Asheville, NC In Spring: Your Weekend Itinerary

This article details a three day Asheville itinerary for spring and highlights some of the many fun things happening during this season.

While you’ll often hear about fall in Asheville, spring really is a great time to visit. Flowers are in bloom, trees are turning green and even the bears are waking up (watch out, by the way!)

You’ll find cool mornings and warm afternoons for the most part. And happiness! Everyone is just so happy to be out and about, enjoying the various patios, parks and hikes around town.

To help you make the most of your time in Asheville, we made an itinerary full of the best ideas for spring fun. If you have never been to Asheville, don’t miss our itinerary for your first visit to Asheville for more ideas.

If you haven’t booked a hotel yet, check out our guide to the best hotels in Asheville! It shares our top picks for where to stay and why.

Gray Line Trolley in Biltmore Village

Before we share about what to do in Asheville this spring, we want to first mention the Asheville Trolley.

It’s a great option if you want to experience several areas in one day.

The trolley drives all over town and you can start/stop at any of their ten stops. We think it’s worth it if this is your first visit to Asheville and you want to see it all.

Guide To The Trolley

And now on to the itinerary! Follow this for the perfect spring weekend in Asheville. And if you are looking for more ideas, check out our list of only in Asheville‘ things to do.

Day 1: Shop, Dine and Explore

Start your Day With Great Food

Blueberry sourdough pancake with a side of syrup

The best possible way to kick off your time in Asheville is to dine one of our many delicious brunch restaurants around town.

If the weather is nice, our top two recommendations for an outdoor brunch are Liberty House Coffee in North Asheville and Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville. Both have amazing food and great outdoor seating, as well as gardens where they grow their own food.

Liberty is a great stop if you are looking for a casual restaurant where you order at the counter. They don’t serve alcohol but do have a full espresso menu. Try the sourdough pancake if you go!

If you are looking for a classic (but still casual) brunch setting, Sunny Point is seated and offers breakfast cocktails. They are consistently ranked the top place to grab breakfast/brunch in Asheville on various reader polls. Their bacon is dream-worthy and they have carrot hotcakes with CARDAMOM CREAM CHEESE.

They also have shrimp and grits, a chicken and waffle sandwich, huevos rancheros (including a vegan breakfast version with tofu!) and stuffed french toast. As the weather gets warmer, their outdoor seating is the perfect place to hang out and their garden is definitely worth seeing.

A few more brunch ideas…

  1. If it’s Sunday and you want to live like a local, check out Vivian in River Arts District. Grab a cup of the Vivian + PennyCup Coffee blend, a quiche or chicken biscuit and a Bloody Mary and enjoy the sunshine on their patio. Divine!!!
  2. If you are downtown, head to The Med for a diner-style breakfast. Benne on Eagle is another great pick– they offer a daily breakfast/brunch menu. It’s located at the gorgeous Foundry Hotel downtown.
  3. If you want a quick breakfast in downtown Asheville, La Bodega or The Rhu are great options. Both are downtown and you order at the counter. You can also dine upstairs at La Bodega if you prefer a seated meal.

Spend Time In Downtown Asheville

You should definitely plan to spend time in downtown Asheville. There are so many local shops, art galleries, restaurants, dessert spots, coffee shops, museums, bookstores and fun finds downtown.

> East Fork: A delightful pottery shop and boutique. It is both local and somehow world-famous at the same time.

> Nest Organics: A great spot for organic home goods, baby gifts and clothing and art. It’s so lovely and calm there.

> Duncan & York: Also on Lexington and is another great spot for gifts for everyone (including yourself), kids and local items.

> Malaprop’s Bookstore: An independent bookstore with a coffee shop.

> Kress Emporium: Always a fun stop if you are shopping for art or something local. They feature work from over 80 regional artists and craftspeople.

> Woolworth Walk: Two-story art gallery and emporium, complete with a nostalgic vintage soda fountain and diner inside.

> Mast General Store: a perfect stop for the whole family! You’ll find outdoor gear, packaged foods like jams & jellies, home goods, old-fashioned candy and more. There are rocking chairs and creaky wood floors.

Plan to shop around a few hours and then grab lunch in downtown Asheville. If it’s nice out, Isa’s Bistro has great outdoor seating. S&W Market food hall is another great spot if you want something fun and casual.

Explore Other Parts Of Town

Once you feel like you have seen enough of downtown, continue the exploring at Biltmore Village, West Asheville or The River Arts District. Details on each are below!

Biltmore Village

Biltmore Village is a shopping and dining district just by the entrance to the Biltmore Estate. It’s a quick drive from downtown.

You’ll find Tudor-style architecture, cobblestone sidewalks, local shops, national retailers, and a few restaurants sprinkled in. It’s one of the stops on the trolley, by the way!

Below are two local shops in Biltmore Village that we absolutely love!

> Provisions Mercantile: You’ll find something for everyone at Provisions, whether it’s a nicer kitchen item, a locally made candle, a coffee table book, a leather purse or a bag of local Asheville brand Poppy Popcorn.

> Finch Grocer: A darling market and eatery tucked away in Biltmore Village. They have a ton of great local food finds, as well as delicious sandwiches, wine and freshly baked cookies.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel is located in Biltmore Village. This area would make a great hub for you Asheville trip.

West Asheville

West Asheville is known for busy brunch spots, vintage clothing shops, cool coffee shops and even cooler people. There are a few pockets of shops and we recommend driving between each.

One of our favorite shops in Asheville is Flora– it’s a plant shop but with home goods, accessories and even a coffee shop. Just down the road is another great local shop– Provisions Mercantile. We actually mentioned them above in Biltmore Village. Their first shop (and my personal favorite) is the West Asheville one. It’s right next to Sparky’s Toy Shop and just across from The Hop ice cream.

There are too many amazing eateries in West Asheville to name, but we promise that you can’t go wrong. If you want Thai food, try Thai Pearl! Taco Billy is great for casual tacos with outdoor seating, Gan Shan West for pan-Asian bites (try the rice bowl!) and The Admiral for more of a date night restaurant.

River Arts District

If you are into local art, eclectic finds, great food and breweries, you should make time in your trip for the River Arts District! Spring is great for this because the weather should be perfect for strolling and shopping.

There are several coffee shops to choose from in the River Arts District. Summit is our top pick because it has a perfect vibe and their whole beans are great. Ultra is also worth a visit, especially if you need a bite to go with your coffee.

As far as shops go, make sure to check out Wedge Studios. It’s home to over 30 professional working artist studios.

After that, pop across the street to MOTHER for a piece of their chocolate babka or a loaf of sourdough. And don’t miss local shop There There in the same area. It’s a darling spot with eco-conscious clothing and home goods.

The second Saturday of each month is a special day in the River Arts District where you’ll find open studios, demonstrations, workshops, live music, wine tastings, food and more. Read more about Second Saturdays here.

There are a few different areas of the River Arts District, so make sure to check out the other shops and galleries in the Foundy Street District. This is where 12 Bones is located as well as Wedge at Foundation, which has a permanent food truck by local butcher Chop Shop.

Dinner In Asheville

While we have a ton of different food guides for every type of dining occasion, we’ll steer you to our list of the best restaurants in Asheville.

And if you don’t feel like browsing a list, then our top recommendation is Burial Brewery in South Slope. Their food is excellent, their brews are unique, they have great outdoor seating and it’s a very Asheville place.

Day 2: Drive Along The Blue Ridge Parkway

If you love great views, awesome hikes and quaint mountain towns, then definitely add a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway to your Asheville itinerary.

But first, an Asheville breakfast!

We have a detailed guide to Asheville breakfast, but to keep things simple we will point you toward breakfast in West Asheville.

  • Head to Taco Billy if you love a casual spot and breakfast tacos.
  • If you are more of a pastry person, OWL Bakery is unbeatable. Their drip coffee is stellar and every pastry is both beautiful and delicious. Plus, they have a ham + cheese croissant sandwich that is a perfect picnic snack.
  • Looking for a great breakfast sandwich? Tiger Bay is an excellent stop, especially if you plan ahead and order online. It’s located inside BattleCat Coffee, so you can get caffeinated, too.

The eateries mentioned above are all order-at-the-counter. If you wanted a seated breakfast, we absolutely love Tastee Diner. It’s especially great if the weather is nice enough to sit outside.

Next up: enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway!

The Blue Ridge Parkway goes right by Asheville and it’s easy to hop on it in either direction. If it’s still early-spring and things aren’t quite in bloom yet, we recommend going southwest on the Parkway and stopping in Brevard, NC on the way back. If it’s closer to late-spring, then you should head north to Craggy Gardens.

Early Spring: Blue Ridge Parkway + Brevard Loop

We love taking a loop on the parkway that includes a stop at Pisgah Inn and a visit to Brevard, NC. You’ll pass by a ton of great lookouts, hike opportunities, and an easy-to-get-to waterfall. You can breeze past it all and just enjoy the beauty, or stop and enjoy various areas along the way.

Below are a few notes on the loop, but make sure to check out complete Blue Ridge Parkway Loop guide for additional details.

  • Pack a picnic! The only stop with food on the Parkway is Pisgah Inn, but it’s priced accordingly. It’s definitely more affordable to bring your own snacks. Though they do have an ice cream cooler that we typically get something from!
  • The views and hikes will get better as time goes on– some of the stops are at a high elevation so things may be a bit gray if it’s early spring.
    • Devil’s Courthouse is great i you are looking for a challenging yet rewarding hike. It’s partially paved and ends with sweeping panorama views and is a great spot for a picnic! It is 1 mile round-trip and approximately one hour from downtown Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
    • A picnic at the top of Black Balsam Knob is always fun. It’s a good hike for kids and ends in views in all directions. Perfect for both sunsets and sunrises.
  • Waterfalls are always pretty intense in the spring. Looking Glass Falls is just off Pisgah Highway and is a great stop if you loop back that way.
  • The loop takes you by the NC Arboretum. We love the relaxed pace, the seasonal quilt garden, the bonsai garden and the various paths and trails. Entry is per car or you can get an annual pass.
  • The loop will take you near Brevard, which is a cute mountain town with walkable sidewalks and tons of shops. We love the antique shops in Brevard!

Late Spring: Craggy Gardens

If it’s late spring, consider heading north on the parkway toward Craggy Gardens. June is the perfect time for experiencing the Catawba rhododendrons in full bloom at Craggy Gardens.

Pack a picnic lunch and spend time admiring the views. You can also opt to hike the Craggy Pinnacle trail if you are looking for something a bit more challenging and with a great view.

In addition to Craggy Gardens, you’ll also find Little Switzerland (a fun village with Swiss architecture) and Mount Mitchell, as well as tons of trails, waterfalls and overlooks along the Parkway.

If you are up for a longer drive, Grandfather Mountain (and the Mile High Swinging Bridge!) is an absolutely amazing destination complete with wildlife exhibits.

Day 3: Choose Your Adventure

The final day of our itinerary! We have included a few ideas that are spring-centric, including seeing Biltmore Blooms at the one and only Biltmore Estate and living like a local in Asheville.

Idea 1: Visit the Biltmore

April to May is the ideal time to see flowers in bloom at the Biltmore. Their famous ‘Biltmore Blooms‘ actually kicks off on April 1.

Tickets are a bit expensive, but if you haven’t been this is a great time to check it out. Entry includes access to the gardens, Antler Hill Village and a self-guided tour of the house itself. You can also opt to skip a tour of the house and only access the gardens + grounds if you prefer.

Bloom Report

Idea 2: Live like a local

Want to immerse yourself in all things Asheville? Here’s a list of the various things you can find us doing in our free time! It may be my favorite part of the itinerary because I love traveling and living like a local.

  • Take a slow morning starting with brunch (have you been to Liberty House Café yet!?)
  • Go on a donut tour of Asheville! Don’t miss Hole and Vortex, and if you like Boston Cream Donuts then head to Geraldine’s! Want to try them all? Check out our list of the best donut shops in Asheville.
  • If it’s a Saturday, check out a local farmers market (’tis the season, after all!) There are a ton of tailgate markets around town. The North Asheville Tailgate Market at UNCA is a great stop to live like the locals live. You can grab a few local goodies, fresh produce and even a pastry from Owl Bakery!
  • Immerse yourself in nature at the Botanical Gardens. It’s right by the North Asheville Tailgate Market and is an excellent stop in the spring. It’s free and has walking paths, creeks, a meadow and tons of benches to sit down and enjoy nature. If this piques your interest, you can read our full post about the Botanical Gardens here.
  • Grab a picnic lunch and head to the NC Arboretum. If you are traveling with kids, the model train runs on the weekends at the Arboretum. Otherwise, spend time admiring nature and the various exhibits.
  • Speaking of picnics, we love getting takeout picnic food from Montford Deli (North AVL), Asheville Sandwich Co (West Asheville) or The Rhu (downtown).
  • Hike around Lake Powhatan— it’s only 15 minutes from downtown Asheville and is an easy + fun hike for kids.

One last note on this spring Asheville Itinerary

No matter what you decide to do, we hope you have a great visit to our wonderful city! And don’t stress about seeing it all, you pretty much can’t go wrong. If you are looking for more information about areas of town be sure to check out our neighborhood guides.

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