When you’re in town for the DIY Tourism and Local Marketing Workshop, you’re going to want to make some time to explore everything Asheville has to offer.
Starting in Asheville’s vibrant downtown area and expanding out to every corner of our city and beyond, you’ll find award-winning restaurants, incredible art galleries, spectacular mountain hikes and waterfalls, and some of the best beer you’ve ever tasted.
These are a few of our favorite things to do in Asheville, North Carolina.
RIVER ARTS DISTRICT
One of the hippest, artsiest areas of Asheville is none other than the River Arts District—or RAD for short. Discover 200 artists across 22 buildings covered in beautiful and awe-inspiring graffiti art. Dine at eclectic restaurants like RosaBees, an amazing Hawaiian restaurant. Grab a beer at Wedge Brewing or a coffee at Summit Coffee Co. There’s enough to do in this area to fill your entire day!
Feel like royalty for a day at this 1895 French Renaissance castle built by George W. Vanderbilt. Explore the 8,000-acre estate, including the 250-room Biltmore House, 75 acres of beautiful gardens, the nation’s most-visited winery, shopping, dining, four-star accommodations, hiking trails, and more for a bucket list vacation to remember for a lifetime.
This area a little south of downtown is lovingly called Asheville’s brewery district, and rightly so—you can sample and taste brews from more than 8 breweries in the area. There are also spectacular places to grab a coffee, like Vortex Donuts, grab a bite, like Buxton Hall Barbecue, and grab some dessert, like Sunshine Sammies.
ASHEVILLE ART MUSEUM
Check out the many galleries of 20th and 21st-century American art in the sleek $24 million state-of-the-art building that added 70% more gallery space. Plus, it now has the capacity to host major traveling exhibitions from nationally recognized museums.
ORANGE PEEL / RABBIT RABBIT
The Orange Peel is a downtown Asheville live music club (101 Biltmore Avenue) that features state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment rarely found in a club of its size. Rabbit Rabbit is a new outdoor music venue that’s a collaboration between Asheville Brewing Company and the Orange Peel, offering a fun outdoor gathering space for a variety of events.
Asheville Recreation & Nature
RIVER TUBING ON THE FRENCH BROAD RIVER
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown to experience one of the best ways to spend the day in Asheville—tubing down the French Broad River. French Broad Outfitters is our top pick for tube rentals and shuttles in town, but Zen Tubing also offers great tubing packages. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!
This short mile-high hike offers huge rewards. It’s only a 1.4-mile round-trip hike to the top of the 5,892-ft. summit, Craggy Pinnacle at Craggy Gardens. The exceptional panoramic 360-degree views are hard to beat in Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The hiking trail goes through tunnels of rhododendron, gnarled sweet birch trees, and wildflowers.
Surrounded by the botanically diverse Southern Appalachian Mountains, the NC Arboretum is one of the most beautiful natural garden settings in America. The 434-acre campus in Pisgah National Forest is the ideal place for a sensory-rich stroll or hike while admiring and learning about our natural wonders.
WNC NATURE CENTER
See wildlife up close just a few miles from downtown Asheville! The Western North Carolina Nature Center is a 42-acre wildlife park that provides a home for injured, orphaned, and imprinted animals that could not survive on their own.
Asheville Food & Drink
NEW BELGIUM BREWING
This well-known perched above the French Broad River offers year-round and current seasonal offerings on tap. Soak in the views from the cantilevered deck perched above the new greenway and French Broad River. Local food trucks will offer a variety of fares and an event lawn hosts bike-in movies and other outdoor fun.
A downtown Asheville staple for over a decade, Cúrate can’t seem to keep its name out of the limelight. A celebration of authentic Spanish cuisine, Cúrate won the James Beard award for Outstanding Hospitality this year. If you can get a reservation, we highly recommend not missing this gem!
One of the South’s oldest and largest craft brewers—and Asheville’s first craft brewery—Highland Brewing is a favorite that can’t be missed. Their big tasting room is open every day with 15 or so of their brews on tap. They have plenty of free parking, and it’s a quick 5-mile trip from downtown. Take a brewery tour, check out a free live concert, hang out on their rooftop, or play some volleyball with friends. There’s something for everyone here!
12 BONES SMOKEHOUSE
Enjoy the Southern style, slow-smoked barbecue, and scratch-made sides while they last at their original location at 5 Foundy Street in the River Arts District. Or take a trip to South Asheville to their other newer location, which doubles as a brewery.
Our Team Recommends
- Blue Dream Curry House is an international journey of flavor, serving curries from around the world along with local beers at an affordable price using high-quality, fresh, and locally sourced ingredients.
- Chai Pani is a powerhouse of a restaurant, bringing chaat and Indian street food to Asheville in a funky, laid-back space.
- All Day Darling is a popular neighborhood restaurant and cafe right outside of downtown Asheville that serves an all-day menu of market-focused food.
- Rosetta’s Kitchen has been serving delicious vegan soul food for over 20 years in downtown Asheville, and it’s one that can’t be missed.
- Laughing Seed Café is a funky, no-frills cafe and bar serving organic, locally sourced international vegetarian and vegan fare.
- Plant has been voted the best vegetarian restaurant in Asheville, as well as the healthiest bite, greenest restaurant, best service, and among the most romantic places to dine.
BREWERIES, CIDERIES, AND WINERIES
- Ginger’s Revenge is one of only a handful of companies in the U.S. dedicated to reviving alcoholic ginger beer, and the flavors they concoct are out of this world.
- One World Brewing in downtown Asheville is hidden away in an alley and presents a cozy, speakeasy-style space to play some darts and drink some great craft beer.
- Urban Orchard Cider flips everything you’ve ever thought about alcoholic cider on its head and astounds you with some cider flavors you’d have to taste to believe.
- Bottle Riot is a listening lounge and wine bar located in the River Arts District that’s open daily with an extensive wine list, spirits, small bites, free parking, and weekly guest DJs.
Want to experience all that Asheville has to offer but don’t have a ticket yet for the DIY Tourism and Local Marketing Workshop? Buy one today.