Everybody loves Asheville. That’s the impression you get from the large number of accolades lavished on this progressive, mid-size city on a regular basis. Frommer’s named it one of the "Top Seven Places to Live in the U.S", while Good Morning America ranked it among the “10 Most Beautiful Places in America.” It’s been called the "Happiest City for Women" by Self magazine, and one of the "25 Best Places for Business and Careers" by Forbes. It doesn’t hurt that the city is gorgeous—it’s located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National Forest.
- Biltmore: At a whopping 175,000 square feet, this mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II is the largest privately owned house in the United States. In addition to the 250-room chateau, the estate has an equestrian center, a winery, and lushly landscaped gardens. Guided and audio tours available.
- Asheville Glass Center features daily glass-blowing demonstrations, classes, and galleries filled with work by local artists.
- Walking tour: Hit the Urban Trail for a self-guided historic tour of downtown Asheville on a 1.6 mile loop, stopping at close to 30 points of interest along the way.
- Asheville Art Museum: A fine collection of 20th- and 21st-century American art, arranged in frequently changing exhibits
- Pisgah National Forest: Half a million acres of hiking heaven, with majestic mountains, waterfalls, and rushing rivers
- Blue Ridge Parkway: This famously scenic mountainous road features curvy switchbacks, outstanding views, and numerous trailheads.
- Fly fishing and whitewater rafting are huge in Asheville—check out one of the many businesses that offer gear rentals and expeditions into the wilderness.
Eat and Shop
- The Grove Arcade: Housed in a restored historic building downtown, this local-goods emporium is filled with restaurants, craft stores, and specialty food markets.
- Asheville Brewing Company: A beloved, award-winning microbrewery. Offerings range from the 3-hop Ninja Porter to the Fire Escape, which is brewed with roasted jalapenos. Brew n’ View events include gastropub fare and movie screenings.
- Tupelo Honey Cafe: Dine on down-home Southern cooking like fried chicken and Carolina mountain trout at this casual and welcoming restaurant with several locations throughout the city.
Where to Stay
- Inn on Biltmore Estate: Live like a Vanderbilt and splurge on a luxurious room on the grounds of the Biltmore estate, where you’ll have access to the property’s gourmet restaurants and top-notch spa.
- Beaufort House Inn: Stay in this pink Queen Anne mansion to enjoy two-course breakfasts, free wine socials in the evening, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Fun fact: the building was once the home of actor Charlton Heston.
- Albemarle Inn is a restored 1909 Greek Revival house in the Grove Park neighborhood about 10 minutes from downtown. It features lavish breakfasts and spacious rooms.