Asheville’s allure is as old as the ancient river that runs through it and the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround it. This is a place of flavorful farm to table food, seasonal festivals, natural wonders and man made beauty. Behind them all is a rich and storied history. No wonder Asheville is consistently named one of the nation s top travel destinations.
In the 1920s, Asheville was the playground of the rich and famous. This is where Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. Rockefeller and the Vanderbilts came for rest and relaxation. Today s visitors come for Asheville s bohemian spirit and edgy culture never imagined by these captains of industry. This is a place where the traditional and the unconventional combine to make beautiful music, fabulous food, art that captures the imagination and outdoor adventures that will take your breath away.
With each season comes genuine delights, from the elegance of Victorian themed Christmas celebrations to bluegrass music and gallery walks, studio strolls and small plate crawls. Asheville offers unforgettable perspectives … on Mother Nature, music, art, food and fun.
Named “the best place to live” by many books and magazines, Asheville is also a destination for retirees escaping the cold North, or of “halfbacks,” those who moved to Florida but who are now coming half the way back North. Old downtown buildings have been converted to upmarket condos for these affluent retirees, and new residential developments seem to be constantly springing up south, east, and west of town.
As a result of this influx, Asheville has a much more cosmopolitan population than most cities of its size (85,000 people in the city; 435,000 in the metro area). Asheville has a diversity you won’t find in many cities in the South. There’s a thriving gay community, many hippies and hipsters, young-at-heart retirees, and alternative-lifestyle seekers. Rolling Stone once called Asheville the “U.S. capital of weird” (sorry, Austin), and with more than 20 microbreweries and brewpubs, and two large national craft breweries opening their East Coast operations here, Asheville also earns the title of Beer City USA.
The city really comes alive at night, with the restaurants, sidewalk cafés, and coffeehouses; so visit after dark to see the city at its best. Especially on summer and fall weekends, Pack Square, Biltmore Avenue, the “South Slope” area between Biltmore Avenue and Asheland Avenue south of Patton Avenue, Broadway Street, Haywood Street, Wall Street, the Grove Arcade, Pritchard Park (site of a popular drum circle on Friday night), and Battery Park Avenue are busy until late.
Asheville and its Blue Ridge Mountains are calling. Won t you come and experience the colorful seasons of joy that this unique mountain city has to share throughout the year?
EDGY MOUNTAIN CULTURE
What makes Asheville such a fun city? Maybe it s our festivals celebrating our diverse cultural and ethnic heritage. Or it could be our spirit of exploration, whimsy and self expression that inspires visitors to join the Friday night drum circle, dance under the stars, experience our creative culinary scene otherwise known as Foodtopia® and take the hiking path less traveled to discover mountain views. Whatever the season, Asheville s engaging mountain culture is sure to keep you coming back again and again.
Any season is a beautiful time to visit the Asheville area. Delicate spring wildflowers launch an unrivaled blooming sequence of native and cultivated plants that continues through September and ushers in Asheville s long fall color season. Winter holds its own beauty, revealing mountain views at their best and sunsets at their most spectacular. So, when is the best time to visit Asheville? Anytime you re in the mood for a friendly welcome, unforgettable experiences and a touch of inspiration.
CULTURE & CREATIVITY
Creativity in all its forms is celebrated in Asheville. We believe in poetry slams and street performers, in drum circles and folk dancing. Throughout the year, arts and crafts festivals, galleries and artists’ studios in Asheville and neighboring communities pay homage to the area’s rich craft tradition. Read more at http://www.ExploreAsheville.com/events.
URBAN VIBE, SOUTHERN CHARM
Asheville’s reputation as the Paris of the South comes from its combination of striking Art Deco architecture, exquisite fresh food, a vibrant arts community and energetic music. From the public art that decorates its streets to the musicians who serenade alfresco diners, Asheville’s recipe for hospitality is irresistible. This is a city of independent spirits where Foodtopia® reigns.
ROMANCE IN THE MOUNTAINS
Maybe it’s the altitude or how close the stars seem on a cloudless night that make Asheville such a romantic city. Unplug, unwind and enjoy time with the love of your life. Book a couples’ massage at one of the area’s day spas, or relax together in a Japanese hot tub. Linger over a glass of red wine perfectly paired with a handcrafted chocolate and listen to the music of the night.
ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC
Music and dance have always played an integral part in life in and around Asheville. Catch a show at one of downtown Asheville’s well-known music venues or venture over to West Asheville’s funky performance spaces. Want to learn more about the music born in these mountains? Your journey begins with the Blue Ridge Music Trails guidebook and self-guided tour.
FOR THE FAMILY
A trip to the Asheville area means fun for every member of the family. Go mild or go wild, any way you like it. Try floating down the French Broad River or discover the thrill of rappelling and winter ice climbing. Slip and slide at Pisgah National Forest’s famous Sliding Rock, and get wet at Pack Square Park’s Splasheville! Race peak-topeak on a tandem zipline 350 feet above the ground. For something more down to earth, take in an Asheville Tourists game at the city’s downtown baseball stadium.
DO IT YOUR WAY
The Blue Ridge Parkway is America s favorite drive, and with good reason. From Asheville, take it south to Mount Pisgah. At 5,700 feet above sea level, this peak once marked the boundary of George W. Vanderbilt s expansive Biltmore Estate. Go north on the parkway, and you ll come to Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Regardless of which direction you travel, you ll find overlooks with spectacular mountain vistas, campgrounds and hiking trails to explore. So pack a picnic, savor the ride and enjoy the scenery. You ll be glad you did.
ON THE TOWN
When the sun dips below the mountains, the stars come out in the city s diverse live music venues and nightspots where mixologists work their magic creating craft cocktails using local barrel aged moonshine, sake, hard cider and craft made beer. Where else but Asheville can you find a lounge dedicated to all things chocolate? From urban sophisticated to down home country, Asheville s nightlife is as varied as the people who make the music of the night and stir the spirits.
It’s easy to get airborne on one of Asheville’s mountain-to-mountain, treetop and urban canopy zipline tours. Climb your way to the top of Chimney Rock State Park’s 315-foot monolith and drink in the 75-mile view. Whether you are looking for a heart-pounding whitewater experience or a leisurely tubing excursion, the French Broad River and Asheville are overflowing with natural adventures. In this nationally acclaimed river town, there is no shortage of activities to take your breath away.
THE GILDED AGE
Biltmore, George W. Vanderbilt’s 250-room French Renaissance-inspired chateau, provides a rare look into the 19th century’s Gilded Age. The house is home to priceless treasures like Napoleon’s chess set and Renoir paintings. Outdoors, you’ll find horticultural treasures and surprises in the estate’s formal and informal gardens, and at the winery, visitors learn about the science and art of winemaking. In July and August, the Estate’s Summer Concert Series showcases national recording artists on the South Terrace.
Reinvent. Rejuvenate. Relax. In Asheville, you can do all those things and more. We offer an array of experiences ranging from terrific theatrical performances to historic trolley tours to colorful celebrations and festivals. Discover your own independent spirit. Transform the ordinary into something extraordinary at our world class attractions. It s all here for the taking.