18 Best Places and Things To Do in Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina is a vibrant city nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and thriving arts scene, Asheville offers a plethora of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests.

1. Asheville Botanical Gardens

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Nestled within the University of North Carolina at Asheville campus, the Asheville Botanical Gardens offer a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Take a peaceful walk through the beautifully landscaped gardens, learn about native plant species, and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

2. Asheville Art Museum

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Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, the Asheville Art Museum showcases a diverse collection of American art with a focus on works from the Southeast. Explore the rotating exhibits and gain a deeper appreciation for the region’s artistic heritage.

3. The North Carolina Arboretum

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The North Carolina Arboretum covers 434 acres of land, featuring an impressive array of gardens and exhibits. Explore the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, which showcases a stunning collection of meticulously pruned and cared-for bonsai trees. The Heritage Garden celebrates the native flora of the Southern Appalachian region, while the Quilt Garden is a colorful display inspired by traditional quilt patterns. Additionally, the National Native Azalea Collection and the Stream Garden are among the many highlights waiting to be discovered.

4. Basilica of Saint Lawrence

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Designed by renowned architect Rafael Guastavino and completed in 1909, the Basilica of Saint Lawrence showcases a blend of Spanish Renaissance and Baroque Revival architectural styles. The building’s exterior is adorned with intricate details, including ornate sculptures, stained glass windows, and a prominent dome.

5. Asheville Pinball Museum

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The Asheville Pinball Museum is a popular attraction located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is a unique museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and artistry of pinball machines. The museum features a large collection of vintage and modern pinball machines that visitors can play and enjoy.

6. Grovewood Village

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Grovewood Village is situated on the grounds of the historic Biltmore Industries complex, which was established in 1901 by Edith Vanderbilt and two weaving instructors. It was originally a weaving and woodworking enterprise that produced high-quality textiles and handmade furniture. Today, the village preserves the heritage and craftsmanship of this bygone era.

7. Western North Carolina Nature Center

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The Western North Carolina Nature Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is a popular attraction that showcases the region’s diverse wildlife and natural habitats. It offers visitors the opportunity to learn about and observe native species through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The nature center is home to a wide variety of animals that are native to the Southern Appalachians and surrounding regions.

8. Thomas Wolfe Memorial

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Thomas Wolfe was a prominent American novelist and playwright, known for his vivid and autobiographical works. His best-known novel, “Look Homeward, Angel,” draws heavily from his experiences growing up in Asheville and depicts the fictional town of Altamont, which closely resembles his hometown.

9. Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove

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The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, often referred to simply as The Cove, is a Christian conference center and retreat located in Asheville, North Carolina. Established by renowned evangelist Billy Graham and his family, The Cove offers a peaceful and scenic setting for spiritual enrichment, training, and fellowship.

10. The Montford Park Players

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The Montford Park Players specialize in producing the works of William Shakespeare but also perform other classical and contemporary plays. Their performances are held in the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater, an outdoor venue located in Montford. The amphitheater provides a unique and picturesque setting for theater productions, surrounded by nature and offering a cozy atmosphere for audiences.

11. Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary

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The Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary is a natural haven for birdwatching and wildlife observation located in Asheville, North Carolina. Situated near the Beaver Lake Reservoir, this sanctuary provides a peaceful and scenic environment for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers. The sanctuary encompasses approximately 7 acres of protected land, including wetlands, forests, and open areas. It offers a diverse habitat that attracts a wide variety of bird species throughout the year.

12. Carrier Park

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Carrier Park is a popular public park located in Asheville, North Carolina. Situated along the French Broad River, the park offers a variety of recreational activities and amenities for visitors of all ages. The park spans over 35 acres and features a range of facilities and attractions. One of the main highlights is the sports complex, which includes multiple baseball and softball fields, as well as a multipurpose field for soccer, lacrosse, and other team sports. These fields are often used for league games, tournaments, and community events.

13. Bent Creek Experimental Forest

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Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a research forest located in the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, United States. It is managed by the United States Forest Service and serves as a hub for scientific research and education related to forest ecosystems. The forest encompasses approximately 6,000 acres and offers a diverse range of ecosystems, including hardwood forests, pine plantations, and high-elevation spruce-fir forests. It is situated within the Pisgah National Forest and is part of the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service.

14. Asheville Radio Museum

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The Asheville Radio Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and preservation of radio technology. Unfortunately, as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, there was no specific information available about a radio museum in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s possible that the museum you’re referring to has been established since then or may have a different name. I recommend checking online resources, local directories, or contacting the Asheville tourism office for the most up-to-date information on any radio-related museums in the area.

15. Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center

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The Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center is a museum located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and legacy of Black Mountain College, an experimental and influential educational institution that operated from 1933 to 1957. The museum showcases a collection of artworks, documents, photographs, and other artifacts related to the history of Black Mountain College. It offers exhibitions, educational programs, lectures, and performances that explore the college’s interdisciplinary approach to arts, music, dance, literature, and more.

16. Asheville Museum of Science

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The Asheville Museum of Science, also known as AMOS, is a science museum located in Asheville, North Carolina. The museum aims to inspire and educate visitors of all ages about the wonders of science and the natural world. AMOS offers a range of interactive exhibits and displays covering various scientific disciplines, including astronomy, geology, paleontology, biology, and more. Visitors can explore hands-on exhibits, participate in educational programs and workshops, and engage in interactive activities that encourage learning and discovery.

17. Helen’s Bridge

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Helen’s Bridge is a well-known landmark located in Asheville, North Carolina. It is an old stone arch bridge that carries Beaucatcher Road over a ravine. The bridge has gained a reputation for being haunted and has become a popular spot for urban legends and ghost stories.

18. French Broad River Park

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The park features walking and biking trails that meander through beautiful natural surroundings, providing opportunities for leisurely strolls or more vigorous exercise. The paved greenway trails connect to other parts of Asheville’s extensive network of trails, offering options for longer walks or bike rides.

These are just a few highlights of what Asheville has to offer. The city is also known for its live music scene, farm-to-table dining experiences, and proximity to outdoor activities. So, be sure to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and explore the many attractions that make Asheville a fantastic destination.