For those interested in local culture with a mountain backdrop, the Asheville area has a number of walkable neighborhoods and districts worth exploring. Bring your mask for sidewalk safety and explore these new neighborhood POIs on foot.
- Asheville’s colorful art and warehouse district along the French Broad River, the River Arts District, is coming into a new era as a walkable riverfront destination and entertainment district. This fall, a longer, improved greenway with art-infused pedestrian connectivity offers visitors a new way to experience this intensely creative area by foot or bike, or your floatation-device-of-choice via new river access points. Watch artists working in studios, wander to airy wine bars or sample famous barbecue in a street-art-filled courtyard.
- Downtown Asheville is known for open-air markets, tailgate farmers markets and independent shops and boutiques. Opening during a pandemic is no small feat, but the Noir Collective AVL has an important mission as a retail space for Black entrepreneurs, artists, makers and social activists. The shop is in the YMI Cultural Center, which has a rich history as one of the nation's oldest African American institutions dating back to 1893 and is located on The Block, the city's historic Black business district.
- While you’re there, walk a block north to Pack Square to see the vibrant, expansive Black Lives Matter street mural, a community and artist-driven effort, coordinated by the Asheville Area Arts Council and led by artists Joseph Pearson, Jenny Pickens and Marie T. Cochran of the Affrilachian Artist Project.
- Head for the charming and artsy main-street town of Black Mountain (just a short 20-minute drive from Asheville). A new, larger-then-life mural was recently created celebrating musical icon and Black Mountain native Roberta Flack, as part of the N.C. Musicians Mural Project. After basking in the glow of this inspiring outdoor mural, head into Black Mountain Brewing (where it resides) for a pint.
Information on the safety actions of local businesses and shared responsibility of visitors can be found via the “Asheville Cares Stay Safe Pledge.”