I love taking tours when I travel, and I take tours at home when I’m not traveling! Joining tours to explore where you live is like having a special date with a loved one to connect deeper and feel more appreciation each time.
I consider myself an independent traveler, but I always include a dose of locally operated tours and experiences offered by locals to further explore whatever excites me the most about the destination.
Asheville is a small city with a population of less than 100,000 – but it has a lot to offer! From its architectural gems and exciting farm-to-table food movement and beer scene to its epic outdoors and talented artists, there is something for everyone here. Asheville is also full of projects, nonprofits, and businesses that form a support network for our underserved communities.
I’ve compiled a list of tours that reflect all aspects of Asheville’s identity. You’ll see options to explore our city’s history, outdoors, street art, food and beer scene, art shops, and our most famous buildings: The Biltmore House and the Omni Grove Park Inn. But no matter which type of tour you choose, you’re bound to walk away with a deeper understanding of this great city!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Fun and Unique Tours in Asheville, NC
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
The Best Tours in Asheville, NC
1. Get to Know Asheville’s Landmarks by Taking Its Most Iconic Tour
The purple buses of LaZoom Comedy Tours represent one of the best tours in Asheville and are a city landmark. The first thing I saw when I first visited Asheville from Argentina, looking for a new cool place to live in the United States, was a guy dressed as a nun, riding a bike, and angrily screaming at a purple bus. I instantly knew this was the place for our family to move next. My kids had to grow up near Sister Bad Habit!
These “historical and hysterical” multi-award-winning tours mix comedy, history, and partying on purple buses guided by eccentric characters. The locally owned and operated tour company was founded by two street performers 16 years ago and now offers four tours.
“Hey Asheville” is a city tour and vaudeville on wheels. “Fender Bender” mixes live music on the bus and beer tasting, making an original, fun Asheville brewery tour. “Ghosted” offers a haunted comedy tour, and “Lil Boogers” is their kid-friendly option (the others have age limits, so please check ahead of time). All the tours are dog friendly!
2. See Asheville’s Top Attractions on the Gray Line Asheville Trolley
The Gray Line Asheville Trolley tour is one of the most popular Asheville tours, and for a good reason. It offers an excellent, award-winning Hop-On Hop-Off Tour that the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County has endorsed.
Visitors can listen to the live narration and get off the bus at one of the 10 stops (or all of them!) along the 15-mile route to experience Asheville’s breweries, shops, and the urban scene. Also, tickets are valid for two consecutive days!
This locally owned and operated business also offers a fun ghost tour, covering some of our most famous specters (we have plenty!), including the friendly Tim Burton-like ghost of the Pink Lady of the Grove Park Inn and the mystery of the Nazi agents based in Asheville.
The seasonal Holly Jolly Christmas Trolley Tour includes live music and Christmas caroling while driving past festive holiday decorations in downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, and the Montford and Grove Park neighborhoods.
3. Explore Downtown on an Asheville Walking Tour
This self-guided Urban Trail Tour is a free audio tour offered by the City of Asheville and is a great way to get to know the city’s history at your own pace. It starts at Pack Place Park and follows 30 stations marked by cool sculptures.
AVL Free Walking Tours offers a tip-based Asheville walking tour that ends with a free scoop of ice cream at The Hop. Their haunted tour (not free) starts at the Riverside Cemetery in the historic district of Montford and goes all the way downtown. It’s the only ghost tour that covers this super interesting cemetery.
The Asheville Coffee Tour features six of Asheville’s best coffee and tea shops. It includes short stops at Asheville’s landmarks and lots of caffeine!
The Asheville Music History Walking Tour explores downtown through the stories of Asheville’s eclectic past and present music scene. It covers the Moogseum (which offers its own tour) and the famous venue The Orange Peel, among other local icons.
Did you know that the Jackson Building, the Battery Park Hotel, and a famous restaurant host ghosts? Last Halloween, my kids and I took the Haunted Asheville Ghost Tour, one of the best Asheville walking tours, and we enjoyed getting a glimpse of the city’s past through these dark stories.
4. Explore Downtown and Its Surroundings on Wheels
Winner of TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice Award, the Tukit Tour Co offers guided tours around downtown on environmentally-friendly, open-air six-seater electric tuk-tuks decorated with LED-lights and equipped with Bluetooth speakers and heated seats. They offer ready-to-go tours and private customized tours.
The Flying Bike provides electric bike tours around town. The Winter Warm Up E-Bike Tour is perfect for chilly days, and it includes stops at two local restaurants, hot cocoa, apple cider, and a visit to the historic Omni Grove Park Inn.
Asheville Adventure Company features a scenic Asheville e-bike sunset tour, perfect for photos all year round but especially in the fall. The e-bike tours are kid-friendly if you’re traveling with kids.
I’ve never taken a Segway tour, but I might because every time I see the Segway riders around my neighborhood, they look so content and relaxed. Moving Sidewalk Segway Tours offers a tour that covers downtown and other areas, like Montford and the greenways in North Asheville. The tour is 10 and up, and training is included!
5. Tour Downtown Asheville while Drinking and Pedaling on an Amazing Pubcycle
Amazing Pubcycle is one of the most trendy Asheville tours. The pedal-powered (motor-assisted) trolleys and their festive, laughing riders are becoming a happy downtown landmark.
The company offers different tours perfect for parties and celebrations, including fun bachelorette parties, but you can also book individual seats. Guests will bring their own and serve their own beer, wine, cider, or seltzer and drink it on a 15-person pedal trolley driven by a certified, funny, and charismatic tour guide.
Clients are welcome to wear costumes and bring decorations to customize their ride, so you can imagine what a fun sight these bikes are. The most popular offer is the Pub Tour in downtown Asheville which stops at one of Asheville’s best pubs.
Also, they’re now offering a Trivia Tour on wheels! Riders have to be older than 12. There are 10 pedal seats and room for five non-pedalers. Yes, you do have to pedal, so enjoy your drink and your workout!
6. Embark on an Asheville Scavenger Hunt Tour
This is a fantastic plan for co-workers, friends, or family! Asheville Detours offers personalized team adventures that will bring you around downtown. You’ll follow clues like solving riddles and unscrambling letters while enjoying tasty treats and drinks and participating in fun group activities introducing you to some favorite local businesses.
Asheville Detours has four offerings, and they can all be customized according to your preferences: The Bachelorette Tour, the Authentic Asheville Detour, the Family Fun Detour, and the Team Building Detour. Each hunt is self-guided and lasts approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.
Some stops and treats include eating donuts at the beloved Stay Glazed, tasting honey at Asheville Bee Charmer, group crafting at Fired Up, beer and chocolate tastings, and a champagne toast and private tour at Momentum Gallery.
Also, are you looking for the perfect, most unique Asheville gift? They offer “Authentic Asheville” gift boxes featuring local products, an excellent way to keep spreading the love for local businesses!
7. Learn about Asheville’s African American Residents with this Award-Winning Tour
Hood Huggers International’s mission is to “rebuild Affrilachia through art, environment, and social enterprise.” Affrilachia is a term coined by Frank X Walker referring to African Americans living in Appalachia.
In this context, Hood Huggers offers walking and driving tours that take visitors through the past and the present of African Americans in Asheville. This initiative won TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Award.
Two walking tours cover Eagle Street in downtown Asheville and Burton Street in West Asheville, and the driving tour begins downtown and visits different neighborhoods throughout the city. These Asheville tours cover the history of these communities, current projects, and visions for the future. They are aimed at visitors and locals alike.
If you take these tours, you’ll learn about the history of Asheville, but you’ll also be supporting the economic development of Asheville’s African American communities and businesses. A portion of all proceeds through Hood Huggers International are reinvested in the community.
8. Get a Sugar High at French Broad Chocolate Company
French Broad Chocolate is one of Asheville’s favorite chocolate shops. Locals and visitors love stopping by the iconic blue building of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Pack Square and getting something sweet, from housemade bonbons and ice cream to cookies, cakes, and brownies, and a delicious selection of drinking chocolates.
All of the chocolate is made in their chocolate factory, and they offer a fantastic Bean to Bars Chocolate Factory Tour that covers an introduction to a cocoa farm, the company’s story, and an overview of the process of transforming cocoa beans into a chocolate bar. In addition, there are tastings of cacao in its different forms, including, of course, bonbons!
French Broad Chocolate also offers tastings, so please check their calendar to see if you can catch one of them. This is an excellent tour for kids. I did it with mine years ago. Children under 7 don’t have to pay for a ticket.
9. Explore the River’s Arts District’s Shops and Art Galleries
There are about 200 studios in the 23 former industrial buildings along this one-mile stretch of the French Broad River called the River’s Arts District (RAD). There are different ways to explore this area, which is also home to excellent restaurants, cafés, and breweries.
Each Saturday, Mountain Mural Tours offers a popular street art tour that departs from the River’s Art District but also includes downtown and West Asheville. You’ll learn about Asheville’s history while seeing some fantastic local art. Your Instagram account will thank you for that photo of a gigantic Dolly Parton!
Flying Bike Tours‘ West Asheville River Arts District E-Bike Tour stops at some landmarks, including The Marquee, a design center where you’ll find pieces of art of all kinds, and The Peace Garden, an eclectic, beautiful community garden decorated with works from local artists using repurposed materials.
You’ll also love the free, tip-based walking tour offered by AVL Free Walking Tours and the concept of their photo stroll in the RAD, where you’ll relax while someone else takes care of the pictures in one of Asheville’s most photogenic neighborhoods.
On the second Saturday of the month, there are special events in the RAD and a free trolley to tour the shops.
10. Splash Around in One of the Four Oldest Rivers In the World
Some of the best things to do while in Asheville are to spend time outdoors, hike, enjoy the views, and play in the water. Did you know that Asheville’s French Broad River is among the four oldest rivers in the world?
French Broad Outfitters offers a variety of fun French Broad River floating and kayaking experiences. You’ll love to see Asheville from a different perspective on a warm day and join locals in one of the most beloved Asheville summer activities. They also offer an e-bike Asheville breweries tour and SUP yoga classes.
Asheville Adventure Company organizes guided whitewater French Broad rafting trips that are family-friendly. Wai Maina Asheville SUP Tours provides stand-up paddleboard tours and experiences that the entire family will love.
Zen Tubing will set you up with everything you’ll need to enjoy your lazy river float along the French Broad River like dozens of locals do on warm days. Of course, you’ll need to bring your bathing suit and sunglasses!
11. Take a Photo Tour to Polish Your Photography Skills (or Get Professional Shots)
Asheville Urban Arts Photo Tours offers professional shots in some of the most beautiful urban settings, including Asheville’s cool murals. There are three tours: Downtown Urban Vibe, the River Arts Tour, and the West Asheville Tour.
The promise is to take you to “the most Insta-worthy art spots in Asheville.” You’ll receive a full gallery of ready-to-post photos in five days!
WNC Photo Tours provides private photography tours and workshops at the most scenic locations. You’ll learn how to take better photos with your camera or smartphone. Some of their options include photographing elks, a fall color tour, and one-on-one post-procession sessions. They also offer professional photo sessions.
Asheville Photo Tours‘ excellent offerings cover vistas and waterfalls, private tours customized to your desires, and photographing the fall colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you loved your photo tour so much you want to keep learning, they also offer private coaching sessions to work with you to develop your skills and online photo critiques.
12. Walk, Ride, Kayak, or Float to Asheville’s Best Breweries
Asheville (aka Beer City, USA) has more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States. With an average of 28.1 breweries per 100,000 residents and 100 local beers, it’s no wonder this city is a paradise for beer lovers worldwide.
Recognized by National Geographic and TripAdvisor, BREW-ed’s Brewery Tours offers one of the best Asheville brewery tours. These informative, educational walking tours are guided by Cicerone-certified guides.
These beer experts will take you to some of the best downtown breweries where, besides tasting the local crafts, you’ll learn about the process of making beer and how Asheville’s beer culture has evolved over the years.
Asheville Brews Cruise is Asheville’s original, 16-year-old brewery tour and promises “an ample amount of beer” in its walking and mobile tours. All tours are knowledge-based and include visits to three or four Asheville breweries, tasting samples, lots of information, and fun guides.
Asheville Adventure Company offers an E-Bike Brewery Crawl that combines visits to the most popular breweries, cruising through Asheville’s neighborhoods, and checking out the city’s landmarks. If you are a “go with the flow” type of traveler, Cedar Rock Adventures’ Floating Bar Crawl Tour is your best bet!
13. Eat Your Way through Asheville’s Famous Farm-to-Table Food Scene
Wherever you come from, I’m sure that exploring this city’s food culture is one of the top things on your Asheville to-do list. These tours will make it easier for you to discover the best local experiences. Enjoy!
Asheville Food Tours is the original walking food tour of downtown Asheville, and it covers an impressive list of restaurant partners. A popular tour is The Food Fan, guided by local food influencer Stu Helm and showcasing his favorite restaurants. The Food Fan’s passion for Asheville’s culinary scene is infectious!
Imagine yourself strolling around the forest, gathering edibles, and having them cooked for you at an award-winning restaurant. This experience is possible with No Taste Like Home’s tours, TripAdvisor’s number one foraging activity in the US and one of the best tours in Asheville. You’ll love this authentic “off-the-eaten-path” Asheville experience!
Another TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award winner, Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours offers a three-hour, three-rooftop guided bar tour combining some of the best of what makes Asheville irresistible: outstanding food, great drinks, mountain views, and spectacular sunsets.
14. Explore the Outdoors With Local Guides
Asheville Hiking Tours offers tours of Asheville’s impressive waterfalls and the best views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Local guides will take you to their favorite spots while telling you about the local history and environment.
Are you interested in taking a unique wild foraging tour? Asheville Hiking Tours’ excursions include food foraging as well!
Join Asheville Wellness Tours’ guides for a healing, resetting forest bathing experience, a hike, yoga, and mountain views adventure, or (my favorite) a yoga class with baby goats! Can you imagine a better Asheville tour? I can’t.
Hike Bike Kayak Asheville‘s personalized tours will show you why Asheville is a favorite outdoor destination. NCLINE Adventures’ diverse offerings include elopement ceremonies and hiking/fishing trips for couples with different interests. Hike WNC‘s private Peak-to-Peak Mountain Top Tour offers some of the best views in North Carolina, and it has now added a Blue Ridge Parkway Jeep Tour.
15. Tour Asheville’s Iconic Biltmore Estate and Omni Grove Park Inn
Visitors with a daytime ticket to visit the Biltmore Estate or overnight guests can participate in the tours offered by the Biltmore. Some tours are self-guided and included with admission, while others have a fee.
They offer bike riding, wine and chocolate tasting, and rooftop tours. The interesting Biltmore House Backstairs Tour will give you a glimpse of the lives of the people who worked at the house, taking you to the overlooked domestic areas.
You can visit The Omni Grove Park Inn for the day at no charge (there might be a parking fee depending on the time of the year) and walk around the garden and the buildings, shop around, have dinner, and get to know the history of the most famous Asheville hotel.
They offer a 45-minute self-guided tour covering the hotel’s early years, the arts and crafts-style furniture collection, and the visit of famous guests (George Gershwin, Harry Houdini, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even President Obama have stayed here.). Bring your headphones!
What are your favorite tours in Asheville? Have you done a fantastic Asheville tour that’s not listed here? Please let us know in the comments!
SHARE THIS ON PINTEREST