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If you like, you can stay overnight for a wholesome estate life experience. Nestled in the scenic Pisgah National Forest, the North Carolina Arboretum is a family-friendly attraction dotted with nature trails, lovely gardens, water ponds, and picnic areas. It is part of the Appalachian Mountains and offers grounds for you to connect with nature and get lost in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. If you love hiking, you will have over 10 miles of trails to explore.

The trails are suitable for both expert hikers and moderate hikers. Plan to spend your day at the North Carolina Arboretum on a picnic exploring its breathtaking Bonsai Garden, nature exhibits, an EcoLab, and its plant collection area.

You are allowed to bring food and drinks from outside, but be sure to make use of the provided waste bins. Famous for its award-winning craft beer, the New Belgium Brewing Company opened its Asheville branch in and since then, it has been the brewer of choice for most locals and visitors.

Before Covid, the facility was open for tours to give visitors a peek into what happens behind the scenes. Visitors would learn how craft beer is made and get an opportunity to taste their best-selling beers. Open from Wednesdays to Mondays, Asheville Pinball Museum offers an opportunity for you and your family to have a good time.

It has 35 pinball machines available for you and once you pay your admission fee, you are free to play for as long as you like as you enjoy a soda, beer, or snack. There is a wide range of arcade games to choose from that serve visitors of all ages. Our only warning, you will enjoy the games too much that you will lose track of time! Along the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor is the breathtaking Craggy Gardens , a natural floral park with spectacular views.

To get to the Craggy picnic area you will hike for about 25 minutes along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail in the beautiful dense forest. You will be greeted by a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Parkway which is dotted with mountain vegetation, rolling hills, and valleys.

Set out your picnic blanket and wait for the most breathtaking sunset you have ever witnessed. If you love history or are fascinated by historic architecture, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence should not miss your list of things to do in Asheville. It was designed by renowned architect, Rafael Guastavino , in a Spanish baroque architecture style, which contributes to its reason for being one of the major attraction sites in Asheville.

You can take a self-guided tour to soak up its majestic grandeur prevalent on both its interior and exterior. If you are spiritual, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence is an ideal place to pray or meditate. Its welcoming and warm ambiance will make you feel right at home.

For a more relaxed tour experience, you should consider checking out the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. The gardens are dedicated to the study of plants and their natural habitats.

This means that the gardens do not follow a specific or tailored structure like your usual botanical gardens. They are just allowed to thrive as naturally as possible with minimal to no human interference.

You will feel as if you are exploring a natural forest, the only difference is that you will be educated about how the plants of the Southern Appalachians interact with their surroundings. The Botanical Gardens at Asheville also offer designated picnic grounds where you can enjoy a serene picnic after your tour.

Reminiscent of a watercolor painting, these sleek vessels appear to be airy and soft. If you have never experienced a glassblowing session in your life, you have no idea what you are missing out on! You should make Lexington Glassworks your first stop when you visit Asheville.

Owned and run by two friends, Geoff and Billy, the glassblowing studio offers visitors a unique experience where you are served craft beer to enjoy as you watch the pleasurable art of making hand-blown glassware.

Lexington Glassworks is the premier glassblowing studio in the city and stands out as one of the coolest things to do in Asheville. It features contemporary and traditional Southern Appalachian craft that includes prints, glass, wood, pottery, jewelry, metal, textiles, and more. Some of the artisans are present to interact with visitors and tell them more about their works.

The center is conveniently located on the Blue Ridge Parkway thus creating a natural and beautiful atmosphere. Rating: 4. Spread across 42 acres of land, the Western North Carolina Nature Center is dedicated to teaching people about the plants and animals of the Southern Appalachian region, and encouraging them to take part in wildlife and environmental conservation efforts.

If you are in Asheville with your children, the center would be a great place to take them if you want them to learn about conservation from an early age. It has 60 animal species and hundreds of plant species, featured in its interactive exhibits, like the Appalachian station for amphibians, small mammals, and reptiles, and the Otter Falls which houses otters and aquatic turtles.

There are picnic tables where you can hang out to take a break from the tour and enjoy a drink or snack from the on-site vending machine.

A hand operated freight wagon, originally part of the Biltmore industries. Bob Pool Shutterstock. Located 10 minutes north of downtown Asheville, Grovewood Village is set on 11 acres of land dotted with lush natural forest vegetation. It is an attraction that takes visitors back in time through art and historical memorabilia. The historical attraction, which was originally known as Biltmore Industries Inc.

The Antique Car Museum showcases a wide range of vintage automobiles that are still functional to date. The Gallery of the Mountains showcases amazing artwork by local artists. And once you are done exploring, you can enjoy a delicious meal at the patio of the Golden Fleece Restaurant as you soak up the natural ambiance. The house was bought by his mother, Julia Wolfe, for her family. When Wolfe wrote his first novel, he incorporated his experience living in the house with his family as well as the lives of his friends and other people who lived or visited the home.

In his novel, he named the house Dixieland. Thomas Wolfe died in from tuberculosis and in , the house was designated a historic site in his honor. In , the Thomas Wolfe Memorial house was destroyed in a fire, however, it was restored and reopened in It is one of the most visited attractions in Asheville owing to its historical and literary significance.

If for some reason you cannot take a walking tour of Asheville, this is where Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville comes to your aide. The tour company prides itself in providing locals and visitors the best sightseeing tours of the city. The company has been in operation since , an assurance that they know Asheville, even its most hidden gems, better than anyone else.

Tours are conducted in their beautiful and spacious trolley cars that drive around the city stopping at major attractions. Gingo Scott Shutterstock. Pritchard Park is lined up with tall trees and lovely landscaping.

You can either sit on the benches or at its amphitheater-style seating area. The park might be small, but it might also be one of the coolest things to do in Asheville. Winding pathway through mountains. Wiktor Shutterstock. Located about 35 miles away from downtown Asheville, the park is home to the summit of Mount Mitchell which stands at 6, feet above sea level.

If you are feeling energetic or you just enjoy hiking, you can walk to the summit which will take you about 4 and a half hours. However, if hiking is not your struggle to embrace, you can drive up to the summit, where a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the surrounding scenic landscape awaits you.

Other draws to the park include its tent-only camping ground which is open from May to October. If you are looking for free things to do in Asheville, look no further, Pisgah National Forest is your answer.

The breathtaking forest that was once considered the property of George Vanderbilt is characteristic of rolling mountains, scenic hiking trails, spectacular waterfalls, and whitewater rivers. Among its biggest draws is its school of forestry, which is the first in the United States, and two designated wilderness areas, Linville Gorge and Shining Rock, which are two of the first such areas in the country. Visit Pisgah National Forest ready to have a picnic surrounded by tall trees and spectacular forest vegetation, hike any of its beautiful trails, go on a scenic drive, or enjoy a thrilling bike ride.

It derives its name from the fact that when it rains in winter and the water freezes on the rock, it reflects the sun like a mirror. Source Jaime Landauer. Biltmore School of Forestry was located here when it was established by Carl A. Its location in the middle of a forest gives it the advantage of enjoying a beautiful setting surrounded by cool fresh air and a spectacular view.

Visitors come to explore its interactive exhibits which show Dr. Other activities to do at the Cradle of Forestry in America include hiking, birdwatching, a visit to the Forest Discovery Centre where you will watch a documentary, explore historical buildings which include a commissary and a schoolhouse, a logging locomotive, a portable sawmill, and a gift shop.

Kids can have fun with the firefighting helicopter simulator and at the Adventure Zone. The Cafe at the Cradle will be at your service offering you snacks and lunch. We know you have been on a food tour, but trust us when we say you have never experienced anything like what No Taste Like Home Wild Food Tours company offers.

It prides itself as the biggest foraging education company in the world. You will embark on a tour through fields and the forests of Asheville in search of wild foods like mushrooms, leaves, plants, seeds, and wild fruits. The tours are guided by experts who have many years of wild food knowledge and will teach you everything you need to know about wild edibles.

After a day of collecting wild food, you will take back your findings to a restaurant in Asheville, chosen by the tour company, where they will use your food collection to make you a meal. This is one of the most exciting things to do in Asheville and one that you will not be forgetting any time soon! Founded by a street-performing couple, Jima and Jen, LaZoom Tours offers sightseeing tours of Asheville, but with a twist.

Instead of the usual boring bus tour, the company has entertaining tour guides who perform comedy skits, inside the bus, of all the places that you are going to explore. You will learn about each place in a very entertaining way. Beer is served on the bus. The science museum features interactive exhibits in which you will find over minerals like feldspar, beryl, and kyanite, that have been collected in North Carolina and other parts of the world.

The interactive exhibits and educational programs cover everything about the formation of the earth, from volcanoes to general geologic processes. Notably, the Southern Appalachian Forest exhibit imitates the biodiversity of Asheville and gives visitors an experience that feels as if they were in the actual Appalachian Mountains! The Asheville Museum of Science might not be so popular, but it is one of the best things to do in Asheville for families and kids.

Source Dave Withers. The historic Craggy Mountain Line is a 3. The small railroad is part of the former historic Southern Railroad. Visitors are given a ride in one of the vintage trains or trolleys from the s, through the scenic forested area.

They have themed rides during the festive season for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Craggy Mountain Line also offers charter rides for groups and families that are celebrating special occasions. If you are visiting Asheville with friends for a birthday celebration, why not take an exciting 2-hour charter ride here!

The Adventure Center of Asheville is located about 10 minutes away from downtown Asheville in a tree preserve. For the Full Tour , there are 11 zip lines and sky bridges awaiting you.

The Adventure Center of Asheville has the KidZip , which takes pride in being the first zip line designed for children under the age of 10 in the United States. Other exciting activities offered here include mountain biking, a Kolo bike park, and afterschool clubs and camps for kids.

The old historic hotel opened in and has been visited by many United States presidents. Irina Mos Shutterstock. The grandiose resort has hosted a long list of American presidents including the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. If you are seeking a luxury stay in Asheville during your vacation, this is the right resort for you. You will have a world-class experience through the cuisine served, accommodation, and other amenities offered by the resort.

Apart from its location which offers sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Omni Grove Park Inn resort is famous for its award-winning spa. The spa is designed to imitate the outdoors with its cavern and rock formation architectural design. The Spa at Omni Grove Park Inn is everything you need to relax and forget about the world for a while.

Plus, get local updates — including events and hidden gems — straight to your inbox. Sign up here. If you love mountain biking , the Blue Ridge Mountains are your home away from home.

We are not expert mountain bikers, by any means, but we do love hitting the trails. Living in Asheville, we have transformed into professional picnickers. You can either pack a picnic for your hike or enjoy something lighter by a lake. For easy picnics, head to a winery like Stone Ashe Vineyards.

Grab our full list of the best Asheville picnic spots. With acres of streams, nature trails, bridges, and spots perfect for picnicking, this lesser-known gem is also a refuge for endangered wildflowers. Pack a blanket and bring a book!

This holiday lights display is truly one of the best winter things to do in Asheville. From November to January 1st, the Arboretum lights up its gardens with innovative creations, wildlife exhibits, and lights that dance to music. Of course, you can see Bonsais, butterflies, and their famous Quilt Garden. You must pay a small parking fee to enter the grounds. Does Winter Lights sound magical? Read more about all of the best spots to catch Christmas lights in Asheville.

Are you looking for things to do in Asheville where you can meet the furry Western North Carolina locals in a safe environment instead of on the trails or our front steps…? The center also houses snakes, turtles, hawks, goats, frogs, and donkeys. Find plenty of exploration stations and themed playground areas for the littles — spider-web jungle gym included. Wide and paved walking paths are extra stroller-friendly.

After hours, stroll the grounds with a beer or cider in hand. Enjoy local eats too. Like The North Carolina Arboretum, there is a small entrance fee. Or, become a member. One of our top weekly things to do in Asheville, we love walking the 2-mile Perimeter Trail around Beaver Lake and dip into the Bird Sanctuary.

Beaver Lake is perfect for a stroll after a North Asheville lunch or dinner. Bring a book and some binoculars. The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary houses a. Birdwatchers can spy hawks, osprey, herons, vultures, kites, sparrows, woodpeckers, ducks, wrens, swallows, warblers, and bluebirds.

Although Beaver Lake is privately owned, the area is open to the public and free. Please consider leaving a donation in the parking lot box, though. One of our top recommended things to do in Asheville is enjoying the three or four waterfalls at DuPont. Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls are famous.

We suggest parking in the Hooker Falls Access Area. If you still have energy, walk under the covered wooden bridge to Bridal Veil Falls, which adds 4 more miles to your hike. If you need lunch afterward, drive minutes to nearby Hendersonville — another one of our favorite towns. Asheville sees the most visitors in the fall and around the holidays. The leaves! Growing up in CT, we thought New England was the boss of fall foliage.

Who knew that the Western North Carolina mountains had an equally breathtaking fall season? Nothing beats an Asheville autumn. Enjoy fall foliage hikes, corn mazes, apple picking, and catching those purple and pink sunsets. Our top things to do in Asheville, NC in autumn include visiting the apple orchards for cider donuts and brewery hopping for spiced and pumpkin beers.

Pick a pumpkin. Trek the most beautiful fall foliage hikes , and wine taste at the vineyards with the best views. Asheville in the fall is also a great time to drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway. In need of cooler summer things to do in Asheville, NC? Drive under one hour to Skinny Dip Falls to kiss the magical Dragon Tree on your way to this serene waterfall.

Spread out along the falls and take a dip in one of its pools. You can also head over to Sliding Rock and literally slide down a foot natural boulder into the chilly waters.

Sliding Rock has reopened, and Skinny Dip Falls looks a bit different — the bridge washed away and the falls have a new path. Imagine walking along the Riverwalk in the River Arts District and suddenly spying a gaggle of floating and cackling unicorns…. Where can you get your tubing on? French Broad Outfitters and Zen Tubing are just a few. While the best things to do in Asheville, NC — to us — are all outdoors, our next go-to are those breweries. Asheville has no shortage of beer.

Below, find the best Asheville things to do that involve all of the booze: wineries, distillers, cideries, wine bars, and rooftop bars. You cannot come to Asheville without trying as much of the local craft beer as possible. As locals, what are our favorite breweries in AVL? For something different, Bhramari and Funkatorium sours are sure to impress or weird you out.

Directly in Asheville, check out pleb urban winery in the River Arts District. Of course, Biltmore has a famous winery, and wine tasing is included with your ticket. If you head out of Asheville, our personal favorite wineries are in Hendersonville , including Sawyer Springs, St.

If you know Christine from The Uncorked Librarian, you also know that we partner with Cultivated Cocktails for some of our literary-inspired drinks.

They sell the best cocktail schwag, too. Of course, if you are gluten-free or looking for apple-related drinks, Asheville and Hendersonville have the best cideries and meaderies. Many ciders are sold at the local breweries and wineries. Urban Orchard and Noble are the most well-known cideries in Asheville. Botanist and Barrel and Bold Rock just opened downtown Asheville taprooms.

Rooftop bar hopping always makes the top of the list for the best things to do in Asheville, NC. The poshest Asheville rooftop bars promise sunsets, small plates with your Southern favorites, and jaw-dropping views. Their delicious craft cocktails are perfect before a fancy dinner out in downtown Asheville.

You may wish to take an Asheville Rooftop Bar Tour to see them all with a designated driver. However, if you are looking for relaxing things to do in Asheville with a bottle or glass of wine, head to:.

Wedge Brewing is right next door. Battery Park Book Exchange — This champagne bar used bookstore is iconic. Read more about the best and most hipster Asheville wine bars.

We just love the Asheville bar scene , and bar hopping is one of the most fun things to do in Asheville. Have we made you hungry yet? You must need something to eat by now to soak up all of that booze. And man, all of those waterfalls and hikes sure do make a gal ravenous. One of the best things to do in Asheville is eat. We always openly share that Tom and I Christine have many food intolerances. Asheville is extremely understanding and accommodating for food allergies, intolerances, and preferences.

This entire section is all about the food. PennyCup Coffee Co. Vortex has delicious donuts and coffee. Just look for the double-decker red bus. Newer to Asheville, Rowan Coffee in downtown is simple but delicious. That historic building is gorgeous inside. Find a park, art museum, music, restaurants, and chocolate shops.

The French Broad Chocolate Lounge has everything a chocolate lover desires. Discover desserts, hot cocoa, truffles, bonbons, cakes, custards, cookies, coffee, brownies, booze, and ice cream. Need we say more? French Broad Chocolates serves up lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegan options.

We also personally love nearby Asheville Chocolate. Asheville Chocolate features tea, coffee, and hot chocolate with a variety of hand-crafted chocolates. Plus, find decadent gelato. Vegan and gluten-free options included.

At the end of August, the best apple orchards around Asheville start opening. Create your Asheville fall bucket list here. We love grabbing a light dinner with some of my favorite cocktails at Edison. If you are stuffed from lunch, just snack on a charcuterie board with drinks from The Great Hall Bar. We are not going to lie: waking up in the mountains is rough, especially if there is fog.

The darker mornings make it harder to get up and out the door early. Not only do they serve breakfast all day, but they offer lunch and dinner as well as locally source their food. And, mimosas. Read all of our top breakfast recommendations — touristy and more local — with vegan and gluten-free options, too.

One of our weekend brunch favorites includes Jerusalem Garden Cafe in downtown Asheville. Read more about the best Asheville brunch spots. Personally, two of the most fun places to get lunch if you are visiting Asheville are at Biltmore Estate. You will need a Biltmore ticket or annual to enter them. Stable Cafe has the best sandwiches and cocktails in the coolest setting: The former Vanderbilt horse stables.

GQC has both vegan and gluten-free options. Whether or not you are a vegan or vegetarian, Laughing Seed Cafe is another gem, and we devour subs gf pizza and grinders available at Apollo Flame Bistro, especially after a BRP parkway hike. Bouchon, Ukiah, and Limones are the perfect date night restaurants.

You may also grab dinner at the breweries like Wicked Weed and Bhramari. Asheville has the best donut shops. We just ate a delicious Vortex donut the other day; it melted in our mouths.

If you are here in the fall, go to all of the apple orchards and try their donuts. We think Sky Top has the best since they make their cinnamon cider donuts in front of you and serve them piping hot.

Many of the AVL food trucks circulate the brewery scene. We always go for the tacos and burritos — and yes, they can do lactose and gluten-free. Visiting Biltmore is a must, at least once.

We are annual passholders and head to Biltmore a few times a month. You can easily spend a day at Biltmore touring the house and wine tasting. Grab a bite to eat, walk the gardens, and hike one of their miles worth of trails. Think red wine and chocolate. See how to make the most out of that Biltmore ticket price. Also, know that there are kid-friendly activities on the Estate , including a farmyard and live demonstrations.

If you are visiting Asheville in November through early January, Biltmore at Christmastime is spectacular. Enjoy a Candlelight Christmas Evenings Tour of the home with the fireplaces lit and Christmas trees in every room.

One of our personal favorite things to do in Asheville involves visiting The Thomas Wolfe Memorial and taking a house tour. You might recognize his name from his novel Look Homeward, Angel.

Most notably, Wolfe barely changed the names and spellings of his Asheville community members. This was scandalous and ill-received gossip, at the time. She was quite the entrepreneur of her time. Also watch a short video and tour the museum. One of the free things to do in Asheville, the Black Mountain College Museum offers contemporary and historic exhibitions, events, and research opportunities for the community.

We dropped in one afternoon and toured the current art exhibitions. Small but worth a quick visit, you can budget about minutes here. Of course, kids are welcome. This area is a mini-version of Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida. You might just catch Gus Cutty or Jerry Cahill working on a masterpiece. Watch an indie film at Grail Moviehouse or attend the Uncommon Market. Bike the new RAD greenway. If you are looking for wilder things to do in Asheville, check out the LaZoom bus. How many times have you spied a purple bus tearing down the streets of Asheville full of giggling and rowdy adults?!

We suggest purchasing tickets in advance. Get there early, too, as you board the bus based on your arrival order. Totally worth that ticket price at least once. Walk into a funky, kitschy bar full of eccentric tour guides and cat pillows before hopping on the drunk bus.

Zelda Fitzgerald stole my heart although she did hump a bush in the rain. Find locally crafted bevies. They even hand you a personal cooler. For the best Asheville things to do for your inner geologist, head to the Asheville Museum of Science. A smaller science learning center, learn more about North Carolina geology and local specimen.

AMOS has gemstones, dinosaur bones, and animal installations. Encounter hands-on exhibits and scavenger hunts, learn about the French Broad River, and dig for fossils. AMOS is also one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Asheville. They even have a forest-themed playground with bears. Visitors of the home can take a guided tour, walk the park, hike the grounds, or visit the bookstore. Looking for dark tourist things to do in Asheville, NC? Head to Riverside Cemetery to pay your respects to literary greats.

Henry — are buried here. Grab a walking guide at the gates and stroll 3.

 
 

 

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Read More. Spa Day Asheville has long been known as a place of wellness and rejuvenation. See our feature. Summer brings so many great festivals and events to Asheville and the western North Carolina mountains, including our many small towns. Also, see special features for Tour the French Broad Chocolate Factory to learn how these master chocolatiers transform cacao into awesome chocolate.

 
 

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