Welcome to Downtown Asheville
An eclectic hub of art, culture and food tucked along the Blue Ridge Mountains
The vibrant and eclectic neighborhood of Downtown Asheville is home to trendy shops, beautiful, historic architecture, and distinctive culinary experiences. The restaurants are one-of-a-kind and abundant, meaning there is no shortage of diverse places to eat. With several unique spots listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Downtown Asheville is the perfect place to experience contemporary culture within one energetic city.
Originally home to members of the Cherokee Nation, the town of Asheville was a sought-after spot for European settlers, largely due to its accessible location near several rivers and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Like many downtowns across the country, Asheville was stagnant during the ’60s and ’70s. At one point a large part of downtown Asheville was slated for destruction; however, local citizenry rallied to wrap the buildings and preserve its historic downtown. During the 80’s more creative cultural flocked to Asheville to plant the seeds for what is now a hub of art music and dining. Now the growing city sees a mixture of modern architecture with preserved historical buildings, new condos, and converted warehouses, providing Asheville with a diverse cityscape.
What to Love
- The proximity to 500,000 acres of National Forest, originally part of the Vanderbilt Estate
- The renovated and preserved historic buildings used for luxury apartments and condos, businesses, and restaurants
- America’s first Green Dining Destination, with over 20 restaurants pledging fresh, organic ingredients from local farmers
- Home to BEARD award-nominated chefs resulting in a vibrant foodie scene
Residents of Downtown Asheville live the best of both worlds. They have access to endless dining, shopping, and entertainment opportunities within walking distance as well as incredible, scenic outdoor adventures just a car ride away. Asheville’s population is mostly young families, professionals, entrepreneurs, remote workers, and retirees who enjoy the convenience of an urban, city life with easy access to the dozens of rural opportunities along the city’s outskirts. Residents have their choice of living in luxury homes, converted warehouse apartments, or condos throughout the city.
Dining, Entertainment, and Shopping
Praised as one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants by “Wine Enthusiasts Magazine,” Cúrate is an Asheville staple. “Cúrate” means “to cure yourself” in Spanish, and their authentic Spanish menu and specialized wine list, featuring only wines from Spain, will leave you revitalized and refreshed. Try their unique tapas, like their house-made chorizo wrapped in potato chips and butterflied trout on a bed of hazelnut picada for an entrée, and complete the ultimate Spanish experience with a classic dessert of ponche segoviano, a layered lemon sponge cake with grilled peaches and marzipan.
Chai Pani features Indian street food from award-winning chef, Meherwan Irani. Their innovative and self-proclaimed “mind-blasting” menu provides residents with authentic “chaat” (snacks) and Indian “burgers” and wraps, as well as their signature dish of butter chicken Thalis, the traditional homestyle meal of North India. Huffington Post listed Chai Pani as one of the “Top 10 Cheap Eats in the U.S.,” and the New York Times as one of the country’s 50 most exciting restaurants.
For traditional Mexican dishes with a creative twist, visit Limones Restaurant. Smoky Living Magazine called their Mexican cuisine “enlivened with a modern sensibility,” and their menu boasts extensive, unique, and playful dishes reminiscent of old-world Mexico with a modern flair. Chef Hugo Ramirez artfully crafts menu items like brown sugar pork chops with chickpea ragout and apricot mustard jam and butternut squash enchiladas with mole amarillo and pickled onions. These mouthwatering concoctions are best enjoyed with a signature drink from their extensive wine and spirits list and finished with a delicate, cinnamon churro and hot chocolate for dessert.
Located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe is the neighborhood’s well-loved spot for book browsing and author events. Grab a locally roasted coffee while perusing the shelves, and stay to experience what author Anne Pratchett called the “heart and soul of Asheville.” Their collection is carefully curated to support a love of reading and learning and features selections by bestselling authors and local historians.
Downtown Asheville is also home to a number of fantastic breweries. Locals love hanging out at Zillacoah Beer Company, which is set upon four acres of riverfront property. Seating is available both indoors and outdoors, and delicious food provided by Taqueria Munoz is the perfect companion to Zillacoah’s great beers, which range from tropical IPAs to dry and hoppy ale to ciders. Spending the day out with the whole family? Bring the kids along to Asheville Pizza & Brewing, which features plenty of locally-brewed and award-winning beer – that pairs perfectly with delicious pizza, of course.
Things to Do
The Asheville Art Museum offers an extensive collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum features innovative programs for all ages to support art education in the community and holds ongoing, rotating art exhibits throughout the year. From film discussions to artist workshops and musical performances, the Asheville Art Museum provides residents and tourists with endless cultural experiences and dives deep into the history of the community and beyond.
Haen Gallery opened in 2006 with a gorgeous installation from Lynn Boggess, an Appalachian painter. Haen’s mission is to bring regional and national artwork to Asheville, showcasing the various talents and mediums to local residents. Artists with unique, attentive, and distinct styles find the Haen Gallery the perfect place to show their work to visitors, as they appreciate the intimate sense of place and sophistication within the walls of the historic building. The gallery is open for exhibitions throughout the year and hosts artist workshops.
Grove Arcade is a historic commercial and residential building in the heart of downtown. Opened in 1929, Grove Arcade is Asheville’s first mall and features rich architecture and eclectic shopping and dining options, all designed to provide Asheville residents (and tourists) with the ultimate North Carolina experience.