things to do in Asheville NC things to do in Asheville NC

10 Amazing Things to do in Asheville NC

Asheville is a beautiful town situated in North Carolina in the USA. It is a city soaked in vibrant culture and history with a local population of less than a hundred thousand.

However, that does not imply a dearth of things to do in Asheville NC. The city is full of positive energy from art and culture while it is surrounded by the lap of nature. Hence, tourist activities are equally divided between nature and the urban center.

There are many ecotourism opportunities in Asheville NC. As described earlier, the city is located in the lap of nature.

It is surrounded by many national forests and parks such as Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Green River Gorge, and many waterfalls and other natural Features.

On the other side, the vibrant town is also bustling with fun and joy. The soul of Asheville city is its art, entertainment, and history.

The city houses many museums, art galleries, critically acclaimed restaurants, and historical places of architectural significance.

The fame of downtown Asheville can be greatly related to the influence of the Biltmore Estate.

The estate contributed heavily to the development of tourism infrastructure. It brought significant capital which boosted the art and culture of the city.

Things to Do in Asheville NC

If you are planning a trip to Asheville NC, then you have a bundle of things to do and try. Below mentioned are just a few out of the entire bundle, which you can add into your to-do list.

1. Visit the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains
Photo by Clark Wilson on Unsplash

A visit to the blue ridge mountains is the most sought-after tourism destination in Asheville NC.

The mountain series starts in northern neighboring Canada and stretches downwards up to Northern Alabama while going through Northern Carolina. These mountains house precious flora and fauna and are a fragment of the Appalachian Trail.

These are the amazing things to do in Asheville NC to better explore the Blue Ridge Mountains:

(a) Drive on Blue Ridge Parkway

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Blue Ridge Parkway is over 450 miles of roadway that pass through many states in the US along the mountain stretch.

It also passes through Asheville and aids tourists to view the mesmerizing sights of nature. Driving along the parkway he one of the best things that you can do to get the best out of the trip to Asheville NC.

Moreover, there are a number of pull-offs along the Blue Ridge Parkway which you can use to pause your drive and capture the best experience of the mountain range in your heart.

(b) Ziplining

Ziplining is a great opportunity for adrenaline junkies who wish to see the Blue Ridge mountains and the adjoining scenery from up above.

There are three ziplining routes offered there. These include the Treetop tour, the Mountaintop tour, and the Ultimate Adventure tour.

The distance covered and height of zipline tours is minimum for the Treetop tour while the maximum for the Ultimate Adventure tour.

Ziplining in Asheville NC truly helps to recognize the splendent beauty of nature. It is among the most thrilling things to do in Asheville NC. 

(c) Mountain Biking

mountain biking
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The Blue ridge parkway has several stops to enable tourists to go for activities like hiking and biking in the mountains.

For this purpose, there are several hiking and mountain biking trails spread over the blue ridge mountains.

Mountain biking is the most sought-after adventure sport to pursue here. With the help of mountain biking trails and specialized mountain bikes, you can venture into the wilderness and get a fast hand experience. Further, opt for hiking trails to go to narrower and steep locations.

2. Explore the French Broad River

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The French Broad river adds further beauty to Asheville NC. The river flows from the North Carolina mountains towards downtown Asheville and eventually gets drained into the Mississippi river in Tennessee.

According to some geologists, the French Broad river is ranked as one of the oldest surviving rivers in the world.

The French Broad River at Asheville is wide. This makes the river perfect for many things to do.

The river is surrounded by the French broad river park which accentuates the view. Things to do in Asheville NC to better explore the river are rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

(a) Rafting

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Rafting uses a particular type of boat called a raft. The raft is shared by multiple people who use it to travel downstream. Rafting can be conducted on rivers flowing from a higher slope.

The river stream here fulfills all these conditions and is perfect for rafting. It is a popular family sport as a raft can accommodate many people on it. There are many private vendors which offer rafting to tourists at a nominal price.

(b) Fishing

The river is rich in marine fauna which makes it an ideal fishing spot. Visitors flock to this river to fish in its water on weekends and other holidays. The river is particularly known for fishing trout, a popular species of fish. 

(c) Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaking and canoeing are quite similar to each other in terms of the use of a small and narrow boat.

However, the key difference between the two is that the former employs the use of the propulsion system through a double-bladed paddle while the latter does not.

The two water sports are easy to enter. There are a number of vendors which supply kayaks and canoes and some even offer guided kayak tours on the water body.

It can be truly said that the trip to Asheville NC remains incomplete without a day trip to the French Broad river.

3. Explore A National/State Park

Pisgah National Forest
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Among the many awesome fun things to do in Asheville NC is exploring the national forests and state parks.

Asheville is located at a confluence of many national and state parks. Visitors coming here have multiple options to select from when it comes to exploring forests and grasslands.

The presence of mountainous bodies like the Blue Ridge mountains only aid in this pursuit. The many national and state parks that are a part of Ashville attractions are:

(a) Pisgah National Forest

National Forests
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Pisgah national forest is a must-visit while in Ashville. The national forest houses over five hundred thousand acres of forest area.

This piece of natural beauty is rich in various species of flora and to better explore them, you can take up various hiking and biking trails or horseback riding.

The Pisgah national forest also boasts to house one of the world’s first schools of forestry, namely the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.

The beauty of the forest is further enhanced by the presence of many waterfalls here, particularly, the Looking Glass falls, Linville falls, the Sliding rock and Rainbow falls.

(b) Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell State Park is the quintessential adventure spot if you are seeking some thrill. This state park houses Mount Mitchell. This mountain is one of the highest peaks here.

Scaling the height of Mount Mitchell is high on adrenaline activity. Moreover, from this peak, you can gaze at the vast green mountainous terrain ahead of you.

(c) Chimney Rock State Park

The Chimney Rock State Park is situated 25 miles from downtown Asheville in western North Carolina.

The park is named after a monolith rock that geologists consider to be more than existing for over 500 million years.

The park is particularly known for the Hickory nut gorge. Moreover, some scenes of ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ are shot in this park.

(d) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains are a part of the wider Appalachian Trail. At its highest peak, the national park houses an observation station that helps you to take a glance at the beautiful nature.

The national park serves as a dividing line between North Carolina and Tennessee.

4. Visit Asheville’s River Arts District

River Arts District
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

If you have a taste for art and culture, you should check out Asheville’s River Arts District. The arts district is made up of more than 20 historic buildings.

These buildings were previously employed in various industrial activities, particularly the textile industry.

However, once these buildings were abandoned for some reason or another, it was converted into an arts district.

It was because artists in western North Carolina needed large spaces with cheap rent. Currently, Fun things to do in Asheville NC are as follows:

(a) Art Trekking

Photo by Tiana on Pexels

Art trekking is the best way to take the best out of the Arts District. You can go for food and wine tasting, class, event, and guided walks to art galleries.

In the River Arts District, there are over 200 artisans and craftsmen who create amazing pieces of work. When visiting Asheville, there is a golden opportunity to meet these artisans at work.

(b) Shopping

You can also shop some of the fabulous creations of the artists on the weekly market in the River Arts District.

Various vendors are selling precious decor, ceramics, and paintings to enhance the aura and view of your home. Shopping is at the top among most tourist things to do in Asheville NC.

5. North Carolina Arboretum

NC Arboretum
Photo by Adisa F Unsplash

North Carolina Arboretum is one of the top Asheville attractions that tourists look out for. The Arboretum is located in Pisgah National Forest and is among the largest of the Asheville botanical gardens.

The North Carolina Arboretum is a haven for flora lovers with its campus stretching for over 434 acres.

7 different gardens make up the entire North Carolina Arboretum. Each of these gardens serves a particular purpose and is a walking distance from each other.

It helps the arboretum in its overall goal of conservation, research, and education of the various flora species. Things to do in Asheville NC at the arboretum are as follows:

(a) Take A Walking Tour of the Gardens

The North Carolina Arboretum has over 60 acres of botanical gardens. You should take a walk across the serene gardens.

The fresh flowers of the garden will fill your heart with freshness and your mind with positive vibes.

To make the best out of the trip to the arboretum you should have a map of the gardens for easy navigation.

Moreover, besides beautiful flowers, tourists also get to see a host of other insects including bees, dragonflies, and butterflies.

(b) Learn About Nature

Photo by Luis del Rio on Pexels

The NC arboretum aims to educate and research plants and other related aspects. It can serve as an ideal medium for you to enrich your knowledge and gain new insights regarding the flora and fauna on Earth.

This is among the most exciting things to do in Asheville NC. The NC Arboretum offers more than 300 classes on how to create your garden and some basic facts about wildlife.  

6. Visit the Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate
Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

Biltmore Estate is the crown jewel of Asheville, North Carolina. While the city of North Carolina is named after Samuel Ashe, the former governor of the state, the estate is named after George Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt was among the wealthiest in the USA and he had built the estate in the late 1800s.

A trip to Asheville NC is incomplete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate. While the estate no longer serves as a residence, it is still owned and managed by the Vanderbilt family.

It is regarded as the largest home in America and has served as a retreat for famous people like Henry Ford and Woodrow Wilson.

These are the popular things to do in Asheville NC:

(a) Tour Biltmore House

Biltmore house is the primary location to visit at the estate. You would require a ticket or pass to visit the house.

If you wish to avoid the crowd, opt for visiting here in the earlier hours. ‘Halloween room’ is the highlight of the mansion.

(b) Tour Biltmore Village

In contrast to the Biltmore Estate which was built for the owners, the Biltmore village was a place to shelter the staff involved in the creation of the estate and its upkeep.

The village houses several businesses like breweries, restaurants, and many other shops. The buildings of these businesses are historic places like cottages and offer a vibrant art scene.

(c) Gaze at Street Graffiti

The art scenery in Asheville remains quite vibrant and popular. Street art in the form of graffiti attracts scores of art lovers.

According to some locals, there are more than a dozen graffiti depicting various scenes and themes.

7. Folk Art Center

Folk arts center
Photo by PJ Frederick on Unsplash

The folk art center near the Blue Ridge Parkway is approximately 11 miles from downtown Asheville.

The art center hosts a variety of arts and crafts from all over the Appalachian Trail. Admission to this center is free of cost to all visitors.

The Folk Art Center offers a great opportunity to the local population of craftsmen by giving them sources of employment and a quality place to showcase their works.

Allanstand craft shop is one of the oldest shops in this center. The many things to do in Asheville NC while at the Folk art center can be:

(a) Marvel at the Art

Photo by Jadson Thomas on Pexels

The Folk Art Center specializes in handmade crafts items. Even the origin of the center traces back its root to the objective of serving as a center for local artists to showcase their works.

Prominent arts and crafts at display here are handwoven premium quilts, pottery items, and furniture.

As per the visitor center, the Asheville art museum is open to the general public daily from 10 am to 5 pm. The art museum also houses a library, and an auditorium, apart from three galleries.

(b) Attend Art Classes

Asheville is a hub for artistic activity in the US. Just like River Arts District, Folk Art Center also organizes several classes, workshops, and demonstrations to share knowledge and skills regarding common people.

Hundreds of enthusiastic people flock here to learn the delicates of art. Investing time and effort in arts and crafts are among the most calming things to do in Asheville NC.

8. Play at Asheville Pinball Museum

Ashville, North Carolina has something interesting for every category of tourists. Apart from nature and art lovers, Ashville also draws towards itself gamers from across the country. Playing games at the pinball museum is the perfect way to have fun while in this city.

The Asheville Pinball Museum can be described as a type of interactive museum. It is due to the presence of many vintage gaming machines in this place, some dating back to the 50s.

Hence, it can also be described as a museum without the usual boring stuff. The many fun things to do in Asheville NC are as follows:

(a) Play Pinball Games

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The Asheville Pinball Museum has nearly seventy-five pinball tables. It is the perfect combination of history plus fun. Popular pinball machines here are Star Trek and The Black Hole among many others.

(b) Play Arcade Games

Apart from pinball games, the museum also houses around two dozen antique arcade game machines.

Frogger and 1942 are well-known vintage arcade game machines. Games are open to play for all, including children.

The museum makes a one-time charge to players, irrespective of the number of games they choose to play. Adults are required to pay fifteen dollars while children are charged ten dollars.

9. Eat and Drink at Asheville Restaurants

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Asheville is not just rich in the natural landscape, history, art, and culture, but also has a rich tradition of food and drinks.

The confluence of tourists from various parts of the globe has led to the rise in multi-cuisine restaurants in Asheville.

The downtown Asheville restaurants also offer people the best of local cuisine. You should undertake Asheville food tours to get a broad culinary experience of the city.

In this food tour, you will visit seven different food points offering different but special flavors. Things to do in Asheville NC to make the best culinary experience can be:

(a) Visit Local Restaurants

It does not matter whether you are non-vegetarian, vegetarian, or vegan, the restaurants of Asheville have got you covered.

The town has every category of food item and the restaurants serving them are of top-notch quality.

Moreover, 12 Bones Smokehouse is reportedly the favorite restaurant of former President Obama.

(b) Visit Breweries

Asheville is referred to as the best beer city in America for a reason. The city has the best and most globally recognized beer companies operating in it.

You can have a guided tour of these brewing facilities and free wine tasting adds further joy to the trip.

You can also visit wineries and vineyards in western Asheville. Biltmore winery located near antler hill village is a hidden Asheville attraction.

10. Relax at Thomas Wolfe Memorial

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Thomas Wolfe Memorial was the childhood home of the prolific writer. Thomas was an American writer known for his frank observations about Asheville in his short stories and novels.

Wolfe has used this house as the description of the house in many of his stories, including ‘Look Homeward Angel’.

He was born in 1900 and died at the ripe age of 38. This monument was declared to be a national landmark in 1971, although visitors have come here to pay homage to him since 1949. 

These are some of the amazing things to do in Asheville NC are:

(a) Tour at the Memorial

Before coming to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, it is widely suggested that one should have read at least a few of his stories or novels.

Touring the memorial after such study becomes further interesting.

This is because you can perhaps relate with the author while touring as his writings are set in that building itself. The memorial is in two stories and guided tours can be available.

Thomas Wolfe was among the most popular citizens of Asheville, North Carolina. His observations of Asheville were so frank that his books were banned from the public library of Asheville at the time.

The Final Touch

Things to do in Asheville NC have no limitations. The city offers many things to do that serve people with different interest groups.

To sum up, if you are a nature lover, drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway and if you are an adventurer, scale the peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains.

If you are an art lover, tour the River Arts District and Folk Art Center and if you are a reader, pay your respects to Thomas Wolfe at his memorial.

If you are a gamer, play games at the Asheville pinball museum but if you are a foodie, eat and drink at downtown restaurants in the city.

If you are interested in flora, visit NC Arboretum, and if you are into history, tour Biltmore estate.

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Last Updated on June 14, 2023 by somya909