Why You Should Go
It’s Not Like Other Southern Towns
Asheville, North Carolina has such a unique vibe compared to many southern towns. It takes pride in its hipster beer-brewing coolness with over 38 local breweries while offering an equally impressive dining scene and fun outdoor adventures.
It’s also an architecturally appealing town with beautiful Art Deco buildings, galleries, and an ever-evolving lineup of festivals. And to keep things interesting, you’re almost always guaranteed to be entertained by impromptu street performers and artists as you stroll its downtown streets.
Basecamp for Blue Ridge Mountain Adventures
Asheville is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, which offer family-friendly hiking trails and scenic vistas on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In town, you’ll find the French Broad River, perfectly suited for a lazy float past the famous Biltmore Estate. You can enjoy the outdoors by day and return to town for a cold beverage or a great meal.
Asheville’s breweries welcome families and most offer kids menus. You’ll find plenty of families enjoying warm afternoons together. It’s a lifestyle here, a place to meet the neighbors, enjoy a pint, and have some good food.
A Great Downtown With Boutiques, Breweries, and Fabulous Restaurants
If hiking or paddling doesn’t appeal to you, you could easily spend your weekend strolling the streets and shops of downtown Asheville, exploring the artists’ studios in the River Arts District, or visiting the nearby Biltmore Estate. There is plenty to see and do. Don’t miss Malaprops book shop, the famous Mast General Store, art galleries, and a shoe store so large you might get lost in it.
Scenes From Asheville
Where You Should Stay
In general, stay as close to downtown as you can afford. This way you’re within walking distance of shops, restaurants, theaters, and breweries.
Heads Up: We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use. They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search. We never accept free gifts or comped stays. Full Disclosure Statement
My Recommendation: Aloft Hotel is my first choice if the price is right and Renaissance Hotel is usually my “go to” for value. Keep in mind that downtown hotel prices can get crazy expensive, and it is often cheaper to rent a condo through VRBO (see below).
Aloft Hotel has a great rooftop pool but prices can be high. If the price is right, it can be worth it for the pool and rooftop seating areas.
Hotel Indigo is super nice but it’s a bit further walk from the places we visit. You can sometimes snag a good deal here.
Cambria Hotel & Suites is a new addition to the downtown lodging scene. It has fantastic views of the mountains and city and is in walking distance to everything.
AC Hotel by Marriott Asheville Downtown is yet another new hotel perfectly located downtown. Rooms come with a small refrigerator.
Renaissance Asheville is a good location and usually a good deal. This is probably the best price-point hotel downtown. We have stayed here several times and most of the rooms have been nicely remodeled. Also has an indoor pool for the kiddos.
Sheraton Four Points Asheville is a bit further away from central downtown but is walkable to everything. This hotel is usually the least expensive of the bunch.
VRBO Listings in Downtown Asheville
51 College Street Lofts
If available, the College Street lofts are perfect (51 College St.) One and two bedroom condos in the heart of downtown. These condos are clean, quiet, and conveniently located across the street from the Rankin Street parking garage. Most one bedrooms have a pull-out couch in the living room for the kids to sleep on. Keep in mind that you will pay $10 a day for garage parking.
Downtown Asheville Loft--Great Location! VRBO 230487. 1 bedroom with Queen and sleeper sofa. We have stayed here many times, and it’s always a first choice. 51 College St.
Asheville Loft in the Heart of Historic Downtown-Views VRBO 243775ha. 1 bedroom with Queen and sleeper sofa. Same building as #1. Another great rental. 51 College St.
Very Special Downtown Asheville Loft. VRBO 218006. Sleeps 2. I listed it for your next Mommy/Daddy weekend. We have stayed here multiple times when it slept 4-before they got rid of the sleeper sofa! 51 College St.
S&W Lofts Downtown
The S&W Lofts also have a terrific location downtown.
306 condo-asheville 1BR/1BA Loft * 1,000 sq.ft sleeps 4. VRBO 780203. 1 bedroom with king and pullout sofa.
Centrally located downtown duplex, 2 King BDRM/2.5 Bath, elevator bldg, outdoor deck . VRBO 506857. Need more room? 2 bedroom with king beds and a pullout sofa.
Where You Should Eat
Asheville is a foodie town. You will find something you love whether it’s a food truck at New Belgium Brewery or an amazing tapas meal at Curate (reservations needed). This is a short list of our “go to” restaurants with the kiddos. You’ll find more in our Asheville Weekend Getaway Guide.
Early Girl Eatery is a local favorite, located at 8 Wall St. Tip: Arrive early before the line is out the door. On weekends, they open at 9am. They serve breakfast all day and it’s also a great stop for lunch or dinner.
Green Sage Cafe located at 5 Broadway has great coffee and breakfast. It also has the unique distinction of opening at 7am. It has saved us many times with early rising kids.
White Duck Taco is always on our dining list when visiting Asheville. They offer creative tacos and cheese quesadillas if your kids are picky eaters. The Bangkok Shrimp taco and the Thai Peanut Chicken taco are favorites, but they are all good. Don’t let the line out the door deter you. It moves fast. Located on the French Broad River at 388 Riverside Drive.
Asheville Brewing Company is always an easy sell for dinner with the kiddos. Offering fantastic pizza and a huge covered patio where the family can play corn hole. We enjoy sitting at their outdoor picnic table with a pint of their Shiva IPA. They have 3 locations in town, but they brew their beer here at their downtown 77 Coxe Avenue location. Other great downtown pizza options include Barley’s Pizzeria and Mellow Mushroom.
Wedge Brewery (at Wedge Studios) in the River Arts District is a fun place to go on a nice afternoon. You can really feel the laid back Asheville vibe here. The kids can play corn hole while you enjoy an Iron Rail IPA. They offer peanuts to all and you’ll usually find a food truck there. The Wedge is an outdoor venue, so don’t go if it’s raining and check to see when they open.
Wicked Weed is another family-friendly brewery with excellent beer but is equally focused on its food menu. For us, it is a must stop whether for a lunch or dinner or just a snack. Note that it can be very crowded. You can eat outside on the patio, inside if it’s hot, or downstairs in the bier garden.
Asheville is loaded with attractions that the whole family will enjoy-- hiking, paddling, shopping, or just exploring downtown with its amazing breweries and restaurants. You won’t have any trouble filling your weekend getaway with good times. So load up the minivan, unplug those devices, and go have yourself a weekend of fun and family togetherness!
What Makes Our Travel Guides Simply Awesome?
If you want to visit Asheville but don’t have time to plan your weekend adventure, check out our Asheville Weekend Getaway Guide.
The guidebook lists additional lodging and our favorite dining choices, highlights the best easy hiking trails on the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, recommends downtown shops and restaurants and other worthwhile activities, and includes all the little things that can be so helpful in making a trip a success—detailed maps so it’s easy to find your way around, rainy day ideas, and helpful tips we discovered along the way.
We have done these trips with our own families so we know what works and what doesn’t. We’ll tell you what’s skippable and what’s a must do in this fun city.
All Of Our Travel Guides Include:
Where To Stay
The lodging choices for each destination have been carefully selected for their ideal location, price point, safety, and proximity to the day’s activities. We tell you the best area to stay so you can minimize driving or walking distances and maximize your moments having fun. Knowing what part of town to stay in is a huge part of making a trip a success, and that’s hard to do when you are not familiar with a destination. We save you time and energy by doing all the research for you.
Where To Eat
Local dining establishments are highlighted. The kind where children are welcome but isn't necessarily a restaurant geared primarily towards kids. You won't find many restaurant chains in our itineraries, just good local food mirroring the destination's culture. This could mean a food truck, a pizza place, or a nice sit-down restaurant, but always delicious. If there are any local brews, specialty foods, wines, or coffee houses around, we'll mention those too.
Where To Play
The organization of each day has been thoughtfully planned in order to group activities together by proximity, ideal time of day to visit, and the best nearby dining choices. It’s all been laid out for you, along with directions, maps, travel tips, links to more info, and more. We cover the most worthwhile activities to do in a destination (based on our own family’s reviews) without forgetting that vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a list to be checked off while hauling around whining children.
You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities for the family as well as cultural and historical sites unique to the destination. Many itineraries include easy hikes, bike rides, and float trips that have been selected for their kid-friendly length and ease of difficulty as well as their scenic beauty. (Always worth it!) We are all about getting families outdoors so we include as much fresh air as we can in our itineraries, whether it is a day-long trek in a national park or just the location of a fantastic playground perfect for a break from sight-seeing.
At the founding of Simply Awesome Trips, we agreed to travel as we always have with our families—on our own dime. No free nights, no comped visits, not even any swag. We continue to feel good about that decision. We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use (Booking.com, VRBO.com). They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search. But we also recommend lodging, restaurants, and activities, where we don’t receive any commission, such as Airbnb or private rental companies. If it’s good; it’s good. We don’t change recommendations based on vendor.