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.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Last Updated: January 15, 2021
101 Things to Do in Asheville NC - The Ultimate Asheville Bucket List
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
Just minutes from downtown Asheville. Our favorite view is from Black Balsam Knob.
Asheville Urban Trail
Take a walking tour and learn about Asheville’s history.
Great spot for live music.
For shopping and dining.
Drum circles on Friday nights.
French Broad River
Tube float (zen tubing).
Folk Art Center
See live craft demonstrations.
River Arts District
Shop or browse art.
Grayline Trolley Tours of Asheville
Fully narrated tours. See historic homes, hot-spots, and points of interest.
Popular photography spot, cool street art and murals. It’s also the most haunted street in the city.
Unique graffiti walls, popular Instagram spot!
OUTDOORS + HIKING IN ASHEVILLE
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.
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.
Fly Fish the Ivy River
(19 miles/ 22 mins away) Try using barbless hooks. If you use a net, use one made of rubber.
Mountain Bike in Brevard
(34 miles / 44 mins away) We recommend this for more intermediate bikers.
(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
(38 miles / 53 mins away) Bring snacks and plenty of water. Enjoy a picnic with an amazing view at the top!
DuPont State Forest
(39 miles / 1 hr 7 mins) Multi-use trails. You can go horseback riding here.
Max Patch Hike
(52 miles / 1 hr 16 mins) Hikers like to play frisbee and kite flying here.
Linville Gorge Hike
(60 miles / 1 hr 26 mins) Third largest wilderness area in North Carolina.
Bridge at Grandfather Mountain
(70 miles / 1 hr 24 mins) America’s highest suspension footbridge, breathtaking views from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak.
Camp at Mount Pisgah
(35 miles / 53 mins) Peaceful and quiet campsite, RV friendly.
SUP on the French Broad River
(Asheville Outdoor Center) All SUPers must be at least 13 years old.
The Smoky Mountain Adventure Center
Great indoor climbing with tons of space to grab a beer and hang out.
(Thursday nights) Flat and fast 10k, kid-friendly.
Zip-line with Navitat Canopy Adventures
(21 miles / 28 mins) Zipline through the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Asheville Yoga Center
Lots of events and workshops.
(10 miles / 16 mins away) Great spot for trail running.
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.
Carrier Park Velodrome
Bring your own bike!
Rent bikes at Liberty Bicycles
Gravel bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and more.
THE OMNI GROVE PARK INN SPA
One of the best spas in the country, with various contrast pools, scent-infused steam rooms, and fireside lounges.
Ball Photo Supply Camera Center
They even have binoculars and telescopes. Rent one for your hike.
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).
(UNCA) Free admission, donations are welcome.
Very pretty cultivated gardens. Come around Christmas to see the arboretum covered in lights. Check out the bonsai exhibit too.
Hot Stuff Tattoo
One of the top 10 tattoo shops in America according to USA Today.
Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar
Books about North Carolina, American History, the Civil War, the American South, etc.
MOOG Music Inc.
Take their free tour.
Check out their live storytelling.
Mast General Store
Outdoor apparel, gear, food, and more. We love their old school candy barrels.
Flea for Y’all
Also known as the Pisgah Market. Check out their craft workshops.
UNCA basketball game
Catch the Bulldogs in the Big South Conference game.
Usually held in May. Tons of live music, arts, and cultural community.
Montford Rooftop bar
Grab a drink and stay for the awesome city and mountain views.
Get your ping-pong on.
Take a foraging walk.
Asheville Pinball Museum
All-you-can-play arcade and pinball machines for purchase.
Food Lion Skatepark
Beginner skateboarders are welcomed.
Independent bookstore with a cozy cafe.
Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center
Check out how this college played a big part in progressive, responsible activism in the mid 20th century.
Biltmore Iron and Metal
Family owned metal recycling facility that has been serving the Asheville area for over 70 years.
Asheville Glass Center
Ever wanted to try glass blowing? Take a class here.
Star Watch Night Vision Tours
Use military-issue night vision equipment to explore in the dark.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
Ski or snowboard in the winter.
Made famous by the movie, Dirty Dancing.
Old Farmers Ball
Contra dances, English country dances, and more.
Japanese inspired spa, massages, outdoor soak tubs.
The Folk Art Center
Amazing showcase of Appalachian folk art, from metalwork to textiles.
Asheville Mystery Museum
Learn about Asheville’s mummy, bootlegging culture, Bigfoot casts, and more.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm
Friday night barn dance during the summer.
BASILICA OF SAINT LAWRENCE
Designed by Rafael Gustavino when he came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore Estate.
LaZoom Bus tour
The City Comedy Tour was our favorite.
Asheville Art Museum
No attached parking facility. There are several parking decks nearby, as well as metered and free street parking.
All tours are BYOB beer and wine. No liquor is allowed on the bike.
Comedy Freakshow at the Odditorium
Quirky venue with a unique bar. Be sure to check out the curiosities, taxidermy, and other memorbilia.
Blue Ridge Rollergirls
Women’s flat track roller derby league.
Buy an Eno hammock
It’s locally made!
Stay in a vintage trailer.
Fine Arts Theatre
Great independent films shown in an art deco theatre.
Isis Music Hall
Stop by for bluegrass night.
Buy or sell used gear.
Twice Round Vintage
Unique vintage items, consignment, and more.
Food + Drink
You’ve got to try their walnut and apple strudel!
Buxton Hall Barbeque
Known for their whole-hog East Carolina BBQ.
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.
Dobra Tea House
Bohemian style tearoom with teas from all over the world.
The Wedge Brewery
Great for beer outdoors.
The Bull & Beggar
Monday nights are Burger nights.
Innovative, global eats. Menu changes daily.
Unusual, but delicious tacos. Try their breakfast tacos.
The restaurant space is a former 1927 bus depot.
Their menu changes based on Italian regions.
Multi-level bar, craft cocktails.
12 Bones Barbeque
It gets busy here, but their ribs are worth the wait.
Sunny Point Cafe’
Get the Huevos Rancheros.
Huge portions of authentic Vietnamese food. Try the Chicken pho.
Oyster House Brewing Company
Eclectic brews, fresh oysters. What’s not to love?
Popular dive bar in a charming old building.
Best Dessert in the country (Bon Appétit, 2016).
Hop Ice Cream
They have ice cream for dogs.
High Five Coffee
Loved their Drops of Juniper Latte.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
A Chocoholic’s dream! Tons of hand-crafted artisan chocolates and pastries.
Sunny Pointe Cafe
A local favorite for superb American classics.
Over Easy Cafe
Yummy brunch fare in a vintage-cool location.
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.
- The Inn on Biltmore Estate (luxury) – read more about our stay here
- Grand Bohemian Hotel (luxury)
- Black Walnut Bed & Breakfast Inn (mid-range)
- Bon Paul and Sharky’s Hostel of Asheville (budget)
Read our 15 Best Places to Stay in Asheville.
Have you visited Asheville? What were your favorite things to do?
Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later
SEE MORE CITY BUCKET LISTS
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
CAROLINE + ERIN
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.