There are so many things to do in Asheville, it’s hard to pick our top eleven.
Locals are friendly and love to give suggestions so ask away and find some more fun things to do in Asheville that suit your traveling style.
- Number 1: Eat at Early Girl Eatery
- Number 2: Tour Asheville on a Segway
- Number 3: Explore Asheville at Night on a Walking Ghost Tour
- Number 4: Hop on the Hop-on/Hop-off Trolley
- Number 5: Check out the Urban Trail
- Number 6: Visit Battery Park Book Exchange
- Number 7: Visit the Omni Grove Park Inn
- Number 8: Hit a micro-brewery
- Number 9: Visit the Biltmore Estate
- Number 10: Take a hike
- Number 11: Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
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Number 1: Eat at Early Girl Eatery
Early Girl Eatery doesn’t appear on a lot of top 10 lists, but it should. There are two locations, Wall Street in downtown, and Merrimon Ave.
An upscale diner atmosphere paired with dishes that can only be described as downright inspired equals a great meal. It’s pretty clear a chef with creativity and zest is heading up the kitchen.
If you’re there for breakfast, give the Veggie Breakfast Bowl a try.
With seasoned sweet potatoes, salsa, avocado, kale, and eggs, I thought I wouldn’t like it. But somehow the flavors blend seamlessly making it the best dish I had all week.
Number 2: Tour Asheville on a Segway
Come on, you know you’re dying to be one of those people in the little helmets on the Segways. When you see a Segway tour go by, everyone has huge smiles.
You have to be happy on a Segway, it’s just too much fun!
Try Moving Sidewalks tour for one of the best ways to see the city. You’ll have fun, learn a lot from your guide, and gain a new perspective on the city itself.
Did I mention the free parking at the Visitors Center where they start the tour? Get there early during prime season.
Number 3: Explore Asheville at Night on a Walking Ghost Tour
I can hear you now, “But they’re so hokey.”
I admit I’ve been on ghost tours that weren’t great, but this is Asheville, home to Haunted Asheville Ghost Tours with people who actively research the history of the city and are called by locals when something unusual happens.
What I loved about my tour is that our amazing guide delved into the history of Asheville that you won’t hear on a daytime tour.
Among other things, we learned about a mass murder told in the most entertaining way and a few ghosts haunting local churches.
Our guide left it up to us to determine what was real and what wasn’t. He shared the reports, what the research turned up, and then shrugged and moved on.
It was the most fun 2 hours I’ve had on a tour. I now judge all other ghost tours based on this one.
Number 4: Hop on the Hop-on/Hop-off Trolley
Want to see the entire city in one day? Head to the Visitor Center and hop on the trolley.
There are 10 stops and you can hop off and on at any of them.
The guides are great and as they drive along, they provide a history lesson with some flair.
I found it easy to hop off, take pictures, grab a meal, and hit a gift shop before hopping back on.
If you start with the first trolley at 10 am, you will be able to tour the entire city, hopping off at least four times, and make it back to the final trolley of the day without rushing.
I hopped off at the Omni Grove Park Inn, Pack Square Park, the Grove Arcade, and a small shopping area called Biltmore Village.
It was a full day, which I really enjoyed.
We arrived back at the Visitors Center around 5 pm, allowing me additional time to wander downtown, buy some chocolates, and grab dinner.
Number 5: Check out the Urban Trail
Asheville has a walking museum called the Urban Trail. You can find information online about the 30 installations throughout the city, along with a map here.
There are videos online explaining each of the items.
It was designed to provide a walking history of Asheville. Some of the installations are plaques, others are statues.
Just walking around town, you’ll see many of them. But some of the best are hidden down little streets and finding all 30 without a map can be difficult.
I stumbled across one after getting a bit turned around and found a young boy spinning a giant metal wheel. As the wheel turned, a speaker in the adjacent bushes made sounds based on the wheel including an airplane and a train.
It was a lucky accident I found it, but without the map, or getting lost, it’s easily missed.
Number 6: Visit Battery Park Book Exchange
Battery Park Book Exchange is located in the Grove Arcade. It’s a bookstore with an eclectic mix of books, from old school anatomy to modern-day bestsellers.
The vibe is vintage and the store is designed for visitors to explore and become lost. As you round corners, entire sections appear with leather couches and more twists and turns, like a book maze.
Add to this it’s also a champagne bar.
You heard that right. Bookstore slash champagne bar.
As I walked around the store, admiring old leather-bound books, sipping my blood orange mimosa, I couldn’t help but feel very Gatsby.
Give yourself a little time to enjoy the experience.
Number 7: Visit the Omni Grove Park Inn
Outside downtown Asheville, this is a must-see.
The hotel was built by Edwin Grove who came to Asheville believing the area had health benefits. Famously, he wanted it done fast and the crews worked night and day to complete the building in less than 12 months.
The stone exterior is rustic, yet exudes money. Inside it’s one of the poshest hotels I’ve seen.
Statesmen, Presidents, and foreign nationals have all stayed here. It’s rumored to have been the secret bunker for the Supreme Court during the cold war should a nuclear attack occur.
When you arrive, seek out the Sunset Terrace.
The views of the mountains and downtown Asheville in the distance are photo opportunities where even an amateur photographer with a basic phone can achieve stunning pictures.
If you have time, grab a drink and wait for the sun to fall. The terrace faces west and the sunsets are said to be spectacular.
Number 8: Hit a micro-brewery
Asheville is the place if you enjoy micro-brews. Downtown Asheville has around 23 micro-breweries, and if you include the surrounding area, it’s over 46. Keep in mind, this number is likely to increase at any time.
If you like sours, hit up The Funkatorium, home to Wicked Weed Brewing. Not into sours? Don’t worry, there’s a micro-brew for everyone. Ask a local for a recommendation, they love to share tips and advice on their city.
I found a lot of friendly people, open to providing suggestions almost everywhere.
Number 9: Visit the Biltmore Estate
The house is beautiful, but make sure you leave time to wander through the grounds which offer over two miles of walking trails.
Your ticket includes a free wine tasting, access to the gardens and walking paths, a self-guided tour of the home, and the trolley which will take you around.
I spent seven hours and only left because it was getting dark. It was surprising how much there was to do and see.
Number 10: Take a hike
Asheville North Carolina is known for its outdoor life. Hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, everything outdoors.
You don’t want to visit the Appalachian Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway without experiencing some of it.
The Triple Falls From The Hunger Games
Several scenes from The Hunger Games were filmed in Asheville. You’ll spot a lot of areas from the movie including the famed Triple Falls located in Dupont State Forest.
The Triple Falls are part of a hiking loop that takes you past three of their waterfalls.
Also included on this hike is Hooker Falls which was used in The Last of the Mohicans.
Hikers of any level, including beginner hikers, will do fine on this trail. Just head to the main Visitor Center at Dupont State Forest. The trailhead is to the right of the center and the friendly staff will be happy to set you up with a map and some instructions.
Mount Mitchell – The Highest Peak East of the Mississippi
Another great place to hike for both beginner and intermediate hikers is Mount Mitchell State Park.
You’ll take a scenic drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway before reaching the park entrance. From here, you’ll head up the mountain to reach the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6684 feet.
Take a picture by the sign and then enjoy the views from the observation area. There is also a short nature trail nearby to explore the spruce forest.
Bent Creek Wildlife Refuge
Intermediate to advanced hikers can head to Bent Creek Wildlife Refuge. If you’re there during hunting season, be sure to wear blaze orange.
Even on a weekday, you’ll encounter trail runners and mountain bikers.
The trails aren’t blazed, so make sure you have a map or an online app to track your path.
Number 11: Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a magnificent drive, especially in the fall. The drive itself takes you through tree-lined paths, mountain tunnels, and along ridges. There are multiple overlooks and you’ll want to stop at all of them for the pictures.
It’s hard to express how vast the mountains are, and capturing what you see with your eyes is even more difficult.
I recommend taking a few photos for the memory, but be sure to put the camera down to experience the full view.
Asheville, North Carolina
There’s so much to do in this wonderfully eclectic city for couples, families and solo travelers.
Plan your trip but keep it flexible. You never know what inspiration will creep up. This is one city where going with the flow will reap huge rewards.