The weather can do almost anything in Asheville in March, but that’s not a good reason to stay away! March is a wonderful time to experience the beauty of Asheville in spring while avoiding the influx of visitors during the peak tourism season.
The city is waking up from a sleepy winter, and even if you end up here during a cold snap, you’ll find more than enough to warm your body and soul. On most days, however, you’ll get enough warmth to also explore downtown, enjoy the great outdoors, and get to know the friendly and fun atmosphere that makes this truly the best time to visit Asheville… though we’re biased – any time is a good time to visit!
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What to do in Asheville in March: 18 Fun Ideas
March really is the month before everything gets very busy in Asheville. While there are visitors through the cold months, March is the best of both worlds, with slightly warmer weather, quieter streets, and an easier time getting reservations.
Also, the natural wonders around Western NC are emerging from their slumber, with early flowers and beautiful hiking days all available at least at some point during March. Here are just a few ways to make visiting Asheville in March a special trip!
1. Catch a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Asheville never backs away from a party, and St. Patrick’s Day is already a very beer-flavored holiday. It only makes sense that you have lots of options for how to celebrate in style. Local breweries hold parties with beer specials, Irish-themed food offerings, and more!
PubCrawls.com has an official Asheville St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl, and restaurants like Bear’s Smokehouse throw big multi-day parties to make sure you can get as much celebration in as possible. Keep your eyes peeled for spots serving up green-tinted beer or other green treats, like green velvet cupcakes!
If you want a calmer atmosphere but still like to celebrate, look for one of your favorite restaurants and bars and see if they’re having any kind of food or drink specials since most places do at least a little something.
2. Try a Meditative Morning at the North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum is one of the most beautiful garden systems I’ve ever seen, and starting in March, leaves and blooms begin to return to this beautiful location.
One cool event that the arboretum has put together is called Meditative Mornings. Between 8 am and 10 am on the first Tuesday of every month, the staff at the arboretum specifically refrain from ongoing maintenance that might create loud sounds, like mowing and irrigating. Parking is half-price compared to normal, and the lucky early birds who enjoy this event will also get to hear more birdsong as they quietly enjoy the arboretum.
It’s a wonderful way to begin a Tuesday while visiting Asheville. If you aren’t the early riser of the group, the NC Arboretum is a perfect choice even later in the day. While many of the lush showcases will be more vibrant later in the spring, late March can be a great time to see nature waking up and coming back to life! Children particularly like the frog-filled ponds on this property.
3. Take Some Clogging Lessons in Traditional Appalachian Dance
While country dancing, like square dances and other partner and group dances, is popular around the Western North Carolina mountains, one of the most traditional kinds of dance around here is clogging/flatfoot dancing.
These are generally individual dances, even though people often dance together to live old-time and bluegrass music. Taking a class from a local expert is a great way to get a look at the culture of the mountains and get some great exercise, all while listening to beautiful music that is the heart and soul of this area.
While you’re learning, you’ll likely hear quite a bit about the history of music and dance as a social function in these mountains, and feel just that much more connected to this place. Check out the offerings in Asheville for clogging classes and see if you can catch the beat yourself.
4. Take a Walk at the Bird Sanctuary as Nature Wakes Up
March can be a very cold or very warm month in Asheville, but no matter the day’s actual weather, March is definitely a time when birdsong comes back to the city. The Bird Sanctuary at Beaver Lake is a wonderful little volunteer-maintained walking path and park where birds nest and feed.
Quiet observers are always welcome to enjoy the simple wooden boardwalks and see what they can spot among the awakening underbrush. Plus, the overlooks on Beaver Lake itself are absolutely stunning.
It’s a perfect short walk on an early spring day. Bonus points if you happen to look into the water and see one of the most impressive residents: a huge snapping turtle who is a regular visitor to the shoreline of Beaver Lake!
5. Enjoy the Asheville Wine and Chocolate Festival
Many exciting events come to Harrah’s Cherokee Center of Asheville, but one of the big ones in March is the Asheville Wine and Chocolate Festival. Imagine a 3-hour session full of samples of many different local wines as well as a pass to the chocolate bar to try all kinds of desserts and chocolate confections.
If you’ve still got the winter doldrums to shake off, this is a wonderful event to do so. The center is also just blocks from many wonderful downtown restaurants, so you can make sure to get lunch before you drink or dinner after you’ve sipped and snacked your way through the whole festival.
There are also a variety of jewelry, clothing, and art vendors participating, making it easy to shop as you sip. It’s truly one of the top things to do in Asheville in March!
6. Run or Cheer at the Asheville Marathon
The Asheville Marathon is an inspiring and beautiful running event that also features a half-marathon. Both races weave through downtown and give you gorgeous views of the French Broad River. If you’ve ever attended a marathon, even as a spectator, you know it’s a fun time and a chance to get outside with the people in your group, even if no one is running that day.
You may be thinking that getting outside and running for 26 miles isn’t your top goal when visiting Asheville in March, but you can absolutely cheer on someone you care about who is! For many runners, though, it’s a great reason to come to Asheville in March to ideally set a personal record for their fastest race while also getting to join in the camaraderie of running with so many other people.
7. Stop by Well Played and See Who Wins
If you get a rainy day while you’re in Asheville in spring, you and your group could have a wonderful day of it at Well Played Board Game Cafe. For a flat fee per person, you can play as many games as you want, all while enjoying coffee, beer, or other specialty drinks, as well as eating from their tasty menu of snacks and sandwiches.
Board game lovers will enjoy getting to test out games they’ve never tried, and people who are happy with their tried-and-true favorites can play as many games of chess, checkers, or another classic as they like. If you’re new to the board game scene, you can tell the staff (the “Gamemasters!”) about experiences you’ve liked or what you enjoy in a game, and they’ll make a recommendation from the hundreds of games in the Board Game Library.
This spot gets to be a hopping location on cool and rainy days, and you’ll feel like you’ve settled into your own living room for a game night, only way better.
8. Spend a Clear Night Stargazing in the Beautiful Mountains
If you’ve always found staring up at the stars to be a romantic and fun activity, March isn’t a bad time to give it a whirl. Multiple local astronomy clubs and organizations hold monthly stargazes as well as special events for big meteor showers and other stellar happenings.
The Astronomy Club of Asheville holds public stargazing events at Grassland Mountain Observatory, 50 minutes from downtown in Madison County, as well as at Lookout Observatory on the campus of UNC Asheville. Most stargazes have instructions on the website for timing, location, any advance registration needed, and any rain dates or dates for when there is substantial cloud cover.
While you won’t want to plan your whole trip around something as capricious as a few clouds over the city, it’s well worth keeping an eye on the website in case you get a well-timed clear night.
9. Learn About Zelda Fitzgerald in Asheville
The artistic, beautiful, and enigmatic wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald spent extensive time in Asheville, and Asheville commemorates her by celebrating Zelda Fitzgerald Week each year in early March.
You’ll be able to choose between talks at the local libraries, panels on artists and wellness, and even themed tarot reading events. Fitzgerald lived in Asheville for the last decade of her life, but reading up on her ballet-dancing, art-making, and story-writing life can make you feel just that much more connected to the city and to one of its more famous inhabitants.
10. Get Out of the Rain and Settle in for a Foot Soak
Tucked away in a corner of the Grove Arcade is a spot that warms my heart – and my feet! Wake Foot Sanctuary is a spa that centers around a simple and wonderful experience, a 45-minute-long foot soak in a copper tub while sitting in a comfortable armchair.
Each soak has a special combination of botanicals, essential oils, and soothing substances like white clay, all of which are designed to give you a lovely aroma as well as a pampering treatment for your feet. While the basic experience is spectacular, there are more options: you can add on massages, and you can order either alcoholic drinks or a pot of tea to enjoy while you soak.
The room is small and quiet, maintaining a comfortable and cozy atmosphere that makes it the perfect destination on an unexpectedly cold and rainy day in Asheville. Let yourself fully unwind in a setting that is centrally located. While there are many other wonderful spas in town, this is one of my favorites for an affordable bit of luxury during a visit.
11. Become an Asheville Artisan with a Pottery or Glass Class
While many accomplished artists move to Asheville because of the welcoming atmosphere created by like-minded creatives, you don’t have to be experienced to become an artist here! There are a variety of places like 310 ART, Batton Clayworks, and the NC Glass Center that offer introductory classes in disciplines like painting, pottery, and glass blowing.
While an introductory class will focus on the absolute basics, many of these centers offer studio hours when you can hone your skills so that you can qualify to take intermediate classes and beyond, becoming an accomplished vase maker, glass blower, or watercolor artist!
Enjoy learning in a communal setting and relax with the other classmates who are also just getting started – make memories with a friend or family member who also loves art.
12. Scale Mount Mitchell and Bask in the Views
Often the cool and wet air of early spring deters all but the most intrepid of hikers, but there are plenty of good hiking days in March. One way to get the most out of your hiking time is to take the short trail up to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River.
First, drive northeast of Asheville about 35 miles, with some of the approach spent on the beautiful and scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Then there’s a ¼ mile trail in Mount Mitchell State Park that gets you up to the peak’s observation deck.
There are also longer stretches near Mt. Mitchell, like the Black Mountain Campground to Summit Trail, with 3,600 feet of elevation change in 5.5 miles – try it if you dare and if you get a particularly good weather day!
On a clear day, you can see for miles around from the summit and get some incredible 360-panoramic photographs. Be aware that this elevation is substantially higher than Asheville proper, so pack your layers so that you’ll stay warm while enjoying the scenery.
13. Take the Kiddos to the Asheville Museum of Science
Everyone needs a chance to get energy out and learn something new, and the AMOS, or Asheville Museum of Science, is a great option when it comes to things to do in Asheville in March.
While not a huge museum, AMOS offers a variety of fun and interactive displays that allow children to learn more about the world around them while they fit together atom pieces like Lego blocks, brush away sand from a dinosaur skeleton, or redirect the water flow to understand fluid dynamics in the French Broad River.
A big climbing gym allows children to scamper and slide their way through a treehouse-themed structure, getting some much-needed wiggles out during a trip to Asheville in spring. A gems and precious metals exhibit will excite the geology lover, and a laboratory space offers special events and hands-on science activities for children.
While this isn’t usually an all-day activity for most families, children from ages 2 to 10 are likely to find lots to entertain them for an hour or two.
14. Seeing a Cold Snap? Head Out to the Slopes!
Whether you head a bit north to Wolf Ridge Ski Resort or west to Cataloochee Ski Area, early March is still in season for skiing in parts of the Appalachian Mountains! If you happen to visit during a March cold snap, check and see which of the slopes are ready for you to swish your way down on a pair of skis or a snowboard.
Take a class and learn how to navigate the snow, especially if you’re new to artificial snow slopes, or skip the skis and choose a spot with a great tubing run. You’ll be much closer to the ground, but it’s still good for a chilly thrill.
If you’re not much for the slopes, but you have snow bunnies in your crew, consider spending the day at the lodge with a good book while they glide down the hills.
Asheville in March for Locals
Whether you’re a snowbird who lives in Asheville only part of the year or are making this place your home, long-term or short-term, there are always great things going on for the people who have made Asheville home. Here are just a few valuable options for what to do in Asheville in March.
15. Get Help with Your Taxes at the Library
March is the month to get serious about your taxes if you haven’t already filed, and don’t worry – you aren’t alone if your tax situation feels a little complex and confusing.
Professionals offer free help at the local Asheville library system on select mornings, allowing you to find someone who can answer your questions about filing your taxes without having to pay for an expensive software or accountant appointment.
You never know: you may qualify to file for free in a way that you weren’t aware of before, or you might figure out a valuable deduction that saves you hundreds of dollars on your tax bill – it’s well worth it to ask for some help!
16. Visit a Local Nursery to Get Ready for Your Spring Garden
Greenhouses and nurseries abound in Asheville, and whether you’re hoping to plant a few pots on your apartment balcony or a whole field of vegetables out in the countryside, you can get what you need while shopping local.
Places like Country Fields Greenhouse and Gardens, Reems Creek Nursery, and Ross Farm Nursery and Greenhouse can help you pick the plants or seeds that will work for your type of soil and for the unique weather that Asheville gets. Even if you just want a beautiful plant as a souvenir of your time in this area, these nurseries are a great place to shop for the green thumb in your life.
17. Participate in the Prom Dress Exchange
A great local tradition that happens in many places but has been spearheaded by some passionate locals is the Prom Dress Exchange. Each year, hundreds of people donate their prom dresses, and in March, locals can come and “shop” for a free prom dress among the styles available.
There are even people available to do alterations on dresses that make them fit well so that no one has to miss out on the tradition and fun of prom due to not being in a position to afford a dress this year.
They’ve recently expanded their offerings to include donated black suits and handbags, so consider raiding your closet for a good cause or recommending the yearly event to those who might benefit from a donated outfit.
18. Get to Know Local CSAs and Join One
Asheville has so many local farms and investments in local agriculture that in March, there is often a CSA fair just to get to know local farms. If you aren’t familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it often takes the form of selling “shares” of a harvest.
So, instead of buying a few items here and there at the farmer’s market, you pay a set fee, and each week for the harvest season, you’ll receive a whole box of produce. The catch is that, usually, the box isn’t customizable; you get a lot of bell peppers if that’s what’s plentiful and only a few potatoes if it was a lean year for that crop.
CSAs are a great way to give consistent income to local farmers while challenging yourself to put more kinds of local produce to use, and it can be a fun cooking challenge to plan your meals around what is in the box each week, especially if you have kids who are interested in cooking and at least somewhat adventurous eaters.
Get to know all the fun and consider signing up for a share or half-share!