Asheville, NC is known for its rich arts and music scene, historic architecture, and outdoor adventures. Resting in Western NC’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the city known as “Land of the Sky” presents beautiful views with a variety of quirky activities and destinations to explore. Read on to learn the top things to do in Asheville NC.
1. Biltmore Estate
Built in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau still stands as a magnificent wonder of architecture and opulence. Guests can self-tour the grounds of the house, gardens, and the Antler Hill Village, which also includes the Winery, The Biltmore Legacy, Village Green, and the Farm. Try to see if you can locate the hidden passageways and secret rooms throughout the house, although guests aren’t permitted to enter them. Additionally, the Estate hosts many seasonal events not to miss.
2. Outdoor Hikes
Outdoor lovers should take advantage of the beautiful sites the local area has to offer. With more than a dozen hiking trails, the parks around Asheville are worth exploring with your love. Just make sure to bring a phone, sunscreen, water, food, and navigation devices. Some of the area’s top-rated hikes include Black Balsam Knob, Great Smoky Mountains National Forest, and Nantahala National Forest, among others.
Described as a combination of swimming, kayaking, and surfing, bellyaking got its start in Asheville on the French Broad River. Participants paddle through the water with webbed gloves while lying face-first on a stable board resembling a cross between a kayak and a boogie board. One of the most unique things to do in Asheville NC, as well as anywhere else, you don’t want to miss out if you prefer a challenge outdoors together.
4. Hot Air Balloon Rides
Soar over gorgeous landscapes, and feel entranced by the striking mountains and vibrant green spaces beneath you. Departing near sunrise, guests can begin their day with awe-inspiring views. A truly unique experience, you don’t want to miss out on one of the most romantic things to do in Asheville NC. Two top-rated hot air balloon rides in the area include Asheville Balloon Company and Asheville Hot Air Balloons.
5. Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Park Service and is Known as “America’s Favorite Scenic Drive”, the Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Parks Service and includes 469 miles of weaving roads. Connecting the Blue Ridge Mountains to Shenandoah National Park (in Virginia) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (in North Carolina), you can cover plenty of ground if you wish to get away for the day.
6. Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar
This used bookstore and champagne bar specializes in books about North Carolina, American History, the Civil War, and the American South, as well as many more categories. Constantly changing and expanding, you’re bound to come out with a book or two, and perhaps a bit of a buzz. Better yet, the store also showcases live music and events. The bar’s menu also includes wine, sparkling wine, and bistro-style bites. Furthermore, you can set up an appointment to sell or trade your books for wine.
7. Basilica of Saint Lawrence
One of the most significant landmarks of the early 20th century lies in the center of the historic district downtown. Designed in 1905 by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence is the only basilica in western North Carolina. Moreover, the architect Richard Sharp Smith, who also worked on the Biltmore Mansion, aided in developing the basilica. Topped with one of the largest freestanding elliptical domes in the nation, the basilica is ornately designed in Spanish Renaissance Revival style. Constructed with stone, brick, tile, and mortar, this architectural marvel is worth the visit, even if you’re not Catholic. Furthermore, the interior shines with Italian-made statues, German stained glass windows, and a frescoed high altar cut from Tennessee marble. Opened in 1909, the structure was dedicated as a basilica by the Pope in 1993.
If you want a Vegas-style wedding in North Carolina, look no further. Fleetwood’s acts as a “quickie Vegas style” Rock-n-Roll wedding chapel, as well as a vintage shop and bar. At Fleetwood’s, you can get married, see live music and comedy shows, pick up an interesting item, and top off the evening with beer or wine. One of the most unique things to do in Asheville NC, you’ll want to stop by before departing.
9. Asheville Pinball Museum
Located downtown across from the Grove Arcade, the Asheville Pinball Museum welcomes all pinball machine and vintage video game aficionados. Once you pay admission, you can play any of the 80 machines without quarters or tokens (except for two special machines that each charge 50 cents).
10. Asheville Science Museum
The AMOS features exhibits and displays delving into the connections between astronomy, geology, weather, climate, ecology, and paleontology. Guests can interact with hurricane simulators, maker tables, a paleontology exhibit, and much more. Additionally, the museum hosts events for adults, kids, and groups throughout the year.