Asheville, North Carolina is one of the trendiest and most artistic cities in the Southeast U.S. Almost every empty warehouse, church, and historic building has been turned into a gallery or restaurant.
The best way to visit Asheville is on a Blue Ridge Mountains Road Trip!
Plus, you’ve got the incredible Biltmore Estate, which is one of the most (and one of the only) European-feeling places in the U.S. I love this city, and I know you’ll love it too.
So here’s my Asheville city guide!
Visit the Biltmore Estate – I recommend doing the house tour, strolling through the gardens, doing a horseback ride through the property, and having a wine tasting in the Antler Hill Village.
Hike to Looking Glass Falls and/or Catawba Falls.
Paddle on the French Broad River.
Explore Downtown Asheville (cute shops and a great art scene).
Hike to Craggy Gardens and/or Black Balsam Knob.
Self-Guided Craft Brewery Tour – start at Jack of the Wood, then head to Thirsty Monk, Asheville Brewing, Barley’s Tap Room, and Wicked Weed Brewing Company.
When To Go
Autumn is my favorite season to visit Asheville. The foliage will begin changing in late September, temperatures will be pleasant in the mid-70s to upper 50s, and it’s harvest season for the Biltmore vineyard. This is the shoulder season, but the city can fill up on the weekends in October, so make hotel reservations ahead of time.
December to February is cold, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s. Snow is rare in the city, but the nearby mountains can get snow. December is a peak month for the Biltmore because of its Christmas festivities, but January and February are the off-season months for Asheville, so you can score some great accommodation deals if you don’t mind the cold.
Spring has fantastic weather in the mid-50s into the 70s by May, and the spring blooms are stunning in and around the city. The Biltmore Blooms festival is from March-May. The Spring LEAF festival, the Mountain Sports Festival, and the Montford Music & Arts Festival are in May. These are some of the wettest months all year, so make sure you bring your rain gear.
Summer daytime temperatures can rise to the low 90s, but Asheville isn’t as humid as most other places in the Southeast U.S. This more pleasant weather makes it a popular destination from June – August. Prices and tourist numbers will be at their peak, and you’ll want to book, reserve, and plan in advance.
Where To Stay
My favorite hotel in Asheville is The Omni Grove Park Inn (pictured above). This historic hotel has the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the city! Your luxury stay here includes access to four locally-sourced restaurants, a subterranean spa, and a championship golf course. You’ll feel like you’re in the countryside, but you’re just a short car ride to downtown.
Other great hotels in the area are the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Autograph Collection and The Inn on Biltmore Estate. You can also find some great Airbnbs in the city.
Where To Eat
Fine Dining: Red Stag (American grill), Chiesa (Italian restaurant in an old church), Cúrate (tapas restaurant), Sovereign Remedies, The Admiral, Gan Shan Station (Asian).
Breakfast Places: Biscuit Head, Corner Kitchen, Rhubarb. Hole Doughnuts, Sunny Point Café.
Coffee Shops: High Five Coffee, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Double D’s Coffee and Desserts, Old Europe.
Pizza, Burgers, and Tacos: White Duck Tacos, Zia Taqueria, Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria, All Souls Pizza, Burgerworx, Farm Burger.
Best Day Trips
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The North Carolina park entrances are only a little more than an hour’s drive from Asheville. You can head to the towns of Cherokee or Bryson City to explore this lesser-visited side of the park. I highly recommend driving the scenic Road To Nowhere! Here’s my Great Smoky Mountains National Park Guide.
Linn Cove Viaduct. This famous section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is an hour and a half drive north of Asheville. The best view of this famous curve is from a rock viewpoint on a one-mile moderate roundtrip hike. Start at the Linn Cove Visitor Center on a paved trail that goes under the viaduct, then turns to dirt and climbs back up for the view in the picture above.
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