For a small town, Asheville has tons of awesome activities. You could easily spend a week exploring Asheville and surrouding areas and still have more to do.
If you're looking for a vacation spot that has outdoor activities and city fun, you'll love Asheville.
If you want a little tour of Downtown Asheville, you can watch the video below!
Without further ado, here 8 things to do in Asheville, NC.
1. Explore Downtown
Downtown Asheville - Photo by Jennifer Meyer
Downtown Asheville is beautiful.
It is comprised of a mixture of old brick building and new construction.
The city contains boutiques, gift shops, galleries, (amazing) restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
Most of the restaurants we ate at in Asheville used some locally sourced ingredients, many of which were organic.
Some shops sell organic and ethically sourced clothing.
And, the coffee shops had a hipster vibe, to say the least.
We even went into one bar (On Top of the Monk) that didn't use products (except for liquor). They made their own bitters, syrups, and everything else.
Downtown Asheville is cute and quirky.
With tons of great restaurants, shops, and bars, you'll be able to spend quite a bit of time there.
2. Visit the Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is a famous house with a lot of history located in Asheville.
If you love grandeur, you'll swoon at the sight of this house.
I didn't visit the Biltmore Estate while in Asheville, although I wish I had.
However, we didn't plan very far in advance and purchasing tickets within a week of visiting is incredibly expensive ($60), so I didn't even propose it to the group I was with.
If you plan your trip in advance, definitely book tickets to see the estate in advance, as well.
Adult tickets are expensive; the cheapest ones I can find cost $45.
Pro Tip: If you rent a house through Carolina Mornings, you can get one free ticket to the Biltmore Estate. (Just make sure you read the fine print!)
Your ticket includes a self-guided tour through the estate and gardens. Plus, you can enjoy complimentary wine tasting and free parking.
It's still a hefty cost, though.
So, while it looks like an amazing experience, make sure you budget for it!
3. Browse Local Art
Local Street Art - Photo by Jennifer Meyer
Like I said, Downtown Asheville has a lot of great galleries and shops that sell local artists' work.
If you're not that into art, there are plenty of hand-made goods (by artists) that provide more functionality.
For example, there were clay dishes and cups sold at one shop.
Another even had some gorgeous jewelry.
There are a lot of options, and you might just find the perfect souvenir to remember your trip by!
4. Enjoy Some Coffee
Asheville has a lot of interesting coffee shops.
While the atmosphere can be similar to your typical Starbucks, the coffee is anything but typical.
With creative coffee concoctions, each shop has unique drinks to offer adventurous guests.
If you're interested in enjoying a dessert with your coffee, definitely try Old Europe. They have an entire case of beautiful pastries and desserts. Plus, they're open until 11 pm, while many of the other coffee shops close way earlier.
If you're interested in trying something new, High Five offers a drink called the Diablo. I can't remember everything that's in it, but it sounds a little spicy!
5. Sample the Local Beers
Whenever you visit a new place, it's always a great idea to sample the local beers.
However, it's always a gamble as to how good they'll actually be.
In Asheville, you will find some amazing locally brewed beers.
I'm not much of a beer drinker, but my boyfriend only drank local beers while we were there, and I don't think he had one that he didn't like!
Most restaurants and bars have a selection of local beers. But, if you're interested, there is a brewery in Downtown Asheville that you can visit.
There's Wicked Weed Brewing Pub, which has a tasting room and also serves food. (You'll find that most bars serve food in Asheville due to certain laws in the area.)
Highland Brewing Company offers free tours of their facilities, which is nice. And, I bet you can sample some beers while you're there. 😉 (They just might not be free.)
There's a plethora of other brewing companies in Asheville, and I couldn't possibly mention them all here.
So, if you'd like a complete list, you'll find one here.
This Is not an Image of the Slopes in NC (I didn't have my phone, so I couldn't capture any images. Sorry!)
Now, in order to ski, you do have to go outside of Asheville itself. But, you don't have to go too far.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is about 30 minutes away from Asheville.
We went in early January, and unfortunately Wolf Ridge Ski Resort was closed due to there not being enough snow. So, unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about their facilities or slopes.
Instead, we drove an hour and a half to Sugar Mountain.
The drive wasn't that bad. Plus, it was awfully pretty.
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is an incredibly popular ski resort in North Carolina.
And, if you've skied before, you'll likely enjoy yourself.
Personally, there were a few things I really disliked about this ski resort.
If you want to know everything I disliked about Sugar Mountain, you can read it in the pink box below. If you don't care, you can just skip over it.
Everything Wrong with Sugar Mountain
The bunny hill is almost entirely taken up by their classes, which is ridiculous. Perhaps that what all ski resorts do, but its asinine. They essentially force new skiers who aren't taking the class to all ski through this tiny gap. It was awful.
So, if you can skip the bunny hill, you'll be better for it. However, if it's your first time, definitely try the bunny hill first!
Also, they don't start selling half day ski lift passes until 12 pm. Which would be fine, if there weren't so many damn lines that you have to wait in to get all of your shit.
It took me over an hour to get my ski lift pass, skis, poles, boots, and helmet.
That pass that was good for 4 hours was only good for 3 by the time I got all of my shit.
It really rubbed me the wrong way.
It was just so disorganized.
Since I'd never been skiing before, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I didn't know which lines to get in when.
I have some serious suggestions for ways they can improve and streamline that process.
But, I digress.
Also, keep in mind that they do not rent eye protection or bibs. So, wear water proof pants.
You can wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind, but honestly, after one of my friends took a brutal fall, having some sort of goggles to protect your eyes from skis wouldn't be a bad idea. (His eyes are fine, by the way, but his forehead took a beating, and the point of contact was disturbingly close to his eyes.)
Now, if Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is closed, expect longer lines for ski lifts at Sugar Mountain just because they're busier.
Anyone who was planning on going to Wolf Ridge will likely be there instead.
Lastly, I want to mention that you have the option to rent a helmet for $10. That $10 will start to feel like a lot when you're looking at how much 4 hours of skiing is going to cost you.
MAKE SURE YOU RENT A HELMET.
I know, all caps feels a little excessive, but it's not. This is super serious.
There are rocks on at least one of the slopes (the double black diamond). I'm not sure about any of the others, as many of them were closed.
7. Go On a Hike
Hiking Trail Near Asheville - Photo by Jennifer Meyer
There are plenty of great hikes around Asheville.
Of course, the hike we ended up going on wasn't one of them. 😂
I'm pretty sure we ended up on the wrong trail because it was longer than it was supposed to be.
And, because we were racing the sun, we weren't able to make it to the top to get that great view, assuming there was a top...
Either way, the hike was certainly an adventure!
It was muddy and the path was narrow, giving way to a steep slope on one side.
Okay, back to business.
Here are some cool looking hikes you should consider trying:
- Craven Gap Trail
- Hard Times Trailhead
- Hominy Creek Trail
- Rice Pinnacle Trailhead
8. Relax at the Chocolate Lounge
If you're craving something sweet, you'll definitely want to head over to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
We walked right by this, and I totally wish we had stopped! But, we had just eaten and had little desire for more.
Their desserts look incredible.
They do such a wonderful job plating and presenting them.
This would definitely be a great place to stop for an afternoon snack or for an after dinner dessert and coffee.
There's a lot of fun things to do in and around Asheville, NC.
We had a great time, and I'd highly recommend that you visit.
Just to recap, here are those 8 awesome things to do in Asheville:
- Explore Downtown
- Visit the Biltmore Estate
- Browse Local Art
- Enjoy Some Coffee
- Sample the Local Beers
- Go on a Hike
- Relax at the Chocolate Lounge
I hope that you found this list helpful.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!
Don't forget to watch a short walking tour of Asheville. It's like a little sneak peak!