Asheville has been named the Happiest City in America (Self Magazine), Best Mountain Destination (Southern Living), and Best Southern Town (Outside Magazine). It was also noted among the Most Beautiful Places in America by Good Morning America. The Hunger Games was filmed near Asheville, and both President Obama and Anthony Bourdain (RIP) are/were occasional visitors there, sampling the local restaurants. Here are some ideas for a weekend trip in Asheville, NC.

5 Areas of Asheville

There are five areas of Asheville and although it’s not a huge place, there is a ton to do in each area. Asheville is noted by compass points: north, south, east, west, and downtown Asheville. North Asheville is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and is the home of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Beaver Lake is nearby and is gorgeous! South Asheville is more residential and a bit more modern. South Asheville is also where Biltmore Estate and Village are located. East Asheville is probably the most family-friendly area from a neighborhood standpoint. It is also the front door to the artistic and creative communities of Black Mountain and Swannanoa. West Asheville is more eclectic, filled with River District artists and creative entrepreneurs. Finally, there’s Downtown Asheville. Asheville Independent Restaurants summarizes it perfectly: “Downtown Asheville is a vibrant, happening city center filled with shops, galleries, performance spaces, live music, and terrific people-watching.” (And, of course, fabulous restaurants.)

Asheville NC Restaurants

Asheville features 50+ restaurants and brewing companies. In fact, for those who are interested, Asheville has won the name “Beer City USA” four times now you can read more about that here. When you are ready for lunch or dinner, there are many casual dining spots around. We love the outdoor terrace at Creperie Bouchon. You may also want to check out Mamacitas on Biltmore Ave – they focus on local and sustainable ingredients, and the menu is an interesting mix of Mexican and southern US styles. Tacos at White Duck Taco. A local told us their Riverside Dr. location is better. It had a great outdoor location along the French Broad River with picnic tables. Other notables: Tupelo Honey Cafe (southern influenced cuisine) and Strada (italian).  Enjoy a pick me up at  the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Do not miss a liquid truffle hot sipping chocolate…I can’t even explain it. Go. Now. The donuts at Hole Donuts were also the best donut I have ever tried. They fry and top them fresh! Itto Ramen has delicious ramen and Japanese tapas. For some Carrot Cake Hot Cakes check out Sunny Point Cafe. If you are looking for a beautiful view while you eat check out Soprana Rooftop Cucina. We had some bean dip, pizza, and an arugula citrus salad on a cozy couch with an amazing view of the city and mountains.

Lodging Asheville, NC

The Four Points Sheraton is a family-friendly location near downtown. If you want to do a unique boutique, Hotel Indigo is the perfect choice. For An Ultra-modern hotel Aloft. Omni Grove Park Inn has an amazing view of the mountains and a ton of history.  A visit there alone is a vacation in itself. They have a luxurious spa, but be sure to book a service months in advanced with your room. For stays longer than a day or two, there are many cabins and cottages available to rent in the area. ExploreAsheville.com has a comprehensive list of lodging options here.

Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Looking for things to do in Asheville, NC? This vibrant city offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and fun activities perfect for family adventures. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, Asheville has something for everyone.

Explore Downtown Asheville

There are always tons of events near Pack Square Park, including local music and craft fairs. Even without festivals and special events, Downtown hosts many local galleries and unique shops. This is a perfect place to get up in the morning, hit one of the many local coffee houses, and sip while the kids play in the park. City Bakery is the perfect stop for beverages, breakfast breads, or a home-baked pastry. Double D’s is a Double-decker bus turned into a coffee/smoothie shop. Once you’re done snacking, take a walk along the downtown Urban Trail, which features 1.7 miles of historic architecture and local heritage. This trail has been called Asheville’s Museum without walls, and you can download a trail map here to guide you along the way.

Double D's Asheville, NC

Another option is the River Arts District. Artists are abundant here and you can find unique items for yourself or gift ideas! You will find ceramics, painting, photography, fiber arts, metal and woodworking. You will find over 100 galleries and artist studios in this area. There are plenty of additional places for holiday shopping, which you can view here and here.

A visit to the Asheville Pinball Museum. This interactive museum isn’t just for pinball enthusiasts—kids and adults alike will love the hands-on experience of playing vintage and modern pinball machines. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, especially on a rainy day.

For a dose of humor and sightseeing, hop on the Lazoom Comedy Bus Tour. This quirky, family-friendly tour combines comedy and history as you explore Asheville’s landmarks. The lively guides keep everyone entertained with hilarious stories and fun facts.  We went with our 2 and 4-year-olds to the “Little Boogers” kids tour and had a great time.

Nature lovers should not miss the North Carolina Arboretum. With over 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, it’s an ideal spot for a peaceful day out. The Arboretum offers educational programs and special exhibits that are perfect for engaging young minds.

Haw Creek Valley Overview Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville

Cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway is another must-do. This is nicknamed “America’s Highway”. With slow speed limits to relax and enjoy the view. This scenic drive provides multiple overlooks and picnic areas. Stop at the Blue Ridge Visitor Center to pick up maps, learn about the parkway’s history, and get tips on the best spots to visit. They have Jr. Park Ranger folders. Kids can complete some activities and earn a Jr. Park Ranger Badge. Haw Creek Valley Overview looks west and is a great spot to watch the sunset over the mountains. If you are a morning person check out Tanbark Ridge overlook which looks at a valley to the east side. Check out of the many area trails for Hiking or exploring Chimney Rock State Park. Asheville Visitor’s center is another visitors center worth checking out for a ton of information about the city and a giftshop of local items.

Omni Grove Park Inn

For a taste of history and luxury, take a walking tour of the Omni Grove Park Inn. This grand hotel has hosted numerous celebrities and offers stunning views of the mountains. The tour is a great way to explore the inn’s unique architecture and learn about its storied past. Ask the Concierge for the QR code to the tour.  They ask you to bring headphones or purchase some in the gift shop.

Lastly, make sure to visit the Western North Carolina Nature Center. This facility focuses on the region’s wildlife, featuring animals like red wolves, cougars, and black bears. It’s an educational experience that the whole family will enjoy. We got 50% off with our Greensboro Science Center Membership.

Science enthusiasts will enjoy the Asheville Museum of Science. This museum offers interactive exhibits on geology, paleontology, and STEM education. Kids can dig for fossils, explore the Colburn Hall of Minerals, and engage in hands-on science activities.

Historic Biltmore Village

One of the most popular areas is Historic Biltmore Village, just outside the entrance to Biltmore on the southend of the city. Biltmore was built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, and Biltmore Village reflects that period. Pebbled streets, English-style cottages, art galleries, and fantastic shops and restaurants are all at your fingertips, along with multiple places to stay. We could spend an entire weekend just at the Biltmore Estate, so visit the Biltmore’s website to get the skinny on the happenings at the estate!

Asheville Weather

Asheville, NC weather is renowned for its moderate climate and distinct seasonal changes, making it an attractive destination for families. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville experiences a unique blend of mild winters, pleasant summers, and breathtaking falls, providing endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Spring in Asheville is truly delightful. As temperatures begin to rise, typically ranging from the mid-50s to 70s, the area bursts into bloom.  It’s the perfect season for hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway or enjoying a picnic in one of the many scenic parks.

Summer in Asheville offers warm, but not overly hot, weather. Daytime temperatures usually hover in the 80s, making it ideal for family activities such as tubing down the French Broad River or exploring the lush trails of Pisgah National Forest. Evenings tend to cool down. Make sure to still pack a sweater even though it is summer!

Asheville’s fall season is a favorite for many. The crisp air, with temperatures in the 50s to 70s, coupled with the stunning fall foliage, creates an enchanting backdrop for family outings. Apple picking, corn mazes, and scenic drives through the mountains are just a few ways to embrace the autumn charm. The fall colors typically peak in October, drawing visitors from near and far.

Winter in Asheville is relatively mild compared to other mountain regions. While occasional snowfall transforms the town into a winter wonderland, temperatures generally stay in the 30s to 50s. This makes it possible to enjoy winter sports like ice skating or simply cozying up with hot cocoa in one of Asheville’s many charming cafes.

I could go on and on, but we’d rather just go. You should too! There are so many great online resources to help you plan the perfect trip, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a festival seeker, or just a prowl-arounder. The official city website is www.Asheville.com, and www.ExploreAsheville.com is another wonderful resource.

Enjoy your trip and share your favorite Asheville spots with us by commenting below!

This post was written by Rachel Hoeing and updated by Sarah Marchwiany

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