Head to Asheville for the day (or weekend) with these must-do’s

North Carolina’s Table Rock Mountain, in the Pisgah National Forest
North Carolina’s Table Rock Mountain, in the Pisgah National Forest Burke County Tourism Development Authority

Head west, young man — so the saying goes. And when you get to the “Land of the Sky,” here’s a handful of things you can do. Have fun on your day trip to Asheville.


Channel your inner aristocrat and get bougie at Biltmore. Take it back to the gilded age with a day at American’s largest privately owned home (aka house, winery and 8,000-acre estate with nine gardens, 13 shops, 15 dining ops and over 20 tours and activities). Drool over the architecture and history; tour the gorgeous historic gardens; enjoy wine tastings (pinky up, of course); access Antler Hill Village for shopping, dining and outdoor options; and more. Clearly a day is not enough, and a return trip will be immediately in order.

Grove Park Inn

As one of the country’s most historic hotels, the renowned property is worth a pit stop — from the nubby rock facade to the giant lobby fireplaces to the F. Scott Fitzgerald lore to the golf, spa, restos, views (obv) and more.

Asheville Urban Trail

Take a walk into history via the Asheville Urban Trail, a literal walking tour of the city’s rich history. The casz two-hour amble explores 30 sculptural trail stations, each repping a historical moment or achievement in the city’s fabled history (think Vanderbilt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, to name a select few). Plaque No. 1 is stationed in Asheville’s Pack Square. Get steppin’! Oh, and be sure to veer off-course for grub, brews, shops (think indie, handcrafted, vintage and chic wares to bookstores and wearable art) and buskers galore!

Pisgah National Forest

This pit stop (or long stop) located off the gorg must-drive 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway (meandering from Virginia through Western NC) at milepost 408.6, roughly 40 miles from downtown, the 500,000-acre wonderland — one of the country’s first national forests — is a breathtaking earthly wonder with hundreds of miles of trails, waterfalls, swimming holes and forest for you to get lost in (not literally, please).

Appalachian Trail

Whether for romance or rugged nature, the AT offers 2,000-plus miles of sun-soaked footpaths along the ridgecrests and valleys of the famed Appalachian Mountains. Any number of day-hike oppswill have you wanting to plan a return visit.


As if you need an(other) excuse to belly up, Asheville — with more breweries per capita than any other U.S. locale — is known for its bevvy of must-visit breweries and taverns. We’re looking at you Wicked Weed (@wickedweedbrewing), Thirsty Monk (@monkpub) and, well, any off this awesome “USA Today” 10 list (and others along the dusty trail as well). Oh, and in the spirit (get it?) of, well, spirits, you should totes fetch some Champagne with Fido while book shopping at Battery Park.


I know. Twist your arm. Triangle-ites are familiar with Tupelo Honeythese days, but fans may want to stop in the original for a bite (or some honey, obv). Other fare faves run the gamut from low-key taco stopsto high-end restos (think Biltmore, Grove Park’s Vue 1913and more) to top-notch meals by James Beard toques (Rhubarband The Rhu’s John Fleer and Buxton Hall Barbecue’s Elliott Moss) to seeminglyhole-in-the-wall spots like The Admiral(rated No. 1 by our friends at “USA Today”). Def a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

Thomas Wolfe’s childhood house

The subject of Wolfe’s famed autobiographical coming-of-age story, “Look Homeward, Angel,” the site serves as a memorial to the American literary giant’s history — and a supercool peek into a Victorian past. House tours are offered Tue.-Sat. at half past each hour between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

North Carolina Arboretum

Green thumbs will want to make time for this massive public garden, including azalea and bonsai collections and much more.

River Arts District

Artists and art lovers alike will want to navigate to this district, comprised of more than 20 former industrial and historical buildings, for a stroll to meet artists and enjoy works from over 200 of them in myriad mediums.