Fathom Favorites : Asheville

1. Citizen Vinyl

Citizen Vinyl

Vinyl is big throughout Asheville, and especially at this shop and community center. A local singer/songwriter took over the historic Citizen Times newspaper building downtown, transforming it into a vinyl pressing facility, a recording studio, a farm-to-table cafe and horseshoe-shaped cocktail bar, and a record shop. Bartenders curate the daily tunes, playing both A and B sides of their extensive record collection. Patrons can see how the records get made through a large glass window overlooking the press, which operates seven days a week. An adjacent record store sells new recordings along with rare and collectable vinyl. Leather couches and communal work tables placed throughout the bright, airy space let digital nomads do what they do best.

Photo courtesy of Citizen Vinyl.

14 O'Henry Ave.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The historic route winds through North Carolina and Virginia through the southern and central Appalachian Mountains. This road can be whatever you need it to be: a quick and easy respite from the highway for a relaxing nature hit at the many scenic overlooks, or a slow and deeper exploration of the many waterfalls, streams, lakes, gardens, and trails throughout. Stop along the way at Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center to learn about the region’s rich craft tradition (quilts, woodworking, pottery, jewelry, and more) through the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, and pick up a souvenir at Allanstand Craft Shop, the oldest craft shop in America.

Photo by Team Fathom.

Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville, NC 28803

3. The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum

A 15-minute drive from Downtown Asheville is all it takes to get to the Arboretum’s 434 gorgeous acres, a wonderland of cultivated gardens and miles of forest trails designed by pioneering landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmstead (of Central Park fame, though he also did so much more) for optimal meandering, picnicking, hiking, and biking. The flowers and patterns in the Quilt Garden change with the seasons. The Bonsai Exhibition Garden honors the art of small trees. The super cute Rocky Cove Railroad is a whole miniature city with farms, cows, and even the general store. It’s also a great stop on your way into the city from the airport.

Photo by Team Fathom.

100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
+1-828-665-2492


4. Peace Gardens & Market

Peace Gardens & Market

DeWayne Barton, community activist and founder of Hood Huggers International local tours, planted a seed in an overgrown lot for a community garden with deep roots. There’s a greenhouse and growing area and sculptures. There’s a performance pavilion, fire pit, and pizza oven. There’s even a two-bedroom bungalow (the Peace Garden Retreat), awarded to anyone who wants to come and build and create (installations, performance art, social change) during their six-week stay.

Photo by Team Fathom.

47 Bryant St., West Asheville

+1-828-301-0166

5. Grail Moviehouse

Grail Moviehouse

Asheville’s funky, independent, locally owned theater screens independent, first-run films, art movies, cult classics, documentaries, locally produced flicks as well as one-off cinema events. A range of artisanal providers supply the snacks. A great place to stop in the River Arts District.

Photo by Team Fathom.

17 Foundy St.
+1-828-239-9392


6. WNC Farmers Market

WNC Farmers Market

A handful of warehouses and sheds house a number of local farmers and makers who sell the freshest produce, eggs, cheeses, fresh and cured meats, jams, honeys, sweets and treats (are you hungry yet?), along with crafts, flowers, and other goods. Pick up a few extra biscuit and cornbread mixes: They’ll make for great souvenirs for your friends.

Photo by Team Fathom.

570 Brevard Rd.
+1-828-253-1691


7. C&Co. Handcrafted Skincare + Natural Spa

C&Co. Handcrafted Skincare + Natural Spa

A plant-based organic beauty shop and spa where the small-batch, non-toxic products for hair, skin, and body are clean enough to eat. (Though please don’t eat them.) Founded in 2012, the woman-owned skincare brand uses organically grown herbs, oils, and locally sourced plants to create effective, pH-balanced formulas with transparent labels in eco-friendly glass bottles and bars. The sunlight-filled, lavender-scented space includes a sink area for sampling products and getting free mini facials, while the adjacent spa offers foot scrubs, massages, and custom facials with the handcrafted product line.

Photo by Team Fathom.

34 Broadway St.
+1-828-575-9144


8. The Grey Eagle Music Hall

The Grey Eagle Music Hall

Richie Havens, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Budos Bands, and a host of great local talent have graced the stage at the longest-running all-ages venue in town, a relaxed spot with a large dance floor, a chill patio, and a serious soundsystem. Grey Eagle Taqueria, right inside, slings traditional tacos and fresh margaritas to help keep the buzz going strong.

Photo by Leon Black Gaither / The Grey Eagle Music Hall.

185 Clingman Ave.
+1-828-232-5800


9. The Crow & Quill

The Crow & Quill

Before they let you in, they’ll ask you to become a member. But if you value a venue that knows its cocktails and has more than 600 whiskeys and 1,000 spirits on offer, you’ll be glad for the benefits that this free membership bequeaths. Claim your perch at the bar to study that dizzying array of drinks, or else settle into the vintage armchairs and sofas, a slightly better vantage point for admiring all the antiques so artfully arranged everywhere.

Photo by Team Fathom.

106 N. Lexington Ave.

10. Imperiál

Imperiál

Awesome cocktails, agave spirits, charcuterie, tacos, empanadas, and other hand-held bites inspired by Mexico — served upstairs inside a cool old building in Downtown Asheville. If the right DJ is spinning when you’re there, you’ll probably quietly hum along to beloved 80s favorites.

Photo courtesy of Imperiál.

48 College St.
+1-505-8455

11. Asheville Pinball Museum

Asheville Pinball Museum

The all-you-can-play arcade features 75+ working vintage pinball machines as well as video games along with beer, soda, and a variety of pinball memorabilia. It closes early, which makes it a good one for families.

Photo courtesy of Asheville Pinball Museum.

1 Battle Square Ste., 1b
+1-828-776-5671

12. Burial Beer Co.

Burial Beer Co.

There’s no leaving town without a taste of the small-batch brew scene. Burial’s in South Slope is a fave for its meticulous crafting, delicious taste, and fun design. (They serve wine, too!) Open every day from noon until 11 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Burial Beer Co.

40 Collier Ave.
+1-828-475-2739

13. Rabbit Rabbit

Rabbit Rabbit

The new 4,000-person outdoor venue from the folks from Orange Peel and Asheville Brewing Company offers movies, live music, rotating local food trucks, and beers in Downtown Asheville. It's here that you can get your Silent Disco fix, experience the musical stylings of Thundercat, and sway to Bon Iver under the stars. 

Photo by Paul Stebner / Rabbit Rabbit.

75 Coxe Ave.


14. Fleetwood's Chapel

Fleetwood's Chapel

Feeling spontaneous? Then head to West Asheville for this all-ages rock-and-roll venue, dive bar, comedy club, and vintage shop — which happens to also have a Vegas-style wedding chapel. Think neon, kitsch, and no commitment: For 75 bucks, you can have a fake wedding for friends, pets, inanimate objects … complete with wedding rings and a bogus certificate.

Photo by Team Fathom.

496 Haywood Rd.
+1-828-505-5525

15. Plēb Urban Winery

Plēb Urban Winery

The craft beer scene may be very strong in Asheville, but don’t for a second believe that’s the only game in town. Plēb combines brewery vibes with their own wines, made primarily from local grapes. Order a flight of small-batch varietals — reds, whites, roses, or Old and New Classics — and don’t be shy about bringing a gang. There’s room in the warehouse for everyone to spread out and settle in. 

Photo by Team Fathom.

289 Lyman St.
+1-828-774-5062

16. Chai Pani

Chai Pani

You didn’t think you traveled to the middle of western North Carolina to eat blow-your-mind Indian street food, did you? Well, now that you’re here, take your place in the queue so you can see what the culinary fuss is about, then go home raving about the selection of chaat (“snacks”) like corn bhel (a vegan power mix) and aloo tiki chaat (crispy potato fritters served on garbanzo stew), followed by a uttapam (crepe) or thali (a try-everything combo platter). Here’s a pro tip if you find you can’t decide what to eat because you want it all: You can order the snacks in half portions to maximize the flavor experience.

Photo by Team Fathom.

22 Battery Park Ave.

+1-828-254-4003

17. Cúrate

Cúrate

The tapas bar that launched the mini Spanish empire in town is helmed by James Beard-nominated chef Katie Buttons and her husband Felix Meana, whose bright, bustling space in a 1920s bus depot on the main drag remains a hot ticket more than a decade after its debut. A great place to bring friends for Spanish favorites — jamon, patatas bravas, and setas washed down with a great selection of vermouths — the seasonal menu is reliably unexpected, exciting, punchy, and very shareable. If you can’t score a reservation at Cúrate, their new spot, La Bodega by Cúrate right around the corner, is a great all-day spot for tapas, daily specials, cocktails, and take-home Spanish comestibles.

Photo by Team Fathom. 

Cúrate
13 Biltmore Ave.
+1-828-239-2946

La Bodega by Cúrate 
32 S. Lexington Ave.
+1-828-630-0330

18. Asheville Wellness Tours

Asheville Wellness Tours

What’s better than getting out into nature? Making it extra mindful and restorative with a helpful guide to bring more meaning to the activity. Asheville Wellness organizes private and group tours that combine yoga and hiking and yoga and baby goats (can you stand the cuteness overload?), as well as forest bathing, a meditative ritual that’s at once restorative and therapeutic. The company also leads winery tours, because good wine offers a whole other kind of wellness and therapy.

Photo courtesy of Asheville Wellness Tours.

+1-828-407-0711

19. No Taste Like Home

No Taste Like Home

No matter the season, the Earth supplies us with all we need to survive. We just have to slow down and look for it. The 27-year-old foraging education company leads year-round excursions in the Appalachian/Blue Ridge Forest, known for its rich, biodiverse environment. Guests wander slowly through the woods and forests, keeping their eyes peeled for edible wild mushrooms, herbs, walnuts, flowers, and wild fruits. Along the way, the guides offer information and tips about foraging, helping guests identify what’s edible (nettles and certain mushrooms) and what’s dangerous (poison ivy and certain other mushrooms). At the end of the excursion, guests feast on a snack prepared with the bounty they fouraged. Through a partnership with local restaurants, guests can bring their harvested bounty to chefs, who will incorporate it into their meal.

Photo by Team Fathom.

+1-828-209-8599

20. Sovereign Remedies

Sovereign Remedies

The historic New Medical Building used to be home to doctors’ offices, and a drug store and barber shop, and the picturesque bar behind the big arched windows on the ground floor retains a bit of an old-fashioned, healing apothecary vibe. Maybe it’s their special mix of ingredients in the cocktails; maybe it’s the vintage bar and serving pieces. Regardless, you’ll leave a night here feeling refreshed in all the right ways.

Photo courtesy of Sovereign Remedies.

29 N. Market St.
+1-828-919-9518  



21. Hole Doughnuts

Hole Doughnuts

Adhering to the doughnut expert’s golden rule — Only Eat When Hot — this simple shop will hand roll and fry each order on demand to ensure that doughnuts are the optimum temperature and texture when entering your mouth. The ingredients and ethos are simple and fresh: The flour is stone-ground, the oil is non-GMO, the workers are paid a living wage. Order a half or whole dozen and they’ll throw in an extra ring.

Photo courtesy of Hole Doughnuts.

168 Haywood Rd.
+1-828-774-566

22. OWL Bakery

OWL Bakery

An acronym for Old World Levain, the West Asheville walk-up window offers a glimpse into a genteel life of leisure, coffee, and European-inspired pastries. Appreciators of fine carbohydrates memorize the weekly bread schedule and flock to the little corner clapboard house for naturally leavened breads made by hand: spelt rounds, ciabattas, milk breads, deli ryes, einkorn, and porridge loaves.

Photo courtesy of OWL Bakery.

295 Haywood Rd.
+1-828-785-1770

23. The Foundry Hotel

The Foundry Hotel

The old steel foundry near the River Arts District used to forge steel for the area’s most prominent buildings. Today, its big brick buildings and oversized, industrial windows, hardwood floors, and pulley elevators remain. Guest rooms have modern and vintage-inspired decor and bathroom amenities by local makers, while the lobby-level Workshop Lounge has lots of comfortable seating areas, tons of natural light, and a bar at your service. The well-equipped basement gym is open 24/7, a boon for night owls and insomniacs. In-house restaurant — and award-winning — dining destination Benne on Eagle pays homage to the African American culinary traditions of Appalachia.

Photo courtesy of The Foundry.

51 South Market St.
Asheville, NC 28801
+1-828-552-8545

24. Hotel Arras

Hotel Arras

The sleek — but warm — Kimpton offers a contemporary silhouette to travelers looking for a soothing and super central home base in the heart of downtown Asheville. Mixed materials like wood, brass, and marble make for an earthy and elevated vibe in the 128 guest rooms, and the in-room record player adds a homey touch. District42, the industrial-looking cafe and cocktail bar, offers crowd-pleasing small plates; Bargello, the Mediterranean more-than-casual restaurant, has floor-to-ceiling windows and a hearth in the open kitchen. Of special note is the attentive and thoughtful customer service, which puts the hotel over the top. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Molina.

7 Patton Ave.
+1-828- 255-0303

25. Applewood Manor

Applewood Manor

One of the longest continuously operated bed and breakfasts in the area, now under thoughtful new ownership, is sophisticated and charming, located in a Colonial Revival that was once a former army captain’s residence. Sprawling grounds planted with maple and cherry trees provide a countryside respite that’s just a short walk from downtown Asheville. A multi-million-dollar renovation of the six-room inn completed in 2021 made way for a dream chef’s kitchen for special dinners and events, an eclectic art collection, and the restoration of fireplaces, balconies, and high-end decorative details that make each room sing.

Photo by Team Fathom. 

62 Cumberland Cir.
+1-828-254-2244

26. The Windsor

The Windsor

If you are looking for a hotel that feels more like a vacation rental, a good fit may be one of 14 shabby-chic suites that have a full kitchen, washer/dryer, and living room. From the lobby — which has rustic, industrial, and country-French decor elements — you can reach the friendly concierge staff and the full-service spa. The location in Downtown Asheville is close to restaurants, shops, breweries, and galleries.

Photo courtesy of The Windsor.

36 Broadway St.
+1-844-494-6376

27. Grand Bohemian

Grand Bohemian

The theme here is 19th-century Hunting Lodge, complete with roaring fires, antler chandeliers, and dark wood paneling. The ornate lobby living room and rustic-modern Stag Bar will transport you to another era. The entrance to Biltmore is right across the street, making Grand Bohemian ideal if your goal is full immersion in a glorious past. Guests rooms are a bit more subdued, with modern furnishings and pops of teal and white. Paintings, sculptures, and jewelry from local and emerging artists are showcased in the unique hotel gallery.

Photo courtesy of Grand Bohemian.

11 Boston Way
+1-828-505-2949

28. Leo's House of Thirst

Leo's House of Thirst

It may sound like a honky tonk dive bar, but Leo’s in West Asheville is in fact a cozy, welcoming, and sophisticated eatery. Their impressive by-the-glass selection of wines and sparklers, vermouths and sherries, ciders and ales — many on tap — as well as non-alcoholic choices accompanies a tightly edited menu of tartines, pastas, cheeses, and desserts. Grab a seat at the open kitchen or in the dining room, or take it outside. You’ll probably end up making friends with the nearby tables. It’s that kind of spot.

Photo courtesy of Leo's House of Thirst.

1055 Haywood Rd.
+1-828-505-8017

29. Arbor House

Arbor House

Consider this a home away from home — if your home had expansive gardens, a lakefront setting, a picturesque swing and veranda, and fresh-baked treats coming from the kitchen the moment you were feeling peckish. Rooms at the five-suite bed and breakfast are decorated in a cozy country style — some in the main house, others in the carriage house, with balconies and mountain and lake view options. A pretty small town rich with restaurants and cultural options, Black Mountain on Lake Tomahawk make a great base for exploring and enjoying the outdoors at Pisgah National Forest, Chimney Rock, and the Blue Ridge Parkway — and is only a twenty-minute drive from Downtown Asheville.

Photo courtesy of Arbor House.

207 Rhododendron Ave.
Black Mountain, NC 28711
+1-828-357-8525


30. Veranda

Veranda

An unassuming and popular little lunch spot for cups of soup, hearty salads, and grilled sandwiches served with crispy chips, coleslaw, and an array of locally made hot sauces.

Photo courtesy of Veranda.

119 Cherry St.
Black Mountain, NC 28711
+1-828-669-8864

31. Sunny Point Café

Sunny Point Café

Choose from a big menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner crowd-pleasers — from steak and eggs to chicken and waffles to burger and beer — and eat your fill in the down-to-earth cafe that prides itself on organic produce and its own backyard garden.

Photo courtesy of Sunny Point Cafe.

626 Haywood Rd.
+1-828-252-0055

32. Fig Bistro

Fig Bistro

Here’s a Biltmore Village spot for your back pocket: a white-tiled bistro where you can enjoy a delightful daily special and a glass of chilled rose. Husband and wife team Traci and Treavis Taylor are self-declared purists when it comes to classics like deviled eggs, Caesar salads, and corned-beef reuben sandwiches; the pair focus on scene-stealing ingredients and top-notch technique to make your lunch dreams come true.

Photo courtesy of Fig Bistro.

2684, 18 Brook St. #101
+1-828-277-0889

33. Gardener's Cottage

Gardener's Cottage

This sweet shop in a standalone cottage brims with two floors of beautifully arranged antiques, decorative items, locally-made gifts, coffee table books, and plants in historic Biltmore Village. You’ll want to recreate every room back home.

Photo by Team Fathom.

34. Rendezvous

Rendezvous

Enjoy French comforts — terrines, escargots, sweetbreads, profiteroles — in an airy bistro with a generous backyard patio filled with cane chairs and umbrellas. Have a leisurely round of Pétanque with your coffee.

Photo courtesy of Rendezvous.

184 New Haw Creek Rd.
+1-828-348-0909

35. 12 Bones Smokehouse

12 Bones Smokehouse

Tender butts. Sweet racks. You know the deal. It’s North Carolina and you’re here for the BBQ. But don’t skimp on the sides either: corn pudding, corn bread, jalapeno cheese grits, and vinegar coleslaw. In other words, they offer enough for vegetarians to eat well. There are two locations, one in the River Arts District and one in Arden. Don’t worry if the line looks long — it moves quickly. But do check for times before you come: River Arts closes at 4:30 p.m. and isn’t open on the weekend. Because when you're this good, you can do whatever you want.

Photo by Team Fathom.

36. Little Chango

Little Chango

We’re loving the energy behind the casual Hispanic kitchen slinging arepas and sweet plantains from a little yellow brick box in Asheville's South Slope. Voracious eaters on the hunt for a good mid-day meal should try the lunch box with Puerto Rican rice and beans, escabeche, pickled veggies, and a protein before test driving the coconut cardamom flan.

Photo courtesy of Little Chango.

134 Coxe Ave.


37. Biltmore

Biltmore

George Vanderbilt’s Gilded Age home on 8,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the largest residence in America — at a staggering 175,000 square feet. You can visit, tour, dine, stroll the gardens, and even spend the night. (You’ll definitely need a full day.) There are playgrounds, horseback riding trails, seasonal events and museum-worthy exhibitions, and a whole host of activities for kids, making it a good destination any time of year.

Photo by Team Fathom.

38. Rowan Coffee

Rowan Coffee

A coffee bar that feels like a cocktail bar, and one that centers around sustainability and ethical business practices. How’s that for a novel business plan? One could order a cappuccino, cortado, and cold brew, of course, but there are also creative concoctions to consider, like Roses Are Falling (espresso, rose syrup, mocha, strawberry milk) and Sweetie Pie (brown sugar latte, sweet potato, pumpkin, topped with a toasted vegan marshmallow).

Photo by Team Fathom.

39. Andaaz

Andaaz

Lamb chops, tandoori prawns, butter chicken, saags, and paneers — just some of the hearty offerings with complex flavors served at this popular white-tablecloth restaurant in Biltmore Village. Well lit and cozy, it’s considered the best Indian game in town. Try a little of this and that at the immaculate lunchtime and weekend buffet.

Photo courtesy of Andaaz.

28 Hendersonville Rd.
+1-828-552-3200

40. Battery Park Book Exchange

Battery Park Book Exchange

Books and wine are a historically perfect pair, and you can find plenty of both on offer at this funky and elegant used bookstore and champagne bar in the beautiful Grove Arcade, just one of many Art Deco gems around Downtown Asheville. Peruse the two floors of shelves, order a cheese plate, and settle in with a newfound treasure. If you’re there when someone is playing live music, all the luckier. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself begging the server to open an outpost in your hometown — and don’t be surprised when they politely refuse. 

Photo by Team Fathom.

41. Porter and Prince

Porter and Prince

The little fudge-striped cottage stocks restful and soothing items like fluffy feather beds, bath items, and specialty linens. Giant lambswool powder puffs, handmade soaps, and silk sleep shirts will fit nicely in your suitcase.

Photo by Team Fathom.

42. Marquee

Marquee

Every day, an enormous warehouse welcomes shoppers to its European-style flea market with a multitude of vendors selling vintage, antiques, arts, crafts, jewelry, carpets, garden goods, and more. Feeling exhausted? Make your way to the bar for refreshments.

Photo by Team Fathom.

43. Flora Botanical Living

Flora Botanical Living

Full-service floral shop and design studio with a botanical coffee counter and adorably merchandised gifts. They have a little hidden garden with picnic tables, a fire pit, tunes, and perennial plants for sale.

Photo courtesy of Flora Botanical Living.

428 B Haywood Rd.
+1-828-252-8888