Asheville is a beautiful city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It’s a great place to visit and is quickly becoming one of the country’s top destinations. With 3 days in Asheville, you can do a bit of sightseeing, get out in the mountains, soak up the city’s vibrant culture, and so much more.
Day One of 3 Days in Asheville
The Biltmore Estate
The most popular tourist attraction in Asheville is the Biltmore Estate. This is also the largest privately owned house in the United States. The 8,000-acre estate is a fascinating place to visit. It was built by George Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is still owned by his descendants. This beautiful mansion is a great remaining example of the Gilded Age.
Explore the gardens while you’re there, and be sure to check out the winery as well. In total you’ll need about 3-4 hours to take it all in. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Asheville. You could easily spend the entire day here, but with only 3 days in Asheville you have to keep moving!
Most people spending 3 days in Asheville will visit the city over the weekend. Downtown Asheville is bustling with activity throughout the weekend, so head down there to soak up the lively atmosphere.
If you arrive on a Friday, you can catch the weekly drum circle at Pritchard Park. It attracts crowds of locals and tourists who come to bang on a drum or just dance. Everyone is welcome, so make sure to check it out if you’re in town on a Friday.
Take a walk downtown in the evening, and you’ll probably see local musicians “busking” on the street. This is when musicians perform on the street for tips. Toss a couple dollars in their guitar case if you like what you hear! You might also see the pub-cycle drive by – a bar on a huge group bicycle.
Around sunset, head to the Sky Bar, where you can take in the views of the city and the surrounding mountains with a tasty cocktail in hand. It’s definitely one of the best views in the city. Looking out, you’ll see why Asheville is nicknamed the “Land of the Sky.”
When it’s time for dinner, you’ve got tons of great options. Asheville is a very eclectic city and it shows in the choices of restaurants you have here. In just a few blocks, you can find North Carolina BBQ, Indian street food, vegan fare, sushi – the list goes on and on.
One of my personal favorites is the Blue Dream Curry House. Here they combine two things I love – curry and tacos. It’s called a naan taco and it’s a fluffy piece of naan bread filled with curry and wrapped up like a taco. It’s delicious!
Craft Beer and Music
It’s no secret that Asheville loves beer. The city regularly hosts beer festivals, and it’s also home to the most breweries per capita in the US. Sampling the craft beer here is one of the top things to do in Asheville.
A great place to toss back a few with friends is Asheville Brewing Company, where you can order a flight to try four of their delicious craft beers. They’ve also got some amazing pizza here as well.
If you’re curious to try other local beers, there are breweries all over town. With 3 days in Asheville, you’ll be able to hit several of them.
The South Slope has the highest concentration of breweries. You could easily create your own walking tour and try all the best local brews. Some of my favorite breweries on the South Slope are:
No matter what night of the week it is, you’re sure to find live music in Asheville. Take your pick of the many shows on offer and wind the night down with some tunes. Whether you like bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, funk, or rock, you’re sure to find something you can dance to.
On the weekends, you can expect the party to go until about 2 AM. You might not want to stay out that late, though. You’ve still got two busy days in Asheville!
Check out some highlights from day one in Asheville in this short video.
Day Two of 3 Days in Asheville
Hopefully, you’re not too tired after visiting the Biltmore Estate and exploring downtown, because we’ve still got a busy couple of days in Asheville. Our 2nd day in this beautiful city in North Carolina starts out with a scenic drive on a famous road.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
It doesn’t take long to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway from downtown Asheville. This National Parkway and All-American Road stretch for 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. It’s known as one of the most scenic roads in the country, and there are many overlooks along the way where you can stop to admire the views.
With 3 days in Asheville, you might decide to drive up to the Parkway a couple of times depending on where you’re staying. Cruising the Blue Ridge is hands down one of the coolest things to do in Asheville.
There are also several hikes along the parkway that are easily accessible from Asheville. One of my personal favorites is the Mt. Pisgah trail. It’s a relatively short hike, at just around 2 miles round trip. Most of it is pretty easy, but you’ll need a decent level of fitness and some proper shoes. From the TV tower at the top, you get an amazing panoramic view of the mountains and the city.
While you’re out this way, you might as well stop at the Pisgah Inn. Even if you’re not a guest at the inn, it’s well worth a stop to visit the restaurant. Grab a glass of wine or a North Carolina craft beer and sit outside on one of their many rocking chairs for even more fantastic Blue Ridge views.
If you get there early enough, you just might get a table by the window. You really can’t go wrong with your order here, as everything is delicious. The menu changes from time to time, but you’ll always find local classics like fried green tomatoes or fresh mountain trout.
River Arts District
After a cruise on the parkway, a hike, and a nice meal, you can head to the River Arts District (RAD) in West Asheville. Here you’ll find dozens of great local art studios set in former industrial and historical buildings. It’s a very eclectic area set along the French Broad River and a great place to explore for a couple of hours.
There are over 200 artists here working in paint, glass, metal, pottery, and so much more. Many studios are open during the week, but the area is busiest during the weekend. On the second Saturday of every month, there’s a big event here with hands-on classes, live music, and block parties. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Asheville.
More Craft Beer!
As I mentioned, the craft beer scene is huge here in Asheville. While you’re over in the River Arts District, you can easily visit a few of the city’s best breweries. Wedge is a local favorite, with beers proudly brewed and sold right here. There’s also a different food truck parked here each day of the week.
Another great choice is New Belgium. Tours are available if you book well in advance. Even if you can’t get on a tour, it’s worth a visit to sample their wide variety of beers. With a location right on the French Broad River, it’s also a great place to hang out. Try a few different styles and you can buy it in cans or bottles to take home.
A Night Out on the Town
There are so many great restaurants, bars, and music venues downtown that you’ll just have to go back there on your second night to try a few more. I recommend just walking around and stopping wherever looks good. Sometimes it’s fun not to have a plan and to just go with the flow! I haven’t had a bad meal yet in downtown Asheville so your chances of finding something good are pretty high.
If you’re visiting on a weekend, you might want to check the calendar of events and see what’s going on. Many shows have a cover charge on the weekend, so it’s a good idea to do a little research to see if you’ll like the artist or band that’s playing. If you’d rather do something other than seeing live music, you can also catch a comedy show, a theatrical performance, or just see a movie.
That’s a pretty busy and tiring day, so you’ll probably want to head home a bit early. We’ve got one more day left to explore Asheville, and we’re going to make it a good one!
Day Two in Asheville highlights!
Day Three of 3 Days in Asheville
For the third and final day in Asheville, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the area’s beautiful surroundings. Read on for some great ideas on how to wind down 3 days in Asheville.
One of my favorite places to go in Asheville for brunch is Biscuit Head. Their slogan is “put some south in your mouth,” and that’s precisely what you’ll do here when you try their famous biscuits and gravy. These aren’t just any biscuits, though…
You can choose classic southern toppings like fried green tomatoes or catfish. They also have a butter and jam bar where you can sample dozens of flavors to add to your biscuits. You may have to wait for a table (especially on the weekend), but it’s well worth it.
After that delicious and filling meal, it’s time to get outside. There are several excellent options for enjoying an afternoon outdoors in Asheville. Here are a few for you to choose between:
Walk on the River
Asheville is located on the French Broad River, and there are plenty of nice walks you can take along the river. One nice and easy option is walking from Carrier Park over to the French Broad River Park, or vice versa. It’s a scenic and peaceful stroll between the two parks, with plenty of places to stop and relax.
Play on the River
For those who need a bit more excitement than a casual stroll, you have lots of options for fun on the river. You can try your hand at SUP (stand up paddle boarding), do some kayaking, or just go tubing. In my humble opinion, tubing is one of the most fun things to do in Asheville.
There are several places in Asheville where you can sign up for a tour. One of my personal favorites is Zen Tubing, whose slogan is “Get in touch with your inner tube.” They even have tubes for your cooler so you can bring a few delicious North Carolina craft beers along for your lazy float down the river.
Take a Hike
The Blue Ridge Parkway isn’t the only place where you can go hiking in Asheville. You can take short hikes to waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and much more. For more on hiking in Asheville, I suggest checking out the very informative website Asheville Trails.
It doesn’t take long to get to the Appalachian Trail, which is the longest wilderness hike in the entire country. A great way to check out the AT on a short day trip is taking a drive up to the Max Patch trail. You’ll need a car, as it’s about a 50-minute drive outside of downtown. Once you’re done hiking, you can…
Soak in Hot Springs
If you’re just looking to relax on your last afternoon in town, you should definitely head to Hot Springs. The name comes from the natural hot springs that the town sits on. It’s the perfect place to relax after that hike at Max Patch.
It’s a popular place, so you should book a tub in advance to avoid disappointment. We once drove all the way out there to find they had no more tubs available for the evening. Don’t worry – we went back the next time we were in town, this time with a reservation!
A Fancy Dinner
Since it’s your last night here, why not go big for dinner? The Grove Park Inn has a few different restaurants to choose from, including the amazing Sunset Terrace. Here you can enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains with a chilled shellfish tower including oysters, king crab legs, lobster, and more. It’s a pricey meal, for sure, but you’re on vacation! Once in a while, you just have to live it up and treat yo’self!
One More Brewery (or Three)
If you’re not too full from that dinner, why not try some more craft beer? There are so many breweries here that it would take you months to visit them all, so there are definitely a few you haven’t been to yet. I recommend heading downtown where you can take your pick between a couple of great breweries – Burial, Green Man, and Twin Leaf Brewery.
They’re all really close to each other, so you could even try a beer at each if you’re feeling up for it. That’s a pretty awesome end to 3 days in Asheville if you ask me!
A video tour of a good way to spend your 3rd day in Asheville.
With the historic Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Mountains, outdoor adventures, and world-class culinary, beer, and music scenes, Asheville really packs a punch for such a small city. After 3 days in Asheville, you’ll surely wish you had more time there.
Where to Stay in Asheville
Asheville is a pretty small city, so it’s not too hard figuring out where to stay there. First of all, you should decide if you want to stay downtown or out in the mountains. Those looking to be close to the action should choose a place downtown, while those looking for a getaway can look for more secluded places.
While there are plenty of fancy places where you can spend several hundred a night, Asheville also has several budget-friendly inns and hotels. Booking.com always has great deals on Asheville hotels, so go ahead and give it a quick search:
Check Asheville Hotel Deals
Backpackers will be happy to hear that there are actually a few hostels in Asheville now. An excellent choice is Bon Paul & Sharky’s has bunks for just $35 a night or a double room for about $85. It’s located in historic West Asheville in a colorful house and is definitely a lovely place to stay.
Sweet Peas Hostel has a fully equipped kitchen and a nice living room to hang out in. Plus, there’s even a brewery right downstairs. Score! Dorms here go for $32 a night.
There’s also the Asheville Hostel & Guest House, which is more of a guest house than a hostel. They don’t have dorm rooms, but they do have doubles that are a good value for a couple or two friends. They’re right downtown, so this is a great choice if you want to be near lots of restaurants, breweries, and music venues.
You might also want to see what’s available on Airbnb. There are plenty of private rooms for rent, and you can even find entire apartments or homes if you’ve got a larger group. We love Airbnb and use it all the time. In fact, we use it so much that we have a referral link that will get you $40 off your first booking with them.
A single traveler or a couple would love this lovely guest suite in West Asheville. It’s a great value in a convenient location. They’ve got Superhost status with over 300 5-star reviews, so you know this place is good!
If you’ve got a bigger group or you just want a bit more privacy for two, check out this private bungalow on a hill. It’s a 1-bedroom with a pullout couch that can sleep four. You even have your own backyard with some chairs to chill out in and enjoy the view.
For those looking for an Airbnb experience with a funky Asheville twist, check out this awesome RV by the creek. In addition to your own private RV, you have a fire pit, lawn chairs, and a picnic table at your disposal. Perfect for those who have always wanted to try living in a van… down by the river!
If you need a place for a big group (5-6), you should definitely look into this beautiful mountain retreat. It’s got 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a lovely garden, and even a back patio with a jacuzzi. This place is ideal for those looking for a getaway who don’t mind a 30-40 minute drive into town.