Looking for a hip city with close proximity to the mountains for a weekend get-away? Asheville, North Carolina just might be the hidden gem you’ve been searching for. An easy drive from several Southern, East Coast and Midwest cities, Asheville is the perfect gateway city to exploring Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
When planning a trip to AVL here are a few of the top things to do in Asheville, North Carolina.
Visit the Biltmore Estate
This iconic French Renaissance style chateau has been a landmark in the Asheville area since construction began in 1889. The Biltmore Estate spans 8,000 acres and also includes a winery, Antler Hill Village, guest cottages and a hotel.
During the 90+ minute tour of the home, you’ll learn how the mansion served as a hiding place for art during WWII, see the massive indoor swimming pool and have time to wander the grounds and gardens. Wine tasting is also included in the admission, but reservations are required one you arrive for your self-guided tour. Plan to spend an entire day at the Biltmore.
There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in the Asheville area. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is less than an hour away and both the Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Park are nearby. Spend a day or two hiking, chasing waterfalls and if the weather allows, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We hiked to Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest (a short, easy and family friendly hike right off the road) as well as Triple Falls in DuPont State Park (free to enter, parking is limited and the hike to the top of the falls is very steep).
Many movies have been filmed in the Asheville area, including The Hunger Games, Forest Gump, Last of the Mohicans and Dirty Dancing. Find exact locations for all those and more here!
Eat & Drink
The city of Asheville has the most breweries per capita of any other US city. There are over 100 local beers and a rich brewing history, making it a destination for beer enthusiasts. Check out this list of breweries from Explore Asheville when planning your trip.
Also not to be missed: Carolina BBQ. Eastern North Carolina style BBQ sauce is thin. vinegar based and contains hot sauce, which really packs a punch. I thought it was really good combined with the Carolina red sauce from Buxton Hall BBQ. Memphis style will always be my favorite, but you can’t go wrong with Carolina BBQ either!
In 2022, Asheville topped the list as the number 1 spot on Yelp’s Foodie List for the year. According to the Citizen Times, Asheville boasts “a unique mountain-to-urban creative food scene” and have a flare for “blending the flavors of the American South with Appalachian fare.”
Check out Public Art
Almost anywhere you turn, you’re bound to run into a mural. Wander through the River Arts District along the South Slope Mural Trail and you’ll see well over 17 different public art pieces. But that’s not all the art that AVL has to offer. There are plenty of museums, art galleries, plays, music and a long-running Shakespeare Festival.
These are just a few of the top things to do in Asheville, North Carolina! Be sure to check out their tourism bureau and Uncorked Asheville for more tips and experiences. And if you’d like to see everything we did on our long weekend, check out my YouTube vlog below.