I love when I get the chance to visit Asheville. The mountains and the slower pace of life always make me feel at ease. Add in the southern charm everyone has and it has a small town feel without being a small town. You can take in arts, nature, history and more all within an hour drive from the city. Of course, the free things to do in Asheville NC are some of my favorite.
32 Free Things to Do in Asheville NC
While you are in Ashville I suggest staying at the Crowne Plaza Asheville. There is so much to do on the property and it’s right near anything you might want to see. Plus the rooms were so relaxing!
Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center – Thee blue ridge Parkways runs right through Asheville and because of this they have a great visitor center with a small museum and video of the history of the parkway. This is an NPS site so make sure your kids get their Junior Ranger Badges!
Go on a scenic adventure through the Pisgah National Forest. From hiking and camping to fishing and swimming, there is a ton to do for free.
Once you take in the visitor center make sure you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway. Some of the most breathtaking sites are found right off the highway. Take in the views, pick a spot to picnic, and enjoy a free road trip.
Take a walk through the Botanical Gardens of Asheville. There are over 600 species in this enchanting garden.
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Take a creepy hike through Graveyard Fields. This place got its name from the tree stumps that look like gravestones. The reward is a beautiful waterfall at the end of the hike!
Asheville has some of the best free swimming holes around. If you are there for the summer, you will want to cool off at one of the beautiful swimming holes of Asheville.
Take the Blue Ridge Parkway up to Mt Mitchell State Park just outside Asheville. The drive is filled with beautiful overlooks and tunnels the Blue Ridge Parkway is known for. But then the short hike to the top of Mt Mitchell overs amazing views and reminds me a bit of the hike to the top of Clingman’s Dome in the Smoky Mountains National Park.
Explore and see local talent at the Rivers Art District. There are over 185 artists and 25 buildings each filled with artistic talent.
Take in a Friday Evening Drum Circle in Pritchard Park. Happens every week in the spring and summer.
Picturesque views of vibrant colors cover the heights of the Craggy Gardens.
The Foundation Walls in the River Arts District are a must see. They are easy to drive by and the colors are so vibrant. They make a great backdrop for pictures too!
See the Elk in Cataloochee Valley. You can also check out the Palmer Chapel, Caldwell House, and camp.
Visit one of the only Basilicas in the US. The Basilica of Saint Lawrence is truly a spiritual site to behold.
See art from all over the Southern Appalachians at the Folk Art Center.
Across from the Biltmore Estate is the Biltmore Village. The church the Vanderbilts attended is here and all these used to be home for those who worked on the estate
Plan a visit to the North Carolina Arboretum and enjoy 434 acres of majestic garden beauty.
You can see a free Shakespeare at Montford Park. Check the park for dates and times. Donations are appreciated, but not required.
From huge T-Rex skulls to rock and mineral exhibits, the Mineral and Lapidary Museum is fun for the whole family! And, it’s free!
Take a short trip over to Brevard, a small town near Asheville, and take in the culture and art.
Head out to Cold Mountain a breath of fresh air, and experience culture in nature.
Go back to the 1800s as you tour the historic buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains Cades Cove and take in all the beauty of the park. The visitor centers have a museum and they are free also make sure to grab your passport stamps and Junior Ranger Badges!
Take a quick hike to the Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower where you can see picturesque views of the gorgeous landscapes below.
Any music lover will love the Moog Music Factory where you can tour the Moog Factory and visit an amazing room, the only one of it’s kind in the world where you can play every Moog instrument in production.
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This one is for all the guys out there and any other car lovers. Visit the Antique Car Museum at Grovewood Village. They have dozens of vintage vehicles on display.
Also at Grovewood Village, the North Carolina Homespun Museum has many antiques and memorabilia of Biltmore Industries. They were once renowned for its hand-loomed fabrics.
I want to start with if you aren’t staying here and want to park your car there is a $10 fee ($20 if there is an event) but if you walk up and get dropped off it’s free. Visiting the Omni Grove Park Inn is an experience.
They have their history along the walls while you take a self-guided tour. During the Asheville Christmas season, they decorate it up right and they host the National Gingerbread Competition where you can view the winners of each category.
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One thing I notice in Asheville is there is a Scottish influence. One of them being the Highland Brewing. Located on a hilltop to see the brewing process. The tours are around 45 minutes and are offered different times of the week.
Another popular brewing tour is of the Sierra Nevada plant. They offer several tours daily and reservations are recommended.
This one is for all the chocolate lovers! Take a behind the scenes tour of the French Broad Chocolate Factory. This is a self-guided tour during daily business hours and I have heard rumors of free samples…
Have you found any great free things to do in Asheville NC? Share free things to do in Asheville in the comments below!