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Asheville Independent Restaurants, Up-To-Date Dining Choices
AIR is a group of 150+ locally owned, independent restaurants in Asheville (one of the largest organizations of its kind in the country). AIR is dedicated to keeping Asheville’s food scene eclectic, authentic, and flavorful. Find a list of current Takeout/Delivery and Dine-In options for Asheville’s Independent Restaurants, updated daily.
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and updated streetscapes with flowers and art. Find many spots for outdoor dining and a big variety of quality shops and galleries along a six-block stretch of Main Street. Don't miss two street festivals, the Garden Jubilee and the huge NC Apple Festival.
The Spa at the Inn on Biltmore Estate
Indulge yourself. It will be easy to imagine being a pampered guest of one of America’s most revered hostesses, Edith Vanderbilt. Your revitalizing journey begins the moment you step foot into this luxurious facility, designed to reflect and evoke the elegance of Biltmore. Choose from a wide array of treatments that incorporate the Estate’s natural offerings to create a soothing, rejuvenating and unique experience.
Nantahala Outdoor Center Mountain Biking
Rent a mountain bike at NOC’s Tsali Bikes on the Nantahala River! We’re just 10 minutes from Tsali, or ride across the river on our own Flint Ridge Trail. Service and repairs, bike sales.
Craggy Gardens Hikes
(1.5 to 3 miles, moderate) For one of the best panoramic mountain views in western North Carolina, hike the 3/4-mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail to the observation area. Also hike the Craggy Gardens Trail between the picnic area and visitor center through rhododendron that bloom in June. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364.
Wai Mauna SUP Tours
Enjoy a variety of private guided paddleboard tours on the French Broad River in Asheville and Brevard! They also offer paddleboard rentals, river shuttles, and paddleboard delivery to any lake home in Western North Carolina. The season runs from April- October 31.
DuPont State Forest Waterfalls
(1 to 7 miles roundtrip, easy to moderate) This state forest has many miles of hiking trails. While there are quite a few waterfalls in DuPont, you can see three of the most impressive, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls and High Falls with a moderate 3-mile hike. And a 4.4-mile roundtrip hike takes you to Bridal Veil Falls. See three of the biggest falls on a 7-mile waterfall hike.
Asheville Picnic Company
Asheville Picnic Company caters to your adventurous spirit! Order one of their specialty picnics while out enjoying the area’s beautiful offerings and they’ll deliver right to you. The souvenir food baskets are curated with you in mind and filled with local favorites, allowing you to truly experience the taste of Asheville while on the go! Explore more with Asheville Picnic in hand!
Max Patch on Appalachian Trail
(1.4 or 2.4 miles, moderate) Hike a section of the famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail (or AT) near Hot Springs. What a picnic spot, with 360-degree mountain views! The 1.4-mile short loop crosses the summit. The 2.4-mile loop circles the mountain for outstanding views from all the sides. Or extend your hike in either direction of the AT.
Gallery of the Mountains
Located inside the historic Omni Grove Park Inn, this gallery showcases American handmade crafts by more than 100 local and regional artists living in the Southern Appalachians. Discover curated collections of finely crafted jewelry, pottery, home décor, unique gifts, and Asheville-made mementos. 290 Macon Ave.
Downtown's quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries and general store take you back to a more leisurely time. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world. The Museum of NC Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House. On summer Friday nights, come down for the Mountain Street Dances.
This rooftop restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville pairs Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Brunch favorites include Bistec a Caballo, Vaca Frita Hash Con Huevos, Empanadas de Picadillo o Pollo, and their famous El Cubano sándwich. Traditional breakfast dishes such as pancakes, eggs, and omelets also available. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri, Brunch Punch, or Bloody Mary. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Downtown Asheville, adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic mountain views. Serving Weekend Brunch from 7 AM -2 PM each Saturday and Sunday. 15 Page Avenue
Roan Mountain Appalachian Trail
(1 to 7 miles, moderate hike) Famous for its spectacular natural gardens of Catawba rhododendrons, Roan Mountain shelters a rich diversity of life, from spruce-fir forests to vast grassy balds. It is not one mountain, but a high ridge about five miles long, the highest point being 6,286 ft. Hike the ridge on the Appalachian Trail for sweeping views all along the way.
Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, West Asheville
This iconic concert venue, bar, and eatery is located in the heart of West Asheville. The Art Deco style building retains its original name when this historic cinema was built in the 1930s. Today, with two indoor stages, multiple bars, and an outdoor stage and patio, Isis Restaurant and Music Hall is one of the hottest spots in the city for live music.
Bed & Breakfasts
Awake to a grand breakfast at one of the many B&Bs in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains. What a way to start your day of touring the area! There's a big variety and we feature the best of the best.
(1-4-mile options, moderate) This very popular spot features two waterfalls in a mile-high valley filled with wildflowers and surrounded by Blue Ridge Mountains' 6,000-ft. peaks. Second Falls is just 1/3-mile from the parking area. The Graveyard Fields Loop is about four miles. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 419.
Jettie Rae's Oyster House, Asheville
Inspired by a shared seafood heritage from Maine to New Orleans, this oyster house offers a wide range of dishes, with a focus on specialty oysters and the freshest seafood products from the Eastern Coast. Also enjoy cold beer, and cocktails! Plenty of space to spread out with dining area, bar, and fully covered patio. 143 Charlotte Street
Tupelo Honey - South Asheville
Located near Biltmore Estate, they have become a neighborhood favorite Southern food restaurant in South Asheville - with responsibly sourced ingredients and craft cocktails. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch will make you say, “Shoo Mercy, that was good!” 1829 Hendersonville Road.
Take the most fun city tour ever in a bright purple bus full of laughter! Through captivating stories, 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!
Outdoor Gear Made in the NC Mountains
Find outdoor gear companies that manufacture and operate here in the Blue Ridge Mountains! These companies support the local economy by providing jobs and by sponsoring outdoor industry events, competitions, and professional outdoor athletes in the NC Mountains.
Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian
This award-winning Italian restaurant is known for its excellent service and authentic family atmosphere. The menu features “Old School” Italian classics like chicken parmesan, lasagna, penne bolognese, assorted seafood, and more. Vegan and gluten-free options available. 641 Merrimon Ave
You don't have to travel to Havana to enjoy a night in Cuba; just go to Hemingway’s Cuba! Menu favorites include Empanadas, Tostones Board, Ropa Vieja and Vaca Frita or enjoy a classic Cuban Sandwich. Or sip on a Cuban Daiquiri and gaze out over Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains from their amazing rooftop. 15 Page Avenue, 4th Floor
Hand-Blown Glass Rocks Set, Lexington Glassworks
Gift a hand-blown glass rocks glass set to anyone who appreciates art, functionality, and a good pour. Detailed with an elegant crackle finish, these gorgeous glasses have a nice weight to them and feel great in your hand. Makes a timeless addition to anyone’s barware collection.
Looking Glass Falls
Roadside 60-ft. waterfall in Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Enjoy from the parking area or take the steps down for an up-close look. 10 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway.
Watch glassblowers at work and see their amazing creations on display in their working studio in downtown Asheville. Their taproom features local beer in hand-blown glasses! Open 7 days. 81 South Lexington Avenue.
Tryon Foothills Wine Country
Visit five wineries in the prime isothermal wine growing area in the beautiful foothills near Columbus and Tryon: Parker-Binns Vineyard, Overmountain Vineyards, Russian Chapel Hills Winery, Mountain Brook Vineyard and Green Creek Winery. It's an easy 45-mile drive from Asheville via I-26 East (near SC line).
Located in downtown Asheville, this new outdoor music venue is a collaboration between Asheville Brewing Company and the Orange Peel, offering a fun outdoor gathering space for a variety of events. In addition to outdoor concerts, they also have fun regular events like Silent Disco, pop-up markets, trivia, and family-friendly events.
Navitat Canopy Adventures
Just 22 minutes from Asheville, Navitat Canopy Adventures is a world-class eco-adventure with huge ziplines traversing a secluded 242-acre mountain cove with 1,200 ft of elevation change. Fly above the treetops on zip lines up to 350 ft high, from 360 ft to 3,600 ft long and at speeds up to 65 mph! Rappel, walk suspended sky bridges and see panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Deerpark Restaurant @ Biltmore
This grand Sunday brunch buffet on Biltmore Estate has been a favorite for many years. Located in a converted barn with walls of windows, Deerpark's big menu includes estate-grown greens, berries, eggs, and hand-carved meats. It’s especially popular for special occasions and holidays (including Easter & Mother's Day), so make reservations well in advance. Sunday 10-2. Admission ticket or annual pass required.
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.
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack
Feast on some “Tennessee style” hot chicken and southern soul food. They prepare their unique fried chicken to order, so it’s not spicy unless you want it that way! Ingredients are sourced locally and classic American recipes are made from scratch daily. Two locations in Asheville: West at 1455 Patton Avenue, and South at 3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden.
Mt. Mitchell Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig
(Up to 9 miles round-trip, moderate) Our favorite quick hike at Mount Mitchell is the Deep Gap Trail to Mt. Craig, a two-mile round-trip hike. Continue on the Deep Gap Trail for another 3.5 miles. For a more challenging hike, take the 5.5-mile Mt. Mitchell Trail from the Black Mountain Campground.
High Falls, DuPont State Forest
This 150-ft. waterfall is in the middle of an amazing 10,000-acre nature sanctuary. One of the most impressive NC waterfalls, it is an easy hike from the parking area (1.2 miles roundtrip). Walk or bike to additional waterfalls nearby. Very popular, so expect crowds especially on weekends.
Highland Brewing Co.
(12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville) Visit the pioneers of craft beer in Asheville, brewing since 1994. Stop by their big Tasting Room to sample 15 brews every day of the week, along with live music and many outdoor concerts. Take a 45-minute guided tour of the fascinating brewing and packaging process. Easy parking.
Lake Junaluska Golf
Play by a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The 18-hole course is 5,034 yards and par 68. Green fees start at only $18. Stay a few days with a variety of lodging options, from hotels to cabins. Located near Waynesville and Maggie Valley, a 30-minute drive west of Asheville.
Near the Grove Arcade, atop Cambria Downtown Asheville, this rooftop bar has a large outdoor terrace complete with outdoor firepits and cozy couches to soak in the Blue Ridge views. Enjoy a variety of craft cocktails, local brews and wine. The traditional Cuban menu has a great selection of small plates, entrees and desserts to choose from. 15 Page Avenue
The Gift of Adventure, Navitat
Navitat Holiday Adventure Packages make a thrilling gift. The Adventure Seeker ($100 + tax) includes a $99.95 Navitat Adventure gift certificate, $20 Gift Shop certificate, and Navitat sticker. The Dynamic Duo ($210 + tax) includes two $99.95 Navitat Adventure gift certificates, $30 Gift Shop certificate, and Navitat sticker.
See professional theatre in an intimate setting in downtown Asheville. In addition to their own season of great plays, they host other local theatres, dancers and musicians. Tickets from $16/person! See our NC Stage feature.
Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian
This award-winning italian restaurant is known for their excellent service and authentic family atmosphere. The menu features “Old School” Italian classics like chicken parmesan, lasagna, penne bolognese, assorted seafood and more. Vegan and gluten-free options available.
Pillar Rooftop Bar
Atop the Hilton Garden Inn at the corner of Charlotte and College streets, this “garden-to-glass” bar offers signature craft cocktails, regional beers and sustainable wines. Enjoy the southern fusion cuisine, sharing small plates and sipping cocktails with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Easy walk from Pack Square Park. 309 College Street
NOC's Mountaintop Zip Line Tour
Zip two miles of lines high above the Nantahala Gorge at the NOC Main Campus on the Nantahala River. This three-hour guided tour offers panoramic views of both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest. Ten zip lines (including a half-mile zip 350 ft. above the creek below!) and two observation towers offer excitement and awe-inspiring views.
Skyterra Wellness Retreat
A beautiful mountain retreat in the Land of the Waterfalls where you set aside life’s obligations to focus on your own health and well-being. Stress management, fitness, and culinary experts helps you break old cycles, jump start new habits, and embrace the healthy, revitalized lifestyle. Spa treatments are customized. Stay for a week, or as long as you'd like. Rates include daily yoga, fitness, meditation, and education classes, private room, and chef-prepared meals.
Hood Tours are intimate, interactive tours focusing on the resiliency and ingenuity of African Americans in Asheville. Learn about this powerful story on walking and driving tours, visiting neighborhoods with active green spaces, art, and grassroots initiatives.
Give the Gift Worthy of an Art Collector, Grand Bohemian Gallery
The Grand Bohemian Gallery makes fine art available to the collector in us all. Showcasing contemporary painting, wood, artisan-made jewelry, and sculpture by local, regional, and internationally recognized artists. Explore the exhibitions, receptions, and “art & wine” dinners.
A longtime French bistro with comfort food using local ingredients. A romantic, intimate and charming setting. Enjoy fresh mussels prepared multiple ways, Escargot, Burgundy’s signature stew Boeuf Bourguignon and their famous fries. Dine al fresco along bricked walkways. Pair hand-selected French wines. 62 Lexington Avenue.
Momentum Art Gallery
See spectacular contemporary art from artists in western North Carolina and throughout the United States - browsing is welcome in this downtown gallery. 52 Broadway.
Canopy Ridge Farm Outdoor Adventure Park, Lake Lure
Soar through Hickory Nut Gorge over a forest canopy, hillsides and more as you tour 60 acres of Blue Ridge foothills. Guided zipline tours are 1.5 hrs with 6 lines, featuring a 1000 ft long ZipZilla line. Ages 4 & up can zip. Rent a GoPro and capture your adventure! Convenient location to nearby Lake Lure.
3-Mile Waterfall Hike, DuPont State Forest
(3 miles, moderate) Our most popular waterfall hike takes you to Hooker, Triple and High Falls in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Take a picnic! Since it's so beautiful, expect big crowds on nice weekends.
Southern Appalachian Anglers
Take a full-service, guided fly fishing or bass fishing trip near Asheville. You can enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by boating and/or wading in North Carolina's stream-fed lakes and rivers. Professional fishing guides ensure exciting fishing on the best pristine rivers in WNC.
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.
Greystone Inn Golf, Lake Toxaway
Stay at the luxury Greystone Inn to be able to play the private Lake Toxaway Country Club 18-hole championship golf course. It gets high reviews for its plush fairways and perfectly manicured Bentgrass greens. Master course architect Kris Spence finessed the course across beautiful mountain terrain with 6,418 yards of fairways and Augusta-style approaches that demand pinpoint accuracy. After a round, unwind at the inn with gourmet cuisine, in the spa or on a lake cruise.
Gift Local Honey, Killer Bees Honey
Sweeten the holidays with Killer Bees Honey. Their Western NC mountain-top apiaries are surrounded by 512,000 acres of National Forest, producing raw, organic honey of unmatched flavor, quality, and purity. The only honey that’s 100% toxin-free & unadulterated. Discover honey baskets, stocking stuffers & more.
Blue Ridge at The Omni Grove Park Inn
Feast on a farm-to-table artisanal buffet at this historic resort with mountain views. The Art of Breakfast buffet features two big rooms filled with countless options. Open at 6:30 AM daily. Reservations recommended for the popular Champagne Sunday Brunch 12 Noon-2:30 PM (longer hours for holidays including Easter & Mother's Day). 290 Macon Avenue