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Experience the Wonders of Winter in Asheville

What makes winter in Asheville specialWhile Asheville is a year-round draw, tourists tend to favor the spring, summer and autumn months. Once winter sets in, the cold keeps the crowds at bay – which provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy a different side of Asheville! Following are a few reasons winters are wonderful in Western N.C.

Digging downtown

The long waitlists at popular downtown eateries invariably shrink come winter. Want to try one of the many exciting dishes at James Beard-award-winning Chai Pani or Curate? You’re more likely to snag a spot in the slower months of January and February. Shopping and parking downtown also open up, making for a more relaxed experience. 

Cozy up at indoor venues

Asheville offers several grand yet cozy indoor spots for grabbing a drink, enjoying a snack, or simply warming up by a roaring fire. Spots like the Grove Park Inn – with its comfortable lobby and fireplaces – and the Grove Arcade – with its soaring interior and light-filled hall – can be the perfect pitstops for coming in from the cold. The Biltmore House is another good spot to visit in the winter – the crowds thin out, giving you easier access and viewing of the interiors. And don’t forget the Gardens: It’s hard to resist the tropical warmth of the greenhouse on a wintry day. Bring a snack or lunch to enjoy on one of the benches, surrounded by pungent blooms and lush foliage.

Winter in Asheville NCWintery walks in town

Asheville is teeming with miles of greenways, winding through woods, adjacent to commercial districts, and along the French Broad River. Even on cool days, plenty of sunshine and the right pace can get you warmed up. Try incorporating a brewery or coffee shop stop (of which there are many dotting the perimeter of area greenways) for a break and a beverage.

Snow sports abound

With a number of slopes around the area, a day of skiing or snowboarding is an easy option when the snow starts falling – or even if it doesn’t! Area ski centers are equipped to make snow, so you always have the option to hit the slopes this winter. Area resorts include Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, located 30 minutes north of Asheville in Mars Hill; and Cataloochee Ski Area, an hour away from Asheville in Maggie Valley. Or opt for tubing, an easy, all-ages way to enjoy the snow. Spots include Tube World, located 4 miles from Cataloochee Ski Area; Zip N Slip, just half an hour from Asheville in Mars Hill; and Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing in Hendersonville.

Chill hiking 

If you’re looking for an ideal way to enjoy some solitude, a winter hike can’t be beat: Devoid of leaves, the surrounding mountains hold their own stark beauty. The crowds thin out, leaving behind a peaceful backdrop for soaking in the nature around you. While much of the Blue Ridge Parkway closes during the winter, there are still many hiking opportunities to enjoy, from wide-open balds to frozen-waterfall walks. 

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