Asheville is known for being a city of amazing adventures, a quality that attracted me to my beautiful mountain home in the first place. Perhaps a bit to my mother's dismay, for me, college was about more than just my studies, it was about finding my own place in the world, I place where I felt myself, where I felt at home. Going to school in Asheville provides me with seemingly limitless opportunities for adventure off campus, and while I don't want to discredit the excitement I feel every Wednesday for "Therapy Dogs on the Quad", the opportunities for exploration within the community of Asheville have made me feel truly at home here, truly a part of something special. Never before have I felt so welcomed into a community exactly as I am, a city of people who are so unapologetically themselves, so excited about their passions, and so proud of the place they call home. Asheville is a city where an adventure awaits at every corner, and while these may be a few of them, I feel they are some that truly capture the spirit of my spectacular city.
1. Check out the festivals at Pack Square
From it’s Pride Festival to the Goombay Festival, Pack Square is known as one of the cultural hubs of downtown Asheville. Here the people of Asheville come together to share their passions, histories, and stories; providing an incredible example of the diversity within this incredible city. Pack Square always seems to be bustling with some kind of festival or celebration of the arts, and did I mention for free? Check out more events happening here!
2. Explore the Asheville “Flea for Y’all” Flea Market
For only $3, the Asheville “Flea for Y’all” Flea Market hosts a variety of different vendors, from free-range artists to antique collectors. With its beautiful riverside location and seemingly endless sprawls of art and antiques, the market is seemingly filled to the brim with stories old and new. This market truly showcases the passion for creation and recycling that is at the very core of Asheville, it’s definitely a must-see!
3. Hike one of the nearby trails
Though some of my personal favorites include Craggy Gardens and Mount Pisgah, the Pisgah National Forest and Blue Ridge Parkway located right next door to Asheville host a seemingly endless supply of hikes and new places to explore. Views like you’ll get in Asheville art impossible to get anywhere else, especially if you come in the fall, when the changing leaves make you feel like you could be transported to another world. There’s nothing quite like a hike near Asheville, and of course, this is all for free! For more hikes and adventures, click here.
4. Hit up some neighboring towns
If Asheville doesn’t host enough adventures for you, the neighboring small towns just might do the trick. Perhaps closest is the town of Weaverville, with its vintage stores and coffee shops on the corners, but Asheville is also close to many other towns such as Hendersonville and Hot Springs. Many towns near Asheville don’t hold back on mountain charm, and are perfect for an afternoon of exploring! Click for more adventures in Weaverville and Hot Springs.
5. Adventure in the River Arts District
Perhaps my favorite adventure in Asheville is the River Arts District. An art lover's dream or an urban explorer’s paradise, the River Arts District contains a story behind every mural and painting and the wall of graffiti. Whether you plan to explore the galleries, learn to blow glass, or simply walk around and take in the sights, the River Arts District does not skimp on an adventure. Located right next to the French Broad River, the River Arts District is truly one of the most incredible places Asheville has to offer.
6. Go to one of many, many concerts
Asheville is known for its music scene, hosting countless artists at their numerous venues. From the Grey Eagle to the Orange Peel, going to a concert in Asheville means truly connecting with the music and the artist, no matter how much your feet might hurt afterward. The venues in Asheville allow concert-goers to stand right up with the artist if they wish, or rather relax in the back or by the bar. Most tickets are under $30, an incredible price for the wide variety of artists Asheville hosts. Click for more information about The Grey Eagle and The Orange Peel.
7. Wander in the Botanical Gardens at UNCA
The “botans” as so lovingly dubbed by many UNCA students, are one of the most beautiful places in Asheville. From the creek that runs through the center to the gazebos and benches tucked away into the trees, the Botanical Gardens at Asheville is one of the most beautiful spots to spend an afternoon. You could do yoga on one of the fields, strum your guitar, or simply lay down and watch the leaves, but no matter what you choose to do, the Botanical Gardens are truly one of the most beautiful places you can visit.