Asheville Travel Guide

Things to do & See in Asheville

With Charlotte Mom’s travel guide, you can plan a getaway trip to Asheville and the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains! Make your ideal vacation in the “Land of the Sky.” Because it’s in the mountains, Asheville has cooler summers than other nearby Southern cities. The best time to visit is in the spring, especially in April. The weather is still pleasant and not overly humid. However, fall is most likely the most popular season. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs from Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina, passes through Asheville and is a hidden gem in the United States. It’s a beautiful drive through the fall foliage.

Tucked away between the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, Asheville, NC provides many activities year-round. Visitors can enjoy nature, sightsee, experience culture and the arts, and shop at the many boutiques lining the streets. Nature lovers will feel at home as this beautiful area provides accessibility to hiking, rock climbing, nature trails, and the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway. Cultural venues such as the Asheville Civic Center, the many art galleries, and the Pack Place Center offer opportunities to experience fine art, architecture, music, and drama. Asheville is well known for being home to the Biltmore mansion, the nation’s largest private home. Asheville also played host to two famous writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, as they crafted classic literary works. Enjoy the many sides of Asheville on your next visit!

Asheville, North Carolina is home to a variety of fun activities to participate in and attractions to visit. Consider renting a house, cottage or cabin for your stay, many of which include such amenities and facilities as internet access, a hot tub and an outdoor grill.

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Asheville Family Attractions

Families will find that there’s plenty of attractions to visit and enjoy in Asheville. Many of these activities incorporate the outdoors, due to the city’s picturesque location nearby the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville is a rare place. Artists and street musicians converge with tourists and locals for a vibrancy rarely found in a city of this size. There is always something happening downtown. People sip cups of Joe at one of several locally-owned coffee shops, listen to live music at a local club. They go on art walks, winding their way through downtown’s 30-plus galleries. Shoppers inspect unique boutique finds, or people simply enjoy fine cuisine and people-watching. Asheville skipped the urban renewal process that stripped the character from many downtowns. Today, its rich architectural legacy with its mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles is the perfect backdrop to the city’s edgy energy.

Art Galleries

With dozens of arts and crafts galleries, retail shops and antique shops, as well as fresh finds and local food products at 45 farmer tailgate markets in the region, Asheville is a shopper’s paradise. Every street downtown leads to a treasure-trove of uncommon businesses that could only flourish in Asheville. There is a diverse mix of shopping malls and shopping districts, along with specialty stores like toy and children’s shops and outfitters. Lose yourself in the block-long Grove Arcade, a shopping and dining destination in one location. Built as a planned community in the late 1890s, Historic Biltmore Village features peddle-dash homes once belonging to George Vanderbilt and now featuring elegant restaurants, and interesting boutiques and galleries.

The Diana Wortham Theatre presents more than 170 events each year, and live comedy, drama and music show at local playhouses. Live music of all genres spills out of a mix of clubs and venues. Every third Friday, June through September, the Asheville Downtown Association presents Downtown After Five, a free outdoor concert series in the heart of the city. Check out the Shindig on the Green during dusk. This celebration of bluegrass and old-time string bands, ballad singers, storytellers, dancers and cloggers is held Saturday evenings from July to August. Local playhouses present comedies, dramas and musical nightly.

Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is one of the most renowned destinations in all of North Carolina. Children and parents of any age will love spending time at the French Renaissance Castle. Take a walk through the 75 acres of beautiful gardens or tour the many interesting floors and rooms of the Biltmore building, which even houses a historic bowling alley.

Touring America’s Largest Home is without a doubt the most popular indoor attraction in Western North Carolina. Discover the splendor of Biltmore House and its century-old gardens, where the Vanderbilts once strolled. Discover why George Vanderbilt chose Asheville as the location for his famous estate. Explore the 8,000-acre Blue Ridge Mountain backyard of Biltmore, sample award-winning wines, dine, and shop. See our comprehensive guide, which includes numerous photos and tips.

Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours

Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours are filled with adventure, as the three hour tour takes you through numerous sky bridges, zipline sections and deep woods, providing you with spectacular views of the nearby mountain vistas like Chimney Rock. Your family will learn more about the local wildlife, plants and culture during the tour.

Climb the Treetops Adventure Park with over 70 challenge elements and 7 different aerial trails for ages 4 and up, zip our Kid Zip Park (ages 4-10), Asheville Zipline Canopy Tours (ages 8+), or ride Kolo Bike Park. It is open all year and is only a few minutes from downtown Asheville.

Golf in Asheville

If you’re an avid golfer or this is the first time you’ve ever picked up a club, Asheville is home to a large number of scenic golf courses.

Grove Park Inn Golf Course

This 18-hole course provides enough challenge for those that want to test their skills, yet also has numerous holes that are easy enough for a beginner. The fairways are lush and the greens are smooth, making for a very comfortable and relaxing time when swinging the club.

Asheville Municipal Golf Course

The Asheville Municipal Golf Course is another 18-hole golf course that plays well and can provide golfers of any skill level with endless amounts of fun while vacationing. The fairways are wide and the greens are in fantastic condition. The winds from the nearby mountains will add a bit of excitement and strategy to the game.

Asheville Food and Drink

Asheville is home to restaurants with a vast selection of cuisines, from Mexican to Mediterranean. No matter what your tastes are, you’re sure to find a restaurant that suits your palette.


Chestnut is a fine dining option that specializes in American cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner, their delicious menu offers such entrees as Apple Glazed Sunburst Trout Fillet and Black Angus Strip Steak. There are also nearly a dozen dessert options to choose from, including Creme Brulee and Alden’s Lemon Curd Cheesecake.

Plant Vegan Restaurant

If you’re a vegetarian, or simply want to eat healthier while on vacation, Asheville plays host to the Plant Vegan Restaurant, which prides itself in an all-vegan menu. They also have a nice selection of craft beers and sumptuous wines. Their varied menu includes such dishes as a grilled Romaine salad and smoky hummus.

Asheville Spas

The Asheville area’s reputation as a destination for spa treatments and wellness dates back centuries. One of the East Coast’s only natural hot spring water sources, in Hot Springs, has been attracting visitors since its discovery in the 1700s. Its mineral waters are still known for treating a variety of ailments, including anemia, nerve conditions, heart problems and digestive issues. Today, the Asheville area has evolved into a premier spa destination. The region features a diverse mix of treatments and wellness services virtually unheard-of outside major metropolitan areas. Asheville’s devotion to wellness does not end with massages and facials. There are five yoga studios in Asheville alone. There are also classes in tai chi and pilates, as well as couples weekends learning Argentine tango. Be it a simple weekend of relaxation, a romantic couple’s getaway in the mountains or a chance to improve your health, Asheville is the ultimate destination for those seeking spas and wellness.


Weather in Asheville

Asheville’s seasons are a palette of colors and experiences, ranging from the enchanting holidays and spring mountains bursting with color to the outdoor adventures of summertime and the breathtaking colors of fall. In Asheville, you’ll find plenty to do no matter what time of year it is. Pick your season below for the best of fall, winter, spring and summer!

  • Summer – Summertime in Asheville is alive with music, festivals and performances.
  • Fall – Take scenic drives and see some of the best foliage in the east.
  • Holidays – Celebrate the holiday season in Asheville with decorating tips and winter fun.
  • Winter – Asheville’s splendid mix of mild temperatures with its proximity to snow-covered mountains make this the ideal winter destination.
  • Spring – Asheville blossoms every spring, so check out our bloom schedules, drives, and flower-filled attractions.

Asheville has a relatively sunny climate, though snow does occur on a regular basis during the wintertime. Average highs during the summer are in the mid 80’s, while highs during the months of December and January tend to settle in the low to mid 40’s. The best time of year to visit Asheville is during the fall season, as the leaves begin to change color and the warm summer air makes way for the crisp autumn breeze.

How to Get to Asheville

There are many ways to get to Asheville. You can pay for a rental car or private car in order to travel in comfort. If you live in another state, it’s possible to take a plane to the Asheville Regional Airport. Taxis and buses are available for getting around in the city.


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