Having laid low for what feels like an eternity, Asheville, North Carolina, is raising its voice and putting itself firmly on the map. A city with a vibrant music scene and an enthusiastic young community, Asheville will soon become the destination of choice for weekend mini-breaks and arty adventures.
From the established downtown to the ever-changing River Arts District, there is something for each and every one of us to enjoy in Asheville. Tucked away in the west of North Carolina, Asheville is overlooked by the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains which provide a fantastic, fresh, natural feel to the city.
A city that many find pleasantly surprising, Asheville’s low crime rates, strong student population and appealing aesthetic are just some of the countless reasons why this city is topping the must-visit charts.
Asheville is loved by outdoor enthusiasts from across the globe, as it is the gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The thriving arts scene attracts the creative types and the farm-fresh food outlets prove enticing for even the most esteemed connoisseurs.
Let’s take a look at where to stay in Asheville so you can find a neighborhood in which you’ll feel right at home.
Open, welcoming and awash with eateries and independent boutiques, downtown is a great place to stay when visiting Asheville.
In a bid to increase tourist numbers, the Asheville tourist board has created a series of self-guided tours. Using the informative maps on the Asheville Urban Trail website, you can spend an afternoon exploring the city’s fascinating historical hotspots. The trail is just 1.7-miles long, and for those who think they’d need a few refreshment breaks in between, panic not – you’re never too far away from one of Asheville’s much-loved craft breweries. The trail features 30 station stop-offs and each one is a place of cultural or historical significance. You can complete the trail in about an hour, not including beer stops.
Asheville Brewing Company is a lively little brew house that serves up a great selection of all-American eats to accompany their tipples.
Good For: Foodies, Culture Vultures, City Slickers, Families, Older Travelers, Couples: All kinds of travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Basilica of Saint Lawrence, Asheville Art Museum, ZaPow Gallery, Bountiful Cities Edible Garden, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, Pack Square Park, Vance Memorial
Cambria Hotel – Overlooked by the Blue Ridge Mountains and in the heart of downtown, the rooms are bright and spacious. Reception is open 24-hours so you can max out on downtown’s nightlife scene. All rooms have a kitchenette complete with coffee machine and fridge. Family rooms are available.
Haywood Park Hotel – There’s free champagne on arrival for all guests and the complimentary breakfast is not to be missed – it’s all American style and served at the Haywood Park Cafe. Rooms are classic and comfortable. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and guests can use the fitness center if they wish. Haywood Park Hotel gives excellent service.
The Windsor – Asheville – The Windsor is a lavish, luxury boutique-style hotel with a homely feel, ideal for families or couples. All suites have a fully equipped kitchen and cozy lounge area. WiFi is free and super-fast. The staff are extremely accommodating and attentive. It’s conveniently situated, at only 400-meters from the Basilica of Saint Lawrence and 500-meters from Wicked Weed Brewing.
Biltmore is one of America’s best kept secrets. Although, for those who have a love of 19th Century history, Biltmore will be something of a bucket list destination. Biltmore Estate and Mansion house is considered to be the largest private home in all of the United States, and is a glistening architectural beacon set a-front the Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop.
Built in 1895, the Biltmore Estate was created by renowned architectural designer George Vanderbilt. Featuring elements copied from the opulent houses of rural Great Britain and the exquisite chateaus of France, Biltmore is a true masterpiece.
A neighborhood well suited for travelers who wish to relax and retreat during their time in Asheville, Biltmore is an affable area where even weekend visitors are made to feel like part of the long-standing community. From Biltmore you can drive into bustling downtown in less than 10 minutes.
Good For: Older Travelers, Relaxed Travelers, Budding Historians, Culture Vultures, Foodies
Neighborhood Highlights: Biltmore Mansion, Biltmore Gardens, Biltmore Waterfall, Bass Pond Lookout, Biltmore Forest Country Club
Clarion Inn – Guests have access to the outdoor swimming pool and complimentary WiFi. Rooms are modern and spacious and all have an ensuite bathroom, flat screen TV and coffee making facilities. It’s just a four-minute drive from Biltmore Estate and staff can arrange a taxi for you if you wish.
Baymont by Wyndham – Just 600-meters from Biltmore Estate, Baymont by Wyndham offers outstanding levels of service and attention to detail. Guests are welcome to make use of the fitness center and luxury hot tub. All rooms come with air-conditioning and flat screen TV. The ensuite bathrooms come complete with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries.
Hampton Inn & Suites – Family-friendly and affordable – Hampton Inn & Suites ticks all the boxes. The complimentary continental breakfast is a great way to start the day. Guests have access to the hotel’s indoor pool and terraced seating areas. Free WiFi is available throughout the property and cable TV is in all rooms.
Historic Montford can be found at the very heart of Asheville, just north of downtown. Offering visitors the opportunity to gaze in awe at the heritage buildings and smattering of statues and sculptures, Historic Montford is really quite endearing.
A little more suburban than tourist-central downtown, Historic Montford is perfect for travelers who want to live like a local in Asheville. Take a stroll through this quaint and charming neighborhood, stop to chat with friendly locals, and snap the ranging architectural styles featured here.
Montford Arts and Music Festival is an annual event that offers free entry for all. Over 100 art vendors line the streets, along with music performers and dance events. Usually held in May, time your visit to coincide with this, if you can.
If you are architecturally obsessed, you can join a Montford Home Tour and take a sneak peek inside the stately homes of this historic neighborhood.
Good For: Architecture Enthusiasts, Budding Historians, Culture Vultures, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Montford Park, Stately Homes, Montford Arts and Music Festival, Morris Hellenic Cultural Center, Asheville Visitor Center, Botanical Gardens At Asheville
The Applewood Manor – Encompassing all the charm of Historic Montford in a homely B&B, this boutique-style bed and breakfast is locally owned and managed. The rooms are comfortable and chic with just the right amount of quirky design elements. All rooms feature an ensuite, flat screen TV, and free WiFi.
A Bed of Roses Bed & Breakfast – This is a traditional B&B run by lovely locals, Emily and Tim. A hearty continental breakfast is served in the ornate dining room every morning which caters for all dietary requirements. Bed of Roses B&B features a gorgeous sunny garden and plenty of photogenic furniture. The rooms offer ultimate levels of comfort and class.
Cumberland Falls Bed & Breakfast – Only 800-meters from the Botanical Gardens and five-kilometers from Biltmore Estate, Cumberland Falls B&B is in a fantastic location. The rooms are comfortable and cozy and all feature an ensuite bathroom, some with bathtub. It is run by locals who are happy to help you in any way possible.
For laid-back vibes and a vintage feel, get yourself to West Asheville. Home to some of the city’s best coffee shops and family-run restaurants, West Asheville is a foodie’s paradise. West Asheville is also becoming a hive of activity for the city’s music scene. Many of the aforementioned cafes, bars, and restaurants eagerly open up their mics for some of the city’s best undiscovered talent to grace the stage.
Funky, fresh, yet firmly latched onto its retro feels, West Asheville is where the cool kids come to hang out. The neighborhood is bright and bold and serves as a great median for travelers who want to experience Asheville’s thriving downtown and the hip and happening River Arts District to the west.
As you have come to expect from Asheville, there are a number of up and coming brew houses to experience in West Asheville, like New Belgium Brewery.
Good For: Foodies, Culture Vultures, Music Lovers, Young Travelers, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: The Mothlight, The Odditorium, Westside Artist Co-op, UpCountry Brewing Company, West Asheville Library, West Asheville Baptist Church
Rock Haven Terrace Motel – Affordable and comfortable, Rock Haven is ideal for travelers who are just looking for a place to sleep and shower. All rooms have a flat-screen TV and basic kitchen facilities. The reception is open 24-hours and there is no lock out. Free parking is available on site.
Country Inn & Suites by Radisson – Rooms are all bright and spacious and feature modern decor. All rooms also feature a flat-screen TV, work desk and reliable WiFi. The staff are incredibly professional and can help with any travel arrangements and city tours. The breakfast includes authentic Belgian waffles and excellent coffee.
Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville – If you stay at Crowne Plaza Resort, you will have access to the salt-water lap pool, heated outdoor pool and 20 tennis courts, as well as the private 9-hole golf course. Guests can make use of the hotel’s shuttle service into Downtown Asheville should they wish. Rooms all have ensuite bathroom, coffee making facilities and free WiFi.
River Arts District
One of the main reasons Asheville is becoming a popular destination for travelers is its unique and thriving arts scene. This art community can be found in the River Arts District to the west of Asheville Downtown. Restored, renovated and totally renewed, River Arts District was once an industrial estate, home to warehouses and distribution centers. Now it is one of North Carolina’s coolest destinations.
Here you will find artists from all kinds of industries and niches – from fine art watercolorists to glass blowers; from master potters to innovative metal workers. Let’s not forget the craft brewers who have wrangled their way into this ultra-cool neighborhood.
Being a neighborhood focused on the needs of its local creative community, there are next to no big flash hotels in River Arts District, which is actually a good thing. It has allowed local people to share their spaces with visitors, serving only to further the strong community feeling that exists here. From loft spaces to spare rooms, there is always an open door and a comfy bed in River Arts District if you look hard enough.
Good For: Art Enthusiasts, Foodies, Like a Local Travelers, Culture Vultures, Young Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights – Asheville RAD, Jonas Gerard Fine Art, CURVE Studios & Garden, Wedge Studios, RAD Skatepark, Walton Street Park, Hofman Studios
Historic Church in The River Arts District – This is a whole home holiday rental featuring a magnificent open fireplace and neighborhood views. Guests have access to their own private deck complete with hot-tub spa pool. Complimentary New Belgium beer on draft is available in the lounge, and cocktails are stocked in the mini bar. Sleeps two guests.
New Belgium Cottage – Ideal for families or groups of friends, New Belgium Cottage can sleep up to four guests. The entire house is rented out, complete with a fully equipped kitchen and spacious living room. Rooms are homely, comfortable, and beautifully decorated. The house comes with an outdoor terrace featuring gas BBQ, outdoor seating and a hammock.
Bluebird Sanctuary – This entire guest apartment comes complete with a fully equipped kitchen and cable TV. Sleeping just two people, the queen bed is big and comfortable. There are plenty of laptop-friendly workspaces for digital nomads, and free WiFi is available throughout. It’s an easy walk across the river to the central arts district.
The natural beauty that is Black Mountain is a neighborhood set 20-minutes drive east of downtown Asheville. Perfect for travelers who want to live in the shadow of the mountains during their time in Asheville, this neighborhood is the gateway to Pisgah National Forest and the magnificent Mt Mitchell.
Ideal for families who enjoy the great outdoors, Black Mountain offers visitors a welcome breath of fresh air and some spectacular scenery. Home to around 8,000 people, the community feel is prevalent and the whole place feels alive.
In neighboring Old Fort, you will find one of North Carolina’s best kept secrets – Catawba Falls. Come rain or shine, this little spot is well worth the hike.
Visitors can experience Asheville’s thriving art culture even up in Black Mountain. The Flood Gallery Fine Art Center is impressive, as is Seven Sisters Gallery.
Good For: Active Travelers, Art Enthusiasts, Adventurous Travelers, Families, Young Travelers, Like a Local Travelers
Neighborhood Highlights: Lake Tomahawk Dam, Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber, Riverwalk Park, Kitsuma Peak Trailhead, Andrews Geyser
Acorn Motel – Acorn Motel is a cheap and cheerful motel ideal for unfussy travelers who just want to get out and explore. All rooms come with a microwave, refrigerator and work desk. Free WiFi is available in the lobby only. Rooms are basic but clean and comfortable. Breakfast is not available but you are not far from great cafes.
Black Mountain Inn – Charming and homely, Black Mountain Inn is run by a local family who are happy to share their hints and tips. A great breakfast is included, as is free WiFi. Some rooms have a four-poster bed and stand-alone claw-foot bath tub. All have an ensuite bathroom.
My Place Inn – Free bicycle hire is a major plus here, and your hosts will gladly direct you to the best routes and trail ways. Low-key, friendly and homely, My Place Inn is perfect for travelers who like a good level of comfort but nothing too flashy. Breakfast is superb and included in the room rate.