Asheville Travel Guides

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Asheville

Overlooking view from Mt. Mitchell State Park
Views from Mt. Mitchell State Park

Why We Love Asheville: Asheville is a cultural and nature haven, and an absolute gem of North Carolina. This artsy city, which is nestled amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, provides a unique city-mountain environment that still maintains its Southern charm. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy local art and culture, a thriving beer scene, and infinite outdoor activities. From hiking and mountain biking to rock climbing and fishing, it’s a nature lover’s paradise and the perfect mountain escape.

Best of Asheville

Things to Do

Overlooking view from the Quintessential Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville
Quintessential Blue Ridge Parkway scenery

Asheville is known for its endless array of outdoor activities, but the city also has a rich local scene for history, arts, food, and culture:

  • The Biltmore House & Estate – A historic mansion and sprawling estate with a winery, spa, farmyard, and beautiful landscaped gardens.
  • Drive the Blue Ridge Mountains – This awe-inspiring mountain drive takes you through vistas and valleys, and is one of the top things to do in Asheville.
  • Drink craft beer – Asheville has over 30 local breweries and more breweries per capita than any other city in America.
  • Get your outdoor adventure on – Think hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, swimming, ziplining, and more.
  • Immerse yourself in the local scene – Everything about Asheville feels local with tons of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and farmer’s markets to explore.

👉 Read the full list of best things to do in Asheville.

🗺️ Where to Stay

With Asheville being a smaller city, it’s easy to remain close to downtown, no matter where you decide to stay.

  • Downtown Asheville – Lively and happening, downtown Asheville is the place to stay for easy access to restaurants, shops, and amenities.
  • Montford – North of downtown, this historic area has tons of charm, bed and breakfasts, and turn of the 20th-century architecture. 
  • Biltmore Village – This area south of downtown is close to the Biltmore. It’s also full of boutiques, restaurants, and larger hotels. 

👉 Read the full guide to where to stay in Asheville.

View of buildings under the clear blue sky in Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville

🛎️ Best Hotels

View from the outside of Omni Grove Park Inn
The Omni Grove Park Inn with its iconic stone exterior and red clay tile roofing

Asheville is full of historic inns and bed and breakfasts, as well as family-friendly hotels and vacation rentals. Here are the top hotels:

  • Omni Grove Park Inn – A historic, stone inn with sprawling mountain views, an incredible spa, and a grand lobby.
  • The Inn on Biltmore Estate – Stay right on the Biltmore Estate in this hospitality-focused hotel with beautiful mountain views.
  • Grand Bohemian Hotel – located in Biltmore Village, this luxurious hotel combines contemporary amenities with a lodge-inspired design.

🍽️ Restaurants

People enjoying their meal on an outdoor dining area in Tupelo Honey Cafe
Tupelo Honey Cafe in downtown Asheville (photo: Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock)

Asheville has no shortage of delicious restaurants spanning classic Southern staples to farm-to-table fare and other tasty cuisines!

  • Tupelo Honey – Come here for classic Southern fare like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles!
  • 12 Bones Smokehouse – Good North Carolina barbeque is a must and 12 Bones does it right, along with delicious Southern fixins. 
  • Laughing Seed – Delicious, plant-based food that everyone can enjoy, located in the heart of downtown Asheville. 
  • White Duck Taco Shop – Cool and casual restaurant with a menu of creative and ever-changing tacos.
  • Twisted Laurel – Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with homemade pasta and more crowd-pleasing dishes. Plus they’re dog-friendly!

🚗 Day Trips

Scenic view from Lake Lure in Asheville
Enjoy a perfect summer day on Lake Lure
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Straddling the Tennessee/North Carolina border, this is the most visited national park in America.
  • Mount Mitchell State Park – The highest peak east of the Mississippi with stunning views along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Lake Lure – The perfect place for a lake day full of scenery and water sports. Chimney Rock State Park is also nearby.
  • Brevard – Just under an hour from Asheville is this charming small town known as “the land of waterfalls.”
  • Hendersonville – This small town has a pretty main street drag, tons to do, and nearby attractions for the whole family. 

👉 See the full list of 21 best day trips from Asheville.

🏘️ Neighborhoods

Colorful tulips on the Biltmore Estate
Tulips on the Biltmore Estate in South Asheville (photo: Joanne Dale / Shutterstock)
  • Montford – Asheville’s most walkable neighborhood that’s full of historic homes, bed and breakfasts, and tons of character. 
  • River Arts District – An old industrial district that has been turned into a creative hub along the French Broad River.
  • South Asheville – This is where the Biltmore House & Estate is located, along with historic neighborhoods and tons of restaurants. 
  • North Asheville – A less crowded area with casual local restaurants. The historic Grove Park Inn is also located here.
  • West Asheville – Trendy, vibrant neighborhood with cool shops, breweries, music venues, and walkable streets.

🍸 Bars

An iced black americano with sliced of orange on top
  • Hemingway’s Cuba – A rooftop bar in downtown Asheville that serves up craft cocktails, local brews, and traditional Cuban cuisine. 
  • The Montford Rooftop Bar – A rooftop bar on the 8th floor of Asheville’s DoubleTree by Hilton. The outdoor terrace is perfect for sunset views.
  • Jack of the Wood – Casual downtown Irish pub that makes handcrafted ales and hosts live music events. A local favorite.
  • Battery Park Champagne Bar – A unique bookstore-bar located inside the historic Grove Arcade. 
  • O.Henry’s – North Carolina’s oldest gay bar, O.Henry’s has a neighborhood vibe, daily drink specials, and special events.

🍺 Best Breweries

View of people outside the Wicked Weed Brewing Pub
Wicked Weed Brewing Pub in downtown Asheville (photo: Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock)
  • Wicked Weed Brewing Pub – Known for its rotating selection of innovative beers, this brewpub also has a full restaurant.
  • Asheville Brewing Company – A staple Asheville brewery known for its wide selection of beers and tasty pizzas. The Ninja Porter is a fan favorite.
  • New Belgium Brewing Company – A riverside brewery in West Asheville with tons of outdoor space and daily food trucks.
  • Highland Brewing Company – The first craft brewery in Asheville. Their Gaelic Ale is often called “Asheville’s first beer.”
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Company – Though technically not in Asheville, Sierra Nevada is an impressive and iconic brewery worth visiting.

🍺 See the full list of best breweries in Asheville.

⛰️ Best Hikes

View of a waterfall at DuPont State Forest in Asheville
High Falls in DuPont State Forest
  • Craggy Gardens – A breathtaking, high-elevation hike known for its beautiful rhododendron blooms and grassy fields. 
  • Catawba Falls – A shaded, forest trail east of Asheville. The trail goes along the Catawba River and leads to a mossy, rocky cascade. 
  • Black Balsam Knob – A popular trail with incredibly rewarding views. The two mountain peaks have 360-degree views surrounded by meadows. 
  • Graveyard Fields – This mile-high valley is a relatively easy hike with two waterfalls, lush meadows, and some boardwalk trails.
  • DuPont State Forest 3 waterfall hike – Visit three of the best waterfalls near Asheville in one hike at DuPont State Forest: Triple Falls, High Falls, and Hooker Falls.

🥾 See our full list of hikes near Asheville.

Asheville Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Because of the altitude, the weather in Asheville is mild while still having all four seasons, making it a great destination year-round. 

  • 🍂 Fall –  A popular time to visit because of the stunning fall foliage. October and November are best for crisp, cool weather. 
  • 🌞 Summer –  Upper 80’s temperatures with cool evenings. The perfect time for outdoor activities and long lake days. 
  • ❄️ Winter –  Winters are mild with occasional snow. Expect low 20’s to mid 40’s. 
  • 🌼 Spring –  Cool mornings and evenings with sunny afternoons. Allergies can be rough.

👉 Read the full guide to the best time to visit Asheville.

🚌 Getting Around

Although downtown is walkable, driving is by far the best way of getting around Asheville and surrounding areas, especially if you plan on exploring nature. 

  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Walking is the way to go for exploring downtown Asheville and neighborhoods like Montford and West Asheville.
  • 🚗 Driving – If you plan on doing just about anything outside of downtown, you’ll need a car. 
  • 🚇 Public Transit – Asheville Rides Transit or “ART” is the bus service for Asheville and nearby Black Mountain. 
  • 📲 Ride Share – Ride Share options are available, but not as widely available as they are in larger cities. 
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – There are a few bike paths throughout Asheville, including the French Broad River Greenway. Mountain biking is popular.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • ☮️ – Asheville is pretty hippie – Asheville is known to be a bit of a hippie haven in North Carolina. “Keep Asheville Weird” is even a local slogan.
  • ⛰️ – Parkway closures – During the winter or if any natural disasters occur, parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway will close. 
  • ☔ – Summer rain – Asheville and surrounding areas can get pretty rainy in the summer, with an average of about 44 inches of rain per year.
  • 🌱 – It’s vegan & vegetarian friendly – Many restaurants and cafes offer plant-based options, so vegans and vegetarians should have no problem.
  • 🍺 – Beer culture is real – Asheville has been named “Beer City, USA” numerous times, and the city’s more than 30 breweries proves it. 

🧳 What to Pack

  • 🥾 – Hiking gear – Pack any hiking boots, trail shoes, and outdoor clothing. It’ll come in handy for any and all outdoor activities. 
  • ☔ – Rain gear – It’s normal for it to rain for about an hour every day in the summer, so pack some rain gear just to be safe.
  • 👡 – Sandals – The local fashion is pretty earthy and outdoorsy, so shoes like Chacos and Tevas are standard footwear in the summer.
  • 🧥 – Pack in layers – Temperatures can vary a bit in the spring, summer, and fall, so always pack a jacket or layers.
  • 🤢 – Motion sickness relief – If you get motion sickness, pack whatever you use to relieve it. Roads on the Blue Ridge Parkway can be curvy. 

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Census Population (2020) – 94,589 (city), 469,015 (metro area)
  • Time Zone – EDT Time (UTC -5 / UTC -4 during daylight savings)
  • Area Codes – 828
  • Airports – Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
  • Nickname – The Land of the Sky, A-ville, Beer City, USA
  • Demonynm – Ashevillian 
  • StateNorth Carolina
  • CountryUnited States of America

👉 See our full list of facts about Asheville.

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $150/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $100/night
  • Rental Car – $75-$125/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – $1 ($1 to airport from center)
  • Ride Share from Downtown to Airport – $30+
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $30-$60
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $40-$60
  • Draft Beer – $4-$10

💵 Read our full guide to doing Asheville on a budget.

FAQs About Visiting Asheville

Is Asheville safe for tourists?

Asheville is safe for tourists to visit. However, if you plan on visiting different neighborhoods or attractions that are a ways away from each other, driving is recommended.

What is Asheville known for?

Asheville is known for being a bit of a hippie city. It’s also known for the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore House & Estate.

Is Asheville, NC worth visiting?

Asheville, NC is worth visiting. It has a unique atmosphere that sets it apart from other North Carolina destinations, as well as a thriving beer scene, stunning scenery, and outdoor activities to enjoy.

What is the best time of year to visit Asheville?

The best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime from spring through fall. The weather is generally mild and good for hiking and outdoor activities. However, summer and fall are the most popular seasons to visit.

How many days do you need to visit Asheville?

3-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in Asheville. This will allow you to see the top sights and visit popular outdoor destinations. However, I recommend visiting for a full week if you really want to get the full experience, including tons of outdoor activities and day trips.

Is Asheville a good place to live?

Asheville is a great place to live. The city provides smaller-city amenities while still offering an array of outdoor activities. Asheville and surrounding areas are pretty community-oriented with a very local vibe.

Meet Our Asheville Travel Expert

Lea Rose Allbaugh

Lea Rose Allbaugh is a Chicago-based freelance writer who’s obsessed with all things travel. She caught the travel bug back in 2015 during an exchange to the Netherlands and has traveled to 13 other countries since. Travel writing is her favorite way of inspiring others to get up and go experience the world. In her free time, she loves to eat pasta and make everything a dance party. She also writes at her website, Written World!

👉 Read Lea Rose’s Articles

📰 North Carolina Travel Guides

The surrounding areas of Asheville have a ton to offer. Nearby towns are charming and the outdoor attractions are unmatched and definitely worth checking out. If you’re looking for more North Carolina travel, the Piedmont cities and Outer Banks beaches are sure to be a hit, too!

🗺️ Asheville Map