Spending the holidays with family is a great way to bond and enjoy the festivities. Our recent 5-day visit to Asheville, North Carolina was a memorable one while learning many things at the same time. You have an array of things to do in Asheville NC, ideal for all ages.

Asheville boasts a small-town ambiance with picturesque views, amazing food, and natural wonders on every corner. As a favorite mountain destination, it may be the ideal choice if you want to take a break from the bustling urban space and experience something new.

Amazing things to do in Asheville NC

If you’re planning to visit Asheville soon, a glimpse of what to expect and the things to do in Asheville NC will help ensure a good starting point with your preparations. I’ll share below the details of our Asheville getaway to give insight into what the town is all about, along with the must-see spots and activities to engage in.

Book at Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge

Book at Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge

For starters, the right accommodations are crucial in any trip. Our starting point during our stay in Asheville is at Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge PKWY, which is truly comfortable and outstanding in terms of service, amenities, and accommodations. It’s a boutique hotel with an ambiance of a mountain lodge.

The hotel boasts a serene natural experience to soak up the natural beauty of the mountains. The guest rooms are equipped with all the essentials to ensure convenience and comfort such as a microwave, Wi-Fi, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, and USB ports.

Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge boasts the best accessibility to Asheville downtown plus the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock State Park, and an array of restaurants.

The staff at the front desk during our stay – Thomas, Ashley, Kim & Erica – were very accommodating and provided us with useful tips and tricks to ensure we had the best time during our stay in the town.

Jump-start the day with a delicious breakfast

Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge PKWY Breakfast

A delicious breakfast is the best way to jump-start our day, served with your beverage of choice at the Holiday Inn located on East-Blue Ridge PKWY. The breakfast our hotel offers makes it convenient with the buffet-style setting and the delectable array of choices. The breakfast host, Kim was truly outstanding. During our stay, we enjoyed our hearty breakfast every morning.

Explore Downtown Asheville

Explore Downtown Asheville

We really enjoyed walking around the town, exploring all the different stores and restaurants. The atmosphere was really nice.

Downtown Asheville is truly the place to be. We highly recommend taking a stroll in the entertainment hub right in the heart of Asheville to soak up the vibrant mountain vibe. The city center boasts gorgeous architecture, a unique array of independent stores, a huge selection of restaurants and farm-fresh eateries, enlightening museums, and music and street performers, to name a few. The diverse mix of art, culture, and music makes the downtown scene an engaging one.

First, stop at Chevron Trading Post & Bead Company

First, stop at Chevron Trading Post & Bead Company

One of the first things to do in Asheville NC during our stay was visiting the Chevron Trading Post & Bead Company. As you first walk in, you’ll be greeted by the store’s dog, Pearl. She’s an adorable white lab that offers a warm welcome.

The store offers a vast selection of beads in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, ranging from gemstones to glass, and acrylic. Aside from the amazing selection of beads, the store also offers jewelry-making workshops.

Dropping by the Green Sage

Dropping by the Green Sage

Due to the cold weather, we decided to warm up. In the area, we stopped by Green Sage which offers healthy, organic, and sustainable food options. We were amazed by the amazing selection of food. We tried the café lattes plus the house salad and a red lentil soup.

Go on the LaZoom Comedy Tours

Go on the LaZoom Comedy Tours

If you want the best way to see Asheville, LaZoom Comedy Tours is highly recommended. It was the best time and truly the highlight of the trip.

The award-winning LaZoom Comedy Tours is unlike any other and one of the things to do in Asheville NC you shouldn’t miss out on. Explore the city with LaZoom Asheville Bus Tours’ wild guides to discover the lively and quirky sense of humor.

The citywide afternoon and evening tours are the best way to know Asheville, inside and out. The tours feature entertaining tour guides, outlandish comedy skits with special appearances, facts about Asheville, and amazing views of downtown Asheville and the Montford neighborhood, and the River Arts District.

Enjoy the best pizza in town at Manicomio Pizza

Enjoy the best pizza in town at Manicomio Pizza

After hours of exploring the town, we enjoyed a delicious slice of pizza at Manicomio Pizza Asheville. The best part is we even had 2 slices! Demetrius was always ready to cater to new customers. If you’re craving pizza, it’s the ideal spot to indulge in amazing selections.

Drop by the Mast Store

Drop by the Mast Store

Our next stop is the Mast Store. It’s the ideal source for almost anything you can think of, and you’ll find it there, ranging from merchandise to cough medications. The store is 2 stories and is truly a gem worth checking out. Got lucky during our visit after finding my favorite caramel coconut clusters.

Discover unique finds at The Loft

Discover unique finds at The Loft

Another unique store we visited is The Loft, which is worth checking out. The one-of-a-kind concept of the store makes it a must-visit store where you’ll find lost objects, treasures, and trinkets you can bring home. The prices are good, and you’ll enjoy the selection of merchandise available such as weighted blankets and even an array of toys. You might be able to find something special from the vast selection of items and trinkets.

Sumptuous dinner at Woodfire Bar & Grille

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Dinner at the Woodfire Bar & Grille the on-site restaurant at the Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge offers casual dining. It’s a traditional steak house that boasts a modern twist. Our dining experience was truly an outstanding one with the best service from our server, Erica.  Some of the dishes we tried and loved include:

  • Garlic Shrimp Pasta. Jumbo shrimp sautéed in a garlic butter sauce with fresh asparagus spears and grape tomatoes. Served over angel hair pasta and topped with parmesan cheese.
  • Grilled Chicken. Tender and savory chicken breast seasoned and seared on the wood-fired grille.
  • Chicken Tenders. Hearty chicken breast tenders are lightly breaded, fried, and served with your favorite sauce. BBQ, Honey Mustard, Buffalo, Fire, or Sweet Chili.

All I can say is that our dining experience at the Woodfire Bar & Grille was amazing – both the quality and service exceeds our expectations.

Head over to The Grove Arcade

Head over to The Grove Arcade

The Grove Arcade is our next stop. It’s a high-end Asheville mall that boasts an array of unique and beautiful stores. Situated right in the heart of downtown Asheville, it’s the ideal destination to make the most of the festivities with local shops, dining venues, and many more. When it comes to shopping, it’s the right stop for unique treasures. You’ll find local shops, artisans, and boutiques.

Amazing pinball experience at Asheville Pinball Museum

Amazing pinball experience at Asheville Pinball Museum

The Asheville Pinball Museum is also one of the must-see spots we visited and playing on an actual pinball machine is one of the top things to do in Asheville NC. All I can say is that it was the best time of our lives. My wife and I grew up with pinball machines, so we took our daughter for her first experience, and she truly loved it. Think of it as a trip down memory lane and the array of pinball machines brings back the old fun childhood memories.

Asheville Pinball Museum is the ideal spot to experience what playing the actual pinball machine feels like. Don’t miss out on the chance to play on 35 pinball machines plus 35 classic video games for as long as you want at the rate of $15 per person.

Dinner at Mëhfil

Dinner at Mëhfil

When it comes to dinner, one of our choices was Mëhfil. It’s an Indian restaurant situated right in downtown Asheville and offers a selection of delicious food. For dinner, we had grilled lamb chops and chicken tika masala with rice and naan.

The restaurant is awarded the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Award 2022, making it a must-try spot to enjoy authentic Indian cuisine.

Check out the bear crossing walking trail

Check out the bear crossing walking trail

We had a great nature trek just next to the hotel. The Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge PKWY has its walking trail, so we decided to explore the bear crossing trail. It was awesome and so peaceful. Great way to start your day!

Grab a Mexican treat at Mamacitas

Grab a Mexican treat at Mamacitas

After enjoying the outdoors, we headed over to Mamacitas. It’s a chipotle-inspired grille with a delectable selection of food. We all shared a bowl and some tacos.

It’s the ideal spot that serves freshly made-from-scratch Mexican cuisine right in downtown Asheville. The establishment has been voted the Best Burrito, Best Taco, and Best Mexican Restaurant in Asheville. So, it’s a must-visit spot if you’re craving Mexican food.

Drive through Blue Ridge Parkway

Drive through Blue Ridge Parkway

The next stop is the Blue Ridge Parkway. It truly is a scenic place to drive and walk through. We also checked out a shop with an exhibit that showcases its history.

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is worth visiting if you want to explore craft, music, the outdoors, and foodways along with the native wisdom of the Appalachian tradition.

Climb the Chimney Rock

Climb the Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is another must-see destination, and it was truly a memorable experience. Take on an elevator inside the rock. Once you go outside, the view is truly fantastic.

For nature lovers, visiting Chimney Rock is one of the top things to do in Asheville NC for the picturesque views and incredible hiking trails and experiencing nature up close. It’s a one-of-a-kind mountain adventure and your stay in Asheville isn’t complete without dropping by.

Visit Lake Lure

Visit Lake Lure

The town of Lake Lure was a picturesque destination to visit, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain of North Carolina. It has a beautiful history behind it and an amazing town to drive through. Lake Lure is one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the country.

Delectable dinner at Pomodoros Greek & Italian Café

Delectable dinner at Pomodoros Greek & Italian Café

That night, we dropped by Pomodoros Greek & Italian Café for dinner. We had Spaghetti Bolognese with Italian sausage and ground beef simmered in Pomodoro sauce which was delicious and Solomos Me Lemon with grilled wild Alaskan salmon, sautéed spinach, parmesan risotto with a lemon-herb beurre blanc.

Check out the Leonardo Da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius exhibition in Biltmore

Check out the Leonardo Da Vinci - 500 Years of Genius exhibition in Biltmore

The Leonardo Da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius exhibition in Biltmore was also on our list of things to do in Asheville NC during our stay. The 45-minute exhibition showcased to us the ins and outs of the inventor, artist, sculptor, engineer, anatomist, musician, philosopher, and architect plus the array of perspectives of his masterworks.

The experience is hosted at Amherst at Deerpark® which is the exhibition space on the grounds of the Biltmore estate

Free wine tasting at Biltmore

Free wine tasting at Biltmore

The Complimentary Wine Tastings at Biltmore were also something we did during our visit. The dessert one was my personal favorite.

The wine-tasting experience was hosted in the Tasting Room. It’s your chance to know about the Winery’s most popular and award-winning vintages while at the same time learning about Biltmore’s vineyards and wine operations.

Enjoy tavern favorites at Cedric’s® Tavern

Enjoy tavern favorites at Cedric’s® Tavern

We also had a sumptuous lunch at Cedric’s® Tavern in Antler Hill Village. We had a nice, juicy burger plus fish & chips.

The classic English pub fare showcases several tavern favorites including fish & chips, great burgers, shepherd’s pie, and a variety of small plates. As an Open Table Diner’s Choice Award-winning restaurant, it’s a must-visit spot during your stay in Asheville.

Explore the Biltmore Estate

Explore the Biltmore House

Exploring the Biltmore estate is a worthwhile experience with its amazing story. It was an enriching audio tour of the entire house. Visiting the grand estate should also be on your list of things to do in Asheville NC.

The 90-minute experience in the Biltmore House provides you with the feeling of going on a guided tour through Biltmore’s grand rooms. The audio tour will give insights about the Vanderbilts, their guests, and servants in addition to the surrounding architecture, artwork, and design.

Delectable waffles at the Waffle House

Delectable waffles at the Waffle House

On our last day in Asheville and it was Christmas day morning, we tried out the Waffle House which was located right next door to the Holiday Inn Asheville East-Blue Ridge PKWY for the first time and I can say we don’t regret it. We surely look forward to having the delectable treat again.

The waffles are truly delicious and the best with outstanding service and the lively teamwork vibe. It was an unforgettable experience to jump-start Christmas.

Amazing car rental service

Amazing car rental service

We rented a Toyota Camry from Alamo Rental and enjoyed driving around with this car. It made our trip fun and comfortable at the same time.

Final thoughts

Asheville, North Carolina is the ideal destination that offers an array of must-see spots, dining, and everything in between for a fun and memorable trip with family or friends. Our stay was indeed an unforgettable experience with the long list of things to do in Asheville NC and we surely look forward to visiting soon. If you have plans to visit, stay at the Holiday Inn located on East-Blue Ridge PKWY in Asheville. If you want a one-of-a-kind retreat with family or friends, head over to Asheville soon!