Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the quintessential towns that everyone needs to see in their life. The laidback charms of this mountain-surrounded gem enhance the mind-blowing food and craft beer scene, historical offerings, and art. Here are seven awesome things to do in Asheville, North Carolina, that made my visit enjoyable and fun.
You can read about where I stayed in Asheville in this Omni Grove Park Inn post.
1. Explore The Biltmore
Asheville’s crown jewel is The Biltmore, one of America’s most visited homes and the largest. America’s Largest Home, built by George Vanderbilt. This 8,000-acre estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the former home to George Vanderbilt and his family. The Biltmore is open for tours, with several to choose from, but even a basic one will set you back between $50 and $100. Tour the impressive and immaculate home with a docent and enjoy taking as many pictures as you please.
When the Biltmore indoor tour has finished, take some time to wander the grounds and garden for even more beautiful things to see. The Biltmore is much more than I ever imagined—it is like its own town, and you have to pay at the gate to enter the property boundaries.
2. See Antler Hill Village And The Biltmore Grounds
Located on the Biltmore property is the Antler Hill Village, which Vanderbilt often referred to Antler Village as the “fine high ridge.” Antler Village features shopping, dining (Cedric’s Tavern and Bistro), a winery, and often, traveling exhibitions. I toured Downton Abbey: The Exhibition when I was there. After exploring this popular Biltmore area, stop for some tasty ice cream at Creamery.
If you are looking for an excellent sharable snack and craft cocktail (or a glass of really good sweet tea), visit Cedric’s Tavern. Appealing appetizers include Tavern Pimento Cheese and Ham & White Cheddar Fondue, already tried and approved by yours truly.
Across the massive Biltmore property were people having picnics, playing with their dogs, sunbathing, riding bikes, and enjoying this little slice of heaven in dozens of ways.
3. Eat Incredible Food
While many of the restaurants in Asheville were still closed from the pandemic on my visit, I still had a handful of awesome meals that were all 10/10 on the delicious scale.
For breakfast, nothing for miles can top Biscuit Head, known for luscious biscuits and everything that accompanies them. I had Southern Scramble with pimento cheese, caramelized onions, and tomato, plus a side cup of pimento cheese grits. A biscuit comes on the side and let me tell you; it is one of the best! You can even order a gravy flight to dunk them in!
For lunch, White Duck Taco is an Asheville staple. With three locations, enjoy street tacos, queso dip, yummy refried beans, and killer sangria, white and red. If you’re in a hurry and want something quick, grab a personal size pizza or calzone from Standard Pizza Co.
Sunset Terrace, at the Omni Grove Park Inn, offers delectable gourmet food and chef-inspired dishes. Start your dining experience with the Poached Asparagus with English peas, mushrooms, and a sherry emulsion, recommended by our waitress and loved!
If Miyazaki beef ribeye is on the menu as a special feature, indulge in the melt-in-your-mouth entree. Save room for dessert—the Smore’s creation is rich and delightful.
4. Stay At The Omni Grove Park Inn
Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn is one of the nation’s most fabulous resorts. From arriving at the massive fairytale stone entrance to sitting at the romantic fireplaces and intimate lobby seating groups, you will be mesmerized. Choose from dozens of room types and prices that fit your budget.
The Omni Grove Park Inn has two wings of shops and restaurants, a world-class spa that is continually voted one of the best in the nation, and a plethora of things to see and do. You could honestly check in the hotel and not leave for a week or more, just enjoying the entertainment and amenities offered here. There are several enticing restaurants at the Omni Grove Park Inn, with Sunset Terrace being the most coveted sunset location in all of Asheville.
The Omni Grove Park Inn is a member of Historic Hotels of America, an accreditation that encourages and recognizes hotels that foster architectural and historical integrity.
5. Photograph Amazing Murals
One of Asheville’s best offerings is absolutely free. Street art—those gorgeous and often enormous painted murals—can be found all over town for your own self-guided tour. I was particularly drawn to the beautiful Dolly Parton wall. Other impressive ones to see include the life-like fox, chicken alley, and stay weird silo.
6. Enjoy Shopping and Strolling
Asheville has several different parts of town, each offering excellent shopping options. In Historic Biltmore Village, the premier shopping district, you’ll find Chico’s, Monkee’s, Palm Village (A Lily Pulitzer signature store), and lululemon. Be sure not to miss the incredible Christmas decorations at The Olde World Christmas Shoppe.
Downtown Asheville is even simply amazing, with popular points of interest (Asheville Art Museum and Asheville Museum of Science, to name a few), favored restaurants, and several galleries. To me, downtown truly captures the ambiance of Asheville’s mountain town status.
The area is designated the Asheville Urban Trail. It offers 1.7 miles and 30 bronze plaques to commemorate the city’s essential facts and fun bits of trivia. My faves were the turkey and pig bronze statues in front of the Vance Monument, the O. Henry plaque on Patton Avenue, and the giant iron in front of the Flat Iron Building.
Haywood and Market Streets, and Lexington Avenue are all popular addresses for browsing, too.
A historical attraction that also houses local businesses and a few eateries is the stunning Grove Arcade. It is worth a visit, even if just to take pictures and wander through. Potted ferns and plants, plus the sun peeking through the glass ceiling panels, add charm to this sophisticated setting that has been a staple in Asheville since 1929.
Best store in Asheville? Based on longevity, is Mast General Store, serving Asheville for nearly 150 years. Ladies’ and men’s apparel and outerwear, retro candies and toys, knick-knacks, and souvenirs are a few of the things you’ll find in this two-story gem.
7. Taste A Standout Sweet Offering
I hate the phrase “you can’t come to blank without going to blank,” but unfortunately, that’s just how it is for Asheville’s French Broad Chocolate Lounge. This Uber-hip chocolate emporium in downtown Asheville is so fantastic that it should not be missed.
French Broad’s bean-to-bar menu consists of hand-made artisanal chocolates (individual pieces or curated collections), beautiful cakes and pastries, cookies, wine, and hot sipping chocolate. I even found Affogato on the menu—espresso poured over ice cream, for the perfect caffeinated and cool sweet treat. Guests can tour the French Broad chocolate factory, too. This place is the Holy Grail for chocophiles.
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