What a great place to explore, hang out and people watch! Asheville's lively downtown has wonderful architecture, great locally-owned stores, a huge variety of restaurants, interesting museums, fun street performers and many free festivals. The diverse mix of culture, music and art has led to our city center being dubbed by many as the "Paris of the South." See our favorite things to do and places to see. Take photo tour of Asheville!
Downtown is a shopper's paradise with 200+ locally-owned stores and boutiques. You won't find tacky tourist shops. Instead, find a world-class selection with something for everyone and every budget. You could spend a day browsing the big variety of retailers, antique stores, book stores and art galleries. 40 galleries showcase work of hundreds of local artists. Attend one of the many art festivals, including Art in the Park (June & October) and Spruce Street Market (July-September). Music festivals include summer favorites Shindig on the Green and Downtown After 5. See our favorite festivals for Spring, Summer and Fall. Picnic in Pack Square Park. Attend a concert or big sporting event in the US Cellular Civic Center & Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
Downtown Asheville 20 Things to Do
Downtown Asheville Shopping Areas
- Grove Arcade: This renovated historic building is worth a visit to admire the architecture alone, but it's also a wonderful place to wander, shop or visit galleries. The dining options range from Chicago-style hot dogs to frozen custard, wine bars to coffee shops, upscale restaurants to sidewalk cafes.
- Haywood Street: From chocolate to contemporary furniture to wigs, you can find it all on Haywood. See the works of 150 artists at Woolworth Walk, browse Malaprops Bookstore and get your craft supplies at the Earth Guild.
- Wall Street: This picturesque side street features a mix of unique shops and some great restaurants like Early Girl and Market Place.
- Broadway & Biltmore This street changes name at the monument, with Broadway to one side of Patton Avenue and Biltmore to the other. It is lined with local institutions like Mast General Store and Blue Sprial I gallery, along with many restaurants with outdoor dining.
- Lexington Avenue: It's described as "funky and eclectic" and "hip and happening." The street has adopted the motto "where world culture meets counter culture."
- See a map of downtown.
Look for Abby the Spoon Lady and many other fantastic bruskers. Please tip the entertainers, especially if you take photos or video!
Parking in Downtown Asheville
The easiest solution to parking is using on of the four city parking decks. In all city parking garages, parking booths are attended Monday-Friday, 10 AM-7 PM. During these times, customers may pay for hourly parking and also pay parking citations. During other hours, payment is made when exiting from the garages using the exit pay-in-lane stations. Both the attendants and stations accepts coins, cash, validation tickets, and Mastercard or Visa credit cards. The reasonable amount is a flat fee and depends on the garage as listed below. Get real time updates on spaces available in each deck!
- Civic Center Parking Deck is entered from Haywood or Rankin (550 spaces)
- Rankin Avenue Parking Deck is entered from Walnut or Rankin (262 spaces)
- Wall Street Parking Deck (adjacent to Grove Arcade) is entered from Otis Street near Patton Avenue (232 spaces) - usually the busiest
- Aloft Hotel Public Parking Deck is at 51 Biltmore Avenue (412 spaces)
There are a couple of privately owned parking garages in Asheville downtown that are usually more expensive, but very convenient.
On Street Parking
There are more than 700 on-street metered spaces in downtown Asheville. All meters are for short term parking (two hours or less, as marked) at a cost of $1.25 per hour. All meters accept coins only or pay via the Passport Parking App. The metered spaces are enforced from 8 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday. Parking is FREE each Sunday and city holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Friday after Thanksgiving, and Christmas (3 days). So don't "feed the meters" on these days.