Thank you to Asheville Salt Cave and Adventure Center of Asheville for hosting me. As always, all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.If you’re planning a trip to Asheville and you’re looking for more to do than just the Biltmore, you’ve come to the right place! This list of 15 things to do in Asheville North Carolina has something for everyone in all seasons! I recently spent 5 days in early March in Asheville on a fun girls’ trip and we hit up all of these activities in that amount of time! See? Winter can be just as fun as any other time of year in Asheville!
Asheville Resources & Recommendations
- Aloft Asheville Downtown– Read reviews | Book rooms
- TripAdvisor– Find the best tours, restaurants, and hotels
- Skyscanner– Compare prices and find the best deals on flights | best deals on rental cars
- Allianz Travel Insurance– Protect yourself and your trip-Get a free quote!
1. Asheville Salt Cave
A unique activity we did in Asheville (and perhaps one of the more unique things I’ve ever done) was a session at the Asheville Salt Cave. After a busy, active weekend, this was the perfect way to relax, recharge and wrap up our trip!
The Engaging Entrance
We entered the very tranquil cave silently…
immediately feeling the calming mood set by the lighting
and the peaceful rippling of a water feature.
The (Salt Cave) Skinny
Made with 20 tons (TONS!) of pure pink salt from all over the world, the cave maintains the micro-climate of a salt mine. They do this by keeping a specific temperature and humidity level equivalent to that of a natural salt cave.
Taking in this unique micro-climate through the skin and via respiration helps to detox as well as help conditions such as asthma.
The Deep Decision
You have the option of relaxing on blankets and pillows on the floor…
or in a zero gravity chair. I had never experienced a true zero gravity chair so I was extremely curious and eager to try it!
I was not disappointed! Honestly, I don’t know how it works, but I definitely felt like I was floating or weightless. Or floating and weightless! I’m not sure how else to explain it. No part of my body felt heavier than another when reclined. You can imagine how this immediately induces relaxation!
The Epic Experience
After they led us through a series of breathing exercises, we were left with calming music to slip into blissful rest while taking in the benefits of salt therapy.
Imagine 45 minutes in a dimly lit room, in a chair that gives you a weightless sensation with peaceful music in a cool, healing atmosphere…I didn’t want it to be over!
This would definitely become a regular practice if I lived in the area and is an experience that everyone should try on a visit to Asheville! If you’re with your significant other, try a private session with a couple’s massage!
TIPS: Arrive 20 minutes early. Once a session is started, it is not interrupted! Your belongings are safely locked up while you are in the cave; however, there isn’t a lot of space so try to keep what you bring with you to a minimum. To protect the salt, wear or bring clean, white socks to wear into the cave as shoes are not allowed. If you forget, they do have shoe covers. It is cool inside the cave and blankets are provided, but if you are cold natured, you might want to have an extra layer on. You can read more information here.
2. Chimney Rock
As you can see, I don’t have Chimney Rock in the photos below. This is because we tried twice to go in the late afternoon so we could see it’s amazing views during both the daytime and for sunset. However, we struck out. Both times.
When we arrived the first day, it was closed. We looked at the sign for the opening times for the next day and made sure we arrived before closing on the second day.
But, when we arrived, we found the exit gate open and the entrance gate closed. Again. The sign didn’t note that the hours were only valid AFTER the time change that occurs for most states in the US in March. UGH.
Lesson learned: Go by the website hours and not the hours on the entrance sign. 😉
It is a long, but pretty drive between Asheville and Chimney Rock and we stopped a couple of times. One was for this lookout point and as you can tell it was quite cold but so beautiful!
We loved this little church on the side of the road.
It’s called Wallow Bear Baptist Church. Is it not picturesque like something out of a movie??
So, when you do go to Chimney Rock, be sure to see the sights along the way!
Location: 431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC 28720
3. Write on the Before I Die Wall
What is that thing you HAVE to do before you die?? Make it known right here on the Before I Die Wall!
Location: 37 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
4. Pack Square Park
Walk through Pack Square Park in the wintertime
and enjoy festivals and concerts in the summertime.
Location: 80 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801 (for GPS 121 College Street). This is the start of the Asheville Urban Trail and you can read all about it here.
5. Adventure Center of Asheville
Get your adventure on at the Adventure Center of Asheville.
Location: 85 Expo Drive, Asheville, NC 28806
6. Omni Grove Park Inn
Whether or not you’re staying there, you must watch the sunset from the back terrace of the Omni Grove Park Inn.
It’s perhaps the best place in Asheville to watch the sunset. Grab a drink or a bite and take it all in!
Location: 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28804
You might also like: 6 UNUSUAL TIPS + IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR AN EASY PACKING PROCESS
7. Hunger Games Filming Locations
Did you know that the entire first Hunger Games movie was shot in North Carolina?
Visit District 12 from the Hunger Games franchise.
It’s located right on the main road in the Henry River Mill Village, an old deserted village in Hildebran, NC built in the early 1900s. It is roped off so you can’t actually walk to any of the buildings, but they can easily be seen from the road.
Remember when Peeta throws Katniss the bread outside this bakery? 😍
Location: 4272 Henry River Road, Hildebran, NC
DuPont State Forest was used for The Games in the first film. This is Triple Falls where Peeta is lying on the rocks…
where Katniss runs across the falls
and where Katniss finds Peeta disguised in the mud and moss. Can you see it?
Location: Click here for directions.
8. Iron Sculpture
See the giant Flat Iron located directly across from the Flat Iron building. It was designed by local artist Reed Todd in 1997.
It’s pretty cool at night too!
Location: Intersection of Wall Street and Battery Park Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801. It is Station 8 on the Asheville Urban Trail.
9. Blackwell Memorial
The Blackwell Memorial pays tribute to former Asheville resident, Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, the first woman who received a medical degree in the United States! She went on to become a pioneer in medicine for women and children.
Location: 39 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801. It is Station 6 on the Asheville Urban Trail.
10. Pritchard Park
Have a picnic or people watch in Pritchard Park, a small outdoor amphitheater in the middle of downtown Asheville.
Every Friday night, April-October, the park hosts Drum Circle, an event where people gather together to play their own drums and dance to the rhythm!
Don’t miss the Deco Gecko, a brushed aluminum sculpture designed to honor the art deco stylings of architects who designed different buildings around Asheville. The sculptor is Harry McDaniel who was named Asheville’s first Public Artist of the Year in 2008.
Location: 67 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801.
11. Battery Book Exchange
Head to the Battery Book Exchange & Champagne Bar for a lazy morning or evening.
Get some champagne, grab a treat and relax by yourself or bring a friend. It’s a great place to catch up with the girls!
Location: 1 Page Avenue #101, Asheville, NC 28801
12. Grove Arcade
In the same building as the Book Exchange is the Grove Arcade. It was built by E.W. Grove, the designer of the Grove Park Inn. We were there on a Sunday morning so all of the shops hadn’t yet opened.
It was one of the top public markets in the country before World War II. Renovated and reopened to the public in 2002, it features shopping boutiques and restaurants.
Location: 1 Page Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801
13. DuPont State Forest Three Waterfalls Hike
Hike to see the many waterfalls in DuPont State Forest.
I highly recommend this easy (and fairly level) 4.5-mile roundtrip trail leading to Hooker Falls
High Falls where water rushes 120 feet down granite
and Triple Falls. Yes, this is the same one from The Hunger Games. It was also a location in The Last of the Mohicans!
You can even see High Falls Covered Bridge on this hike!
I wanted to do Bridal Veil Falls (another Hunger Games filming location), but we ran out of time.
Location: 1300 Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718. More information can be found here.
14. River Arts District
If you love art or want to see some of the most incredible and unique murals anywhere, you have to go to the River Arts District. You can also see artists work in their studios and even purchase their artwork.
They bring in artists from all over the world to paint these murals!
Are they not incredible? I loved the reflection. I got lucky since it had rained the day before!
Location: Click here for all locations. Above murals located along Lyman Street near the intersection of Old Lyman Street.
15. Biltmore Estate
You were wondering when I was going to get to it, weren’t you? 😉 Yes, the ever-popular Biltmore Estate. No visit to Asheville is complete without it!
There’s so much to do at the Biltmore, George Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre estate.
If you only have a few hours, be sure to explore the grounds around the outside of the mansion
as well as take a tour of the inside. You can choose to walk through on your own, do an audio guide tour or a guided tour. Whichever you decide on, book in advance. They do book up and there is timed entry!
There are so many beautiful aspects to see in the mansion. It’s truly incredible!
It snowed the day we were there. Do you see it? Too bad it wasn’t enough to see it covered in a winter wonderland!
From time to time, there are special exhibits going on such as this Titanic exhibit when we were there in March. These are the actual costumes from the film on loan to the Biltmore!
The tie is not only that these are clothes that would have been worn in George Vanderbilt’s time, but also the Vanderbilts were supposed to be on the Titanic for its fateful maiden voyage! They got homesick and canceled their plans to come home early. Can you imagine? 😲
Being a film junkie and former background artist myself, I thoroughly loved seeing these costumes for all the characters.
But my absolute favorite was getting to see the dress Rose (Kate Winslet) wore in the famous water scenes. In all, there were 24 of these dresses made to be able to last through all the filming in the water.
Cue “I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go…”
Christmas at the Biltmore
This is also a beautiful time to see the Biltmore. It is absolutely gorgeous all decorated for Christmas! Definitely plan well in advance for this!
Hope you enjoy these! They are really a great mix that should be fun for anyone and everyone.
I thoroughly loved visiting Asheville and plan on heading back. There’s so much to see there and I want to see it all!
How about you? Have you been? If so, what would add to this list? If not, what on the list do you want to do most?
‘Til next time…