Tourism and Tours

Asheville | A city of art, music, and nature, a place where the power of creativity thrives

Asheville is a city in, and the county seat of, Buncombe County, North Carolina. Located at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, it is the largest city in Western North Carolina, and the state’s 11th-most populous city. According to the 2020 census, the city’s population was 94,589, up from 83,393 in the 2010 census.

In 2003, Centennial Olympic Park bomber Eric Robert Rudolph was transported to Asheville from Murphy, North Carolina, for arraignment in federal court.

In September 2004, remnants of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan caused major flooding in Asheville, particularly at Biltmore Village. In 2006, the Asheville Zombie Walk was organized for the first time, starting a tradition that lasted until 2016. In July 2020, the Asheville City Council voted to provide reparations to Black residents for the city’s “historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties”. The resolution was unanimously passed, and Asheville committed to “make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities”. Also in 2020, efforts were made to remove or change several monuments in the city that celebrated the Confederate States of America or slave owners. Attorney Sean Devereux proposed renaming Asheville in honor of Arthur Ashe, whose ancestors were owned by Samuel Ashe, for whom the city was named.  In June 2024, Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer was one of 11 U.S. mayors to form Mayors Organized for Reparations and Equity (MORE), a coalition of municipal leaders dedicated to starting pilot reparations programs in their cities.


Asheville features a climate that borders between a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa/Trewartha Do) and an oceanic climate (Koppen Cfb) with noticeably cooler temperatures than the rest of the Piedmont region of the Southeast due to the higher elevation; it is part of USDA Hardiness zone 7a.[56] The area’s summers in particular, though warm, are not as hot as summers in cities farther east in the state, as the July daily average temperature is 73.8 °F (23.2 °C) and there is an average of only 9.4 afternoons with 90 °F (32.2 °C)+ highs annually;[a] The last time a calendar year passed without a single 90 °F (32.2 °C) reading was as recent as 2009. Moreover, warm mornings where the low remains at or above 70 °F or 21.1 °C are much less common than 90 °F or 32.2 °C afternoons. Winters are cool, with a January daily average of 37.1 °F (2.8 °C) and highs remaining at or below freezing on 5.5 afternoons.

Official record temperatures range from −16 °F (−26.7 °C) on January 21, 1985 to 100 °F (37.8 °C) on August 21, 1983 the record cold daily maximum is 4 °F or −15.6 °C on February 4, 1895, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 77 °F or 25 °C on July 17, 1887. Readings as low as 0 °F (−17.8 °C) or as high as 95 °F (35 °C) rarely occur, the last occurrences being January 7, 2014 and July 1, 2012, respectively. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 17 to April 18, allowing a growing season of 181 days.

Asheville is located in the Appalachian temperate rainforest and precipitation is relatively well spread, though the summer months are slightly wetter, and averages 49.6 inches (1,260 mm) annually, but has historically ranged from 22.79 in (579 mm) in 1925 to 79.48 in (2,019 mm) in 2018. Snowfall is sporadic, averaging 10.3 inches or 0.26 metres per winter season, but actual seasonal accumulation varies considerably from one winter to the next; accumulation has ranged from trace amounts in 2011–12 to 48.2 inches or 1.2 metres in 1968–69. Freezing rain often occurs, accompanied by significant disruption. Hail is not uncommon during the spring and summer, accompanied by intense severe thunderstorms but the number of days with thunderstorms varies dramatically from year to year ranging from as low as 15 days in 2008 to as much as 44 in 2018. The month that usually experiences the most thunderstorms in Asheville is in July but number of days with thunderstorms in July has ranged from as much as 18 days in 2016 to as low as two days in 2008.


There are a number of Baptist churches, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Churches of Christ, as well as a few non-Christian places of worship, such as Urban Dharma, a Tibetan Buddhist center of the Drikung Kagyu school.[81] Asheville is the headquarters of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina, which is seated at the Cathedral of All Souls. Asheville is an important city for North Carolinian Catholics, who make pilgrimages to the Basilica of St. Lawrence.[82] There are several historical churches located throughout the city, including the First Baptist Church of Asheville.

Asheville is also home to a number of atheist, humanist, and ethical culture organizations.

Arts and culture

Live music is a significant element in the tourism-based economy of Asheville and the surrounding area. Seasonal festivals and numerous nightclubs and performance venues offer opportunities for visitors and locals to attend a wide variety of live entertainment events.[93]

Asheville has a strong tradition of street performance and outdoor music, including festivals, such as Bele Chere and the Lexington Avenue Arts & Fun Festival (LAAFF). One event is “Shindig on the Green,” which happens Saturday nights during July and August on City/County Plaza. By tradition, the Shindig starts “along about sundown” and features local bluegrass bands and dance teams on stage, and informal jam sessions under the trees surrounding the County Courthouse. The “Mountain Dance & Folk Festival” started in 1928 by Bascom Lamar Lunsford is said to be the first event ever labeled a “folk festival”. Another popular outdoor music event is “Downtown After 5,” a monthly concert series held from 5 pm until 9 pm that hosts popular touring musicians as well as local acts. A regular drum circle, organized by residents in Pritchard Park, is open to all and has been a popular local activity every Friday evening.

Asheville is also home of the Moog Music Headquarters and the museum of the Bob Moog Foundation.

Asheville plays host to The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, an annual charity event which raises money for Habitat For Humanity, and features notable musicians. DJ music, as well as a small, but active, dance community are also components of the downtown musical landscape. The town is also home to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Asheville Lyric Opera, the Land of the Sky Symphonic Band, the Asheville Jazz Orchestra, the Smoky Mountain Brass Band, and the Asheville Community Band. There are a number of bluegrass, country, and traditional mountain musicians in the Asheville area. A residency at local music establishment the Orange Peel by the Smashing Pumpkins in 2007, along with the Beastie Boys in 2009, brought national attention to Asheville. The rock band Band of Horses have recorded two albums at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, as have the Avett Brothers (who have also traditionally played a New Year’s Eve concert in Asheville). Christian vocal group the Kingsmen originated in Asheville.

Performing arts

Sculpture in Downtown Asheville of a girl drinking from a fountain shaped like a horse

The Asheville Community Theatre was founded in 1946, producing the first amateur production of the Appalachian drama Dark of the Moon. Soon after, the young actors Charlton Heston and wife Lydia Clarke took over the small theatre. The current ACT building has two performance spaces – the Mainstage Auditorium (and named the Heston Auditorium), and the more intimate black box performance space 35below.

The Asheville Lyric Opera celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2009 with a concert featuring Angela Brown, David Malis, and Tonio Di Paolo, veterans of the Metropolitan Opera. The ALO has typically performed three fully staged professional operas for the community in addition to its vibrant educational program.

The Fringe Arts Festival features alternative performances.

Visual arts

Flood Fine Arts Center, a non-profit contemporary art institution formerly in the River Arts District and now in nearby Black Mountain
Asheville Art Museum, located on Pack Square in downtown Asheville, which reopened on November 14, 2019, after a $24 million renovation.
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, located on Pack Square in downtown Asheville, which presents exhibitions, performances and other public programs related to the history and influence of Black Mountain College
The Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center, dedicated to Appalachian craft traditions
The YMI Cultural Center, exhibiting art related to the heritage of African Americans in the area.


Asheville is served by Asheville Regional Airport in the southernmost portion of the city,[140] and by Interstate 40 (east-west),[141]: I-40  Interstate 240 (north loop from I-40),[142]: I-240  and Interstate 26 (north-south).[141]: I-26  Additional major roadways providing access to Asheville include U.S. routes 19 and 74, and North Carolina state routes 191 and 280. Passenger rail service is not available for the city. The city operates Asheville Rides Transit (ART), which consists of sixteen bus lines, providing service throughout the City of Asheville and to Black Mountain, North Carolina.

A milestone was achieved in 2003 when Interstate 26 was extended nine miles from Mars Hill (north of Asheville) to Johnson City, Tennessee, completing a seven-year 1⁄4-billion dollar construction project,[145] part of a twenty-year 1⁄2-billion dollar construction project through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Work continues to improve Interstate 26 from Mars Hill to Interstate 40 by improving U.S. Route 19 and U.S. Route 23 and the western part of Interstate 240. This construction will include a multimillion-dollar bridge to cross the French Broad River.

The Norfolk Southern Railway passes through the city, but passenger service is no longer available in the area. The city was last served in 1975 by the Southern Railway’s Asheville Special (New York-Washington-Asheville, ended, 1970; Asheville-Salisbury, ended, 1975). Before that, it was served by the Southern’s Skyland Special (Asheville-Columbia-Jacksonville, ended, 1959) and Carolina Special (Cincinnati-Goldsboro and Charleston branches, ended, 1968). In 1968, passenger service shifted from Asheville’s station to the nearby Biltmore station. The Asheville station, built in 1905, was demolished.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has proposed the restoration of train service between Asheville and Salisbury, as has Amtrak.

In 2020, the city received a $US1 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to be used primarily on the ART bus transit system.

Things to Do in Asheville

  • Cultural Tours
  • Self guided Tours
  • Breweries
  • 4WD Tours
  • Historical Tours
  • Antique Stores
  • Half Day Tours
  • Hiking Tours
  • Gardens
  • Top Picks
  • Art Galleries
  • Water Tours
  • Luxury and Speial Occassion
  • Parks
  • Sports Lessons
  • Shows and Concerts
  • Special Offers
  • Theaters
  • Air Tours

Public services and utilities

The residents of Asheville are served by the Buncombe County Public Libraries, consisting of 11 branches located throughout the county; the headquarters and central library, Pack Memorial Library, is located in downtown Asheville.  The system includes a law library in the Buncombe County Courthouse and a genealogy and local history department located in the central library.

Drinking water in Asheville is provided by the Asheville water department. The water system consists of three water treatment plants, more than 1,600 miles (2,600 km) of water lines, 30 pumping stations and 27 storage reservoirs.

Sewer services are provided by the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County, power provided by Duke Energy, and natural gas is provided by PSNC Energy.

Asheville offers public transit through the ART (Asheville Rides Transit) bus service that operates across the city and to the town of Black Mountain. Routes originate from a central station located at 49 Coxe Avenue.