Seven Ways to Explore Asheville Like a Local During Winter
1) Go Hiking
Do locals actually go hiking in the winter? Absolutely! Even though Asheville is in the mountains, it is not as if we’re soaked with snow throughout the season. Some years, we hardly see any measurable snow. It’s even been over 70-degrees on Christmas day. Even if it is snowy, we just put on our waterproof boots and enjoy a magical hike.
Where do the locals hike during winter?
- Craggy Pinnacle and Gardens
- Mount Pisgah
- Mount Mitchell (on a particularly clear winter day, you might catch a glimpse of Charlotte’s skyline)
- Chimney Rock
- Devil’s Courthouse
Note: These areas are high elevation, where it might be much colder and snowier than in the valley. Check the weather and prepare accordingly. Also, be prepared for road and park closures.
- Crabtree Falls
- Linville Falls
- Douglas Falls
- Rainbow and Turtleback Falls
- Skinny Dip Falls
- Moore Cove Falls
There are few things more magical than an icy waterfall. Be careful, of course, as the water is especially cold this time of year.
2) Go Full-Send on a Mountain Bike
Asheville is one of the most popular destinations for mountain biking on the East Coast. The abundance of trail systems in our area entices shredders from all over the world. While many places out west and up north are forced to shut down their trails for the season, most of our mountain bike areas are open year-round.
If you want to ride in Asheville like a local, check out these trail systems:
- Kanuga Bike Park
- Bent Creek Forest
- Dupont State Forest
- Richmond Hill Park
- Big Ivy/Coleman Boundary
- Pisgah State Forest/Brevard
- Fire Mountain (Cherokee, NC)
- Tsali Recreation Area (Bryson City, NC)
3) Catch a Show
Asheville has some of the best music venues in the South. A few of the shows coming up this winter include:
- Sam Burchfield + Will Blackburn: The Grey Eagle | January 7
- Getaway Comedy: Maddie Wiener: Getaway River Bar | January 7
- Rumours - Fleetwood Mac Tribute: The Orange Peel | January 14
- The Adam Ezra Group: Isis Restaurant and Music Hall | January 14
- The World of Musicals: Wortham Center for the Performing Arts | January 22
- Rebirth Brass Band: Salvage Station | February 9
4) Check out the South Slope Food and Drink
The South Slope area of downtown Asheville has a collection of some of the best food and beverages you can find anywhere, including:
- Catawba Brewing Company
- Burial Beer Co
- Buxton Hall BBQ
- Vortex Doughnuts
- Farewell Coffee Co
- The Prospect
- Harvest Pizzeria
- Urban Orchard Cider Co
You can always find locals in the South Slope area.
5) Visit the RAD
Even though the River Arts District is one of the most popular places to visit for tourists, you’ll find plenty of locals there browsing the world-class art galleries, enjoying great food and drinks, and using the well-designed (still under construction, but open and usable) greenway.
6) Take a Neighborhood Tour (Downtown, West Asheville, South Asheville, North Asheville)
If you’re visiting the city, there are countless lists of must-do activities throughout the city and the region. Many of the places on those lists are local favorites as well.
You’ll have a great time if you try to just hit the highlights, but if you want to really do what the locals do in Asheville, you can take a day or weekend to explore one neighborhood.
- Downtown: You can’t go wrong in downtown Asheville. You also can’t explore everything in a single getaway.
- West Asheville: There are many breweries, event venues, and parks to enjoy in this hip community.
- South Asheville: Many of your favorite restaurants have locations in South Asheville, and finding a parking spot in this part of town can be a little easier.
- North Asheville: One of the most historic neighborhoods in town, North Asheville is as charming as it is fun.
7) Spend an Evening or Two at a Dueling Piano Bar
Asheville has one of the only dueling piano bars you’ll find in the South. Off The Wagon is as popular among locals as it is for visitors.
Here at Off The Wagon, you can’t help but have a great time. The musicians will impress you with their repertoire of thousands of popular songs from the last fifty years. It's an all-request show - let the musicians impress you with their repertoire.
It’s a rock-and-roll, sing-along, total party atmosphere. Combined with great drinks and fantastic service, and you may never want to leave!
If you’re in Asheville and want to live like a local, make sure you come by Off The Wagon Dueling Piano Bar.