Photo by Rachael McIntosh Photography.
WHY VISIT THE ECLECTIC, OUTDOORSY CITY of Asheville, North Carolina? The Scout Guide Asheville editor Meagan Harris can name a few reasons. Are you seeking a vibrant food and beer scene? This is the perfect destination. Interested in arts and culture? Asheville has that, too. And the incredible mountains and waterfalls just waiting to be explored are ideal for visitors looking for fresh air and a great adventure.
Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Meagan shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHEN TO GO // It’s always a good time to be in Asheville, but spring, when everything starts to bloom, and fall, when you can take in the beauty of the changing colors of the leaves, are particularly appealing. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must—but note that it sometimes closes in the winter—and is especially stunning in autumn.
WHERE TO STAY // Hotel Arras (7 Patton Avenue). Located in the heart of downtown Asheville. You can expect Southern welcomes, free spirits, and breathtaking views. Wine hour is a must, and be sure to take in all the local artwork while you’re there.
Bunn House Hotel (15 Clayton Street). Only two blocks from downtown, this boutique hotel is known for its lovely grounds. Additionally, a stay includes complimentary beer, wine in the mini fridge, and in-room breakfast.
The Windsor Boutique Hotel (36 Broadway). If you are looking for a high-style stay, this hotel, which is also situated in the heart of downtown, has a distinctly Parisian vibe. With its historic features, luxury amenities, and stunning art collection, you will not be disappointed.
Cambria Downtown Asheville (15 Page Avenue). The perfect blend of upscale relaxation, business, and fun.
Griffin’s Lair (30 All Souls Crescent). A cozy, sophisticated short-term apartment rental that’s conveniently located in Historic Biltmore Village. Views from the private terrace overlook Biltmore Village and The Cathedral of All Souls.
The Inn on Biltmore Estate® (1 Lodge Street). Elegant surroundings, sweeping estate views, gracious hospitality and service, plus an onsite spa to help you find your bliss are just a few reasons to book here.
WHAT TO DO // Asheville Art Museum (2 Pack Square). Explore an outstanding collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries and discover the richness of Western North Carolina’s unique artistic history.
Lexington Glassworks (81 South Lexington Avenue). The place to go if you’re looking for a taste of the local artisan scene. You can watch one-of-a-kind glass pieces being hand blown…and you can even grab a beer on the weekends.
Momentum Gallery (24 North Lexington Avenue). Momentum offers a contemporary and modern program with an emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists.
Tracy Morgan Gallery (188 Coxe Avenue). Asheville’s only contemporary art gallery featuring photography, works on paper, painting, and sculpture.
Riveter (701 Old Fanning Bridge Road, Mills River). A fabulous one-stop place for exercise and health. It’s a premier indoor climbing gym (currently open for members and pass holders), bike park, and wellness arena.
Asheville Museum of Science (43 Patton Avenue). Western North Carolina’s home for science learning, discovery, and exploration. Ideal for kids!
Asheville Pinball Museum (1 Battle Square, Suite 1B). This colorful, fun place is full of retro pinball machines.
French Broad Chocolates Factory Tour (821 Riverside Drive). Dive into the world of bean-to-bar chocolate and get a peek into the chocolate making process.
Navitat (242 Poverty Branch Road, Barnardsville). A thrilling tree-based zipline adventure. You can (literally) hang out in local scenery.
Flying Bike Tours (225 Coxe Avenue). Offers electric bike tours and rentals so that you can explore must-see sights, beautiful greenways and stunning views.
Blue Ridge Parkway. Driving along the parkway is the perfect way to experience the outdoor beauty that Asheville is known for. If you’re feeling up to it, stop at any trailhead to explore some magnificent hiking trails. Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.4 along the parkway) is a favorite place on the parkway due to its kid-friendly, wide open spaces and fantastic vistas.
WHERE TO SHOP // Bette Boutique (2 All Souls Crescent), NEST Boutique + DIY Studio (10 Biltmore Plaza & 54 North Lexington Avenue), Peace & Nice Boutique (32 All Souls Crescent), and Scout Boutique (18 Brook Street). These shops, all within Biltmore Village, carry on-trend women’s apparel and accessories.
The Gardener’s Cottage (34 All Souls Crescent). A quaint store within Biltmore Village that sells florals and gifts.
MTN Merch (22 Lodge Street and 49 North Lexington Avenue). Another can’t-miss with locations in Biltmore Village and downtown. Offers locally made and locally themed goods.
Traveling Chic Boutique (30 Haywood Street), Hazel Twenty and Maisie Twenty (16 Patton Avenue), Minx (64 North Lexington Avenue), and blu29 (146 Church Street). More clothing boutiques that are local favorites.
Playdate Goods (315 Haywood Road, Suite 111). Cozy vibes and sustainably focused children’s goods.
WHERE TO EAT // Over Easy Cafe (32 Broadway Street). Serves a variety of breakfast dishes that will satisfy any food restrictions you might have. The cafe only uses local, seasonal, organic meats and dairy.
Hole Donuts (168 Haywood Road). This Asheville favorite is perfect for breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.
Isa’s Bistro (1 Battery Park Avenue). Ideal for a relaxing, lunch, or brunch with friends. The French-inspired cuisine is fabulous.
Baba Nahm (1 Page Avenue #139). A grab-and-go restaurant serving up delicious Middle Eastern food. Be sure to get an order of fries.
All Day Darling (102 Montford Avenue). Offers an all-day menu of market-focused foods. Think baked goods, hearty salads, toasts, and seasonal dinner specials.
Buxton Hall BBQ (32 Banks Avenue). A must-visit lunch spot due to its whole-hog barbecue and famous fried chicken sandwiches made by James Beard Award winners.
12 Bones (5 Foundy Street). Another restaurant that locals flock to for Asheville-style barbecue.
Benne on Eagle (35 Eagle Street). Serves modern soul food that’s deliciously prepared by chefs John Fleer and Ashleigh Shanti.
Smoky Park Supper Club (350 Riverside Drive). If you’re looking for a dinner that’s distinctly Asheville, this is the spot. Don’t miss the Char Grilled NC Oysters.
The Bull & Beggar (37 Paynes Way). Tucked away in the River Arts District, this restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere. Try the filet served with madeira sauce and bone marrow.
Bargello (7 Patton Avenue). An innovative, Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that focuses on local ingredients and offers exceptional cocktails.
WHERE TO DRINK // Liberty House Coffee + Café (221 South Liberty Street). Enjoy a specialty coffee from this incredible garden-to-table local favorite.
Mountain Juicery (1863 Hendersonville Road in South Asheville). Serves killer smoothies (try the Cashew Mango Lime), fresh pressed juices, and healthy snacks.
Elements Real Food (233 South Liberty Street). An organic, cold-pressed juice bar and café.
Antidote (151 Coxe Avenue). A beautiful 19th-century cocktail lounge with a can’t-miss hidden rooftop botanical bar.
Green Man Brewery (27 Buxton Avenue). Asheville’s second oldest brewery. It’s also dog-friendly with great views on their upstairs patio.
Highland Brewing (12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200), Hillman Beer (25 Sweeten Creek Road), Burial (40 Collier Avenue), New Belgium (21 Craven Street), and Blue Ghost (125 Underwood Road). Additional breweries that contribute to Asheville amazing beer scene, and are all worth a visit.
For additional recommendations for what to do, see, and experience in Asheville, follow The Scout Guide Asheville on Instagram.