How to Spend an Epic Weekend in Asheville

Considering spending an epic weekend in Asheville?  This is the guide for you!  

Eclectic atmosphere with mountain views is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Asheville, North Carolina.  This small city located in western North Carolina, United States, has limitless things to do while exuding a hipster atmosphere with charm.  

It’s no wonder visitors return to this up and coming retro-urban mountain town time and time again.  Spend days roaming the Blue Ridge Mountains and evenings filled with eclectic, quirky atmosphere Downtown or in the River Arts District during your weekend in Asheville.  

Only 40 minutes by car from the infamous Blue Ridge Mountains, a weekend in Asheville is a vacation to remember.

Asheville Weekend Details

Location: Western North Carolina.  Fly conveniently into Asheville Regional Airport.  No convenient flights?  Alternatively consider flying into Memphis Regional Airport in Tennessee for a two hour drive.

When to visit: Asheville is a charming city that can be enjoyed year-round.  Fall is popular as visitors enjoy spending time admiring foliage on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Spring and early summer bring mild temperatures with high chance of rainfall.  Winter temperatures are cold but there is plenty to do indoors on a weekend in Asheville, not to mention admiring snow-capped mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

How many days: Two or three days in Asheville is the perfect amount of time to enjoy Asheville’s city charm and explore the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Consider spending a week for more time in the city or on the hiking trails, or for a combined trip with Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee.  For those with limited time, a weekend in Asheville is perfect to begin scraping the surface!

Parking: There is plenty of street parking in Downtown Asheville.  If you are staying at a hotel in Downtown Asheville, just leave your car at the hotel and walk to your favorite spots downtown. 

Shopping in Asheville

Unique shops are sprawled across Asheville’s downtown, and you can shop them all on a weekend in Asheville!  

 

Lexington Avenue is the street known for Asheville’s most unique specialty shops.  

 

Ten Thousand Villages is a favorite of many, featuring hand-made art work from around the world.  This is a chain location and can be found in other larger cities around the US.  

 

Fox and Beaux boutique creates hand-made and custom Jewelry.  

 

Further Yoga and Boutique serves as a yoga studio in the morning and evening, and transforms into a global fashion collection during the day. 

Dining in Asheville

Double D’s Coffee in Downtown Asheville

An Asheville weekend is complete with unique dining.  My personal favorite was Aloha Cafe– we had an incredible vegan poke bowl!  There were so many options, I can’t recommend it enough.  

 

We also loved our Caribbean cuisine at Nine Mile.  This restaurant required a brief wait without a reservation.  

 

Other popular unique cuisine restaurant to explore include Mediterranean (Bargello or Jerusalem Garden Cafe), French (Bouchon), Spanish (Curate), and Indian (Chai Pani Asheville)

Vegetarian Dish at Green Mile in Downtown Asheville

Entertainment in Asheville

Downtown Asheville

Asheville has lots of fun things to do, from a stroll in Pack Square Park to a concert at the Orange Peel.  Outdoor concerts are fun in the spring and summer.  

Taking a tour of the Biltmore Estate is one of the most popular tourist attractions.  It is currently the largest privately owned residence in the United States. Tickets sell out daily, so be sure to purchase in advance.  

Other scenic outdoor spaces include the North Carolina Arboretum or Asheville Botanic Gardens.  

Consider exploring a night-time ghost tour to learn about the other side of Asheville’s history.  

Asheville is also known for several unique breweries.  If you are of age and fancy a beverage, consider taking a guided brewery walking tour or exploring these on your own!  

Asheville Street Art

Street Art and Food at Summit Coffee in River Arts District, Asheville

Unique street art can be spotted all across Asheville.  One of the most popular murals is at the start of Downtown Asheville featuring blue sky hues and the words, “Love is Alive in AVL”.  You would be hard-pressed not to find many more unique murals as you explore.  

 

Most popular of all is the street art in Asheville’s River Arts District.

River Arts District, Asheville

Marquee at River Arts District, Asheville

River Arts District is a must on your weekend in Asheville!  Old mechanic garages turn artsy for this extremely unique side of town.  The exterior of art galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants are covered with vibrant spray paint art.   

23 shops extend for one mile as you make your way through art work and unique restaurants or cafes.  It reminds me a bit of Wicker Park in Chicago

Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains

Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains

To top off all that Asheville has to offer on its own, it is less than an hour drive from the infamous Blue Ridge Parkway.  Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks beautiful mountain scenery that visitors enjoy simply from the car window.  Find some of the best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks and a guide for getting around here. 

Where to stay on a Weekend in Asheville

Downtown Asheville’s prime location in an urban area surrounded by mountains provides a variety of options for where to stay, from budget guest houses, extravagant hotels, and cozy cabins or camping.  

Asheville Hotels

For a budget hotel with views, consider staying at Element Asheville Downtown.  Equipped with a fitness center, indoor pool, and daily breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the central location and affordable prices.  Hotels with similar amenities and pricing include Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown.

 

For a more extravagant, unique stay during your weekend in Asheville, you may consider Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville.  Its interior and exterior architecture give the bohemian vibe it came from another point in time.  It contains an indoor spa as well. 

Asheville Cabins

Excited for your weekend in Asheville but looking to spend some time outside of the city?  Consider Wrong Way River Lodge & Cabins for an alternative experience.   Stay in quaint A Frame cabins for a rustic, charming experience.  Located only one mile from the iconic River Arts District, it provides you access to the best of Downtown Asheville while taking a break in nature for the evening. 

Asheville Camping

Trying to fully escape the city for the evening?  Asheville Bear Creek RV Park is animal friendly, has an outdoor seasonal pool, contains three bath houses, and has included cable and Wifi.  This is an RV park only and no tent sites are permitted.  

Looking to explore one day in Asheville on your North Carolina road trip, but wanting to stay closer to Blue Ridge Mountains for the evening?  Mount Pisgah and Price Campground are both located off the Blue Ridge Parkway within one hour from Downtown Asheville to give you the best of both worlds.  This seasonal campgrounds are equipped with bathrooms, drinking water, grills, and picnic tables

Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains Packing List

If you’re planning on throwing in some hiking on your Asheville weekend (which I totally recommend!) here are a couple of can’t-miss items to toss in your suitcase.  

Trail Shoes– I cannot stress the importance of comfortable shoes with strong traction.  Be good to your feet!  

First Aid Kit– Safety first.  Never know when you’ll need a first aid kit!  Always be prepared on the trails.  Band-aids, gauze wrap, motion sickness medication, etc.  

Water Bottle– Hydration, hydration, hydration!  I recommend at least a gallon of water per person for a full hiking day.  

Hydration Backpack– Consider packing your water into a Hydration Backpack like a Camelback or similar..  I have found this much less strenuous on my back, and there are still enough side pockets to hold your camera, snacks, and a sandwich.

Packable Backpack– Alternative to a Camelback.  Packable backpacks are GREAT because you can roll them up and throw them into a suitcase or carry-on bag, and they take up LITERALLY no room at all.  They provide an ample amount of room for one day of adventures.

For the chilly weather…

Base layers– Wear warm clothing under your jacket and pants.  Alternatively, consider fleece-lined leggings with a water-resistant exterior.

Puffer jacket– I prefer a puffer jacket to a long parka because this is also packable, and easy to roll up into your backpack if you get hot.

Rain shell– Wear this over your puffer jacket to make sure you stay dry if it snows.  The best part is these are lightweight and packable!  Weather fluctuates, but your comfort shouldn’t.  

Hiking Boots– Comfortable, waterproof hiking boots make all the difference in snowy weather.  Keep your feet dry!

Asheville Blue Ridge Mountains

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Alyssa

As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).