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Unveiling Asheville's Hidden Gems: An Insider's Guide to Local Favorites

In Asheville we occupy the ancestral land of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, known as the Anikituwagi. We recognize the Cherokee as the native people and original stewards of this land. To the Anikituwagi, this land was known as Togiyasdi, Where They Race, and was part of the Cherokee Nation, Tsalagi Ayeli, which covered as many as 108,000 square miles of the American Southeast as late as 1730 and consisted of sixty or more towns.

Asheville is well known for its adventurous outdoor scene and its quirky and eccentric vibe as the town mantra states, “Stay Weird”. The town straddles the ancient French Broad River. The Cherokee names for the French Broad River vary, but the most common was Tah-kee-os-tee, meaning ''racing waters”.

The town is surrounded by greenways, wilderness areas, mom and pop shops and hidden gems along the way creating an endless list of things to do.

Spiritual seekers are drawn to these ancient Grandmother mountains from all over the world. The Appalachian Mountain range began to form around 480 million years ago during the Ordovician period, continuing to grow for around 200 million years as the supercontinent known as Pangaea formed. Once here you can see and feel why these mountains accelerate your spiritual awakening in the soft embrace of their grandmotherly wisdom and love.

Layer on the town’s unique event spaces along the river and one-of-a-kind experiences offered by independent artists, healers and makers and you can see why this is one of the best places to visit.

For a truly authentic Asheville local experience that you may not find on mainstream media you’ll want to spend some time exploring the top 10 following places and spaces:

1. Catch an intimate show or experience a holistic immersion at Hawk & Hawthorne, Community-Powered Permaculture Homestead & event venue nestled just north of Asheville, North Carolina. They host concerts, workshops, weddings, wild food tours & more!

Photo credit: Hawk and Hawthorne.


2. Join the locals and grab a beer from the River Bar, play in the river and listen to some live Grateful Dead covers at the French Broad Outfitters Hominy Creek Outpost. They offer all your river needs- River trips, bikes, shuttles, beer, food, music, and special events! The Outpost sits on the site of an old sand dredge at the confluence of Hominy Creek and the French Broad River.

Photo credit: French Broad Outfitters


3. Support Local and do some shopping from the highly talented artists and makers at the Grove Arcade Makers Market. The types of treats you can find at the Makers Market ranges from recycled wallets, homemade décor like terrariums and professional framed photographs, teas, hand-hammered necklaces and woven earrings, hot sauce, comical greeting cards and books, beautiful art, hand-made lotions, potions, salves and more.

Photo credit: Yanina Salerno


4. Get your book and coffee fix at local’s favorite indie bookstore (since 1982), Malaprops. Treat yourself to a Cardamom Latte, with Chinese Cinnamon, real Vanilla bean syrup and natural cane sugar and a book of poems from highly talented local and native authors.

Photo credit: Malaprops


5. Find your Zen & bend with goats at Franny’s Farm Goat Yoga. Whether you’re an experienced yogi, new to yoga, or just need some baby goats in your life, their Goat Yoga classes are a fun interactive yoga experience to physically, mentally, and spiritually connect with goats. Namaaaaste!

Photo credit: Frannys Farm


6. Go where Mother Nature waved her magical wand and created one of the most natural of all wonders, the hot mineral waters of Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Heated deep within the earth, these crystal clear carbonated waters are world famous for their mineral content and legendary healing powers. Pro tip: spring for a Deluxe tub overlooking the river and with a fire bowl. The health-giving properties of this resort’s hot mineral waters have been famous since 1778.

Photo credit: Tiffany Narron


7. Relax and recharge at the Asheville Salt Cave. It features 30 tons of pure pink salt that they have used to naturally recreate the microclimate of a salt mine. The air in their therapeutic salt cave is intensely saturated with negative ions, while the salt rock crystals in the cave release 84 trace elements and minerals which are essential to the homeostasis of our bodies.

Photo credit: Asheville Salt Cave


8. Catch a movie at Grail Moviehouse, Asheville's Alternative Cinema. The Grail Moviehouse is a locally owned and independent cinema showing first run, art, independent, foreign films, and documentaries.

Photo credit: Grail Moviehouse


9. Try your hand at metalsmithing at Ignite Jewelry studios. Ignite Jewelry Studios offers jewelry workshops perfect for anyone that would like to experience their metalsmithing studio and make a piece of jewelry. The instructors at IJS are top-notch, insanely talented locally trained Artisans.

Photo credit: Ignite Jewelry Studios


10. Experience a transformational healing ritual ceremony or make an Appalachian Folk Amulet at Activated Earth Healing Arts and Learning Space- where Appalachian Folk Medicine meets Latin American Curanderismo. There you will find one-of-a-kind Medicine Wheel Workshops (complete with an in-ground Transcultural Medicine Wheel), folk medicine such as Limpias (shamanic cleanse) and Flower Water Rituals and options to sign up for a Guided Forest Medicine Experience (BioForest Restore).


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