This hip southern mountain town has a quirky vibe that’s attracted people to live and visit for years. Now with its booming culinary and craft beer scenes, Asheville has even more to offer. Whether you want to immerse yourself in nature, or take the plunge into an award-winning spa’s contrast pools, there’s truly something for every girl. It’s impossible to experience all that Asheville, North Carolina has to offer in one weekend, but this mix-and-match agenda aims to hit the highlights for a first-time visit.
Whether there’s two or 62 in your group, Asheville Stay’s collection of 12 uber swank spaces right in the heart of downtown provides the perfect homebase. The lofts above legendary Chicken Alley (one of Asheville’s most Instagrammable spots) sleep larger groups, a couple of which come with free parking. For a smaller crew, check out the Modern Bohemian—one of three rentals perched above 5 Walnut Wine Bar. If your prefer a hotel, pick one with a rooftop bar like the AC Hotel for gorgeous mountain views to take in at sunset while you sip on your favorite drink.
Two words: Migas taco. Breakfast tacos are served all day at this West Asheville taco joint. For something delightfully different, opt for a plantain tortilla. If you have a sweet tooth to satisfy, head down the road to Hole Doughnuts for a hand-shaped sugar fix that Bon Appetit named the “Best Dessert of 2016.” Can’t decide? Two days means two breakfasts!
Easy Uber distance from downtown, this North Asheville eatery housed in a former gas station nails its bold Asian flavors while stressing local ingredients. Go for lunch to experience the best fried rice on the planet. This is also a great choice for dinner; no reservations means you’re not rushed, which is what being on “mountain time” is all about.
You can easily spend a few hours popping in and out of the local shops and galleries on Lexington Avenue and Broadway, and the streets in between. Don’t miss Minx, Honeypot, Horse + Hero, East Fork Pottery and Moonlight Makers. But there’s so much local talent and treasures, the fun is in finding your favorites.
The rough-around-the-edges “Brewery District” is the hoppy hotspot within the aptly nicknamed “Beer City.” Nine breweries including Catawba Brewing, Burial Beer Co., and Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium are walking distance from downtown and walkable to each other. In addition to small batch beers you won’t find anywhere else, there’s plenty of places to grab a bite in between pints, like foodie favorite Buxton Hall and Ben’s Tune Up. A self-guided tour means you can take your time and choose your own adventure.
The historic Inn’s underground grotto-style oasis should be a must on every spa junkie’s bucket list. Booking one of their treatments grants you a full day’s access to amenities including mineral pools, saunas, therapeutic waterfalls, and outdoor whirlpools with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Hit up three of the area’s most beautiful waterfalls—High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker Falls—all on one scenic 4.5-mile trail. Wear your bathing suits if it’s warm enough for the swimming hole beneath Hooker Falls. And all three are just as stunning frozen in the winter as they are flowing in the summer, so it’s a year-round win, win. Stop by Sierra Nevada Brewing’s state-of-the-art facility on your way back to town for a pint on their back porch.
From the blue chandeliers over the bar to the exposed brick and beams, Nightbell’s vintage vibe sets the perfect backdrop for a memorable girls’ night out, or a romantic dinner for two. Share American-style small plates that highlight Appalachian ingredients while sipping on some damn clever craft cocktails. The menu changes often, but if you see “hen of the wood” mushrooms, they’re a must. And so are reservations.