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The 10 “Must Do” Experiences to have in Asheville this Spring and Summer

Large crowd sitting in an outdoor park playing drums at dusk

Friday night Drum Circle in Pritchard Park

Once the weather turns warm it’s hard to keep up with all the Festivals, Concerts and Events happening in the Asheville area. It’s easy to miss some great experiences so we have compiled our list of things we think you would kick yourself for missing while you’re in Asheville this season.

1. The Drum Circle- Every Friday night at dusk Pritchard Park comes alive with the sounds of drums, sometimes hundreds of them! Everybody joins in the fun, dancing and drumming. You can bring your own drum, but there is a core group of drummers who keep this tradition alive and fun. If you’re downtown it’s easy to find- you can feel it in your feet!

2. The third annual XPAND Fest on the South Slope June 8th 2019- The South Slope is where a huge transformation is taking place, from an industrial and warehouse district just south of downtown to Asheville’s “Brewery District’. It’s home to at least 10 artisan breweries, with new shops, restaurants and bars popping up all over. “Xpand Your Vision” puts on the festival as part of their creative arts non-profit mandate to support Asheville’s creatives and inspire change. You’ll find lots of local art, music, food and beverages with over 40 performers, an event wide scavenger hunt, a Lantern Parade and activities you can join in on. This is a family friendly event.

Woman in a red helmet riding through the green trees on a zipline

Ziplining at Navitat Canopy Adventures

3. Navitat Canopy Adventures Zip-Line– Fly through the trees and across the mountaintops for the thrill of a lifetime. It truly is a blast and the views are spectacular. The staff is incredibly professional and safety is their first priority. The gorgeous natural setting in Barnardsville and some of the longest ziplines in the world make this an unforgettable experience

4. Downtown After Five Concerts – Every third Friday from May through September listen to free outdoor concerts on North Lexington Avenue. Beer and Food vendors will be there as well. This is a great way to kick off the weekend and they have a great line-up this year.

5. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi at 6,683 feet. On a hot day the temperatures at the peak can be 20° cooler than Asheville! The Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through Virginia and North Carolina for 469 miles and this section winds through the mountains for spectacular views from the many overlooks. There are trailheads along the way including the breathtaking Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens, just ½ hour north of Asheville.

Bright red squares of watermelon and different colored cherry tomatoes topped with sprouts

The Compressed Watermelon Tomato Salad at Curaté

6. While you’re enjoying the stunning mountain views be sure to stop at The Folk Art Center. Located right on the Parkway, this outstanding art gallery features work by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

7. Go on a culinary adventure! Asheville has attracted an amazing number of award-winning chefs and craft cocktail venues. There are almost as many great tours that will let you get a taste of our Foodie Heaven. Check out tours at Eating Asheville, A Taste of Asheville or Asheville Food Tours. Each is a little different and offers a variety of tours. You can even tour local farms and creameries on the Asheville Farm to Table Tours. We are all about Eating Local here in Asheville. Then head up for mountain views and artisan cocktails on our Rooftop Bars Tour!

8. Even before the world-class chefs were drawn to Asheville, artists have long discovered the inspiration and power of our natural beauty and gravitated to western North Carolina to live and work. The River Arts District is the largest area of working artists in Asheville, displaying and selling their work as well as holding studio tours and demonstrations. Industrial buildings along the French Broad River were converted to lofts and galleries starting in the 1970s and the district has grown ever since. You will also find studio tours at the Grovewood Village, adjacent to the Grove Park Inn, Weaverville just north of Asheville, the Beaverdam neighborhood, and the Kenilworth neighborhood and Black Mountain.

Blue Mountains of every shade with billowing white clouds in a blue sky above them

The Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville

9. Enjoy the Sunset over the mountains. Asheville has any number of wonderful spots to gaze at the sky while the sun sets over the mountains. We are, after all, the “Land of the Sky”.

  • One of the most popular spots is the Sunset Terrace at the Historic Grove Park Inn. The hotel is still in operation as an Omni Hotel, but you don’t have to be staying there or even eating at one of their restaurants to wander around and take in the views.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway loops around the city of Asheville and has some wonderful viewing spots, including the beautiful Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens about 1/2 hour drive from Asheville of the Parkway.
  • Asheville’s many rooftop bars offer great sunset watching, but our favorite is the Sky Bar in the historic Flat Iron Building. This is Asheville’s original rooftop bar, on two floors of the fire escape. An old time elevator complete with an elevator operator takes you up.
  • Even the rooftop decks of our downtown parking garages will give you great sunset views!
Brightly lit stage and Concert crowd from above the Historic Biltmore House with blue mountains behind

Biltmore Summer Concert Series

10. Most people know that a trip to the Historic Biltmore Estate is a must see while in Asheville. It’s America’s largest home, built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 on grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the preeminent landscape architect of the time. Most people don’t realize that they also offer the “Biltmore Summer Concert Series”. You can’t imaging a better venue for an outdoor concert, and while you’re there enjoying the music don’t forget to look out at the stunning sunset over the mountains. Take it all in! Welcome to Asheville!

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