I heard nothing but great things about Asheville before stepping into the city limits. Truly one of the most unique and creative towns I’ve ever visited. Woven among restaurants, shops and bars is a community of talented artists and musicians who, just like the city itself, are unique and inspiring. Ben & I visited over the holiday weekend, and learned quickly why this place is loved by so many. Below, in my opinion, are some of the places worth checking out. To any I missed, please leave a note in the comments!
Chestnut features consistently creative cuisine and some of the best craft cocktails in town. We enjoyed a pretty incredible brunch here, they have amazing avocado toast on foccia bread. During our meal on Saturday a live band set up from 11am – 2pm for their special “Jazz Brunch!”
Our last stop on the way out of town was this funky, totally 80s, microbrewery that serves beers, pizzas & pub grub, with an in-house movie theater & game room.
DOUBLE D’S COFFEE & DESSERTS
This is one of the cutest restaurant concepts I’ve ever seen, and their coffee was delicious, and a necessary pick me up. It’s located right in Downtown Asheville off of Biltmore, so stop in and grab some java in this Double Decker bus / coffee shop!
There are plenty of specialty pizza restaurants around Asheville that I wish we had visited. But Manicomio was the best recommendation we got for a quick, thin-crust, floppy New York-style slice. Even though we were in and out withing 25 minutes I couldn’t stop raving over the slice I had.
Sunday morning we attempted to dine at Sunny Pointe Cafe, but due to it’s popularity and it being Labor Day weekend it was not an option due to the wait times. I’m really happy that we kept exploring and stumbled upon Posana Restaurant. They are a contemporary American restaurant in the heart of downtown Asheville that features local, seasonal, and farm-to-table ingredients. Best fried chicken sandwich I’ve ever had, and Ben enjoyed a tasty, special bourbon mimosa that even I would drink!
On our last night Ben spoiled me to a dinner at Zambra, a Western Mediterranean tapas & wine bar. Zambra was a romantic amber-lit restaurant with a festive atmosphere that holds true to their name which means “gypsy dance of celebration.” Be sure to try their Pomegranate Braised Pork Spring Rolls and their Seared NC Scallops!
We spent a few hours at Bhramari on Saturday. I loved the laid back vibe of this brewery eatery. They have all their beers on tap, flights, and a full selection of liquor to choose from as well! They are dog friendly and have a large patio which features big tables and corn-hole to play with your friends. When open, their large garage-style doors turns the inside into a roomy outdoor space!
First on my list of places to drink because Ben & I visited Soverign three separate times during our trip. We LOVE a good handcrafted cocktail, and it may not get better than Soverign Remedies. SR is a hip, multilevel bar with a vintage vibe that serves craft cocktails and small plates. We stopped in Saturday Night for their late night menu and drinks, and to our surprise it became our favorite spot in Asheville!
Wicked Weed is home to one of my favorite IPA’s ~ Pernicious. All of our friends suggested we stop into the brewery for a drink and to enjoy the atmosphere. As they are probably one of the most popular breweries in town, they were PACKED for the holiday weekend. We were lucky enough to grab a spot at the bar and indulge a little. The food smelled amazing, and the bar offered not only their local brews but liquor as well! I highly recommend making this on the top of your bucket list when visiting.
Sunday night out was spent people watching, dancing, and playing Cards Against Humanity with some new friends at AUX Bar. We were drawn in after watching a dance off between a bacholerette party and a local mountain man from the street. The DJ on the patio was bumping our favorite tunes so we figured it was a good spot to settle down at for a few drinks. We ended up spending out entire night there meeting friendly strangers and grabbing an early morning bite before we headed home.
You may recognize the name as one of Asheville’s most popular multi-level rooftop bars. Grab a quick cocktail here and catch scenic views overlooking downtown Asheville and the surrounding mountains.
CAPELLA ON 9
Capella on 9 is a stylish, contemporary hang out located on the rooftop of the AC Hotel. Ben & I stopped in for a quick drink but we wish we would have stuck around to try their menu. A great spot to get a handcrafted cocktail and enjoy the views of downtown Asheville.
On our first night in downtown Asheville I was feeling a bit under the weather. I wanted to find a drink at a low key dive bar that would host more locals than tourists. The bouncer from Souveregin Remedy recommended the Lazy Diamond to us and we were not disappointed. We enjoyed the laid back vibes and the atmosphere that boasted karaoke nights, punk rock and strong drinks. This is a great low-key spot that’s just a short walk other bars and restaurants.
If you’re looking to find a cozy pub and a quick bite you may want to visit Jack of the Wood. What I liked best about it is the atmosphere: the brick walls, wood bar, old-fashioned vibe, and very friendly and prompt servers.
If you’ve heard of Asheville then you’ve heard of the Biltmore Estate. Part estate, part tourist attraction, The Biltmore is the largest largest privately owned house in the United States! The architect, Richard Morris Hunt, who was commissioned to design the Biltmore is also the same architect who built the home Ben & I stayed in!
HIKING CATAWBA FALLS
Ben & I hiked the lower Catawba Falls on Monday before we left town. The waterfall itself is divided into two or three main sections but the entire trail is pushed up against the falls and the creek so you’re always just a step away from the water. The lower trail we were on was an easy hike for all levels. Because the trail is dog-friendly we brought our pup Boomer for his first big outdoor excursion! I highly recommend this trail to anyone who wants an easy and scenic hike.
PADDLEBOARD THE FRENCH BROAD RIVER
We were recommended to the French Broad Outiftters Rental Service. Start at Hominy creek then float along the waterway, which eventually joins the larger French Broad River—a wide, historical stretch of water. It will take about 1 1/2 – 2 hours until you reach the River Arts District, which is in walking distance of breweries and shops! They also have picnic tables in the water so you can grab some food truck bites and eat in the creek!
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
I’ve been on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, and I loved it, so I knew I needed to experience this while in Asheville as well! For those of you who aren’t the best at hiking, you can drive up and down this parkway to get some of the best mountain views. There are several scenic lookout points along the road for you to soak all of the views in.
GALLERY HOPPING THE RIVER ARTS DISTRICT
The River Arts District consists of a vast array of artists and working studios in 22 former industrial and historic buildings, right along the French Broad River. You could spend all day in this part of town: pop in and out of a few galleries, grab lunch and visit a few breweries. It was refreshing to get out of Downtown Asheville and explore some of these spots off the beaten path!
ORANGE PEEL MUSIC HALL
Orange Peel is a hip music venue located in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. It has a capacity of 1,050 people and has hosted many well known acts, including: 311, Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Silversun Pickups, the Beastie Boys, The Black Keys, Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Pretty Lights, and Umphrey’s McGees. It was opened in 2002 and, in April 2008, was named one of the top five music venues in America by Rolling Stone magazine
Other recommendations that were given to us but we did not have the time to experience:
Night Bell – for American small plates, craft cocktails & local brews.
The Crow & Quill – A Whiskey bar with 400 Whiskeys and 700 Spirits In total.
Curate- a Spanish tapas restaurant
Sunny Pointe Cafe – notoriously one of the best brunch spots in town
White Lab – a brewery eatery serving pizzas with fermented dough
Battery Park Book Exchange – bookstore meets champagne bar