As a native of Asheville, I’ve watched my city grow into a diverse and funky little town, full of colorful characters and inventive restaurants. Native Ashevillians are hard to find, but when you come across one, you can count on our advice and recommendations.
Amazing Pubcycle – Can you drink beer and pedal a bike at the same time? Bring your friends and find out.
Antique Tobacco Barn – even if you don’t like antiques, you should visit this mecca for relics. Searching for treasure? You’re bound to find one in this 77,000 square foot barn-o-rama. I could hang out all day in this place…and have…just saying.
Arboretum – easy hiking trails in a landscaped environment with a restaurant on site. In winter, they transform the entire arboretum into the Festival of Lights, which is a sight to behold.
Asheville Art Museum – lovely museum filled with treasures from our mountains. Recently renovated.
Asheville Botanical Gardens – 10 acres of natural garden paths wind throughout downtown Asheville. This native plant reserve is adjacent to the UNCA campus and is maintained by dedicated volunteers.
Asheville Brewing Company – beer, pizza and a movie – fun times!
Asheville Brewery Tours – tours featuring different breweries around town. They drive you so you don’t have to worry about transportation. Asheville Brewery Tours has recently started food tours as well.
Asheville Brews Cruise – this is Asheville’s original brews cruise that offers private tours and public 4-stop tours to top breweries in the area.
Asheville By Foot Tours – walk through the streets of Asheville to learn about its history, architecture and culture.
Asheville Community Theatre – live theatre in a cozy venue will give you something fun to do on a Saturday night.
Asheville Food Tours – offers downtown walking tours and a popular Food Fan Foot Tour by infamous Stu Helm, Asheville’s local food critic.
Asheville Pinball Museum – play over 80 pinball and video games without using any quarters or tokens. This place is load of fun! It’s the perfect rainy day family activity.
Asheville Salt Cave – relax in a peaceful salt cave known for its healing properties. They provide various massage therapies as well.
Asheville Symphony Orchestra – performing outstanding symphonic music in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in the US Cellular Center downtown.
Basilica Saint Lawrence – take a self-guided tour or schedule a free guided tour of one of the most beautiful basilicas in the United States. It was designed by Raphael Guastavino, who also worked on the Biltmore House.
Battery Park Book Exchange – cool cheeseboards, trout dip, wine and books make this a romantic spot to visit before or after dinner.
Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary – a walking trail for nature trips and birding which is accessible year round.
Biltmore Estate – a giant mansion with gardens and an amazing winery to explore. It’s every bit as spectacular as you can imagine. Order a picnic to enjoy by the lagoon and soak in the gorgeous views. Join the wine club like locals do and have premium wine delivered to your front door. View my Local Guide to Biltmore at Christmas for some awesome tips!
Biltmore Village – stroll down cobblestone walkways and discover artistic shops, quaint cafes, and beautiful architecture in a village built by George Vanderbilt.
Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt Pisgah – a scenic drive, especially in the fall season. Don’t leave Asheville without driving to our beloved Mt. Pisgah. There’s a special restaurant waiting for you at the top named the Pisgah Inn. You can dine on some of the best food in Asheville, or hike to the top of the mountain if you’re the adventurous sort.
Blue Spiral 1 – amazing art gallery in downtown Asheville featuring a variety of contemporary artists.
Bywater Riverside – float down the river and end up here. Grill out, drink beverages, and hang with the locals.
Carrier Park – do everything outdoorsy that you like..and it’s free!
Cathedral of All Souls – the historic church George Vanderbilt built for the people who lived in Biltmore Village in the late 1800’s.
Chimney Rock Park – outstanding views and a challenging hike to the summit.
Craggy Gardens – a beautiful floral path winds up the pinnacle trail to see an unobstructed view of our breathtaking mountains.
Diana Wortham Theatre – outstanding performances throughout the year.
Double D’s Coffee – have your morning coffee in an authentic double decker bus from England.
Drum Circle – join the hippies and drummer enthusiasts every Friday night in the summertime. Dance, drum, and groove to the beat. Bring your own djembe and fit right in. It’s an Asheville phenomenon!
Dupont State Forest – hike to see where they filmed the first episode of The Hunger Games. The waterfalls are gorgeous and the hike is a fun climb.
Eating Asheville Tour – locally owned and operated walking food tour through the city of Asheville.
Farmer’s Market – buy produce off the trucks as it comes in from the fields.
French Broad Outfitters – the place to go if you want to step it up a notch and paddle down the river. They host kayak day trips and rent paddle boards too. The staff is great to work with and will take good care of you. Dress to get wet…and don’t forget your water shoes.
Graveyard Fields – an easy hiking trail with some of my favorite waterfalls in the Asheville area. It’s about 10 miles past Mt. Pisgah, but the drive and hike are worth the trip. They even have restrooms, which is a rarity on a hiking trail. Visit the Pisgah Inn restaurant on your way up.
Grey Eagle Music Hall – everything from comedy open mics to major labels play in this renowned venue with its own Taqueria.
Grove Arcade – spend the day shopping for local crafts, jewelry and treasures in Asheville’s historic landmark.
Grove Park Inn Spa – the ultimate day spa you simply must experience. The indoor pools have underwater music piped in while you swim. Visit Omni Grove Park Inn for one of the most gorgeous mountain views in the Asheville area.
Haunted Asheville Tour – meets in a very scary alley behind the Asheville Masonic Temple and takes you on a tour you will never forget.
Hot Springs – heal yourself in an outdoor hot tub with natural hot mineral water pumped in from the ground. This is a perfect spot for a girl’s day out or a romantic soak with your loved one. There are cabins you can rent, quaint cafes, and adorable mountain shops to visit. The Appalachian Trail runs right through the town.
ISIS Music Hall – great food…great drinks…great music! One of my favorite places to hear a band or watch a show.
Kress Emporium – a cool art gallery with crafts from local vendors. It’s the first place I take out of town guests to get a real taste of Asheville’s art scene.
Lake Powhatan – camp, hike, and swim in a natural lake just minutes from Asheville. This is where we hung out when we were kids!
LAZOOM Tours. Get on the BUS! Take a wild and crazy tour of Asheville while enjoying a hilarious comedy routine. Or choose the Band & Beer tour which features a live rock band and 3 brewery stops. Catch the Home Groan Pun Battle every month and you’ll laugh ’til it hurts.
L.O.F.T. – best gift shop in Asheville to get a taste of the eclectic city we live in. Don’t go there if you’re easily offended.
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe – grab a cup of coffee and wander through Asheville’s most beloved bookstore.
Moog Music Factory – take a free tour of this infamous factory in honor of Bob Moog, who created the Moog Synthesizer responsible for the sounds of funk, disco, new wave, techno and hip hop music.
Nature Center – Over 60 species of native animals with otters and bobcats and bears….oh my! There are peacocks that strut their stuff and new pandas that arrived over the winter.
Navitat – if you like adrenaline adventures, this is one you don’t want to miss. Navitat has the highest, longest and fastest ziplines you’ll ever experience and they’re located in a beautiful wilderness setting.
New Morning Gallery – pottery, crafts and beautiful jewelry handmade by local artists.
Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar – hysterical fun that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. Start off slowly and work your way into singing with the dueling piano men. Perfect for bachelorette parties or a night on the town with friends.
Orange Peel – catch a great concert at a downtown landmark. The Orange Peel was originally the Skateland Rollerdome in the 50’s and 60’s, and then became a rockin’ nightclub. After many years of sitting idle, it was revitalized into the establishment it is today. In 2008, the Orange Peel was named one of the top 5 rock clubs in the nation by Rolling Stone magazine.
Pack Square Park – a fun water feature attracts children and families to the park every summer, and many local performers play here.
River Arts District – hundreds of talented artists working out of their own studios. This district also features some of the best restaurants and breweries in the city.
River Link – If you like to bike, hike, paddle, float, jog or jump, visit this site to learn how you can do all of those things in the Asheville area.
Rooftop Tours – take a tour of all the rooftop bars in Asheville and enjoy the unparalleled views.
Salvage Station – catch a great concert, or just hang out by the river and enjoy the food and fun.
Shindig on the Green – bring your own chair, musical instruments, and blankets so you can kick back and listen to some REAL mountain bluegrass that’s been playing in Asheville for over 50 years.
Shoji Spa & Lodge – rejuvenate and unwind in your own private oasis featuring hydrotherapy and massage. This Japanese-inspired spa will make you feel like you never want to leave.
Sierra Nevada Brewery Eat, drink and be merry. Then, rock in their giant rocking chairs or play a game of corn hole with friends. Go on a Brewery Tour that will blow your mind, or listen to a live band play your favorite songs.
Sky Bar – incredible views of the city at sunset. Ride an old-timer elevator to the top of the Flat Iron building and hang on! The view is worth the trip.
Sliding Rock – an icy, thrilling ride that is not for the faint of heart. Glide down this natural mountain water slide and plunge into the pool below. You’ll be hanging out where the locals grew up and experience the same rush when you hit freezing water! Perfect on a hot day.
Southern Highland Craft Guild – the highest quality crafts you can find in the Appalachians.
Sweeten Creek Antiques – get lost amidst the rows and rows of antiques where you’ll find treasures from over 125 vendors you didn’t even know existed.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tour – choose from one of three fun tours to sample the cuisine and cocktails of Asheville’s best restaurants.
Thomas Wolfe Home – you CAN go home again to visit the Wolfe Memorial!
Trolley Tours – take a hop on/hop off historical trolley tour that will give you a great idea of what all the fuss is about in Asheville.
Wake – soak your feet and your soul when you relax in this foot sanctuary that pampers you with giant copper bowl soaks. One of my favorite past times and a welcome relief after a day out on the town.
Waterfalls Galore! Explore WNC’s natural beauty, but be sure to take precautions. It’s never a good idea to wade across the top of a waterfall. A better plan is to take a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery from below.
Woolworth Walk – amazing local arts and crafts emporium with an eclectic blend of everything Asheville has to offer.
Zen Tubing – one of the most popular spots in the summer, Zen Tubing has brought groups in by the hundreds to float down the French Broad river. They will shuttle you to the drop off, provide a tube for floating, and even pick you up when you’re done! You can double tube if you like and connect to friends. Coolers are welcome.
Check out More Fun in Asheville!
WHERE TO EAT
- Where Locals Eat in Asheville
- 85 Top Asheville Restaurants
- Cheap Eats under $10 in Asheville
- Best West Asheville Restaurants
FUN THINGS TO DO
- Asheville Breweries & Lounges
- 12 Rooftop Views in Asheville
- Where to Relax in Asheville
- Asheville’s Best Views
- Local Guide to Biltmore at Christmas
- Top Things to Do in Asheville
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