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Visiting Asheville is a good choice as it is a city you will fall in love with from the moment you arrive.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, it’s a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself. Whether you’re looking for a foodie town, a quiet stroll downtown, surrounding nature, or an adrenaline rush on one of Asheville’s many beautiful hiking trails, this is perfect for a weekend trip.
If you have two days to spare in your busy life, prepare your gear and notes because we’ve listed the best places to visit so you can make your own plan when you visit or spend a weekend in Asheville.
- Design Your Own Asheville Itinerary
- What to bring on a 2-day trip to Asheville?
- Places to Visit for your 2-day itinerary in Asheville, North Carolina
- Where to Eat and Drink for Your 2-day Trip to Asheville, NC Itinerary
- How to Plan Your 2 Days in Asheville, North Carolina Itinerary
- What is Asheville, North Carolina, best known for?
- What is the best month to visit Asheville, North Carolina?
- How many days do you need in Asheville, North Carolina?
- What is unique to Asheville?
- Is Asheville worth visiting?
Design Your Own Asheville Itinerary
From breathtaking views to unique activities, there are plenty of things to enjoy in Asheville – so sit back and relax because we’re going to equip your list with the best places that will give you an experience of a lifetime while you are staying in North Carolina.
Plan for an Asheville weekend getaway as there are plenty of gorgeous places to visit – like the Biltmore Estate, local craft breweries, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Here you can spend hours on fun recreational activities like hiking, biking, shopping, restaurants, wine tasting, and listening to street musicians while enjoying the unique architecture.
Asheville’s rich cultural history and beautiful setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains offer something for everyone. Let us join you in creating the best Asheville Itinerary that you can design based on your preference.
What to bring on a 2-day trip to Asheville?
If you want the best possible weekend in Asheville, you need to prepare and pack like you’re going on a mission. Using your unique Asheville Itinerary, get ready for a fun journey.
Here is a list of things that you should not forget:
Make sure you have something that can capture the beauty of the places around you, whether it’s your phone or a high-quality camera. This includes a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, its hiking trails, and everything else you will experience during your self-guided tour.
Pack outfits that are both fashionable and comfortable to wear while traveling. Your clothing will depend on the time of year you’re visiting but also on what kind of activities you anticipate doing. Also, you might want to leave some room in your suitcase for purchases at some of Asheville’s adorable boutiques.
As most tours will require a lot of long hours of standing around and strolling – don’t forget to bring your water bottle. It could be a hassle if you’re on tour and there are no stores within walking distance.
You can bring light snacks that can fit in your bag, too! I always like to have a granola bar with me if I plan to be out for a long day.
It is impossible to get everything done in just two days without your list. So that you don’t waste time searching for attractions, make a list of things to do, places to visit, things to see, and food to eat.
Your Asheville itinerary should feature every pertinent detail, such as hotel info, recommended restaurants, and transportation options.
Places to Visit for your 2-day itinerary in Asheville, North Carolina
Here’s a list of things to do and things to see to create your own schedule for your Asheville vacation:
The Biltmore Estate
Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
How much time do you need to visit: 6 to 8 hours
The Biltmore Estate, once owned by George Vanderbilt, now attracts more than a million tourists annually. This sprawling estate is more like a picturesque neighborhood of Asheville, North Carolina, and has a lot to offer even beyond the estate’s borders.
You can also choose to stay to the top hotels while you’re there such as the Grand Bohemian Hotel and the Oakland Cottage Bed and Breakfast. Both are lovely accommodations located near the Biltmore Estate.
Check out this self-guided audio tour of the estate for an interesting way to spend your weekend getaway. Here are some highlights of the estate that you should not miss out on:
The enormous size and lavishness of the house are immediately apparent as you approach it. It exudes an air of nobility thanks to its pointed roofs, rich color palette, and intricate architecture.
Given the estate’s size, along with its garden, it sure has a lot of attractions to offer for tourists from everywhere around the world. Its Winter Garden is designed to resemble an indoor garden, complete with a glass roof that allows natural light to pass through so plants can thrive.
It is recommended to reserve the 90-minute audio guide as the narrator shares stories about what life was like as you stroll through the 175,000-square-foot mansion (which is more than 4 acres of floor space).
Since the Biltmore House has 250 rooms, there is still much to discuss. Here are a few more things to look forward to:
- Mrs. Vanderbilt’s oval bedroom, one of 35 in the house, features a painted ceiling, beautiful silk fabrics, and Louis XV-style furniture.
- If you are a bookworm, you will probably love the vast library that consists of about 10,000 volumes.
- It also features 65 original fireplaces and 43 bathrooms.
- A Tapestry Gallery is where designs appear to tell various tales from the past.
- The home features not only the main kitchen but also separate pastry, rotisserie, and pantry kitchens.
- The magnificent seven-story high banquet hall is the largest room in the house and is where the owners hosted lavish dinner parties for guests.
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Your admission to the estate includes strolling through 2.5 miles of paths that weave in and out of the beautifully landscaped Biltmore Gardens.
When you look around, you will first notice how the immaculate state of the plants. The bright colors, especially when it’s sunny, make such a beautiful view.
You can go for a stroll in the woods, the meadows, or along the banks of the French Broad River; you certainly won’t get bored here. The Biltmore Estate has a vast trail network that allows visitors to leisurely explore the grounds on foot or by bicycle.
A century after its completion, Biltmore continues to serve as a model for environmental responsibility through initiatives like installing solar panels across nine acres of land.
It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, widely regarded as the “Father of Landscape Architecture in America,” who is also responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City.
Here are highlights you don’t want to miss within the area:
- Rose Garden
- Italian Garden
- Shrub Garden
- Spring Garden
- Walled Garden
- Azalea Garden
- Bass Pond and Boat House
Biltmore Wine Experiences
Visiting the Biltmore Winery and a complimentary wine tasting are included in your ticket. They offer four unique wine experiences for something a little more personal and unique.
Before going to the entrance, you will have to walk a long trail that is surrounded by plants. Upon entry, there is a cave-like walkway with lights on the walls that give a very welcoming feeling. Along this walk, you can see historical devices, artifacts, and machinery to make wine.
While a simple wine tasting is complimentary for all visitors, you can upgrade your ticket to get a more in-depth experience. Here are some of the highlights:
- Behind-the-scenes winery tour and tasting: Get a sneak peek into the Biltmore Winery production facility and a private wine tasting. Offered daily, it’s $10 per person.
- Red wine and chocolate tasting: No additional description is required for this pairing; this tour upgrade is $25 per person and is offered daily.
- Wine and cheese hour: This activity is suitable for beginners and for people who want to know more about wine. This could help you start up your interest and understand the differences between your drinks, how you will drink them, and the best food to eat when you are drinking them.
- Celebration of sparkling wine: Cheers to this special insider’s look and tasting of Biltmore’s sparkling wines and appetizers. Offered Sunday through Friday, the cost is $25 per person.
Address: 7 All Souls Crescent; Asheville, NC 28803
How much time do you need to visit: 30 minutes
Biltmore Estate’s Asheville gate is located just across from Biltmore Village, a shopping and dining center that features more than 40 local shops, including an ice cream shop and ten restaurants. Most of the shops are housed in historic cottages and buildings.
The village is lovely to roam around in, with its tree-lined avenues, brick sidewalks, and medieval-style buildings. As you walk or drive down the street, you may feel as if you’ve been transported to a different country.
The businesses here have a nineteenth-century feel, making this an ideal location for any photography enthusiasts out there. Seeing these types of construction everywhere gives a lot about the village’s history.
Antler Hill Village & Winery
Address: 195 Hemphill Knob Rd, Asheville, NC 28803
How much time do you need to visit: 60 minutes
Before starting your Asheville trip, the first recommended thing is to go and check the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center. At the visitor center, you can receive important information that can help you with your tour and different guidelines.
One of the cool things here is the high-tech map wherein you can move the screen from left to right along the map, and it automatically shows you significant landmarks and things to do in Asheville. There is also some educational information about the roads of Blue Ridge so tourists do not get lost or at least know where they can safely stop to take a breath.
See Related: Top Restaurants in Asheville, North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Drives
How much time do you need to visit: 6 hours
The Blue Ridge Parkway is more about the journey rather than the destination.
It snakes through nearly 500 miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Smoky Mountains, waterfalls, and tunnels – from Virginia to North Carolina.
Asheville is located near the southern part of the parkway, where there are still dozens of beautiful outlooks worthy of an afternoon drive or a sunset view. North would lead you to the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.
If you continue to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will come to a number of different stops along the way to take a look at the view and see trees and cliffs on both sides of the road. These locations provide access to some of the most breathtaking views in the area.
Check out this convenient Blue Ridge Parkway virtual guide, which indicates the milepost marker to easily locate beautiful overlooks where you can safely pull off the road, take pictures, have a picnic lunch, and, in some places, hike.
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French Broad Overlook
Address: 3938 Blue Rdg Pkwy, Arden, NC 28704, USA
How much time do you need to visit: 30 minutes
Traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll come across a long bridge and the French Broad Overlook. Both offer breathtaking views of the enormous river known as the French Broad River below. You will be greeted by stunning mountain views and blue skies that seem to touch the peaks.
The best times to get to the overlook are golden hour and just before sunset, to watch all the magical, rich colors around you.
This area features a large sign and a parking lot. If you want to spend more time here than just taking pictures from the overlook, you can do it by parking your car and walking north along the parkway.
As you reach the summit, you can notice the fog will get thicker, and once you are there, you will reach the Pisgah National Forest. Then, you can stay at Mount Pisgah Campground, Abrams Creek Campground or the Omni Grove Park Inn.
See Related: Things to Do in Fayetteville, North Carolina
Pisgah National Forest
How much time do you need to visit: 2.75 hours
Located in Western North Carolina, the Pisgah National Forest protects more than 500,000 acres of the Appalachian Mountains.
The forest is divided into three ranger districts: The Appalachia District (north Asheville), The Grandfather District, and The Pisgah District (south of Asheville).
If you drive around Mount Pisgah, you’ll be in the middle of the woods, and there are campers everywhere, most of them in RVs. You can settle your vehicle in designated parking spots, set up a table, have a great time with your friends, or unwind a little if you are by yourself.
When you’re done settling down, you can walk around and enjoy the fresh air, hike a little bit and go back to your vehicle.
It is also just an hour away from the famous views of the Omni Grove Park Inn for a more comfortable stay.
Address: Downtown Asheville, NC 28801
How much time do you need to visit: 2 hours
If you are spending a weekend in Asheville, it is best not to miss the creative energy of downtown Asheville. Downtown Asheville is just 20 to 30 minutes away from Asheville Regional Airport.
When you are in a different city or country, visiting historical places can give you knowledge about it, but it is not the only way. Going to parks and spending time outdoors with locals can also help you know their culture and history.
Traveling during festivals and big events is also one of the best ways to enjoy a country’s heritage. These activities will let you enjoy more of your tour!
In other words, if you are outgoing and enjoy social gatherings, you will adore these activities. You can be a part of a fancy wine-drinking event, taste delicious food, and enjoy good music. There are concerts, art galleries, craft beers, and more!
As you look around the area of downtown Asheville, there are street performers and local artists everywhere. From drummers to guitar and banjo players, they are literally in almost every corner of the city.
You can also see Pack Square Park and the Pack Place Education, Arts & Science Center, which houses several museums, such as the Asheville Art Museum and The Colburn Earth Science Museum.
The options are too many to count. All you have to do is to make sure to choose the right time and date to experience these activities.
Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfall Tour
How much time do you need to visit: 5 hours
Find your way along the Blue Ridge Parkway with the help of an online map and bronze markers. Beyond the trail, there are plenty of different waterfalls near Asheville that you can explore if you’re an outdoor enthusiast.
The sound of the water flowing and these landscapes could be one of the best parts of your trip. If you love nature, these falls are the place to be.
If you find relaxation by merely watching nature, such as trees and moving water, then these are the finest places to relax and should be on your weekend getaway list.
There are multiple waterfalls hikes that you can choose from, and since these are day trips, you can still add more to your plans for night trips to other locations to really expand your experience.
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Thomas Wolfe Memorial of Historic Asheville
How much time do you need to visit: 20 minutes
Even if you’re not familiar with Thomas Wolfe’s work, you might find the story of his enormous 29-room “Old Kentucky Home” interesting. Visit the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, where this classic author spent his childhood in his mother’s boardinghouse.
He has written four full-length novels and numerous shorter works, such as short plays and novellas. He often interweaves autobiographical details with prose that is highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, or impressionistic.
Since its initial release in 1929, Thomas Wolfe’s novel Look Homeward, Angel has remained in print, sustaining interest in the author and drawing readers from all over the world to the fictional town depicted in the novel.
Even the author’s furniture is still set up in much the same way as when he lived there. In each of the 29 rooms, Wolfe’s words continue to serve as a reminder of the author’s legacy.
The North Carolina Arboretum
Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
How much time do you need to visit: 1.5 hours
Located just south of downtown Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest of the Pisgah National Forest.
If you are a nature enthusiast and are interested in adding more gardens and landscapes to your itinerary while in Asheville, then you absolutely must visit this location. In addition to the gorgeous gardens that are there year-round, they also host a variety of different exhibits throughout the year.
The North Carolina Arboretum, with more than 10 miles of trails, is also a great place for hiking, biking, or walking your dog. With all of these trails, you can easily spend more time there.
Still, 90 minutes to two hours should be enough. Before venturing out on any of the trails to the rest of the Arboretum, be sure to explore the area right around the visitor center, which is home to some excellent sculptures and other features.
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Address: 1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
How much time do you need to visit: 1 hour
Would you like to spend your days in Asheville looking into interesting history and vintage architecture with your shopping? Then make sure to add the historic Grove Arcade to your Asheville itinerary. No, it’s not a place to play arcade games (that’s across the street at the Pinball Museum).
The Grove Arcade houses several local merchants, shops, and restaurants – including my favorite: Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar (yes, you can drink champagne while reading).
Originally built in the 1920s to anchor a new commercial district in the heart of downtown Asheville, this building was closed for military use during World War II. It later became home to the National Weather Records Center.
In 1976, the Grove Arcade was added to the National Register of Historic Places in honor of its significant historical contribution. A number of decades later, the structure was brought back to its former glory and reopened to the public.
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ASHEVILLE Pinball Museum
Address: 1 Battle Square Ste 1b, Asheville, NC 28801
How much time do you need to visit: As long as you want!
If you or your kids are disappointed the Grove Arcade didn’t feature any video games, cross the street to Asheville’s Pinball Museum. This place features over seventy-five vintage pinball machines, a few video games, and a large collection of related memorabilia. Guests can enjoy unlimited play on over 30 different pinball machines.
The museum features much more than just games. The walls and shelves are lined with retro pinball, arcade, and pop culture artifacts that are sure to evoke a flood of fond memories in those of a certain age.
There are also opportunities to purchase individual arcade cabinets so that you can take your favorite classic game home with you.
Visits to the arcade are free of charge, but playing will set you back $15 for an adult and $12 for a child 10 and under. The admission price not only grants you access to the building but also allows you to use the tokens all day long. Book a tour now.
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Where to Eat and Drink for Your 2-day Trip to Asheville, NC Itinerary
Eating and drinking in Asheville is another excellent experience that is best done with family and friends while you’re in the area.
With different cuisines from all over the world, you can definitely satisfy your appetite with the number of restaurants in the area. From pubs, bars, barbecues, and snacks, not only will your tummy be well-fed, but also your curiosity about diverse foods.
You can go from wine-tasting in Biltmore to beer-tasting in pubs, or you could sit in cafes and enjoy your day with a chill and quiet experience. Plus, many restaurants here offer portions that are sure to satisfy your hunger after a long day of exploring.
Pack’s Tavern Speakeasy Lore
Address: 20 S Spruce St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA
How much time do you need to visit: 1 hour
If you want to visit one of the most popular Asheville breweries, just look for the bright yellow truck outside the establishment’s Pack Square location.
We were drawn to Pack’s Tavern by its rich history, but the pub’s tasty fare and selection of local beers are also big draws.
The Pack’s Tavern “South Bar” occupies what was once one of Asheville’s oldest buildings, constructed in 1907 by a lumber supply company. It is the historic Hayes and Hopson building in the middle of Downtown Asheville’s Pack Square Park, which has been a community staple for decades.
The restaurant also caters to those with special dietary needs and serves hearty comfort food.
You are highly encouraged to order a beverage along with your meal, regardless of whether you select items from the gluten-free menu, the lunch menu, or the standard all-day selection. The beer selection at the tavern is quite impressive, with brews coming from all over the state of North Carolina that are available.
French Broad Chocolate Factory & Cafe
Address: 21 Riverside Dr #199, Asheville, NC 28801
How much time do you need to visit: 30 minutes
If you have watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and you want to experience what he did, well, Asheville has something to offer that’s a lot like it.
A good thing about the French Broad Chocolate Factory tour is they present you with details on how they’re supporting local farms and farmers and how they establish relationships with them in able to strengthen their bond with each other. They also show different parts of the world where their chocolate comes from.
What’s amazing about this tour is that you can see the step-by-step process of making chocolates. Watching these steps are really mouth-watering, and it ticks your curiosity about these delectable bites even more.
This is a must-stop for all chocoholics. While you can enjoy and savor the decadent treats in their retail space, sign up for one of their factory tours to learn more about cacao and how chocolate is made.
30-minute tours are offered daily at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 pm, and their 1-hour tours are offered on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 am. All tours are offered at the Riverside location, located in downtown Asheville.
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Address: 22 Frannys Farm Rd, Leicester, NC 28748, USA
Franny’s Farm is one of the first commercial hemp farms in North Carolina (located about 10 miles from downtown Asheville). This organic farm offers tours that include food and beer.
Gardens of all kinds can be found here, from vegetables to fruits to flowers to a hill covered in blueberries that you can pick yourself.
They also welcome the public and private use of their venue for various purposes, including events, classes, getaways in our eco cabins, camping, and even lodging in the original barn house.
You may choose the farm or stay in the farmhouse or in one of their eco-cabins.
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Address: 51 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28804, USA
While touring a brewery is not necessarily out of the ordinary, you can find some unique experiences to include in your Asheville itinerary.
For example, the Amazing Pubcycle is BYOB (bring your own beer or wine), where you and five to 12 of your friends pedal around town (with some engine assistance for those hills) and stop at two different breweries. It even comes heated on those cooler days and nights.
If you’re looking for something less physical, take a locally guided tour with Asheville Brewery Tours. They offer several mobile multi-brewery tours that make stops at three to four breweries – even a sunset tour option.
If walking is more your thing, you can explore the downtown Asheville breweries on their dog-friendly walking tours.
Top Restaurants in Asheville
- Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar – Unique twist on Southern comfort food
Address: 12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
- Bouchon – Traditional French food made with local ingredients
Address: 62 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
- The Market Place – Fresh farm-to-table cuisine and amazing brunch
Address: 20 Wall St, Asheville, NC 28801
- Cúrate – Fabulous Spanish tapas and specialty cocktails
Address: 13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
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How to Plan Your 2 Days in Asheville, North Carolina Itinerary
With so much to do and see, where do you start? I recommend planning your Asheville itinerary around Biltmore Estate.
Take note that tickets to the house must be reserved in advance. To find better parking, avoid crowds, and give yourself extra time to explore the gardens, winery, and Antler’s Village, it is recommended to make a reservation online and select the earliest available time.
They also offer special discounts online for discounted Biltmore Estate tickets and book a Biltmore house tour.
What is Asheville, North Carolina, best known for?
When you search about Asheville or try to check sources for a glimpse of it, one of the most suggested places to visit is the Biltmore Estate, then spend the rest of your trip in downtown Asheville and have a lot of fun.
What is the best month to visit Asheville, North Carolina?
In Asheville, the best time to visit this place is during the spring or fall – from March to June or late September. Considering that there are many outdoor activities, and most of your trip requires hiking in nature and walking around the village, it is recommended to travel at this time to enjoy the perfect weather and wear comfortable clothes while going to different locations.
How many days do you need in Asheville, North Carolina?
If you’re just going to visit Asheville’s main attraction, the Biltmore Estate, a 2-day trip is enough to enjoy the opulent mansion and a few other top attractions. But if you would like to come across some more adventures that require a lot of activity, such as hiking or kayaking, three days in Asheville is recommended.
What is unique to Asheville?
While there is a growing trend toward urban renewal and the construction of industrial cities, nowhere else has such a distinct style been preserved as in Asheville. Great architecture unique to Asheville has helped preserve the city’s past and create the impression that you’ve been transported for many decades.
Is Asheville worth visiting?
Whether you’re a first-time traveler or someone who has been traveling a lot, it’s hard not to mention Asheville is the perfect destination for your ultimate weekend. There’s no doubt that your itinerary will be full of incredible travel experiences and that you’ll return home with countless incredible photographs to remember them by.
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A former hockey mom entering her fourth year as an emptynester, Karen Mellott-Foshier (aka kmf) recently resigned from the corporate life after 25+ years as a journalist, corporate communications manager, writer, and editor.
After microblogging about her travel adventures on social media for more than a decade, kmf is now a full-service travel agent and author of the travel and lifestyle blog, kmfiswriting.com, where she shares destination inspiration, travel tips, book reviews, and updates on her quest to find the best mac and cheese.