Asheville is a historic city with a small-town feel, nestled between the scenic Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Commonly known as “The Land of the Sky”, Asheville is surrounded by vast blue skies, with many scenic viewpoints around the city to admire the beauty of the region. Asheville really provides the best of both worlds as far as travel goes.
Visitors can enjoy the charm of Asheville’s creative downtown, while also being minutes away from trails and nature. With a variety of activities and attractions, here are some of the top places that are a must-see when visiting Asheville.
A visit to “The Land of the Sky” is not complete without visiting the Biltmore Estate. Built in 1895, the Biltmore was designed to look like a French chateaux and is considered America’s largest private home. It was originally owned by George Vanderbilt II and is owned by his descendants still to this day.
The Biltmore itself is captivating in and of itself, but the grounds surrounding it make you feel like you’re in a fairytale, offering botanical gardens and over twenty miles of trails for visitors to enjoy. The Biltmore Estate also provides great vantage points from the mansion itself to take in the beauty of this mountainous region.
Characterized by beautiful Art Deco architecture, exploring downtown is a great way to enjoy the artistic vibe of Asheville. Hipster cafes and farm-to-table restaurants are abundant in this area, providing visitors with an authentic taste of Asheville.
Besides food and drink, downtown Asheville is filled with art galleries and shops where vendors sell their arts and crafts. One of the best places downtown to shop for handmade arts and crafts is The Grove Arcade, a historic indoor mall that hosts a wide array of different art vendors.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Only fifteen minutes away from Downtown Asheville, Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect scenic drive for nature lovers. Stretching 469 miles through both North Carolina and Virginia, Blue Ridge Parkway follows the Appalachian Mountain range and is the gateway to all the best hiking opportunities in the Asheville area.
Trails in the area range from easy to strenuous, giving hikers of all experience levels a variety of options. And if the lush green forests weren’t already enough to convince you, many of these trails are characterized by stunning waterfalls, which are abundant in the region. Notable waterfall destinations less than an hour outside of Asheville include Looking Glass Falls (with a 75 foot drop!) and The Dupont State Forest Three Waterfalls hike, which includes Triple Falls, High Falls, and Hooker Falls, all packed in a 4.5 mile round trip hike!
Did you know that Asheville is the city with the most breweries per capita in the United States? With over 30 different breweries in the city, Asheville is a beer connoisseur’s paradise, and sampling the local craft beer is a must! Asheville offers a variety of different pub crawls and brewery walking tours, which allow visitors to experience the charm of Asheville while also enjoying the beer that characterizes the city along the way.
The North Carolina Arboretum
One of Asheville’s most visited sightseeing attractions, The North Carolina Arboretum is home to gorgeous botanical gardens as well as walking paths. The arboretum even hosts a bonsai tree exhibition, which includes as many as fifty unique bonsai specimens! Besides the sixty acres of garden exhibitions, the arboretum also includes a large variety of hiking and biking trails, which cut through to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Lake Powhatan, and Pisgah National Forest.
Whether you’re looking to get out in nature or to experience an eclectic art scene, Asheville is a laid back city that caters to all tourists. So go add Asheville to your travel bucket list, you’re sure to have an amazing time! If you’re looking to combine Asheville with the neighboring Great Smoky National Park, check out the Have Fun Do Good Great Smoky and Asheville experience here.