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HomeTourismVisitors Go Deeper in 2024: Asheville Abounds With Adventure for Culture-Seekers

Visitors Go Deeper in 2024: Asheville Abounds With Adventure for Culture-Seekers

Daydream at a glamorous street art hotel, trace the Black Cultural Heritage Trail and savor a matriarch’s fried fish recipe, all tied to the region’s rich history and people

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The desire to connect with local cultures and communities is one of the biggest trends driving travel decisions in 2024. Asheville meets the moment with new opportunities to explore the region’s deeply-rooted traditions and heritage – reinvigorated and transformed by modern and diverse perspectives. Local artists call this creative movement “Neo Appalachia.” From a hotel awash with psychedelic street art, to a new eatery inspired by a matriarch’s fried fish recipe, the new year invites visitors to explore Asheville’s multi-layered past, present and future.   

STORIES TO WATCH: Immersive Experiences Inspire Deeper Connection
New sights, attractions and accommodations encompass decades of creative history, revisited with fresh perspectives 

  • New trail marks the resilience of Asheville’s Black history – Following years of development with community members, the Black Cultural Heritage Trail will debut this December. It highlights historically significant sites and stories throughout the city, including Allen High School, a private boarding school for Black girls (whose alumnae includes Nina Simone), and Sylvester Owens, a master gardener at Biltmore Estate who became one of the greatest authorities on native azaleas.
    • Don’t miss: The trail passes by several Black-owned businesses, like Noir Collective, an art gallery and boutique, and Grind AVL, a coffee shop and community space.
  • Neighborhood on the rise: River Arts District (RAD) – Home to nearly 300 artist studios and galleries, this colorful neighborhood west of downtown is experiencing a surge of creative energy, in large part due to the addition of the area’s first hotel, The Radical. The district’s historic brick buildings adorned with vibrant graffiti and murals continue to take on new life with the arrival of new restaurants, bars and boutiques.
    • River Arts District Brewing Company, Anoche and Newstock Pantry are a few of the latest, imaginative offerings to join the neighborhood.
    • As part of the Wilma Dykeman Greenway, which runs along the French Broad River, the first phase of the Karen Cragnolin Park project was completed. ADA compliant and open to pedestrians, runners, cyclists and skaters of all ages, the paved path connects the art-infused greenway to Carrier Park in West Asheville.
  • Asheville’s largest summer festival returns, making a bigger splash in 2024 – The four-day music festival, AVL Fest, debuted in 2023 spanning more than 200 performances across 22 stages. Headliners included Indigo De Souza, Kurt Vile and Toubab Krewe. 2024 promises to be even better, with more national acts and special events.
  • Local outdoors enthusiasts invite more diversity in the Blue Ridge Mountains – As new trails and enhancements are added to the region’s outdoor landscape, several community organizations are making the outdoors more inviting and accessible to people of color.
    • Riding In Color hosts regular cycling events for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) riders of all genders, body sizes and abilities to build skills in a supportive environment.
    • Asheville Run Crew organizes a monthly 5k run and walk for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals and allies. The free event, which started in 2023, continues to grow and expand to different parts of town.
    • Cultivate Climbing, a rock climbing gym in West Asheville, regularly hosts queer and BIPOC meetups with discounted climbing passes and offers guided outdoor climbing trips.
    • Latinos Adventureros founder Vivianette Ortiz organizes bilingual hiking and camping trips for Latinx explorers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the area’s surrounding trails and parks.
  • Enter a “portal of sound” at the South Slope’s new music hall Eulogy is the newest venue to appear on Asheville’s vibrant live music scene. The space, part of Burial Beer Co.’s expansion of its adjacent taproom, features a full bar resembling a pipe organ, pouring 24 taps, house-made cocktails and wine. In spring 2024, Burial plans to open a rooftop wine and cocktail bar above Eulogy to spotlight VISUALS, Burial’s line of wine, cider and aperitifs.
    • Hot Ticket: Asheville-based, world-acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Roberto Carlos Lange, better known as Helado Negro, will bring his prismatic and genre-defying compositions to Eulogy on April 21, 2024. It’s a stop on his world tour promoting his forthcoming record, “Phasor.”
  • Highland Brewing turns 30 In 1994, Oscar Wong launched Highland Brewing, Asheville’s first brewery since prohibition, igniting a craft brewing renaissance across the Southeast. In the decades since, a collaborative and creative beer scene has flourished, now topping nearly 70 breweries in the Asheville region. Those that followed refer to Wong as “the godfather of Asheville craft beer.”
    • Join the party: Highland Brewing will mark the 30-year milestone during a weekend-long celebration in May. Festivities include live music, sports tournaments and a new beer release called “The Long Game.” The tropical lager is an ode to Highland’s enduring legacy, and it’s also a nod to the brewery’s outdoor facilities, which include volleyball and disc golf. (May 4-5)

PLACES TO STAY: Fresh Boutique Hotel Offerings Are a Destination in Themselves
Inherently tied to history and nature, new hotels accentuate connection to people and place

Three newly opened hotels await visitors to Asheville in 2024. The trio of properties are all adaptive reuse projects, whose buildings hearken back to the Roaring Twenties – the city’s golden era as a creative mountain escape.

  •  The Radical – Grit meets glamour in this boutique hotel that transformed a once abandoned factory into an unexpected work of modern art. The Radical’s richly layered interiors – by Suomi and Kris Moran, set designer for Wes Anderson – features vibrant graffiti in every guestroom, both from decades past and modern additions. 
  • The Flat Iron – The Big Apple got a flat iron building, so Asheville got one, too. This 71-room, Prohibition-themed hotel features a rooftop bar, and fitting with the era, a hidden speakeasy. The historic building speaks to Asheville’s period of creative and economic wealth in the 1920s and a desire to be more modern and “citified,” as a local historian explains.
  • Zelda Dearest – An ode to Asheville’s ties to Zelda Fitzgerald, this bespoke hotel connects three historic Victorian-style homes. The romantic venue features inviting outdoor spaces and interiors, inspired by the Fitzgerald’s lives and literary works.

More openings in 2024:

  • Autocamp – Guests will soon have the chance to fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the French Broad River. Autocamp’s first luxury airstream campsite in the Southeast debuts this spring. The site, about 15 minutes north of town, includes an on-site bar and general store, and will also feature luxury cabins.
  • LOGE Asheville – In summer, LOGE Camps will open its first location in the Southeast, in the Mountaineer Inn, an iconic Asheville landmark. The restored roadside motel will be modernized with amenities catered to outdoor enthusiasts, including firepits, wellness activities and bike racks in each room. The property’s three-story tall neon mountain man sign will remain.
  • Moxy Hotel – 115-room hotel in the heart of downtown, includes a rooftop bar and interiors that incorporate work from local artists.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton – Opening in winter, the new hotel features a rooftop Italian restaurant with a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

ANTICIPATED ARTS: Visual and Performing Arts Embrace Diverse Perspectives
Neo-Appalachian’ renaissance comes alive in immersive art exhibition, contemporary choreography, and more

  • The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls – Presented by Black, woman-owned theater company Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective, this original show is a collection of monologues and skits exploring the relationship Black women have with their hair. These heartbreaking, heartwarming and hilarious stories will take audiences on an unparalleled journey into the world of Black womanhood. (Feb. 1-18, 2024)
  • Chihuly at Biltmore – Just as the Biltmore Estate’s tulips begin to bloom this spring, dazzling glass sculptures by renowned artist Dale Chihuly will also reappear on the grounds of “America’s Largest Home.” Presented in an intimate gallery setting, the exhibition includes pedestal works, drawings and large-scale installations. (March 25, 2024Jan. 5, 2025)
    • More to see: Asheville is home to hundreds of working glass artists and studios dedicated to the fine craft. In summer 2024, the North Carolina Glass Center will open a second, larger facility in Black Mountain. The space will feature a state-of-the-art hot shop, flame shop and gallery. Its current location in the RAD will continue to offer classes, artist rental equipment and retail.
  • Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center – This museum and gallery near Pack Square downtown invites contemporary artists to share their creative responses to the legacy of Black Mountain College (BMC), whose faculty included luminaries, like Joseph Albers, John Cage and Buckminster Fuller.
    • BMC alumni and children’s book author/illustrator Vera Baker Williams will be the focus of an upcoming exhibition. Her best-known work, “A Chair for My Mother,” has won multiple awards and was featured on the children’s television show, Reading Rainbow. (Jan. 26May 11, 2024)
    • In the spring, the former college campus comes to life for the {Re}HAPPENING event. More than 100 artists collaborate to activate the grounds and buildings with installations, new media, music and performance art. (April 20, 2024)
  • Center for Craft – This year, the Center for Craft launched a daring new way to experience art and storytelling with the inception of Krafthouse, which returns in September 2024. The immersive installation (think: Meow Wolf) invites visitors to explore and engage in an imaginary world that imparts an appreciation for craft in an inventive and inspiring context.
  • Stewart/Owen Dance – This award-winning local dance company is reimagining how choreography can illuminate the depths of the human spirit with new, immersive performances that reach beyond the conventional stage.
    • Stewart/Owen returns to its residence at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts with a world premiere show in the Tina McGuire Theater, a black box performance space. The intimate setting lends viewers an up-close connection to the dancers and themes, which draw on passion, intimacy and playfulness. (May 9-19, 2024)
    • Next Halloween, audiences will be enveloped in a haunting tapestry of homespun ballads and Appalachian tales in a new, site-specific, promenade dance performance. The show puts viewers in the labyrinth of the story, as mysterious characters move about the space, at a location yet-to-be-revealed. (Oct. 2024)

FOOD SCENE: New Restaurants Bring Community to the Table
From open-fire cooking to sourcing with invasive species, chefs call attention to traditions and ingredients inspired by the region 

  • Good Hot Fish – Consistently named “the most anticipated restaurant” in Asheville, this fast-casual eatery – slated to open in the South Slope neighborhood before the end of the year – is Chef Ashleigh Shanti’s ode to the fish-frying matriarchs of her family. The James Beard Award-winning chef and Top Chef participant is celebrated for her work highlighting Black food traditions in Southern Appalachia. The concept will be a continuation of that story, without taking itself too seriously. Expect menu offerings like leather britches (pole beans), cracklin’ cornbread, chow chow and sandwiches served on frisbees.
  • Luminosa – Italian eatery located inside the Flat Iron Hotel. Helmed by Executive Chef Graham House, the Italy-meets-Appalachia concept features a wood-burning oven, adding a touch of fire to handmade pizzas, pastas made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • The Golden Hour – Possibly the most ambitious project to date for James Beard semifinalist Jacob Sessoms (Table, All Day Darling), this chophouse-style restaurant inside The Radical hotel centers on Southern ingredients and open, live-fire cooking. The menu features seasonal specials, shareable plates and small bites. Highlights include BBQ’d Japanese white sweet potato skewers, whole sunburst trout, slow-grilled porchetta and shellfish beignets.
    • After dinner, head upstairs to the hotel’s rooftop bar, The Roof, to enjoy views over the French Broad River and an artfully crafted cocktail menu.
  • Mizu Noodle – This long-awaited noodle bar, from the owners of the adjacent YZ Asian Market in West Asheville, has an extensive menu that includes noodle bowls, poke, dim sum and curries. The ramen is a standout – offered in varieties like spicy miso or shoyu, and generously topped with bamboo shoots, nori and a perfectly jammy soft-boiled egg.    
  • Taqueria Muñoz – One of Asheville’s most celebrated taco spots opened its second location in South Asheville. In addition to Muñoz’s familiar Mexican tacos in handmade tortillas, the new spot features tortas, tamales, sopes and pupusas – a nod to the family’s ties to El Salvador.  
  • The Market By Sage and Spice – West Asheville’s newest market space is a collaboration between Tori Frasher, owner of Sage & Spice Catering, and Chef Sergio Castro. The café serves healthy lunch options, like sandwiches and smoothies, and the market is stocked with local products and carries gourmet, ready-to-heat meals that can be taken to-go. Large group and catering menu options are available upon request.
  • Salt Face Mule – Near Weaverville, this family-friendly brewpub and sprawling event space features two mini golf courses. Salt Face Mule’s selection of lagers and ales are playfully named after Appalachian expressions, like the “Sit a spell IPA.”
  • Beradu – This market and restaurant in Black Mountain specializes in regional wild game, invasive species and local fish. Owners Patrick and Maggie Beraduce want to share their knowledge about the benefits of consuming local fish and game. Guests can also purchase fresh meat and seafood, as well as house-made charcuterie and pastas.
  • Taco Boy – This colorful, Mexican-inspired eatery just opened its second Asheville location, in Biltmore Park. The dining room features a vibrant mural by local artist Wyatt Grant, an in-house tortilleria, full bar and a sunroom with retractable doors that open to the patio.
  • Voodoo Brewing – Further South, the Arden community cut the ribbon on this purple brewpub in October. Voodoo Brewing’s flagship beers are on tap year-round, such as the “Oh Mama” golden American lager ― a collaboration with the rock band Styx. The menu also features bar bites, like smoked wings, pizza and chili cheese fries.

INDIE BUSINESS NEWS: New Ventures Defy Convention
Eccentric businesses that have long-defined Asheville’s free spirit continue to push boundaries 

  • FishBrains Skate ShopAsheville’s first inline and roller sports store, FishBrains carries the latest styles of inline skates, roller skates, protective gear and accessories. The shop also offers rental rollerblades and skates for use on Asheville’s greenway trails.
  • The Low Down – As the name implies, this underground bar in West Asheville aims to keep a low profile. From the founders of the beloved downtown speakeasy Crow & Quill, this clandestine bar also has a cloaked entryway, only to be discovered by those who know where to look – 723 Haywood St., Suite 1, that is. Following a golden arrow pointing down a flight of stairs, visitors will be dazzled by the bar’s ornate wood interiors and lavish craft cocktails, shrouded in a mystical ambiance.
  • Roll Up Herbal Bar – This converted 1971 VW bus specializes in botanical mocktails, teas and adaptogen shots. The mobile bar pops up around town and can also be reserved for private events and weddings.
  • The Breakroom Rage Room – For anyone needing to let out their angst, the Breakroom welcomes guests to smash, throw and break a variety of objects, from computer monitors to guitars. Visitors can book a 30-minute session in one of three rage rooms and are provided protective gear and smashing equipment.
  • Sweets & Seats Cafe – Just steps away from Pritchard Park, this café is an Instagram worthy-spot to recharge during a day of browsing downtown shops and galleries. As the name suggests, this gleaming patisserie sells both artfully-crafted desserts and boba teas, as well as contemporary outdoor furnishings. Owner and pastry chef Kanas Lam wanted to pair her love for making desserts with Asheville’s outdoorsy interests.
  • The Pot Stirred – Billing itself as “America’s first mushroom café,” this woman, LGBTQ-owned space is tucked away above Art Garden in the River Arts District. It serves lattes and teas with foraged mushrooms and botanicals, as well as a rotating menu of CBD-infused donuts from Stay Glazed.

For more of the most up-to-date insights and happenings, visit ExploreAsheville.com.

About Asheville

Asheville is where unrivaled natural beauty and bold creative expression meet. Tucked away in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is steps away from some of the world’s most biodiverse forests and the tallest peaks in the East. For generations, Asheville has nurtured and inspired a compassionate community that’s deeply rooted and ever evolving – just like the ancient French Broad River that runs through it.

SOURCE Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/visitors-go-deeper-in-2024-asheville-abounds-with-adventure-for-culture-seekers-301983620.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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