Where To Stay In Asheville For Sightseeing
We recommend these great hotels in Asheville, near downtown shops, restaurants, and attractions:
- A couple of miles farther out from downtown is the Quality Inn Asheville Downtown Tunnel Road. This is a budget hotel with clean rooms, free breakfast and parking, in-room fridges and microwaves. The hotel also has a free downtown shuttle.
The North Carolina Arboretum
Part-forest, part-garden, part-mountain hike, The North Carolina Arboretum is an all-in-one getaway quietly resting on Ashevilles southwest corner. An epic landscape makes the region idyllic for springtime photos, while a Winter Lights show brings people back when the flowers go away. Be sure to check out French Broad Overlook for broad views of it all afterward.
Asheville Museum Of Science
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The Asheville Museum Of Science is a small and humble but very fun location.
Packed with must-see interactive exhibits that can be exciting for the whole family.
The most loved parts of this museum are very varied, providing lots of different experiences in one.
A French Broad River Water table display lets you make rain.
A Hurricane Simulator lets you experience the worst forcefulness of a storm.
A Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit lets you get close to and interact with a T-rex skeleton.
The Colburn Hall of Minerals is packed with geological displays that reflect North Carolina.
All in all, theres so much to see!
Address: 43 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, United States
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Wake Foot Sanctuary & Spa
Wake Foot Sanctuary
The Wake Foot Sanctuary & Spa is situated in an Asheville, North Carolina location already discussed: the Grove Shopping Arcade.
The fact that its one of the best ways to relax as you jump between attractions on your list of what to do in Asheville means it deserves its own number on this list.
The Wake Foot Sanctuary & Spa focuses on providing its customers with luxurious and indulgent levels of pampering.
Massages, foot soaks, and other relaxing services are provided to help you enjoy peace and serenity during the more hectic periods of your holiday.
Furniture in the form of plush chairs and sofas let you lounge while treatments are provided in rustic but equally opulent bowls of copper, handmade.
Water is perfumed with delightfully calming fragrances that engage the senses without overwhelming them.
For further indulgence, youll be served sweet tidbits, coffee, and tea as you enjoy a foot soak.
If you feel like it, you can even stop by Wakes own store, which sells handmade candles, artisanal products, and apothecary items.
Address: 1 Page Ave #115, Asheville, NC 28801, United States
Wander Through Downtown Asheville
The funky, artsy, and eclectic downtown area of Asheville has a friendly, Bohemian vibe. Locally owned shops and boutiques line the streets, along with a tasty selection of restaurants and cafés. Street performers of all kinds, from mimes to musicians, frequently make appearances.
Feel free to join in the regular drum circles that take place at Pritchard Park every Friday night and spontaneously on other nights throughout the summer. If you don’t want to participate, just stand around and enjoy the entertainment.
After dark, guests can catch an Asheville Community Theatre, Asheville Lyric Opera, or Asheville Symphony show. You can also explore the historic Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile walking-tour route, which is marked by a series of 30 stations that feature informational plaques and sculptures at various significant sites.
If you are looking for that special souvenir that captures the spirit of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains, be sure to stop in at The Grove Arcade. This wonderfully restored building dates from 1929 and is full of unique shops. In the evening, try and snag a spot on the patio of one of the many fine restaurants lining a full city block, and engage in some serious people watching.
Downtown Asheville is a good place to stay if you want to enjoy the city. You can park the car and walk everywhere if you base yourself in the city center.
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Apple Pick And Get Lost In A Corn Maze
At the end of August, the best apple orchards around Asheville start opening. They wont close again until late October or early November.
Hendersonville, known as Apple Alley, is the place to be for apple and pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hot cinnamon cider donuts, cider slushies, hard cider, farm animals, and even a bamboo forest.
Sky Top Orchard , Stepps Hillcrest, and Grandads Apples are the top three orchards we recommend for fun things to do in Asheville, NC in the fall.
We also enjoy quieter Coston Farm, and our readers love Jeter Mountain Farm.
Find All Of The Donuts
Asheville has the best donut shops. We just ate a delicious Vortex donut the other day it melted in our mouths.
A few other local places include Duck Donuts, Hole Doughnuts, and Geraldines Bakery.
If you are here in the fall, go to all of the apple orchards and try their donuts. We think Sky Top has the best since they make their cinnamon cider donuts in front of you and serve them piping hot.
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North Carolina Arboretum Asheville North Carolina
Resting within the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden that offers a range of activities for the whole family.
Established in 1986, the arboretum is home to hiking and biking trails, an intimate stream garden and a pretty garden dedicated to native and non-native hollies. Guided tours can be taken through the park, where expert botanists introduce you to the unique fauna and flora of the region.
The gardens also boast one of the most renowned bonsai collections in the country, as well as a diversity of beautiful flower exhibits year round. Refreshments in the form of snacks and drinks are available at the Savory Thyme Café located in the education center.
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, North Carolina 28806, Phone: 828-665-2492
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Explore The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. October, when the leaves are colorful and picturesque, is peak season for the parkway and one of the best times of year to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. But if you prefer smaller crowds, plan a trip in early to mid-summer to view the blooming rhododendrons, mountain laurel, and flaming azaleas.
You can enjoy the scenic vistas from the road and its many pull-offs, or consider taking a closer look by exploring the hiking trails that wander through the surrounding countryside and the Southern Appalachian mountains. The mountains around Asheville are also home to some of North Carolina’s most beautiful waterfalls. If you are visiting in the heat of the summer, be sure to bring your bathing suit and water shoes to take a refreshing dip in the cool waters.
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Hike In Mount Mitchell National Park
Located in Burnsville NC, just 30 miles north of Asheville at BRP milepost 355, massive Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet.
Mount Mitchell State Park is one of North Carolinas most popular outdoor attractions , offering 7 different hiking trails encompassing around 15 miles.
The shortest is of them all is also the most rewarding. The trek to the summit from the parking lot is moderately strenuous due to the sharp incline. But its just .4 miles, and rewards you with spectacular 360º scenic views .
The park also offers loads of camping options, a restaurant and concession stand, and an exceptional picnic area that includes 40 tables and two shelters with fireplaces.
The Raleigh Greenway System
This extensive network of paths is the perfect way to travel around the city of Raleigh.
It is possible to join the network from almost anywhere within the city and the paths cover about 100 miles.
The paths are a great way to get around but also provide a unique perspective of Raleigh and are used by cyclists, runners and dog walkers alike.
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Take A Day Trip To Hendersonville Nc
Located just 25 miles from the heart of Downtown Asheville, Hendersonville NC used to be one of many sleepy little Blue Ridge mountain towns.
But as Ashevilles growth has exploded over the past decade, Hendersonville has emerged as an impressive alternative to the bustling metropolis. The town of 14,254 people is beloved for its climate, gorgeous scenery, rich history, and abundance of parks and other attractions.
A day trip to Hendersonville can include laid-back activities, such as strolling the charming downtown areas lovely art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. There are cool attractions like the Appalachian Pinball Museum, Mineral Lapidary Museum, and Pisgah Forest Gem Mine.
For active pursuits, theres Holmes Educational State Forest and DuPont State Forest, which is full of waterfalls and 80+ miles of roads and hiking trails.
Dont miss Jump Off Rock, which offers those those spectacular misty mountain views the Blue Ridge region is known for.
Shop At A Farmers Market
We dont know about you, but when we travel out of state or even internationally, we love visiting local Farmers Markets and even grocery stores.
A little foodie shopping trip is perfect to try the areas cuisine and meet a city in a brand new way. Western North Carolina Farmers Market is the largest.
The other most popular Farmers Market is the Asheville City Market on Saturdays in downtown AVL between Woodfin Street and East Walnut St. at 52 North Market Street.
We pop by this one on our way to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.
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Casino At Harrahs Cherokee
You cant go to Cherokee without playing a round of blackjack at Harrahs Cherokee. This beautiful casino is part of the popular Harrahs chain. It has all the amenities you would expect from a high-class, award-winning casino.
Harrahs Cherokee offers everything from slot machines and Texas Hold Em tables to private event space for your next party or corporate event. Some several restaurants and bars serve up delicious food from all over the world, so you dont have to worry about finding something to eat while youre here either!
Top 6 Concert Picks For Sarasota
If you’re looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve with some live music, Sarasota’s Van Wezel will host a concert featuring rock group The band still features David Freiberg, one of the original members who formed the group after Jefferson Airplane’s dissolution and co-penned the 1979 track “Jane,
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Asheville Travel Tips & Advice
- Theres a fun public drum circle every Friday night between 6pm 10pm in Pritchard Park, where people of all ages join in to dance to the music.
- Asheville has a beautiful array of wildflowers that bloom between April and June. Keep your eye out for trillium, lady slippers, wild ginger, evening primrose, mountain laurel, rhododendron, and many more.
- The best time to visit Asheville is during the fall foliage season , as trees & mountains are incredibly colorful. Summers are usually pretty busy too and get the best weather.
- Parts of the Appalachian Trail pass through this region. For a taste of this famous 2,180 mile trek, try hiking the Max Patch Mountain trail for great views.
- The Biltmore Estate is Ashevilles most popular attraction, so it can get quite crowded. Go super early for awesome photos and less people.
Tour The Biltmore Estate
Named after former North Carolina governor Samuel Ashe, Asheville was born in 1797. But it wasnt until George Washington Vanderbilt II finished building his Biltmore Estate in 1895 that the city began to attract national attention.
The familys 125,000-acre estate became a popular retreat among early 20th century icons such as automaker Henry Ford, inventor Thomas Edison, and Presidents William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson.
With 250 rooms encompassing over 135,000 square feet, the historic landmarks Châteauesque-style architecture, lushly landscaped gardens, and forestry initiatives have made it the most popular Asheville attraction.
There are numerous Biltmore tour options, included self-guided and audio tours of the house, gardens, winery, and rooftop, as well as tours just for kids.
There are also endless outdoor activities on the 8,000-acre estate, ranging from biking, hiking, and kayaking to falconry, fly-fishing, horseback riding, and sporting clays.
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Skiing And Snow Tubing
Head on up to North Carolina’s High Country and experience winter sports to your heart’s content!
This southern state is north enough to get real, actual snow in the winter months.
You’ll find skiing, snowboarding, and tubing for every experience level at the mountain ski resorts in NC.
Hit the slopes at Sugar Mountain, or head to Beech Mountain for higher elevation. New to skiing? Check out Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock. It’s the perfect place to learn.
And if your prefer to stay off the skis, North Carolina has plenty of snow tubing spots — which is a great choice the whole family will love.
Pays Your Respects At Riverside Cemetery
Looking for dark tourist things to do in Asheville, NC? Head to Riverside Cemetery to pay your respects to literary greats. Famous authors Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter O. Henry are buried here.
Established in 1885, youll encounter ghost stories, Victorian-style mausoleums, and W.O.s famous Angels. Youll find a walking guide at the gates along with 3.5 miles of paved roads.
P.S. Lesser-known author, Wilma Dykeman is buried at Lewis Memorial Park.
Grab our Historical Guide To Riverside Cemetery, and see why we think this burial ground should be on your Asheville itinerary.
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Head To Downtown Hendersonville Nc
Hendersonville is about 40-45-minutes away from downtown Asheville. A smaller city, find even more cafes, restaurants, shops, bookstores, and the best Hendersonville breweries.
Walk around the historic downtown and grab chocolate at Kilwins. Umi Sushi is our favorite fine-dining Japanese restaurant in WNC. The wineries, orchards, and DuPont State Forest are all nearby.
Hendersonville also has sweet Bed and Breakfasts and museums. Uncover all of the fantastically fun things you can do in Hendersonville, NC.
We also have a post showcasing our favorite Hendersonville restaurants, including German food and more BBQ.
The Carl Sandburg Home
Flat Rock in Henderson County is south of Hendersonville and home to some of the areas best restaurants. Its also known for the Carl Sandburg Home, a National Parks site that honors the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and his final home.
Tour the home, hike five miles of trails around the residence. And visit the dairy barn that houses Lilian Sandburgs famed dairy goats.
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Farm Burger Asheville Nc
For pure home-grown burgers, thick cut, crispy fries and dew-fresh salads, Farm Burger is the place to visit. Farm Burger take pride in using fresh, seasonal ingredients and sourced from local farms in the area to create unrivalled farm-to-fork cuisine.
Farm Burgers famous burgers are made from grass-fed beef, humanely raised, fed on natural grass and free from antibiotics or growth hormones, creating a burger patty like no other. Create your own burger with a choice of ingredients available on the menu, and add delectable accompaniments such as crispy sweet potato fries and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese.
Wash it all down with a range of comfort drinks like bacon brittle shake and Wells Banana Bread Beer.
10 Patton Ave, Asheville, North Carolina 28801, Phone: 828-348-8540
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Check Out Ashevilles Street Art
Asheville is known for its art scene, and youll quickly understand why. Theres fun street art all over the place, like colorful murals painted on the side of buildings & under bridges, depicting the citys history.
My favorite was probably Chicken Alley by Molly Must, which you can find on Carolina Lane & Woodfin Street. Two giant chickens watch over the alley, a place that used to feature actual chickens in the past.
Right down the street from Chicken Alley youll see some tiny houses built into a brick wall. I also recommend stopping by the Flat Iron Sculpture downtown, created by local artist Reed Todd.
One of the best ways to experience the city fully is by exploring on foot. With about 87,000 residents, Asheville isnt huge. But its not too small either.
Asheville Scavenger Hunt!
Discover Asheville on a smartphone guided walking tour. Explore rich history, art, monuments and other hidden gems in the city.
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