Asheville Travel Guide [y]

[y] Asheville Visitors Guide

Come to Asheville North Carolina and get ready to experience a mountain adventure, dance around your room to some mountain folk music, and visit downtown Asheville as it comes alive with evening activities.

The community of Asheville is one of the most popular mountain resorts east of the Mississippi River. Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains & the Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque town boasts a healthful climate, crisp mountain air, & quaint but sophisticated charm.

Over the past 200 years, this lovely town has grown into a metropolitan city, rich in culture & history. The architectural character was formed during its 1920s glory days & to this day, Asheville retains its small-town mountain charm but with an added cultural sophistication.

Asheville Travel Blog

Downtown Asheville

Downtown you will find the finest collection of art deco buildings north of Miami Beach, & we are proud that restoration of this area is proceeding apace. Revitalization in the downtown area began in the mid-1980s. Unique shops, galleries, restaurants & studios make it a vibrant region day & night. City planners have been careful to preserve its beautiful, historic architecture. From gargoyles, statues & monuments, to lavish art deco architecture, sightseers are likely to find unexpected treasures.

view of downtown Asheville NC
view of downtown Asheville from the Terrace at the Grove Park; photo by Josh Stack

Throughout downtown, you will find an outstanding collection of early 20th-century architecture including structures of national significance, & more than 100 retail shops & restaurants. Looking for an art museum, a cup of java, some evening jazz or an outdoor cafe? Pack Square, a landmark & meeting place for residents & visitors, is a great place to start.

George Vanderbilt’s first mountaintop view of the Asheville area inspired him to call it the most beautiful place on Earth. In 1895, he built his home here. Today this 250-room French Renaissance chateau is the largest privately-owned residence in the United States & one of the most popular attractions in the Asheville area. Visitors can tour the magnificent Biltmore Estate, try its award-winning wine at the winery, & have a bite to eat at one of the Estate’s restaurants.

The area has always been popular with artists & craftspeople, & downtown Asheville is currently home to more than 20 arts & crafts galleries. Gallery Walks throughout the year invite visitors to take self-guided tours through the galleries while enjoying wine, hors d’ oeuvres & live music. One of the oldest guilds in the U.S., the Southern Highland Craft Guild, exhibits the work of its artists & hosts demonstrations at the Folk Art Center located at mile marker 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 15 minutes from downtown.

More than two million people visit Asheville each year. Many come for the changing of the seasons. Others come for outdoor activities & the wide assortment of high-quality arts & crafts. Nearly everyone comes to spend some time staring out into the quiet, rolling mountains.

Things to do in Asheville

Looking for something to do in Asheville? This Asheville activity guide will help you plan and book activities during your visit. Find up-to-date and comprehensive information about local tour operators and fun things to do. Be sure to check out our interactive maps, reader-submitted reviews and in-depth adventure articles.

Biltmore Estate

Explore the wonders of Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Not only is the estate America’s largest home, it also features century-old gardens, an award-winning winery and a historic farm village. Visitors enjoy the 8,000-acre backyard by bicycle, raft and horseback. For a complete escape, the Biltmore Estate offers long-lasting benefits at its luxurious four-star inn. Address: 1 Approach Road | Asheville, NC | 28803. Telephone: 1 828 225-1333

Asheville Trail Information

Planning to escape to the trails of Asheville? This will help you find the trail you are looking for.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The Appalachian Trail can be hiked in its entirety or can be done in smaller sections as well. It covers 14 states, from Maine to Georgia, and covers such peaks as Clingman’s Dome in North Carolina and Tennessee, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and Mount Rogers in Virginia. Dogs, horses, and bikes are only allowed on some stretches of the trail, and it is not advisable to bring them on thru-hikes.

Black Mountain Crest Trail

Black Mountain Crest is convenient to overnight backpack or shorter day hikes across the Black Mountains. All summits are above 6000 ft (1.1 mi).

Asheville Tours

Tentative about camping? Check out Asheville, North Carolina Camping & Backpacking Tours and turn that camping trip from intense to in-tents. Multi-day tours often include a professional guide, transportation, camping gear, and food. Don’t get lost in the woods — find the best fit for your needs using the descriptions of each Asheville camping company below.

Southern Safari

Enjoy African style base camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This company offers tours for corporate groups, adventure travelers and family occasions. Their outdoor packages include hiking, walking, white water rafting, and hot air ballooning. Also offered are driving tours. Asheville, NC | 28814

Foot Travel, LLC

Foot Travel, LLC provides custom-designed guided day hikes, backpacking trips, and other hiking services. Black Mountain, NC | 28711

Tour Asheville, Inc.

Tour Asheville offers two 90-minute walking tours in downtown Asheville: a history and architectural tour and a ghost tour. Address: 1 Battery Park Ave | Asheville, NC. Telephone: 1 828 337-0645

Asheville Urban Trail

Follow the Asheville Urban Trail and learn about the history of this mountain town. Thirty sculptures along the trail tell the story of Asheville. Rent an audio headset at the art museum, or take a guided tour on Saturdays at 3 pm from April to November. Address: 2 S Pack Sq | Asheville, NC. Telephone: 1 828 258-0710

Asheville Hiking Tours

– While hiking may seem like a simple feat, there are many aspects to consider. Taking a guided hiking tour in Asheville, North Carolina can ensure a successful outing into nature. Asheville trekking trips also range in duration, from hourly hill walks to multi-day backpacking adventures.

Moondance Adventures, Inc

Moondance offers teen adventure travel and camps. A variety of outdoor activities are offered such as hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking and more. Adult trips are also available.
Address: 2004 Riverside Drive Suite T | Asheville, NC | 28804. Telephone: 1 828 350-1488

Mountain Adventure Guides

Enjoy mountain-guided tours of the Southeastern Appalachians. Rock climbing instructions are offered for adults and children aged six years and up. Teaching for beginners is available and equipment is supplied. Backpacking trips are offered for three to five-day trips. Address: 296 Stratford Road | Asheville, NC | 28814. Telephone: 1 866 813-5210

Asheville Museums

Asheville Art Museum

This museum is the only visual arts facility in Western North Carolina. They offer exhibits throughout the year. Public programs are available and are always changing. Children can enjoy the all-day Children’s Holiday Camp. Yearly passes are available for students, artists, adults, families, sponsors, patrons and more. Address: 2 South Park Square | Asheville, NC | 28802-1717. Telephone: 1 828 253-3227

Art International Asheville

This museum of contemporary art offers visitors original paintings and sculptures. Artists’ work is from Austria, China, England, Switzerland, Ukraine, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel and more. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00am to 6:00pm. Sundays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Address: 35 Patton Avenue | Asheville, NC | 28801. Telephone: 1 828 281-0288

Estes-Winn Auto Museum

Estes-Winn Auto Museum displays a number of antique automobiles including Ford Model “T”s, a 1916 Willys Overland and many more. Address: 111 Grovewood Rd | Asheville, NC. Telephone: 1 828 253-7651

Smith McDowell House Museum

Discover Asheville’s first mansion and oldest surviving structure, now restored as a history museum. Built by one of antebellum North Carolina’s most influential citizens, this National Register property was once the home of mayors, a Confederate Major and friends of the Vanderbilts at nearby Biltmore Estate. Address: 283 Victoria Rd | Asheville, NC | 28801. Telephone: 1 828 253-9231

Colburn Gem and Mineral Museum

The Colburn Gem and Mineral Museum originated with Burnham Standish Colburn, a retired bank president who in 1927 formed the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society, and it is the specimens they collected that are housed at the museum. The minerals are from North Carolina, as well as the rest of the world, and there is an impressive collection of gems, as well as petrology, fluorescent minerals, fossils, and crystals. Address: 2 South Pack Square | Asheville, NC | 28801. Telephone: 1 828 254-7162

Asheville Parks & Gardens

The North Carolina Arboretum

This public garden is located on 426-acres. The University of North Carolina established the park in 1986. Group tours of the area are available and include educational programs. They have many garden displays in the park; there are over six different types of gardens on display. Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way | Asheville, NC | 28806. Telephone: 1 828 665-2492

Blue Ridge Parkway

This 469-mi long park supplies visitors with views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The National Park Service administers the park. Located in the park is fishing, hiking trails, biking trails and more, and visitors can see some amazing habitat.  Asheville, NC | 28802-2136. Telephone: 1 828 298-0398

Western North Carolina Nature Center

The Western North Carolina Nature Center showcases animals in a natural habitat. Red and gray wolves, deer, bears, foxes, cougars and bobcats can all be seen here. There are also hands-on areas, where visitors can hold and touch such animals as turtles and corn snakes. Address: 75 Gashes Creek Road | Asheville, NC | 28805. Telephone: 1 828 298-5600

Asheville Annual Events

ReptiDay Asheville Reptile & Exotic Animal Expo

ReptiDay Asheville is a one-day reptile event featuring vendors offering reptile pets, supplies, feeders, cages, and merchandise as well as live animal seminars and frequent free raffles for coveted prizes. Exciting, educational, family-oriented fun for everyone!

Asheville Artisan Bread Festival

This annual festival celebrates the spirit of the local bakery that lives on in Asheville. It will showcase the artisan bread of 15 bakeries throughout the city. Baking enthusiasts will enjoy this event, as well as those who simply love the smell of freshly baked bread. Address: Magnolia Building on the A-B Tech campus, Asheville NC. Telephone: 1 828 683-2902

Easter Egg Hunt at the Biltmore Estate

Children take over the massive lawn of the Biltmore Estate on Easter Sunday each year, foraging for a colorful array of candies, carefully hidden throughout the property. Due to the immense popularity of this event, there are three start times scheduled throughout the day. Biltmore Estate Address: 1 Approach Road Asheville NC USA 28803

Biltmore Estate Festival of Flowers

The Biltmore Estate Festival of Flowers features a tulip display, daily live music, special menus in the restaurants, complimentary seminars, flower arrangements and more. Held annually throughout most of April and May. Biltmore Estate Address: 1 Approach Road Asheville NC USA 28803

Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

Beginning in 1947, this annual fair is an event where experienced and new artisans alike come to craft a collection and connect with tradition, while investing in regional culture. The Craft Fair takes place in beautiful downtown Asheville at the Civic Center. Address: 87 Haywood St Asheville NC. Telephone: 1 828 298-7928