Who is ready for some creative Asheville date ideas! I wrote out these Asheville date ideas for both locals and visitors, but also for myself because I want to make sure I’m exploring my own city as much as I am traveling out and about for adventure. I think there is something for everyone on this list, including some tips for free things to do in Asheville, romantic Asheville hotels, and romantic restaurants in Asheville that are perfect for a special night out. For all the parents out there, you know if you’re going to pay for a babysitter, you want to make sure the evening is worth it, right!
A few random thoughts before you read:
- While these date ideas are written for any couple of any gender(s), I wanted to link this Asheville guide for LGBTQ travelers for anyone visiting!
- If you’re local be sure to sign up for the newsletters from the places that you’re interested in, so you can hear about upcoming events and discounts!
- This is an evergreen list and not considering one-off or recurring festivals and events; I like checking AVL Today‘s newsletter.
- I have not been to every single place on this list but I did read reviews on Google, TripAdvisor, and local moms groups on Facebook, choosing to recommend those with the best reputation if I don’t have personal firsthand experience!
Pin this list of Asheville date ideas with this link or collage image:
Asheville’s public transit leaves something to be desired; if you have to rent a car, I recommend going through autoslash.com, they check all the different companies and email you if rates drop after you’ve booked! But you can visit Asheville sans car; besides the obvious Uber & Lyft options, also consider a hop-on hop-off trolley to see the major sites downtown.
Lastly, if I missed anywhere you love, leave a comment and I’ll consider adding it!
40+ Asheville date ideas
Spark creativity and make art together
- Take a private pottery lesson at Odyssey Clayworks.
- Turn up the heat and make some glass art with Crucible Glassworks.
- Skip the clay part and paint premade pottery at Fired Up!
- Forge silver stacking rings together, what a neat experience.
Go thrifting or antiquing!
Shopping is more fun when you’re looking at unique stuff. Depending on your taste, challenge each other to find the funniest t-shirt or the most interesting wall decor at one of these neat shops.
- Any local Goodwill is reliably stuffed full of finds; if you’re feeling lucky and don’t mind digging for treasures (and I mean that literally, see what to expect here), visit the Goodwill Outlet on Patton where you pay by the pound.
- Huge and cluttered, in a good way, the Antique Tobacco Barn has a wide variety of furniture and other decor to browse.
- Antiques at Riverview Station is twisty and packed to the ceiling with old things, a perfect break from fine art in the River Arts District.
- A mix of art and antiques with fast turnover, The Regeneration Station has a friendly vibe, puts on lots of community events, and has nice wide aisles for anyone who normally feels claustrophobic in secondhand shops.
Check out a brewery
We don’t drink much so I can’t speak to any of these from a dating perspective but based off other locals’ recommendations, here are the most popular breweries in the area. Look ahead of time to see if they do special tastings or tours, too!
Get playful with some games
Whether it’s friendly competition or working together, playing games always makes for a good date!
- Stop by the Asheville Pinball Museum where you can definitely touch the exhibits.
- Challenge your brain with an escape room; check out The Conundrum, Fox-n-otter, or Breakout Games
- One of our family’s personal favorites, stop by Well played board game cafe and try a new board game while snacking or sipping on a milkshake!
- Play a mix of pinball and other arcade games at the Asheville Retrocade.
- Go old school with putt putt at Tropical Gardens or laser tag at Fun Depot.
- Don’t forget socks and go bowling together at Sky Lanes.
- Go on a public night and try virtual reality gaming at Better Than Unicorns.
- Go watch a baseball game with the Asheville Tourists.
Bond over learning & new skills
Getting in that beginner mindset makes for great conversation and laughs, try your hand at something brand new together!
- Schedule a private lesson together at Asheville Archery Training Center.
- Go medieval and try your hand at falconry at the Biltmore Estate.
- Try your hand at throwing axes with Axeville.
- Go horseback riding, Sandy Bottom Trail Rides looks super fun.
- Play blacksmith for an afternoon and try forging together at Quiver Full Farm.
- Try a new cuisine with a cooking class from The Asheville Kitchen.
- The Asheville Museum of Science has exhibits for people of all ages to enjoy but also host adult pub nights and date events from time to time.
- Learn about local wildlife at the WNC Nature Center, it’s not just for kids.
Go for a bike ride
As a casual cruise or an athletic endeavor, biking is very popular in Asheville and a great way to connect while burning off some steam!
- Take an electric bike tour up in the mountains or in between breweries, with Asheville Adventure Company.
- Try out mountain biking along the trails with Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures.
- Cruise around downtown with an electric bike on a tour with The Flying Bike.
Chase some adrenaline
- Zip line or do a ropes course amongst the trees with Navitat.
- Take a hot air balloon ride with Asheville Hot Air Balloons.
- Go rock climbing together at Climbmax.
Pick out a book for each other
Local bookstores are lovely places to linger, and what better surprise than to pick a book out for one another!
- Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe is famous and for good reason, save room for a treat or cup at the cafe too.
- Wander through the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, listening to live music and browsing used books.
The beautiful views, trees, and waterfalls are a huge draw for the city and I hate to hear about anyone visiting without getting out on the trails! I wrote up this post about kid friendly easy hikes near Asheville NC – and all of them would be great for couples looking to stay under 5 miles too! Be sure to search road conditions before you head out to any of these, in higher elevations snow and cold can be unpredictable! My top date hike picks below:
- Dupont State Forest – hike to see High & Triple Falls, tagging on Hooker Falls with an extra bit of hiking (or driving). Nearby Brevard’s downtown is super cute to make it a full day of exploration, too!
- Mt. Mitchell– cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway for the views and then head up to the very top for beautiful views and a nice jaunt through the pine trees along their nature trail. Lunch at the state park’s restaurant is decent, with a view that can’t be beat.
- Black Balsalm Art Loeb Trail– more time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, heading down to beautiful balds and unbeatable views over the mountaintops. Stop in to the Pisgah Inn for lunch or dinner! Similar to the infamous Max Patch but longer, less crowded, and more parking.
- Walk through the NC Arboretum, checking out their beautifully tended gardens, bonsai collection, or walk through the trails.
- Go stargazing at a public event hosted by the Astronomy Club of Asheville, who can help you pick out different constellations.
- Don’t forget, if you don’t have a car, you can also take a guided tour that picks you up at your hotel and on the trails!
- Lake Lure
Watch a movie
- Check out the Fine Arts Theater, that features independent and art films.
- Asheville Brewing Company shows a different movie each week, enjoy while you eat or drink.
- Another indie option, Grail Moviehouse has lots of films to choose from.
- Stop by one of the more conventional theaters, playing all the popular movies: AMC River Hills, Regal Biltmore Grande, or Carolina Cinemark.
Relax together at a spa
Whether it’s a couple massage or a mineral spring soak, what better way to check out of real life together!
- One of the most popular local options, the Omni Grove Park Inn looks beautiful with lots of relaxation options.
- The Asheville Salt Cave is great for quiet bonding and they also offer couples massages.
- Drive a little ways north of the city and stop by the Hot Springs Resort for a mineral soak and other spa experiences.
- Shoji Spa & Lodge is closer to home and also offer soak and massage options.
Check out a winery or cidery
We don’t drink much so I can’t speak to any of these from a dating perspective but based off other locals’ recommendations, here are the most popular wineries in the area. Look ahead of time to see if they do special tastings or tours, too!
Get on the water
Pack sunscreen and go floating, Asheville is famous for water sports and it makes for a great afternoon in the sun!
- Rent a SUP and cruise through the Biltmore Estate.
- Get together with a raft or tube rental from Asheville Outdoor Center.
- Kayak around the city with a rental from French Broad Outfitters.
- Watch artists in action; watch glassblowing at Lexington Glass.
- Visit Asheville Art Museum- check out my Asheville Art Museum blog post here for visuals of what to expect.
- Check out the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center; be sure to check they have a current exhibition on, it’s not open all the time.
- Visit the Center for Craft, it is small but free with regularly changing exhibits.
- Stop by the LEAF Global Arts Center, they are new and have music and cultural exhibits to browse.
- The famous RAD (River Arts District) is full of small little studios and working artists happy to have you watch.
- Stop by the Woolworth Walk, that has over 170 different vendors. You can browse diverse & talented art while sipping on a milkshake from their soda fountain!
Listen to live music
- With one of Asheville Symphony Orchestra’s concerts.
- At Elaine’s Dueling Piano Bar, with covers and requests and some comedy mixed in.
- At 5 Walnut wine bar, with nightly live music.
- At Jack of the Wood, check their schedule but it’s usually folk and Celtic music.
- Visit The Orange Peel for one of their shows.
- Stop by The Mothlight for one of their shows.
- Check the Old Farmer’s Ball schedule and go get down to some country/folk music.
- Join a quick lesson from Swing AVL and then join in the open dance later at The BLOCK on Tuesday nights.
- Join a quick salsa lesson and then join in the open dance later at The BLOCK on Saturday nights.
- Friday nights during summer, stop by Hickory Nut Gap Farm for barn dances.
- Take an Appalachian clogging lesson!
Catch some live action theater
- in an open air amphitheater, with the Montford Park Players
- At Asheville Community Theater.
- At NC Stage Theater.
- At Wortham Center for Performing Arts.
- At the Odditorium.
Take a tour
- Learn more about the area, with a history tour.
- Step on the spooky side, with a paranormal ghost tour.
- Learn more about the city’s roots with an African-Americans in Asheville tour
- Relax and laugh with a comedy bus tour.
- Bring an empty stomach and scout the foodie hot spots with a local food tour.
- For drinks and views, try a rooftop bar tour.
- Schedule a private “behind the scenes” art tour where you visit artist’s studios with Art Connections.
- Visit some of the area’s most popular breweries without worrying about a designated driver with a beer tour.
Explore the Biltmore Estate
One of the most popular Asheville tourist destinations, I was skeptical before we visited, but it really is interesting. Between touring the house, the greenhouse, and the formal gardens you can easily spend most of a day here. I shared my best tips for visiting the Biltmore Estate with kids but if you’ve never been, you might want to read through them for a better idea of what to expect even without kids!
They also have a selection of extra activities like carriage rides, horseback rides, segway tours, and more so read up before you go and don’t miss the wine tasting!
Free date ideas in Asheville!
Some of the date ideas I listed above were free, but I thought I’d focus on a few specific options if your budget is tight!
- If you’re a local or know a local with a library card, use the Zoom pass to check out the Arboretum, Nature Center, Art Museum, Science Museum, and more for free.
- Go out on a treasure hunt, geocaching together either on the trails or downtown; see how to get started geocaching here.
- Volunteer together – find an opportunity through the local United Way.
- Wander downtown with the self guided Asheville Urban Trail to see the city’s history along with public art.
Sample night out itineraries:
It can be tough to map out ideas when you’re not from town so I thought I’d write out a few sample itineraries! These are all laid out as options near each other, with several of them within walking distance and no car required once you arrive.
- Browse the newly reopened Asheville Art Museum for an afternoon, eat dinner at award winning, farm to table Rhubarb, and get dessert at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
- Visit the famous Biltmore Estate and take a horseback ride along the wooded trails, eat dinner at the delicious and homey Sunny Point Cafe, and get ice cream at local favorite The Hop.
- Wander through the River Arts District to watch artisans at work, eat dinner at 12 Bones Smokehouse, and cozy up for a beer at Wedge Brewing Company.
- Relax in a soaking tub after a couples massage at Shoji Spa & Lodge, eat dinner at hidden gem Copper Crown, and savor local wine at plēb urban winery.
- Get dinner at Little Bee Thai and then play games all night at Well Played Board Game Cafe, walking around to see some of the nearby street art and listen to buskers.
Romantic dinner ideas
Our personal taste runs more to cheap & casual than romantic & fancy, but I dug around for local recommendations and am sharing them for anyone looking to pick a romantic dinner idea in Asheville!
- `Wild Ginger– South of downtown and more casual than many of the other options, but our favorite Vietnamese place in town! Unfussy seating without many TVs or loud music, so easy to hold a conversation.
- Copper Crown– A hidden gem tucked into a strip mall east of downtown, they serve New American food with cozy lighting perfect for chatting.
- Bouchon– French cuisine with a laidback feel, the restaurant has a popular bar above it while you wait.
- Zambra– Tucked under a bookstore, Zambra has an intimate vibe with tapas plates to be shared. Notable that it was featured as one of America’s Most Romantic Restaurants by Travel + Leisure magazine!
- Jerusalem Garden– A popular Mediterranean restaurant that also hosts live music & bellydancing on the weekends.
- Brasilia steak house– An all you can eat Brazilian steakhouse with lots of meat options and a salad bar.
- Nine Mile– With 3 locations you know they’re doing something right, serving Caribbean food.
- Rhubarb– Guided by a James Beard nominee chef, Rhubarb serves contemporary Appalachian cuisine.
- Curate– A Spanish tapas bar with a foodie reputation, Cúrate was listed as one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2018.
Romantic hotel ideas
Last but not least, for all tourists and local looking to plan a staycation, some of the most romantic hotels in Asheville to choose from!
- The Grove Park Inn– Famous for the views and their spa, this is perfect for couples.
- The Inn at Biltmore– Tucked amidst the Biltmore Estate, this hotel looks fancy and lets you be steps away from all the fun in Biltmore.
- The Grand Bohemian Hotel– A boutique style hotel with modern, fancy touches, this place comes highly recommended.
- Abbington Green B&B– With fancy appointed rooms and a locally sourced, organic breakfast, this B&B in the gardens gets very high ratings.
- Pisgah Inn– Open seasonally, this inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway has stunning views.
- Try Asheville glamping with a beautiful dome to watch the stars.
- Sleep up in a treehouse like this beautiful one on Airbnb (use my link and get a free $40 off coupon!)
- The Windsor Hotel-Another boutique option with upscale, modern decor and amenities all within walking distance of downtown.