With fall color at its peak, we know Asheville is on the top of your list of dream getaways this time of year. That's why we took a whirlwind trip—hitting 30 places in 36 hours—to get you the scoop on the best places to check out now in the mountain city.
WHERE TO EAT:
The Admiral. If you can, get there when they open on a Sunday or Monday at 5:30 p.m. The weekend crowd is so consistent it can take up to a month to get claim a seat at this eclectic restaurant disguised as a dive bar. Trust your server to guide you through the menu of spinach fritters, PBR mussels, and buttermilk-fried quail. And definitely don’t skip dessert, the coconut crème brûlée served with cereal brittle is one of the best sweets we’ve had all year. 400 Haywood Road
All Souls Pizza. It's just a five-minute drive from downtown, but feels more like a roadside stop tucked into a mountainside. Inside, dine on perfectly crisped wood-fire pizzas (we liked the eggplant with goat cheese, capers, and sun gold tomatoes). 175 Clingman Avenue
Cúrate. Hands down, one of the best meals in town. Locals and travelers fawn over the Spanish-inspired small plates like octopus with pureed potatoes, Iberico ham platters, and lamb skewers with house-made pickles. 11 Biltmore Avenue
Creperie Bóuchon. We love this place as much for the setting as for the food. Hidden behind fancy French restaurant Bouchon, the Creperie has a lush courtyard where you can enjoy a croque-monsieur and a glass of bubbly or sweet tea. 62 1/8 North Lexington Avenue
WHERE TO DRINK: Altamont Brewing Company. This microbrewery has a kicking cocktail list and rotation of live music. Most weekends you can find Bill (aka “The Hotdog Man”) stationed outside to supply your late-night snack. 1042 Haywood Road
Ben’s Tune Up. Opened by the guys behind The Admiral in June, this beer garden and ramen emporium taps into the city's growing sake scene. Ask the bartender to help you find a good introductory style of the Japanese brew, and pair it with something like Asian fried chicken with yuzu white barbecue sauce and pickled fennel, or a small sashimi plate. 195 Hilliard Avenue
Wicked Weed Brewing. A local beer distributor (one of the folks who decides what beers the town drinks) advised us that Wicked Weed is the current darling of Southern beer. The focus is on hoppy brews and German-style beers with some creative extras like a smoked beer made in collaboration with local barbecue company 12 Bones. 91 Biltmore Avenue
Dobra Tea. Take a break at this tearoom that feels plucked straight out of India with its cozy and richly colored decor. The menu of more than 100 teas is divided by its country of origin and includes some house-made blends and sweet, Taiwanese bubble tea. 78 North Lexington Avenue
WHERE TO SHOP:
Vintage Moon. Bohemian hippie meets romantic Victorian at this women’s boutique, where you’ll find costume jewelry, vintage hats and boots, and whimsical dresses hand-altered by the shopkeeper. 82 North Lexington Avenue
Harvest Records. Sure, Harvest has plenty of vintage records like other music shops, but what we loved was the heavy emphasis on new vinyl from artists like Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Ros, and 45s from local bands. 415 Haywood Road
Write On Stationery & Gifts. Find the right gift at this big ole paper store chock-full of handmade journals, funny postcards (like this cheeky “Hip Asheville” one we found), and knick-knacks for paper lovers. 28 North Lexington Avenue
Hip Replacements. A mainstay in town for a decade, Hip Replacement stocks vintage-inspired, new pieces like swinging 50s–style dresses for the ladies and tweed sports coats for the guys. Think Mod Cloth without the overwhelming amount of options. 72 North Lexington Avenue
Malaprop's Bookstore. Another hometown institution, this might be one of the best bookshop in the South. We especially love their section on regional reads form authors like Jill McCorkle and Ron Rash. 55 Haywood Street
WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Indigo. The hotel’s location is the perfect halfway point between the artsy Riverside Arts District (aka RAD) and the buzzing downtown. And it doesn’t hurt that the rooms are super sleek and posh. Rates from $175 on weekdays. 151 Haywood Street
Sweet Peas Hostel. Rates can be high in Asheville this time of year. If you’re looking for a thriftier option check into Sweet Peas Hostel, a simple and tidy crash pad attached to the year-old Lexington Avenue Brewery. Rates from $29 for bunk beds and $65 for private rooms. 23 Rankin Avenue
WHAT TO DO: Catch a live show. Your best bet for tuning into Asheville’s rocking music scene is to check out the lineup at music joints like the Grey Eagle (intimate shows with emerging and established artists) and the Orange Peel (big venue with everything from bands like Cold War Kids and Jimmy Eat World to skate shows). Better yet, pick up the local weekly, Mountain Xpress, to see all that's going on while you're in town.
Gallery hop in RAD. The River Arts District (aka RAD) is the city’s artistic hub. You can see artists at work in their studios and take home one of their latest wares. One of our favorites was the Asheville Glass Center, where we discovered the covetable works of local artist, Urban Revisions (above). If art is really not your thing, tap into Wedge Brewing Company, where you can also play cornhole and munch on food truck fare from local mobile eateries like Tin Can Pizzeria.
Go to Biltmore. This is on every travel guide out there, but for good reason. You can spend a whole day wandering around the impressive château and manicured lawns imagining what life would have been like in the Gilded Age. The fee is pricey—$60 to get in (and that’s without the $10 audio tour, a must), but it’s worth it for history, architecture, design buffs, and anyone else who wants to spend some leisure time in a gorgeous setting. 1 Lodge Street
What did we miss? Tell us your favorite Asheville stops in the comments below.