20 Things To Do In Asheville NC

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In the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a destination for history, natural beauty and an exciting community. The city gained popularity during the 19th century as a health resort, attracting visitors for its mild climate and therapeutic mountain air. Its most famous landmark is the Biltmore Estate, which is America’s largest privately-owned home, owned by the famous Vanderbilt family.

Over the years, Asheville has earned itself various nicknames with different meanings behind each of them. “Land of the Sky,” for its breathtaking views from the many peaks throughout the area, “Paris of the South” for the thriving arts scene, and “Beer City USA” for its impressive number of craft breweries.

Asheville still holds the title of one of the best vacation spots in the region. The city and surrounds have plenty of exciting activities to offer, from hiking your way through the Appalachians to wandering around an art gallery or relaxing at a luxury spa. So here are the best things to do in Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville, North Carolina

Top Tours

Asheville Night Time Walking Ghost Tour
Looking for fun things to do in Asheville? Check yourself into a spooky ghost tour.

20 Things To Do In Asheville

The Best of Asheville: Private 2.5 hour Walking Tour
Going on a walking tour to admire fine architecture is one of the things to do in Asheville.

1- Explore A Grand Historic Mansion At The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is first on our list because you could easily spend an entire weekend enjoying all that this expansive mansion has to offer.

What is currently the largest privately owned home in the country has been converted into a museum for visitors to enjoy.

Tour through the stunning home, wander through the gardens, sip at the winery or participate in thrilling activities such as a Land Rover tour, rafting, painting, croquet or afternoon tea.


There is truly so much to do here and the Biltmore Estate also offers special events for the seasons such as Candlelight Christmas.

When visiting the Biltmore, booking tours and activities in advance is best.

The Biltmore Estate is at 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803. 

Recommended tour: Beautiful Self Guided Kayaking by the Biltmore

2- Take A Self-Guided Walking Tour Along The Urban Trail

The Urban Trail is a hiking trail in Asheville that spans 1.7 miles and wanders through the city.

It starts and ends at Pack Place in Asheville’s Pack Square.

The trail is an awesome way to learn more about the city’s history, as you can find informational plaques and admire a string of 30 sculptural trail stations depicting Asheville’s historical figures.

While walking the trail, you can also stop at pubs, taverns and restaurants to fuel your mind and body for more adventure.

It is free to walk along the Ubran Trail, so add this to your list of budget-friendly activities for your trip to Asheville.

The Urban Trail is at 11 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801.

Recommended tour: Guided Hike to 3 Amazing Waterfalls – 2.5 Hour Hiking Tour

3- Camp And Hike Your Way Up Mount Mitchell

The Appalachian Mountains’ highest peak is also the highest peak in North America east of the Mississippi River.

Hiking Mount Mitchell is a spectacular activity in Asheville to enjoy the outdoors and amazing views.

You can camp at Mount Mitchell State Park or find log cabin lodging to stay in.

There are many different trails to hike, including the trail that leads to the summit.

If you’re not a hiker, drive to the top and hangout at the observation deck to enjoy stunning 360-degree views.

Mount Mitchell is at 24 Radio Station Rd Wmit, Burnsville, NC 28714.

Recommended tour:

4- Visit The Asheville Botanical Gardens

On the grounds of the University of North Carolina Asheville campus, the Asheville Botanical Gardens provides wonder, whimsy and serenity.

The nonprofit garden is free to enjoy and open from sunrise to sunset each day.

The Asheville Botanical Gardens spans over 10 acres (4 ha) with plenty of trails to walk.

If you want to do more than just admire the native plants of the Appalachians, visit the on-site Cole Library, which contains more than 1,000 books relating to botany, horticulture, ecology and ornithology.

The Asheville Botanical Gardens is at 151 WT Weaver Blvd, Asheville, NC 28804.

Recommended tour: Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views

5- Discover The Studios And Workshops In The River Arts District

Architecture Of Asheville at night
Looking for things to do in Asheville, North Carolina? Check out our top 20 list.

Asheville’s River Arts District is a funky part of town that is the cultural hub of the city.

Brimming with art galleries filled with work from local artists, “RAD” is an awesome place to get in touch with the locals and get a feel for Asheville’s creative spirit.

Some of the art galleries and studios in the River Arts District you may like are St. Claire Art Studio, Philip DeAngelo Studio and ArtPlay.

Don’t be afraid to walk in and you might even get to meet the artist.

  • St. Claire Art Studio & Gallery is at 344 Depot St #104, Asheville, NC 28801.
  • Philip DeAngelo Studio is at 115 Roberts St, Asheville, NC 28801.
  • ArtPlay is at 372 Depot St #44, Asheville, NC 28801.
  • Recommended tour: River Arts District Tip-Based Sightseeing Walking Tour

6- Shop For Local Products At The Grove Arcade

Also known as the Arcade Building or the Asheville Federal Building, the Grove Arcade is a historic commercial building in Asheville.

Located right in the historic downtown district, the collective features eateries, galleries and locally-owned shops to explore.

The Grove Arcade is also home to the Outdoor Artists Market, which features dozens of local vendors selling their crafts and homemade products.

Although each shop varies, most of the indoor shops are open Monday to Saturday (10 am to 6 pm), Sunday (noon to 5 pm).

The Grove Arcade is at 1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801.

Recommended tour: Private Tarot Reading – For Groups or Solo Adventurers

7- Experience The Drum Circle At Pritchard Park

This tree-lined urban park is a tranquil escape if you’re looking for a peaceful spot.

One of the best features is the long-standing drum circle that occurs each Friday, when drummers from everywhere gather to participate in the thundering rhythms from the drums.

Others gather around to dance, soak up the vibe and enjoy the music.

This tradition began in 2001, with just 10 drummers and has grown into a large event.

The Asheville Drum Circle brings people together in a free event that allows the community to connect and develop a bond.

Pritchard Park is at 67 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801.

Recommended tour: Asheville Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour

8- Listen To Live Music At The Orange Peel

For music that’s more structured, watch a performance at the iconic Orange Peel.

The live music venue was voted as one of the USA’s Top 5 Rock Clubs by Rolling Stones magazine.

At the Orange Peel, you can watch performances by popular groups like Tangerine Dream and Colony House.

As it’s a popular venue, make sure you buy your tickets in advance.

The Orange Peel is at 101 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801.

9- Try Out A Local Favorite At HenDough

HenDough is a place everyone should visit for a tasty meal with a local flavour.

This local hotspot serves up a blend of sweet and savoury with its popular chicken and doughnuts.

The restaurant was created by two chefs who met while working at the Biltmore Estate.

They decided to use their talents to their own place, which has gone gangbusters.

Fan favourites on the menu include the Donut Breakfast Sandwich, Donut French Toast and the Cluck Madam.

HenDough is at 532 Kanuga Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28739.

10- Go On A Brewery Tour To Sample Asheville’s Craft Beers

Electric Bike Brewery Crawl of Asheville
Buncombe County Courthouse in Asheville, nc.

It wouldn’t be a visit to Beer City, USA, without drinking at some breweries now would it?

Asheville puts its heart and soul into its brewed craft beers, which are served at breweries everywhere.

With so many breweries to choose from, you might find yourself wandering into one and enjoying hours of laughs and good pours.

Some of the most popular in the area are Wicked Weed, Asheville Brewing Company and the Funkatorium.

Recommended tours:

11- Browse The Antique Shops And Boutiques In Historic Biltmore Village

Not far from the Biltmore Estate is the Historic Biltmore Village, where you will find unique shops and restaurants to stroll through.

Along with staples such as Jos. A Bank and Soft Surroundings, you will also find a bunch of Asheville-only stores offering one of a kind crafts, clothing and antiques to take home as souvenirs.

  • The Village is open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • Biltmore Village is at Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803.

Recommended tour: Unique Sites of Asheville Walking Tour for Couples

12- Take A Scenic Drive Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

2.5 Hour Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Jeep Tour
Exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the lovely things to do when in Asheville NC.

One of the best activities in Asheville is driving around and enjoying the views of the natural beauty that surrounds you.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives.

Enter this highway from any point within Asheville and stop at overlooks along the way to take photos or have a picnic.

The parkway is America’s longest linear park and runs for 469 miles through 29 counties throughout North Carolina all the way to Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Parkway starts at 3767 Blue Rdg Pkwy, Asheville, NC 28804.

Recommended tour: 2.5-Hour Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Jeep Tour

13- Experience The Magic Of The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is a magical place in the city and where you can stroll through gardens, bike on the nature trails and join an educational program to learn more about what you can see in the park.

The Arboretum also hosts events such as ArborEvenings, Making Scents, and Guided Walking Tours.

The North Carolina Arboretum is open every day (8 am to 9 pm) at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806.

Recommended tour: The Best of Asheville: Private 2.5-hour Walking Tour

14- Visit The Asheville Pinball Museum For A Nostalgic Gaming Experience

The Asheville Pinball Museum is a totally awesome experience with all-you-can-play arcade games from present day to retro collections.

It’s one of the most popular destinations in Asheville and during the busy season, you’ll see a line of enthusiastic players waiting to get it.

The Asheville Pinball Museum, or Apm, is open on Monday (1 pm to 6 pm), Wednesday to Friday (2pm to 9pm), Saturday (12 pm to 9 pm), Sunday (1 pm to 6 pm).

The Asheville Pinball Museum is at 1 Battle Square Ste 1b, Asheville, NC 28801.

15- Engage In Hands-On Exhibits At The Asheville Museum Of Science

The Asheville Museum Of Science is an educational destination filled with interactive exhibits including ecology, astronomy and virtual reality.

amOS is a great place for kids to let their imaginations run wild, with programs and events catered to their learning.

The museum is closed on Tuesdays, but open Monday and Wednesday to Saturday (10 am to 5 pm), Sunday (1 pm to 5 pm). Admission starts at $10 per person.

The Asheville Museum Of Science is at 43 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801.

16- Kayak Or Tube Down The French Broad River

French Broad Whitewater Rafting near Asheville, North Carolina
Enjoying the French Broad River is one of the things to do in Asheville. Here’s French Broad Falls.

The French Broad River is one of the world’s oldest rivers, dating back 260 to 325 million years old.

The river is treasured by the locals who take advantage of the serenity and the connection to nature it provides.

Visitors of the river have plenty of opportunity for recreational activities such as kayaking, tubing and paddleboarding.

Enjoy the natural beauty of the trees that line the river as you peacefully float along.

The French Broad River is at 1080 Old Marshall Hwy, Alexander, NC 28804.

Recommended tours:

17- Discover Local History At The Smith-Mcdowell House Museum

This brick mansion is a National Register of Historic Places-listed gem and the first mansion built in Asheville.

It’s also the oldest surviving brick structure in Buncombe County.

The Smith-McDowell House Museum has restored the stunning four-story home to its original glory featuring decor and pieces from before the Civil War.

Visiting the museum is a great way to step back in time and appreciate the history of Asheville.

Visitors must book tours in advance. Tour times are Thursday through Saturday at 10.30 am, 12 pm, 1.30 pm and 3.00 pm.

The Smith-Mcdowell House Museum is at 283 Victoria Rd, Asheville, NC 28801.

Recommended tour: Private Professional Holiday Photoshoot in Asheville

18- Relax At One Of Asheville’s Spas

As soon as you step foot in the Omni Grove Park Inn Hotel, you are met with luxury.

This resort-style hotel offers great amenities and activities, including a champion golf course, eclectic restaurants and bars, and our favorite – a subterranean spa.

The spa is one of the most prestigious in the area and was voted one of the “Top Resort Spas in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler.

Here, you can find steam rooms, hot tubs overlooking the mountains, waterfalls, and mineral pools.

If you want to relax on your vacation, this is easily the best spot to do it.

Omni Grove Park Inn is at 290 Macon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804.

19- Visit The Western North Carolina Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects visitors to the plants and animals of the Southern Appalachians.

The nature park offers fun activities for all ages including animal programs and interactive nature play areas and informational sessions.

The WNC Nature Center has 60 species of wildlife from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, including black bears, river otters and eastern box turtles.

The park is open daily with admissions from 10 am to 3.30 pm starting at $13.95 per adult.

The Western North Carolina Nature Center is at 75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805.

20- View The Childhood Home Of Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe was a prolific novelist that authored famous works such as Angel, Look Homeward and You Can’t Go Home Again, as well as numerous plays, short stories and novellas.

The historic site of his childhood home offers a closer look into the writer’s young life through exhibits and a presentation.

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is open Tuesday through Saturday (9 am to 5 pm). Admission starts a $5 per adult. House tours are offered daily at half past the hour.

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is at 52 N Market St, Asheville, NC 28801.

Asheville Skyline In Fall
You’ll find several things to do in Asheville in the fall.

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Jordan Donahue
Jordan is a freelance writer that has been in the industry for over a year. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in Communications which she used in her marketing career. Her hometown is Philadelphia, PA. Currently, Jordan resides in Central Florida with her family and French Bulldog, Philly. Jordan has travelled many places for fun and even travels for a living as a Flight Attendant. Her favourite destinations include Denver, Reno, and anywhere else with mountains and plenty of good coffee!