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A Weekend in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

Living as a local, sometimes you lose sight of a few things. With such plentiful access to trailheads and restaurants and hip cafes, it's easy to take the wonders of Asheville for granted. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I’ve had to be away from my hometown for a while now. So I sat down and I started figuring: if I had just one weekend in Asheville, how would I spend it?

What you got here, dear reader, is a condensation of the very best things to do in the Paris of the South, in the vein of this article right here. But with just forty-eight hours to spend, I say we jump right in.

weekend in Asheville - Biltmore Estate conservatory
Image from Unsplash

1: Day One - Biltmore and Downtown

In the words of the wise: eat the big crabs first. Now there ain’t many crabs crawling around these here streets (so far as I know), but we may still make use of this nautical knowledge when it comes to your weekend in Asheville.

To wit, there’s scarcely a bigger crab in town than the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned manor in all of the nation. Start your morning off right with a tour of this Gilded Age monument, stop for a refreshment at the bake shop in the old stables, and while away the rest of the AM walking the Biltmore’s sprawling grounds. 

For lunch, I recommend stopping at one of the many fine eateries in Antler Village, followed by your complimentary wine tasting, straight from the Estate’s vineyards. 

Once the afternoon comes around, we’re off to the next great endeavor: taking a rest in your luxury cabin’s porch-side hot tub. That’s what I’d be doing at least. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.

weekend in Asheville - River Arts District
Image from Unsplash

But if you are just buzzing with energy, and don’t want to miss a moment of your short forty-eight in Asheville, I can’t blame you. I recommend getting a head start on the next big event with a trip to the River Arts District, to peruse their countless galleries and studios. 

From there, it's just a short drive into downtown. If it's your first time in the Paris of the South, I recommend walking around and taking it all in, seeing where the mood takes you. The Grove Arcade and Pack Square don’t make bad starting points.

If you’re a little more familiar with the city, now's the time to target those sites that you didn’t quite make it to on your last trip. Museums, or bookstores, or ideally, tea at Dobra. 

This first night of your trip concludes with dinner downtown. Check out Patton Avenue for a smorgasbord of awesome places to choose from. If you get hit by decision paralysis (we’ve all been there), tapas at Zambra or Curate never fail to delight.

Finally, if you still haven’t had enough excitement to hit the hay, head down to the South Slope to try Asheville’s foremost local beverage: the IPA. 

Remember to get tickets for the Biltmore Estate early, and try to get reservations for your dinner spot.

weekend in Asheville - hiking
Image from Wix

2: Day Two - Hiking and West Asheville

Day two begins bright and early with a drive south along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, on your way to one of my favorite hiking destinations, namely Graveyard Fields, Skinny Dip Falls, or Black Balsam. All the trailheads come one after another, so you can easily select the hike that’s right for you. Graveyard Fields for foliage and late Summer blueberries, Skinny Dip for a water element, and Black Balsam for the best views.

By the time you make it back to the trailhead, all the fresh air’s bound to have gone to your head, making for a mighty hunger. There’s no better way to satisfy this yearning than with a picnic in the mountains, perhaps with some goods picked up from a downtown bakery. 

By now it'll be into the latter half of your weekend’s final day, and once you’ve recovered from your spot of exercise, it's on to West Asheville.

Locals and visitors alike agree that this slice of town is just about as Ashevillean as you can get, being the home to installments of my hometown’s greatest hits: a Dobra tearoom, ice cream from the Hop, biscuits from Biscuit Head. You name it, they got it.

weekend in Asheville - glasses on table
Image from Wix

This makes West Asheville the perfect place to wind down your visit. Get dinner at a local favorite like the Universal Joint or Gan Shan West, grab a brew, and just soak in the vibes until the sun goes down.

A shorter itinerary than Day One, but it requires less planning ahead, and leaves plenty of room for diversions and alterations. Godspeed, and may your weekend in Asheville leave you inspired and invigorated.

And if you happen to be blessed with an extra long weekend, make sure you fill it out with a visit to the Asheville Art Museum, a live show or two, and of course, more hiking.

Businesses Mentioned

Biltmore Estate


1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803

Grove Arcade


1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Dobra Tea (Downtown)


78 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801



85 W Walnut St, Asheville, NC 28801



13 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Universal Joint


784 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

Gan Shan West


285 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806


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