Ambitious in Asheville: Must-see spots for your quick weekend trip to NC
Asheville, North Carolina is known for having the Biltmore Estate, trendy coffee shops and microbrews galore. This trendy little town is a booming tourist location and understandably so. Only a 10-hour drive from St. Petersburg, this a travel-worthy location for USFSP students, even if only for a weekend.
Here’s how to do Asheville in one weekend.
Grab some joe at High Five Coffee. This locally owned shop is insanely cute. Craft coffees, smoothies and small breakfast items. Asheville is known for its unique and plentiful local coffee shops, and this is the perfect example of just that. According to the shop’s website, they have “coffee so good you’ll high five yourself.” This is the perfect location to start day one in Asheville.
While the day is still young, head over to the Biltmore Estate. It is a little pricey, however, if you are a history junkie you will regret not going to see America’s largest privately owned estate. Being able to walk through a house built in the 1800s with a lot of its original structure still intact will leave you breathless. This 178,926 square foot estate is filled with rich history in each room.
This will take a large amount of time. If you choose to also go to the garden then you will spend a minimum of four hours at the Biltmore.
Lunch: You’ll be tempted to go somewhere near the Biltmore, but try to avoid it! Even though their McDonald’s looks like a five-star restaurant, try heading back into town and try out White Duck Taco Shop.
This is a specialty taco shop for the most adventurous eater to the pickiest. They have Asian and Mexican fusion tacos and even buffalo chicken. Before you leave, you have to try their coconut macaroon pie with salted caramel for dessert.
The name “White Duck” came from the chef’s kitchen staff. Because of her excitable energy and chattiness, they nicknamed her “La Pata Blanca” which means white duck.
Brewery stop: You cannot go to Asheville without stopping into one of their many breweries. Thirsty Monk is not as well known as Wicked Weed. However, Thirsty Monk has great beer and an adorable sitting area. There is also an upstairs portion of this brewery that has a really cool German beer section along the lines of a “speakeasy brew.”
By now you’re probably exhausted and want to head back to your hotel or Airbnb to shower and relax.
If you’re up there during a little bit warmer weather and not the dead of winter where temperatures hit – 1-degree Fahrenheit, The Montford Rooftop Bar is great for tapas and unique craft cocktails. This hotel rooftop bar has a view of both the downtown scene and the mountains. All you have to do is turn around. The food and the beer and spirits are all local. You have to try the chicken wings at this place. They come from an Asheville farm with a local hot sauce to top it all off. The cocktails created there are also local, down to the muddled fruit or veggie flavor. This is a huge must-do in Asheville.
Rise and shine! Saturday morning calls for brunch. King Daddy’s Chicken and Waffle is the place to be. Create your own chicken and waffles, collard greens, biscuits and gravy, and poutine. They take Southern food to the next level. They also have vegan and gluten-free options available. King Daddy’s puts the comfort in Southern comfort with their very cozy booth seating and local diner feel.
There are TONS of shops downtown, and the best way to find them is to just wander and get lost in the shops. If you do need some guidance, here are some specialty shops that were pretty unique.
Superstition Boutique – This is a unique place with handcrafted and novelty items. It is nearly hidden and located downstairs off Commerce Street.
f r o c k Boutique – A woman’s clothing store with really trendy and new looks. They carry styles that complement each other without any busy designs. They also sell local jewelry artists’ work in their store.
Asheville Bee Charmer is a local producer of honey. They have honey-based products from skincare, jewelry, and even candles!
If you are within these areas, you will stumble into plenty of unique shops to keep you busy and understand what the locals mean when they say “keep Asheville weird.”
Well Played is a great stop to complement an afternoon walking in the city. Order some food and pick from hundreds of board games that line the wall of this restaurant. If it is a nice day out, sit out front and enjoy your lunch with life-sized Connect Four.
Brewery and the River Arts District: A short drive out of downtown is the River Arts District. Covered in beautiful mural artwork from locals, this area of town is a must-see especially for photographers. While you are exploring the massive art pieces, stop into the mass amounts of art galleries spread throughout the town. This area is keeping art alive and giving artists a place to collectively showcase their work.
A short drive will take you to the New Belgium brewery. This beautiful and new edition to the area is worth the hangout with a large and beautiful patio and a massive inside area that is constantly hosting different events like live music and trivia.
Mojo Kitchen and Lounge is another farm to table place with many local ingredients. This is a come as you are type of place that puts a unique twist on southern comfort food. Located downtown, this is a great place to wind down after a long day or a perfect place to start a night out.
The Goodbye Breakfast:
As you are probably checking out of hotels to get back to reality by Monday, there is still one more place, easily the best place on top of that, you need to stop at before you leave.
Two words. Biscuit Head.
Probably the most well-known and unfortunately smallest breakfast place in Asheville. There is almost always a line outside, but this place is out of this world. Biscuits and gravy that would make even the most Southern of grandmothers bite their tongues. Can’t decide which gravy you like the most? Don’t worry, they specialize in gravy flights. This takes Southern comfort to the next level.
Be sure to hit this place before you take your venture back to St. Pete.