We recently had a chance to go check out the newly renovated Asheville Art Museum and we had a wonderful time. We think it’s one of the best things to do in Asheville and so we’ve written up this post to help you make the most of your visit. Know Before You Go: Visiting The Asheville Art Museum.
Asheville Art Museum Location
The museum is located in the heart of downtown on the corner of Pack Square and Biltmore Avenue. (The Vance Memorial is just across the street.)
Asheville Art Museum Address:
2 South Pack Square
Asheville, NC 28801
Parking at the Asheville Art Museum
There is street parking along both Biltmore Avenue and Pack Square but it means you’ll have to parallel park and also, most likely, do a few laps and wait for something to open up. Also the spots are metered and only allow you to stay put for 2 hours or less. Your best bet is to park in one of the nearby parking garages.
Rates for the garages:
First Hour: Free
Second Hour: $2.50
Third Hour + $1.25
Daily Max: $12
Special event rates may vary
Pack Square Parking Garage
4 Biltmore Avenue
(450 feet from the Asheville Art Museum / a 2 minute walk)
Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage
60 S Lexington Avenue
(.2 miles from the Asheville Art Museum / a 4 minute walk)
If you’re parking in one of these garages, take note at what floor you’re on. It’s not a bad idea to drop a pin if you think you might have a difficult time finding your way back or you’re new to Asheville.
Asheville Art Museum Hours
Open daily from 11am – 6pm
The museum is open late night on Thursdays until 9pm.
General Admission: $15
Students: $10 (Kids ages 6-17 and college students with a valid student ID)
Seniors 65+: $13
Military and immediate family: Free (With valid ID from Armed Services Day through Labor Day)
Kids: Free (Under 6)
WNC residents: Pay-as-you-wish (Each first Wednesday of the month from 4-6pm)
Group: $13 (Groups are 10+ adults. Group rates must be prepaid at least two weeks in advance. Learn more about group rates on the Asheville Art Museum group tours page.
Museum Members: Free
Asheville Art Museum FAQ
How Much Time Will I Need?
To make the most of your visit we recommend a minimum of 2 hours. Most likely you’ll want more time so that you can stop and spend time with pieces that really resonate with you.
What Should I Bring?
Definitely bring your cell phone so you can snap a few Instagram photos. There are a ton of cool places in the museum to snap a photo. Some of our top picks include the top floor and the Oculus which faces Pack Square. Still photography is allowed so long as it’s for private, non-commercial use. That said, do NOT bring selfie-sticks, tripods, flashes or video cameras. None of those are allowed.
Bring some money, too. There’s a cafe on the top floor and it serves local spirits and drinks like Chemist Gin and snacks.
A notebook or journal is always fun to have with you in a museum. It can be fun to jot down notes about the way a certain piece made you feel or the name of an artist or work that you want to learn more about later.
What Is Not Allowed Inside the Museum
Food and Drink (you can eat in designated areas or purchase something in the cafe)
Is There WiFi?
Yes. Check with the front desk.
What Should I See?
Either pick up a map upon entering the Asheville Art Museum or take a photograph of one and save a little paper. The map lays out the various gallery spaces as well as need-to-know spots like bathrooms, stairs and elevators. Though the museum isn’t so huge that you couldn’t find your way around without a map, it’ll definitely help you make the most of your time. We recommend starting on the top floor (accessible only via elevator) and working your way down.
The Perspective Cafe is on the top floor (accessible only by elevator. Also, there’s art in the elevator). An outdoor balcony and sculpture garden is also one the top floor. There’s even a pretty good view of the Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance. If you are looking for a fun spot to shoot an Instagram photo, definitely make it up to level four.
The third floor is home to the Explore Asheville Exhibition Hall and the SECU Collection Hall, both of which we absolutely adored. We spent most of our time in these two areas. The Oculus, a large, 15-foot picture window that looks out onto the Plaza and into Pack Square, is also located on Level 3. It’s a great spot, probably one of the best places in Asheville to take an Instagram photo. Be sure to check it out before you leave the museum.
Level Two is home to the Wells Fargo Art PLAYce which is a dedicated space for creating. It’s a colorful, sensory-rich space that’s designed with kids in mind but can be used by even those of us who are merely kids at heart. Take time to move towards the back of the room where you can interact with a giant kaleidoscope.
We spent a lot of time on Level 1 in both the Windgate foundation Atrium and the Appleby Foundation Exhibition Hall. There’s currently a photography exhibit on Level 1 and we gravitated towards it for obvious reasons. We also loved the work by Usula Gullow that can be found on Level 1.
Asheville Art Museum Recap
If you’re looking for something fun to do in Asheville, consider the Asheville Art Museum. And if you’re local, considering getting a membership ($65 for an individual, $100 for a family/dual membership and $25 for students) so that you can visit anytime you like. (There are special events and new exhibitions throughout the year.)
Want to make a date night out of a visit to the museum? Cúrate, Rhubarb and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge are all just a short walk from the museum. So are a few of our favorite breweries and bars to get a beer.
Have you been to the Asheville Art Museum? If so, we’d love to know what you thought about it! Leave a comment below and feel free to share this post with friends and family.
Authentic Asheville is Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley – they are writers, photographers, web designers and bloggers. You can follow along with their adventures on Instagram at @authenticasheville @carolineperdue and @e.mcgrady