It’s easy to spend a day exploring and getting lost in all the River Arts District has to offer. And, it’s not just about art. This eclectic neighborhood of converted warehouses and other industrial buildings sizzles with wineries, breweries, an indoor/outdoor skateboard park, countless art galleries, funky outdoor murals and some of the best BBQ around. Read on to learn more. 

Photo credit: Pink Dog Creative

Getting Around the River Arts District  

First, start with a map and then figure out whether you’d like to explore on foot, by bike or hop on the trolley. There’s a comprehensive map that’s available online and also in print at the Asheville Visitor’s Center among other spots around town. There’s also a downloadable gallery guide

Take the trolley: Visitors can ride ArtAVL’s new free ArtsAVL Connect Trolley which connects downtown Asheville to the River Arts District. The trolleys circulate on 20-30 minute intervals from 12-8 p.m. on every Second Saturday and riders are welcome to hop on and off anywhere along the trolley routes. There’s also the hop on hop off trolley tour that introduces visitors to more than just the River Arts District. This one runs daily. 

Walk it: Asheville is a very walkable city and the River Arts District beckons visitors to hit the pavement. Its riverfront greenway is10 feet wide and has views of the river as well as the burgeoning businesses along Lyman Street such as 12 Bones Smokehouse, Wedge Brewery, retail shops and art studios. The 2-mile greenway is dotted with swings, benches, bike racks and public art. This year’s Studio Stroll takes place on November 11 and nearly 280 artists open their doors over a two-day period. 

Photo credit: The Wedge Brewing, Foundation

Bike it: E-bikes are all the rage these days and Asheville is no exception. Rent one from a local shop and explore at your own pace.  

Photo credit: The Flying Bike

Galleries are open every day, but schedules can vary, so make sure you check the schedule online if there’s something specific you’d like to see.  

Get Inspired  

Once you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time for some fun! Visit the artists at work (and play) and see them enveloped in their medium – whether paint, pencil, pottery, metal, fiber, glass, wax, paper and more. You’re sure to stumble on some live demonstrations and are invited to ask the artists questions about their work. Most are happy to engage, share their knowledge and inspire you to appreciate art. 

Many studios even offer classes and internships. There’s The Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts or Village Potters where folks can try their hand at the pottery wheel; Ignite Jewelry Studios where people can make their own stackable rings; or JMK Studio326 where you can take a workshop in drawing, acrylics or traditional oil. You can also visit the studio of Pam Granger Gale for a relaxing marbling class; or pick from a variety of workshops at 310 ART where they believe there’s an artist inside everyone. 

Shop for Pottery

The River Arts District is one of the best places to shop for pottery. Looking for something whimsical, yet functional? Head over to Angelique Tassistro Ceramics. Interested in ramping up your table or kitchenware? The artists at Crazy Green Studios have a passion for food and it shows.  How about something on the delicate side? Michael Hofman of Hofman Studios combines lace with porcelain to create heirloom pieces to cherish for generations to come. Find a complete list of places to shop for pottery and other ceramics here

Explore Other Art Mediums

While Asheville is known for some top-notch pottery, it also boasts numerous other art mediums. Check out some beautiful paintings on silk, artful furnishings from Andy Cooper; luminous still-like photography images that are reminiscent of Rembrandt; fabulous mixed media Ukrainian eggs; handmade art lamps inspired by the artist’s visit to a store in Seoul, Korea; and cast and carved bio-plastic artworks that sustain the soul of this chronically ill artist. 

Photo credit: via @The Marquee Asheville

Book a Stay with Us at Inspired Getaway

So, whether you choose to browse or dive into creating some art of your own, the River Arts District is one of the best places in Asheville to get your art on. Now, you just need a place to stay. Inspired Getaway has many different types of places from which to choose. Some are closer to the River Arts District and others are further away. It just depends on what you’re after – a cool city flat or a private country cabin. Whatever your choice, we’d love to have you stay with us.