60+ Awesome Things To Do In Asheville, NC

A fun-filled list of awesome things to do in Asheville!

Our list of the best things to do in Asheville includes some of the top tourist sights mixed in with the things locals love to do in the city.

Whether you are interested in outdoor adventures or are a foodie, beer enthusiast, bear enthusiast or lover of arts and history, this list will help you find some amazing things to do in Asheville.

Read on for over 60 essential Asheville experiences, from outdoor adventures to bites you must try. We hope our list of things to do in Asheville inspires you to get out and explore!

And for those new to the city or visiting Asheville for the first time, check out our resources on planning a trip. This is where you’ll find details on neighborhoods, the best time to visit and more.

Overview of our things to do in Asheville list

Before we dive in, we first wanted to break this long article out into various sections. Feel free to jump around as needed.

  1. Top Asheville Attractions
  2. Epic Outdoor Adventures in Asheville
  3. ‘Only in Asheville’ Things To Do
  4. Foodie Things To Do In Asheville
  5. Beer City: Breweries and Beer Gardens
  6. Take A Fun Day Trip From Asheville
  7. Shop Local in Asheville
  8. Fun Things To Do For Music Lovers

This article shares things to do in Asheville with a focus on adults. If you’re in Asheville with kids you’ll want to check out our list of kid-friendly things to do in Asheville.

Top Asheville Attractions

1. Visit the Biltmore Estate

Exterior of the Biltmore House with Christmas trees on the lawn

Biltmore Estate is by far the most popular and well-known attraction in Asheville. The estate is the largest privately-owned house in the US with 35 bedrooms and 43 bathrooms.

Not only is the scale of the Biltmore Estate something you have to see to believe, but the meticulously manicured grounds are also breathtaking in their own right. The Biltmore is also very kid-friendly.

Apart from the house and grand gardens, there are also several restaurants on the Biltmore estate and so many fun things to do that are unique to the Biltmore.

If you haven’t been yet, make sure to check our guide to planning a visit to Biltmore.

2. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway section with fall colored trees and a mountain tunnel

While the Blue Ridge Parkway serves as a way to get to various sights, hikes and activities, it’s also a destination itself. You’ll find beautiful views and tons of lookouts along the way. It’s especially great during leaf season with the changing colors.

Colors change quicker at higher elevations, so you can begin to catch some fall colors as early as September depending on where you are. Check our fall itinerary for more details!

3. Enjoy cultivated gardens at the NC Arboretum

Fountain at the NC Arboretum

The Arboretum is one of our family’s favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Our kids love the various hikes there as well as the model train that runs on weekends. And I personally love the Bonsai exhibit! Entry is per vehicle or you can get an annual pass.

If you are local, check out the county’s ZOOM pass program through the Buncombe County Library system for free access to the Arboretum.

4. Visit the WNC Nature Center

Asheville's Wildlife Park sign at the entrance to the WNC Nature Center

Asheville’s very own zoo! Located in East Asheville, the WNC Nature Center is home to over 60 species of wildlife native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. You’ll spot black bears, river otters, hawks, wolves and even red pandas.

Are you local? Just like with the Arboretum and AMOS, you can visit the Nature Center for free through Buncombe County’s ZOOM Pass program.

5. Visit the Asheville Museum of Science

Dinosaur fossils at the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)

The Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) is located in the heart of downtown Asheville. The museum itself is geared more toward kids and is the perfect spot for a rainy day in Asheville.

The main attraction for our kids is the climbing structure. It’s basically a large indoor playground and serves as a great place to get energy out when downtown. They also really enjoy the water splash zone and the gem collection exhibits.

If you are local, be sure to check out the Zoom Pass for free admission through the Buncombe County Library System.

6. Visit the Asheville Art Museum

Asheville Art Museum exterior in downtown Asheville

The Asheville Art Museum is a great stop for art lovers! Here you’ll find art from Western NC from the 20th and 21st centuries, both in a permanent collection and through various exhibits. The museum is recently remodeled and very spacious.

The Art Museum hosts several exhibits throughout the year. You can view their current and past exhibitions here.

7. Take in the view at the Omni Grove Park Inn Hotel

Don’t miss the amazing views (both inside and out!) at the Omni Grove Park Inn in North Asheville. The historic hotel has breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, fantastic restaurants, amazing service and a unique arts and crafts appearance.

Everything about Omni Grove Park Inn is impressive and noteworthy– including their oversized fireplaces and award-winning subterranean spa. It’s the go-to hotel in Asheville for Presidential visits.

The Omni Grove Park Inn is on the Asheville Trolley route.

8. Catch a Minor League Baseball game

Just south of downtown Asheville, you’ll find the Asheville Tourists stadium. The Tourists are a High-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.

A Tourists game is such a fun thing to do for the whole family– it’s affordable and never too crowded! Tickets are $8-10 depending on age.

You’ll find various events and specials each week. Tickets are BOGO for certain games (every other Tuesday) using the promo code INGLES. As far as events go, they host Thirsty Thursday every other Thursday where you can get $1 beer and $1 cokes. Fireworks Night is every other Friday night featuring post-game fireworks. You’ll also find the occasional Sunday Fun Day.

9. Go apple picking at a mountaintop orchard (August-October)

Apple on a tree at Jeter Mountain Farm near Asheville NC

There are several apple orchards near Asheville that offer u-pick apples each fall. A favorite for locals and tourists alike is Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Asheville down I-26 and offers free admission.

A newcomer and our personal favorite orchard is Jeter Mountain Farms. We listed it on our itinerary for a fall weekend in Asheville as a must-visit orchard.

Keep in mind that all orchards will eventually get picked over, so you’ll want to go early in the season if possible!

10. Immerse yourself in nature at the Botanical Gardens

Botanical gardens picnic area and gazebo at sunshine meadow

Just north of downtown Asheville, you’ll find the 10 acre non-profit Botanical Gardens at Asheville. Admission is free and the gardens offer a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll or picnic.

Our kids love splashing in the creek there and we all enjoy taking the easy trail around the gardens.

11. Enjoy live music and have a drink at the NC Arboretum (summer)

During the summer months the NC Arboretum hosts ArborEvenings, giving visitors a chance to unwind in the beauty of the NC Arboretum. Local and regional musicians perform and beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase.

ArborEvenings is held on Thursdays and most Fridays from mid-June to the end of September. There is no additional admission fee apart from the vehicle parking fee. Admission to ArborEvenings included with Arboretum memberships.

12. Visit Thomas Wolfe’s childhood home

American novelist Thomas Wolfe grew up in downtown Asheville. Today, his childhood home is a historic site and museum dedicated to his life and work. The museum itself, along with a 20 minute film on Wolfe’s life, is free. You can opt for a guided tour of the house for $5.

There’s also a small gift shop located in the museum.

13. Get in the Christmas spirit at The Biltmore (November-early January)

View of the Biltmore Estate with Christmas trees out front on a fall day

The Biltmore puts on one of the most impressive Christmas experiences ever. With over 100 Christmas trees, 10,000 ornaments, and 100,000 twinkling lights (!), the holiday decor makes the house feel so cozy and festive.

Christmas at Biltmore begins November 4 and goes through January 8. We recommend visiting for the Candlelight Christmas Evenings because this is when the house is at its most enchanting. Flickering candles, glowing fireplaces and live music combine for a magical evening.

14. Check out the Winter Lights display at the NC Arboretum (November-January)

Winter Lights display at the NC Arboretum

The NC Arboretum is lit-up each winter with an amazing display of Christmas lights. You’ll find live music, hot chocolate, light shows timed to music and holiday spirit all around. The model train runs each night during Winter Lights.

Tickets for Winter Lights are separate from standard admission and must be purchased in advance.

Read more about holiday markets and events in Asheville here.

Jump back to the table of contents

Epic Outdoor Adventures in Asheville

15. Cruise down a 60-foot mountain water slide

Located in Pisgah National Forest, Sliding Rock is a 60 foot water slide that ends in an 8 foot deep pool of water. There are two observation platforms. The recreation area is operated by Naventure.

Sliding Rock is a popular attraction, so there is a gatehouse at the entrance that accepts cards (preferred), cash and checks. Entry is $5 per person and includes parking and restrooms. Be advised: the parking area can fill up!

Sliding Rock is closed during high water and severe weather. It’s officially open Memorial Day to Labor Day and operates under an ‘enjoy at your own risk’ status during the off season.

16. Hike to a mountaintop cow pasture with panoramic views

Pasture on summit of Bearwallow Mountain

Bearwallow Trail is one of our favorite hikes in the area! It’s a relatively easy 2 mile roundtrip hike that our 4 year old can do without issue. It’s a pretty steady uphill walk through a forest of trees before you emerge on a mountaintop pasture. And, yes, there are cows! Keep an eye out for them and evidence of them…

If you are looking to make it a day trip, check out our itinerary that includes a stop in the cute mountain town of Lake Lure after a hike at Bearwallow.

17. Chase a waterfall (with no effort!)

Looking Glass Falls waterfall surrounded by green trees

Looking Glass Falls is an awesome waterfall with a 60 foot drop located in Pisgah National Forest. It’s one of the few waterfalls near Asheville that doesn’t require a hike to view it. Just park along the highway and walk to the overlook for a great view. You can also walk down a series of steps if you want a closer look.

It’s impressive and can be seen in just a few minutes, which is why we have it on our day trip itinerary through Brevard and on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

18. Zipline through the forest

You can’t beat ziplining from tree to tree through the forest on a hot summer day! There are several fun adventure companies in and near Asheville that offer ziplining. See below for two of them!

Navitat is 30 minutes north of Asheville and offers various tours depending on weight and skill. If going with kids, they need to be over 50 pounds with a recommended age of 5+.

The Gorge Zipline is another great option for ziplining. It’s located south of Asheville in Saluda, NC. Their weight limit is 70 pounds and courses are best suited for those over 10 years of age.

19. Hike and sightsee in the Pisgah Ranger District

Ferns growing in forest on Pink Beds Loop.

The Pisgah Ranger District is where we spend the majority of our time outdoors. This is the area of Pisgah National Forest that is southwest of Asheville. The Ranger District has tons of waterfalls and scenic views, as well as plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking and fly fishing.

There are so many wonderful hikes and outdoor spaces to spend time on this stretch. A few of our favorites are Sycamore Flats picnic area, Moore Cove Falls hike and Looking Glass Falls waterfall. There are even picnic tables right off the road if you need a quick break.

If you want to make a day of it, start at The Hub in Pisgah Forest, NC and then circle up to Pisgah Inn to catch some great views. You can read more about that loop here.

20. Beat the heat with a hike at 6000+ feet

Long range view from the Black Balsam Knob Trail showing mountains covered in green trees

If it’s hot out and you are in need of some cooler air, look to the mountains! We love escaping on hot days to Black Balsam Knob for a fun hike with our kids. You’ll walk through a forest of fir trees before emerging into an open meadow with a rocky climb up to the top. It can get a bit steep at times but is rated moderate.

Other great warm weather hikes include Moore Cove Falls (tons of shade + waterfall!) and the loop around Lake Powhatan.

21. Go for a swim at Lake Powhatan Beach

Swim area at Lake Powhatan with a lifeguard's chair in sand

Located in Pisgah National Forest (just a 15-minute drive from downtown Asheville), Lake Powhatan Beach is a great place to cool off with a swim in the lake.

The Lake Powhatan Beach is open annually from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

You’ll have access to the beach if you camp at the Lake Powhatan campground or you can park at the Hard Times trailhead and hike the loop around the lake. View our guide to the Lake Powhatan loop here.

22. Tube down the French Broad River

French Broad River from a Zen Tubing inner tube in Asheville, NC.

Float down the French Broad River for the ultimate summer relaxation. Tubing trips with local outfitters take about 2 to 5 hours to float down the river depending on which you choose.

All of our recommended tubing companies include tube rentals and shuttle service from put-in to takeout locations so you won’t have to worry about getting back to your car!

Check out our guide to the best river tubing companies in Asheville!

23. Rent a paddle boat at Lake Julian

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to enjoy the water, renting a paddle boat at Lake Julian is a great option. The Buncombe County Parks Department rents paddle boats for $8/half hour or $12/hour.

Lake Julian is tranquil and full of birds and wildlife, but beware it is the cooling water reservoir for a power plant so you will see it across the lake as you paddle around!

Lake Julian is on our list of the best playgrounds in Asheville.

24. Hike to 3 spectacular waterfalls at Dupont State Forest

Dupont State Forest waterfall

About an hour’s drive south of Asheville, you’ll find another awesome hiking and mountain biking area: Dupont State Recreational Forest. The highlight of DuPont Forest is a hike that takes you past three amazing waterfalls — High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker Falls.

What’s so fun about this area is that it has appeared in a few movies! Several scenes from The Hunger Games franchise were filmed here as well as scenes from The Last of The Mohicans.

25. Go indoor rock climbing

There are several great indoor rock climbing gyms in Asheville. You’ll find Climbmax in downtown Asheville with a second location in West Asheville across from Amboy Road River Park.

The Riveter is located south of Asheville in Mills River. With over 16,000 square feet of climbing terrain. With auto-belays and ropes lanes, there’s something available for any skill level. The Riveter also has a state-of-the-art bike park and an amazing yoga studio.

Once you finish your adventure at the Riveter, finish up the day at their bar that serves, beer, wine, kombucha coffee and tea… or head over to Sierra Nevada Brewery. The entrance is just across the street!

Jump back to the table of contents

‘Only in Asheville’ Things To Do

26. Attend a drum circle (Friday nights in the summer)

The Asheville drum circle is held on Friday nights in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville. It’s such a fun event that attracts such a diverse group of people. Drummers spread out and pop in and out throughout the evening. Anyone can participate and it is free of charge.

The drum circle is located just across from S&W Market food hall (which would be a perfect place for dinner before or after!)

27. Take a tour of the Moog Factory

Have you seen the colorful multi-level mural on the side of the Moog Music location on Broadway? Did you know you can tour it!?

Moog offers free factory tours at 10:30am and 3:30pm Monday through Friday. Learn the history of Moog and see how their instruments are built.

Tours are 45 minutes and allow for a maximum of 15 people. Check their site for details on how to reserve a spot!

28. See Shakespeare at Montford Park

Watch a live performance of a Shakespeare play at Montford Park in one of Asheville’s most charming neighborhoods.

Shows are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30pm. The shows are free to the public with a suggested donation of $10-15 per person. Find all the details to plan your visit to the Montford Park Players here!

29. Tour a chocolate factory

Asheville’s beloved French Broad Chocolate offers factory tours in North Asheville at their Riverside Drive factory. The tour includes education about the chocolate-making process, tour of the factory and a tasting experience.

The best part about this tour (besides the chocolate!) is that it is free for kids under 6. Thee admission price for children ages 7-12 is $8. Adult tickets are $12 each.

30. Tour a recording studio and vinyl record factory

Take a free tour of Citizen Vinyl, Asheville’s very own recording studio and record press. This one is great for audiophiles and music lovers.

While there, make sure you check out Session Cafe and Bar. It’s the in-house spot for lunch, coffee, dinner and drinks and was recently named one of America’s “Best Bars” by Esquire Magazine.

31. Visit a mash-up pizza joint + dine-in movie theater + brewpub

Exterior of Asheville Pizza Co in North Asheville

That’s right! Catch a flick and enjoy a pizza and beer at Asheville Brewing Company’s North Asheville location.

You can find the full movie lineup here.

Apart from movies, Asheville Brewing Company also hosts trivia on Wednesday nights in their game room.

32. Asheville Drag Brunch

Asheville Beauty Academy hosts their Life’s A Drag brunch every Sunday in downtown Asheville. It’s a brunch party with a buffet starting at 12:30 (doors open at 12.) Tickets come with a choice of Mimosa or Bloody Mary.

The Drag Brunch is the perfect thing to do in Asheville on a bachelorette trip!

33. Take a self-guided walking tour through Downtown Asheville

You’ll pass the Flat Iron sculpture on the trail!

If you’re looking for a planned path to follow to explore downtown Asheville, look no further than the Asheville Urban Trail. The free self-guided tour starts at Pack Square and traverses the city on a 1.7 mile loop, but you can jump on the trail and complete the loop from any of the stops.

Check out the Asheville Urban Trail website for all the details including an interactive map.

34. Unwind at an arcade

Asheville Pinball Museum sign in downtown Asheville

Asheville has a few arcade + pinball spots around town. It’s an especially fun activity when in Asheville for a bachelor party!

You’ll find all you can play pinball for $15 in downtown Asheville at the Asheville Pinball Museum. They have 35 pinball machines and 35 classic video games.

And just a few miles away in West Asheville you’ll find Asheville Retrocade. All day play for $10 with over 5000 games!

35. Take a Jeep tour along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Hit the Blue Ridge Parkway in style! Asheville Jeep Tours will take you on a guided tour of the parkway in an awesome ride. Stop at overlooks and landmarks and have a local guide share about the history of Pisgah National Forest. Such a fun way to see it all!

36. Ride a trolley around Asheville

Gray Line Trolley driving down the road in downtown Asheville

Another great activity for the whole family! The Gray Line Trolley travels all around town– from Montford to Omni Grove, down to downtown, through the River Arts District, over to Biltmore Village and then back to Biltmore.

You can choose to ride through without getting off or opt for a hop-on/hop-off tour instead. The tour guides are all so knowledgeable and have some great stories!

It’s one of our favorite things to do with kids in Asheville.

37. Enjoy fun and games at a board game café

Grab breakfast, some great coffee and a board game for the perfect morning! Well Played Board Game Café in South Slope has over 700 games with everything to the classics to games you probably have never heard of. The staff is so friendly and always willing to point you in the right direction.

Not only can you get coffee and breakfast, but they are open all day and serve great food and drinks (beer, wine, etc.)

38. Go on a fun hiking yoga tour

Whether you are looking for a fun hiking yoga tour, guided forest bathing or maybe even goat yoga, start with women-led Asheville Wellness Tours! They have a variety of tours, classes and services to choose from, including private yoga classes and guided meditation.

Asheville has long since been a destination for wellness, and Asheville Wellness Tours is the perfect source for the right teachers and guides.

39. Have champagne at a local bookshop

Exterior corner of Battery Park Book Exchange at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville

What sounds more magical than cozying up in a bookstore with old world charm and a champagne bar? If you can picture yourself there, you can make it happen at Battery Park Book Exchange. They have a great selection of used books as well as an impressive champagne and wine list, cheese boards and coffee.

Battery Park Book Exchange is located in the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville.

40. Catch a show at Grail Moviehouse

Grail Moviehouse in the River Arts District

Grail Moviehouse, Asheville’s alternative cinema, is such a fun way to spend a night out. It’s right next to Wedge at Foundation and the Chop Shop Food Truck. They have a great lineup and occasionally host events. Check their site or follow on Instagram for details.

Grail Moviehouse is located in the Foundy Street part of the River Arts District. This is one of our favorite parts of RAD because there are galleries, shops, food, a coffee shop and great murals all around.

Jump back to the table of contents

Foodie Things To Do In Asheville

41. Dine at a James Beard Award-winning restaurant

Exterior of Curate in downtown Asheville

Asheville has not one but TWO James Beard Award-winning restaurants!

Chai Pani won the Outstanding Restaurant Award in 2022. Known for Indian street food in a laid-back environment, Chai Pani should definitely be on your must-do list in Asheville if it wasn’t already.

Equally exciting is Cúrate’s 2022 win for the Outstanding Hospitality award. Cúrate has become Asheville’s flagship restaurant over the years, serving elevated small plates and cured meats. They opened a sister restaurant and marketplace La Bodega by Cúrate in 2020 and now offer nationwide shipping of some of their items.

42. When in Asheville… go on a food tour!

Bow to the king breakfast from Sunny Point Cafe

We can’t even begin to describe the outstanding food scene in Asheville. From James Beard Award-winning restaurants to wildly great vegan food trucks, Asheville is a food mecca.

The perfect way to get a glimpse at the food scene here is to take a food tour! Check locally-owned Eating Asheville Tours to book yours. Their calendar is up to date and you can choose from several different tours starting at $79.

43. Have a mountaintop picnic

Takeout bag from The Rhu on a picnic blanket with a view of the mountains in the back

There are so many amazing spots for a picnic (and so many amazing places to grab food from for it.) We recommend a picnic bag from The Rhu and heading to Craggy Gardens for easy access to beautiful views. You would need to call ahead (828-785-1799) or email to order from their picnic menu.

There are also great picnic spots the opposite direction of Asheville. The Pink Beds Loop trail comes to mind for a nice picnic. And of course nearby Sycamore Flats picnic area. It’s a family favorite of ours!

Another picnic option is to use Asheville’s very own Picnic Pop-Up to plan something special.

44. Eat Lunch at a Gourmet Retro Food Hall

The S&W Market, located across the street from Pritchard Park in Downtown Asheville, is a great spot to grab a bite to eat and a drink. They have several gourmet street food vendors as well as a Highland Brewing taproom.

Check out this article for everything you need to know about S&W Food Hall.

45. Eat an amazing brunch

The Big Tasty breakfast plate and a bowl of yogurt at Tastee Diner in West Asheville, NC

Asheville is known for brunch! There are a ton of restaurants that serve a daily brunch and several more with amazing weekend specials.

A few of our favorites include Sunday brunch at Vivian and daily brunch at Sunny Point Cafe. We can’t get enough of their carrot hotcakes!

Need more brunch inspiration? Check out our guide to Asheville’s brunch scene.

46. Drink some excellent coffee

Asheville has a noteworthy amount of awesome coffee shops, each with their own awesome vibe and perks.

You’ll find tons of great coffee shops to work from (Summit in RAD, The Rhu, Rite Rite, Rowan), coffee shops with excellent food (Liberty House, Ultra Coffeebar, BattleCat/Tiger Bay Cafe) and even a coffee shop with a view of the river (High Five Woodfin.)

If you want an awesome cup of coffee with an exceptional pastry or donut, check out OWL Bakery and Vortex Doughnuts.

47. Dine at Barack Obama’s favorite Asheville BBQ spot

12 Bones Smokehouse logo outside of their River Arts location

One of my favorite facts about 12 Bones Smokehouse is that it is always President Obama’s top choice of food when in Asheville. I totally understand it too– their ribs are great!! Find out more about 12 Bones in our Guide to Asheville’s best BBQ.

Jump back to the table of contents

Beer City: Breweries and Beer Gardens

48. Go Brewery Hopping in Asheville’s South Slope Brewing District

South Slope Brewing District is the epicenter of Asheville’s brewery culture. With over ten breweries in South Slope, it is the easiest place to check out what several of Asheville’s best breweries have to offer.

A few of our favorite South Slope breweries:

49. Spend an afternoon in a beer garden

Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville's River Arts District

We have already mentioned the plethora of breweries in Asheville, but there are also some great beer gardens around, too!

Here are some of our favorite beer gardens in Asheville:

50. Canoe, kayak or raft down the river to local breweries and bars

The perfect combination of activities for outdoor + beer lovers! Asheville has several local guides that will take you on a tour of the French Broad to some of the breweries and bars along its banks. See below for a few we have heard great things about!

51. Tour a world-class brewery

Speaking of breweries, don’t miss Sierra Nevada’s amazing campus in Mills River (near the AVL airport.) You’ll find awesome beer, excellent food, trails, occasional live music + events and tons of outdoor seating.

Sierra Nevada offers brewery tours from $12 that end in their tasting room with ‘educational samples’.

There are also several other breweries in Asheville with tours checking out.

52. Pedal your way around town on a BYOB Wonka-style cycle bar

Don’t worry, it’s motor-assisted! Amazing Pubcycle Tours is a fun way to see the town in a fun fashion. It’s an awesome idea for a bachelor or bachelorette party!

You can book a 40-minute tour, a trivia tour, a private session or a full pub tour complete with a stop at a bar.

Jump back to the table of contents

Take a Fun Day Trip From Asheville

53. Spend the day in a cute mountain town

Bracken Mountain Bakery in downtown Brevard NC

Brevard, NC is about an hour from Asheville and is a great mountain town to visit.

They have a small downtown area that is easy to see in one day. You’ll find local coffee shops and bakeries, a 50’s style diner, a local coffee roaster, bookstores, tons of antiques and a beloved toy shop.

You’ll pass the entrance to Pisgah National Forest in Pisgah Forest, NC while on the way to Brevard. Check out our itinerary which includes a morning in Brevard with a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway after.

54. Walk along a mile-high swinging bridge

It’s a bit of a drive from Asheville (1.5 hours!), but Grandfather Mountain is definitely worth the trek if a mile-high swinging bridge sounds fun! They also have wildlife habitats (including black bears!) and amazing views.

Grandfather Mountain requires reservations made through their online site. You have to select an entry time, so plan ahead! Admission includes access to the swinging bridge, the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, hiking trails and their wildlife habitats. Plan to spend a few hours there if you go.

55. Visit the mountain lake town where Dirty Dancing was filmed

Lake Lure with boats on the water and mountains in the distance

Yes, really! Lake Lure is about 45 minutes from downtown Asheville and is not only known for the hit 1987 film, but they also have an awesome beach at the lake and a cute mountain town vibe. Chimney Rock State Park is also located here.

If you are looking for inspiration, check out our day trip itinerary that includes a hike at Bear Wallow before an afternoon in Lake Lure.

56. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Little Switzerland

Little Switzerland is such a fun day trip from Asheville. Not only do you get to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but you get to explore a unique town in the mountains of WNC. Shop at a general store and grab BBQ at Switzerland Cafe. There are even trails for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Little Switzerland is located at mile marker 334 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can make it a full loop from Asheville by taking the parkway northeast and then circling back through Burnsville on your way back to town.

Jump back to the table of contents

Shop Local in Asheville

57. Live like a local at an Asheville Farmers Market

Tents and people at the East Asheville Farmers Market

Asheville has an amazing amount of farmers markets scattered around town. Each has a variety of local farmers and makers and are perfect for stocking up on essentials. Check our guide to Asheville Farmers Market for all of the details.

A perfect Saturday morning for us is attending either the North AVL or Asheville City Market followed by a visit to the free Botanical Gardens with our kids.

58. Spend a day in the River Arts District


The River Arts District is one of the many areas of Asheville where you can spend a full day shopping and eating locally. There are several sections of RAD filled with working studios, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and coffee shops. You’ll find the work of hundreds of artists including everything from painting, pottery, jewelry, glass, metal, fiber and wood.

For eats and drinks, we especially love the Foundy Street area with 12 Bones BBQ, Summit Coffee, Wedge Brewing, Plēb Urban Winery and Rosabees. You’ll also find local shops and galleries here.

59. Shop and eat locally in downtown Asheville

Buildings along Wall Street in downtown Asheville

Spend a day strolling along the streets of downtown Asheville. There are so many local shops, galleries and eateries, as well as coffee shops and chocolate shops.

We especially love dining at the S&W Market food hall, browsing art at the Woolworth Walk, getting dessert at French Broad Chocolate Lounge and shopping for old-timey goodies at Mast General Store. For a nicer dinner out, Limones is a gem!

60. Do some vintage shopping in West Asheville

Mural on the side of Twice Round Vintage in West Asheville

There are several vintage stores in West Asheville that are a ton of fun to browse through. Reciprocity has a great selection of denim and everyone is always very friendly! They carry both used and new items. Twice Round is also a great stop if you are looking for some fun finds (especially from the 70s and 80s!)

61. Support local creatives at a Big Crafty event (July and December)

The Big Crafty is an amazing event held semi-annually in downtown Asheville that features local artists and makers. It’s such a fun way to feel a part of the community and support the local creatives (many of which are women!)

The next Big Crafty event is December 3 and 4 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center. You can get additional details on their site.

Jump back to the table of contents

Fun Things To Do For Music Lovers

62. Catch a live show at a local music venue

Downtown Asheville’s Orange Peel music venue is a great place to catch a show. You’ll find a wide variety of performers, from bluegrass to rock to comedy. And if you want to start making Christmas plans: Postmodern Jukebox is coming to down December 3 on their Very Postmodern Christmas tour.

Other fun places to catch live music in Asheville are Grey Eagle (awesome tacos!!), ISIS Music Hall, Salvage Station, Asheville Guitar Bar and Asheville Music Hall.

63. Join a private club and bar at The Orange Peel

Love music and a retro bar scene? You’ll find the 21+ members-only club and liquor bar Pulp at Orange Peel.

Pulp is open every night there’s a show. They have over 200 different Bourbons and Whiskeys available, as well as retro decor and lounge seating. A live feed is streamed on a TV with a stellar sound system.

Pulp is open other nights for various local artists and the occasional open-mic comedy nights. Membership is available same-day and is $2 per year.

64. Dance the night away at a silent disco

You’ll always find something fun going on at Rabbit Rabbit in South Slope, including a silent disco! Their silent discos feature various DJs and the occasional theme night. Additional information and tickets can be found here.

We hope you enjoyed this list of the best things to do in Asheville! We had so much fun compiling it and will continue to add to it over time.

Jump back to the table of contents

Articles You May Enjoy

Disclaimer: Hours, pricing, menus, etc. may have changed since we last updated this post, so make sure to confirm all of this directly prior to visiting any business or attraction listed on our site.

This website contains affiliate links, meaning that we may receive a commission at no cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.