Asheville, North Carolina is a haven for lovers of the outdoors, food, craft beer, art and architecture
Asheville, a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, is known for its quirky charm and beauty. With a thriving culinary and arts scene, a walkable downtown bursting with shops, art galleries and restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, it attracts nearly 12 million visitors a year. You can also tour the largest private home in the U.S., relax in the waters of a world-class spa and lift a pint in one of the city’s many breweries.
Locals call their food scene “Foodtopia.” Feast on anything from lobster rolls piled with fresh lobster from the Lobster Dogs food truck to cathead buttermilk biscuits with sweet potato coconut gravy at Biscuit Head. The city boasts two 2022 James Beard Award winners: Chai Pani, which serves Indian street food, won for outstanding restaurant. Cúrate, known for Spanish cuisine and wine, won best hospitality.
Chow down on vegan soul food at Rosetta’s Kitchen and for high-end Italian food, try Cucina 24. Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ has you covered for barbecue, and for truly local cuisine from the farmers in western North Carolina, take a seat at Rhubarb where five-time James Beard Award finalist John Fleer serves Southern fare.
Housed in a 1920s building, Chestnut is popular for items like charcuterie, fried green tomatoes and lobster bisque.
With a nickname like Beer City USA, you know you’ll find plenty of places that pour a pint. Try one of the more than 100 local beers at popular breweries including Wicked Weed Brewing or Highland Brewing. Take a Brews Cruise for a behind-the-scenes tour of three breweries. Sour beer lovers can head to the Funkatorium, a taproom dedicated to sour beer.
Watch the sunset and enjoy a seasonal cocktail at three of Asheville’s rooftop bars with the Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours. Sip on a glass of bubbly or wine while you peruse used books at Battery Park Book Exchange in the historic Grove Arcade.
For mountain views and a championship golf course head to the Omni Grove Park Inn, which also has a 43,000-square-foot spa where you can swim in underground grottoes, let water cascade over you from the waterfalls, and head to the outdoor pool for mountain views. For a more boutique experience in downtown Asheville within walking distance of shops and restaurants, try the all-suites Windsor Boutique Hotel.
If a visit to Biltmore is on the agenda, check out The Inn on Biltmore Estate with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A short walk from downtown, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is housed in the former foundry that forged steel for the Biltmore Estate.
For more about Asheville, visit exploreasheville.com
Tour the Vanderbilt family’s 250-room Biltmore Estate, the largest private home in the country. Take a trolley tour or a self-guided walk along the 30-stop Urban Trail.
Downtown, pop into boutiques, shops, art galleries and studios. On Friday nights in the warmer months, catch the weekly Drum Circle. Housed in former industrial warehouses on the riverbank of the French Broad River, River Arts District has hundreds of working artists’ studios.
Take a drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, hike or bike along one of the trails or kayak on the French Broad River.
Listen to live music includes in bars, music halls and venues like The Orange Peel and The Grey Eagle.
photos courtesy: rhubarb; windsor boutique hotel; melanie warner spencer