Stay Weird Asheville

Whether you’re coming in for a bachelorette party, vacation, someone’s wedding, or planning a big move, you’ll want to get to know Asheville’s many neighborhoods.

In this post, we take you through our initial thoughts on the area – an outsider’s take if you will. While we aren’t “local experts” quite yet, we’ve traveled to Asheville enough to get a good lay of the land.

Of course, after we spend some time living in Asheville, we will create an updated version of this post!

Downtown Asheville

As the name implies, this is the main part of the town. It’s “the city” most people think of when they think of Asheville. It’s relatively small (about seven to eight main blocks) and very walkable. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and hotels.

This is where you go on a date night out and where most of Asheville’s tourists roam.

We won’t even begin to list all of the places to eat and things to do in Downtown Asheville — yet. There are just too many and we’re just getting started! You’ll wind up in downtown when you visit and get a good sense of things on your own.

Instead, we’re going to dive into Asheville’s lesser-known neighborhoods located on the outskirts. These are the spots highlight some spots we consider to be worth the Uber/Lyft.

North Asheville

Let’s start with North Asheville because… well, why not?

This part of town is highly residential with many charming Southern homes and tree-lined sidewalks. It’s also home to the famous historic resort hotel, the Omni Grove Park Inn. The place is gigantic and — depending what you’re into — could be worth a visit or a stay. They probably have the largest fireplaces we’ve ever seen. And we haven’t even seen it yet (just caught a glimpse through a window).

One of the most beautiful areas of North Asheville is Montford. This neighborhood is renowned for its quaint homes with lots of character and is just minutes from downtown. As such, real estate is relatively high-priced over here. Still, if you search hard enough, or time it just right, you might luck out on an affordable fixer-upper or shared space. It’s a great neighborhood to rent an AirBnB or stay in a proper B&B if you’re fancy!

Other notable North Asheville areas include Five Points and Charlotte Street. Both are about a mile north of Downtown Asheville. These areas are also known for their adorable houses and character-rich apartments, although they’re not quite as grandiose as some of the homes in Montford. For this reason, they tend to be a little more affordable.

Some of Asheville’s finest eateries are located in North Asheville including Nine Mile (a Caribbean-fusion local institution), Chiesa (high-quality, authentic Italian), and Gan Shan Station (Asian fusion). There’s also a lot of great food shopping in this part of town including Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market, and Chop Shop butcher.

Oh yeah – did we mention that we’re living in North Asheville? We’ll let you know what it’s like after a few months.  

West Asheville

When you come to Asheville, it’s almost impossible not to hear of the “other Asheville”  – namely West Asheville. While it’s not a perfect fit, it’s easy enough to consider West Asheville “the Brooklyn of Asheville.” It is where hipsters go to be hip, dive bar lovers go crawl dive bars, and anyone who wants to escape Downtown goes to escape.

As former Brooklyn dwellers ourselves, it’s hard for us to make a comparison but what we can say is that West Asheville, with its mix of light industrial, commercial, and old-and-new homes it is definitely an “up-and-coming” area that is clearly going through a renaissance.

For context, the city of Asheville is sliced by the French Broad River. Downtown is to the east of the river and West Asheville, go figure, is to the west. There are two main areas of West Asheville you should know about: Haywood Road (the main drag in West Asheville) and the River Arts District (which is west of downtown mostly east of the river).

Haywood Road is where you’ll find lots of restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. It’s pretty walkable (we walked most of it on our first visit) although some pockets are busier than others, so if you have a car it may be useful here. We’re regulars of Flora – a fusion florist-coffee shop that we’ve stopped in every time we’ve been West of French Broad. It’s also worth highlighting that everyone raves about Hole Doughnuts and we’ve heard amazing things about The Admiral (lunch/dinner/cocktail spot). They’re high on our list of places to patronize once we’re in Asheville full-time.

Note: While we haven’t experienced any of it ourselves, word on the street is that some parts of West Asheville can get a bit sketchy at night. The last time we visited before moving, we were explicitly looking into houses and apartments in West Asheville. That’s when we realized that West Asheville has recently experienced robberies and assaults. So, as is the case everywhere, it’s best to stay alert and travel by car if you can – especially after the sun’s gone down.

The River Arts District is just as the name implies: art studios, scattered along the banks of the French Broad River. It’s west of downtown but on the east bank of the river so we’re counting it in West Asheville.

Because this area draws so much tourism, more and more eateries and breweries are popping up. Some of our favorites include “The Foundation” complex which is home to Wedge Brewery, 12 Bones BBQ (where Obama made its claim to fame by calling it “his favorite BBQ in North Carolina”), and Summit Coffee. What more could you need? Barbecue, beer, and coffee. We’re pretty sure that will be our official Asheville diet but time will tell.

East Asheville

This part of Asheville is still very much a mystery to us. East Asheville seems like mostly highways, some commercial shopping complexes, and restaurant chains. If you go far enough East you’ll get to Black Mountain —which we hear great things about as a cute small town and a place to buy a home— and if you go even further you’ll run into the edge of the Pisgah National Forest. A lot of people have talked about Swannanoa for housing. We haven’t explored much to the east yet ourselves, but it seems like there could be a number of beautiful, quiet places to live only about 20 minutes East of the city.

And that’s all we have to say about that (so far).

South Asheville

We jokingly call South Asheville “Biltmore Land” a half-assed attempt to draw a parallel to Disney. The main attractions of this neighborhood are the Biltmore Mansion, a residential home with 36 guest rooms (read: is big enough of a deal to deserve its own post), and the Biltmore Village, which looks like something from Hansel and Gretel in the shape of a luxury retirement home that’s filled with retail shops (think Jos.A Banks and Ann Taylor Loft).

All joking aside, there are a lot of great places to eat and shop in this area, including The Corner Kitchen and Well-Bred Bakery and Cafè. We haven’t tried Bruegger’s Bagels yet but we suspect when our New York cravings start kicking in, we’ll venture over there.

South Asheville is also where the airport is located — just about 25 minutes away from downtown. It has some great, affordable housing options. Arden and Fletcher both seem to be popular areas for real estate!

And that’s all we got for now. We’ll be sure to update this post in a few months’ time after we’ve settled in and gotten to know the area better.

Want to know more about things to do, eat, and see in Asheville? You’ve come to the right place! Stay in the loop by signing up for our mailing list below.

1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] When researching housing, we wrote a post about Asheville’s neighborhoods. You can read it here. […]

Comments are closed.