It’s no secret that Asheville is one of my very favorite cities. Between day trips and long weekends, we try to visit this gorgeous city as often as we can — usually a few times a year. With every visit I blog about I receive lots of messages asking about recommendations! So I thought I would create a city guide with all of our favorite places to stay, eat and play. You’ll notice that I don’t have a ton of recommendations for each category and that’s because we love to go back to the same places over and over and over again!
— EAT —
Early Girl Eatery: Serves a wide variety of delicious southern dishes with made from scratch ingredients that are locally sourced. This restaurant has been featured in so many places — Southern Living, Bon Appetit, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and more. This is my second favorite place to eat breakfast. It used to be my favorite…until they discontinued the Early Girl Benny menu item.
Tip: The wait is always very long. Grab a cup of their complimentary coffee after you put your name on the list and walk around downtown to check out all the street musicians and shops while you wait.
Corner Kitchen: My favorite breakfast bistro located in Biltmore Village. The cream cheese scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and chives are unreal. And you can’t leave without enjoying a side of goat cheese grits.
Over Easy Café: An adorable café in downtown with delicious breakfast options.
Sunny Point Cafe: Several award winning dishes here! Get the shrimp & grits or the huevos rancheros (their speciality)
Buxton Hall Barbeque: An Eastern-style BBQ joint that roasts a whole hog for 18 hours every day. This restaurant has been featured in Huffington Post, Garden & Gun, Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart and more. The buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with pimento cheese has won many awards.
White Duck Taco Shop: With more than a dozen taco choices to pick from, this restaurant serves creative and delicious a la carte tacos that you order from a counter and eat at a picnic table. Make sure to order the Bangkok Shrimp taco.
The Admiral: One of my favorites! The Admiral is a cozy restaurant with less than 10 tables (books up fast) that has hundreds of outstanding reviews. However, when you first arrive you may think you’re at the wrong place. The cinderblock exterior of the restaurant screams “dive bar” for sure and is located between a junk yard and gas station. Despite the appearance of the outside, The Admiral is definitely every bit of 5 stars and serves up the best seared scallops, rib eye, beef tare tare and more.
Cúrate: A Spanish tapas restaurant by James Beard finalist, Chef Katie Button. The ambiance is incredible and the food totally lives up to all the hype.
Nightbell: Another amazing restaurant by Chef Katie Button. This lounge is described as “a sophisticated contemporary nightclub designed in the spirit of the speakeasy,” and is perfect for the cocktail enthusiast (think blow-torched rosemary, infused vodkas, berry ice, lavender foam, etc.). This is an especially perfect dinner spot for the girls (we went during a bachelorette party and it was amazing) or a perfect stop for a nightcap.
Rhubarb: Award winning chef John Fleer’s downtown Asheville restaurant serving contemporary American cuisine including wood-fired dishes, plates made for sharing, house-baked breads, and other rustic creations. The menu is crafted daily, but check to see if the goat cheese burrata is available because it is out of this world!
Tupelo Honey: A destination for scratch-made Southern food in Asheville. Also a delicious breakfast or lunch spot!
BREWERIES & COCKTAILS
Sovereign Remedies: The best spot for farm to table cuisine, fancy cocktails and late night food.
Nightbell: Another amazing restaurant by James Beard finalist, Chef Katie Button. This lounge is described as “a sophisticated contemporary nightclub designed in the spirit of the speakeasy,” and is perfect for the cocktail enthusiast (think blow-torched rosemary, infused vodkas, berry ice, lavender foam, etc.). This is the perfect dinner spot for the girls (we went during a bachelorette party and it was amazing) or a perfect stop for a nightcap.
Capella on 9: Located on top of the AC Hotel, this trendy rooftop bar features gorgeous mountain views, delicious cocktails and lots of comfortable lounging areas.
Sunset Cocktail Terrace: My favorite place to sip a cocktail and watch the sun set.
Burial: Last year this Burial was named the best craft brewery in Asheville. The outdoor space is pretty cool and they have live music.
New Belgium Brewery: A national brewery located along the French Broad River in the River Arts District. This place is easy to camp out at for an afternoon with brewery tours, beer tastings, lawn games and more. Oh, and the beer is cheap! This is my favorite brewery.
Green Man: A 3 story, 20,000 square ft. “brewtique” with an indoor/outdoor top floor taproom that overlooks production and the Blue Ridge Mountains!
Highland Brewing Company: This brewery has it all — good beer, live music, large grassy meadow and a huge patio.
Wicked Weed Brewing: This brewpub specializes in west coast style hoppy ales, open fermented belgian beers and barrel aged sours. The upstairs houses a full restaurant featuring 16 beers, a street level patio, tasting room, bottle shop, and original 15 barrel brewery. Oh, and they serve a super delicious bison burger.
— PLAY —
River Arts District: A really cool area of town to that consists of more than 200 artists and working studios in former industrial and historical buildings spread out along a one mile stretch of the French Broad River. Plan on spending some time visiting artists working in their studios, grabbing some tacos at White Duck Taco Shop and a brew at New Belgium!
Asheville Brews Cruise: Definitely a fun way to sample several breweries! A huge yellow mustache school bus arrived to pick us up and our tour stopped at Pisgah, Highland, French Broad and HiWire breweries. All of them were fantastic and unique. At each brewery we received 4 ounce pours of 3-4 beers. This is such a fun activity for large groups too!
Blue Ridge Parkway: Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway with the windows down, stopping at as many overlooks as you can!
Triple Falls: Located in DuPont Forest, this 3 mile hike features 3 gorgeous waterfalls, one of which you can stand in the middle of! Make sure to bring a picnic or prosecco to enjoy on the flat rock plateau. If you arrive early enough, you’ll have the falls all to yourself.
Craggy Pinnacle Trail: Only 24 miles from downtown Asheville, this fun 1.4-mile roundtrip hiking trail goes through tunnels of rhododendron, gnarled sweet birch trees and wildflowers. At the top there are the most beautiful panoramic mountain views. This is the easiest and closest hike we do near Asheville.
— STAY —
AC Hotel: The best place to stay in downtown. It’s a trendy newer hotel that is super clean and modern, walkable to almost everything, offers easy parking and has an absolutely amazing rooftop bar.
Omni Grove Park Inn: I’ve stayed here twice and think the rooms are expensive and underwhelming. However, the resort is gorgeous, the restaurants are delicious and the sunset terrace is one of my favorite places ever to spend an afternoon. But what really sets this place apart is the Spa, which is consistently voted as one of the top resort spas in the…world. During my last visit I splurged on a Mountain View Massage in an outdoor pagoda overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Tip: Buy a day pass for the spa and spend some time on the Sunset Terrace, but save your pennies for a gorgeous room at The Biltmore Inn.
Grand Bohemian Hotel: One of my favorite places to stay in Asheville. I love all of the details of this hunting lodge-inspired property and the service is always top notch.
The Inn at Biltmore Estate: One of the prettiest places we’ve ever stayed with cozy places to sit inside. The large wrap-around porch offers unbelievable mountain views too!
Tip: Spring for a mountainside view. It’s worth it.
Asheville Glamping: Prefer to camp? Check out these glamorous camping sites. Dome 3 is legit!
Other helpful tips and notes:
+ Uber is very accessible anywhere you are.
+ Book your dinner reservations WELL in advance of your trip.
+ Use my search bar to find more info or pictures on any of these places.
+ Wedding Venues: The Crest Pavilion // The Farm
Asheville Trips: 2nd Glamping Weekend (2018) // 31st Birthday Weekend (2017) // 1st Glamping Weekend (2017) // 5th Anniversary Day Trip (2016) // Wedding Weekend (2016) // Bachelorette Weekend (2016) // 4 Hour Day Date (2015) // Birthday Weekend (2014) // 2nd Anniversary Cabin Weekend // Farm Wedding (2012)
Now, I know I have readers who are huge Asheville fans as well. Please share your recommendations in the comments below!! We are always on the hunt for new things to try!