Your Essential Summer Guide to Asheville

Family Hiking at Black Balsam

Summer in the Asheville area means waterfalls, river fun, outdoor music, open-air dining, and hiking and biking trails for days. Whether you’re here for a week or long weekend, with your girlfriends or your family, you can cherry pick (or berry pick!) your ideal summer getaway from this locally curated list of Asheville summer musts.

Things to Do this Summer in Asheville, NC

Hola Asheville Festival

Summer Festivals & Events

A summer vacation in Asheville isn't complete without attending one of the area's top summer festivals and outdoor events. Mark your calendars this June for the Hola Asheville festival, a celebration of Latin American culture that you won't want to miss! Experience the diversity and inspiration of art at Asheville's Art in the Park monthly series where nationally known and local artists showcase their talents in Pack Square Park. Other favorites include Asheville's Chow Chow culinary series, Shindig on the Green and the Sourwood Festival in Black Mountain. View the full calendar of events here >>

Two men riding bikes along the greenway in Asheville

Urban Parks & Greenways

Beyond the vast outdoor playground of the Blue Ridge Mountains, visitors to Asheville can enjoy the fresh mountain air by taking a ride or stroll along one of Asheville's many greenways. The River Arts District (RAD) Wilma Dykeman Greenway is a two-mile stretch that runs adjacent to the French Broad River and features a separate two-lane path for cyclists. Pop in and out of more than 20 industrial buildings that have been transformed into artist studios, restaurants, shops, brewpubs and more. Farther north, enjoy the newly opened Silver-Line Park in nearby Woodfin. This five-acre park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including boat ramp access to the French Broad River, picnic shelters, a playground, a greenway and other walking trails, and a connection to the Craggy Mountain Rail Line. For those traveling with pets, take your your four-legged travel companion to the new Buncombe County Sports Park in Candler. As Buncombe County's first dog park, this pet-friendly park features two fenced-in play areas; one for large dogs and one for smaller pups. 

Specialty Tours

Experience Asheville through a unique lens with a tour that speaks to your personal passions. AVL Lit Tours takes book lovers on a guided literary walk through Asheville’s storied past. Foodies can experience Asheville’s sizzling food scene bite-by-bite with Asheville Food Tours or Eating Asheville food tour. Grab your cup of joe and get your taste of Asheville's specialty coffee scene by signing up for an Asheville Coffee Tour. Or, hone in on your hops knowledge while sampling the goods in “Beer City, USA” with a BREW-ed Brewery Tour. And there’s no better time than summer to “sip and see” with Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours

Chow Chow Culinary Event Series

A woman takes a picture at the Chow Chow culinary celebration in Asheville, NC

Asheville’s premier food festival is back and reimagined as a culinary event series that continues all summer long, with experiences for every budget and taste. Meet the movers, shakers, makers and bakers of Southern Appalachia’s diverse culinary culture with tastings, meals, demonstrations and discussions connecting food to important issues, such as climate change, food insecurity and racial equity.

Biltmore

Biltmore

America’s largest home unsurprisingly has an immense, 8,000-acre yard with miles of hiking, biking, and walking trails. Look out for two Blockbuster exhibits at Antler Hill Village this summer: Monet & Friends - Life, Light & Color, on display through July 10, 2022, which pays homage to Claude Monet and the Impressionist painters of the mid-19th century through the early 20th century, and Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius, July 14, 2022 - February 20, 2023, the world’s most comprehensive and thrilling Leonardo da Vinci experience. Fan favorite Biltmore Gardens Railway returns again this summer inside the conservatory, and kids will love the animals at Antler Hill Farm. You will also love complimentary tastings at Biltmore winery. INSIDER TIP: Pick an early time to tour the house to avoid the heat – and the crowds, too!

Where to Eat

Outdoor dining in Biltmore Village in Asheville, North Carolina

Outdoor Dining

Asheville earns its “Paris of the South” nickname with patios and tables dotting its downtown streets. Sip on a craft cocktail and share small plates in an intimate sidewalk setting at Sovereign Remedies, or head to table-lined Rankin Avenue and savor the authentic Mexican flavors from El Gallo (along with the best margaritas in town!). Baby Bull in the River Arts District has umbrella’d picnic tables where you can try the famous double burger at Bull & Beggar's spin-off concepts. Or, start your morning off fresh with an alfresco breakfast and specialty baked treats at Open Oven Brunch and Bakery in Black Mountain or at Well-Bred in Biltmore Village.

Cool Treats

The Hop Ice Cream

Asheville clearly screams for ice cream with several locally owned places to get your summer sugar fix. The Hop has become legendary for their homemade, locally inspired dairy and vegan delights, with five locations in North Asheville, West Asheville, Black Mountain and inside the S&W Market, Asheville’s first food hall located in downtown. New this summer, Pop Bubble Tea and The Hop's North Asheville location have created a cool collaboration offering fresh bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink. Hit the refresh button with a smoothie or cold-pressed juice from Pulp + Sprout in North Asheville, or Mountain Juicery in South Asheville and Hendersonville. Grab a sweet treat from Buggy Pops, which offers handmade ice pops at some of Asheville's popular tailgate markets and specialty events. 

Outdoor Summer Activities 

Group Tubing

Chills

Take the plunge down a 60-foot natural waterslide at Sliding Rock. With water temps hovering between 50 and 60 degrees, you’re guaranteed to beat the heat. Float down the French Broad—the world’s third oldest river! Take a tube (Zen Tubing), try paddle boarding with Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours, or hit up French Broad Outfitters—your one-stop shop for tubing, kayaking and SUP. Favorite air-conditioned indoor activities include shopping at the historic Grove Arcade, making your own glass keepsakes at the North Carolina Glass Center, and channeling your inner child at the Asheville Pinball Museum.

Thrills

Navitat Zipline

Enjoy Asheville's cool breeze as you zip through the trees at Navitat Canopy Adventures or the Adventure Center of Asheville. Take advantage of your proximity to world-class cycling with a guided mountain bike tour from Asheville Trails and Taps or an urban biking tour from Flying Bike Tours. Feel the breeze of the Blue Ridge Parkway as you take a guided ride with the new Asheville Jeep Tours or rent your own open-air vehicle with Joyride Slingshot car rentals. 

Nurture in Nature

A couple enjoys a scenic cascade

There’s no better way to spend your summer than by becoming one with nature in the serene Blue Ridge Mountains. For berry-picking, check out Craggy Gardens or Graybeard Trail for a more challenging, less crowded hike. Head to Daniel Ridge Loop Trail for an off-the-beaten-path waterfall hike along the Davidson River. For the ultimate summer hike, Graveyard Fields has it all: wildflowers, waterfalls, blueberry bushes and a swimming hole. Use Asheville Hike Finder tool to find the perfect path for you and your crew based on difficulty, length, trail usage and handy options like dog-friendliness and views. Whichever path you choose, show your love for the land and leave no trace: pick up your trash, respect wildlife and stay on marked trails!

Concerts and Entertainment

Aerial view of Rabbit Rabbit music venue

Immerse yourself in Asheville’s eclectic music scene with live music at one of the area’s premiere outdoor venues. Build an entire trip around a concert with your favorite national act at Salvage Station. Rabbit Rabbit has some big-name bands coming this summer (via The Orange Peel) and also offers weekly outdoor movies and stand-up comedy. Enjoy dinner and a show at Isis Music Hall. The Meadow at Highland Brewing presents a wide range of events throughout the summer including concerts, yoga and glow-in-the-dark volleyball. In Black Mountain, Pisgah Brewing offers free and ticketed concerts through the summers at its outdoor stage.

Asheville loves its free outdoor music! Bring a blanket (and banjo) for Shindig on the Green, a favorite local tradition in the heart of downtown Asheville with Southern Appalachian music, dancing, and storytelling. On the third Friday of each month, celebrate the weekend and live music at Downtown After 5. Or end the day in Black Mountain with Park Rhythms, a free summer outdoor concert series held Thursdays.

Updated May 24, 2022
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