed-media installations. The district is also home to many different types of artists, including painters, sculptors, potters, and more. There are different hubs with various galleries, dining options, studios, and street art to check out.

Asheville Art Museum

The Asheville Art Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the arts. The museum is located in downtown Asheville and features a wide variety of art exhibits, including contemporary art, American art, and Southern art.

The museum’s collection includes over 3,500 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Visitors can also attend lectures, workshops, and special events at the museum.

The Asheville Art Museum is particularly known for its collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum’s collection includes works by many famous American artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg.


Asheville is a great destination for shopping enthusiasts. From art galleries to antique stores, there’s something for everyone. Here are two shopping destinations that are worth a visit:

Grove Arcade

The Grove Arcade is a historic building located in downtown Asheville. It was built in the 1920s and originally served as a public market. Today, the building is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and offices. Visitors can browse through boutiques selling handmade jewelry, clothing, and accessories. There are also shops selling artisanal chocolates, spices, and other gourmet food items. The Grove Arcade is a must-visit for anyone who loves unique, locally-made products. It’s one of the top spots for shopping in Asheville!

WNC Farmers Market

The WNC Farmers Market is a great place to find fresh, locally-grown produce. The market is open every day of the week and features vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to meat, cheese, and baked goods. Visitors can also find handmade crafts and other artisanal products at the market. The WNC Farmers Market is a great place to stock up on picnic ingredients or grab a quick snack while exploring the city.

Music and Nightlife

Asheville, NC is known for its vibrant music and nightlife scene. There are so many things to do in Asheville at night. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a casual evening listening to live music, Asheville has something to offer.

The Orange Peel

The Orange Peel is a popular music venue located in downtown Asheville. It has been named one of the top five music venues in the country by Rolling Stone magazine. The venue hosts a variety of concerts, including rock, indie, and electronic music. The Orange Peel has a capacity of 1,050 people and has hosted many famous musicians, such as Bob Dylan, The Black Keys, and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Asheville Symphony Orchestra

For a more classical music experience, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra is a must-see. The orchestra performs a variety of classical music, including works by Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. The orchestra also hosts special events, such as holiday concerts and performances featuring guest artists.

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