A Local’s Guide to 48 Hours in Asheville

///A Local’s Guide to 48 Hours in Asheville

A Local’s Guide to 48 Hours in Asheville

Asheville is an amazing little mountain city that is no longer a secret.  Here’s a guide to the perfect 48 Hours in Asheville… from a local!

48 Hours in Asheville a Local's Guide

Hi guys!

When I moved to Asheville 15 years ago, I had to explain to most people who asked about Asheville  where I was moving.  It was a gem of a city that was still largely unknown beyond the Southeast.  Tides have changed and in the past 6 years or so Asheville has gotten so much press that now when I mention to strangers around the world that I live here they instantly want to gush about Asheville to me.

Asheville is a little mountain utopia and while I wish we would get a few less tourists, I understand why people flock here.  It’s for the same reasons that I love living here.  There are gorgeous, highly accessible mountains with endless day hikes, handcrafted drinks of all kinds, a unique, quirky hippie vibe that you can’t find anywhere else and an epic food scene that promoted local food long before local food was cool.

For a pretty small city… Asheville has big draws.

I write so many travel posts about places I’ve been, but I realized I never actually wrote a travel guide for my own city… the place I live and breathe.  Plus after the umteeth person asked me for suggestions, I thought that perhaps it was time to write my travel guide down.

There are SO many places I adore in Asheville… that it was hard for me to pick favorites to do in only 48 hours in Asheville.  I think that’s one reason I’ve hesitated writing this too… because picking between my favorite things to do in Asheville is like asking me to pick a favorite pet… it’s hard!  But for your sake, I did it.  I decided for th this guide I’d assume you’d be staying downtown, just have a weekend (arriving mid-day Friday and leaving mid-day Sunday) and want to mainly explore downtown in the 48 hours in Asheville.

There are so many other places I simply adore, but these are the places and experiences that I think are most unique to this city and give you a taste of what we are all about.  This is where I send my friends and family most often.

So with that… I hope you get a chance to visit Asheville and go on this little adventure!

The Perfect 48 Hours in Asheville

48 Hours in Asheville -Day 1

Arrive/ Check In / Lunch

Welcome to Asheville!  Start your 48 hours in Asheville with a visit to Wicked Weed Brewery to eat and drink.  You’ve probably heard about Asheville epic beer scene, so you’ve got to start with a flight.  The restaurant is a great introduction into the beer and food scene in Asheville.  Try the Pernicious beer and soak in the atmosphere.

There is sometimes a wicked line there… try nearby Mamacitas for food if you don’t want to wait… it’s my favorite casual Mexican restaurant in town.



The LaZoom Comedy Bus Tour  is a fun introduction to all things quirky about Asheville and is hilarious.  It’s also called the purple bus and you will see them around town all weekend.  It’s a very relaxed tour and comedy show rolled in one.  I don’t want to give too much away, but you will be rolling on the floor laughing!  You are allowed to bring drinks on the bus so make sure to pick up a few in their office before heading on the bus.  It’s popular, but is worth the hype.

Book your time online ahead of time.

Optional Extra Stop

Depending on which season you are visiting in consider going to the SkyBar to watch the sunset/photos.

It’s honestly a glorified fire escape… but has some pretty photo opportunities.  You can also catch pretty views at the bar on top of the new AC Hotel and The Montford Rooftop Bar both of which are a little swankier.



Curate remains one of the hottest dinner tickets in Asheville and for good reason.  It’s a Spanish Tapas style restaurant with a James Beard nominated chef.  Reservations go fast, so make sure to book as soon as you decide to come.

The handcrafted drinks and menu will leave you swooning.  It’s a place that absolutely lives up to the hype.

If you can’t get into Curate a few of my other favorites are Nightbell (same owners!,) Cucina or The Marketplace. The Bull and Beggar is also delicious, although it is not downtown.  Other great picks are Chestnut, Nine Mile, Rezaz (not downtown- near Biltmore Village,) and The Lobster Trap.  There are so many great restaurants in Asheville though… so it’s hard to go wrong!



If you are still hungry consider stopping by the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Pack Square for a sweet treat!

It’s right up the street and is such a fun place to visit.  I love all their sweets, but am partial to their brownies.



After Dinner Drinks

If you are still ready to celebrate try MG Road.  It’s a bar that makes creative drinks with a fun Indian inspired setting inside.  It’s uniquely Asheville and the lights inside are IG worthy!



48 Hours in Asheville Day 2


Enjoy a locally grown and raised Asheville breakfast at Early Girl Eatery.  This restaurant was at the heart of the farm to table movement in Asheville and is southern comfort food at its best

If Early Girl is booked you can also try Tupelo Honey or Over Easy Cafe.


Shopping or Hiking

Depending on your physical ability, the weather and whether you have a car either go shopping or hiking in the morning.  My suggestion for a close to town hike with epic views is Craggy Pinnacle.  You don’t have a lot of time to hike with only 48 hours in Asheville, but this is your best bet!

It’s 24 miles from Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway but takes closer to 45 minutes to get there.  The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the fun too! It’s about a mile and gains 252 feet in elevation… but it’s a lot of bang for your buck in terms of hikes closer to town.

Only go if the weather is clear and remember to take a sweater.  It will be much cooler than in town.  Winter is not a good time to go.

If you don’t have a car and/or aren’t up for a hike… go shopping.  There are lots of cute, quirky and local shops around downtown Asheville.  Lexington Avenue is a great place to start!  Start at Tops for Shoes and walk north down Lexington Avenue, down the hill to see more.  Stop for a morning tea at Dobra Tea.  It’s on the right hand side at the bottom of the hill.  It’s a very hippie style tea shop where they serve hundreds of teas from around the world.  Each tea is served in an authentic style tea pot and it’s one of my favorite hidden gems in the city.



Buxton Hall is one of the hippest places in Asheville right now.  It’s a unique BBQ joint run by another James Beard nominated chef.  It’s been on all sorts of Best Of lists including best BBQ in NC, America’s Best New Restaurants ect.  My husband loves their Fried Chicken Sandwich and their catfish is super unique!



After lunch explore the South Slope Breweries.  You can’t come to Asheville and not explore the beer culture!  The South Slope has lots of them concentrated together so you can experience several without driving.  Try the Funkatoriam (for sour beers,) Asheville Brewing, Hi-Wire, Catawba, Burial, Twin Leaf Brewing!  The Hubs is the beer lover in our family and recommends going to at least Burial and Twin Leaf.  If you need a snack to soak up the beer stop by Vortex Donuts.  If you missed Wicked Weed yesterday, you could also do this here because it’s nearby.  Explore this site for some more brewery information.



There are so many restaurants in Asheville that it’s hard to pick just two, but another one of my favorites for a great meal is The Blackbird.  It’s a charming restaurant with tables that are perfect for people watching.

The seafood risotto is one of my favorite dishes, but they also have plenty of other delicious seasonal dishes.  The wine list is also really tasty.

By far my favorite thing though is the coconut cake.  It’s light yet rich and nothing short of dreamy!

Another dinner option is Bouchon.  Bouchon is a charming French restaurant that’s been in Asheville for years.  I highly recommend getting the cheese plate and then the mussels and fries!  They do not take reservations but you can usually sit at the bar with a nice glass of wine while you wait.  It’s cozy and perfect in the winter.  You could also do a dinner hop and get wine, cheese and mussels at Bouchon and then move onto a shared main course and dessert at Blackbird. πŸ™‚


After Dinner Drinks

Top of the Monk is another unique spot that makes really tasty handcrafted cocktails.  It’s a private club, but membership is free and you can sign up when you get there.  They are perfectionist with their drinks, so it takes a few minutes to get your beverage but it’s worth the wait.

With each drink you get a key to a cubby with a snack!


48 Hours in Asheville Day 3


Start your last day of your 48 hours in Asheville at Green Sage Café or Biscuit Head in West Asheville.  Depending on your mood stop by Green Sage for a super tasty healthy meal or Biscuit Head for an indulgent brunch with biscuits the size of your head!  They both represent Asheville well!  Green Sage is walkable if you are staying downtown.

Biscuit Head is a short ride away to West Asheville.  If you go there spend some time exploring West Asheville before you leave.  It’s quirky and charming.

If you have time after breakfast either shop downtown Asheville (especially if you hiked the day before) or drive to West Asheville or Biltmore Village to explore.



You will be stuffed at this point but don’t leave Asheville without stopping at Chai Pani.  Chai Pani is the most unique and delicious Indian restaurant you will ever eat at!  This is another restaurant owned by a James Beard nominated chef.  Enjoy some of the tapas style eats (Sev Potato Dahi Puri, Aloo Tikki Chaat, Okra fries, Uttapam) or get one of their daily thali plates or Tandori Fish Wrap.  It is out of this world good.

After lunch take a left out of Chai Pani and find the Bee Charmer shop and walk around.  Nearby there are several more stores as well.  You can also pop your head into the Grove Arcade for more shopping if you like.  In winter they have some of Asheville’s famous Gingerbread houses on display.


Chocolate Break

After visiting those shops head back down the hill and up the street and pick up a truffle at The Chocolate Fetish.

Even if you are full, pick up a box to remember your time in Asheville by.  You’re welcome πŸ™‚ .

Hope you enjoyed your time in Asheville!


A Few Things to Remember about Your 48 Hours in Asheville…

Everything I mentioned with the exception of the hike, Biltmore Village and West Asheville is walkable.  Asheville is a very easy city to get around.  I listed a lot of things so if you find something you really like just stay and linger!  This is a FULL packed 48 hours.

If you are interested, you may also want to consider trading at least a half day- ¾ day of activities for visiting The Biltmore House.  It’s quite impressive and you can also go to their winery and Antler Hill Village.  At Christmas it gets very crowded so you would have to buy your tickets in advance and book the time you’d like to actually go into the house.  It’s pricey and touristy but I think it’s worth seeing if you’ve never seen it.  However you’d sacrifice seeing a lot downtown and it would be a very different kind of trip, so you’d have to decide what feels more you.  You’d need a car to do go.

If you have extra time I’d consider visiting Sierra Nevada.  The taproom is super impressive!  They have tours, a restaurant and a gorgeous outdoor area.  It’s about 30 minutes south of town near the airport so you could stop on your way in or out of town.

Like this post on 48 Hours in Asheville?  Pin this to your favorite Pinterest Board!

48 Hours in Asheville a Local's Guide

Your turn!

What would you add to my list?

By | 2020-06-02T17:06:14-04:00 March 28th, 2018|Other US Travel, Travel|20 Comments


  1. harriet November 25, 2019 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this guide! I now have so many more activities waiting for me to do next time i’m back in Ashville

  2. Tariq Nasir November 12, 2019 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Checking out the French Broad Chocolate Lounge was definitely the favorite part of our trip to Asheville!

  3. Anna @ Stuck On the Go August 1, 2019 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I would add kayaking the French Broad, taking a food tour with Asheville Food Tours, and visiting New Belgium Brewery!

  4. Dawn July 22, 2019 at 10:42 am - Reply

    I just saw this post on Pinterest. I have a few questions about Asheville if you have time to answer. My husband and I are wanting to move out the cold Wisconsin weather. Ashville is one of the places we are considering and will be planning a long weekend in the spring of 2020.
    Can you tell me about the weather. We still want change of seasons but don’t want winter from October to May.
    Do you get a lot of snow? When does winter set in? When does it start to get to be spring?

  5. Darrin June 20, 2018 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Hi, you sound like an expert. Where is the best starting point if I want to walk all of the shops downtown. Including the Grove Arcade. And where to park? Also looking for a similar walkable area for day 2. Thinking of the River Art District??

  6. Tammy Sherlin April 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    While in downtown Asheville shopping visit Appalachian Naturals for all your skin care needs. You won’t be disappointed! On 21 Wall St. Their products are amazing!

  7. Lauri Nichols April 12, 2018 at 8:29 am - Reply

    Don’t forget about the vibrant River Arts District. Wedge Brewery, Bull and Beggar, District wine bar, Vivian’s, Fresh Pizza, Ulta Coffee, Summit coffee and working artist studios to visit.

  8. Susan April 1, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

    I like the list, but would add the drum circle. That is always a highlight for us!

  9. Susie @ Suzlyfe March 30, 2018 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I love Asheville, but it has been AGES since I have been there. I hope to change that in the next few years–at some point we will have to travel for interviews for Alex, and I hope they bring us to NC!

  10. Kristy from Southern In Law March 30, 2018 at 5:31 am - Reply

    This is the perfect travel guide for a fun weekend! We rarely go on weekend trips but it’s something I want to do more of!

  11. Kathy Leftwich March 29, 2018 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hi Julie,

    This is a great list of places to go, things to eat and drink. If you haven’t tried Sovereign Remedies run, don’t walk! In West Asheville, Haywood Commons, West Asheville Pub, Urban Orchard, Taco Billy’s, White Duck Tacos, and Sunny Point Cafe. Quite possibly the best food in town is The Admiral. There’s Rhubarb downtown, with a great bar and food, and Strada. Breweries: Catawba, High Wire, Burial. We’re very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place full of good things and to have writers like you to remind us of what’s in our backyard!! Thank you!!

    • Darrin June 20, 2018 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Hi, you sound like an expert. Where is the best starting point if I want to walk all of the shops downtown. Including the Grove Arcade. And where to park? Also looking for a similar walkable area for day 2. Thinking of the River Art District??

      • JulieWunder June 21, 2018 at 8:12 am - Reply

        Hi Darrin! I’d probably park at the garage near Wall Street. You can walk Wall Street from there walk around the flat iron building and go back up to the Grove Arcade. Then I’d turn around and do Haywood and Lexington which are parallel to each other. πŸ™‚
        I would do the River Arts District and West Asheville the next day! They are both really easy to figure out.

  12. Eileen March 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Hey Julie,

    I just pinned this to the Pintrest account I created last spring and have never used even once. You are officially my one (and only) pin! Lived here over 20 years and decided I should do some of these πŸ™‚

  13. [email protected] March 28, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

    Great post about our fair city, Julie! We love eating at El Que Pasa and Apollo Flame…those are our go to places!

  14. Erinn March 28, 2018 at 8:58 am - Reply

    We’ve always wanted to go to Asheville! I think I would go just for a slice of that coconut cake! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  15. Wendy March 28, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Asheville is on the short list for our sister trip this fall! I sent the link for this post to my sister. I’m voting Asheville!

  16. John March 28, 2018 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Thanks for re-posting! We are going to try several of these places that did not know existed!

  17. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups March 28, 2018 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Asheville sounds amazing! Hopefully I can come check it out one day!

  18. Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real March 28, 2018 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Asheville seems like the perfect destination for a little weekend away! All of the restaurants you mention sound amazing.

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