Asheville, N.C., is a jewel of a city just waiting for you to discover its wonders. Differing from the urban centers of Raleigh and Charlotte, this smaller city is a perfect destination for a getaway if you’re looking to disconnect from the busy world and enjoy a city of both natural beauty and cultural significance.
Fortunately, traveling to Asheville is still an option during COVID-19, as the city is taking many precautions to ensure both citizens and travelers are safe. To get started, look for a hotel or find an Asheville rental apartment. Then, if you enjoy your stay, perhaps it could be a temporary retreat for remote work. Until then, let’s take a look at all that you can find in the gorgeous city of Asheville.
After so much time spent indoors, natural destinations are among the top choices for many travelers. And, Asheville has plenty of opportunities for any wanderer to recharge and delight in the beauty of nature.
- Craggy Gardens
The Craggy Gardens are home to many endangered species of local plants, as well as to some very unique trees that grow into twisted shapes. They also have vegetation that only grows on certain sides because of the strong winds and location of the mountain. Plus, the grounds are pet-friendly, so it’s a great option if you have your four-legged friend with you.
- Pisgah National Forest
One of the first designated national forests, Pisgah National Forest is a gem of outdoor activities and scenery. Enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of the forest while taking one of the many pathways to incredible landmarks such as the Chimneys, the Table Rock and Linville Gorge. Or, for more outdoor fun, there are also other activities within the park, including horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, cycling and fishing. Camping spots, showers and swimming areas are also available.
- Blue Ridge Parkway & National Area
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches across more than 460 miles. It displays amazing vistas and fragrances, especially when its many species of flowers — including purple rhododendron — are in bloom. With both easily accessible roads and a variety of hiking opportunities, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a top destination, especially in autumn, when colorful leaves fill the scenery. However, to avoid crowds, spring and early summer are the best times to visit.
The National Area that expands in the continuation of the parkway contributes to the cultural diversity of the area. Besides the many outdoor activities, Asheville’s surroundings are rich in history. Here, you can find various events to partake in — from local festivals and farmers’ markets to a Cherokee museum and other events.
- Western North Carolina (WNC) Nature Center
For lovers of animals and curious minds, the Western North Carolina Nature Center contains many exhibits that take visitors on a journey from the world of reptiles and underground beings all the way to outdoor exhibits on local predators, including the endangered red wolf and many other native species.
- The Botanical Gardens of Asheville
The gardens of Asheville are a great way to learn about the local flora, especially for families with kids. If you’re looking for an engaging activity for the little ones, stop by the visitor’s center to pick up their Investigation Passports and turn the tour into a fun game. While you’re there, you’ll also get to see beautiful, unique trees and plants, as well as relax among nature.
- The Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is home to the Vanderbilt Mansion — the largest private home in the country — composed of 250 rooms. The mansion’s architecture is, in itself, a central point of the estate, and many visitors come to admire it, as well as the many pieces of arts and antiques displayed here. However, equally breathtaking is the rest of the 8,000-acre estate, which is filled with beautiful gardens and a farm.
- The Biltmore Village
A prime example of a company town, the Biltmore village is an area that was specifically built for the workers of the Biltmore estate. Imagined as a facsimile of an English village, this area has now become a major attraction, thanks to its charm and many boutiques and local restaurants.
- Pack Place
For those with an affinity for culture and all things art, Pack Place is a must-see destination. Home to many education and arts centers, this area houses — among others — the Asheville Museum of Art, the YMI Cultural Center and the Diana Wortham Theater. Or, for those with an interest in science, you can also check out the Colburn Earth Science Museum, which often offers its visitors hands-on and interactive exhibits — perfect for families with kids.
- Smith-McDowell House Museum
This museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because the building itself is the oldest surviving abode in Asheville. With a gorgeous red brick exterior and restored furniture pieces and artwork, this museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history and old days of Asheville.
- Downtown Asheville
Finally, the downtown area of Asheville encompasses the heart of the city. An eclectic mix of culture, arts, history and modernity, downtown Asheville is the perfect destination to truly understand the vibe of Asheville. From boutiques and shops to local restaurants, bistros and cafés, this area is an ever-bustling, warm and welcoming host to all visitors interested in falling in love with Asheville.
These are just a few of the many attractions you can find in Asheville, N.C. Whether you’re a nature-lover who wants to retreat and recharge, or a passionate cultural heart looking to broaden your horizons, this small city in the western part of the state is sure to have something perfect just for you.