Quaint mountain town. Hipster haven. Beer City USA. Outdoorsman's retreat. College town. Bluegrass home. Culinary destination. Try as you might, it's impossible to give Asheville just one label. Located in western North Carolina just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the city is an unexpected gem, where a vibrant arts scene intertwines with Southern traditions and beautiful scenery. It's safe to say, no matter what your interests, Asheville has something to offer you.
While history buffs get lost on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, epicureans can sample from a culinary smorgasbord and test their taste buds at one of the city's many breweries. Culture hounds can wander through the River Arts District while adventure seekers go full-throttle hiking, biking, zip lining or whitewater rafting in one of the numerous parks and forests. Asheville meshes together these personalities to make something uniquely its own, with an identity that is always changing, but somehow stays true to its roots.
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The best times to visit Asheville are from March to May and September to early November, when temperatures hover between the upper 50s and the mid-70s – ideal weather for exploring the blooms in spring and the foliage in the fall. During the summer months (June to August), even an elevation of 2,216 feet can't shield the mountain city from the increased humidity. Luckily, it's not as intense as other parts of the Southeast, making the summer a popular time for travelers to escape the heat of nearby cities. Winter brings colder temperatures, but Asheville doesn't see much snowfall, although surrounding mountains could be snowcapped.
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
The quaint city is known for its laid-back culture that mixes Southern hospitality with an artistic spirit. People come to visit (and many never leave) for a breath of fresh air – both literally and figuratively. Mom and pop shops mingle with fine dining restaurants, and most residents know their neighbors. The area offers cultural diversity with the Cherokee Indian Reservation nearby and many transplants moving from other areas of the country to experience what makes Asheville exceptionally unique. A friendly hello and engaging in small talk will get you a long way with locals who want to share their city. Tipping practices are fairly standard, with 15 percent or more expected depending on the level of service.
Asheville has emerged as a one of the Best Foodie Destinations in the USA. Chefs are flocking from all over the country (and the world) to stake their claim in the mountain town. While you'll still find Southern staples like Carolina-style barbecue at places like Buxton Hall, the culinary inspiration in a city with more than 100 independent restaurants spreads far and wide. Whether it's Spanish tapas at Cúrate, Italian at Cucina 24 or Asian-inspired noodle dishes at Gan Shan Station, you'll likely find locally sourced ingredients and menus that frequently change. If you're looking for more budget-friendly (but no less delicious) eats, check out places like Pack's Tavern, Ben's Tune Up (which brews its own sake) or one of two 12 Bones Smokehouse locations (the Obamas have eaten here!).
While there's no shortage of gastronomic offerings, Asheville is first and foremost a beer lover's paradise. Asheville is proud of its Beer City USA reputation, which is fairly new. Highland Brewing Company became the first city brewery to open its doors back in 1994. Since then, the number of local microbreweries has skyrocketed, and even attracted some big name brands like Sierra Nevada. Most recently, New Belgium opened its East Coast brewing headquarters across the river from the River Arts District in southeast Asheville. Now, many people come to the area just to experience the breweries.
The best way to get around Asheville is by car. While the downtown area is compact enough for exploring on foot, you'll want your own set of wheels to reach the many nature trails and attractions outside of the city. Asheville also offers an affordable bus system, but its coverage is fairly limited. If you're not in the mood to drive, you can always call a taxi or Uber.
The city is served by the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), with a few major carriers like American Airlines and United Airlines offering nonstop flights. The closest major airports are Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to the east and McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tennessee, to the west (both about 125 miles away).See details for Getting Around
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