8 Downtown Asheville Stops You Must See

There are a lot of things to do in Downtown Asheville. From one street to another, you are surrounded by new scenes, architecture, places to eat, breweries, shopping, and some great photography opportunities.

Flat Iron Building & Wall Street Asheville

The Flat Iron Building in Downtown Asheville is a gorgeous piece of architecture, and surrounded by plenty of shopping and restaurants including Chai Pani and World Cafe up on the right side of the building; plus Early Girl Eatery, Market Place Restaurant, Cucina 24, Laughing Seed Cafe, and MG Road to the left down Wall Street.

Basilica of St. Lawrence

The Basilica of St. Lawrence is a beautiful cathedral in Downtown Asheville. The US Cellular Center is to the right, which hosts many grand events throughout the year.

Asheville City Building

The Asheville City Building was designed by Architect Douglas D. Ellington, who also designed the S & W Cafeteria, Asheville High School, and First Baptist Church.

Pritchard Park Downtown Asheville

Pritchard Park is best known for the Drum Circle it hosts every Friday night from Spring through Fall. Plenty to do all around here including eating at Tupelo Honey Cafe, Jerusalem Garden Cafe, Mayfel’s, Red Ginger Dimsum, Kathmandu Cafe, and Jack of the Wood.

Pack Square Asheville NC

Pack Square in Downtown Asheville is the center of the Universe. During warmer months, you will many times see local protests happening in this spot. You can see Asheville’s first skyscraper, the Jackson Building, to the right; along with the French Broad Chocolate Lounge colored in light blue. If you were standing in this spot, all you would have to do is turn around to experience some fantastic restaurants including Posana, Noodle Shop, Salsa’s, Bomba, Rhubarb, and Curate. If you turn to your right here and walk down the street, you will see Limones to the left on Eagle Street; plus Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, Chestnut, The Blackbird, and Doc Chey’s straight down Biltmore. You can also find the Double Decker Coffee Bus across from Barley’s.

S & W Cafeteria Building Asheville

The S & W Cafeteria Building is an architectural delight. A fine building used as an event venue right across the street from the Drum Circle in Downtown Asheville.

Asheville's Flat Iron

When you hit Wall Street in Downtown Asheville, don’t forget to stop by the Flat Iron itself. You will many times catch a busker or two here performing, as well as lots of other street entertainment. Some call it Asheville’s free circus. It’s good to have a few bucks on hand to tip all of these great performers.

Grove Arcade Downtown Asheville

The Grove Arcade in Downtown Asheville was built by E.W. Grove, the same man who built the Grove Park Inn. He wanted to liven up the downtown area, and it happened, until the Federal Government took it over during World War II. Asheville took it back over about 20 years ago, and it is now home to the famed Battery Park Book Exchange & Wine Bar as well as restaurants like Modesto, Carmel’s, Chorizo; plus a tasty bakery called True Confections. They also have an outdoor market with lots of vendors when the weather permits.

Luckily, Downtown Asheville has so much to offer. Get out there and experience it!

Special thanks to Ashley Susan Photography for these photos!

Asheville on $10.00 a Day

Asheville on $10 a Day

Asheville and its surrounding mountainous border has much to see and enjoy. But what if you only have $10.00 in your pocket to “enjoy” the sights, sounds, smells, and secret treasures? How would you spend $10.00 during one fun-filled afternoon? That’s the question we posed to local residents on a particularly snowy winter afternoon. Their responses varied, but seemed to fall into two major categories: (1)Eating and Drinking; and (2)Outdoor Fun. Let’s explore some of their responses.

• Leslie: “Visit the Farmers Market and follow with lunch at the Moose Cafe
• Karen: “Walk through downtown, making sure to stop at the drum circle. Follow this experience with a cold, local craft brew.”
• Carol: “Drive to Mt. Mitchell, take a hike, stop by the Folk Art Center, and grab a snack on the way home.”
• Pam: “Complete a walking tour of the downtown Asheville area followed by a taco from White Duck Taco on Broadway.”
• Abby: “Grab lunch or dinner at the Green Sage Cafe.”
• Bonnie: “Visit the North Carolina Arboretum ($5.00 parking) and take along a picnic lunch.”
• Kitty: “Rent a bike and explore local sites.”
• Rachel: “Eat brunch at Sunny Point Cafe and select the ‘build your own omelet’ option, starting at $8.00.”

North Carolina Arboretum

Based on these responses, it’s safe to assume that Asheville has fantastic restaurants with reasonable lunch or dinner rates, and lots of outdoor activities to fill an entire day. From hiking and biking to brunch and brews, the area attracts visitors because of its diverse menu of enjoyable activities. Additionally, many of the activities detailed by our residents include “free stuff.” It doesn’t cost a dime to hike the parkway, roam through downtown Asheville’s art deco buildings, or enjoy an outdoor drum circle event.

But no list of Asheville activities is complete without a visit to the bookstores, even if you’re just browsing. Trust me, this nerdy, teetotaler blogger could spend days just roaming through Asheville’s bookstores with a cold lemonade in one hand and a European pastry from Old Europe in the other. From Mr. K’s Used Books, Music, and More and the faith focused Lifeway store to Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe and Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, you’ll find enough books, digital texts, and magazines to last you for years.

To continue researching other Asheville options, check out the rest of the AskAsheville site. Most importantly, have fun exploring this vibrant city and its surrounding beauty, with as little as $10.00 in your pocket!

Blog Post by Lori Brown

A Visit To Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock NC

My husband has a brochure problem. Every stinkin’ time we are in a hotel on one of our many adventures, he looks for a brochure display and gets himself a thick stack of them to familiarize himself with the highlights of the area. The car is full of them.

Three years in a row he picked up the one for Chimney Rock. And now we were heading to the Round House we rented in Hendersonville and his dream may actually come true. He has lured me to Chimney Rock with the promise that there is an elevator to the top of the mountain. Cue the music signaling impeding doom.

On Top of Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock is about 25 minutes from Hendersonville. The town of Chimney Rock is a small town near Lake Lure with eclectic shops and eateries lining both sides of the main road that runs through town. On your right, is the Broad River. Being a rock lover, I couldn’t get over the huge boulders in the river! There were tons of places I could see where you’ll be able to eat lunch and wander out to the river. Even gem mining was there!! I love gem mining!!

The entrance is in the middle of town and easy to miss. You cross the river and a gorgeous narrow winding road will lead you up the mountain. You will pass several little grilling areas with picnic tables on your way to the tippy top.

So, here’s where the story picks up. We get to the hut where you pay the fifteen dollar entrance fee and the ranger says there is a discount today…wait for it…because the elevator is broken. At the time I was putting on lipstick, the circles of color just kept getting wider and wider till when my husband looks over we was staring at Bozo the Clown.

“I still want to do it,” he says with a wide grin. I look at the Ranger and he assures me there are places to rest on the way up and a cafe at the top. “I got this!” I said with confidence I didn’t feel. I mean I do Pilates but…

We stopped at the bathrooms at the base of the mountain before going up that last little bit. Have no fear though, if you drive all the way up, there are bathrooms there, too.

View of Lake Lure NC

We parked towards the top, if you arrive later in the day you will have to park down the hill and be shuttled up by school bus.

There was a guy playing the dulcimer in front of the gift shop, the music added a magical quality to the experience. A couple with an el fresco hot dog stand is on your right and a little further are the bathrooms and beyond that, the beginning of the stairs to Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls.

The gift shop was our first stop. I bought myself a t-shirt, “I hiked it and I liked it!” The power of a positive mindset, right?

The journey up the 497 steps was slow going. There were landings you could stop and pretend to look out at the view and catch your breath! I did that once or twice, maybe!

The views are amazing, the rock formations gorgeous, and the history of the mountain just as high and wide. I swear I could hear the star of the movie, The Last of the Mohicans, yell, “I will come for you!” as he jumped through Hickory Nuts Falls. (You can even buy the movie in the gift shop!)

The Grotto Chimney Rock

You’ll come across a grotto, a tunnel to climb through called the “subway”, and small bat cave. We explored it all.

At the top, it is not a flat area with a railing. The top has been left with its natural contours and a fence around it. You can stand on one of the outcropping of rock and get a great picture of the 2280 feet of stairs you just climbed.

The cafe is closed in the winter but there is a gift shop, bathrooms, and a place you can get coffee.

Please, don’t just walk by the “emergency wheel barrow” for taking people down the mountain. It puts everything into perspective!

Now, there is another set of stairs to go a smidge higher. We choose to save that for next time!! LOL

Down the mountain is way easier and faster! And honestly, I’m glad the elevator was out, for really real. I would’ve missed the grotto, opera box, subway, and the bat cave. More importantly, the sense of accomplishment was thrilling.

My t- shirt was wrong, I hiked it and I loved it!

Btw, I’m wearing the shirt as I type for inspiration!

Karin AskAsheville Guest Blogger

Karin – adventurer and story teller!!

Follow me on Twitter @karin13773564

10 Waterfalls to Visit Near Asheville, NC

Hooker Falls
Hooker Falls – Located in DuPost State Forest. The easy hiking trail has made it one of the most popular waterfalls in the area. From the main parking lot, use the trail to the right and follow the signs to reach the falls. The trail is about a quarter of a mile. Upon getting close to the falls, you’ll notice small observation deck. You can keep going about 100 yards to get a better view of Hooker Falls. Though it’s only 12 feet high, the water rushing down makes quite an impression, especially after some heavy rain. Please use caution if you decide to take a swim near the falls.
Triple Falls
Triple Falls – Also located in DuPont State Forest. You can visit Triple Falls after seeing Hooker Falls. From the main parking lot, walk over the bridge, to reach the trail. It’s about half a mile one way, but it will feel longer once you reach the incline. You will be able to see all three cascades from an observation point. Keep going just a little more, and you’ll see some wooden steps to the left which will take you to a flat area and you’ll be able to sit and relax for a moment to enjoy some beautiful falls. Please use caution, and also be aware there is no swimming allowed.
Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls – Located in Pisgah Forest, it is has become one of the biggest attractions in the area because of its easy access. Located right off the road on Highway 276 near Brevard, NC, and there are some steps you can take to get a closer look at the waterfall. Enjoy the view from the observation deck, or cautiously walk down to the water and enjoy a little swim. Looking Glass Falls is a beautiful sight, and it looks spectacular after some heavy rain. As always, please use caution if you decide to go for a swim.
Sliding Rock Falls
Sliding Rock – Located just up the road from Looking Glass Falls, it is a popular spot in the summer for swimmers of all ages. There is a small fee to enter during the summer, so keep that in mind if you decide to go. Sliding Rock gets extremely crowded on those warm summer days when everyone wants to cool down, but it’s a fun experience. There is a lifeguard on duty during the summer months. Always use caution when swimming at the falls.
Second Falls at Graveyard Fields
Second Falls at Graveyard Fields – Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 418.8. In the summer months, chances are you will see the parking lot filled with cars. Second Falls is an easy to moderate hike. From the parking lot, walk down the steps to the paved trail. Once you reach the river, cross the bridge and keep going until you see the dirt trail on the right. You’ll come to a long, steep set of steps. Once you reach the bottom, you’ll be able to see Second Falls. If you decide to go over the observation deck, please use caution as rocks can get slick. You can take a swim right below the waterfall, but please use caution there as well. The hike is about half mile one way.
Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields
Upper Falls at Graveyard Fields – Located in the same vicinity as Second Falls. If you’re hiking in the direction of Second Falls, take a left after crossing the wooden bridge and wooden trail. Be sure to follow the signs. One you reach the falls, it may not look like much if it hasn’t rained much. Use caution while walking over the rocks as they can be slick. Expect to hike over a couple of miles if you visit Upper Falls.
Eastatoe Falls
Eastatoe Falls – It’s a beautiful waterfall located in someone’s backyard. Please respect their property if you decide to visit. Conveniently, they have allowed people to park their car behind their house (you will see the sign). Located in Rosman, NC near Brevard, it is off Highway 178. Once you turn on Highway 178 from Highway 64, go about three and a half miles until you see a sign that says “Mountain Meadow” on the right side. Follow the driveway to the back of the house. Walk further back into the backyard and you will hear the waterfall.
Dry Falls
Dry Falls – Located off Highway 64 near Highlands, NC, this waterfall is amazing. It is a beautiful 75 foot waterfall. Once you reach the parking lot, walk down the long staircase and follow the walkway to the waterfall. You will be able to walk behind the waterfall! It is definitely a great experience, especially if you go after some heavy rain!
Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls – Located in Gorges State Park. Rainbow Falls is near Sapphire, NC on NC-281. It is about a mile and a half hike one way, and it is moderate. The waterfall will be worth the drive and the hike. The 150 foot tall waterfall does not disappoint, and there is also an observation deck to get a closer look. Many people also swim near the waterfall, but always use caution as the rocks get slick and currents are tough after some heavy rain. You can also walk about a quarter of a mile up the trail to visit Turtleback Falls and take a swim up there as well.
Whitewater Falls
Whitewater Falls – Located near Gorges State Park and Sapphire, NC on NC-281, Whitewater Falls is the highest waterfall this side of the Rockies. Once you get to the parking lot, please be aware there is a small fee ($2) per vehicle to park – this is to contribute to the upkeep of the park area. Once there, follow the paved trail about a quarter of a mile to see this magnificent 411 foot waterfall. Once you see the waterfall, you will also see a steep staircase to the right. Go down to get a better look. The steps are steep, and there are 154 of them! Unfortunately, you cannot get a closer look of the falls other than the one from the observation deck. For the experienced hikers, there is a trail near the observation deck which takes you to the bottom, but please use caution.
Photos & Blog Post by AskAVL Team Member Hugo G Photography. Find More Great Asheville Area Information on the AskAsheville Facebook Page!

Asheville Beer & Brewery Tours Galore!

asheville_van_tours

As you may already know, Asheville’s hippie name is simply put… BEER! Breweries, beer stores, beer bars, desserts with beer, beer cycle, beer soap, beer battered fish & chips, beer ice cream and just about whatever else you can think of. I have not been able to find any beer cologne, but that is most likely coming soon. For now, just douse yourself with a recyclable bottle of certified organic farm raised brew.

asheville brewery tours

Asheville Premier Transportation decided to expand their business. They already had airport transportation, shuttle services, and smaller tours they were doing with the Lincoln Town Car; but then a van came into their lives, and with just a few small mentions on social media, the calls started coming in and booking brewery tours, corporate tours, and other exciting excursions around Asheville and WNC.

There are several other companies that do beer and brewery tours around Asheville and Western North Carolina, and it seems like all of them are doing pretty good. In Beer City USA, all you have to do is follow the beer, and you already have a head start on your road to success.