Nestled in a broad valley surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and with the French Broad River flowing through, Asheville, North Carolina has long been thought of as the ‘Paris of the South.’ Local bumper stickers like to say that ‘God kissed the Earth, and called it Asheville.’ This tourist destination has long been a mecca for those looking for a break from life, and the city has recently been designated as one of the greatest small cities in America, if not the world.
While the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the city, and hiking, camping, and rafting abound, the city also has a serious art scene. Should you visit this place, it’s well worth it to visit some of the many forms of arts that Asheville, NC has to offer.
1) The Biltmore Estate: Easily the top tourist destination of the area, this is one of America’s largest private residences. The estate features tremendous collections of statues, paintings, and European architecture not seen anywhere else for thousands of miles.
2) The Folk Art Center: Sitting just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this center is accessible every month of the year. The arts and crafts here are largely from local artisans and reflect the cultural heritage of the South and the mountains.
3) Interesting and unique museums: The city sports a number of art galleries and museums, but there are some truly distinct and creative possibilities to explore. Head to downtown to visit the Asheville Pinball Museum to admire the creativity and artwork of half a century of machines, or drive out a little to Brevard for a quirky trip to the Aluminum Christmas Tree Museum.
4) Music: From garage and cover bands rocking out every bar weekend nights to intimate stops from major artists at The Orange Peel to national tour stops at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, every genre you can think of has options.
5) The River Arts District: Also known as RAD, this is a place that deserves a whole day of your attention. Cheap and even abandoned warehouse spaces across the tracks and near the river provided cheap spaces for artists to work and set up galleries and shops. Now, it’s a full blown destination to see a wide variety of art, along with some unique eating in between stops.
These 5 options are only a sampling of the art and culture you’ll find across Asheville, NC, as there are performing arts shows, streetside musicians, and a level of creativity and diversity in brewing that is unparalleled.