I love Asheville. I first came to this city on my first drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and instantly fell in love. Was there for less than 48 hours and knew I had to come back. The second time I came, was with my mom, and didn’t spend nearly enough time.
It is a city that is quickly becoming a recurring stop of mine any time I find myself close, and I feel like I still have so much to see and experience. I could truly spend an entire month here and don’t know if that will still be enough. Hopefully after a weekend here, you will feel the same!
HOW TO GET THERE?
You can fly directly into Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). The airport is ~a half an hour from downtown Asheville and receives flights from major cities such Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta and LaGuardia (NYC).
In addition to flying, Asheville would make a great road trip stop, especially if you are driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Or, you can take a bus. There is a Greyhound bus station in downtown Asheville.
Once you are in Asheville, car rentals will be your choice depending on what you plan on doing. If you plan to stay in the downtown Asheville area, then you could get by without a car. Asheville has both Uber and Lyft. However, if you plan to go to the Biltmore, or see any of the surrounding areas, it is best to have a car.
Because of this, I will have two weekend itineraries for you – the ‘I have a car’ or the ‘I have no car’ options! Feel free to mix / match and adjust to fit your ideal weekend getaway in Asheville!
OPTION #1: ‘I HAVE A CAR’
You will arrive in Asheville and get checked in to your accommodation.
There are so many options to choose from – but if you plan on having a car, make sure to not just check within Asheville, but also the beautiful AirBnBs in the mountains just outside of the city.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is home to seriously delicious fried chicken. And when they say ‘hot chicken,’ they do mean HOT. But don’t worry – if you are like me, and hate spicy, you can get their chicken mild, too.
If you want something more downtown, try Buxton Hall BBQ.
You are going to spend the day here. There is so much to do, you could really do an entire weekend just at the Biltmore (and it would be the perfect spot for a girls weekend!), but if you want to see more of Asheville on your weekend, we will spend just a day here.
Now that you are inside the Biltmore, take your time, get out your camera, and enjoy everything that you are able in a day:
*Please be sure to drink responsibly and don’t drink & drive.
There is a lot to do at the Biltmore and would make for a long day, so it would depend on your preference how much more you’d want to plan.
If you don’t want to add more to your plate, take the wine and chocolate you picked up at the Biltmore and go unwind at your hotel or AirBnB.
If you feel like you would want to do more, see if there are any shows at the Asheville Music Hall.
Depending on how quickly you need your coffee in the morning, you will head to Vortex Doughnuts either before or after your check out of your accommodation.
If you need your morning caffeine fix right away, grab your goodies from Vortex to go and bring it back to your hotel to enjoy while you pack up. Otherwise, this will be your stop as you head out for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Virginia through North Carolina and connects two National Parks – the Shenandoah National Park & the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Take your time driving along the BRP from Asheville to Looking Glass Falls and stop at the outlooks – it is just beautiful. The drive to Looking Glass Falls is ~1 hour, so you can take more or less time at the outlooks depending on how much time you have.
You can also visit the website to see if there are any specific hikes you may want to add to the day, time willing.
There are so many waterfalls and hikes along the BRP, but I chose Looking Glass Falls due to its accessibility. There is no hike involved.
You will take the BRP to Rte 276, where you will get off the Parkway and into Pisgah National Forest. Looking Glass Falls is right on Rte 276.
Again, there is no hike needed. You will park along the road, and can see the waterfall from the side of the road. If able to do stairs, there are some stairs that will bring you closer to the falls. But it is not needed to be able to enjoy the falls.
You can’t leave the Asheville area without checking out at least one brewery or taproom. And this taproom is right next to the Airport just waiting for you to stop in as your last stop before leaving Asheville.
OPTION #2: ‘I DON’T HAVE A CAR’
*Disclaimer: I have not spent as much time in the downtown area as I like, so some of the selections on this list are on my ‘wishlist’ and not on my ‘I’ve been to’ list. But the selections are made based on research and are definitely on my list for the next time I get to visit!
You will arrive in Asheville and get checked in to your accommodation.
And don’t worry if you plan on going carless – Asheville does have Uber and Lyft (both from the Asheville Regional Airport), and you can find many options for accommodations downtown from hostels (yes- hostels!) to luxury hotels.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is a little out of the downtown area, so for dinner, go barbeque at Buxton Hall BBQ.
This stop is on the list whether you went with Option 1 or 2 … they have really good doughnuts that you don’t want to miss!
More than 200 artists work in the RAD of Asheville. From outdoor installations to galleries to shops – check out their map to navigate where to even start.
Did you know that Asheville is also known as the ‘Beer City’ and has the most breweries per capita in the U.S.? I haven’t been able to even make a dent in Asheville’s beer scene – but this is high on my wishlist. And for your afternoon, you are going to do a small brewery hop.
**I picked this group because they are all walkable amongst each other and you will not be driving. But there are so many breweries to choose from – it is Beer City after all – so feel free to ask a local what their favorites are. And please remember to drink responsibly.
Are you even hungry at this point? You may be completely full of beer, or ready to get some food. If the latter, go to Bhramari Brewing Company for some Chicago deep-dish style pizza. Something a little hearty to soak up the beer.
And then end your night by seeing what is going on at the Asheville Music Hall.
If you want to skip dinner – head back to your accommodation to rest before going to a show!
You will need to check out of your accommodations or see if you can have a late check out.
If you need to check out, you will want to see if you can store your luggage. Otherwise, you will need to bring it with you for the day.
After all of the food and beer you had this weekend – a walk around the botanical garden is great way to digest some food before you get on your flight home.
With your heart full of art & music and stomach full of beer, either make your way back to pick up your luggage, or just get an Uber/Lyft straight to the airport.
And know that it will be a ‘see you later’ because I am sure you, too, will fall in love with this city and will be back.
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