Asheville, NC Travel Guide

USA  #2 in Best Places to Visit in the Carolinas
Credit

Courtesy of Fine Art Images by Rob Travis Photography/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Asheville, NC

Most of Asheville's treasures are found in the great outdoors. Travelers can imagine what it's like to live in the lap of luxury at the Biltmore Estate before hitting the open road on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Those looking to take in even more fresh air can hike sections of the Appalachian Trail or, during the summer, go for a dip in a swimming hole in Pisgah National Forest. For a bit more relaxation, tour one (or many) of the area's breweries or pop into the boutiques and galleries in the River Arts District

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 25, 2019

  • #1
    Biltmore Estate
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    #1 in Asheville, NC
    Historic Homes/Mansions
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This enormous French Renaissance-style estate of George Vanderbilt has a storied past dating back to 1889. Considered America's largest private home, the 250-room estate – with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and a whopping 65 fireplaces – took six years to construct. The 8,000 acres of gardens were designed by Frederick

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  • #2
    Appalachian Trail
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    #2 in Asheville, NC
    Hiking, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Winding its way from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail spans 2,190 miles through 14 states. About 320 of those miles are found in North Carolina (including 224 miles along the Tennessee border).

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  • #3
    Asheville Urban Trail
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    #3 in Asheville, NC
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Weaving through downtown, the 1.7-mile-long Asheville Urban Trail walks visitors through the cultural and architectural history of the city. Created by the city of Asheville to showcase its unique past, each of the trail's 30 stops is marked with a public sculpture that captures an important person or moment in

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  • #4
    Pisgah National Forest
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    #4 in Asheville, NC
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Offering more than 500,000 acres of land about 40 miles northeast of downtown Asheville, Pisgah National Park is jampacked with activities and breathtaking vistas. With hundreds of miles of trails and numerous waterfalls and swimming holes, the forest provides ample opportunities to appreciate the great outdoors.

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  • #5
    Blue Ridge Parkway
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    #5 in Asheville, NC
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Virginia and meanders through about 250 miles of western North Carolina. With a maximum speed of 45 mph, the highway offers drivers numerous opportunities to stop at overlooks, quaint mountain towns and hiking and biking trails. The parkway is divided by milepost markers

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  • #6
    North Carolina Arboretum
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    #6 in Asheville, NC
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Those with green thumbs will want to put the North Carolina Arboretum on their to-do list. Located about 10 miles south of downtown Asheville off ofBlue Ridge Parkwaymilepost 393, the arboretum is a 434-acre public garden withinPisgah National Park.

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  • #7
    Breweries
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    #7 in Asheville, NC
    Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Wineries/Breweries
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    With more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the United States and about 100 local beers to try, Asheville has emerged as the beer capital of the southeast. Sampling pints from many of the area breweries has become a favorite activity for locals and visitors alike.

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  • #8
    Folk Art Center
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    #8 in Asheville, NC
    Museums, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    At milepost 382 off theBlue Ridge Parkway, you'll find the Folk Art Center, home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The guild dates back to the 1890s and still represents the artists and craftsmen of Southern Appalachia.

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  • #9
    River Arts District
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    #9 in Asheville, NC
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    When artists came to Asheville to soak up the natural beauty and free-spirited atmosphere, they had to find large spaces to work. Enter the River Arts District. Comprising 22 former industrial and historical buildings – including a former tannery and a cotton mill – near the French Broad River, the

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