Asheville is a city of incomparable beauty, from its lush landscape to its vibrant community. It’s the perfect place to explore and unwind, whether you’re checking out the local art scene, hiking in the mountains, or just hanging out with friends in the town.
Asheville weather is often described as “four seasons in one day,” and it’s no wonder why: It has everything from warm summers to snowy winters. The average high temperature in July is 80 degrees, while the average low for January is 22 degrees. That’s why we recommend you check the Asheville radar for the current weather forecast before planning your trip.
Here are 5 things you should do when visiting Asheville.
See the Biltmore Estate
To truly experience Asheville, you should visit the Biltmore Estate. Construction began on this mansion in 1895 by George Vanderbilt, grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. At 250 rooms and over 90,000 square feet, it is the largest private home in the United States.
When you arrive at the estate, get your bearings with a complimentary self-guided audio tour of the house and its many rooms. Then, take some time to wander through all 175,000 acres of land that surround it—from gardens to wineries to a hotel.
The audio tour includes six levels of detail about each part of the house (from landscaping to what’s for lunch). If you start feeling overwhelmed by all there is to learn about this huge estate and catch yourself wondering how many people live there, don’t worry: The audio tour has an option just for kids who want to know if they can sleep in George Vanderbilt’s bed or not!
Go to the North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum sits on over 65 acres of gardens and walking paths, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to a variety of plants native to the Southern Appalachians and an educational exhibit dedicated to teaching about the region’s flora, it’s a great place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
One of the arboretum’s most popular aspects is its bonsai garden, which is home to 30 different types of miniature trees. The garden itself was built by artisans from Japan and consists of smooth stones that line a shallow creek running through the area.
Play in the French Broad River
Whether you want to fish, raft, kayak, canoe, tube, or just swim in the cool waters of the French Broad River. There are plenty of opportunities for water-based adventure. The French Broad Outfitters offers guided trips and rentals for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Their guided river tours are very popular during the summer months, and they also provide shuttle services to ensure that everyone gets back safely.
Zipline through the canopy on Asheville’s largest zipline course. Navitat Canopy Adventures offers a unique way to appreciate nature while flying through the treetops at speeds of up to 40 mph! They have a variety of tours available, including sunset tours which allow you to experience breathtaking sunsets over the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can even go night zip-lining if you’re feeling adventurous enough!
Try your hand at rock climbing with Fox Mountain Guides & Climbing School. The experienced instructors will provide you with all equipment required for this exhilarating activity, such as harnesses and helmets, as well as safety lessons before each trip off into nature’s playground.
Adventure seekers should head over to the Adventure Center of Asheville. They can enjoy treetop challenges like ropes courses or zipline through beautiful forests surrounding this city tucked away in Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains region, known affectionately by locals as “Asheville” for short.
Visit the River Arts District
A visit to the River Arts District will show you a different side of Asheville. Located alongside the French Broad River, this area is known for its art studios and galleries. The district’s history as a functioning industrial center during the 1800s means that most of its buildings are old warehouses and factories which have been repurposed into maker spaces, galleries, and restaurants.
In terms of things to do at the River Arts District proper (rather than just passing through), you’ll find plenty of studios where you can see artists working on their pieces as well as artisans crafting different kinds of items by hand. If you’re more interested in finished products than how they were made, there are also many galleries selling paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and other types of art from local makers.
You can shop for home décor or gifts for friends or family back home without having to worry about them being mass-produced; all of the products sold in the district are handmade with care and love.
Asheville’s River Arts District is an important part of what makes this city unique—it’s a big part of why it’s considered one of America’s best small towns—so it should definitely be included on your shortlist if you’re planning a trip here!
Take a hike through Pisgah National Forest
Consisting of more than 500,000 acres of protected land, Pisgah National Forest is a top hiking destination for anyone visiting Asheville. It’s the most visited national forest in the country—but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. Don’t let the crowds deter you: because Pisgah is so large, visitors are easily able to find and enjoy their own isolated areas without ever being disturbed by other hikers or tourists.
Some of the most popular trails include:
- Black Mountain Crest Trail
- Catawba Riverfront Trail
- Fryingpan Mountain Trail
- Art Loeb Trail
Asheville has something for everyone. Do you love to hike? The area offers countless opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous views, with trails ranging from easy (a stroll) to very difficult (a full-on climb). If you are looking for more of an adrenaline rush, there’s zip-lining over rivers and through trees.
If a pint is more your speed, consider visiting one of the city’s many breweries; they all offer samples, so feel free to try them all! And if you prefer just taking in the view on foot, check out the River Arts District, where former industrial buildings have been repurposed into art studios—you can even see some artists at work!
A trip to Asheville isn’t complete without a visit to the Biltmore. You can tour the house or just walk around its grounds. If you’re looking for a place to stay in town, check out some of Asheville’s bed and breakfast options—there are lots of charming places that will make you feel right at home! No matter what brings you here or how much time you have available, there is plenty here to do—and it all starts with Pisgah National Forest.