Some people love winter. I’m not actually one of them. I enjoy watching snow fall but I can’t stand the cold and would be happiest with about two weeks of it. After that I’m ready for spring. But short of packing up and moving to the tropics (who’s coming with me?), how about figuring out a way to enjoy it and not merely endure it. In this post we’ve come up with our top ways to beat the winter blues: Fun things to do in the winter in Asheville.
Hungry or thirsty and just want to find a spot with outdoor heaters in Asheville? Check out our list of Places in Asheville with Outdoor Heaters.
Beer crawl or brewery tour
There are so many good places to drink beer in Asheville. It’s probably not possible to make it to all of the breweries in town on a single trip (or is it?) but you can certainly try. How many of them have you been to on our list of the Best Breweries in Asheville? Don’t want to drink until you’re dizzy? We don’t blame ya. How about taking a brewery tour instead?
Visit the Biltmore Estate
Head on over to America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate. You can shop, drink wine, tour the estate, take fun Instagram pictures in their garden, the list is endless. Also, the winter season offers the lowest admission prices of the year (up to $10 off per person.) You can either drive around the roads on the estate from the warmth of your vehicle or you can bundle up and explore some of their trails on foot.
Skiing is a classic thing to do in the winter. Though the slopes won’t be covered in inches of glorious powder like some of the places out west, they’re better than nothing. If skiings not your thing, most of the places around here also offer snow tubing and snowboarding. The Wolf Ridge Ski Resort has 15 different runs and 4 different lifts.
Another choice is the Cataloochee Ski Area. There are 17 slopes and 5 different lifts.
Both locations offer lessons.
Go for a hike
Some of our favorite spring and summer spots are totally different in the wintertime. The leaves are dead and gone this time of year so the views are seemingly endless. And the crowds are thinner, too. If you’re lucky (and brave) you might just catch a frozen waterfall or two.
Read up on some of our favorite hikes near Asheville including Catawba Falls, pictured below!
Walk or Ride Your Bike on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Often, when the temperatures drop, the Blue Ridge Parkway will close to vehicle traffic. It can be a little bit of a bummer not to be able to drive to your favorite overlook and see a sunrise or sunset but you can still access the parkway on foot or on your bike. In fact, this is one of our favorite things to do in Asheville in the winter. For us, the closest access point is to park at the Bent Creek River Park. Be super careful crossing Brevard Road as the traffic there is really heavy. But once you get safely to the other side there is a small trail that keeps you off the road and links up with the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there, you can either go North or South and have the parkway pretty much all to yourself! Note: You may see some vehicle traffic from park staff so still be alert.
Rent a cabin
Just outside of Asheville, about 20 minutes from town, is a little cabin you can rent. It was built in 1815, but moved to its current location and rebuilt. Caroline put her touch on it and reused every part of the original structure that she could. The square nails were saved to relay the living room floor. The ceilings in the bathroom and kitchen used to be the porch roof. The heart pine floor in the loft used to cover the log walls in the main room. The stone chimney was used for the current foundation. It’s almost guaranteed to help you rest, reset, relax, get away from city life … whatever it is you’re looking to do.
Sign up (and go) to a new class
Interested in pottery? What about yoga? Been meaning to get to that one workshop you pass every day on your way home? Winter in Asheville is the perfect time to try something new. Whatcha waiting for? Especially now that many of the local makers are offering online workshops, yoga classes, etc.
There are tons of places in Asheville to go shopping and the winter is arguably one of the best times of year to do so. Some of our favorite spots to shop are the architectural salvage stores such as The Old Town Salvage Company as well as the Screen Door and the Antique Tobacco Barn. You never know what you’re going to find at each of these places and the stuff is always changing.
Cook up a new recipe
Set aside some time in the winter to make a new dish. Maybe it’s something you dog-eared in a magazine or it’s something you got from the internet. Pinterest is rich in cool ideas but so is a good old Google search. And kick up the recipe a bit by using some local ingredients from some of the local WNC farmer’s markets.
Play video games all day
Indulge your inner child and let yourself play video games all day. Why not? The Asheville Pinball Museum is located downtown and costs just $15 dollars for adults and $12 for kids 10 and under. The place is awesome.
Over in west Asheville you can visit the Asheville Retrocade. It’s open from noon til 2 am and also has a bunch of video games. The cost here is $10 a day.
Go on a photo walk
Bundle up for this one and hit the streets on foot. There’s so much cool stuff to photograph in Asheville. Street art, buildings, dogs … the subjects are almost endless. Practicing in the winter means you’ll be even more ready for spring when things are leafed out and green. Our cameras are often the only things that’ll get us out the door on some of the coldest days. Oh and when you get home, see if the winter doesn’t inspire you to edit a little differently than usual. Can you find inspiration in the season?
Have a staycation at home
Turn the technology off, choose a great book you’ve been meaning to read and curl up in your favorite nook. Don’t have a quiet, comfortable place? Make one! Find every comforter and blanket that you can, pull on your thickest socks and hop into those PJ’s. Make a pot of tea and then just chill. A staycation is partly a state of mind. When’s the last time you took one?
Visit the Asheville Art Museum
This is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening in Asheville. There are four floors of art to explore as well as a cafe on the fourth floor that serves cocktails and snacks. If you’re starting to get cabin fever and want to get out, go check out the Asheville Art Museum. Locals get in on a pay-as-you-wish on the first Wednesday of every month from 4-6pm. Want to know more? We’ve got an entire blog post on our top tips for visiting the Asheville Art Museum?
Fun things to do in Asheville in the winter recap
How many of these fun winter activities in Asheville have you done? Did we miss anything?
Share with a friend or pin it for later and leave your comments below – we’d love to hear from you!
Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are travel writers, photographers and the authors of Authentic Asheville.
9 thoughts on “Asheville: Fun Things to Do in the Winter”
I think I will need to visit Asheville the next time I visit my daughter in Charlotte!!
Heck yeah! It’s not that far and totally worth the trip! What sounds most appealing to you about it?
These are great ideas! I, too, would like to go to the tropics for the winter! Alas, it’s not in the cards, so I must make the best of my situation…play the cards I’m dealt. This article is a wonderful springboard for getting going when the cold has begun to shut down the creative juices. Short days and a lack of sunshine by themselves will do that to a person.
Ah the tropics!!! Wouldn’t that be nice, sounds amazing right about now! We’ve got a post coming about the 13 reasons to get psyched for spring. Hopefully that’ll help keep you inspired – it’s just right around the corner!