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Look no further for the ultimate 3-day weekend in Asheville itinerary for planning a trip to Asheville!
Historic landmarks, award-winning restaurants, multiple breweries, and incredible outdoor beauty – what else you you need for an unforgettable weekend getaway?
Asheville, North Carolina is gaining popularity as one of the most vibrant cities in the United States with its inspiring Arts District, a fascinating Historic District, and gorgeous natural surroundings.
Visitors flock here to experience the beauty of Western North Carolina complete with mountains, forests, waterfalls, and plenty of clean, fresh air.
In this post, you’ll find a complete 3-day weekend in Asheville itinerary that includes the best, and most fun things to do in Asheville, North Carolina.
Why Visit Asheville, North Carolina?
A thriving mountain city, Asheville, North Carolina continues to grow in popularity as one of the best and most affordable places to visit in the U.S.
Set among the awe-inspiring scenery of the Appalachian Mountains, the city of Asheville is incredibly edgy, yet inviting. It is a place where literally anyone can fit in.
Whether you love beer, restaurants, art, architecture, and/or outdoor adventure, Asheville is the place for you!
With an interesting combination of historic buildings, an eclectic downtown, and a funky art and music scene, Asheville is also known as one of the top cities for foodies.
In addition, there are tons of opportunities for great day trips from Asheville including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains, as well as the scenic towns of Pisquah Forest, Black Mountain, Lake Lure, Bryson City, and Chimney Rock.
When to visit Asheville
Though Asheville is a year-round destination, the most popular time to visit Asheville is during the fall months of late September to early November.
This is when you’ll find beautiful colors and fall foliage at its peak.
Along with the fall season drawing peak crowds, you’ll also find higher prices on overnight accommodations, however.
March-May is another popular time to visit Asheville as temps are pleasant (high 50s to mid-70s), prices are moderate, and the heavy crowds have yet to arrive.
Summertime visits are popular for families as schools are on break and the warm weather makes it easy to be outside. Daily rain storms are common, however, which is definitely something to keep in mind when visiting Asheville in summer.
Lastly, in the winter months of December-February, prices are affordable and there are a lot fewer crowds. Temperatures are chilly with highs in the mid-50s, however.
There is occasional snowfall in January.
Planning a trip to the East Coast? Check out some of our favorite East Coast travel tips and destinations!
Weekend in Asheville: Where we stayed
Located in Biltmore Village and across the street from the sprawling Biltmore Estate, Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville is a luxury hotel with a rustic, 19th-century lodge feel.
We loved the swanky, yet rustic decor, luxury bedding, and its amazing onsite restaurant, the Red Stag Grill.
Though close to the shops and restaurants in Biltmore Village, keep in mind that you will need transportation to both the Biltmore Estate entrance and Downtown Asheville as they are not within walking distance.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Grand Bohemian to families with small children as the hotel has an adult, upscale vibe, and there is no hotel pool.
For families, check out the Omni Grove Park Inn. This is a 4-star hotel that is my top recommendation when visiting Asheville with kids.
3-Day Weekend in Asheville Itinerary
Here’s our ultimate 3-day weekend in Asheville itinerary that can be customized with the restaurants and activities of your choice.
Continue scrolling, as our step-by-step Asheville itinerary is followed by a detailed list and explanation of the best things to do in Asheville – most of which are included in this itinerary!
Day 1: Weekend in Asheville
- Spend the morning in Downtown Asheville and the afternoon at the Biltmore Estate
- 9:00 AM Breakfast at Tupelo Honey
- 10:00 AM – 11:45 AM Insider Asheville walking tour of Downtown
- 12 PM Lunch at Isa’s Bistro
- 1:30 PM Visit the Biltmore Estate and do a Biltmore House and Grounds Tour
- Get ice cream at The Creamery (onsite at Biltmore House)
- Drive to Antler Hill Village and do a complimentary wine-tasting
- 7:30 PM Dinner at Jettie Rae’s Oyster House
Day 2: Weekend in Asheville
- Spend the morning in Pisgah National Forest and the afternoon on at Eating Asheville food tour
- 8:00 AM Breakfast at Early Girl Eatery
- 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Asheville Adventures Guided Waterfall Hike
- 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM Eating Asheville High Roller Food Tour (highly recommend!)
- Visit the French Broad Chocolate Factory
- Browse the shops in Downtown Asheville
- 7:30 PM Dinner at Chestnut Asheville
Day 3: Weekend in Asheville
- Spend the morning exploring Blue Ridge Parkway and the afternoon at Asheville’s breweries and the River Arts District
- 9:00 AM Breakfast at Wel-Bred Bakery & Cafe or Corner Kitchen (both in Biltmore Village)
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Gardens
- Hike the Craggy Gardens Trail (easy, 1.4 miles round-trip)
- Hike Craggy Pinnacle Hike (moderate, 1.2 miles round-trip)
- Visit Asheville’s River Arts District
- Visit the Asheville breweries of your choice. We went to New Belgium Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewery
Fun Things to Do in Asheville
Ready to learn more about the best and most fun things to do in Asheville?
With so many activities in Asheville to choose from, we’ve rounded up the best and have included our tips to help you plan your trip.
If you only have 3-day in Asheville, you’ll need to choose which restaurants, tours, and outdoor activities to fit into your itinerary
1. Tour the Biltmore Estate
My top recommendation for things to do in Asheville is to tour the world-famous Biltmore Estate – the largest private residence in the USA!
The former home of George Vanderbilt, this 8,000-acre estate consists of the Biltmore House, Biltmore Gardens, Biltmore Farm, and Antler Hill Village & Winery, which are all open to the public.
There are also multiple onsite restaurants, 3 hotels, and a world-class spa.
Biltmore House is a “chateau-esque mansion” with lavish furnishings in over 250 different rooms! (It is the 3rd biggest house in the entire world!)
Their collection of art and antiques is truly impressive, as is the working farm and the impeccably groomed gardens and grounds.
Things to do at the Biltmore include various types of guided tours, audio tours, nature trails, horseback riding, wine and chocolate tasting, guided rafting trips, bike and kayak rentals, and so much more!
A short drive from the main house, Antler Hill Village is home to quaint shops, as well as a playground, farm, restaurant, and the Biltmore Winery.
You can literally spend an entire day at the Biltmore Estate as there are multiple things to do there besides just touring the house.
For our time there, we booked the House & Grounds Tour that includes a 50-minute audio tour guide to Biltmore House, access to the gardens and grounds, complimentary parking, and complimentary wine tasting at Antler Hill Village & Winery.
We spent 1 hour at Biltmore House, 1.5 hours touring the gardens, 30 minutes eating ice cream at Biltmore House, and 1 hour at Antler Hill Village. We felt that this was enough time to enjoy an overview of the property.
(Be sure to pack an umbrella if rain is in the forecast if you plan to tour the gardens.)
2. Explore Downtown Asheville
Downtown Asheville is a bustling, eclectic neighborhood filled with restaurants, shops, and fascinating architecture.
Spend time exploring the area, popping into local shops, and sampling some Southern cuisine.
Once you find a spot in one of the 4 public parking structures, Downtown Asheville can be enjoyed by walking around on your own, or by taking one of the many guided tours offered in the area.
While in Downtown Asheville, I recommend checking out the following historic buildings:
- Basilica of Saint Laurence
- The Grove Arcade (Stop into the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar!)
- The Thomas Wolfe Memorial House
- The Jackson Building
- Battery Park Hotel
I also suggest stopping to enjoy the atmosphere at Pack Square Park.
At Pack Square Park you’ll find a large greenspace, a playful water feature, a musical stage, bronze statues, and a great view of the art-deco City Hall.
Lastly, don’t miss the Woolworth original Soda Fountain (25 Haywood Street) and The Hop handcrafted ice cream in the historic S&W Building (56 Patton Avenue).
3. Walk the Asheville Urban Trail
If you’re interested in learning about the history of Asheville, consider walking all – or part – of Asheville’s Urban Trail.
The Asheville Urban Trail is a free, self-guided walking trail that guides you to 30 different sculptural trail stations located throughout Downtown Asheville.
Each station is marked by a bronze plaque and a horseshoe embedded into the sidewalk. Walking the trail from start to finish takes approximately 2 hours.
4. Take a Food Tour
Whether you’re a foodie or not, you will be absolutely amazed by the culinary scene in Asheville.
With a plethora of chef-driven, award-winning restaurants, they pride themselves on great service and an authentic farm-to-table experience.
Because it’s impossible to enjoy all or even a slight majority of amazing Asheville restaurants in one visit, I highly recommend taking a city food tour!
Asheville’s guided food tours provide food and drink samples at multiple restaurants with fun narration and information given along the way.
It’s such a great opportunity to learn about the local restaurant scene and try several new and exciting foods.
This was by far, one of the best and most fun things things we did in Asheville!
Though the locations vary per tour, we stopped and sampled at Aventine, Isa’s Bistro, Strada Italiano, Mayfel’s, Mehil (Indian cuisine), and Asheville Chocolate.
Our tour guide was fun and entertaining, and the food, drinks, and narration were amazing!
Restaurants for a Weekend in Asheville
Here are some additional recommendations for restaurants in Asheville.
As mentioned, it is impossible to enjoy them all in one visit, but fun to choose which ones you might enjoy best!
- Tupelo Honey (we loved it here!)
- Sunny Pointe Cafe’ (very popular, usually long waits)
- Early Girl Eatery
- Corner Kitchen
- Wel-Bred Bakery & Cafe
- Biscuit Head
Lunch & Dinner
- Red Stag Grill
- Chestnut Asheville
- Jettie Rae’s Oyster Shop
- Isa’s Bistro
- Posana Restaurant
- Rock’s Hot Chicken Shop
- Luella’s BBQ
- White Duck Taco Shop
Bars & Cocktails
- The Times Bar (in the historic S&W Building)
- Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar (in the Grove Arcade)
- 5 Walnut Bar
- Capella on 9 (rooftop bar at AC Hotel)
5. Visit the River Arts District
One of the most inspiring neighborhoods in Asheville, the River Arts District, is home to the city’s local art and creatives.
Here you’ll find art studios, shops, and galleries in 23 former industrial and historical buildings spread along a one-mile stretch of the French Broad River.
From pottery to glassblowing, you can wander (free of charge) around open working spaces where art is being made.
The River Arts District also hosts special events and art classes and is home to an eclectic collection of cafes, as well as a large pop-up market called Uncommon.
If you’re an art lover, we highly recommend taking part in the RADA Studio Stroll (an annual event held every November).
This will give you access to art makers’ studios, information on their processes, and a chance to purchase their art!
6. Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway
Nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive”, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that connects Shenandoah National Park, near Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0) with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469).
469 miles in length total, Blue Ridge Parkway travels through large parts of Pisgah National Forest to the north and south of Asheville.
(For reference, Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville is located at located at milepost 384.)
In Asheville, there are four main entrances to the Parkway that allow travelers to access all or parts of the scenic drive to explore at their leisure.
Along the parkway, you’ll experience stunning viewpoints overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, forests, and valleys.
There are also hiking trails, waterfalls, wildlife spotting, and frequent paved overlooks.
In autumn, you’ll be greeted by an amazing display of foliage, with vibrant changing leaves in fall hues.
See our guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway to learn more!
Quick Tips for Driving Blue Ridge Parkway:
- It is free to drive; no entry permits or tolls are required.
- It is open all the time, however, some parts may close temporarily due to snow or ice (check for road closures before setting out during the winter months).
- The speed limit is 45 mph; plan for slow traveling.
7. Visit Pisgah National Forest
Pisgah National Forest is located in Western North Carolina, both to the north and south of Asheville. The nearest access point is less than 10 minutes from downtown.
Pisgah is home to diverse hardwood trees, mountain views, and gorgeous waterfalls.
Activities within the forest include hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, and wildlife spotting.
In my opinion, the best way to enjoy Pisgah National Forest when visiting Asheville is to drive the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway (US Highway 276), and make several stops along the way.
(The Forest Heritage Scenic Byway entrance is near the city of Brevard, just 30 miles south of downtown Asheville.)
Though this is a 76-mile loop, there is an amazing 15-mile stretch I recommend that includes the top attractions of Looking Glass Rock, Looking Glass Falls, Moore Cove Falls, and Sliding Rock a very popular natural waterslide/swimming hole.
8. Visit Chimney Rock State Park
Although Chimney Rock State Park is a 55-minute (27-mile) drive from Asheville, it is worth it if you’re a nature-lover and are looking to experience more of the outdoors.
At Chimney Rock State Park you can go to the top (either by elevator or climbing 500 steps) of the 535-million-year-old monolith rock for which the park is named.
Here, you’ll be treated to 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge.
The Park is also home to a 400-foot waterfall named Hickory Nut Fap Falls which was one of the filming locations for the movie, The Last of the Mohicans.
Among the other hiking trails in the park, the Falls is accessed by the 1.7-mile round trip Hickory Nut Falls Trail.
Chimney Rock State Park is open 7 days a week, year-round (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).
Admission is required and prices vary by season but adult tickets are typically between $10-$17 and youth tickets range from $5-$8.
9. Sample at Asheville’s Breweries
The craft beer scene in Asheville is another huge draw to the area and is something I definitely recommend checking out when spending a weekend in Asheville.
Boasting more breweries per capita than any other city in the U.S. you’ll find multiple breweries in both Downtown, South, and West Asheville.
Check out the Asheville Ale Trail website to learn about and plan your own self-guided tour of Asheville’s many breweries.
Our personal favorites include Highland Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Wicked Weed Brewing.
The popular brand Sierra Nevada has its brewery and taphouse in nearby Mills River, N.C., which is very close to the Asheville airport.
This is a huge venue offering both indoor and outdoor seating as well as an outdoor amphitheater that frequently hosts live music.
I recommend visiting Sierra Nevada for the beer, although, I didn’t find their menu to be that good.
10. Explore Biltmore Village
Biltmore Village is a walkable shopping district located across the street from the main entrance to the Biltmore Estate.
With brick sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and a quaint cottage-like feeling, you’ll find boutiques (and national brands), dining options, and hotels.
Street parking in the Historic Biltmore Village is complimentary and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
11. Check out the Asheville Pinball Museum
Whether you’re looking for a rainy day activity, a break from the sun, or are simply looking to soak up some knowledge, a museum is always your first line of defense!
If you’re an arcade fan or are traveling with kids, we highly recommend the Asheville Pinball Museum.
That’s because this museum is filled with a collection of 35 classic video games and 35 pinball machines that you can actually play!
You can play for as long and as many times as you want for only $15 per person!
For a more classic museum experience, these are some additional Asheville museums:
- Asheville Art Museum
- Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
- Smith-McDowell House Museum
- Asheville Museum of Science
12. Tour the French Broad Chocolate Factory
Have you ever wanted to visit the real-life Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory?
Well, you can get pretty darn close with a trip to Asheville’s French Broad Chocolate Factory & Cafe!
Their production of delicious artisanal chocolates is absolutely unmatched, producing bean-to-bar chocolate, truffles, caramels, and bon bons.
A stop by their factory isn’t complete without a chocolate sampling in their tasting room, which also serves a variety of pastries and hot chocolate.
In addition, we highly recommend a guided tour of the factory for an up-close view of where the magic happens!
And if you have the time, try one of their chocolate-making workshops for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
12. Watch the sunset at the Omni Grove Park Inn
Founded in 1913, the Omni Grove Park Inn is not only a hotel but is a well-known landmark in Asheville.
This beautiful 150-acre property is nestled on Sunset Mountain which provides stunning views of Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
Both overnight guests and the general public are welcome to enjoy its amenities including an 18-hole golf course, world-class spa, boutique shopping, and upscale dining.
There is no controlled access to the lobby and visitors are welcome to explore the premises.
One of the most popular things to do here is to watch the sunset from the well-known Sunset Terrace restaurant or Sunset Cocktail Terrace.
Outdoor seating is seasonal and reservations are recommended, so do plan ahead.
13. Meet the wildlife at WNC Nature Center
The Western North Carolina Nature Center is both a park and an educational center filled with the plants and animals of the region.
Here, you’ll meet animals including red wolves, otters, black bears, and deer.
You’ll also see several species of birds and reptiles, all native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
Wander down the nature trails, play in the interactive play areas, and learn about the organization’s environmental efforts.
The WNC Nature Center plays an integral role in preserving the population of endangered red wolves through the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan.
Admission ranges in price from $7.95+tax for children ages 3 and up, and $13.95+tax for adults.
14. Wander the North Carolina Arboretum
If you’re a nature lover, gardener, or looking for a quiet escape, consider visiting The North Carolina Arboretum located in Asheville.
Within the Arboretum, you’ll find botanical gardens, nature trails, and greenhouses, all housing an expansive collection of plants.
Star attractions include the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and the National Native Azalea Collection.
Apart from a $20 parking fee, there is no other admission charge to enter the Arboretum except in the case of ticketed events.
Conclusion: 3-Day Weekend in Asheville
Hopefully, you’re well on your way to customizing your 3-day weekend in Asheville!
As you can see, there is no shortage of fun things to explore in Asheville, and because of its diverse activities, you can find the perfect attractions for everyone in your family.
Art, history, nature, local cuisine – whatever your interest, Asheville has it all!
I hope you’ve found our recommendations helpful in planning an incredible trip to Asheville.
If you have any more questions, please leave them for us in the comments below.
*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*