We recently spent a week outside of Asheville, North Carolina, and I was so happy to discover that it is a young, fun, and lively town! We discovered that there are tons of things to do in downtown Asheville. This includes amazing little shops, restaurants and cafes, and lovely public art everywhere.
Asheville is in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. So if you love gorgeous views (who doesn’t?), good food, and outdoor activities, don’t skip over Asheville as your next travel destination.
Since this post is dedicated to fun things to do in downtown Asheville, I’ll just pick a few of the things that I personally recommend doing while you’re downtown (or very close to it).
You probably will need a car if you’re exploring this area. You won’t if you’re just spending a day or two downtown, but if you plan on getting out of town for some hiking, rafting, or exploration, check TripAdvisor for rental cars. They have free cancellations and no hidden fees on their car rental bookings.
And if you’re doing street parking, bring quarters or download the Passport app in advance so you can pay from your phone and track your meter!
Now, let’s get to the good stuff and a few tips for exploring downtown Asheville!
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Start your day in Asheville with coffee and beignets at Bebettes: A New Orleans Coffeehouse.
You will not find fresh beignets and a smooth chicory coffee blend anywhere like this outside of New Orleans!
A stop here is the perfect way to kick off your morning! Try one of their home made syrups like Madagascar Vanilla, Sea Salt Caramel, or French Lavender. Personally, my favorite was just the classic “cafe au lait” over ice!
After you’ve finished your coffee and your looking for more things to do in downtown Asheville, take a stroll through the historic Grove Arcade.
You can explore this gorgeous landmark building while shopping, dining, or even indulging in a foot massage at the Wake Foot Sanctuary. (ps I really REALLY wanted to get a foot soak here, but they were all booked up for several days, so CALL AHEAD!).
The Grove Arcade was completed in 1929 and served as the center of commercial and public life in Asheville. And in 1976, Grove Arcade became the first enclosed mall in America to be listed on the National Register Of Historic Places.
One of the things I loved about Ashville is the number of fun shops and “mom and pop” businesses located right downtown. You won’t find a bunch of chain stores here.
Locals are proud to bring their small business, restaurants, cafes, gift shops, spa services and more to do round out things to do in downtown Asheville.
Just stroll down Broadway and the area around College Street or Patton Avenue and you’ll see the same. It’s a young, fun, diverse city with lots going on.
One of my favorite places to stop was Asheville Bee Charmer, where you can sample dozens of honeys.
Just walk around and enjoy the city! It’s one of the most fun things to do in Asheville.
Don’t you love coming across a bright and colorful mural when you’re exploring new places? Asheville has put public art front of mind when planning the urban design and visual life of the city.
Check out Asheville’s Urban Trail map to discover more than 30 public art works!
If museums are more your style, you’re in luck! With everything from a Pinball Museum to a Science Museum to an Art Museum there’s no shortage of things to do in downtown Asheville, all right in walking distance!
You absolutely cannot go to Asheville and skip the Biltmore Estate.
If you’re like me and are thinking:
a. What is the Biltmore Estate / why should I go? And,
b. Is it worth the admission price of $55++?
The answer is yes, it is absolutely worth it.
Built in 1895 by George and Edith Vanderbilt (yes, THE Vanderbilts), it is a massive 8,000 acre privately-owned estate. If you do the house tour, you’ll be astounded by the sheer size of the main house (including the bowling alley, tapestry rooms, and ballroom).
But Biltmore isn’t just a house tour. Especially if you’re looking for things to do in downtown Asheville, take a big chunk of a day and explore the grounds (dog friendly trails), gardens, winery, small farm, and shopping areas around the estate. Be sure to stop by their Creamery for MASSIVE ice creams.
If you want, you can even stay at hotels and cottages located on the Estate itself. Or spend a day in their Spa. Very cool!
Really, I can’t describe everything you can do here. Just visit their website and see for yourself!
For more things to do in downtown Asheville and beyond, visit their tourism website. Enjoy your trip!
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Hey there, I am Stephanie, aka “The Roving Fox!” I started this blog to share travel tips with friends, and eventually started incorporating more info about my hip labrum surgery, beauty products I love, and restaurant reviews. Please say hi here on the blog, on Instagram, or Facebook!
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