The Best Places to Stay in Asheville– Tips and Advice
- The best area for history buffs in Asheville: While Historic Montford is a close second, it’s hard to compete with the iconic Biltmore Estate. The 19th Century palatial house features artifacts from as far back as the 1500s!
- Best overall location to stay in Asheville: Downtown has history, art, architecture, and a fantastic food scene. The center of Asheville is definitely the best all-rounder location in the city.
- Staying in Asheville on a budget: West Asheville has some reasonably priced Airbnbs, as well as the only hostel in the city! Black Mountain is also good for budget travelers, but a little out of the way if you want to explore Asheville thoroughly.
- The best base to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains: The small town of Black Mountain is perfect to explore the iconic Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s situated on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and is close to the start of many hikes and trails.
Chateaus, street art, breweries, museums, alfresco dining: Asheville has it all. The ‘Paris of the South’, on the doorstep of the Blue Ridge Mountains, also happens to be blessed with an unparalleled backdrop of natural beauty.
Whether you’re a nature lover looking to explore lush forests, discover hidden waterfalls and ascend summits, or someone more interested in art galleries, museums and trying out a dozen different microbreweries, Asheville has a neighborhood to cater for everyone
Asheville Neighbourhood Guide
The 5 Best Areas To Stay In Asheville
1. Downtown – An All-Rounder Perfect For Newcomers
The bustling center of Asheville is a vibrant and exciting district. With art galleries, museums, breweries, and many of the city’s best restaurants, downtown has a bit of everything and is in a great location to explore the rest of Asheville.
With its Art Deco architecture, chic boutiques, and thriving outdoor cafe culture, you’d be forgiven for mistaking parts of downtown for Europe. The cosmopolitan atmosphere and love for al fresco dining have helped give Asheville the title of ‘Paris of the South’.
Boutiques, vintage stores, and craft shops line the streets in Asheville’s best district for shopping. The Historic Grove Arcade is a beautiful old shopping mall and filled with authentic local specialty stores. Fortunately, there aren’t many generic old tourist trap shops in Asheville!
Asheville has a reputation as a bit of a foodtopia in North Carolina. This is mostly thanks to the fantastic restaurants and eateries downtown. Every street offers a phenomenal dining experience – which you can, of course, enjoy European style; out in the open air.
But the delicious food isn’t limited to just restaurants.
The hand-crafted artisan chocolates of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge garner queues that wind outside into the street on weekends. It’s worth the wait though! This is a chocolate lover’s paradise, and arguably (definitely) the best in North Carolina.
While wandering through downtown, you can stop at the towering Basilica of Saint Lawrence, relax in the central plaza Pack Square Park, or visit one of the many museums and galleries located in the area. Famous American novelist Thomas Wolfe has both a memorial and museum in downtown.
If you like unusual experiences, there’s plenty to be found in downtown. The quirky LaZoom tour of the city mixes theatrics with interesting facts, while the Asheville Pinball Museum takes you back to the 80s. There’s even a spooky ghost tour.
Head to South Slope for Asheville’s lively ‘Brewery District’. If you consider yourself a bit of a beer connoisseur, there’s no better place to test your taste buds than in South Slope. This is brewery heaven, with 8 different companies concentrated into one small area.
Best Hotels Downtown:
($$$) • Foundry Hotel Asheville, Curio Collection By Hilton • Central in Downtown
($$) • Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown, an IHG Hotel • Near Basilica of Saint Lawrence
($) • Four Points by Sheraton Asheville Downtown • 9 miles from Biltmore Estate
Best Airbnbs Downtown:
($$$) • ~5 star Downtown Spacious Retreat at 35 Patton • In the heart of Downtown
($$) • Newly Renovated Home in Downtown Asheville • 10-minute walk to South Slope
($) • Cottage in the Trees- Walk to Downtown AVL • 5-minute walk to Pack Square
Best Hostel Downtown:
($) • Asheville Hostel & Guest House • Easy walking distance to South Slope
2. Biltmore – For Culture and History Buffs
In 1895, the Vanderbilts commissioned the construction of a palatial estate – Biltmore – the largest private home in America.
It retains that title to this day – and is a must-visit for any history buffs. The chateau-like Biltmore is an important example of French Renaissance-style architecture, American ingenuity, and a symbol of a time of great prosperity in the US.
A project of the sheer size of Biltmore required hundreds of skilled craftsmen, and their move to Asheville had a huge impact on the town. Today, you can see the legacy of craftsmanship and creativity they left behind, and enjoy the historic bits of Victorian architecture dotted all over the city.
As for the Biltmore Estate, you can easily spend a whole day exploring the 8000 acres of the grounds. From Biltmore House, with its gorgeous Banquet Hall, 16th Century tapestries, and breathtaking rooftop views, to the beautifully maintained landscaped gardens, it’s an unmissable experience.
The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, often credited as the founder of landscape design in America – his other works include NYC’s Central Park and the U.S. Capitol.
While exploring the grounds, visit the Biltmore Gardens Railway, an impressive model train set located in the grand glass Conservatory. Try the award-winning produce of Antler Hill Village & Winery, also on the estate!
There are plenty of fantastic bars, cafes, and restaurants in Biltmore.
It’s also the closest neighborhood to the sprawling Pisgah National Forest, a majestic hardwood forest in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s home to roaring waterfalls, rushing whitewater rivers – and even a natural waterslide. Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural waterslide, smoothed over by years of water erosion, that ends in a chilly plunge into a mountain pool.
The North Carolina Arboretum gardens are equally beautiful and well worth the drive to get there.
Best Hotels in Biltmore:
($$$) • The Inn On Biltmore Estate • 13 miles from Asheville Regional Airport
($$) • The Residences at Biltmore • 900 yards away from Biltmore Estate
($) • Clarion Inn Biltmore Village • 0.8 miles from Biltmore Estate
Best Airbnbs in Biltmore:
($$$) • Spacious home with 2 Master Suites & More • 5 minutes from Biltmore Estate
($$) • Modern Biltmore Village Guest Suite • 2 miles to Downtown
($) • EZ Access 2 the Heart of AVL & Blue Ridge Pkwy. • Less than 10 minutes from Downtown
3. Historic Montford – For a Quiet But Central Location
This National Register Historic District sits just north of downtown; for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the center, it’s a perfect middle ground.
Close enough to explore Asheville’s most vibrant neighborhoods, but quieter and more suburban – Montford is a quaint and historic area rooted in tradition.
From the statues and parks to the buildings, history pours from every street. The residences of Historic Montford are a mixture of architectural styles – many are Colonial Revival or Queen Anne – and largely built between 1890 and 1920. A number of houses were designed by Richard Sharp Smith, the supervising architect of Biltmore House.
The wide leafy boulevards and historic buildings make this one of Asheville’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
Other than the amenities of downtown, Montford is close to the spectacular Botanical Gardens of Asheville. The gardens are free to enter and home to hundreds of rare native plant species.
While in Montford, you can also visit the final resting place of famous author Thomas Wolfe – in the Victorian Riverside Cemetery.
If you happen to visit in May, don’t miss the Montford Music and Arts Festival!
If you love historic buildings and want a quieter area to base your vacation, Historic Montford is a great choice. It’s a particularly good option for families.
Best Hotels in Historic Montford:
($$$) • The Applewood Manor • 0.4 miles from Botanical Gardens
($$) • The 1899 Wright Inn & Carriage House • 11.8 miles to Asheville Regional Airport
($) • The Lion and the Rose Bed and Breakfast • 0.7 miles from Basilica of Saint Lawrence
Best Airbnbs in Historic Montford:
($$$) • Quaint Carriage House in Historic District • 0.8 miles from Downtown
($$) • Montford Charmer Close to Downtown Asheville • 10-minute walk to Downtown
($) • Merry Heart Homestay • 5 minutes from Botanical Gardens
4. West Asheville & the River Arts District – For Cool, Artsy Types.
If you’re looking for one of the hottest art scenes in North Carolina, you’ve found it in the River Arts District.
Once an industrial zone, struggling artists snatched up the cheap real estate and turned the RAD into a chic and trendy neighborhood. Running alongside the French Broad River, the River Arts District is a mile-long stretch of artist studios, boutiques, and microbreweries.
As the center of Asheville’s artistic scene, the RAD hosts an explosion of creativity. It’s home to everything from sculptors and painters to cartoonists and graffiti artists; practically every art form is represented in some way.
The former industrial zone has dozens of galleries – you can get creative at studios like the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, or the North Carolina Glass Studios. Both offer walk-in workshops and classes!
Wedge Studios, which houses workspace for 30 artists, sits above the Wedge Brewing Company. Conveniently giving you the chance to combine delicious beer with thought-provoking artwork.
If you like serene little garden hideaways, you’ll love both Art Garden AVL and CURVE studios. The galleries both have relaxing gardens designed by local artists! RAD also has a popular farmers market, one of many in the city.
If the River Arts District sounds like your type of place, you’re probably going to love the nearby West Asheville as well. They share a trendy, creative and bohemian vibe that is popular with the young professional crowd.
As you might imagine, these neighborhoods are overflowing with vibrant street art. Many buildings have a creative burst of color and designs that set them apart. Some are delightfully eccentric – like the Dolly Parton and RuPaul mural on Haywood Road.
West Asheville has many of Asheville’s coolest bars and venues – you can catch some live music at places like the slightly odd Odditorium or the vintage Fleetwood’s.
As the River Arts District is mostly warehouses, it’s a little limited in hotels and accommodation. This isn’t an issue in West Asheville, which has dozens of Airbnbs only a short walk away, and Asheville’s only hostel.
Best Airbnbs in West Asheville:
($$$) • Modern Luxury in RAD, Stylish Balcony • In the heart of the River Arts District
($$) • West Nest on Haywood Road • Walking distance from Downtown
($) • Purple Door Studio Apt. W.Asheville • 11.9 miles from Asheville Regional Airport
Best Hotel in West Asheville:
($$) • North Lodge on Oakland Bed and Breakfast • 0.8 miles from Biltmore Estate
Best Hostel in West Asheville:
($) • Bon Paul & Sharky’s Hostel • 1.7 miles from Wedge Brewing
5. Black Mountain – For Nature Lovers
Looking for an escape from the city? Black Mountain is a small town on the outskirts of Asheville, perched high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a great base for nature lovers and adventurers.
The hiking trails are phenomenal – you can summit a mountain, wander through dense forest or find hidden gems like the Catawba Falls. Lake Tomahawk offers a peaceful respite right in the center of Black Mountain, while Lake Lure and Chimney Rock are within easy driving distance.
Adrenaline junkies will love Navitat Canopy Adventures; a company that offers the unforgettable experience of ziplining over one of America’s most iconic mountain ranges.
The incredibly scenic Linn Cove Viaduct and Blowing Rock are only an hour up the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s great roads. With a population of only 8000, it’s mostly you and the great outdoors in Black Mountain.
But for a relatively small place, the town does have a number of bars and restaurants. It even has a couple of art galleries, keeping spirit with the creative culture of Asheville nearby. Black Mountain isn’t too far from large-town civilization. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to Asheville if you fancy a bit of bustle.
Best Hotels in Black Mountain:
($$$) • Red Rocker Inn • 14.9 miles from Lake Lure
($$) • Hampton Inn Black Mountain • 12.4 miles from Chimney Rock
($) • Super 8 by Wyndham Black Mountain • 16.8 miles from Asheville
Best Airbnbs in Black Mountain:
($$$) • Stunning Chalet 18 min from Downtown Asheville • Central in Black Mountain
($$) • Black Mountain Getaway Suite • Short walk to Lake Tomahawk
($) • Convenient and Spacious • 15-minute drive to Asheville