New and Surprising Fall Adventures in Asheville 2019
Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains are known for one of the longest and most colorful fall foliage seasons in the world! In autumn 2019, Asheville offers a mix of new, surprising adventures including a new food-centric downtown hotel, Downton Abbey costumes and life-sized set recreations at Biltmore, rooftop dining atop the totally revamped Asheville Art Museum, tours combining art and craft beer, and sunset yoga hikes for leaf peeping yogis.
BE THE FIRST TO KNOW: See fall travel deals, weekly color reports and an animated color progression map of peaking fall leaves by checking out our guide to fall in Asheville.
What's New for Fall 2019 in Asheville, NC
Where to Stay in Asheville
New Hotel with Expansive Views + Fall Travel Packages
- Asheville’s famed Art Deco skyline will get a new icon and four-star luxury property when the Kimpton Hotel Arras opens soon. In addition to a completely new Art Deco façade for Asheville’s tallest building, the 128-room hotel will offer an extensive food focus with two restaurants by local chef Peter Pollay.
- Bargello will be a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with hand-made pastas, oven-fired pizzas and large-format meats meant to be shared like roasted rack of lamb and heritage pork shoulder. The second space, District 42, will be a more casual spot with outdoor seating, small bites and hand-crafted cocktails.
- Fall Travel Packages: Enhance your stay with a locally sourced picnic you can take to the Blue Ridge Parkway from AC Hotel Asheville Downtown or Grand Bohemian Asheville, try a cozy hot chocolate-themed getaway at Engadine Inn & Cabins or make the most of the final days of fall at the Omni Grove Park Inn. Learn more about Asheville fall travel packages.
Find Adventure in Asheville
New Biltmore Exhibition, Fall Color SUP Adventures + Sunset Yoga Hikes
- Downton Abbey at Biltmore: On the heels of the highly anticipated Downton Abbey movie (September 20 release date), Downton Abbey: The Exhibition arrives at Biltmore, America’s largest home, on November 8 with set recreations and artifacts, more than 50 of the show’s costumes and exclusive multimedia elements. Housed at Biltmore’s Amherst and Legacy locations, the exhibition will run through April 7, 2020 and will highlight the parallels between the show, the movie and Biltmore’s Vanderbilt family, friends and staff.
- Experience Fall on the Water: Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours is offering half-day trips to nearby Lake Lure with a drive highlighting local history and a paddle tour beneath Chimney Rock and the towering cliffs surrounding the lake.
- Sunset Yoga Hikes & Tea and Tarot: Asheville Wellness Tours will offer sunset yoga hikes on select evenings throughout October, as well as Tea and Tarot, an educational tea tasting at the new High Climate Tea and group tarot reading.
- Deluxe Triple Waterfall Yoga Hike: Namaste in Nature offers the perfect fall wellness adventure with a half-day yoga hike to three area waterfalls. The Deluxe Triple Waterfall Yoga Hike includes yoga and meditation, as well as photo opportunities of your downward dog by a cascading stream.
How to Experience the Arts in Asheville
New Art Museum Joins Array of Fresh, Immersive Culture Adventures in Craft, Music and Murals
- Views Inside & Out: Asheville Art Museum reopens this October with a new state-of-the-art building that features education facilities, an art library, a lecture and performance space, a new ArtPLAYce for families and children and the addition of a rooftop sculpture terrace and café with views of downtown architecture and the surrounding mountains. The opening exhibition “Appalachia Now!” is a survey of contemporary art in Southern Appalachia, highlighting 50 emerging artists from the region.
- More NEW Cultural Experiences Downtown:
- Opening to the public later this year, one of Asheville’s most beloved festivals now has a brick and mortar location downtown. LEAF Global Arts Center will offer educational experiences for guests rooted in music, art, community and culture via a mini-theater and global immersion room using virtual reality, unique musical instruments and a stage for performances and interactive artist workstations.
- Opening this November, The Center for Craft is expanding with The National Craft Innovation Hub, including new public galleries featuring local and national makers, lecture space, classrooms and a co-working space, cementing Asheville’s reputation as a force in the nation’s fine art and maker scene.
- Diana Wortham Theatre has been transformed into The Wortham Center offering new experiences, including two new theaters for more intimate performances and a totally revamped entrance and courtyard.
- Hands-on Electronica: Now open downtown, the Moogseum celebrates the life of Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer that revolutionized almost every genre of music. Bays of synthesizers, theremins and effect pedals allow people to explore the science behind electronic music, children can create their own circuit board in the Young Inventors Lab and an exhibit space and archival center highlight rare documents and photos.
- Sip & See: Beginning this fall, Asheville Art Studio Tours, known for walking tours of the River Arts District, will offer Art and Beer Tour: South Slope, leading guests to artist studios in the South Slope district, with additional stops at the area’s concentration of breweries.
- Mural Trail Expands: The Appalachian Mural Trail, a collection of 70 public works of art in the mountains of North Carolina, grows this September with the completion of a new fresco at Haywood Street Congregation. The painting incorporates images of 30 local people that the Haywood Street Congregation has served, depicted in the context of the Beatitudes. Artist Christopher Holt has studied and painted with renowned artist Ben Long, whose artwork in Western North Carolina and across the globe is a point of pilgrimage for many. Long’s son Anselme is also involved with the project.
New Ways to Dine in Asheville
Chow Chow Welcomes World’s Top Chefs + A Honey Bar Gets Boozy
- Chefs José Andrés, Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard Heading to Chow Chow: The new festival—Chow Chow, Sept. 12-15—honoring local makers and Asheville’s collaborative and eclectic food scene, will welcome the world’s top culinary innovators to work side-by-side with local food folk in this new, immersive festival exploring the intersection of craft, food and humanity in Southern Appalachia. JUST ANNOUNCED: Noble Peace Prize-nominated chef José Andrés will join the roster of notable chefs taking part in the festival’s over two dozen signature events.
- Love of Fermentation Brings Together Powerhouse Partners for New Concept: Recently opened Cultura restaurant brings together Asheville’s first James Beard nominated chef Jacob Sessoms and Walt Dickinson of award-winning Wicked Weed Brewing. The menu features large-format, wood-roasted shareable meat entrees and a focus on pickling and preserving, Southern Appalachian traditions.
- Global Inspired Restaurant with Cider Roots: Chef Gavin Baker, formerly at a Michelin-starred British restaurant, has joined his brother and sister-in-law, Noble Cider co-owners Trevor and Joanna Baker, for Noble’s new bar and modern-American restaurant The Greenhouse. The menu features locally made cider, a charcoal oven utilizing wood from a nearby apple orchard and regional meats and produce – including the 18.9 Mile Green Salad with a rotating selection of locally foraged and cultivated greens.
- Asheville’s James Beard Connections Rise with H&F Burger: The city’s roster of James Beard food folk hits 13 this fall when Chef Linton Hopkins opens H&F Burger downtown. The award-winning chef will offer burgers, milkshakes and signature fried chicken dishes, plus a bar serving over 100 types of whiskies.
- Old World Breakfast Pop-Up: Susannah Gebhart of OWL (Old World Levain) Bakery is partnering with Sovereign Remedies restaurant and cocktail bar founder Charlie Hodge and chef Graham House for a morning pop-up series with cream-top yogurt, Croque Madame with bechamel, heritage ham, Gruyere and egg, and morning cocktails and coffee drinks.
- What Does Ramen Look Like in the Mountains? The Broth Lab, now open in Asheville’s River Arts District, features Chef Camp Boswell’s take on ramen with fried okra, crispy pickled cauliflower and seared salmon as topping choices. Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas is new in West Asheville and Futo Buta is coming soon downtown.
- Honey Bar Gets Boozy: Asheville gets another niche bar (joining bars that feature honey, kombucha, saké and cheese) when Asheville Bee Charmer, known for their honey boutique and honey tasting bar expands to a second downtown location this fall. The new space will have a mead tasting bar and an even larger selection of honey from the region and beyond.
Taste What's New in the Asheville Beverage Scene
“Beer City USA” Marks 50th Brewery, Craft Beer & Maker Collabs + Nightlife Gets a Makeover
- National Craft Beer Hub Reaches Gold Status: The Asheville area, often referred to as “Beer City USA” with a blend of national breweries and innovative local makers, has reached a milestone 50 breweries with recent additions like 12 Bones Brewing (barbecue meets beer), CANarchy Collaboratory (run by a group of independent brewers headlined by Oskar Blues) and Wicked Weed West (brewery and tasting room in the nearby Enka community).
- Two New Breweries Blend Beer and Maker Culture:
- Set in the buildings that once housed young forestry workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps, Burial Beer Co.’s Forestry Camp Restaurant and Bar will open soon, offering beer, wine and coffee and highlighting local makers, from bakers to artists to musicians. James Beard semifinalist Brian Canipelli, chef and owner of Cucina 24, will lead the food program.
- Wood-Fired Beer: Recently opened brewery Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē honors historic brewing traditions with custom-made equipment including a wooden mash tun and a wood-fired brew kettle tucked away along the Swannanoa River. The unusual name pulls from multiple sources—Flemish, Latin and the historic mysteries related to brewing—while the beer garden and brewery was originally a tractor-trailer repair shop.
- “Beauty Academy” Pairs Drinks, Food & Live Music: Opening in September from Charlie Hodge (Sovereign Remedies), Asheville Beauty Academy will feature, cocktails, champagne and brandy menus, a small food program and live music. The iconic downtown building, built in 1913, was home to the Asheville Beauty Academy in the 1950s and more recently a beloved jazz and blues bar.
Iconic Fall Experiences, Events and Tours
The Asheville area and Blue Ridge Mountains offer many ways to experience fall. With several access points in the region, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides the perfect spot for a fall drive, picnic or hike. Scenic “overlooks” can also be enjoyed high above the mountains by zipline, rooftop tour or hot air balloon. The gardens at Biltmore and the North Carolina Arboretum change with the season, while local farms offer harvest adventures and apple picking. Popular fall events in the area include Oktoberfest (October 5), Brewgrass Festival (October 5), Ciderfest (October 12), LEAF Festival (October 17-20) and the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands (October 17-20).
Check out Asheville weekly fall color reports which will gather input from biologists and weather experts, color progression updates from area parks and attractions, autumn travel deals and fall events.
Photo credits: Hotel Arras photo provided by McKibbon Hospitality. Yoga photo provided by Namaste in Nature. Museum artist rendering provided by The Asheville Art Museum. The Greenhouse Restaurant and The Greenhouse cocktail photos by Carrie Turner Photography. Downtown Asheville fall photo by Jason Tarr.