Here, the must-sees and must-dos in Asheville, North Carolina.
Food and Drink
ENJOY A COLD BREW
Jack of the Wood
95 Patton Avenue
Asheville is definitely a great beer town with some exceptional micro-breweries and a wide assortment of bars and pubs. Jack of the Wood is often named by locals as one of the coolest places in town. This cozy Celtic pub serves a variety of beers including the locally fresh-brewed Green Man ales. Other notable places to get a great beer: Bier Garden (46 Haywood Street, 828-285-0222) which offers the largest selection of beers in WNC with more than 200 varieties. Barleys (42 Biltmore Avenue, 828-255-0504) has more than 40 beers on tap, including local offerings, to complement its very popular pizzas.
66 Westgate Parkway
1856 Hendersonville Road
There’s a growing population of Asheville residents who prefer to eat organic produce, hormone-free beef, free range eggs, and other natural foods. Earth Fare began in Asheville in 1975 as a small health food store called Dinner for the Earth. In 1993, the name changed to Earth Fare and moved to Westgate Shopping Center opening as a full-service grocery. Since then it’s expanded to 15 stores in four states. There are two locations in Asheville -- the location at Westgate on the west side of town, and another in South Asheville.
Asheville City Market
161 South Charlotte Street
Locals wait until the weekend to stock up on the harvest of local farmers at this popular tailgate market. It runs in season from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Truck tailgates and small tables and booths are laden with fresh produce, eggs, meats and fish, cheeses, pastries, sauces, fruit butters and preserves, cut flowers, and more.
GRAB A LATE NIGHT BITE
400 Haywood Road
Located on West Asheville’s “Main Street,” The Admiral is one of the reasons this area is beginning to compete with downtown Asheville as a preferred place to hang out. Inventive dinner menu served from 5 to 10 p.m.; bar service until 2 a.m.
SIP A LATTE
Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe
A wide variety of unique coffeehouses have found a loyal following in Asheville. One that residents enjoy for its eco-responsible practices and choice of local and organic ingredients is Green Sage. Offerings include organic coffees and teas, purified water, and local and/or organic dairy products produced without synthetic growth hormones (rBGH) or antibiotics.
Hookah Joe’s & Nashwa
38 N. French Broad Avenue
828-252-1522 (Hookah Joe’s)/ 828-252-2001 (Nashwa)
A great place to meet people and carry on some stimulating conversations is Hookah Joe’s lounge. A hookah is a type of water pipe that originated in Turkey. Customers smoke shisha tobacco, with an assortment of interesting flavors available: mango, fruit cocktail, guava, Acai berry, pistachio and cola to name a few. Sister club Nashwa, located next door, rocks the house with a livelier atmosphere and great entertainment.
HEAR LIVE MUSIC
The Orange Peel
101 Biltmore Avenue
The Smashing Pumpkins brought worldwide attention to Asheville in 2007 when they selected The Orange Peel as the site of one of their residency gigs. They played nine shows there between June 23 and July 5. The other residency they booked that year was San Francisco. The Peel has a reputation of consistently booking popular, cutting-edge artists.
Asheville Downtown Art Walks
Twenty-four art galleries in downtown Asheville extend their hours four times a year for special art walks. These walks take place on a set Friday in April, June, August and October, and welcome guests from 5 to 8 p.m. Blue Spiral 1 owner John Cram helped revitalize downtown. He put his very successful gallery there during an era when Asheville’s downtown was predominately empty and barren.
CATCH A HOME RUN BALL
A favorite pastime for Asheville residents in the summer months is heading to McCormick Field to support the hometown baseball team. The Asheville Tourists are a Class A farm team of the Colorado Rockies. Favorite time to watch them play: “Thirsty Thursdays,” when beer is sold for a buck, and July 4 for spectacular post-show fireworks.
HAVE FREE FUN
Shindig on the Green
On Saturday nights from July through Labor Day, Shindig on the Green offers some of the best free entertainment in the region. The fun begins “along about sundown,” which is around 7 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. It’s now in its 42nd season and is currently using a temporary location of the Martin Luther King Jr. Park while Asheville’s Pack Square is renovated into a public park. People bring blankets and lawn chairs to listen to traditional bluegrass, old time string bands, ballad singers and storytellers. There’s also plenty of clogging and square dancing.
TAKE THE LITTLE ONES
The Health Adventure
2 Pack Square
Children are encouraged to touch everything they can get their hands on at The Health Adventure in downtown. This interactive science museum delights kids with its unique play areas. Big pieces of cloth become dental floss on an oversized set of teeth; a grocery store complete with play products and cash register teach kids about good nutrition choices, and a mammoth bubble maker are some of the offerings downstairs. Upstairs: rotating exhibits and more hands on play.
GLIMPSE THE SKYLINE
Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn Resort
290 Macon Avenue
The Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn boasts a picture perfect view of Asheville’s skyline. If you don’t want to pay for a pricey meal, you can stroll along the wings of the Inn gazing at the view from the many windows, or take a drive up Town Mountain Road which offers some alternate skyline views of the city.
SHOP FOR NEAT OLD STUFF
Antique Tobacco Barn
75 Swannanoa River Road
124 Swannanoa River Road
Looking for funky furniture to fill your new home, or maybe just some great conversation pieces and accessories? An assortment of antique stores in Asheville satisfies the quest for treasures and bargains. Two of the best are located on Swannanoa River Road which runs from Biltmore to Tunnel Road. Antique Tobacco Barn is a 77,000-square foot store that features an eclectic assortment of antique dressers, artwork, and glassware. Just down the road, the owners of Oddfellows travel to Europe to collect an amazing assortment of salvaged stained glass windows and doors, whimsical art and statues, and furniture with an unexpected flair.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway
The famed Blue Ridge Parkway winds almost 500 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. There are several marked points of access in and around Asheville to connect with the Parkway. The new Blue Ridge Destination Center, which serves as the Parkway Headquarters, is located near Oteen in East Asheville. Locals also know to follow Beaverdam Road in north Asheville up to signs pointing to the Parkway, as well as driving up Town Mountain Road and connecting there as well. The Parkway offers incredible scenic beauty, and a plethora of opportunities to enjoy hiking, picnicking, mountain biking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
TAKE ALONG FIDO
The Dog Park at the French Broad River Park
Amboy Road and Riverview Drive
This park, located beside the French Broad River, offers a separate space just for the canines and their human pals. The Dog Park features a large fenced in area where dogs can run, play and socialize with some other four-legged buddies.