What To Do, Eat & Drink In Asheville Now

October 4, 2013 | By | Comments (16)

Asheville

With fall color at its peak, we know Asheville is on the top of your list of dream getaways this time of year. That’s why we took a whirlwind trip—hitting 30 places in 36 hours—to get you the scoop on the best places to check out now in the mountain city. 

WHERE TO EAT: 

Coconut Brulee at The Admiral

Coconut Brulee at The Admiral

The Admiral. If you can, get there when they open on a Sunday or Monday at 5:30 p.m. The weekend crowd is so consistent it can take up to a month to get claim a seat at this eclectic restaurant disguised as a dive bar. Trust your server to guide you through the menu of spinach fritters, PBR mussels, and buttermilk-fried quail. And definitely don’t skip dessert, the coconut crème brûlée served with cereal brittle is one of the best sweets we’ve had all year. 400 Haywood Road

Eggplant pizza at All Souls

Eggplant pizza at All Souls

All Souls Pizza. It’s just a five-minute drive from downtown, but feels more like a roadside stop tucked into a mountainside. Inside, dine on perfectly crisped wood-fire pizzas (we liked the eggplant with goat cheese, capers, and sun gold tomatoes). 175 Clingman Avenue

Cúrate. Hands down, one of the best meals in town. Locals and travelers fawn over the Spanish-inspired small plates like octopus with pureed potatoes, Iberico ham platters, and lamb skewers with house-made pickles. 11 Biltmore Avenue

Courtyard at Creperie Bouchon

Courtyard at Creperie Bouchon

Creperie Bóuchon. We love this place as much for the setting as for the food. Hidden behind fancy French restaurant Bouchon, the Creperie has a lush courtyard where you can enjoy a croque-monsieur and a glass of bubbly or sweet tea. 62 1/8 North Lexington Avenue

WHERE TO DRINK: 
Altamont Brewing Company. This microbrewery has a kicking cocktail list and rotation of live music. Most weekends you can find Bill (aka “The Hotdog Man”) stationed outside to supply your late-night snack. 1042 Haywood Road

Bens Tune Up

Ben’s Tune Up

Ben’s Tune Up. Opened by the guys behind The Admiral in June, this beer garden and ramen emporium taps into the city’s growing sake scene. Ask the bartender to help you find a good introductory style of the Japanese brew, and pair it with something like Asian fried chicken with yuzu white barbecue sauce and pickled fennel, or a small sashimi plate. 195 Hilliard Avenue

Wicked Weed Brewing. A local beer distributor (one of the folks who decides what beers the town drinks) advised us that Wicked Weed is the current darling of Southern beer. The focus is on hoppy brews and German-style beers with some creative extras like a smoked beer made in collaboration with local barbecue company 12 Bones. 91 Biltmore Avenue 

Dobra Tea. Take a break at this tearoom that feels plucked straight out of India with its cozy and richly colored decor. The menu of more than 100 teas is divided by its country of origin and includes some house-made blends and sweet, Taiwanese bubble tea. 78 North Lexington Avenue

WHERE TO SHOP:

Boots

Vintage Moon. Bohemian hippie meets romantic Victorian at this women’s boutique, where you’ll find costume jewelry, vintage hats and boots, and whimsical dresses hand-altered by the shopkeeper. 82 North Lexington Avenue

Harvest Records. Sure, Harvest has plenty of vintage records like other music shops, but what we loved was the heavy emphasis on new vinyl from artists like Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Ros, and 45s from local bands. 415 Haywood Road

Postcard at Write On

Postcard at Write On

Write On Stationery & Gifts. Find the right gift at this big ole paper store chock-full of handmade journals, funny postcards (like this cheeky “Hip Asheville” one we found), and knick-knacks for paper lovers. 28 North Lexington Avenue

Hip Replacements. A mainstay in town for a decade, Hip Replacement stocks vintage-inspired, new pieces like swinging 50s–style dresses for the ladies and tweed sports coats for the guys. Think Mod Cloth without the overwhelming amount of options. 72 North Lexington Avenue

Malaprop’s Bookstore. Another hometown institution, this might be one of the best bookshop in the South. We especially love their section on regional reads form authors like Jill McCorkle and Ron Rash. 55 Haywood Street

Malaprop's

Malaprop’s

WHERE TO STAY:
Hotel Indigo. The hotel’s location is the perfect halfway point between the artsy Riverside Arts District (aka RAD) and the buzzing downtown. And it doesn’t hurt that the rooms are super sleek and posh. Rates from $175 on weekdays. 151 Haywood Street 

Sweet Peas Hostel. Rates can be high in Asheville this time of year. If you’re looking for a thriftier option check into Sweet Peas Hostel, a simple and tidy crash pad attached to the year-old Lexington Avenue Brewery. Rates from $29 for bunk beds and $65 for private rooms. 23 Rankin Avenue 

WHAT TO DO:
Catch a live show. Your best bet for tuning into Asheville’s rocking music scene is to check out the lineup at music joints like the Grey Eagle (intimate shows with emerging and established artists) and the Orange Peel (big venue with everything from bands like Cold War Kids and Jimmy Eat World to skate shows). Better yet, pick up the local weekly, Mountain Xpress, to see all that’s going on while you’re in town.

Urban Revisions rings

Urban Revisions rings

Gallery hop in RAD. The River Arts District (aka RAD) is the city’s artistic hub. You can see artists at work in their studios and take home one of their latest wares. One of our favorites was the Asheville Glass Center, where we discovered the covetable works of local artist, Urban Revisions (above). If art is really not your thing, tap into Wedge Brewing Company, where you can also play cornhole and munch on food truck fare from local mobile eateries like Tin Can Pizzeria.

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

Go to Biltmore. This is on every travel guide out there, but for good reason. You can spend a whole day wandering around the impressive château and manicured lawns imagining what life would have been like in the Gilded Age. The fee is pricey—$60 to get in (and that’s without the $10 audio tour, a must), but it’s worth it for history, architecture, design buffs, and anyone else who wants to spend some leisure time in a gorgeous setting. 1 Lodge Street 

What did we miss? Tell us your favorite Asheville stops in the comments below. 

COMMENTS

  1. Jcall

    Do you have another list for people who are not hipster d-bags?

    October 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm
  2. askasheville

    Great post on Asheville! I can definitely vouch for those spots.

    October 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm
  3. Visit Flat Rock

    If you are in Asheville, venture down to Flat Rock and see our local favorites – Sky Top Orchard, Hubba Hubba BBQ, The Wrinkled Egg, Flat Rock Village Bakery…

    October 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm
  4. avllady

    good list! I’m glad you found the Altamont and included the saki cups from Ben’s Tune-up!

    October 5, 2013 at 9:43 am
  5. Johnny Ralph Horstman

    Please do a list like this for Little Rock.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:44 am
  6. Lizzie

    I love this list! And Asheville is a great place to be in October!

    October 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm
  7. Dusty

    These days visitors should escape the tourist madness of downtown and explore the hip neighborhoods of West Asheville a couple of minutes away. Along with The Admiral, Altamont Brewing, and Harvest Records (included on your list) one should also:

    (a) brave the breakfast/brunch crowds at Sunnypoint Cafe and Biscuithead
    (b) shop around in stores such as Villagers (an awesome urban homestead supply store), Second Gear (a consignment shop for outdoor gear and equipment), DryGoods Shop (an ETSY-like retail store and studio space), and WHIST (a hip independent gift store)
    (c) grab a mid-morning hand brewed coffee at Waking Life
    (d) lunch at one of a number of great restaurants (WALK, Universal Joint, Zia Taqueria, Nona Mia, Lucky Otter, Standard Pizza, and many more)
    (e) walk, run or bike the French Broad River greenways and parks in the afternoon
    (f) enjoy a local beer around 5:00 at the Brew Pump..a very unique craft beer bar inside the local gas station. Take it around back to the lush beer garden and play some corn hole while chilling at one of many picnic tables. Food trucks often make a nightly appearance also.
    (g)Dine across the street at the ISIS Restaurant and Music Hall. Free bluegrass on Tuesday and jazz on Sunday nights
    (h) Cap the night off with a show either at the ISIS or just a few doors down at the new Mothlight concert venue. If you are now REALLY feeling like a true “Westie” , go soak up the unique scene of the Double Crown.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm
  8. Michele

    Great list and perfect timing since I’ll be in Asheville next week! However, I hope that Write On spelled their own name correctly (stationery, not stationary). :-/

    October 14, 2013 at 7:47 am
  9. Susan Murray

    Asheville also has some great Bed & Breakfast to stay in. Some of the best in the country!

    October 14, 2013 at 8:06 am
  10. Beth

    Good list but so many other great restaurants downtown! Asheville is such a great and hip city. Good restaurants, bars, and shops on every street!

    October 14, 2013 at 8:14 am
  11. Poochie

    I agree, more restaurants especially the great vegan options of Plant, Laughing Seed, Chai Pani, Firestorm Cafe and Green Sage Cafe.

    October 14, 2013 at 8:48 am
  12. Asheville Murphy

    Surely someone at this publication must know the difference between “stationary” and “stationery”…

    October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am
  13. Patricia Parker

    Always great to read about Asheville—We love the B&B-The Sourwood Inn—not far from downtown, but away from the maddening crowd—-off the BRP—Beautiful Inn with great Hosts—Loved 12 Bones Barbecue in Asheville- Love Tupelo Honey(they are branching out) Love the neighboring towns as well—–I love, Love to stay at the Grove Park Inn now owned by the Omni—-Love Weaverville, etc. Thanks for the article–

    October 14, 2013 at 11:16 am
  14. BWils

    In the past I would have always recommended going by Grove Park Inn for a drink and to walk around. Now that Omni has taken them over, they charge a high parking fee just to visit.

    October 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm
  15. Susan Murray

    Actually, the parking fee has been lifted for self-parking.

    October 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm
  16. BWils

    I did not know they lifted the parking fee..that is great! Many locals were very upset about it. Thanks

    October 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm