Asheville, a charming mountain city located on the western edge of North Carolina, has enjoyed a long and illustrious history as one of the most popular resort areas in the country for more than a century. It caught the eye of the Vanderbilt family and they made it the site of their massive estate, totaling more than 178,000 square feet, with construction completed in 1895.
This home was constructed at the height of the Guilded Age and it cemented Asheville’s reputation as one of the premier holiday destinations for the country’s wealthiest names.
Now, while the Biltmore Estate still remains a predominant tourist attraction, Asheville is known more for its funky style, bohemian influences and eclectic shops and eateries, all of which ensure it remains on traveler’s radars from throughout the world.
If you have a weekend to spend in Asheville, here are some highlights:
Asheville is definitely a foodie’s town so plan much of your weekend visit around the amazing eateries you’ll discover in this Southern gem.
Some of the must-try restaurants including Bouchon, Curate and The Market Place. Bouchon includes a menu with French influences uniquely combined with southern elements. Located in downtown Asheville, Bouchon is particularly well-known for their mussels. Curate is a Spanish-style tapas bar also featuring regional wine, beer and cocktail pairings. The Market Place features a farm-to-table New American dining concept with a large wine list.
These are just a few of the exceptional restaurants. Asheville may be in the south and while there is certainly plenty of southern dining to be found you’ll also find globally inspired eateries in this diverse town.
Asheville definitely has a thriving arts scene and this includes live music. You can find live music happening around every corner, including right on the streets, but you can also check out the line-up at venues like The Orange Peel. This stylish venue located downtown has played host to acts including Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys and Ice Cube and Rolling Stone has ranked it as one of the best live music spots in the country.
The scenic mountain setting you’ll find in Asheville offers abundant opportunities for outdoor adventure. If you prefer something a little tamer you can go hiking or biking, but there’s also opportunities for everything from rock climbing to rafting. Asheville is a very outdoor-centric city so you’ll find no shortage of ways to enjoy the natural beauty.
The Grove Arcade makes for a fun and funky shopping experience. Situated downtown, the Grove Arcade is set in a historic building featuring boutiques and galleries, while the Downtown Asheville Arts District features more than 30 independent galleries.
Also worth checking out is Biltmore Village, which features historic architecture that houses an array of shops, both national and local. This pedestrian-friendly area of Asheville, located just outside the Biltmore house, is home to retailers like lululemon, Palm Village, Monkee’s, Boheme and Curtis Wright Outfitters.
While a weekend may not be enough time in Asheville, it’s certainly a good starting point to explore this exciting and creative city.