Many vacation adventures near your Asheville vacation rental revolve around amazing sightseeing tours, museums, art galleries, and quirky entertainment. Most of these attractions are centrally located, giving you time to sample a lot in a short period. This small mountain town is known for its bohemian vibe, its historical intrigue, and its celebration of all things unique and artsy. A stroll through the boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants that line the streets leads you past street musicians sharing their talents on almost every corner. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Asheville.
1. Limber Up Your Flipper Fingers
Gaming history buffs in the family should head to the Asheville Pinball Museum. Not only are there over 30 vintage tables and 20 class video arcade games to admire, but visitors also get to play with the exhibits. Each machine features a plaque that includes its date of manufacture and its place in the pinball historical ban. Some states viewed pinball as gambling because it was a game of chance that required no skill. That changed when the industry added flippers in the 1940s, but it still took decades for some states to lift the bans.
2. Tour the Biltmore Estate
America’s largest home features a variety of tours. The two-hour self-guided tour lets you stroll along on a marked route to experience the lavish architecture, artwork, and furnishings. The 90-minute audio guide narrates the history of the Vanderbilts, their guests, their servants, and the physical surroundings you see. A kid’s audio guide is narrated by Cedric, the Vanderbilts’ Saint Bernard, who guides the kids through the rooms, sharing stories about living there. The legacy tour is a motor vehicle tour of the estate that lets you see and hear about areas not open to all guests.
3. Get the Spooky Scoop on Asheville’s Hauntings
The two-hour walking ghost tour of Asheville takes you beyond the average tourist experience. Your tour guide meets you at the Asheville Masonic Temple in a spooky alley, initiating the tour with an explanation of Freemasonry and conspiracy stories surrounding it. From there, you stroll through alleyways fraught with past tragedies, learning about the local vampires as you go. After hearing about the witch tree and much more, your tour concludes with a look at a piece of Vlad the Impaler’s castle from Transylvania.
4. Give Your Vacation a Lift in a Hot Air Balloon
Nothing compares to floating above it all when you take a ride with Asheville Hot Air Balloons. This once-in-a-lifetime experience lets you soar above the spectacular Pisgah National Forest and the rural landscapes surround Asheville. As the basket gently rises and floats in the direction of the wind, you ascend to heights ranging between 500 to 2,000 feet in silence. The ride typically induces sheer delight with the smooth ride and the panoramic sights below.
5. Ride a Vintage-Inspired Trolley
On the nostalgic Gray Line trolley, you enjoy a fully narrated tour that highlights the homes and the history of the city. Your guide shares stories about the architecture, historical figures, and hot spots in town. If you want to hop off to check out some of the eclectic shops, art galleries, world-class eateries, and craft beer cafes, you can. When you’re ready, hop on the next trolley for another leg of the tour.
6. Take a Segway to Adventure
Moving Sidewalk Tours shows you how to ride and steer a Segway. Your two-hour experience includes about 30 minutes of training before embarking on a tour of downtown Asheville. Segways are easy to operate, and they feature gyroscopes that monitor your balance and respond to your movements. Just relax as you glide along smoothly behind your tour guide, who narrates the trek and answers questions. Helmets are provided, or you can bring your own. Kids who are ages 10 and over catch on quickly and enjoy the thrill of riding the Segways.
7. Get Right to the Art of the City
The historic weaving and woodworking complex of Biltmore Industries houses Grovewood Village, the ultimate collection of art and history in Asheville. This 11-acre property includes working art studios, a sculpture garden, the Golden Fleece Restaurant, and the Grovewood Gallery. The Biltmore Industries Homespun Museum tells the story of the textile and woodcrafting industries. The complex also houses Asheville’s only antique car museum. Relax and enjoy a leisurely meal while browsing the museums, gallery, and grounds.
8. Watch Glassblowers at Work
A working art studio that welcomes kids and well-behaved dogs makes an interesting stop for families. As you settle into the unhurried pace of this quaint mountain town, Lexington Glassworks feels like a natural extension of community. Take your time touring the facility and watching the glassblowers draw their stunning works of art from the fire. After witnessing the beautiful artistry in progress, you can browse the gallery for a special piece to take back to your Asheville vacation rental with your other local treasures.
9. Experience the Drum Circle
Downtown Asheville starts really jumping on Friday evenings when the drum circle takes place in Pritchard Park. Grab some sodas or snacks at Woolworth’s Soda Fountain to join the fun. If you want to have dinner at Mayfel’s, their sidewalk seating gives you a direct line of sight to the festivities. While you enjoy Bayou cuisine, the drummers get the rhythms going as people from all walks of life dance and come together in peace. Bring a drum, a tambourine, castanets, or any rhythm-making instruments you have and join the circle.
10. Laugh a Lot on the LaZoom Comedy Tour
Enjoy a comedy show, a sightseeing and historical tour, and locally brewed craft beers in the 90-minute LaZoom Comedy Tour. Arriving early gives you time to check out the LaZoom Bar and Lounge, or choose the special kids’ comedy tour that’s completely family-friendly. The tour guides and actors offer a great balance of jokes, fables, funny stories, and historical facts. You learn a lot about the city, laughing all the way. Actors pop up at various places, so you never know what’s coming next. This attraction is quirky, theatrical, witty, entertaining, and educational all rolled into one.
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