Welcome to a food and drink lover's dream! If you are a foodie that loves culinary adventures with plenty of local flavor, the Asheville and surrounding mountain area is the place for you. We were even voted a Top 10 Foodie City in the USA, based on the high frequency that locals eat out, the amount spent on food, access to healthy food options, the number of farmers markets and the large number of restaurants and James Beard Foundation Award winners. Here are our top things to taste in "Foodtopia."
From casual to sophisticated, there are restaurants for all tastes. In downtown Asheville, find 70+ locally-owned restaurants with flavors from around the world. Plus, find many more award-winning chefs throughout the mountains. See our 40 favorite restaurants.
Bed & Breakfasts
Imagine waking up in a grand home and walking downstairs to the dining room, where you are served a gourmet feast! Feel like royalty and get pampered in one of the many B&Bs in our area. Enjoy a leisurely morning and relax after breakfast, rocking on a porch or by a roaring fire with your coffee. What a way to start the day!
With 25 craft breweries in the North Carolina mountains near Asheville, where to begin? Use our Beer Guide to plan your strategy. You can walk to many breweries in downtown Asheville, especially in the South Slope Brewing District. Two recent big additions include Sierra Nevada and New Belgium.
Wild Food Foraging Tours
Take a "forage to table" tour with No Taste Like Home and play with your food. Our area is a Garden of Eden with over 300 wild edibles. During a guided tour, gather wild mushrooms, plants and other “extreme cuisine.” Then a chef transforms your finds into a delicious meal.
Winery Visits & Tours
In addition to the nation's most visited winery at Biltmore, take a winery tour in the foothills area including around Hendersonville and Morganton. Sample the local wines while enjoying the mountain views. See our Top Wineries to see in western North Carolina.
Coffee, Tea & Sweets
Downtown Asheville has some great hangouts for java, tea and yummy sweets. Find coffee shops, tea houses and bakeries to unwind while you read or visit with a friend.
We are lucky to have so many chocolatiers in the Asheville area. The hottest stop is the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown and their nearby chocolate factory. And don't miss longtime favorite, The Chocolate Fetish. Check out the stops on our Chocolate Lover's Tour.
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
We have the perfect picnic spot for any occasion! Take a backpack on a hike to a waterfall or picnic atop a mountain summit with panoramic views. You could also stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway and spread a blanket on the grass. While there are many designated picnic areas along the Parkway and in the national forests surrounding Asheville, you can also create your own picnic spot.
Wine & Cocktails
Unwind after a busy day of sightseeing at one of the many wine and cocktail bars in downtown Asheville. Our favorite is the Battery Park Champagne Bar in Grove Arcade (pic). Social Lounge has a great rooftop!
Hard Apple Cider Tour
Head to Hendersonville for a self-guided tour of cideries that create a big variety of hard ciders from local apples and blackberries - about 20 minutes south of Asheville. Near several wineries too!
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours
Explore downtown Asheville's best restaurants on a walking food tour. Daytime tasting tours visit six restaurants and food shops for savory and sweet tastings. Learn about downtown along the way. Evening tasting tours feature bites from the city's best chefs, all paired with craft cocktails, wine and beer in some secret, speakeasy spaces.
There are dozens of farmer's markets throughout the mountains. The biggest by far is the Western North Carolina Farmers Market that is open every day in Asheville. In downtown, the City Market on Market Street is every Saturday 8 AM-1 PM and the French Broad Co-op Market is Wednesdays 2-6 PM. Find more markets and pick up the Local Food Guide by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.
The Western North Carolina Cheese Trail includes several small cheesemakers and farms near Asheville. Sample cheeses and buy some to take home. Looking Glass Creamery is an easy drive from downtown Asheville.
Farm Visits & Tours
Visit farms and learn about their local food. See buffalo and alpacas, sample local cheeses, watch bees make honey, visit wineries, pick apples and more. Plus, tour historic farms at Biltmore and in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Summer Food Festivals
There's seldom a weekend in the summer without a great outdoor festival in Asheville and the surrounding small towns that includes plenty of food.
Carolina Donut Festival
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Western NC's sweetest festival includes thousands of delicious donuts, food trucks, donut-eating contest, pageant, crafts, 5K, half-marathon and a variety of vendors on Main Street in Marion, 10 AM-3 PM.
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Line up for your free Hunter's livermush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Asheville is one of the top USA cities for vegan living. Outdoor festival features vegan food, beer, lifestyle vendors and educational speakers in Pack Square Park 11 AM-6 PM. Free admission.
NC Apple Festival
Friday, August 30, 2019 to Monday, September 2, 2019
Downtown Hendersonville features more than 150 vendors lining eight blocks of the main event area. There is continuous entertainment from 10 AM-10 PM each day. The King Apple Parade, always held on Labor Day, culminates the Main Street activities.
Asheville Chow-Chow Culinary Festival
Thursday, September 12, 2019 to Sunday, September 15, 2019
Savor Asheville's creative culinary scene with events, chef demos and hands-on experiences. Meet and connect with the makers and collaborators who nourish, nurture and create in this corner of the Appalachian Mountains.
Saturday, October 5, 2019
A great celebration of the local beer scene, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville's eclectic vibe. Downtown. Tickets required if you are tasting!
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