Psst… we have a few secrets to share with you and they include many fun things to do in and around Asheville that don’t always make it into the tourist top 10 – and we think that’s a good thing. From festivals that celebrate everything from bees to coon dogs and restaurants that serve up unexpected surprises such as fried spam and crawfish risotto, we’re excited to give you the inside scoop on how to enjoy Asheville in the summer.  

concert in downtown asheville, nc

Thirsty for Adventure? 

If you’re craving a drinking experience with a little attitude, any of these spots will do. 

Grab a Pint and a Putter. The Salt Face Mule Brewing Co. is a great place to drink, eat and play. Located about 15 minutes north of Asheville, guests can enjoy a competitive game of miniature golf (18 or 36 holes) and then head over to the bar and grab one of their “honest beers brewed for honest people.” The brew names are sure to put a smile on your face too and beckon you to “sit a spell,” “holler atcha,” “mosey on over” and more. 

Sip and Smoke. The Casablanca Cigar Bar is western North Carolina’s premier cigar and bourbon bar. In the heart of Biltmore Village and walking distance to the Biltmore Estate, this atmospheric cigar bar has a walk-in humidor and knowledgeable staff who will curate the perfect experience for your taste and budget. 

a man sitting at a cigar bar

Casablanca Cigar Bar in the Historic Biltmore Village.

Tap into Cider: Barrel aged and dry, stop into the cider tasting room at Barn Door Ciderworks for some of the best cider around. From pruning and picking to pressing, their apples create ciders reminiscent of times gone by. Tap room hours vary so be sure to check their website first.  

a row of bottle filled with cider at barndoor ciderworks

Barndoor Ciderworks

Taste of the Tropics: Yes, we know we’re in the mountains, but Tiki Easy is designed to transport you to a tropical isle. Tantalizing cocktails, mesmerizing flames and the occasional clap of thunder just add to this hidden oasis’ ambiance. Shareable drink bowls with names like “Asheville Vacation” and “Undertow” are a fun way to start or end any evening. 

Hold the Alcohol. While the Mule Tasting Room at Devil’s Foot Beverage Co. has an amazing selection of cocktails, wine and beer, it also has a splendid array of zero-proof items too. From farm to can – soda never tasted so good. How about a Ginger Beer with Scoth Bonnet peppers or a Sparkling Black tea Lemonade? There’s always something new to try. 

Visually Pleasing. Burial Brewing did it again. They just dropped another beautiful business on us and the locals are lining up! Experience VISUALS Rooftop Bar, the latest addition by Burial in the South Slope of Downtown Asheville. This rooftop bar beautifully complements Burial’s established natural wine bar, located above their newly opened music venue, Eulogy.

people sitting at a rooftop bar

VISUALS Rooftop Bar

Festivals in Asheville and Other Outdoor Fun 

In the mood for something sweet? Sourwood Honey is a distinct honey gathered from the sourwood tree, a native tree in the Southern Appalachian region, and the Sourwood Festival takes place from Aug 10-11 and is all about bees and honey! 

The Big Crafty: Locals love this one! It’s held from July 6-7 and is a really fun thing to do in Asheville. The festival “supports creative venturers by crafting warm communities of creative practice.” That’s a mouthful!  

Beat it. Music in Asheville can be found around just about every turn, but the Asheville drum circle is a place where tourists and locals love to meet. Every Friday night (April to October) in downtown Asheville, just follow the beat, and you’ll find it. We guarantee it! 

a kid playing hulahoop

Join the fun at the weekly drum circle on Friday evenings.

National Get Outdoors Day. On June 8, the Cradle of Forestry celebrates with free admission and plenty of outdoor activities in Pisgah National Forest near Sliding Rock, including hikes, demos, historic buildings, and kid’s educational fun. 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

cradle of forestry

Explore the historic forestry school and Discovery Center at the Cradle of Forestry off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Walk along the river in RAD: The Wilma Dykeman Greenway is named for an Asheville native and author. The greenway takes you through the heart of the River Arts District and it leads to the New Belgium Brewery too. 

Going to the Dogs: The atmospheric mountain town of Saluda is “just down the road a piece” – about 40 minutes south of Asheville – and it’s there where you’ll find the Coon Dog Day Festival – a street festival for dogs and their people. This year it’s held on July 6, 2024.

a bar

Copper Crown in East Asheville

Food/dining: Hidden Gems in Asheville

Who knew that Hawaiian fare was such a thing in Asheville? This mountain city boasts two spots to grab a taste of the Island – RosaBee’s and Huli Sue’s. At the Copper Crown in East Asheville, locals rave about the crispy Brussel sprouts, buffalo green tomatoes and crawfish risotto – to mention just a few. And, Zambra’s, while on the typical tourist radar, is also a top spot for locals to cozy up to some tapas – it’s one of the most romantic spots in town. There are simply too many places to mention here, but you can learn more about the city’s independent restaurants at Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR).  

Plan an Asheville Shopping Trip

Asheville has tons of wonderful places to shop. While many visitors head to downtown Asheville, there are other places to find good bargains and treasures too. The Asheville Outlets by Tanger is a great destination for popular designer brands at a discount. Biltmore Village is a pretty place to shop and wander the cobblestone streets. There’s a nice mix of charming boutiques and national brands. And, The Marquee in the River Arts District is fashioned after a European Street Market and is a design-centric destination marketed to the “old, bold, the creative and unexpected.” 

two people walking at a shopping area

Shop till you drop at the Historic Biltmore Village.

So, there you have it. A few of our favorite things. And, if you need a place to stay while exploring all the things to do in Asheville, King of the Hill has a hot tub with a killer view; Mountain Star is a luxury bungalow that’s like a home away from home; and Mountain Serenity sleeps 9 – the perfect place for a crowd. Book your stay today.