Just across the French Broad River near downtown, West Asheville (28806) has become a mecca for originality. For the past few years, people have been flocking to this funky neighborhood, either to visit or buy a quaint cottage within walking distance of the many new businesses that have opened in the area. Haywood Road has been the main street of West Asheville for more than a century. Old buildings are now home to modern businesses, but the street still has a small hometown feel. As you walk down the street you will see old buildings renovated for new businesses side by side with second- and third-generation shops. This area underwent a revitalization in the mid-1990s. There are now a number of restaurants, a smoke-free pub with frequent live music, an organic bakery, and quite of few resale / vintage clothing and antiques stores lining the road that appeal to visitors interested in sampling the unique, bohemian flavor of Asheville.
To capture a sense of today's West Asheville, look first to the Bledsoe Building, the cornerstone of Haywood Road's commercial vitality. Within this one-block (the 700 block) building, you'll encounter: Orbit DVD Rental, Beauty Parade, In Your Ear Music Emporium, Diggin' Art, West Village Market and Westville Pub. The wide variety of eateries here is a reflection of the diversity of this neighborhood, which was an incorporated town with a trolley line and a population of 12,000 at its heyday in the 1930s.
Today, West Asheville restaurants offer the choice between upscale, AAA four-star dining, gourmet burgers, casual barbecue and an inviting pub that serves as a popular meeting place for locals. A local's favorite is certainly Sunny Pointe Cafe at 626 Haywood Road. Since breakfast is their favorite meal, you can order it anytime!
Short Street Cakes specializes in handmade, all-natural, Southern-style cupcakes, wedding cakes, and other celebration cakes at 225 Haywood Road in West Asheville. Short Street Cakes also bakes a wide variety of vegan, grain-sweetened, and gluten-free cakes.
West Asheville is home to many artists. Steebo Design (355 Haywood Road) is the one-of-a-kind metal reincarnations created by Stefan "Steebo" Bonitz. Stefan has worked primarily in steel since 1995. Various techniques are used to create the sculptures. Some are found object assemblages. Some use traditional forge methods. Some are actually carved out of steel. Many incorporate combinations of these in the process, but nothing is cast and no two works are alike.
A holiday Art Walk features studios and galleries between 355 and 520 Haywood Road, at the intersection of I-240. Check out Runny Bunny, The Blue Ribbon, Blue Barnhouse, BookWorks, A Touch of Glass and Crazy Green Studios.
The River Arts District is just across the French Broad River. West Asheville is also home to the Western North Carolina Farmers Market with Appalachian farmers and growers, crafts and food.
West Asheville includes the neighborhoods of Bear Creek, Deaverview Park, Emma, Hi-Alta Park, Lucerne Park, Malvern Hills, Sulphur Springs, and West Asheville.
Carrier Park, one of Asheville's public parks offers volleyball courts, a giant playground, a roller-hockey rink, a basketball court, a multi-use track, a lawn bowling court, a paved trail and a multi-use sports field for baseball and soccer. It also includes a picnic pavilion, river overlooks, a wetland interpretive and education area, and more trails. Located on Amboy Road and Michigan Avenue in west Asheville.
French Broad River Park, one of Asheville's most beautiful parks, meanders alongside the tranquil French Broad River, and features a vast area of open green space with old trees, a wildflower garden, a paved trail, a gazebo, picnic tables and grills, an observation deck, and a small playground. The Dog Park features a large fenced-in area made for exercising and socializing your pooch.
To explore this neighborhood, take exit 2 on I-240 for Haywood Road. Go either direction on Haywood. It will end at Patton Avenue to the west and crosses the French Broad River and ends in downtown to the east.
For more see the Haywood Road Guide with a list of many of the businesses.
Men’s Journal magazine named West Asheville as one of the best neighborhoods in the Southeast:
“The Eccentric Throwback,” as the magazine calls West Asheville, has the sidewalks, large yards and tended gardens that many of its readers (and Asheville-area residents) remember from childhood.
“There are some residents of Asheville who aren’t just wary of suburban sprawl and unchecked development; they’re downright pathological about it,” Britta Waller writes in the magazine. “And for this very vocal slice of the population, the downtown revival, via a slick new Grove Arcade and pedestrian mall, was a worrying step forward. So they fled to West Asheville, set up a perimeter, and dug in.
“ … After being priced out of the hundred-year-old homes encircling downtown in the 1990s, a few pioneering young professionals decided to cross the French Broad River and take this formerly run-down part of town from dangerous to desirable. And they had a unique vision: Even after nearly two decades of growth, West Asheville is still basically what downtown Asheville was like a decade ago, when it had four good restaurants instead of 12, and old-school drugstores and paint-chipped storefronts sat alongside clothing boutiques.
“Just like downtown itself, there are side streets of attractive bungalows with deep front porches, and a single commercial strip, Haywood Road, where all the basics are within walking or cycling distance. Spots that would be considered unique and progressive in most cities of this size are a given in West Asheville.”