Things to Do in Asheville
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s most scenic road trips—a slow-paced drive through the connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south to Shenandoah National Park in the north. Along the way, find stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the parkway’s namesake: the rugged Blue Ridge Mountains.
Built by American magnate George Washington Vanderbilt II, the Biltmore Estate was modeled after the mansions of Europe when it was constructed in the late 19th century. The Biltmore House is the largest home in the United States—a staggering 178,926 square feet (16,623 square meters) sitting on more than 8,000 acres (3,237 hectares)—and a prominent example of America’s Gilded Age.
There was once a time, not too long ago, where the River Arts District was one of Asheville’s least desirable areas. Abandoned warehouses lined a riverfront that was frequently laden with trash, and the only sign of economic life was the train pulling into the station. Today, after a massive artistic and creative resurgence, new life has been breathed into the district on the banks of the French Broad River, and where empty warehouses and buildings once stood, there are now spectacular studios full of sculptors, glass blowers, woodworkers, and painters. When visiting Asheville’s River Arts District, peruse the 180 studios that line the narrow streets, or stop for a drink at the ferociously popular microbrewery, The Wedge. At the city’s best restaurant for barbecue—12 Bones—enjoy your meal by the banks of the river that flows through the center of town, and watch as tubers, kayakers, and paddleboards all navigate the gently flowing waters. You can stop by a local farmers’ market by day and enjoy live music by night, and the River Arts District is the funkiest district in the funkiest town in the South.
Home to hundreds of vintage motorcycles and cars, the Wheels Through Time Museum takes visitors on a journey through 80 years of American transport history. Aptly located off the popular motorcycle route Blue Ridge Parkway, the rare collection is arranged to replicate a traditional garage for an immersive experience.