Just north of downtown you’ll find several neighborhoods off Merrimon Avenue, including Five Points and UNCA to the west and Charlotte Street, Albemarle and Grove Park to the east.
What it’s like:
family-friendly · residential · historical · local businesses
local restaurants · walkable neighborhoods · UNCA’s campus · Omni Grove Park Inn
North of downtown Asheville
Check out our North Asheville guide below and don’t miss our Asheville city guide!
Table of Contents
- Merrimon Avenue
- Chestnut Ave/Liberty Street
- Charlotte Street
- Grove-Park Sunset
- Five Points
- UNC Asheville
Merrimon Avenue runs north of downtown all the way through the Beaver Lake area where it eventually turns into Weaverville Road. It is full of amenities and restaurants, including Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and Harris Teeter, as well as local favorites like the ones listed below.
Geraldine’s Bakery: A can’t miss authentic and unassuming Italian bakery serving up Asheville’s best Boston Cream donut and other baked goods. Their breakfast sandwiches are always great and they make a great vegan chocolate pecan cookie. Psst: Geraldine’s is on our best donuts in Asheville list!
PennyCup Coffee: You’ll find local Asheville coffee roaster PennyCup Coffee Co just across the street from Geraldine’s Bakery. We typically grab coffee from PennyCup after picking up a mega-filled Boston Cream donut from Geraldine’s. PennyCup is also a great place to stock up on whole beans and this location in particular is great to work or study from. They have an awesome patio set up in the back! PennyCup is on our list of the best coffee shops in Asheville if you are looking for more caffeine-fueled adventures.
Homegrown: A local, fresh and delicious eatery with such a great menu that I can never decide what to order. It reminds me of a healthy version of a meat and three. They are known for their buttermilk chicken sandwich and you can’t go wrong with any of their sides! Their sister shop, HomeGround, is in West Asheville and has a similar menu.
Luella’s Bar-B-Q: An Asheville institution! Some of the best barbecue and mac & cheese in town. It’s our go-to spot for visitors, especially for takeout because they make it so easy with online ordering and meal packs for groups. Everything is always delicious at Luella’s and that has earned them a top spot on our best bbq in Asheville list.
Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian: another Asheville institution! Their menu is filled with pasta dishes, pizzas, salads and classic Italian desserts. Check their Instagram for mouth-watering photos of their various dishes and daily specials. They have a second location in South Asheville. We love dining in at Vinnie’s but they also do great takeout! So great, in fact, that they are on our list of the best takeout in Asheville!
Asheville Pizza & Brewing: Pizza, beer and a movie theater! What more could you want? They play both new movies and the classics.
Whit’s Frozen Custard: A frozen custard shop with a few locations scattered around western NC. Their frozen custard is made daily in vanilla, chocolate and a weekly special, and they have a ton of toppings that can be mixed in. They also have a grab and go section- I love keeping a container of chocolate at home!
The Hop Ice Cream Cafe: Another location of the beloved Asheville ice cream chain.
Green Sage: A local cafe serving up some of the freshest food around. Their menu is full of options for those with sensitivities or allergies, and they also have several vegan options. We love their Golden Buddha Bowl!
Weaver Park: Just off Merrimon you’ll find a six acre park featuring a walking trail, playground, creek, tennis courts, baseball field, basketball court and picnic shelter. It’s a great place to walk around, especially with a dog! Weaver Park is included on our list of best playgrounds in Asheville.
Chestnut Ave/Liberty Street
Years ago I read an article that labeled this small area of town the ‘Wellness District’ and it stuck with me. It really is its own little district tucked in a neighborhood, with wellness spas, salt caves and doctor offices scattered around the surrounding streets.
Liberty House Coffee & Café: This is one of our absolute favorite places in all of Asheville! It’s on our must-do list when we have out-of-town guests (ex. this Asheville itinerary!) Their garden is always filled to the brim with what’s in season and their daily specials reflect this. Everything on their menu is divine! We love Liberty so much that we placed them at the top of our best coffee shops in Asheville list!
Pulp + Sprout Juice Bar: A vegan restaurant serving nutrient-rich food from ingredients sourced locally — we all need that in our lives! Its a great place to sandwich, snack, juice or smoothie with no added guilt.
Asheville Yoga Center: An amazing yoga center offering weekly yoga classes, 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings and yoga workshops. You can find everything from the most gentle of classes, to fun flows to classes with live music. They also offer virtual classes if you aren’t local or can’t make it out of the house. My favorite two instructors are Shala and Joe, though you can’t go wrong with any! I completed my 200RYT at AYC and can highly recommend it if you are feeling called to teach.
South of Grove Park you’ll find the walkable Charlotte Street area, filled with local cafes, bakeries and coffee shops. It is a very charming part of the city. Charlotte Street has been a source of contention, though, as developers are working to add a mixed-use building. Approval of the current plans would result in the inevitable destruction of multiple older homes in the area. We are definitely on team Save Charlotte Street!
City Bakery: A one-stop shop for all your fresh bakery and café needs in a cute Charlotte Street location. From fresh bread and pastries to breakfast and lunch sandwiches, everything at City Bakery is fresh and delicious.
Taco Temple: Synonymous with Asheville’s favorite taco shop, Taco Temple truly is a mecca for taco lovers. You’ll definitely want to try the Santa Barbara taco!! Make sure you get there before you’re too hungry, though, because there can be quite a line. You can also order online and pick up through a drive-up to-go window. It’s such an easy process and the food is always so delicious that we added them to our best takeout in Asheville list!
Ultimate Ice Cream Company: Handmade ice cream from local dairies — that’s something we can get on board with. Their ice cream is super tasty and they have tons of unique flavors. Make sure you check out their boozy flavors if that’s your thing.
Chop Shop Butchery: Chop Shop is a local butcher offering the best meats sourced from local farmers. The quality is outstanding — its definitely a case of you get what you pay for. You’ll find their meat in restaurants all over the city. They also offer butchery classes at night– we are undecided on whether that’s a cute date night idea or a really bad idea! 😉
Home to the Omni Grove Park Inn, the upscale residential Grove Park-Sunset neighborhood is an Asheville gem. Even if you aren’t staying at the Inn, a drive up there is worth it for the views. Though it’s currently reserved for guests, the Spa at the Omni Grove is top-rated and includes over 20 water features, rock walls and tunnels.
On the other side of Merrimon, you’ll find Five Points and the UNC Asheville campus. Though mostly residential, there are a few coffee shops and restaurants worth a visit. Five Points has very easy access to all of the shops, restaurants and grocery stores on Merrimon, including Greenlife (Asheville’s Whole Foods), Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter.
High Five Coffee: Their flagship shop! They exclusively brew Counter Culture at their three locations around town. Their Five Points location is a great place to walk or bike to if you live close by. Otherwise, they have a parking garage out back and a gravel lot down the road. It’s a fun spot to work outside during warmer months. High Five has two other locations in Asheville and we love them all. You can read more about High Five on our best coffee shops in Asheville list here!
5 Points Restaurant: 5 Points Restaurant is a diner in North Asheville serving up some classic comfort food for breakfast and lunch. You’ll spot mostly locals here and it’s a fixture in the community. It has a perfectly noisy diner vibe and an all-day breakfast menu plus lunch.
Visit the Moog Factory: what a unique thing to do in Asheville! See how their famous synthesizers are handcrafted with a behind-the-scenes tour. You can also shop for your own there.
UNC Asheville’s Campus
The UNCA campus is just north of Five Points. The university itself is a public liberal arts school and the only one in the University of North Carolina system. The UNCA area is very walkable and bikeable and has several things to do.
Botanical Gardens of Asheville: a ten-acre non-profit botanical garden located on UNC’s Asheville campus. There you’ll find a .5 mile trail, as well as several grassy meadows and creeks. It’s a fun and free way for our toddler to burn off excess energy while getting up close to nature. Check out this post on everything to know about the Botanical Gardens if you want more info!
North Asheville Tailgate Market: a great way to stock up on produce, baked goods, flowers and other locally produced goods. The market runs every Saturday from 8 am-noon April to December on UNCA’s campus. If you are looking for more markets in the city, check out our guide to Asheville farmers markets here.