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10 Things To Do With Out of Town Visitors

Your family and/or friends are in town for the holidays – what do you do? Recently someone in my family got married, which meant that some of my relatives from Oregon flew into town. This was their first time in North Carolina, and Asheville so I had to make sure to show them the sights and entertain them while making sure they enjoy the city. While it is easy for us to appreciate Asheville, there are certain things you just must introduce out-of-towners to so that they can appreciate the city and get a feel for our zany, eclectic culture. Here is a short list of things that I consider a ‘must’ for any Asheville tour.

  1. Eat at The Noodle Shop. Not only is their food delicious, but it’s generally not so busy that seating is unavailable. During good weather I recommend sitting on the patio as you can be entertained by one of the many buskers that flood downtown.
  2. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. I know this seems like an obvious choice, but it’s a ‘must’, so on the list it goes. I generally hop on the parkway by the Arboretum, and drive south for as long as desired. Driving north on the parkway is just never the same – the south seems to have better views.
  3. Walking tour of downtown. Driving downtown can be a pain, and there are so many small stores and hidden gems that walking is the best way to experience downtown. Park in a garage – the ones that are pay by the hour always give the first hour free – and walk. Be sure to meander along Lexington and look at all the star lights in the window of Chevron Trading Company. From there, make your way up toward Pritchard park, cross the street, take a left and walk down the cobbled path of Wall Street. Continue to the end of Wall street, take a  right, and head towards the Grove Arcade. After exploring the Grove, head towards the US Cellular Center (formerly the Civic Center). From there you can wander back to the car. Along the way be sure to window shop and pop into one of the many delicious coffee shops.
  4. photoHave a beer. As Beer City USA, it’s almost a requirement that everyone have at least one beer while visiting. There are too many options to choose from, but some recommendations include: Wicked Weed, LAB, Asheville Brewing, and The Wedge.
  5. Explore the River Arts District, and have lunch at 12 Bones. If you go at around 11, you should theoretically get there before the big lunch rush, and the line won’t be too long. Get the cornbread pudding – you won’t regret it.
  6. While not everyone can afford to tour the Biltmore, especially during the Christmas season when ticket prices rise, that doesn’t mean you should skip over Biltmore Village. Stop and shop for awhile.
  7. Don’t skip West Asheville. I generally take my visitors to West End Bakery for a cup of coffee before doing a drive through of the neighborhood that is almost a city unto itself.
  8. Do you have time for some music? The Grey Eagle is a great music venue in the River Arts District, and you can generally snag tickets to a show for around $10. There’s not a better way to introduce people to our local music scene.
  9. Get chocolate at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I tend to go at night, when the city is sleepy and the lounge is buzzing. If you aren’t craving chocolate, I recommend getting a glass of wine and the lavender creme brulee.
  10. Go see the sun rise. Drive south on the parkway and go to one of the overlooks – any one past the Mills River overlook is ideal (I would tell you my favorite but I don’t want it to get crowded). Get up around 6, grab a blanket and some coffee, and head up the parkway. The view as the sun is coming over the mountains is an experience not to be missed.

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6 comments

  1. kaleylaine13@gmail.com'

    This is a great list. I recommend all of these things!!!!!

  2. wolfdream@sbcglobal.net'

    Planning on moving there soon so very helpful. Cannot wait, looking at houses. Great place, have friends that are already there.

  3. Tuckerdognc@gmail.com'

    Here’s what we always do.

    1. The city neighborhood tour: Montford Area for the B & Bs; downtown and up sunset mountain for views … Kenliworth Forest (best kept secret neighborhood) then out to Norwalk (Merrimon central area); Lakeview Park (Beaver Lake) across and over toward Grove Park Inn for the beautiful homes around the hills, stopping for a tour of the GPI and drinks in the lounge.

    2. Blue Ridge Parkway up to Pisgah Inn, down to the Folk Arts Center, up toward Craggy Gardens, make the left that takes to to Weaverville and back down Merrimon.

    3. Biltmore Village, Biltmore if they have the $$$, and Corner Kitchen for dinner (The Obamas’ choice and a must!)

    4. 12 Bones for lunch, west asheville for funky and spend some time in the River Arts District (Obamas again! they know where to eat)

  4. jodielmt@hotmail.com'

    A few other options ;
    Asheville Salt Cave in downtown offer s a truly unique experience!

    Or take a tour of town with a healthy twist on Asheville Wellness tours.
    Dobra tea is a gem located in downtown.

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