Asheville, North Carolina is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend getaway. Some people call this unique city the Austin of the East Coast. Like Austin, Asheville is full of great food, drinks, music, and art. However, though I’m a proud Texan, I’d give Asheville an edge over Austin due to its gorgeous scenery.
It’s difficult not to have a delightful visit to Asheville, but here are my top tips for making the most out of your visit:
1. venture beyond the city center
While one of Asheville’s best qualities is its walkability and there is certainly plenty to see and do downtown, many of my favorite attractions lie on the outskirts of the city. One of Asheville’s best breweries, Burial Beer Co., is within city limits but a little off the beaten path. If you stick to the main drag, you’ll miss it. If you are looking for a change from the city beer scene, head out to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards for some delicious wine and breathtaking mountain views.
Want to really experience the beauty of Asheville? Go for a hike in Dupont State Forest where you can do a 4.5-mile loop with three waterfalls. If you want a more relaxed day of nature, the Biltmore Estate on the south side of the city has gorgeous gardens and walking trails, in addition to the majestic house that you can tour. While it is pricey for admission to Biltmore, you can easily spend the whole day there and end it with a tasting at the estate’s winery.
For a truly unique experience, make sure to stop at Looking Glass Creamery only 20 minutes from the city center. You can hang out with some friendly goats while you indulge in a delectable cheese plate and bottle of Spanish wine. When I visited, the change in atmosphere was so much of a contrast from the bustling city that I felt as though I were in the European countryside.
2. Take advantage of the incredible culinary scene
While it’s almost impossible to have a bad meal in Asheville, do yourself a favor and do a little research on restaurants before you go. There are so many wonderful places to choose from that it can be overwhelming. Plus, most of the top restaurants will be booked in advance. Some of my favorites are Hole for breakfast donuts and Taco Billy for breakfast tacos (neither take reservations and often have lines), Limones for brunch, White Duck Taco Shop and Chai Pani for lunch, and Rhubarb and Rezaz for dinner. If you can only choose one, I never take a trip to Asheville without going to Rhubarb – their food never fails me!
In the evening, don’t miss watching the sunset from a rooftop bar at either SkyBar or The Montford (drinks are expensive but worth going once for the view!). After dinner, head out to one of the many craft cocktail bars like Sovereign Remedies or to one of the in-town breweries like Wicked Weed.
3. Visit during spring or fall
As with many places, the best time to visit Asheville is spring or fall. Whether or not you decide to take advantage of nature, the best way to experience the city is by walking and comfortable temperatures will vastly improve your visit. Fall has the advantage of gorgeous foliage, while spring makes the gardens at Biltmore breathtaking.
No matter when you visit, incorporate just a couple of my tips and you'll be sure to have an amazing time!
Have you ever been to Asheville? If so, what are your favorite places?