Explore Downtown Asheville, “The Paris of the South”

Downtown Asheville NC

Downtown Asheville stands at the heart of the city and is the commercial hub of Western North Carolina. It’s a favorite place for tourists, but locals live in and frequent it, too. Because of its natural beauty, architecture, and quaint shops and restaurants, it is known as “The Paris of the South.”

If you have yet to visit downtown, keep reading to learn more about the range of things it offers.


Downtown Asheville displays an eclectic mix of architectural styles. You can find Neoclassical, Romanesque Revival, Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Gothic, and Spanish Renaissance. In addition, the different architectural approaches often stand side-by-side, allowing you to enjoy a diverse mix.

The best way to experience all the variety is by walking along the Urban Trail. This 1.7-mile walking tour tells the city’s history through 30 stops, each with public sculptures that serve as landmarks, and you will get to see many different buildings along the way. So, whether you’re a lover of architecture or history, the trail is a fun diversion, especially on a warm, sunny day.

Food and Drink

A stroll down almost any street in downtown Asheville will show you why Asheville is called “Foodtopia.” And no matter what your eating preference is — all carbs, no carbs, lots of meat, vegetarian, or vegan — you will find multiple restaurants to suit your taste.’ Some local favorites include Tupelo HoneyLaughing Seed CafeJerusalem Garden Cafe, and Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas.

And if you’re thirsty, a variety of drink options await. You can visit craft cocktail bars, wine bars, breweries, coffee shops, and more. Fun choices include The Social Lounge5 Walnut Wine BarHighland Brewing’s Downtown TaproomNoble Cider, and High Five Coffee.

Remember to save room for dessert because downtown Asheville offers many options. Some delicious dessert bars include French Broad Chocolate LoungeAsheville ChocolateCrave, and Old Europe.

Overwhelmed yet? In that case, companies like Asheville Food Tours and Eating Asheville Tours offer tasting tours that will allow you to try multiple locations in a curated fashion.


You can literally shop ’til you drop in downtown Asheville. And you won’t find a lot of identical shops offering the same cheesy souvenirs. You can find shops down almost any street, but if you want a lot of shops in the same area, try Wall Street, Historic Grove Arcade, Haywood Street, or Broadway Street. Also, for the most variety of shops, head over to Lexington Avenue, which can provide a whole day of browsing by itself.


Visit the Downtown Asheville Art District (DAAD) to explore fine art and studio crafts in more than 21 galleries and museums. You can enjoy the district’s First Friday Art Walks in April-December from 5-8 pm.


Entertainment options abound in downtown Asheville. If you can’t find anything to do, you definitely aren’t looking!

If you love music and outdoor festivals, you can enjoy Downtown After 5 on the 3rd Friday of the month from April through September. Events are free and open to the public!

For a play or another live performance, visit the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts. Located in the heart of the Pack Square Cultural District, this center is a three-venue complex. It includes Diana Wortham Theatre, Tina McGuire Theatre, and Henry LaBrun Studio. A variety of professional and student groups perform here, and it even offers community classes in dance, theatre, and more.

Also, the Fine Arts Theatre on Biltmore Avenue offers art and independent films, and the Asheville Music Hall is a wonderful venue for live music.

Many smaller offerings and events happen daily, and a good source of information to see what is happening on any given day is Explore Asheville’s website.

Live in Downtown Asheville

If you come to downtown Asheville for a visit and want to stay in “The Paris of the South” year-round, let’s talk! Get insider advice from our team, made up of experts about the area so that you can make the best decisions for the easiest move possible. We would love to help.