This summer I’ve had the pleasure of perusing some of Asheville’s finest shopping establishments—some already known to me, some not. Taken altogether, I can promise that Asheville’s shopping scene is sure to knock off your socks. Or sandals. It's still warm enough for sandals, some of these days. When it's not raining.
Weather aside, shopping in Asheville’s a great way to get in touch with local makers, and an excellent excuse to check out the grooviest parts of town. So, if you want a break from all the hiking, or if you looking to come away with a little piece of the mountains of your own, read on and discover some of the best shopping in Asheville.
If you’re a longtime reader of Asheville Cottage’s blog, then you’re bound to know two things about me: I like Dobra Tea, and I like rocks. The shinier the better. For the rocks, not the tea.
Anyway, this gem store in the Grove Arcade is a must-see on any visit to downtown Asheville’s largest indoor shopping center. For a relatively small space, they’re jam-packed with all the minerals, crystals, and fossils you can shake a stick at, including some meteorite fragments.
In my experience, rocks make excellent gifts. Small, portable, but with a heft that says, “I care.” Plus, a visit to the Grove Arcade lands you just a short walk away from a plethora of other stores, as well as New Orleans-style coffee and beignets at Bebettes, and fanciful champagne flights at the Battery Park Book Exchange.
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10am to 6pm. Sunday 11am to 5pm.
On the other side of downtown, this bookstore hides an impressive collection behind its unassuming name. They pride themselves as curators of used and rare books. I always come away impressed with their selection of comics, classics, spiritual, and historic texts. It’s got all the coziness of a small-town bookstore, combined with a little Ashevillean flare. I guarantee you can find texts here that you’ll find nowhere else.
Once you through book-shopping, I suggest you cross the street for a spread of Asheville’s finest vintage consignment stores, all on North Lexington Avenue. Plus, my go-to hangout in downtown Asheville; you know it, you love it: Dobra Tea.
Hours: 11am to 5pm daily.
Speaking of used and rare merchandise, for my money some of the best shopping in Asheville takes place in my hometown’s many antique-stores, and the Antique Tobacco Barn rises to the forefront of their number. Voted best in Western North Carolina time and time again, this old tobacco warehouse is chock full of antiques of every description—more than 77,000 square feet of them, in fact.
Although a handcrafted armoire or taxidermied gazelle probably won’t fit in your traveler's suitcase, the Tobacco Barns wide selection ensures you can find something to suit your particular brand of nostalgia.
Hours: 10am to 6pm, daily.
When you hear “shopping in Asheville,” you probably didn’t think I’d throw a farmer’s market at you, now did you? Well, I am, and here it is. I’ve been going to the ASAP Farmer’s Market just about every summer weekend since I was a kid and by golly, its always a treat.
Located on downtown’s fittingly named North Market Street, between the intersections with Woodfin and Walnut, here you can find local produce, cheese (I’m partial to the goat cheese myself), fresh-baked pastries and breads, and jun from Shanti Elixers.
If you happen to be staying at a place with a well-equipped kitchen—such as Asheville Cottages—then there’s no better way to embrace the Ashevillean lifestyle than preparing a lunch with ingredients from the local farmer’s market.
Parking available at the Home Trust Bank or the Family Justice Center.
Hours: Saturdays, 9am to noon, until December 17th.
No visit to Asheville is complete without encountering the fine arts in the River Arts District (RAD), just west of downtown. I’ve recently discovered Marquee down in those parts, and I got to say, I’m a fan.
Filling out a gargantuan warehouse with all kinds of art—from abstract paintings to a custom retro-camper—Marquee’s got excitement at every turn. It’ll take more than a little while here to see it all, so plan accordingly. And if that plan involves lingering in the River Arts District, then you’re in luck. The Grail Moviehouse lies just down the street—showing cult-hits you’d be hard pressed to find in any other theater—along with local craft beer at the Wedge.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 3pm to 9pm. Friday through Sunday noon to 9pm.
Enter the Earth
1 Page Ave #125, Asheville, NC 28801
Downtown Books & News
67 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Antique Tobacco Barn
75 Swannanoa River Rd, Asheville, NC 28805
ASAP Farmer's Market
52 N Market St, Asheville, NC 28801
36 Foundy St, Asheville, NC 28801