Downtown Asheville NC Top 20

Downtown Asheville Top 20

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 100 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

LaZoom Tours
LaZoom Tours
Take the most fun city tour ever in a bright purple LaZoom bus! Through captivating stories, outlandish comedy skits, and an enthralling musical soundscape, experience Asheville's history, current culture and counterculture with their 90 minute interactive bus tours that depart from downtown. Haunted and beer tours too!
Drum Circle
Drum Circle
Play, listen and dance at the drumming on every Friday night in Pritchard Park in downtown Asheville (except for winter months). All are welcome to one of the most diverse audiences you'll ever expereience.
The Adventure Center of Asheville
Adventure Center of Asheville
Tucked away a mile from downtown is an outdoor lover's playground. Fly on 11 ziplines through old growth trees from towers with skyline and mountain views. Test your skills in a treetop playground. Climb trees or mountain bike. Plus, bring the kids for the first-ever Kid Zip course. See our feature.
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Thomas Wolfe Memorial
This is the novelist's boyhood home and setting for "Look Homeward, Angel." Tour the fascinating, rambling house located downtown Asheville at 52 North Market Street.
Asheville Wellness Tour
Asheville Wellness Tours
Your walking tour begins with an educational tea tasting inside Dobra Tea House. Next is a Yoga Tour through Downtown, stretching and breathing in the city. It all concludes at Asheville's Salt Cave, relaxing and experiencing the healing benefits of salt therapy.
Asheville Beer
Asheville Beer & Brewery Guide
Downtown Asheville is the epicenter of the local craft beer explosion. See a complete list of the craft breweries, pubs, taverns, taprooms, brewery tours and more in our Asheville Beer Guide.
North Carolina Stage Company
NC Stage Company
Enjoy professional theatre in the heart of downtown Asheville with world-class productions in a very intimate setting (only 127 seats!). They also host concerts and other events, so there's something happening about every weekend.
Farm-to-Table Dining
Local Restaurants
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, choose from 60+ locally-owned restaurants with cuisine from around the world. Many feature "farm-to-table" seasonal specials with local food. West Asheville has become a hot restaurant scene too. Check out our favorites.
Asheville Urban Trail
Asheville Urban Trail
(1.7 mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville to 30 sculptures that depict local history.
The Amazing Pubcycle
The Amazing Pubcycle
Ride through downtown on a wicked-cool 13-person pedal powered (motor assisted) contraption like no other. Imagine riding your bike sideways, hanging out at your favorite pub on wheels. Pubcycle is a BYOB activity, so get your brew on!
Asheville Community Theatre
Asheville Community Theatre
The longest running community theatre group in town with superb productions of comedies, dramas, and musicals in their theatre downtown. A local favorite for sure!
Grove Arcade
Grove Arcade
Stroll through this beautiful historic "mall" in downtown Asheville with high quality specialty shops and local restaurants. See local art and craft at the outdoor market.
Live Music
Live Music & Dancing, Downtown Asheville
Asheville offers a mulitude of places to go for live music and dancing any day of the week.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted artisanal organic chocolates and pastriesan in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. And skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square, downtown Asheville
Wine & Cocktail Bars
Wine & Cocktail Bars
Unwind at one of our favorite downtown Asheville wine bars and great places for cocktails.
Electro Bike Tours
Electro Bike Tours
Discover the highlights of Asheville on a guided pedal assist electric bike tour. Imagine pedaling a bike uphill with a boost! Wind through downtown and historic Montford neighborhood. Cruise up hills with a smile, and enjoy an unforgettable tour!
Art Galleries & Studios
Top 20 Art Galleries
Visit a gallery to be amazed at big variety of local art and craft, including glass, paintings, pottery and every medium you can imagine. Asheville and the North Carolina mountains are home to hundreds of world-class artists. Here are our favorite galleries to see the their creations.
South Slope Asheville
South Slope Brewing District
On the southside of downtown, explore the fast growing "Brewery Distrtict" with a eight breweries and a growing number of restaurants and shops, transitioning from a sleep industrial and warehouses to a hip neighborhood.
Asheville Art Museum
Asheville Art Museum
Explore world-class special exhibitions and the museum's outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th-century American art.
Pack Square Park
Pack Square Park
Downtown Asheville's historic public square has been a central focal point since the city's creation in 1797. Spanning from the Vance Monument to the Roger McGuire Green in front of City Hall and the County Building, it's home to many festivals and free events.
Basilica of St. Lawrence
Basilica of St. Lawrence
See one of Asheville's architectural treasures and spiritual anchors with the largest freestanding elliptical dome in the country.
aSHEville Museum
aSHEville Museum
See the first women's cultural museum in the southeast USA, with 3,000 square foot of gallery space with rotating exhibits, ranging from historic to contemporary and local to national to global. The gift shop carries a variety of art, crafts and fair-trade items. The Museum Café has locally-made treats. Open 7 days a week. Downtown at 35 Wall Street.
Mast General Store, Asheville
Mast General Store
This favorite stop for tourists and locals is an old fashioned general store with the lastest products including clothing, fun gifts, cooking accessories and a huge candy section. Downstairs is a great outdoors department with all the major brands. 15 Biltmore Avenue

Grove Arcade

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 buskers. Please tip the street entertainers, especially if you take photos or video!

Parking in Downtown Asheville

Parking Garages
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. 

Art galleries in the Asheville area abound! Did you know that western North Carolina is one of the top areas in the country for art? Thousands of extraordinary artists live in our Blue Ridge... read more
For a great date night, take your sweetie to hear world-class music, watch professional theatre or go to a host of intimate performing arts shows. Find a big variety of events in Asheville and the... read more
Asheville has been known for many years as "Land of the Sky", so its appropriate that some great rooftop bars have opened downtown to showcase our famous Blue Ridge Mountains sunsets. Pillar (309... read more
Asheville is a haven for java, tea and sweet lovers. Hang out at one of the dozen coffee shops and/or bakeries in downtown for premium java and pastries from all over the world, many organically... read more
Downtown Asheville is a chocolate lover's dream. In addition to 50 restaurants with decadent desserts and a dozen coffee shops and bakeries, there are some must-stops for fine, handmade local... read more
Find colorful murals throughout Asheville, thanks to many talented artists. And they are free to enjoy! Murals have beautified otherwise conventional and bleak urban architecture, each having a... read more