Things to Do in Asheville

Food. Art. Music. Adventure.

Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the most unique places you can visit in the United States!  Not only does it offer a vast array of things to keep you and your family busy (like hiking, shopping, eating, and scenic driving), it also offers a great deal of history and culture to explore. Our guests often ask us for suggestions on what to do while in Asheville, so we took the time to put together this page on our website that lists what we have found to be the most fun and enjoyable things to do!

This list is by no means a complete list of everything you can do when visiting Asheville, but it’s a good place to start when planning your trip.

If you are looking for a listing of seasonal and daily events, check out www.exploreasheville.com or www.romanticasheville.com for ideas.

things-to-do-blueridge The Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville is located just a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway. For those of you who don’t know what the Blue Ridge Parkway is, it is a National Parkway that runs 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, mostly along the Blue Ridge Mountains, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. We, as do many of our guests, often enjoy a long afternoon drive on the Parkway just taking in all the beauty that it holds. You can head North on the Parkway towards Mt. Mitchell and Mt. Pisgah or drive south and end up in Tennessee enjoying the Smoky Mountains. Either way, you are in for a beautiful drive year round.
The Folk Art Center
The Folk Art Center is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild.  The center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians.  In addition to an Eastern National bookstore and Blue Ridge Parkway Information Desk, the center houses three galleries, a library, and Allanstand Craft Shop.  Beginning in March of each year, visitors can see live craft demonstrations daily in the Folk Art Center lobby.  The Folk Art Center is located in East Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a five minute drive from Downtown.
The Blue Ridge Destination Center
The Blue Ridge Parkway Destination Center is a regional exhibit and education center focusing on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The center, housed in a LEED-certified “green” environmentally-friendly building, houses exhibits on the natural and cultural diversity and recreational opportunities found on the 469-mile length of the Parkway, and a key feature is the I-Wall, an oversized interactive, interpretive map of the Parkway. There is also a gift shop and a 70-seat theatre that shows a short movie about the Parkway throughout the day.
things-to-do-arboretum The Western North Carolina Arboretum
One of our favorite places to visit is the WNC Arboretum, located just 10 miles from downtown Asheville. This 434-acre natural treasure has 65 acres of cultivated gardens and 10 miles of hiking and biking trails! We have never sent a guest to visit the Arboretum who did not absolutely love it. While the Arboretum is open year round, our recommendation is to visit during the warmer months. There are a couple of great flower shows in the spring and some great craft shows in the fall; click here to see the full listing of events. There are several options for guided and self-paced tours at the Arboretum and one of our favorites is the Self Guided Walk on the Nature Garden Trail. If you happen to work up an appetite while touring the grounds or hiking, be sure to stop by the Savory Thyme Cafe and grab a bite to eat.
things-to-do-biltmore The Biltmore Estate
You can’t come to Asheville and not visit the Biltmore Estate! The Biltmore is one of two “castles” of its size in the United States and was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800′s as a home for his family.  In fact, it is still owned today by one of his descendants. The house, which features 250 incredibly decorated rooms, sits on 4,000 acres of land, a good portion of which are designed as beautiful gardens that guests can tour. If you are visiting around the holidays, the Biltmore puts on an amazing display of lights and decorations. Click here for a full event listing and to purchase tour tickets.
things-to-do-navitat Navitat Canopy Adventures
Wheee! Drive slow, zip fast! That says it all! Navitat Canopy Adventures is a tree-based zipline canopy adventure that thrills, educates, and inspires. Tour highlights include:

  • 10 ziplines, ranging from 120 to 1100 feet in length – soar more than 200 feet above the forest floor!
  • breathtaking long-range views of the surrounding mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • total immersion in the Southern Appalachian Forest, truly secluded from the outside world
  • 2 rappelling experiences, 2 sky bridges, and 3 short hikes break up the ziplining action and provide further opportunities for forest exploration

We make it a point to zip at least once a season and have sent hundreds of guests to Navitat and they have all loved it! Click here to check out the latest deals.

Blue Heron Whitewater Rafting
The closest whitewater rafting outfitter to Asheville, Blue Heron Whitewater has decades of experience guiding people along the French Broad River. The French Broad River is one of North Carolina’s premier whitewater rafting rivers with warm water, moderate rapids that are fun for all, and no crowds. All rafts are guided and often there is the option to try out an inflatable kayak. Blue Heron Whitewater is a small, locally owned and operated rafting company with a focus on small, intimate trips and exceptional personal service and safety. Click here to learn more.
Moving Sidewalk Tours
If you are looking for a fun way to explore downtown Asheville, stop by the Asheville Visitor Information Center and sign up for a Segway tour with Moving Sidewalk Tours. Tours are held daily (even on weekends) at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 5:00pm. For more information, click here.
Diana Wortham Theatre
In the heart of the Pack Square Cultural District is the city’s finest theatre, the Diana Wortham Theatre: an intimate 500-seat theatre inside the Pack Place complex, with convenient off-street parking and numerous downtown restaurants within a block of the theatre. Diana Wortham Theatre offers live performances of music, theatre, and dance throughout the year by nationally touring artists (the Mainstage Series) as well as a wide array of performances by professional and avocational regional arts groups. Buy tickets online or call the box office at (828) 257-4530 to plan your trip!
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock, the 535-million-year-old monolith for which the Park is named, is considered one of the most iconic sites in North Carolina. From its top, you’ll soak in the 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The Park features mountain hiking trails for all ages and abilities and is by far one of the most fun and adventurous things to do when visiting Asheville. Be sure to check out the park’s website for the latest happening (like their summer concert series, and special events).
Gray Line Trolley Tours
There is no better way to discover what Asheville has to offer than on a Gray Line Trolley Tour. These fun-filled trolleys can be seen all over the downtown area and are really worth jumping on and taking a tour. Each tour creates a fully-narrated journey, highlighting the history, homes, and hot-spots of this “city of surprises.” Be sure to check out their Ghost Tour Series as well (if you dare) for a fun and spooky look at the dark side of Asheville.
Eating Asheville Walking Food Tours
Hungry for a taste of Asheville but don’t know where to start? May we suggest signing up for an amazing walking food tour where you will experience Asheville one bite and sip at a time. Fit for foodies and everyone that eats – you will visit at least six restaurants on each tour, which is more than enough for lunch! Check out the sights, sounds, and flavors and enjoy Asheville’s best food on foot. Click here to schedule your tour.
Asheville Brewery Tours
Asheville Brewery Tours brings you a complete touring experience. You will not only sample some of Asheville’s greatest craft beers, you will also get to immerse yourself in the eclectic ambiance that is the local beer scene of Asheville. Each of the breweries on our tour has a distinct style in their brewing and in their incredibly varied atmosphere.
Illusions Day Spa
As an alternative to the in-room massages we offer at Crooked Oak Mountain Inn and for those looking for a full-service day spa, we suggest a visit to one of our favorite local places, Illusions Day Spa. Enjoy an atmosphere of peace and serenity, and escape the stresses of your busy world. Asheville’s top spa professionals are ready to serve you from within the romantic surround of a stylishly renovated 1920′s home, only steps from Downtown. Click here to learn more.
Biltmore Fitness
Stay in shape while you are on vacation by heading to Biltmore Fitness for a quick run on the treadmill or an amazing group fitness class. We have long been members of Biltmore Fitness and recommend them to all our guests. The gym is modern, clean, and they offer great classes and day pass options. Click here to learn more.