Asheville is just one of those places that gets known for its specialties. Many of these things were not planned, they just happened. Here are 27 Things Asheville Is Known For, many of which you most definitely want to experience.
1. Mountains – they call us the land of the sky, a mountain town in Western North Carolina. Drive the Parkway, see the views, chase the waterfalls, see the colorful leaves, go hiking, camp out in the middle of nature, and fall in love with the great outdoors!
2. Diversity – people from all over the country and world somehow end up in Asheville. Some call it a magnet, and others refer to it as the new melting pot of the United States of America. From the transplants, to the food, to the culture and attitude; true Asheville represents a worldwide community mindset that you will not find in most other towns.
3. Local Movement – the local craft and handmade industry is big around here. From art to beer to farming; localization is where it’s at. Helping smaller independent businesses is a must in our region. Organizations such as Asheville Grown have been a force in balancing back corporate America from taking over the land and turning our homegrown community into a business plan.
4. Cycling – cyclists love Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not only are the roads a great workout, but folks can ride around town being surrounded by mountains, nature and beauty. This is the perfect spot for both training and courses. Also check out Asheville on Bikes which is a great cycling group in our community.
5. Dogs – you fit in much better when you have a dog with you in Asheville. We have dog parks, dog walkers, people that will take your dog on a hike, ice cream for dogs, doggie day care, dog spas, and more. Many businesses, restaurants and breweries are also pet friendly. Man and woman both need best friends, and dogs are many times the perfect fit.
6. Musicians – whether you are looking for national or international acts, or buskers and street music; Asheville has a little bit of something for everyone. Venues like the Orange Peel, New Mountain and several others are bringing incredible performances to WNC. You hear folks on Twitter in larger cities complaining that our little town gets bigger and better musicians performing than they do.
7. Books – we have Malaprops, which is one of the best bookstores in the USA; but we also have places like the Battery Park Book Exchange & Wine Bar which is an experience you do not want to miss in Asheville. If you are out on the westside of town, Firestorm is the place to be!
8. Weed – according to some, and unfortunately to others, we have the “best” marijuana you can find anywhere in the USA, yea the world. With legalization coming soon, many are ready for Asheville to be also known as Weed City USA. Word on the street is that local law enforcement agencies are already being trained for this transition.
9. Churches – someone said that if the South has a Bible belt, then the Asheville to Greenville area is the buckle. And it’s not just “turn or burn” anymore. Love is in the air. New cultural centers and places of faith that represent many different religious affiliations are now a part of Western North Carolina.
10. Donuts – who would’ve imagined that craft doughnuts could be a thing? But they are! And Asheville is the perfect place for donut cuisine. Several shops like Vortex and Hole are already in town; and Sugar Shack is on the way.
11. Tattoos – we have some amazing tattoo artists in Asheville, plus a couple of conventions each year that highlight body art and piercings. Some have said that you need to have a tattoo to live in west Asheville. If not, the locals may catch you and give you one. Henna is also pretty popular around these parts.
12. Biltmore Estate – the mansion of mansions is right here in Biltmore Village, Asheville North Carolina. This place is most likely the biggest home you will ever lay your eyes on. A must-see if you are visiting the area. Fell free to dress up like royalty, and walk around like you own the place!
13. Tacos – everyone is making tacos in Asheville nowadays. White Duck came on the scene and made their mark, and now Taco Billy is the hottest taco shop in the area. Plus, you need to track down the Umami Bites Food Truck and try their shredded pork belly tacos. Amazing! Bartaco is also getting ready to open shop on Biltmore Ave, right below the Orange Peel.
14. Downtown – sometimes when folks ask us what to do in Asheville, we simply tell them to park downtown and walk around. It has been referred as a free circus featuring buskers, a magic show, hula-hoopers, and fun all around. And it is true. Or jump on the purple LaZoom bus or ride the Pubcycle. All the entertainment you need to start your experience lines the streets of our city. Walk around and let chance guide you.
15. Restaurants – this place is a foodie wonderland. The culinary scene here is second to none and growing rapidly. Everywhere you go, you can find amazing eats from our fleet of food trucks, to hole in the wall spots, to five star restaurants. Small plates, BIG plates, and meals with several courses are available. Not to mention all of the dessert and pastry shops. Come hungry and eat your heart out!
16. Hippies – he’s a hippie, she’s a hippie, I’m a hippie, they’re a hippie; wouldn’t you like to be a hippie too? Not only are many hippies from past years relocating to Asheville, but Western North Carolina is also becoming a breeding ground for hippie newborns.
17. Beer – we are beer city USA, with so many breweries featuring a wide selection of beers and a variety of tastes. There is a craft to beer around here. We do not drink to get drunk; we drink for taste and experience first, then to get drunk. If you are coming here, stop by one of the beer stores and ask for some souvenir beer that you cannot find anywhere else except around Asheville. Then take it home with you, open it up, and drink in remembrance of us!
18. Chocolate – craft chocolate is one of the sweet things about Asheville! Yes, we have ice cream, donuts, cakes and more; but our chocolate can stand alone, and is many times the essence that is incorporated into many other desserts.
19. Drum Circle – a community that drums together, stays together. The drum circle in Asheville brings locals and tourists into a circle of music, dance and love like none other.
20. Coffee – our city is dripping with coffee, craft coffee, and coffee shops. Everywhere you look, coffee is making it’s way on the scene. You have your regular coffee, but also specialty coffees and teas readily available; and oh so good.
21. Art – from graffiti to fine art collections, Asheville is an artistic community filled with amazingly original artists. Underground artists such as Ishmael became the king of street art years ago in Asheville. Today, galleries all around town, and in the River Arts District, are filled with highly desired artwork by local and guest artists.
22. Escape – while tourism tells you to visit Asheville, many of you know the feeling when you get here – as if you escaped an imprisoned life and have arrived in paradise. Over the years, there have been several instances where folks were missing from their hometowns, only to find them roaming around Asheville. Getaway means so much more when the mountains of Western North Carolina are on the travel itinerary. Escape To Asheville!
23. Weather – the weather in Asheville is many times just perfect. When it is so hot in other areas of the country, the coolness of the mountains balances the temperature here. When it is so cold elsewhere, Asheville is “not that bad” as we say. When snow does come, we either stay home and take the day off, or grab our sleds and head out to have fun in it.
24. Biscuits – oh the art of biscuitry is a key element in the foodie world here. Biscuit Head has pretty much perfected (or re-perfected) the famous “Cathead Biscuit” and has become a sensation here among the local and also visiting tourists. There is not a biscuit map for the Asheville area currently, but do expect one soon.
25. Barbecue – there is barbecue, great barbecue, and barbecue cuisine. 12 Bones has definitely made their mark with their fine meat and sauce selections. Then Luella’s, Moe’s BBQ and Creekside Taphouse trailed them. Today, Buxton Hall Barbecue is the new culinary hotspot for BBQ in the Asheville area.
26. People – the people are a big ingredient of what makes Asheville what it is. Mountain folk are nice by nature for the most part. Mix that up with a bunch of people that are either moving here to reinvent their life, or to raise their quality of living; and the community just keeps getting better and better.
27. Weirdness – Keep Asheville Weird is a slogan that we pretty much stole from Austin, but have taken it to new levels. Asheville is an area where everyone can pretty much just be themselves, and not have to worry about acceptance or rejection. We are the neutral zone. It is a place where you are free to express yourself in a variety of ways, whether art, song, dance, entertainment, trade, food, drink, adventure, experiences and more. All it takes to be weird is to simply be unbound from mainstream constraints, prejudices and expectations put on us by what some call the “normal” society. We are real good at that! On social media, you will see folks saying stuff like “heading to Asheville to get weird” and “bout to get my weird on in Asheville.” And they do. Welcome to Asheville. Come and help us Keep Asheville Weird!
***We have received a few additions to the list including Yoga, Massage, and Beards. If you have some more, please comment below and let us know! Thanks.