Last month, North Carolina’s Paris of the South satisfied my solo-travel cravings: people as warm and welcoming as the biscuits, fresh air, and scenery that would make anyone hungry for adventure. I quickly fell in love with Asheville and the sights, tastes and people this place serves as a home to. Looking forward to more foodie and outdoor adventures along the Blue Ridge Parkway throughout the summer!
- Tod’s Tasties Cafe | 102 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC: Down the street from the Asheville Visitor’s Center, Tod’s Tasties is the perfect neighborhood joint to relax and fuel up on delicious biscuit sandwiches and refreshing iced tea. Highly recommend enjoying your breakfast at the outdoor seating area to enjoy the fresh air and chat with the friendly neighborhood residents.
- The Montford Pull-Up | 231 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC: Located within a convenience store, this deli and grill offers a menu that’s simple and delicious. The Montford Pull-Up is known for their award-winning chicken wings, but I was mesmerized by its selection of cheese fries. If you love cheese as much as I do (like a worrisome level of obsession with cheese), order the Cajun-style fries topped with mac and cheese, green onions and Cheeto dust (yup, squeakin’ Cheeto dust).
- Tulepo and Honey Cafe | 12 College St, Asheville, NC: Offers an impressive selection of Southern comfort food with a creative twist, as well as a strong set of cocktails. For the solo travelers, I highly recommend dining at the bar seats with a view of the kitchen so that you can watch the chefs throw it down while you sip on a strong Kentucky Mule and munch on a plate of fried green tomatoes with goat cheese grits – a match made in culinary-Asheville heaven.
- Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge | 7 Rankin Ave, Asheville, NC: A chill bar that draws in a late-night crowd with their famously delicious burgers. At least several Asheville locals urged me to make a stop here for the Vault Burger, voted the best burger in Asheville. I’m not sure if it was the spicy mayo or the number of bourbon-based cocktails I enjoyed by the time I arrived at the Vault, but the Vault Burger is definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever had: juicy, spicy, and all-around awesome.
- Luella’s BBQ | 501 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC: Nothing like smoked meats and seasonal sides from Luella’s to kick off the summer! Luella’s offers a variety of smoked and spiced barbecued meats (personal favorite: chopped pork smothered in vinegar-based BBQ sauce) and sides. For the vegetarians and vegans, this joint also offers BBQ tempeh, which is “almost blasphemous, but it’s so good we’ll forgive you.”
- MG Road Bar and Lounge| 19 Wall St, Asheville, NC: This Indian-styled bar features a variety of Indian bar snacks and cocktails. Strongly recommend the green mango chaat if you want a refreshing combination of sour, savory, sweet and spicy to go with your marigold-topped cocktail. If Steven is working the bar that night, chat him up for some awesome dive bar and rooftop bar recommendations!
- Skybar | 18 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC: This bar is famous for its beautiful views from the rooftop at sunset. Didn’t get to try the drinks due to the intense Memorial Day Weekend crowd, but the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains is definitely worth checking out to kick off your night of bar-hopping through Asheville.
- The Lazy Diamond | 98A N. Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC: This dive bar features a selection of simple but VERY strong drinks and has officially made me a fan of gin with it’s tangy Lazy G&T (gin with grapefruit juice and tonic water). Bring your drinks over to the Lazy Diamond’s arcade towards the back of the bar, where you can drunkenly battle it out on the PacMan and pinball machines.
- The Crow & Quill | 106 N. Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC | Home to over 300 types of whiskey, the Crow & Quill’s set-up is reminiscent of a speakeasy: open a suspiciously dark metal door and enter a dimly lit room with spirits lining the walls and patrons sipping or dancing along to a Balkan bluegrass band (yes, they exist) in front of an upside-down American flag. If you’re craving a cocktail that pairs bold spice with sweet-and-sour flavors, order the Zaragoza (chipotle-tamarind infused mezcal, molasses, grapefruit, lime and salt).
- Wall Street, Asheville: As you walk around in downtown Asheville, make sure take a stroll down Wall Street! A beautiful small street lined with brunch spots, vintage clothing shops, cocktail bars, and a variety of street art, including the colorful crochet decorations that wrap around the railings and light poles.
- Friday Night Drum Circle | Pritchard Park, 67 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC: During the spring and summer seasons, Asheville’s Friday Night Drum Circle is a tradition for both Asheville locals and out-of-towners. Swing by Pritchard Park for some people-watching, dancing and/or playing as the sun sets!
- Asheville Pinball Museum | 1 Battle Square #1b, Asheville, NC: This museum houses over 75 pinball and classic arcade games, including movie-themed pinball machines such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Back to the Future! Beat the summer heat or kick off a Saturday night in downtown Asheville with unlimited gaming and the museum’s selection of drinks.
- Biltmore Estate | 1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC: Created by George Vanderbilt in 1895 as a holiday retreat, this 8000-acre estate is home to the largest privately-owned home in the United States (four acres of floor space and 250 rooms), beautiful gardens, and some intense Jane-Austen-setting vibes! Most people spend anywhere between a half-day or full day touring the estate, but if you just want to spend 2-3 hours walking around, I highly recommend going in the mid-to-late afternoon (3pm-5pm): smaller crowds and more space to chill at one of the garden benches with a good book and wondering if you’ll see Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett around the corner.
- Catawba Falls Trail | Pisgah National Park, Old Fort, NC: Just a 30-minute drive away from Downtown Asheville, this three-mile round-trip hike to the Lower Falls features creeks and some impressive swimming holes along the way. For the more experienced hikers and thrill-seekers, hike/rock-climb 100 feet up the additional section to the Upper Falls!
- Craggy Pinnacle Trail | Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, 364 Blue Ridge Parkway, Black Mountain, NC: More than worth the 18-mile drive from downtown Asheville, this 1.2-mile hike will lead visitors to the top of Craggy Dome and a beautiful 360-degree view of Asheville, Black Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway.