Ahhh, Asheville. The land of free young souls, the breath-taking blue ridge mountain valley, abundant waterfalls and hikes, and of course, amazing food and shopping. This humble little place is quickly expanding, booming with creative businesses and an ever-growing appreciation for the land's beauty.
Maybe we're biased...who knows? Either way, we wanted to share our love for this city and some of our favorite ways to appreciate and enjoy Asheville. It doesn't matter if you've lived here for years or are just coming in for a vacation, these are all great ways to spend a day or two off!
1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Before going on any type of excursion, breakfast comes first. Lucky for you, if you're in Asheville, there is no shortage of excellent breakfast joints! In fact, it seems as if it's a whole culture of its own.
Biscuit Head is just one example of breakfast gems in this city. It's affordable and they make all of their own jams and spreads in-house! Did we mention that there's free coffee before 8 a.m.? Yep.
If you're going for the full on morning ritual, Over Easy or Sunny Point Cafe might be the way to go. Both restaurants are adorable and homey, offering an array of traditional breakfast foods with their own unique twist.
Of course, these are just a few of the most loved morning eateries in town.
2. You can't NOT thrift.
You're in a new city so you probably want a taste of the culture. What better way to do this than to visit all of the local thrift stores? They certainly reflect the fusion of rustic and millennial vibes in this town.
Clothing consignment is abundant, especially if you're taking a stroll around downtown. But if you're going for the full monty of souvenirs and home decor, here are a couple of ideas: Bon Vivant Co., Screen Door Asheville, Tobacco Barn, and The Regeneration Station.
These stores feature collectible antiques, up-cycled furniture, and other goodies you might not expect!
3. The olden traditions of the the Asheville drum circle.
One thing that makes Asheville unique is its drum circle, occurring downtown every Friday night. It started about 17 years ago with only a few drummers, and expanded into what it is today: A legend!
Now, every Friday night, drummers and passerby's gather round to dance to the beats of the drums. The circle is completely impromptu, and the drummers come together to improvise and create their own unique beats.
You're welcome to bring your own instrument and join in or just dance like crazy!
4. Love the wine you're with. Check out a wine bar.
Wine bars are an excellent way to chill out after a long day and look extremely classy to your date!
The Montford Rooftop Bar has one of the best views in town, overlooking the beautiful blue ridge mountains. If you go around dusk, you can enjoy the sunset while sipping on wine!
The Walnut Wine Bar, right down town, provides window seats to watch passerbys and live music. Now that sounds fun.
Asheville's wine bars really bring the whole experience to the next level with their quirks and perks.
5. Get outside!
Honestly, this goes for any time of year. Even in the middle of winter, the snow upon the mountaintops is breathtaking. They say that the blue ridge mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world, so go out and explore the woods!
There are seemingly endless numbers of hiking trails in and around Asheville. Some of them have made it to the top of things-to-do lists in this city, and there's a reason why.
This is one of our favorite websites to visit for finding hiking spots. It provides photos, descriptions, and directions. Have fun!
6. ...and go swimming while you're at it.
It's true, Western North Carolina has some of the most beautiful forests in the world, and with that comes jaw-dropping waterfalls and pure waters to swim in.
Sliding Rock is an all-time favorite of Ashevillians and visitors alike. This spot has a giant smooth rock that children (and adults) like to use as a waterslide! It's pure, natural fun.
Skinny Dip Falls, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is quietly nestled in the forest. Here you'll find stacked rocks that are easy to climb and use as cannon ball leverage! The water is about 6-feet deep here and very shallow in other areas for enjoying the cool currents.
7. The River Arts District is definitely unique.
The River Arts District is so eclectic and unique that it has carved out its own name in Asheville. It's only about a mile-long strip along the French Broad River, consisting of old brick industrial buildings that were used primarily during the 20th and maybe even 19th century.
While these buildings were originally abandoned (and some still are), the area has had an artistic revival. Artists, entrepreneurs, and restaurants have moved in, turning this once empty area into a creative hub for Ashevillians and visitors alike. Some of the buildings have been painted in funky colors and there is no shortage of amazing murals!
Visit the River Arts District for eclectic bars and restaurants and to get a taste of the traditional artistic scene in the area.
8. Float down the French Broad River.
While we've already boasted about how the Blue Ridge Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world, well...the same goes for the French Broad River! Rumor has it that this very river in our backyards once connected Pangea. Now that's pretty cool.
Now, local businesses make it easy for us to enjoy this beautiful water wth canoeing, kayaking, and tubing! Zen Tubing is located right on the French Broad and makes tubing easy and fun. Treat it like the lazy river and float down while enjoying the sun and maybe a cool drink.
9. LaZoom and Pubcycle tours are Asheville favorites.
You're walking downtown and suddenly you hear the "WOOSH" of a bus along with loud laugher and maybe some crazy clown sounds. This is probably the LaZoom or Pubcycle tours.
The LaZoom Tours are hilarious comedy bus tours. It has quickly grown famous over the years, providing beautiful views of the city, a haunted tour with bone-chilling tales, and ridiculously funny tour guides! It's definitely not one to miss.
The Pubcycle is a bridesmaid's favorite, but of course is open for any party of thirteen, since it's a thirteen-person pedaled trolly. Bring your own beer, hop on, and go for a tour around town while cycling, hanging with friends, drinking, and listening to a comical tour guide!
10. Go on a stroll down the WNC Cheese Trail.
For all you cheese lovers out there, now you can see where some of the best southern cheeses are produced and bring them home with you! The best part is, you're also exploring the gorgeous, rustic countryside of the Asheville area.
Enjoy the scenery while indulging in delicious cheese and seeing how and where they're made!
We hope this helps and gives you a general roadmap for things to do while you're in Asheville. Remember, this is only a snapshot of what this amazing city has to offer! Go for a drive and see what you can find.