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Ultimate Asheville Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC)

Caroline’s been living in Asheville since 2001 and Erin has been visiting since 2006, so we have a sizable list of things we’ve done on our bucket list. Like Esther and Jacob, trying new restaurants is one of our favorite things to do but we know not everyone feels that way, so we’ve grouped similar activities together at the top and listed food at the bottom.


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Last Updated: January 15, 2021

This is an evolving list that will continue to change as we find new things to see, do and eat in Asheville so keep checking back.

Tourist Attractions + Local Attractions

  1. BlueRidge Parkway

Just minutes from downtown Asheville. Our favorite view is from Black Balsam Knob.

  1. Asheville Urban Trail

Take a walking tour and learn about Asheville’s history.

  1. Orange Peel

Great spot for live music.

  1. Grove Arcade

For shopping and dining.

  1. Pritchard Park

Drum circles on Friday nights.

  1. French Broad River

Tube float (zen tubing).

  1. Folk Art Center

See live craft demonstrations.

  1. River Arts District

Shop or browse art.

  1. Grayline Trolley Tours of Asheville

Fully narrated tours. See historic homes, hot-spots, and points of interest.

  1. Chicken Alley

Popular photography spot, cool street art and murals. It’s also the most haunted street in the city.

  1. Foundation Walls

Unique graffiti walls, popular Instagram spot!

Trail run at Bent Creek (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //


Long-distance trail for hiking and backpacking, starts in Great Smoky Mountains and end in Outer Banks.

(12 miles / 21 mins away) Great spot for swimming and camping, especially during the summer.

  1. Hike in Montreat

(18 miles / 25 mins away) Scenic hike, lots of easy to moderate trails.

(19 miles / 40 mins away) Tons of picnic tables, beautiful hike across the bald.

  1. Fly Fish the Ivy River

(19 miles/ 22 mins away) Try using barbless hooks. If you use a net, use one made of rubber.

  1. Mountain Bike in Brevard

(34 miles / 44 mins away) We recommend this for more intermediate bikers.

  1. Sliding Rock

(35 miles / 59 mins away) You can slide all the way down the waterfall into the plunge pool below.

(37 miles / 1hr 9 mins away) Perfect spot to catch the sunset.

(37 miles / 1 hr away) Easy 2.2-mile roundtrip trail. Great colors in the fall.

Looking Glass Hike (Asheville Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Looking Glass Hike

(38 miles / 53 mins away) Bring snacks and plenty of water. Enjoy a picnic with an amazing view at the top!

  1. DuPont State Forest

(39 miles / 1 hr 7 mins) Multi-use trails. You can go horseback riding here.

  1. Max Patch Hike

(52 miles / 1 hr 16 mins) Hikers like to play frisbee and kite flying here.

  1. Linville Gorge Hike

(60 miles / 1 hr 26 mins) Third largest wilderness area in North Carolina.

  1. Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

(70 miles / 1 hr 24 mins) America’s highest suspension footbridge, breathtaking views from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak.

  1. Camp at Mount Pisgah

(35 miles / 53 mins) Peaceful and quiet campsite, RV friendly.

  1. SUP on the French Broad River

(Asheville Outdoor Center) All SUPers must be at least 13 years old.

  1. The Smoky Mountain Adventure Center

Great indoor climbing with tons of space to grab a beer and hang out.

  1. Wedge Run

(Thursday nights) Flat and fast 10k, kid-friendly.

  1. Zip-line with Navitat Canopy Adventures

(21 miles / 28 mins) Zipline through the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  1. Asheville Yoga Center

Lots of events and workshops.

  1. Bent Creek

(10 miles / 16 mins away) Great spot for trail running.

  1. Run the Shut In Trail

(10 miles / 17 mins away) Originally built by George W. Vanderbilt to connect the Biltmore House to his hunting lodge.

Race your bike at the Carrier Park Velodrome (Asheville Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Carrier Park Velodrome

Bring your own bike!

  1. Rent bikes at Liberty Bicycles

Gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and more.


One of the best spas in the country, with various contrast pools, scent-infused steam rooms, and fireside lounges.

  1. Ball Photo Supply Camera Center

They even have binoculars and telescopes. Rent one for your hike.

  1. Smoky Mountain National Park

July is the busiest time of the year. We love visiting and seeing fall foliage, but expect crowds. Check out the synchronous fireflies (late May, early June).

  1. Botanical Gardens

(UNCA) Free admission, donations are welcome.

  1. NC Arboretum

Very pretty cultivated gardens. Come around Christmas to see the arboretum covered in lights. Check out the bonsai exhibit too.

  1. Hot Stuff Tattoo

One of the top 10 tattoo shops in America according to USA Today.

  1. Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar

Books about North Carolina, American History, the Civil War, the American South, etc.

  1. MOOG Music Inc.

Take their free tour.

  1. Mothlight

Check out their live storytelling.

  1. Mast General Store

Outdoor apparel, gear, food, and more. We love their old school candy barrels.

  1. Flea for Y’all

Also known as the Pisgah Market. Check out their craft workshops.

Flea for Y'all Outdoor Antiques (101 Things to Do in Asheville North Carolina) //
  1. UNCA basketball game

Catch the Bulldogs in the Big South Conference game.

  1. LEAF festival

Usually held in May. Tons of live music, arts, and cultural community.

  1. Montford Rooftop bar

Grab a drink and stay for the awesome city and mountain views.

  1. Up-Country Brewery

Get your ping-pong on.

  1. Asheville Fungi

Take a foraging walk.

  1. Asheville Pinball Museum

All-you-can-play arcade and pinball machines for purchase.

  1. Food Lion Skatepark

Beginner skateboarders are welcomed.

  1. Malaprop’s Bookstore

Independent bookstore with a cozy cafe.

  1. Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center

Check out how this college played a big part in progressive, responsible activism in the mid 20th century.

Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Biltmore Iron and Metal

Family owned metal recycling facility that has been serving the Asheville area for over 70 years.

  1. Asheville Glass Center

Ever wanted to try glass blowing? Take a class here.

  1. Star Watch Night Vision Tours

Use military-issue night vision equipment to explore in the dark.

  1. Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Ski or snowboard in the winter.

  1. Lake Lure

Made famous by the movie, Dirty Dancing.

Leaf peep along the Blue Ridge Parkway (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Old Farmers Ball

Contra dances, English country dances, and more.

  1. Shoji Spa

Japanese inspired spa, massages, outdoor soak tubs.

  1. The Folk Art Center

Amazing showcase of Appalachian folk art, from metalwork to textiles.

  1. Asheville Mystery Museum

Learn about Asheville’s mummy, bootlegging culture, Bigfoot casts, and more.

Visit a Flora Open House (Asheville Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Friday night barn dance during the summer.


Designed by Rafael Gustavino when he came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore Estate.

  1. LaZoom Bus tour

The City Comedy Tour was our favorite.

  1. Asheville Art Museum

No attached parking facility. There are several parking decks nearby, as well as metered and free street parking.

  1. Pubcycle Tour

All tours are BYOB beer and wine. No liquor is allowed on the bike.

  1. Comedy Freakshow at the Odditorium

Quirky venue with a unique bar. Be sure to check out the curiosities, taxidermy, and other memorbilia.

  1. Blue Ridge Rollergirls

Women’s flat track roller derby league.

  1. Buy an Eno hammock

It’s locally made!

  1. Asheville Glamping

Stay in a vintage trailer.

Stay in a vintage trailer at Asheville Glamping (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. Fine Arts Theatre

Great independent films shown in an art deco theatre.

  1. Isis Music Hall

Stop by for bluegrass night.

  1. Second Gear

Buy or sell used gear.

  1. Twice Round Vintage

Unique vintage items, consignment, and more.

Food + Drink

  1. OWL Bakery

You’ve got to try their walnut and apple strudel!

  1. Buxton Hall Barbeque

Known for their whole-hog East Carolina BBQ.

  1. Do a Brewery Tour

New Belgium, Highland, Catawba, Hi-Wire, Green Man, etc. We’re known as Beer City with 30 breweries to date. You could make this the focus of your whole trip if you wanted to. There are brew tours, brew buses, etc.

  1. Dobra Tea House

Bohemian style tearoom with teas from all over the world.

  1. The Wedge Brewery

Great for beer outdoors.

  1. The Bull & Beggar

Monday nights are Burger nights.

Burger night at The Bull & Beggar (101 Things to Do in Asheville NC) //
  1. The Admiral

Innovative, global eats. Menu changes daily.

  1. Taco Billy

Unusual, but delicious tacos. Try their breakfast tacos.

  1. Cúrate

The restaurant space is a former 1927 bus depot.

  1. Cucina 24

Their menu changes based on Italian regions.

  1. Sovereign Remedies

Multi-level bar, craft cocktails.

  1. 12 Bones Barbeque

It gets busy here, but their ribs are worth the wait.

  1. Sunny Point Cafe’

Get the Huevos Rancheros.

  1. Wild Ginger

Huge portions of authentic Vietnamese food. Try the Chicken pho.

  1. Oyster House Brewing Company

Eclectic brews, fresh oysters. What’s not to love?

  1. Crucible Bar

Popular dive bar in a charming old building.

  1. Hole Doughnuts

Best Dessert in the country (Bon Appétit, 2016).

Eat Bon Appetit's Best Dessert in the Country (101 Things to Do in Asheville North Carolina) //
  1. Hop Ice Cream

They have ice cream for dogs.

  1. High Five Coffee

Loved their Drops of Juniper Latte.

  1. French Broad Chocolate Lounge

A Chocoholic’s dream! Tons of hand-crafted artisan chocolates and pastries.

  1. Sunny Pointe Cafe

A local favorite for superb American classics.

  1. Over Easy Cafe

Yummy brunch fare in a vintage-cool location.

  1. The Bywater

Live music, local beers, and dog-friendly!

101 Things to Do in Asheville Map

Essential Tips for Visiting Asheville

  • Shoulder season is March to May / September to November and is the best time to visit because there’s less traffic and the temperatures are ideal.
  • Bring layers! In the summer, the days are often hot, but when the sun goes down most people are reaching for another light layer.
  • Best way to get around is by getting a rental car (Book a RENTAL CAR here). You can also Uber or Lyft, but it starts getting pricey.
  • Street parking is pretty congested year-round. If you’re lucky enough to find a spot you can save a little time by downloading the PassportParking app before you arrive or carry some quarters for the meters (there are more than 700 on-street meters downtown.)
  • Metered parking is really only for short-term use (2 hours or less) and costs $1.25 an hour. They’re enforced from 8 am to 6 pm every day except Sundays and a few city holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving and 3 days at Christmas.
  • Other parking options include three garages downtown: Civic Center, Wall Street, and Rankin. The Civic Center Garage is free for the first hour and then $1.00 per hour for each hour or fraction thereof. The daily maximum is $10.

Best Places to Stay in Asheville

All accommodations listed have at least 4 stars on both Yelp and Tripadvisor.

Read our 15 Best Places to Stay in Asheville.

Have you visited Asheville? What were your favorite things to do?

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101 Things to Do in Ashevile NC - an Ultimate Asheville Bucket List - from the touristy spots everyone has to do at least once to the spots a little more off the beaten path. // localadventurer.comPin

Caroline + ErinPin


They are freelance web designers and photographers who love finding adventure, both big and small. The two make a daily practice of sharing vulnerabilities, truth telling, and side splitting laughter. They’ve honed the art of traveling fast and doing all of the things that an adventurer can do in a day or two. The couple lives in Asheville and loves spending their time in the mountains.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Christine

    I live in California and I want to come visit.

  2. Hailey Bright

    Hey Guys! My brother lives in Asheville and I’m always thinking of cool new things to do. Love this article. Thank you!

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thank you, Hailey. We’d love to hear about your favorite spots when you visit him! :)

  3. Angela Cruz

    This post officially makes me want to go to Asheville! thanks for the photos and recommendations. :)

    1. Esther JuLee

      So happy to hear that, Angela. I hope you make the trip out there soon! :)

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