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January in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

New year, new blog post, new things to do in Asheville. You know how many times I’ve accidentally written “2023” on the dateline already? None. No times. Haven’t gotten it wrong once yet. That’s what you call a good start.

If you too seek a splendid start to your new year, why don’t you come on down to Asheville, NC, the Paris of the South? We got mountains, we got food, we got places to go, and we got opportunities to try new things. Yes, a visit to Asheville might as well be an all-inclusive package when it comes to starting your new year off right. So this January, if you’re ready to shake a leg and look alive, here’s five of the best things to do in Asheville. Get crackin’!

January in Asheville - tea pot and glass
Image from Unsplash

But it can be hard to get crackin’ with the weather like it is. Believe it or not winter lasts long after Christmas, and it's in these cold gray days of the year that I often find my appetite for adventure flagging. When the air's got a chill, I have to find a pretty good reason to not just seal the door, hibernate, and dream of salmon until springtime. 

Well, here’s the thing: you don’t got to go outside to have a good time. Not here in Asheville, at least. Although, I would recommend it come the warmer months.

But anyway, if you want to hit the town while minimizing your exposure to frost-tipped winds, you can read all about some of the best indoors fascinations in Asheville right here and here. To summarize: there’s no better time than January time to visit downtown Asheville’s Grove Arcade, famous for its many boutiques, cafes, and fine eateries. 

Speaking of things you can put in your mouth, another one of my top picks for indoors amusements has got to be a visit to one of our local tea rooms. Nothing better for returning some warmth to them bones. 

January in Asheville - chilaquiles
Image from Unsplash

If you’re a frequent flier in to the Paris of the South, or if you’ve read the Asheville Cottages blog long enough to know my top picks, then you may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to dining in Asheville. 

Flim, flam,  I say. There’s always new restaurants cropping up and even I—a longtime local—am still finding overlooked gems here and there. 

Suffice to say, this is the part of the article where I salivate over my latest culinary obsession. Last year a pair of awesome Mexican restaurants popped up on my radar, in the south Asheville area. We got Abuela’s Little Kitchen, serving up diner-fare, crepes, and traditional Mexican breakfasts, plus their satellite Abuela’s Cravings, for faster, counter-service tacos and tortas. That’s a two-for-one special right there.

For more insights on the latest in Asheville’s food scene, be sure to keep up with the blog, delivering the latest in great places to eat. 

January in Asheville - incense, towel, and candles
Image from Unsplash

After a long year’s worth of work and play, this January why don’t you treat yourself to a little R&R, a little health retreat, a step, perhaps, into one of Asheville’s finest spas? 

Our mountain landscape has long been known for its healing properties, and the local market has been making the best of it. I mean, we got spas out the wazoo. More than average, it sure feels like. You can read about some of the best of them right here, but I’ll also take this opportunity to also recommend the Wake Foot Sanctuary in the Grove Arcade, which didn’t make it into that article.

A visit there pairs nicely with my previous suggestion (staying inside), it lands you in the heart of downtown, which brings us to my next bright idea for January in Asheville. Read on.

January in Asheville - clothes on hanger
Image from Unsplash

New year, new you, new clothes on your back, new shoes on those feet, new glasses through which new eyes gaze in admiration of my hometown, the Paris of the South. Or at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

Anywho, downtown Asheville’s the top spot in town for buying both new and vintage clothes. It's the perfect way to start off the new year not only with hope, but with style. 

Now if I were on some theoretical shopping safari, I’d start off at the Grove Arcade, then cross east to Sugar Britches consignment. It's listed on maps as a “Women’s clothing store,” but I got to tell you, friends, they got some pretty stellar men’s dress shirts. And I would know, because I am wearing one, right now. And I got a few more in the closet. 

For more great upcycled finds, continue east past Malaprop’s Bookstore, then head north up Lexington Avenue to find a whole slew of local boutiques, gift shops, and of course vintage clothing stores. 

Start your new year off with some new old clothes. It's the Ashevillean way.

January in Asheville - pottery carving
Image from Unsplash

I’m always recommending newcomers to Asheville check out the River Arts District. It's one of the most distinctive parts of town, what with its soaring murals and dreamy rows of studio-warehouses. Great place for a photo-op, really.

I figure one of the best ways to experience the RAD is by sticking your hands in it. Or on it. Around it? It depends on what kind of class you sign up for. This year I’m seeing a lot of glass pendant crafting and silverwork. Check out their website for what’s happening on the January of your own visit for Asheville. There’s no better time of the year to try your hand at something new. 

Businesses Mentioned

Grove Arcade


1 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Abuela's Little Kitchen


8 Long Shoals Rd, Arden, NC 28704

Abuela's Cravings


220 Julian Ln, Arden, NC 28704

Wake Foot Sanctuary


1 Page Ave #115, Asheville, NC 28801

Sugar Britches


31 Page Ave, Asheville, NC 28801


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