36 Free Ways to Explore Asheville

A great adventure in Asheville doesn't have to break the bank. As you explore the Biltmore, dine at award-winning restaurants, and shop at great local boutiques, add in these favorite things to do for extra fun free of charge.

The Outdoors

Hiking Near AshevilleLace up your boots or pack the car for a free outdoor adventure in the beautiful mountains and forests surrounding Asheville. 

Music and Theater

Drum CircleAsheville is considered one of America’s top music cities in the U.S. From gifted street performers to great venues showcasing the best in the area’s talent, here's how you can feel the rhythm free of charge.

  • Downtown buskers (street performers) – Hear music on every street corner (literally) in downtown Asheville. Performers do welcome tips.
  • Drum Circle – Feel the beat during the warmer months at Asheville’s weekly drum circle in downtown’s Pritchard Park.
  • Music venues – Enjoy live music free at local restaurants and bars like 5 Walnut Bar and the Asheville Guitar Bar. Popular local pub Jack of the Wood also has free music shows and jam sessions. (Some nights do have a cover charge.)
  • Montford Park Players – Watch a Shakespeare performance at Hazel Robinson Amphitheater on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from June through September.

The Arts

Art GalleryArt is everywhere in Asheville. Galleries, studios and arts centers offer a free window to Asheville’s creative side. While it’s free to look, you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase unique souvenir’s and bring a piece of Asheville home with you.

Museums

Moog Music FactoryGreat for a rainy day, Asheville museums are perfect for getting in touch with the area’s diverse history. While admission is free, all of these museums appreciate your donations.

  • Moog Music Factory – Tour the Moog Factory and visit the only room in the world where you can play every Moog instrument in production.
  • The Antique Car Museum at Grovewood Village – Find dozens of vintage vehicles on display.
  • North Carolina Homespun Museum – Also at Grovewood Village, view antiques and memorabilia of Biltmore Industries, once renowned for its hand-loomed fabrics.
  • Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center – Learn the history of the experimental Black Mountain College through exhibitions and programming.
  • Center for Craft – Visit this is creative destination for artists, researchers, curators, and the local community.
  • Basilica of St. Lawrence – Take a self-guided or guided tour of one of downtown Asheville’s most beautiful buildings.
  • James Vester Miller Trail - Learn the history behind some of Asheville's most intricate and historic buildings through a self-guided tour along the James Vester Miller Trail. Miller, an African American master craftsman, built many of Asheville’s most remarkable historic buildings during its Golden Age of the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Beer and Food

Beer Highland BrewingSee what’s brewing at some of Asheville’s 40+ craft breweries, many of which offer complimentary guided tours.

  • New Belgium Brewery – Sample beer on a 90-minute stroll around the brewery. Tours begin at 11:30 a.m. every day (noon on Sundays) and start every half-hour until 4:30 p.m. Book ahead of time to save your spot.
  • WNC Farmer’s Market – Walk through this open air market featuring farm-fresh goods. Open 7 days a week year-round.
  • The Whistle Hop - Enjoy free games and trivia as you enjoy fresh brews at this local's favorite in Fairview.
  • Highland Brewing - Check out the run club or the disc golf course at one of Asheville's most prominent breweries, Highland Brewing. 

Festivals

Shindig On the GreenThere’s no charge for having fun at these Asheville festivals.

  • Shindig on the Green – Bring a picnic to Shindig, which has offered family bluegrass entertainment at this outdoor summer jam session series for 50 years.
  • Downtown After 5 – On select Friday nights in the summer, head down Lexington Avenue for free concerts by top regional bands.
  • Big Crafty – You never know what treasures you'll find at this juried show of indie artists that happens twice a year.
  • River Music in RAD – Ease on down to the banks of the world’s third oldest river (the French Broad) for a concert series at the Salvage Station.
  • Art in the Park – Enjoy access to some of the finest artists in the Southeast at the festival on three consecutive Saturdays each June and October.

Local Attractions

Asheville TouristsFor free family fun, try one of these area attractions.

  • Asheville Tourists – Play ball! A ticket to see Asheville’s minor league baseball team is free on "Goodwill Nights" with the donation of three pieces of clothing.
  • Splasheville – Cool off with the whole family at downtown Asheville’s water fountain park.
  • Omni Grove Park Inn – Explore one of Asheville’s most storied hotels. Guided history tours are free for guests ($10 for visitors). Or, take a self-guided tour to enjoy the massive fireplaces, historic main inn, and many photos of famous guests. The first three hours of parking are free inside the parking garage (except during the annual National Gingerbread House Competition & Display, when special hours and rates are in effect).

 

Photo Credits: Top photo (Emily Chaplin), hiking photo (Jared Kay), drum circle (Art Meripol), gallery (Nathan Chesky), Moog Store (courtesy Moog Music), beer at Highland Brewing (Cole Rian), Shindig on the Green (Sandra Stambaugh), baseball (courtesy Asheville Tourists).