Some of the most common questions I get are, “What should I do while I am in Asheville, NC?” “Where should I stay?” “Where should we eat?” “What can we not miss?”
It’s no secret that I absolutely LOVE Asheville, NC. I would go there just about every single weekend that I was allowed to, and this time of year is my absolute favorite time to go!
The leaves have all changed. There is a snap in the air. It’s a few degrees cooler than Atlanta, which is always a plus in my book, and the Biltmore House has started dressing itself up for Christmas. And I can tell you from experience, it is just perfectly magical. But, the Biltmore House and grounds is just the start of all there is to do and see and experience in Asheville. It is such an eclectic little city that is full of little adventures, hidden treasures, great shopping, and even better food!
Here are some of my picks for “Can’t Miss Asheville.”
First things first though, you will need someplace to stay, so here are a few of my picks for great hotel accommodations and locations.
Where to Stay
Asheville has no shortages of places to stay and have all the major, household names in both luxury and more budget-friendly lodging such as Courtyard Marriott, Holiday Inn, Best Western, and even Double Tree. And those are all well and good and I would certainly recommend a few of them, but wanted to take some time to highlight a few more unconventional places to stay that are more local and just a tad more special!
There’s a reason this historic place is consistently at the top of the list for Places to Stay in Asheville, it’s absolutely stunning!
Beautiful grounds, fabulous in-resort dining, golf, tennis, spa, even private tours throughout. So much history here.
*Tip: Ask to stay in the Historical Main Inn section, in one of the Traditional Rooms, when booking to get the full experience!
A quaint and eclectic boutique hotel located in the very heart of downtown steps away from just about everything- the Windsor Hotel simply cannot be beat!
Every room is decorated individually expressing different tastes and styles, and I love that.
*Tip: Be sure to check out Desirant, the ultra-chic store directly attached to the lobby of The Windsor for great finds in fashion apparel, jewelry, art, and stylish home decor. You can visit Desirant even if you are not staying at the Windsor. It’s a fabulous store!
Posh Boutique Hotel is incredibly unique and a special find in Asheville. Located directly in Biltmore Village, a great retail and restaurants hub across the street from Biltmore’s main entrance, it boasts upscale condo-style (2 bedroom, 2 bath) vacation rentals in a historic building built in 1929.
While maybe not for an individual or a couples stay, I think this is ideal for girl’s getaway weekends, Bachelorette weekends, or even for a few different families who want to stay together.
But, perhaps my favorite place to stay in Asheville? Home Away!
I love the adventure of staying in someone’s garage apartment, attic, loft, or condominium and have enjoyed staying even in local neighborhoods of Asheville such as charming Hendersonville or Black Mountain. And you can book exactly according to your personal needs, size, parking, location, etc.
Just read the reviews, book, and you’re off!
Where to Eat
Asheville is such a foodie town, and has high & low cuisine, specialty restaurants, and even food trucks.
- Early Girl Eatery – never go to Asheville without at least 1 visit. My favorite!
- The Corner Kitchen
- Tupelo Honey
- Hole Doughnuts: Fresh hot doughnuts & fresh coffee… can’t say enough good things about this donut shop! And the people there are so friendly!
*Tip: If dining at The Early Girl, be sure to order the pancakes- they are the best I have ever had! And the flavors change almost daily.
- Early Girl Eatery has a great lunch too! Try the Broccoli Cheddar Hushpuppies with apple butter or the Fried Chicken with creamy Herb Gravy. So delish!
- White Duck Taco Shop (leave it to me to find the best tacos in town)
- 12 Bones Smokehouse – a local legend!
- All Souls Pizza for a great slice! The Country Ham & Egg pizza (pictured below) is so unusual and completely delicious!
- Farm Burger for organic, grass-fed All-American classic burgers. I am particularly fond of No 4- the Chicken Burger with smoked Gouda, sherry date BBQ sauce, kale coleslaw, and crispy fried onion straws. Yum!
- Bouchon for classic, old-fashioned French cuisine. Cannot miss the Steak Frites! And, I love the atmosphere here. Plus, your meal comes with delicious herbed Pomme Frites (french fries) delivered to you in a cone with Garlic Aoili.
- Bar Taco – one of my favorites in Atlanta (or any city), but there is something special about this location!
- Apollo Flame Bistro – definitely a place where the locals go! Head here for old-school Greek food and colossal Greek salads!
- Rezaz Mediterranean Cuisine & Wine Bar – 1/2 restaurant and 1/2 Wine Bar & Enoteca. Such a fun place!
- The Bistro at Biltmore Estate (my favorite place to eat on Biltmore’s grounds)
But, my all time favorite place to eat in Asheville has got to be…
Cu’rate Tapas Bar is a celebration in Spanish cuisine! “From jamón Ibérico to croquetas, patatas bravas, and crema catalana, Cúrate brings the essence of Spain to downtown Asheville… one plate at a time.”
And that’s what I love about tapas- small plates, the fellowship, the sharing! Such a fun and unique dining experience. Cu’rate has me returning again and again!
*Tip: Plus, if you are like me, and have food allergies or food sensitivities, they have a wide array of Gluten free, Lactose free, Tree-nut free, and Vegan offerings.
For Desserts or Sweets…
The best place in the Western North Carolina mountains to indulge your sweet tooth is the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Try the Vegan Chocolate Olive Oil Cake or the Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Torte. Or maybe a Liquid Truffle is more your speed! Whatever you decide, I always get a Cold Sipping Chocolate, made with organic coconut milk and bean to bar chocolate. It’s like the most delicious dairy free milkshake ever created!
*Tip: Bring home little boxes of truffles for family and friends (or even for yourself too)! Some of my favorite truffle flavors? Strawberry Balsamic, Orange Olive Oil & Fennel, The Buddha, Lemongrass + Ginger, and Hibiscus Grapefruit Caramel. Read all the truffle flavors + ingredients list here. Try them all! I have never regretted any of their truffles.
Where to Shop
- Talloni Shoe Salon
- Monkee’s of Biltmore
- Gardener’s Cottage – Mom’s favorite! A beautiful shop to peruse and gain inspiration! Features one-of-a-kind florals, artwork, home decor, cookbooks, and other unique gifts.
- Lexington Glassworks
- Olde World Christmas Shoppe – seriously the best Christmas storefront I may have ever visited!
- Get some quality antiques at the Antique Tobacco Barn
What to Do
- Tour Biltmore Estate,Gardens, and Winery
- For the adventurous tourist, why not take a Segway tour? Mom and I did this last year and had an absolute blast!
- Stroll through the River Arts District
- Spa Day at The Spa at Biltmore Village
- Tour The French Broad Chocolate Factory & learn how they go from Bean to Bar
- See the Cathedral at All Souls or the Basilica of St. Lawrence
- Hike Asheville Trail heads, see the waterfalls
- Visit Grovewood Village, the historic site that once housed the weaving and woodworking operations of Biltmore Industries, a groundbreaking enterprise in the history of American craft and textiles
- Experience Asheville’s thriving music scene. Take in a show at The Orange Peel.
*Tip: Check out the Specialty Tours at Biltmore Estate- they have behind the scenes tours that show you the servant’s quarters and how the Biltmore would run seamlessly with all their guests. Or maybe an Architecture tour where you get to experience some of Biltmore’s more interesting features and it’s the only tour that allows you to step out on the balconies. Can’t beat those views!
So, there you have it! My Can’t Miss, Why I love Asheville list! Hoping it inspired a weekend getaway very, very soon!