If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in the Southeast, Downtown Asheville, NC should be at the top of your list. Tucked away in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming city has everything you need for an unforgettable couples’ retreat.
With its gorgeous scenic views, lively downtown streets, and many indoor and outdoor activities, your time spent exploring this mountain town will never be boring.
The explosion of growth over the last few decades has led to this being a cultural hub for the arts, a craft beer lover’s dream, and a culinary delight.
Looking for more weekend getaway ideas in North Carolina? Check out the best things to do in Charlotte NC for couples.
Getting To Downtown Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina is located practically on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina. Running through the Appalachian Mountains along Virginia and North Carolina, the National Parkway is one of America’s most beautiful roadways. And, not surprisingly, most road stops are fairly rural.
The exception is Asheville NC. In fact, the city center is just a 15-minute drive from the Parkway. Alternatively, you can elect to fly to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL.) That’s also just s 15-minute car ride away.
Once in Downtown Asheville, getting around is easy. Affectionately known as the “Paris of the South,” these city streets are made for leisurely strolls, hand in hand with the one you love.
Asheville’s main street is Biltmore Avenue, where you will find an eclectic assortment of historic buildings, art-filled parks, plus funky shops and restaurants.
Things To Do In Downtown Asheville
VISIT: Grove Arcade
Located in the heart of downtown Asheville the Grove Arcade is a historic building with high-end shops and local restaurants.
There is also an outdoor artists’ market for local crafters here that you can browse. Another popular stop inside is the Battery Park Book Exchange + Champagne Bar. Pop in for a glass of bubbly and a charcuterie board to share.
The Grove Arcade isn’t the only place to shop in Asheville though. There are over 200 locally-owned stores and boutiques here to explore.
VISIT: Asheville Community Theater
As one of the oldest community theatres in the nation, be sure you add this to your list of things to do in downtown Asheville if you and your partner enjoy musicals or live performances.
The performers are not professionals but the theater prides itself on putting together high-quality shows.
TOUR: LaZoom Comedy Tours
With three different options for tours of Asheville, this is the number one pick for a sightseeing tour around the city. Choose from the Hey Asheville, Ghosted, or Fender Bender (Bands & Beers) Tours, depending on your interests.
Spend an hour or two laughing and exploring the hidden gems of Asheville with local comedians as your guide.
VISIT: Local Breweries
Asheville is well-known for its brewery scene. There are over 50 breweries in the city, with many within walking distance downtown. The South Slope has a large concentration of popular ones like Wicked Weed, Asheville Brewing Company, Hi-Wire, and Green Man.
Other great options downtown include Bhramari, Burial Beer Co., White Labs, and Twin Leaf Brewery. Many of these spots have great food menus as well.
Find the most comprehensive list of Asheville Breweries as well as wine bars on Asheville Ale Trail; their field guide is available online while the printed version can be found at locations throughout Western North Carolina.
VISIT: Biltmore Estate
Although no longer technically the largest home in America, the Biltmore Estate is everything that was grand about the Gilded Age, at least architecturally speaking. (For even more Gilded Age splendor, do tour the “summer cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island.)
The 175,000-square-foot mansion is surrounded by gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is one of the most romantic stops in Asheville. Inside, period furniture and gorgeously attired mannequins, as well as docents, bring to life Vanderbilt’s opulent lifestyle. Unlike his robber-baron grandfather, who built a railroad empire, George Vanderbilt was a patron of the arts.
But it could also be said that he was an artist, whose canvas was the 8000-acre Biltmore Estate. He hired America’s Architect of Choice, Richard Morris Hunt, who also designed The Breakers in Newport RI. And it was none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park’s architect, who tackled the landscape.
Note – The Biltmore isn’t downtown, but it’s a quick 20-minute drive and a must for any weekend in Asheville itinerary.
After touring the largest privately owned home in America, make sure to stroll through the sprawling gardens and grounds.
Once you’ve had your fill of the grounds, head down to Antler Hill Village where you can visit the Biltmore Winery for a wine tasting that’s included with your entrance ticket. And be sure to check out the cool Champagne Celler. You’ll want to spend at least half a day here if not a full one.
RELAX: Asheville Salt Cave
If you’re in need of some rest and relaxation, then book a session at the Asheville Salt Cave where their cave is self-sustaining and growing. In a private session, you can enjoy the quiet and meditate or you can book a couple’s massage in the salt cave to enhance the experience.
Asheville has been known for centuries as a health retreat so there are many spa options in the area. Other popular ones are the subterranean spa at The Omni Grove, Shoji Spa & Lodge, and the Spa at the Inn at Biltmore.
VISIT: Woolworth Walk
Located in the old Woolworth building in the city center, this locally-owned art gallery features work exclusively from about 170 local artists. They even have an old-fashioned soda fountain in the building for some added nostalgia.
You can find many different mediums here, from photography and paintings to sculpture and pottery. There’s always something new here to discover each time you visit too.
SEE: Sunset at Omni Grove Park Inn
While this is just outside of downtown, it’s one of the most romantic things to do in Asheville and really shouldn’t be missed. The Omni Grove has been open for over 100 years and is one of the most romantic hotels in Asheville. (Scroll to the end of the video above for a tour of the Omni Grove Park Inn.)
Make a reservation at the Sunset Terrace where you can enjoy a fantastic meal, a glass from their award-winning wine list, and stunning views of the mountains.
Asheville is a very popular destination in western North Carolina for foodies and for good reason. A growing number of restaurants in the city offer unique creations and international cuisine so you can find just about anything you are in the mood for.
Eating Asheville’s guided tours have been introducing visitors to locally-owned restaurants since 2011 and it’s obvious how much they love showcasing the booming culinary scene in the city.
VISIT: Thomas Wolfe Memorial
Located in the historic Montford district of Asheville, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial is a must-see for literature lovers. This memorial honors the life and work of author Thomas Wolfe, who wrote Look Homeward Angel and Of Time and The River.
You can explore his childhood home, which has been preserved as it was when he lived there and contains many original artifacts from throughout his life.
SEE: The Drum Circle
Head to Pritchard Park on a Friday night from April through October and you can participate in the iconic Asheville Drum Circle. Dance to the music, make a beat yourself, or just enjoy watching the crowd!
Play as long as you like on the retro collection of pinball machines and classic video games. There’s just one (reasonable) flat fee, and beer or sodas are available for optional lubrication.
Downtown Asheville Restaurants
BREAKFAST: Early Girl Eatery
Early Girl Eatery makes all their food in-house with the highest-quality ingredients that they can find. One great thing about them is they serve breakfast all day!
They’ve been serving Asheville for over 20 years so you know they’re doing something right. It does get very crowded on weekend mornings so get there early.
COFFEE HOUSE: French Broad Chocolate Lounge
In such a foodie town, it’s no surprise to discover that Downtown Asheville hosts several outstanding coffee shops, including High Five Coffee and Izzy’s Coffee Den. But the most delicious one of them all isn’t actually a coffee house.
At French Broad Chocolate Lounge there’s free trade java, but you can also find all kinds of artisanal chocolates and pastries made in-house.
Stop by the signature celestial blue building in Pack Square for a leisurely treat, perhaps paired with beer or wine. And truly dedicated chocolate lovers may want to book a tour and/or wine pairing at the Chocolate Factory on River Street.
For a romantic evening out, grab some tapas and wine at Zambra. The menu is inspired by Western Mediterranean dishes and they have an extensive wine list with a large focus on Spanish wines.
Grab some small plates to share and enjoy this intimate space in downtown Asheville!
EAT: Buxton Hall BBQ
Buxton Hall BBQ opened in 2015 and quickly became one of the most popular spots for BBQ in the city. Whether you want pulled pork, or smoked chicken, or are there for the southern sides like their corn pudding or chicken bog, you won’t leave hungry.
They take farm-to-table seriously as they purchase their pigs from Vandele Farms in nearby Lake Lure and then butcher them in-house.
EAT: White Duck Taco
For a quick bite to eat in downtown Asheville, you can’t go wrong with White Duck Taco. This staple serves unique tacos like Thai Peanut Chicken and Korean Beef Bulgogi as well as traditional offerings like Steak & Cheese or Spicy Buffalo Chicken.
They have a pet-friendly courtyard if you’ve brought a furry friend along on your trip too.
EAT: Isa’s French Bistro
Fine dining in Asheville doesn’t get much better than Isa’s French Bistro. Located right next to the Haywood Park Hotel, they offer Complimentary Valet Parking and have the cutest facade with a blue door and red umbrellas.
This French restaurant is the perfect choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the menus change with the seasons as this is another farm-to-table choice. On Saturdays and Sundays, they have an amazing brunch menu with a great selection of brunch cocktails.
DESSERT: Ultimate Ice Cream
Feta, Pine Nut, and Black Pepper might not be on most folk’s list of ideal ice cream flavors, but somehow, it works. So does Goat Cheese and Bing Cherry or Brown Sugar Bacon and Maple. Pick up a cone from Ultimate Ice Cream’s downtown location, and savor the flavor explosion while strolling along historic Charlotte Street in the Grove Park Inn area.
Hotels In Downtown Asheville NC
Featuring 14 luxury suites, each with a full kitchen, you can enjoy the comfort of a home away from home. The helpful and kind staff ensure all your needs are taken care of and the rooms are absolutely stunning.
C&Co. Skincare & Natural Spa is located right next door if you want to be pampered and then come back to relax in your hotel room.
The hotel’s convenient location along one of the most popular streets in downtown Asheville means you’ll be within walking distance of some of the best shops, restaurants, and attractions in the city. A stay at The Windsor will really leave you spoiled!
STAY: The Foundry Hotel
Located in a restored steel factory, The Foundry Hotel provides unique accommodations in downtown Asheville. They held onto the industrial character of the building while making this the perfect retreat.
This dog-friendly hotel is part of the Hilton Curio Collection and provides the high-quality service we love from the brand. The restaurant here, Benne on Eagle, serves southern comfort food with a twist and you can grab drinks at the Workshop Lounge.
The Foundry has a couple of different romantic packages that you can choose from. Their Relax & Unwind package includes a couples massage, assorted tea box, locally made pottery teacups and local honey.
STAY: Princess Anne Hotel
Built in 1924, this boutique hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. It originally served as a place to stay for families of tuberculosis patients who had come to Asheville for the best treatment in those days.
In 2003 the hotel went through a two-year renovation so the rooms are modern and have all the amenities you might want. They also provide made-to-order breakfast and complimentary wine & hor d’oeuvres in the afternoon.
There are beautiful gardens behind the hotel where you can enjoy an afternoon. If you’re celebrating something special then add their house-made chocolate-covered strawberries and sparkling wine to your stay.
Downtown Asheville Hotels On The Map
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