Set amid the Blue Ridge Mountains and filled with historic buildings, beautiful architecture, diverse scenery, and an active arts scene, you have numerous excellent places to check out in Asheville, North Carolina. Explore the outdoors, and soak up the culture in this incredible city. If you’re setting off on a trip to Asheville, don’t forget to add these 11 experiences to your itinerary.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
As one of the most famous drives in America, don’t miss the chance to see the sights along this 469-mile highway known as Blue Ridge Parkway. Stop off along the route to visit quaint towns, go biking or hiking along a trail or admire the view from an overlook. Learn about the region’s history at the visitor center located at milepost 384 in Asheville.
- Biltmore Estate
Be in awe of the largest private home in America when you explore the vast Biltmore Estate. Built in the late 1800s by George Vanderbilt, it has 250 rooms for you to discover as you follow the marked route on a self-guided tour. Outside, be mesmerized by the gardens spanning across 8,000 acres, and wander down the trails to admire the estate’s flora and fauna. However, if you want a unique take on this attraction, go on a horseback riding adventure around the many trails that wind their way through the estate’s grounds.
- Pisgah National Forest
Originally part of the land belonging to Biltmore Estate, Pisgah National Forest has three ranger districts for you to explore and is home to the Appalachian Mountains’ highest peak, Mount Mitchell, from where you can get 360-degree views of the scenery below you. Hike along trails ranging from easy to challenging, go horseback riding, see cascading waterfalls and try some rock climbing if you’re feeling energetic.
- North Carolina Arboretum
Nature lovers won’t be disappointed with the diverse flora found in North Carolina Arboretum. Set within Pisgah National Park, wander through numerous themed gardens, such as the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the National Native Azalea Collection. Discover what else the park has to offer as you explore the trails around the gardens by foot or on bike. Kids love learning things from the resident box turtle at the arboretum.
- Hike Part of the Appalachian Trail
You don’t have to go on a long-haul backpacking adventure to experience the magic of the Appalachian Trail. The famous hiking route stops just 35 miles northwest of the city, so you can easily make your way over, hike a stretch and then head back into town.
- Western North Carolina (WNC) Cheese Trail
The countryside around Asheville is home to lots of amazing farms. Get a literal taste for some of the goods they produce by visiting the WNC Cheese Trail, taking you to some excellent local creameries where you can sample delicious local cheeses.
- Asheville Pinball Museum
If “Pinball Wizard” is practically your personal theme song, then the Asheville Pinball Museum should be a top attraction on your Asheville to-do list. It boasts an impressive collection of vintage pinball machines, which you can play and admire to your heart’s content.
- Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Visit the literary landmark called the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Once home to the famous novelist, it lets you see his original furnishings. Thomas Wolfe grew up in Asheville, and his childhood home is now a visitor center. If you’re a book lover, this is a great place to trace the footsteps of one of the great minds of American literature. Additionally, the walking tour takes you to see parts of the city that Thomas Wolfe once knew, such as the Vance Monument and the Asheville Citizen Printing Office.
- Moog Music Factory
Asheville has a lively music scene, and there are many venues where you can catch a fantastic concert scattered throughout the city. Electronic music lovers will get a kick out of the Moog Music Factory. It was also the home of Bob Moog, who created the first synthesizer. Moog is now a big name in electronic music production, and the company still produces its synths in the city.
- Brewery Tours
Going on a brewery tour is one of the best things to do in Asheville, North Carolina. In terms of breweries per capita, the city is ahead of the pack, with dozens of establishments to choose from. Go on a tour, and learn how beer completes its journey from barley to bottle, and sample some of the wares when you’re done. Two notable breweries to check out are Asheville Brewing Company and The Funkatorium.
- Basilica of Saint Lawrence
As one of the biggest attractions in the city, make sure you take some time to visit the Basilica of Saint Lawrence. The dome-topped church is the largest in Asheville, and construction of this beautiful architectural structure finished in 1909. Choose a self-guided tour, or book a guided tour in advance to learn more about this historical building.