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Our Best Exciting 2 Day Asheville Itinerary

We recently got to spend a fantastic few days in Asheville, NC in late Spring. The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, and the mountains were lush and green. Whether you like urban or natural settings, our 2 Day Asheville Itinerary will cover all tastes!

Day 1: Options

Indoor: Biltmore

This place is unbelievable! The largest private residence in the US, this house built in the late 1800s by the Vanderbilts is 175,000 square ft and 250 rooms! The audio guides are really fascinating, as they tell stories about each room. You enter at the most beautiful plant filled sunny Solarium with stunning arches and live musicians (perfect acoustics too!).

The grand tour takes about 90 minutes and goes from the grand family dining and living areas to the servants quarters and kitchen. It also has an indoor pool and a gym! The grand scale of the house is indescribable, but hint: it involves a lot of gorgeous woodcarving and barrel-vault tile work. And tapestries that are 500 YEARS OLD!! Don’t miss the gardens and conservatory, which is exploding with glorious plant life.

There are several restaurants and shops on site, and after the house tour, be sure to take in Antler Village shopping and the winery, which offers free wine tastings with your ticket! Tip: It takes 45 min to get from the gate to the house, and you have to arrive 15 min ahead of your ticket time to line up for the house, so plan to arrive an hour in advance of the tour time on your ticket. Don’t miss this part of your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary. Your eyeballs will pretty much explode on this tour. https://www.biltmore.com

The Biltmore, a must see on your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary

Outdoor: River Arts District

Head west across the French Broad River to wander through the hip and fascinating River Arts District. This town is known for its vibrant arts community, and this district features every possible type of art from paintings to pottery to glass. Glass blowing is a big feature here, with a tourable studio (closed on our visit since we were during the week). You could tour this district for at least a full day, so bring really good walking shoes.

Murals are everywhere in Asheville and they are jaw dropping. They are in both obvious and completely unexpected places, so keep your eyes open. We only found a fraction of them, and the ones we saw were stunning. We heard the famous Ian the Painter had done one of them, but we couldn’t find it!

Food: Chai Pani

This amazing Indian street food restaurant is mentioned in more detail here in the article on 11 Best Restaurants in Asheville: https://foodieontheroad.com/11-best-restaurants-in-asheville/

The combinations were memorable, the staff is happy, quirky, and helpful, and the vibe is young and fresh. Just order whatever they tell you because nothing is bad. It was the winner in a town full of amazing food. We had to tear ourselves away and try other things. The unbelievable food options were definitely a highlight of our 2 day Asheville Itinerary.

Day 2: Options

Urban: Downtown Asheville

This town is incredibly diverse and vibrant for shopping and dining. In four days, we did not cover the entire downtown area, and there was always something more to see. Visit quirky boutiques, memorable restaurants, and tasty treats or coffee or one of the many breweries in town. Try Dobra Tea, Asheville Chocolate, Chocolate Fetish, and any of the varied galleries scattered around downtown.

Urban: West Asheville

West Asheville is a very interesting place. Young and vibrant, this district features many great restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and live music venues. We went to Antidote to hear the Little Posey Trio, a smooth jazz/swing trio that was very danceable. Antidote is a feast for the eyes as well, a vintage recreation of a Gilded Age speakeasy, complete with antique salvage decor and extravagant woodwork. Don’t miss this trendy area during your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary.

The bar opens onto a beautiful terrace for nice days, and there is a LOT to look at inside. Drinks are exquisite and curated, befitting a distillery. We had so much fun listening to the band, up on the balcony while the tables are down below. They fit the vibe perfectly.

Nature-focused: North Carolina Arboreteum

About 15 minutes south of Asheville is a a beautiful place to spend a few hours with some amazing plants. Enjoy the colorful Quilt Garden, which changes seasonally, and the fascinating wooded trail network which can keep you hiking all day or just a short hop.

Nature-focused: Blue Ridge Parkway

This is a stunning drive through the lush Blue Ridge Mountains on a narrow and winding road. Not for faint-hearted drivers, it is nevertheless totally worth it and features many scenic overlooks for photo ops. Try later in the afternoon because many mornings the cloud cover is nearly total over the road and hiking trail views and overlooks will be obscured. We tried for Craggy Gardens in the morning but were defeated by clouds and fog.

By afternoon the clouds had cleared off and it was considerably warmer. Craggy Gardens trail is absolutely gorgeous, but it’s a steep climb to 4700 feet so pace yourself. If you struggle with altitude sickness, hold water in your mouth and sip a little at a time, and stop at intervals to acclimate. Your heart rate will also be far higher than in lower altitudes, so plan on moving a lot slower on the way up and taking breaks. It’s also possible to drive farther up the parkway to the destination overlook if you’re not in the mood for a challenging 1.4 mile total down-and-back hike.

The view is well worth it, with the hazy silhouettes of the mountains turning blue and gray in the distance. Come in early June to see the gorgeous wild rhododendrons in bloom, or late October for fall color. Don’t miss this beautiful part of your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary,

Nature-focused AND Urban: Black Mountain (town and trails)

While waiting for the cloud cover to lift, we spent a few hours in the very outdoorsy little mountain town of Black Mountain. This is a popular spot for hikers and kayakers and has plenty of stores to outfit all your adventure needs! Try the quirky and well-supplied Take a Hike, which has all kinds of high-tech sport gear and clothing. Try the easy paved 1.5 mile walk to Point Lookout for a beautiful view!

Food: Gypsy Queen

This Lebanese restaurant in an unassuming strip mall was shockingly great. Family owned and very authentic, you won’t go away hungry. In fact, beware ordering too much as portions are huge. Colorful decor, magical food, and authentic atmosphere make this a must-stop on your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary! Check out other amazing food choices at https://foodieontheroad.com/11-best-restaurants-in-asheville/

Where to Stay:

1. Grand Bohemian

Located south of town near the entrance to Biltmore, this grand old hotel is decorated in a hunting lodge fantasy with craggy stonework, dark carved wood paneling, and massive chandeliers. I would love to be a guest here as well, just for the character and ambiance. It features a massive fireplace and high end restaurant in house, and ultra-dramatic luxe decor. We stopped in to peep at the lobby but didn’t get to see any of the rooms.

2. Omni Grove Park Inn

This giant extravagant pile of rocks was built in 1913, and is grandly furnished in Arts and Crafts Style, with fireplaces big enough for several people to stand up in! Enjoy the row of rocking chairs in front of the fireplaces on either side of the Great Hall, and listen to live music while you check into your room. Whether you stay or not, you HAVE to see this place on your 2 Day Asheville Itinerary.

I would love to revisit this incredible hotel as a guest, but dinner and drinks at Edison on the terrace with a view of the mountains was pretty spectacular. Don’t forget to check out the famous Spa, which is underground in a rocky grotto. You must be a hotel guest and buy a guest pass to use the spa, and different services like massage are add-ons.

The End!

We had a fantastic time on our 2 Day Asheville Itinerary and can’t wait to go back! We would love to see more of this beautiful mountain town with so much art, culture, scenery, and amazing food!

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