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Best Tour Guides in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

It is a foolhardy explorer who delves into America’s wild unknowns without a guide. A local’s savvy can make the difference between an excellent getaway, and a glorified daytrip, and Asheville can be downright labyrinthine for the unprepared tourist.

There's the surface to the city, advertised in the airport and on highway billboards. Then there's the real Asheville. It’s Czech teahouses, and bohemian style. It’s the Blue Ridge mountains, and the French Broad, and whatever man can build between the two. It’s a haven for artists, and their works.

Sadly, I cannot guide you through these wonders in person. I am unlicensed and I walk too fast. As a consolation, I’d like to mention some of the best tour guides in Asheville, authentic, personable, and well-versed in the city's rich lore.

best tour guides in Asheville - neon sign laugh
Image from Unsplash

LaZoom (French for “The Zoom”) is an icon of Asheville. When I see their tour bus la zoom past, when I see that bright purple paintjob and comically huge lips, I know I’m home.

Everything about LaZoom is outrageous, zany, and fun. Their flagship “Hey Asheville” tour runs daily, and takes you through downtown, the River Arts District, and the vibrantly local Montford neighborhood.

LaZoom also offers a seasonal “Ghosted,” tour, which professes to synthesize horror, comedy, and local history in such a way only possible in Asheville. Likewise, LaZoom runs a beer and music tour, and tours aimed at children. All in all, LaZoom hits just about every angle they can, offering sightseeing and laughs for anyone with the spirit to hop aboard.

best tour guides in Asheville - cheering beers
Image from Wix

Asheville is a city of beer. Asheville is a city of bicycles. Somewhere along the line, a modern-day alchemist had an excellent idea: what if we combined the two?

Thus was born the bicycle-flavored IPA, known for its rubbery profile, with notes of rust. This peculiar beverage lost steam pretty quickly, but fortunately, the aforementioned alchemist’s successor had an even better idea: a beer powered bicycle.

This notion was a hit, and today you can see Asheville’s Pubcycles careening about downtown with abandon, while the cycle’s drivers/tour guides relates local lore to their tourists/peddlers.

Of all the tour guides in Asheville, I have to take my hat off to those who direct the Pubcycles. It takes a lot of dexterity to pilot a thirteen-seater mechanical chimera through Asheville’s heart, all the while ensuring the safety and education of your charges.

If you want to drink some calories, burn those calories, learn about Asheville, and make pedestrians stop and stare as you fly around one of the most downright unlikely vehicles I have ever seen, The Amazing Pubcyle is for you.

best tours in Asheville - woman in art gallery
Image from Wix

Moving away from the wackiness of downtown, Asheville Art Studio Tours focuses on the city’s most refined and creative aspects.

Tour groups are kept small, at only 6 adults maximum. They proceed from the Ultra Coffee Bar; a fine place to obtain fuel for the day.

Here you won't be led by just any old tour guide, bot a bona-fide local artist. These tours take their time, wandering on foot through a series of working studios in the River Arts District.

Even if you’re not an artist, seeing each creator’s techniques and tools can be fascinating unto itself. Likewise, crisscrossing the RAD (as locals know the area) offers plenty of opportunities to admire urban murals, and repurposed architecture.

If you are an artist (or would like to be), you could instead opt for an “Experience Tour,” which trades some looking for some doing, be that pot-throwing, painting, and so on.

Finally, if you are somewhat acquainted with Asheville’s art scene, you can customize your tour, and your guide will be happy to help in procuring any piece which catches your eye.

best tour guides in Asheville - two people hiking
Image from Wix

Unlike most Asheville tours, Asheville Adventures takes you outside of downtown, and into the Blue Ridge Mountains, arguably the most vital part of the city.

And whereas most tour guides in Asheville focus on the area’s human history, Asheville Adventures takes you into the eternity of nature: the sky, the stones, the trees. It’s a perfect way to acquaint yourself with Asheville’s hiking scene, or maybe even to garner an appreciation for hiking itself, if you're uninitiated. Transportation and nutrition are provided.

What's more, Asheville Adventures is partnered with Wipe Every Tear in the fight against human trafficking. It's great service and a good cause; what more could you want?

If you’re going to go to Asheville, you should hike the Blue Ridge. If you’re going to hike the Blue Ridge, you should do it with Asheville Adventures.

Businesses Mentioned

LaZoom Tours


76 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Amazing Pubcycle Tours


37 N Spruce St, Asheville, NC 28801


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