Since moving to Atlanta seven years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of spending three different weekends in Asheville, North Carolina. The city absolutely captured my heart the first time with it’s funky hippie vibe and gorgeous mountain backdrop, (it also happens to be where I fell in love with my husband, so maybe I’m biased ;)) After three visits, I’m even more in love with the city, and feel like I know it like the back of my hand. I most recently hosted a girls’ weekend in Asheville with my mom and sister, who are from Ohio and had never been before, so I just knew I had to share my Asheville Weekend Travel Guide with you! Here is exactly what we did, as well as all my recommendations.
Asheville Weekend Travel Guide
Each time I’ve come to Asheville, it’s been a little different. The first time, we were there with friends, the second time was a romantic New Years Eve getaway, and the third time was a girls’ trip. I’m going to give options for all sorts of trips below!
Where to Stay
Downtown Asheville is compact enough to get around on foot, so I recommend making it your home base in most cases! You’ll have no problem getting by all weekend by walking around or by ride hailing, so the city is really where you want to be if you only have a weekend.
Convenience: A hotel downtown
There are several great hotels right in the downtown area within walking distance to everything! If you have hotel points to use for one brand, pick your poison. They have it all. I’ve personally stayed at The Renaissance Marriott, which is on the lower-end of the price range. If you want to splurge, the brand new AC Hotel in the city center looks amazing and has a rooftop bar to die for.
Live like a local: AirBnb/VRBO
This past time I came with my mom and sister, we stayed in a VRBO apartment right in the heart of downtown, and it was an absolutely perfect choice. We were able to have a few comforts of home, save a little money, and really feel like a local. I love this option for groups because staying in the same place really cuts down on the coordination, and people are able to move more at their own pace. Here is the apartment we stayed in! Will definitely be booking this one again.
A Romantic Getaway: The Grove Park Inn
It’s about 10 minutes from downtown, but you can’t beat the beauty and breathtaking views from the Grove Park Inn. If you’re looking for a slower, more relaxing trip, this is the perfect spot to unwind, spa, and have a cocktail at sunset.
What To Do in Asheville, NC
Here is my most recent itinerary, plus a few extra recommendations!
Happy Hour. After arriving Friday afternoon, you’ll be ready for a drink after your travels. There’s no better first stop in Asheville than Wicked Weed Brewing. If you’re in downtown Asheville, this is an easy walk, and their selection of beers and the atmosphere is hard to beat. Even in the winter you can sit outside by one of their huge fire pits and enjoy the day. Try not to book an early dinner, you’ll want to stay here for a while 😉 Their food is delicious too.
Work up your appetite for dinner by 1. walking there and 2. stopping in every little cute shop you pass by that catches your eye to grab a non-corny souvenir from your trip. Buy yourself a crystal or something tie-died and feel like you belong.
Dinner time: One of the absolute best street corners in Asheville on Friday night is the corner of Biltmore Ave. and Patton St. It’s hard to walk the brick sidewalks and not stop to watch all the street performers and envy all the diners with the perfect view at their outside bistro table. Book a table at Rhubarb or Posana and sit outside. If you don’t, you’ll walk by and wish you were.
Another favorite of mine, Strada, is just across the street, and always satisfies. The menu is Italian, and you can dine in their restaurant, or in the little dive bar next door while you sip Chianti and moan over your arancini. It’s a fantastic way to spend your first night.
After-hours fun. You won’t have a problem finding nightlife in Asheville if that’s what you’re after. There is a never ending stream of bars, breweries, underground pool halls, and screaming groups of bachelorette parties after 11pm. I’m also a huge fan of finding a patio, ordering a bottle of wine, and just people watching.
100% Mandatory Breakfast Pilgrimage. Tupelo Honey. You need to go, you need to make reservations, and you need to start lining up at 8:45am. You must order the fried green tomatoes. Yes, at 9am. You will not regret it.
After-breakfast pick-me-up. You are going to be in a food coma after that, but no worries. Asheville is full of the cutest little coffee shops. I LOVE High Five Coffee or Green Sage Cafe for fresh juice right around the corner from Tupelo Honey.
As you’re sipping your caffeine and walking off your fried chicken, stop by the City Market held right downtown on Saturday mornings to see all types of local vendors and artisans.
Mandatory Tourist Activity: The Biltmore Estate
You absolutely must go to the Biltmore if you haven’t before. It’s a sight you must see for yourself to believe. Buy your tickets in advance- yes, it’s like $70pp- but it’s worth it. Your ticket gets you a self-guided tour of the house, the gardens (swoon) and a free wine tasting in Antler Hill Village. This is EASILY 3-4 hours worth of activities, so you’ll get your money’s worth, and you’ll burn off that breakfast. Antler Hill Village (you’ll have to drive or take an Uber there after the house tour) has a gorgeous winery and gift shop- yes, the Biltmore makes their own wine!- and two different restaurants if you’re ready for a bite to eat.
Afternoon pick-me-up. After your tour, head back to your home base, freshen up, and gear up for the 2nd half of the day. Double D’s Coffee Shop is something you can’t miss walking up and down the streets of Asheville: it’s a double decker bus converted into a coffee/dessert food truck. Grab something delicious and enjoy the shade on one of their patio tables.
An Evening at the Grove Park.
Grab an Uber and head up the mountain about 10 minutes to the show-stopping Grove Park Inn. You can easily spend the whole evening here, so take it slow and soak it in. Start by walking straight through the lobby, out the double doors, onto their back patio. Walk down to the spa, see the waterfall, take photos, and come back up to the patio to grab a cocktail and enjoy the view.
The views of the mountains from the Grove Park can’t be done justice in a photo, but I tried. You simply must go for yourself and enjoy. After a cocktail, grab dinner at one of their many restaurants. I’m personally a fan of Edison– but make sure to grab a table outside for more of this.
After dinner, grab a drink from the lobby bar and park in a ricking chair in front of one of their enormous lobby fireplaces. You can’t beat it. Then, make your way to their dueling piano bar. Taylor and I went there once just for one drink, and ended up staying 6 hours. It’s a blast!
Enjoy Nature. On your way out of town today, make sure you don’t leave Asheville without enjoying some of the natural beauty! There are plenty of hiking trails if you’re up for an adventure, or you can drive to one of the many waterfalls nearby for a less sweaty experience.
One of my favorites, Looking Glass Falls, is a quick drive from Downtown Asheville, and requires little to no hiking. Because no one wants to get sweaty before driving home or getting on a plane. With a little mini adventure like this, you’ll feel like your “travel” day was a day well spent.
I hope you enjoyed this Asheville Weekend Travel Guide! Let me know if you travel to Asheville, what you did, and what you loved!