If you’re planning the ultimate weekend in Asheville, you’re in the right place! In this guide, guest blogger Polly Clover shares a perfect 3 Day Asheville weekend itinerary filled with outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, and delicious food.
Along with Charleston, SC, Asheville is one of my favourite places to spend a long weekend. I love its laid-back vibe, welcoming locals, and fun activities.
There are so many different things to see and do packed into a somewhat small city, which makes it an ideal destination for all kinds of travellers.
In fact, I’ve gone to Asheville alone as well as with family, friends, and my partner. All experiences were unique and memorable!
This beautiful western North Carolina mountain city is most known for the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Biltmore Estate. It’s also home to some of the best craft beer, a vibrant art scene, and friendly people.
Whether you’re planning a relaxing vacation, a romantic getaway, an exciting adventure, or a North Carolina road trip, Asheville is the perfect place to go.
So with all that said, let’s get to it and check out my tried and tested Asheville weekend itinerary!
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Is 3 Days in Asheville Enough?
I’ve been to Asheville a handful of times and usually spend 2-3 days. I think a long weekend in Asheville is plenty of time to enjoy the best of the city.
I love Asheville so much that I could probably spend weeks there, but I’ve created this Asheville weekend itinerary around 3 days of culture, fun, and nature.
Three days in Asheville allows you to explore the best neighbourhoods, enjoy natural beauty, and experience a delicious food and drink scene.
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Where to stay for a weekend in Asheville?
Asheville consists of various neighbourhoods, which is part of what makes it so unique.
Each area offers a different vibe, whether you enjoy history, nature, architecture, or shopping.
Best of all, Asheville is a small enough city that you can quickly get to each neighbourhood and explore most or all of them in 3 days.
Let’s look at the most popular areas to stay (and hang out in) during an Asheville, NC, weekend getaway.
Many Ashville visitors, including myself, find downtown to be the most fun and convenient area to stay.
Downtown is a lively, artsy, and historic district that’s easily walkable. It’s close to countless shops, restaurants, and museums.
The stunning architecture makes exploring even more enjoyable!
Biltmore Forest is a small historic village about 5 miles from Downtown Asheville. This area is quiet and is ideal for families.
In Biltmore Forest, you’ll find tree-lined streets with unique brick sidewalks. Shops and restaurants are set in historic cottages that dot the streets.
Biltmore Forest is also home to the iconic Biltmore mansion – the largest home in the United States.
River Arts District
River Arts District is just a short drive from downtown and offers a fun, quirky atmosphere. It’s also another one of my favourite areas.
It’s where the local artists hang out and boasts various art galleries, vibrant street art, and unique restaurants.
Montford Area Historic District
The Montford Area Historic District is another area just outside of downtown. It’s famous for shows at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre, restored bed and breakfasts, and various architectural styles.
Black Mountain is an incredible, relaxed place to stay if you enjoy nature and/or are looking to visit Asheville on a budget.
This small mountain town is about 15 miles from the city centre, has a charming downtown area, and is close to endless outdoor adventure.
Best Hotels in Asheville, NC
As Asheville’s tourism scene continues to grow, countless accommodations exist in all of the city’s best areas.
Whether you’re planning to splurge for your 3 days in Asheville or you have a smaller budget you’re sticking to, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of my top recommendations:
Best Budget Hotel: The Beaucatcher, a Boutique Motel – The Beaucatcher, a Boutique Motel, is ideal if you’re looking for affordability, comfort, and convenience. This simple accommodation has everything you need for your weekend in Asheville, including a complimentary breakfast. It’s also conveniently located just a few minutes from the downtown area.
Best Mid-Range Hotel: Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast – For a unique stay, I love the Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast (NF). This gorgeous, renovated inn is situated in the Montford Area Historic District and offers the perfect atmosphere for relaxing. When it’s time to explore Asheville, Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast is a short drive to downtown, the botanical gardens, and The Biltmore.
Best Luxury Hotel: Grand Bohemian Hotel – If you’re planning a luxurious Asheville, NC weekend getaway, you’ll love the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Each room has a stylish design with a marble bathroom. The hotel also has an on-site restaurant, lounge, art gallery, and spa and wellness centre. Nearby, you can find many fun Asheville activities.
You can also check out many other accommodation options in Ashville here. Or use the Map below to see all your options:
Tips & Advice for a Weekend in Asheville
It’s easy to have an incredible 3 days in Asheville, no matter when or how you spend it. However, these tips can help you have the best experience possible!
Budget for 3 Days in Asheville
For your Asheville, NC weekend getaway, you can plan to spend $100 – $300 per day. This includes accommodation, transportation, meals, and activities.
Your budget will also vary based on how you like to travel, when you plan to visit, and whether or not you’re sharing expenses.
With so many areas to stay in and activities to enjoy, you can plan your Asheville trip around just about any budget.
From free events and low-cost dining to upscale activities and accommodations, your trip’s costs can be low or high.
Here are some of my favourite ways to enjoy a budget-friendly trip to Asheville:
$ – Visit during the off-season, between November and February. It gets chilly, but there are still many fun things to see and do.
$ – Stay outside of the city centre in areas like Black Mountain.
$ – Enjoy the free activities around the city. There are tons!
$ – Grab meals to-go for picnics at local parks and hiking spots.
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When to Visit Asheville, NC
I’ve visited Asheville during all parts of the year, and I’ve loved my experience every time! I prefer to go when it’s warmer but not too busy, between March and May or September and October.
During winter, Asheville is cold but doesn’t get snow often. There are local events for the holiday season, and the city is beautifully decorated.
In the spring, Asheville’s weather is lovely. This is also a great time of year to see colourful blooms and enjoy all of Asheville’s incredible outdoor activities.
I’ve been to Asheville a few times in the summer, which is always fun and lively. It’s a great time to enjoy being on the river, brewery-hopping, and hiking.
Asheville’s fall foliage is one-of-a-kind. During fall, Asheville isn’t only beautiful but also one of the best times of year to get adventurous.
Hiking in Asheville
Many travellers head to Asheville and other NC cities for their incredible hiking and mountain biking opportunities. If that’s what you’re looking for, here are some of the best Asheville trails:
- Linville Falls: 0.87-mile trail with waterfalls off the Blue Ridge Parkway (pet-friendly)
- Richmond Hill Park Trail: 2-mile trail at Richmond Hill Park; quiet and shady (pet-friendly)
- Beaver Lake Perimeter Trail: 2-mile lakeside trail at Beaver Lake Park (not pet-friendly)
- Mountains to Sea Trail: Folk Art Center to Haw Creek Overlook: 4.7-mile trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway; filled with wild-life (pet-friendly)
- French Broad River Greenway to New Belgium Brewery: 8.9-mile trail along the river with interesting stops along the way (pet-friendly)
Getting Around Asheville
With so many modes of transportation, it’s easy to get around during your weekend in Asheville. Many areas are very walkable, most are easily drivable, and plenty of taxis and rideshares are available.
If you’re driving to Asheville, you’ll find it easy to get around the city and find parking. You can park and walk around when exploring different neighbourhoods like downtown and the River Arts District.
Asheville also has a popular airport, the Asheville Regional Airport. If you’re flying in, you can pick up a rental car at the airport or use a rideshare service.
While taxis are available, I prefer rideshare services as they’re usually more affordable and convenient. Lyft and Uber are available in Asheville and are almost always readily available.
Tip – If your accommodation is far from the city centre, be prepared to wait for rideshare services during busy times.
Another fun way to get around and go sightseeing is via the historical trolley tour, which takes you around popular parts of the city. There’s also a bus route around the city.
Sometimes, the best way to experience a new place is to take a guided tour.
Not only does it take all the stress out of planning, but you also learn much more about the area than you would when exploring alone.
When we book tours, we always use Get Your Guide. They have a diverse and unique selection of tours in locations worldwide, including Asheville. Check them out!
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For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
Is Asheville LGBTQ+ Friendly
Another one of the many reasons I love and appreciate Asheville is its progressiveness. The community is welcoming to all people and has a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene.
In fact, it’s believed that Asheville has more LGBTQ+ people than many American cities.
On your trip to Asheville, you can find many gay-friendly activities and places to visit. O.Henry’s is a fun spot to enjoy the nightlife in Asheville, and it’s one of the oldest gay bars in North Carolina.
Be sure to visit some of these LGBTQ-owned businesses in Asheville!
How to Spend 3 Days in Asheville
This Asheville weekend itinerary will share an assortment of activities with a good mix of experiences, from popular attractions to hidden gems.
If you’re looking for a quick overview of how to spend 3 days in Asheville, here you go:
- Take a tour along the Urban Trail in Downtown Asheville.
- Enjoy sunset views, tapas, and drinks at Capella on 9.
- See a live performance at Asheville Music Hall, North Carolina Stage Company, The Odd, and/or The Orange Peel.
- Discover street art around the River Arts District.
- Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway for picture-perfect views and unique hikes.
- Visit the Biltmore mansion.
- Go to the Biltmore Forest neighbourhood for shopping and dining.
- Float on the French Broad River.
- Take a food tour with Eating Asheville.
3 Days in Asheville Weekend Itinerary
A weekend in Asheville is nothing short of fun! There’s something for everyone – delicious food, outdoor activities, exciting history, and a vibrant art scene.
Use this Asheville weekend itinerary as a step-by-step guide, or customise it to create your perfect weekend getaway.
Here’s a quick rundown of each day in Asheville:
Day 1: Hang out in Downtown Asheville for history, art, food, and more.
Day 2: Check out the River Arts District, then drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy nature.
Day 3: Explore Biltmore Forest or spend the morning on the river, then take a food tour.
Asheville NC Weekend Getaway: Day 1
Hang out in Downtown Asheville for history, art, food, and more.
Downtown Asheville is one of my favourite areas to explore throughout North Carolina. It’s energetic, welcoming, and fun – what’s not to love?
With plenty to see and do, I recommend spending an entire day exploring downtown, which you can easily do on foot.
Start the morning with a simple breakfast at Café Bomba or a larger delicious meal at Early Girl Eatery. There are also many other breakfast and brunch options in the area if you’re looking for something else.
After breakfast, the Urban Trail is a unique way to explore Asheville’s fascinating past. This self-guided walking tour is about 2 miles long and consists of 30 stations with statues, plaques, and local art.
As you adventure along the Urban Trail, be sure to stop at shops, cafes, galleries, and breweries. You’ll also come across some cool street art, which makes for awesome photo ops!
After a day downtown, I recommend extending your adventure into the evening. Capella on 9 is a trendy tapas bar that offers gorgeous sunset views. There are also many tasty dinner spots, including Twisted Laurel.
If you’re interested in experiencing a night out in Asheville’s downtown area, check out one of the eclectic bars or fun breweries. You can also catch a show at Asheville Music Hall or North Carolina Stage Company.
Asheville NC Weekend Getaway: Day 2
Check out the River Arts District, then drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy nature.
On the second day of your Asheville weekend itinerary, you’ll start the day in the River Arts District with a coffee and a quick bite to eat from Ultra Cafe Bar.
From there, I recommend spending the rest of the morning wandering around and discovering the incredible street art. Here are some of the best spots to see!
After you’ve had your fill of art and some lunch, it’s time to take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This winding, scenic highway expands over 500 miles and runs from Virginia to North Carolina.
You can find charming mountain towns, long-range vistas, and rocky mountains up and down The Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll find many lookout points along the way, so be sure to stop at at least a few of these.
There are also several trails if you’re into hiking, and check out the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center for wildlife-filled trails and a picnic area.
You can easily spend the rest of the afternoon through sunset exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. In fact, I wouldn’t end the journey before you catch a sunset view!
If you’re looking for something fun to do when you return to Asheville for the night, there are many remarkable bars, restaurants, and music venues.
A couple of my favourite fun spots are The Odd, a quirky bar and restaurant that hosts live bands and drag shows and The Orange Peel, a fun live music venue.
Asheville NC Weekend Getaway: Day 3
Explore Biltmore Forest, spend the day on the river, and then take a food tour.
Your final day in Asheville will be just as memorable as the first two. Depending on the weather and time of year, either start the day exploring Biltmore Forest or spend the morning on the French Broad River.
As I mentioned earlier, Biltmore Forest is a quaint, historic village. It’s home to the famous Biltmore mansion, which to be honest, I’ve never visited. With that said, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it.
I’ve been waiting to go when I’m around the area during the holidays because I’ve heard that Biltmore offers one of the most magical experiences during the holiday season.
Whether or not you go to the Biltmore mansion, the entire village is fun to wander around. There are many shops and restaurants to see.
If the weather is nice, spending the day on the French Broad River is always a great time. I’ve floated this river several times, and it offers the perfect day of relaxation during a busy vacation.
Most of the river is pretty flat, with bigger rapids north of Asheville. The French Broad River is excellent for kayaking, paddle boarding, floating, and whitewater rafting.
Tip – French Broad Outfitters makes your day on the river accessible and fun! The adventure usually takes about 2-3 hours.
After your day checking out Biltmore Forest or hanging out on the river, a food tour is a delicious way to finish your weekend in Asheville. Eating Asheville holds a few different tours that last 2-2.5 hours.
The dining tours usually start around 2 PM, and the food and brewery tour begins in the morning, so be sure to plan your day accordingly.
Where to Eat and Drink in Asheville, NC
Asheville is a foodie’s paradise and offers some of the best restaurants, breweries, and bars in North Carolina! While this list could be endless, here are some of the best spots:
- Brunch: Early Girl Eatery, Downtown ($$)
- Coffee shop: Café Bomba, Downtown ($)
- Cafe and small bites: Ultra Coffeebar, River Arts District ($)
- Tapas bar: Capella on 9, Downtown ($$)
- Bar & restaurant: The Odd ($)
- Brewery + food menu: Wicked Weed Brewing, Downtown ($$)
- American fare: Twisted Laurel, Downtown ($$)
- Spanish cuisine: Cúrate, Downtown ($$$)
- Cocktail bar: Top of the Monk, Downtown ($$)
Enjoy Your Asheville, NC Weekend Getaway
I hope this 3 Day Asheville itinerary has you excited about your trip! It’s the perfect destination for anyone who loves nature, food, arts, and friendly people.
If you’ve already been to Asheville and have something you’d add to this itinerary, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.