Elevating Connection in 2024: Asheville’s Meetings Landscape Offers New Sustainable, Inclusive and Inspired Experiences

Asheville’s Black Cultural Heritage Trail, dazzling glass art installations, spacious meeting hotels and unique adaptive reuse projects help set the stage for impactful meetings

ASHEVILLE, NC (Jan. 8, 2023) – As meeting attendees increasingly desire more connection, wellness and conscientious planning, Asheville emerges as an industry leader for hosting impactful gatherings in 2024 and beyond. Visitors can retrace the stories of Asheville’s Black history on a new walking trail, be entertained by a private chef specializing in open fire cooking, and fall asleep to the sounds of the French Broad River at a luxury campsite. These unique experiences are among many new offerings for planners to draw from in crafting itineraries that center on human connection.

Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Experiences Invite More Diversity

New in 2024, the highly anticipated Asheville Black Cultural Heritage Trail honors and preserves the rich heritage of Asheville's Black community. The one-mile walking trail highlights historically significant sites and stories throughout the city – such as Allen High School, whose alums includes Nina Simone, and Sylvester Owens, a master gardener at Biltmore Estate who became one of the greatest authorities on native azaleas. Visitors and groups can explore the trail to learn how Black people from all backgrounds built resilient communities and fostered social change in Asheville.

The trail passes by several Black-owned businesses that host private events, including Noir Collective, an art gallery and boutique, and Grind AVL, a coffee shop and community space. The nation’s oldest Black community center, the YMI Cultural Center will reopen from renovations this spring. Located downtown, the historic auditorium and event space will be available for private bookings.

Travel Opportunity for Planners

  • LGBTQIA+ Meetings FAM: Explore Asheville invites meeting planners who belong to LGTBQIA+ organizations to participate in the Asheville 48-Hour Experience on March 12-15, 2024. The trip aims to highlight Asheville’s supportive and welcoming community for LGBTQIA+ organizations and attendees. Two days will be dedicated to exploring Asheville’s creative spirit, award-winning culinary scene, and expansive meeting options, including new hotel properties for meetings.


Asheville Meeting News and Highlights

  • Increased Nonstop Lift: With a new direct route to Orlando starting May 2024, Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) offers nonstop service to 26 unique airport destinations. AVL has experienced remarkable growth in recent years and is completing a significant infrastructure update with the construction of a new terminal by 2025.
  • Adventure Travel Leaders Head South: For the first time in the Southeast, the largest global network of adventure travel leaders, Adventure Travel Trade Association, will host its annual conference, AdventureELEVATE North America, in Asheville from June 11-13, 2024. The destination was chosen for its alignment with the organization’s mission, social and environmental values, and attendee interests.


What’s New in Hotels with Space to Gather


New, eye-catching lodging options with meeting space await groups in 2024, including design-forward adaptive reuse projects, outdoor areas, and bigger venues downtown.

  • Downtown Meetings with a View | Embassy Suites By Hilton: This 185-room hotel in the heart of downtown includes 7,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space as well as a rooftop restaurant, Soprana Rooftop Cucina, specializing in Italian cuisine, set against views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With decades of culinary and hospitality experience, its executive chef Jeffrey Stanford and director of food and beverage Brian Sherwood both previously held positions at Biltmore.
  • Prohibition-themed Hotel with Hidden Speakeasy | The Flat Iron Hotel: 71-room, Prohibition-themed hotel featuring a rooftop bar, and fitting with the era, a hidden speakeasy. The historic building speaks to Asheville’s period of creative and economic wealth in the 1920s and boasts more than 7,000 sq. ft. of elegant event space for rehearsal dinners, receptions, parties, and other activations. Venues include the Iron Works Reception Lounge (capacity 150), Red Ribbon Society speakeasy bar (capacity 75), the L.B. Jackson Room (capacity 50) and the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Room (capacity 39).
  • Ode to Zelda Fitzgerald | Zelda Dearest: This bespoke hotel connects three historic Victorian-style homes, with a total of 20 sumptuous guestrooms. The romantic venue, inspired by the Fitzgerald’s lives and literary works, features a wedding and event patio, game lawn, gardens, and fire pits.
  • Cocktail with a Key at Check-in | Moxy Hotel: 115-room hotel in the heart of downtown will open by summer with a rooftop bar, new restaurant space and interiors that incorporate work from local artists.
  • Luxury Camp by the River | AutoCamp: Groups seeking a retreat close to nature will have access to a luxury campsite steps away from the French Broad River starting this spring. AutoCamp’s first property in the Southeast debuts this spring. The 17-acre site, about 15 minutes north of town, includes 65 airstreams, six suites, two group meeting spaces and a bar/lounge.
  • Landmark Motel Makeover | LOGE Asheville: In summer, LOGE Camps will open its first location in the Southeast, in the Mountaineer Inn, an iconic Asheville landmark. The restored roadside motel will be modernized with amenities catered to outdoor enthusiasts, including firepits, community spaces, meeting and event space, bar and café, pool and wellness amenities, gear demos, plus bike racks in each of the 66 rooms. The property’s three-story tall neon mountain man sign will remain.
  • Biltmore’s Inn Interior Redesign | The Inn on Biltmore Estate: The 210-room luxury hotel, situated on the grounds of the historic Biltmore Estate, will remain open while completing a redesign of guest corridors, rooms, and suites. The new interiors will be a contemporary take on the classical European aesthetic, inspired by the high style of the Biltmore House, a French Renaissance chateau. The Inn has 3,597 sq. ft. of meeting space and access to surrounding venues on the estate.


Memorable Venues, from Mini Golf to Big Name Chefs

  • Elegant Arrival by James Beard Nominee | The Golden Hour: The chophouse-style restaurant led by James Beard semifinalist Jacob Sessoms (Table, All Day Darling) is located inside The Radical hotel and centers on Southern ingredients and open, live-fire cooking. The menu features seasonal specials, shareable plates, and small bites.
    • After dinner, groups can head upstairs to the hotel’s rooftop bar, The Roof, for views of the French Broad River and artfully crafted cocktails with bites. For a memorable reception or happy hour, it can be reserved for buyouts and can hold up to 125 guests.
    • The Radical hotel is nestled in the heart of Asheville's eclectic River Arts District, which is home to hundreds of working artists, studios, and galleries.
  • Music Hall Sparks Magic | Eulogy: Part of Burial Beer Co.’s expansion of its adjacent taproom, it’s the newest venue to appear on Asheville’s vibrant live music scene. The unique space features a full bar resembling a pipe organ, pouring 24 taps, house-made cocktails, and wine. Private event packages catering to celebrations, welcome parties and more, will include the new rooftop wine and cocktail bar opening late spring.
    • Also coming to Eulogy this winter is the highly anticipated Good Hot Fish, a fast-casual eatery by James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef participant Chef Ashleigh Shanti.
  • Brewery Blends with Nature |  Terra Nova Beer Co.: Housed in a charming brick building in Swannanoa, this taproom is also home to Loott House, a burger restaurant. The venue offers two tasting rooms and an intimate event space available for private bookings. Terra Nova’s enclosed covered patios have glass overhead panels that lend views of the sky and a greenhouse vibe, which complements the brewery’s nature-forward brand.
    • Coming Soon: In early 2024, Terra Nova will open a second taproom in Asheville’s South Slope neighborhood. Plans for that location include a beer garden under a lush canopy – they recently planted 15 trees.
  • Pints and Putters | Salt Face Mule: Near Weaverville, this family-friendly brewpub and sprawling event space features two mini golf courses. Salt Face Mule has several spaces available for private events and will open an additional space for live music in Spring 2024.
  • Italian Fare Meets Appalachian Flavor | Luminosa: Italian eatery located inside the Flat Iron Hotel. Helmed by Executive Chef Graham House, the Italy-meets-Appalachia concept features a wood-burning oven, adding a touch of fire to handmade pizzas, pastas made with locally sourced ingredients. It can host small and large events for up to 90 people at its upstairs event venue, à l'étage.


Experience Something New as a Group

  • Art Installations that Inspire | Chihuly at Biltmore: Just as the Biltmore Estate’s tulips begin to bloom this spring, dazzling glass sculptures by renowned artist Dale Chihuly will also reappear on the grounds of “America’s Largest Home.” Presented in an intimate gallery setting, the exhibition includes pedestal works, drawings and large-scale installations. (March 25, 2024 – Jan. 5, 2025)
    • More to See: Asheville is home to hundreds of working glass artists and studios. In summer 2024, the North Carolina Glass Center will open a second, larger facility in Black Mountain. The space will feature a state-of-the-art hot shop, flame shop and gallery. Its current location in the RAD will continue to offer classes, artist rental equipment and retail.
  • Group Bonding over Exploration | Adventure Mountain Off Road Tours: Located 20 minutes north of Asheville in Barnardsville, this newest attraction from the downtown Adventure Center of Asheville allows groups and guests to drive or enjoy a thrilling ride through rugged mountain terrain and hardwood forests in a 4-passenger Off-Road Vehicle.
    • The Adventure Center of Asheville specializes in corporate groups – retreats, incentive trips and meetings, plus tent rentals, décor and amenities for private events up to 150 people.
  • Break the Ice with Botanical Mocktails | Roll Up Herbal Bar: For unique non-alcoholic offerings, the mobile bar in a converted 1971 VW bus can be reserved for private events. It specializes in botanical mocktails, teas and adaptogen sips.


Cater the Latest Bites from Asheville’s Nationally Acclaimed Food Scene

  • Feast off the Land | Beradu: This market and restaurant in Black Mountain – an idyllic small town 20 minutes from Asheville – specializes in regional wild game, invasive species and local fish. Owners Patrick and Maggie Beraduce want to share their knowledge about the environmental and health benefits of consuming local fish and game. Chef Patrick Beraduce has an extensive career in the culinary industry, including running a private chef and catering business.
  • Dinner and a Fire Cooking Show | Fuegos Grill & Catering: Argentine Chef Guillermo Von Foerster offers personalized menus for group catering, including live, open fire cooking. In addition to his catering services, Von Foerster also hosts workshops and demonstrations of traditional Argentine fire cooking.
  • Local Favorite Taqueria Expands | Taqueria Muñoz: One of Asheville’s most celebrated taco spots opened its second location in South Asheville. In addition to Muñoz’s familiar Mexican tacos in handmade tortillas, the new spot features tortas, tamales, sopes and pupusas – a nod to the family’s ties to El Salvador. Taqueria Muñoz offers catering to large groups, including a taco bar.
  • Caterer Spices Up Healthy Options | The Market By Sage and Spice: West Asheville’s newest market space is a collaboration between Tori Frasher, owner of Sage & Spice Catering, and Chef Sergio Castro. The café serves healthy lunch options, like sandwiches and smoothies, and the market features local products and meals ready to go. Large group and catering menu options are also available upon request.
  • Thai Eatery Debuts Sizzling New Menu | Bun Intended: With a newly revamped menu, the Thai-inspired street food restaurant located in the S&W Market downtown also offers private catering for events of all sizes.


Tap into New Event Spaces and Planning Resources


Asheville’s creative community catering to groups meets the moment of increased emphasis on environmental and community impact, need to honor DEI values and human connection, and appreciation toward a historic past to improve the future. Attendees will be attracted and energized by Asheville’s ever-evolving offerings. With a dedicated team and a variety of exclusive, complimentary services, planners can let Explore Asheville assist throughout the planning process. More information at AshevilleMeetings.com