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Top 10 Things to Do in Asheville

If you’re looking for things to do in Asheville, then consider this list your primer to the many activities available in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These ten ideas will give you a starting point to see, do, and explore the best Asheville has to offer while you’re in town for the 2018 Southern Conference Basketball Championships.

 

#1 Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville Skyline with Rhododendron
You feel it the moment you begin strolling through Asheville’s vibrant city center – it’s an unmistakable mountain vibe that has beckoned visitors to this region time and again. Lining the streets of this walkable neighborhood you’ll find a wide array of independent shops, craft breweries, and some of the best dining options in the southeast. Learn how this hip mountain town came to be. Jump aboard LaZoom, the big purple bus, for an irreverent look into Asheville’s colorful history, cruise through town on the hop-on hop-off trolley tours guided by local storytellers, or learn more about the city’s unique past on a self-guided walking tour along the Urban Trail.


#2 Biltmore

An enduring legacy of America’s gilded age, take a tour of George W. Vanderbilt’s winter chateaux, or better yet, upgrade to a special behind-the-scenes or rooftop tour. Head outside to explore the century-old gardens, go horseback riding, or biking across the many trails. The winery offers free tastings; however if you’re a fan of bubbly, then upgrade to a paid tasting (it’s worth it). There’s also great dining, shopping, and family activities available at Antler Hill Village.


#3 Welcome to Foodtopia!

Asheville’s buzz-worthy food scene is packed with amazing places to eat. Our culinary mecca serves as a magnet for innovative chefs and food artisans, most of which source their ingredients from the hundreds of farms surrounding the city. With so many delectable options, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is where to dine. Get a little taste of everything by signing up for a food tour. You’ll be able to sample cuisine from numerous restaurants in an afternoon.


#4 Asheville Beer Scene

Wedge Brewing Couple
Asheville is a special place for craft-brew enthusiasts. The secret ingredient is the mountain-filtered water, making for some of the most sought-after ales, stouts, and sour beers in the southeast. With more breweries per capita than any other city, you’ll have plenty of options to consider. Explore the beer scene by foot or on wheels. Many breweries are within walking distance from each other around downtown, but the Bruise Cruise will deliver you to the more remote breweries. Plus they can get you a behind-the-scenes peek at the operations. You can also pedal for beer on a people-fueled pub-cycle. Before you head home stock up on local flavors at our specialty beers shops like Bruisin’ Ales or Tasty Beverage Company.


#5 Music

Hailed as one of America’s “Greatest Music Cities,” Asheville’s live music scene is beginning to garner national attention. Intimate music halls, unassuming neighborhood bars, and even the streets of downtown play host to some of the best in local and national touring musicians. You’ll find the sound is steeped in old time mountain music, but it’s the full spectrum of innovative musicians who truly define Asheville’s sound. Get up close and personal with your favorite artist at one of Asheville’s many iconic music venues. The Orange Peel, a venue hailed as one of the best in the nation by Rolling Stone Magazine, Grey Eagle, and ISIS Music Hall are all great places to see live music.

 

#6 Arts

Along the riverbank of the French Broad, spend an afternoon strolling through the River Arts District where former industrial warehouses are now filled with hundreds of working artist studios. Watch a live exhibit, peruse numerous galleries to find that perfectly handcrafted piece of art for your collection, or get hands on with one of the many immersive programs available. You’ll also find this neighborhood is home to some of Asheville’s most popular restaurants and a brewery, perfect for a pit stop in between galleries. Asheville is also home to some classic, and in some cases, quirky museums. Check out the fine art exhibits at the Asheville Art Museum, find vintage games at the Pinball Museum (yes, you can play!), or for a real throwback Thursday, visit the antique car museum.


#7 The Great Outdoors

Rhododendron in bloom at Craggy Gardens near Asheville
The breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains has lured travelers to this region for over a century, and no trip to Asheville would be complete without exploring some of America’s most cherished national forests, like Pisgah and Nantahala. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dubbed “America’s favorite drive,” this 469-mile scenic road passes right through Asheville and serves as your gateway to outdoor adventure. Explore the nature trails at the North Carolina Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens of Asheville, both of which are home to numerous indigenous species of mountain flora.


#8 Shopping

Go shopping for cool indie wares, wearable art, local designs, and vintage styles at one of many chic boutiques. Peruse Asheville’s legendary independent bookstores like Malaprops and Captain’s Bookshelf, or sip champagne with your pooch at the Battery Park Book Exchange. Find that perfect piece of art or handmade craft available for sale at downtown art galleries, craft fairs, or the open air market at Grove Arcade.


#9 Wineries

Sip the mountain’s finest nectar while touring one of the area’s many wineries with French Broad Vignerons, or go for a free tasting at Biltmore, the most visited winery in America.


#10 Spas

Grove Park Inn Spa Firepits

Let the stress of the day-to-day melt away in the hot tubs of Shoji spa, feel the healing properties of a salt cave, or get pampered at one of the many day spas located throughout town.