Best places to visit asheville nc – best places to visit asheville nc
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Asheville is a city in North Carolina, the mountain city is nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a segment of the historic Appalachian Mountains. Rolling mountains, breathtaking sceneries, hiking trails, and picnic sites are just some of the things that make the city a popular vacation destination. But what really makes Asheville famous is its historical figures like Thomas Wolfe, the famous American novelist, and George Vanderbilt, who built Biltmore Estate, the largest private mansion in the United States.
Asheville is also a major hub for the arts, and attractions like the River Arts District will show you just how vibrant the art scene is. It was in this city that the now-defunct Black Mountain College was founded; a college that championed art-making as a vital component of education.
With this in mind, here is a comprehensive list of 41 things to do in Asheville , NC that will make your vacation worthwhile. The city will surprise you in a good way and make your vacation experience worth remembering for years to come. Today, the grandiose mansion stands as a historic attraction site that visitors can explore or stay in. It is set on lush green well-manicured gardens and has a rooftop that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape that consists of tall trees and rolling hills.
Visitors can either take a self-guided or guided tour of the mansion and its gardens to learn its interesting history and see its historical decor.
If you like, you can stay overnight for a wholesome estate life experience. Nestled in the scenic Pisgah National Forest, the North Carolina Arboretum is a family-friendly attraction dotted with nature trails, lovely gardens, water ponds, and picnic areas.
It is part of the Appalachian Mountains and offers grounds for you to connect with nature and get lost in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. If you love hiking, you will have over 10 miles of trails to explore. The trails are suitable for both expert hikers and moderate hikers. Plan to spend your day at the North Carolina Arboretum on a picnic exploring its breathtaking Bonsai Garden, nature exhibits, an EcoLab, and its plant collection area.
You are allowed to bring food and drinks from outside, but be sure to make use of the provided waste bins. Famous for its award-winning craft beer, the New Belgium Brewing Company opened its Asheville branch in and since then, it has been the brewer of choice for most locals and visitors. Before Covid, the facility was open for tours to give visitors a peek into what happens behind the scenes. Visitors would learn how craft beer is made and get an opportunity to taste their best-selling beers.
Open from Wednesdays to Mondays, Asheville Pinball Museum offers an opportunity for you and your family to have a good time. It has 35 pinball machines available for you and once you pay your admission fee, you are free to play for as long as you like as you enjoy a soda, beer, or snack. There is a wide range of arcade games to choose from that serve visitors of all ages.
Our only warning, you will enjoy the games too much that you will lose track of time! Along the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor is the breathtaking Craggy Gardens , a natural floral park with spectacular views. To get to the Craggy picnic area you will hike for about 25 minutes along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail in the beautiful dense forest. You will be greeted by a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Parkway which is dotted with mountain vegetation, rolling hills, and valleys.
Set out your picnic blanket and wait for the most breathtaking sunset you have ever witnessed. If you love history or are fascinated by historic architecture, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence should not miss your list of things to do in Asheville. It was designed by renowned architect, Rafael Guastavino , in a Spanish baroque architecture style, which contributes to its reason for being one of the major attraction sites in Asheville.
You can take a self-guided tour to soak up its majestic grandeur prevalent on both its interior and exterior. If you are spiritual, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence is an ideal place to pray or meditate.
Its welcoming and warm ambiance will make you feel right at home. For a more relaxed tour experience, you should consider checking out the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. The gardens are dedicated to the study of plants and their natural habitats. This means that the gardens do not follow a specific or tailored structure like your usual botanical gardens. They are just allowed to thrive as naturally as possible with minimal to no human interference. You will feel as if you are exploring a natural forest, the only difference is that you will be educated about how the plants of the Southern Appalachians interact with their surroundings.
The Botanical Gardens at Asheville also offer designated picnic grounds where you can enjoy a serene picnic after your tour. Reminiscent of a watercolor painting, these sleek vessels appear to be airy and soft.
If you have never experienced a glassblowing session in your life, you have no idea what you are missing out on! You should make Lexington Glassworks your first stop when you visit Asheville. Owned and run by two friends, Geoff and Billy, the glassblowing studio offers visitors a unique experience where you are served craft beer to enjoy as you watch the pleasurable art of making hand-blown glassware. Lexington Glassworks is the premier glassblowing studio in the city and stands out as one of the coolest things to do in Asheville.
It features contemporary and traditional Southern Appalachian craft that includes prints, glass, wood, pottery, jewelry, metal, textiles, and more. Some of the artisans are present to interact with visitors and tell them more about their works. The center is conveniently located on the Blue Ridge Parkway thus creating a natural and beautiful atmosphere.
Rating: 4. Spread across 42 acres of land, the Western North Carolina Nature Center is dedicated to teaching people about the plants and animals of the Southern Appalachian region, and encouraging them to take part in wildlife and environmental conservation efforts.
If you are in Asheville with your children, the center would be a great place to take them if you want them to learn about conservation from an early age. It has 60 animal species and hundreds of plant species, featured in its interactive exhibits, like the Appalachian station for amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles, and the Otter Falls which houses otters and aquatic turtles.
There are picnic tables where you can hang out to take a break from the tour and enjoy a drink or snack from the on-site vending machine. A hand operated freight wagon, originally part of the Biltmore industries. Bob Pool Shutterstock. Located 10 minutes north of downtown Asheville, Grovewood Village is set on 11 acres of land dotted with lush natural forest vegetation.
It is an attraction that takes visitors back in time through art and historical memorabilia. The historical attraction, which was originally known as Biltmore Industries Inc. The Antique Car Museum showcases a wide range of vintage automobiles that are still functional to date. The Gallery of the Mountains showcases amazing artwork by local artists. And once you are done exploring, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the patio of the Golden Fleece Restaurant as you soak up the natural ambiance.
The house was bought by his mother, Julia Wolfe, for her family. When Wolfe wrote his first novel, he incorporated his experience living in the house with his family as well as the lives of his friends and other people who lived or visited the home.
In his novel, he named the house Dixieland. Thomas Wolfe died in from tuberculosis and in , the house was designated a historic site in his honor. In , the Thomas Wolfe Memorial house was destroyed in a fire, however, it was restored and reopened in It is one of the most visited attractions in Asheville owing to its historical and literary significance. If for some reason you cannot take a walking tour of Asheville, this is where Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville comes to your aide.
The tour company prides itself in providing locals and visitors the best sightseeing tours of the city. The company has been in operation since , an assurance that they know Asheville, even its most hidden gems, better than anyone else.
Tours are conducted in their beautiful and spacious trolley cars that drive around the city stopping at major attractions. Gingo Scott Shutterstock. Pritchard Park is lined up with tall trees and lovely landscaping. You can either sit on the benches or at its amphitheater-style seating area.
The park might be small, but it might also be one of the coolest things to do in Asheville. Winding pathway through mountains. Wiktor Shutterstock. Located about 35 miles away from downtown Asheville, the park is home to the summit of Mount Mitchell which stands at 6, feet above sea level.
If you are feeling energetic or you just enjoy hiking, you can walk to the summit which will take you about 4 and a half hours. However, if hiking is not your struggle to embrace, you can drive up to the summit, where a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the surrounding scenic landscape awaits you. Other draws to the park include its tent-only camping ground which is open from May to October.
If you are looking for free things to do in Asheville, look no further, Pisgah National Forest is your answer. The breathtaking forest that was once considered the property of George Vanderbilt is characteristic of rolling mountains, scenic hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, and whitewater rivers.
Among its biggest draws is its school of forestry, which is the first in the United States, and two designated wilderness areas, Linville Gorge and Shining Rock, which are two of the first such areas in the country. Visit Pisgah National Forest ready to have a picnic surrounded by tall trees and spectacular forest vegetation, hike any of its beautiful trails, go on a scenic drive, or enjoy a thrilling bike ride.
It derives its name from the fact that when it rains in winter and the water freezes on the rock, it reflects the sun like a mirror. Source Jaime Landauer.
Biltmore School of Forestry was located here when it was established by Carl A. Its location in the middle of a forest gives it the advantage of enjoying a beautiful setting surrounded by cool fresh air and a spectacular view.
Visitors come to explore its interactive exhibits which show Dr. Other activities to do at the Cradle of Forestry in America include hiking, birdwatching, a visit to the Forest Discovery Centre where you will watch a documentary, explore historical buildings which include a commissary and a schoolhouse, a logging locomotive, a portable sawmill, and a gift shop.
Kids can have fun with the firefighting helicopter simulator and at the Adventure Zone. The Cafe at the Cradle will be at your service offering you snacks and lunch. We know you have been on a food tour, but trust us when we say you have never experienced anything like what No Taste Like Home Wild Food Tours company offers. It prides itself as the biggest foraging education company in the world.
You will embark on a tour through fields and the forests of Asheville in search of wild foods like mushrooms, leaves, plants, seeds, and wild fruits. The tours are guided by experts who have many years of wild food knowledge and will teach you everything you need to know about wild edibles. After a day of collecting wild food, you will take back your findings to a restaurant in Asheville, chosen by the tour company, where they will use your food collection to make you a meal.
This is one of the most exciting things to do in Asheville and one that you will not be forgetting any time soon! Founded by a street-performing couple, Jima and Jen, LaZoom Tours offers sightseeing tours of Asheville, but with a twist.
– 16 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Asheville | PlanetWare
Enjoy the best day trips from Asheville, NC. Find top Asheville day trips for hikers, waterfall chasers, and foodies — that are realistic and fun in a day. With so much to do, including brewery hopping, hiking, and shopping, Asheville has a little bit of everything for everyone. With gorgeous mountain ranges, shimmering lakes, endless wineries, waterfall hikes, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, you might be craving a few road trips from Asheville. Black Mountain houses a top-notch distillery.
Climb the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at Mount Mitchell. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN is pretty darn close. As AVL locals, we are sharing the best day trips from Asheville — that immerse you in the mountains and are both manageable and realistic in a day. Fill up your Asheville itinerary here.
This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. The best time to cruise the BRP is the spring to catch the blooms and autumn for the fall foliage. Just keep in mind that the Blue Ridge Parkway grows extremely busy during peak fall foliage. Arrive at your destination early. Find even more of the best BRP hikes, overlooks, and waterfalls. GPS and cellular service are iffy along the parkway. You can also navigate the road via milepost makers.
Dense fog rolls in and out, covering up beautiful views and your line of sight. Temperatures may also be 10 to 15 degrees cooler here.
Bring layers. Most of the BRP will close in the winter for weather, and sometimes parts are closed for maintenance. Also, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife crossing the parkway, such as black bears, and exert caution around bicyclists. Read more about all of the Asheville hiking trails that locals frequent. One of the most famous day trips from Asheville, visiting the Smokies is a must for any itinerary. The Smokies are one of the most visited national parks in America. At the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, stock up on supplies and information from the rangers, use the restrooms, and cross your fingers that the elk are active.
Behind the visitor center, stroll the easy Oconaluftee River Trail. Many people come here to watch the elk in the field.
Just remember to keep the legal distance. Stop by the log farmhouse, barn, and apple house to see how families lived and worked in the Appalachian Mountains years ago.
Of course, there are endless hiking trails and waterfalls in the Smokies. Fish, camp, and explore the surrounding areas. We are by no means Smoky Mountains experts — yet — but recommend VisitSmokies. Western North Carolina is famous for its waterfalls. One of the best day trips from Asheville for waterfall hikes, DuPont State Forest is an unforgettable experience. DuPont is also a fabulous Asheville day trip if you are traveling with the entire family. DuPont State Forest is about a minute drive from Asheville.
Hendersonville is another popular Asheville day trip option, perfect after hiking DuPont or even Bearwallow and Trombatore trails. Located 40 to 50 minutes from AVL, Hendersonville is full of things to do.
Explore museums, grab a bite to eat , and brewery hop. Get lost in bamboo forests, and pet the farm animals. If you enjoy wine tasting, be sure to tour the Hendersonville wineries.
Stone Ashe, Sawyer Springs, St. Paul, Souther Williams, and Point Lookout showcase beautiful vineyard views. Check out all of the great Hendersonville stays here.
Another beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain town, Black Mountain is one of the closest and easiest day trips from Asheville. Asheville to Black Mountain is only about a minute drive. The best things to do in Black Mountain include walking Lake Tomahawk and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the stellar Black Mountain restaurants. Hike nearby Catawba Falls, and for local spirits, beers, and meads, Black Mountain has it all. We frequent Oak and Grist Distilling Company for craft cocktails.
For something different, head to Black Mountain Cider and Mead. Black Mountain Brewing and their Alehouse across the street are perfect for grub and beer. Like Hendersonville, you may also consider staying in Black Mountain and day trip near Asheville from here. Black Mountain also has a Visitor Center and website.
About 1. The mountain peaks at 5, feet above WNC. The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation maintains part of this beautiful attraction. You will have to purchase advanced tickets online to enter. Stop at scenic overlooks and picnic areas, catching a glimpse of Split Rock. They have a Nature Museum too. Grandfather Mountain also boasts of one of the hardest trails in the southeast, Grandfather Trail. Of course, this is for experienced hikers only.
Stroll along the Rose Walk, which lights up with blooms in the spring. Enjoy outdoor recreational activities like paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, and guided pontoon boat tours.
Find tennis courts, a pool, mini-golf, and shuffleboard with public restrooms around the pool and recreation area. Head inside for the gift shop, a bookstore, and a sweet little library. While out this way, consider dipping into even more WNC mountain towns. Maggie Valley and Waynesville promise delicious restaurants, shops, and breweries.
For short road trips from Asheville, Lake Junaluska is perfect, clocking in at a minute drive. Tired of generic Asheville travel itineraries? Experience Asheville like a local with our free Asheville Favorites checklist, including restaurants, breweries, and hiking. Plus, get local updates — including events and hidden gems — straight to your inbox. Sign up here. Linville is the perfect day trip from Asheville if you enjoy waterfalls, hiking, and wine. Asheville to Linville is a little over one hour.
Incredibly close to — around 20 minutes from — Grandfather Mountain, Linville is most well-known for being a summer mountain resort and host of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Absolutely gorgeous, head to Linville Falls Winery for a wine flight and…your Christmas tree. This vineyard and Christmas tree farm has a stone patio, pond, and red barn.
We highly recommend hiking around Linville Falls where you can catch numerous vistas of the most popular falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore the inside of Humpback Mountain. If you love wine, head over to our master list of wineries near Asheville. We always recommend Chimney Rock State Park for winter hikes as this is one of the busiest destinations and day trips from Asheville. Chimney Rock is a million-year-old monolith that sits 2, feet above sea level.
Hike or take an elevator to the rocks. The view at the top is incredible, spanning miles or more on a clear day, and the park is filled with hiking. Hickory Nut Falls is an easier waterfall hike. Just know that you will have to pay to enter the park. Be sure to stop in Chimney Rock Village on your way out. Grab a sandwich or burger — with gf buns — at Old Rock Cafe, and for ice cream and shakes, drop into the Village Scoop — with vegan and dairy-free options. If you only have a weekend to spend in Asheville , consider combining a few Asheville day trips like Lake Lure and Chimney Rock — they are right next to each other.
Since we recommend getting to Chimney Rock earlier in the day, head there first followed by lunch in Chimney Rock Village or around Lake Lure. After lunch and because there are so many things to do in Lake Lure , you can always drop into the Lake Lure Welcome Center for restrooms and more information, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Enter a magical world filled with Secret Garden vibes. Cared for by amiable volunteers, access to the bridge is free but you may leave a generous donation.
Enjoy stunning blooms, watch chipmunks scurry by, and dip in and out of curated mini-gardens. If you have time — and it is summer — lay out at Lake Lure beach or rent a boat. Or — year-round — walk around the lake on paved trails at Morse Park. This area is filled with cabins, cottages, and inn getaways too.
Lake Lure is about 50 minutes to 1 hour from Asheville. The mileage is short, but those winding roads with slower speed limits can take a while.