Fun Things to Do with Tweens and Teens in Asheville, NC
Attractions,  Family Friendly

18 Fun Things to Do in Asheville with Tweens and Teens

Asheville is a fun place for tweens and teens. There are so many engaging activities for them to participate in with their families and a few areas where they can explore independently. 

They’ll love checking out thrift shops and tea houses, going skateboarding or bike riding, watching movies at an indie theater, or sitting at an urban park enjoying the sunshine and bubble tea.

Traveling with teens comes with its own set of rewards and challenges. According to my experience as a mom of two, it’s crucial to involve them in the planning and let them contribute ideas based on their interests. It’s also a great chance for them to learn about budgeting. 

I always ensure everyone gets to pick one or two must-do things and that the rest do them happily and without complaining (hardest compromise ever for teens!). Then, the schedule is open to explore in a relaxing way.

When traveling with kids of any age, keep the agenda flexible, allow plenty of space and solo time (you deserve a break from them, too!), and go with the flow. And most of all, have fun discovering Asheville with your tweens and teens.

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18 Fun Things to Do in Asheville with Tweens and Teens

1. Explore Downtown Asheville

Fun Things to Do in Asheville with Teens: Explore Downtown Asheville

Downtown Asheville is the perfect place for tweens and teens. They’ll love the unique shops and the free-spirited central district. It’s also an awesome place for them to walk around without you because it’s small, safe, and full of fun things to do. Just remember to give them money to get souvenirs.


2. Walk the Urban Trail 

Walking the Urban Trail is one of the best free things to do in Asheville. This two-hour self-guided audio tour follows 30 bronze sculptures and plaques marking historical landmarks around downtown.

You’ll learn about our city’s history and visit iconic sites like the Jackson Building, Pack Square (featuring festivals, movies in the park, and a fun splash pad in the summer), the Saint Lawrence Basilica, the Grove Arcade, and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. 


3. Make Art at Chevron Trading Post and Bead Co. 

Chevron Trading Post and Bead Co. is one of the most fun places to shop in downtown Asheville. Your teens will love going through the shelves and finding a vast array of treasures, from beautiful star lamps and shark teeth to planters, baskets, gems, craft supplies, and thousands of colorful beads from all over the world!

If you’re looking for hands-on things to do with your teens, the staff will guide you through the steps to make beaded jewelry or home decor, and you can also schedule a class, attend a workshop, take stuff that needs repairs, or request a custom beaded piece. The staff at this downtown Asheville landmark is outstandingly friendly.


4. Do Dinner and a Movie

Fine Arts Theatre opened in 1946 and is a cinema treasure. It mainly shows indie movies and documentaries and has an old-time vibe. My kids and I have loved watching Studio Ghibli’s movies here.

Before or after the movie, head over to Mamacita’s Taqueria across the street for the best burritos and Mexican food in Asheville. According to my 16-year-old daughter’s expert opinion, “Every teenager in Asheville loves Mamacita’s!”


5. Enjoy Tea Time at Dobra Tea

Best Things to Do in Asheville with Tweens and Teens: Dobra Tea

Dobra Tea is a beautiful Eastern tea room with three locations in downtown, West Asheville, and East Asheville. Stopping off at one of Dobra Tea’s locations is one of the most unique things to do with teens in Asheville. They’ll love the floor seating and the cozy and intimate ambiance with wooden screens, Buddha statues, fresh flowers, and colorful fabrics.

Dobra Tea features an impressive menu of fair-trade teas from around the world, served in the traditional way by knowledgeable staff. They have the best iced teas in town if you come in the summer. They also offer savory and sweet items and a ton of gift options for tea lovers. 


6. Catch a Show at The Orange Peel

Fun Activities in Asheville with Tweens and Teens:  The Orange Peel
Image courtesy of The Orange Peel

The Orange Peel is one of Asheville’s best music venues and has often been highlighted in the national media. Its 8,500-square-foot hardwood dance floor has been voted one of the best places to dance in WNC for eight years. Plus, it’s a great place to introduce teens and tweens to live concerts.

Check the age requirements of each show, but keep in mind that most of their 18+ shows allow minors to go with their parents, so call or email to find out.


7. Go to the Asheville Pinball Museum

Fun Things to Do in Downtown Asheville: Have Fun Littles Ones

The Asheville Pinball Museum is steps away from all the shops and restaurants in the Grove Arcade and the perfect place to while away the hours. Pay the fee, and you can play for as long as you want. They have 70 pinball machines and classic video games.

Your family will love the funky decor with lots of fun vintage items. It’s near many of the best places to eat downtown, including the James Beard Award-winner Chai Pani, which serves excellent Indian street food, and Modesto, which offers upscale Italian meals.


8. Have Dinner at the S&W Market

Best Things to Do in Asheville with Tweens and Teens: S&W Market

The S&W Market is set in a historic Art Deco building that used to host a cafeteria. It’s now downtown’s only food court, home to some great places to eat, including Highland Brewing, Asheville’s original brewery. Families with kids love to eat here because there is an option for everyone.

But there are other options, too, and your kids will love choosing between fantastic fried chicken, Thai street food, hot dogs made with grass-fed meat, empanadas from Peru, and excellent artisan ice cream from The Hop.


9. Pet the Kitties at Cats at Play Café

Fun Activities in Asheville with Tweens and Teens:  Cats at Play

Cats at Play is Asheville’s first cat cafe, doubling as a foster home and focusing on hard-to-adopt senior and special needs cats. The best part? Kids over 13 don’t need to go with an adult, making it a perfect option for tweens and teens wanting a break. 

They’ll love the cat-inspired decor, the delicious local drinks and snacks, and playing with the cats in a super comfy, roomy lounge with plenty of space for everyone to relax. Of course, all kitties are available for adoption!


10. Take a Ghost Tour

A ghost tour is bound to be fun for the whole family, and luckily, Asheville has a few fun options. 

  • LaZoom Comedy Tours are legendary, and nobody should leave Asheville without participating in such a fun, authentic Asheville experience. Their Ghosted: Haunted Comedy Tour is to die for. Restricted to kids 17 and up, this is a fun option for older teens. 
  • Asheville Free Walking Tours’ Ghost Tour is affordable and the only walking tour that includes the historic Riverside Cemetery in Montford, which is another popular place for local teenagers to explore. 
  • Finally, Haunted Asheville offers the most famous ghost tours in town, including a Supernatural Tour and a Biltmore Village Mystery Tour, which are sure to be crowd-pleasers for your kids. 

11. Play Games at Well Played Board Game Cafe

Fun Activities in Asheville with Tweens and Teens:  Well Played Board Game Cafe

Well Played Board Game Cafe offers a selection of 700 games organized by difficulty level, and it’s another cool activity to do with tweens and teens in Asheville. They’ll soon open a board game library!

They have a vast menu of comfort food (the sandwiches are great!) and desserts and a great selection of local beer, wine, and coffee. Follow them on social media for updates about events, including tournaments and trivia your kids will love.


12. Satisfy Your Hippie Needs at Instant Karma

Are your teens obsessed with crystals, candles, incense, tie-dye clothing, tarot readings, and other hippy things? Stop at Instant Karma, “Asheville’s one-stop hippie shop,” for fun gifts at affordable prices.

Whenever my daughter and her friends go downtown, they return with a baggie from Instant Karma. Yesterday, they got pink and purple candles and a cute Asheville T-shirt!


13. Visit an Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain 

Fun Things to Do in Asheville with Teens: Woolworth Walk
Image courtesy of Woolworth Walk

Woolworth Walk is a super fun 20,000-square-foot art gallery showcasing the work of about 170 local artists in a restored historic building. Besides being a fun place to shop, it has an old-fashioned soda fountain serving classic Southern fast food.

Your kids will love sitting at the red and chrome lunch counter that resembles the original 1938 Woolworth Luncheonette while digging into an old-fashioned ice cream soda or banana split. Insta-worthy pictures are guaranteed!


14. Get a Mini Spa Treatment at RU Social Spa

Fun Activities in Asheville with Tweens and Teens:  Recline and Unwind Social Spa
Image courtesy of Recline and Unwind Social Spa

Recline and Unwind Social Spa is the cutest spa in town. It’s in Pack Square and offers a simple formula: you sit down in a comfy recliner chair and choose a mini spa treatment from the menu while sipping local drinks and eating chocolate truffles.

They offer 30-minute foot soaks and massages of the head, face, hands, and feet in a fun environment where talking, laughing, and making TikTok videos are encouraged!


15. Get Bubble Tea at Sweets and Seats

Sweets and Seats is one of the best dessert spots in Asheville. They have French pastries, Hong Kong desserts (the owner was born there), Taiwanese shaved ice with homemade syrups, and all-natural bubble teas.

I’ll never understand bubble tea, but my teens love it and enjoy going there with their friends before strolling around the streets downtown. Their space is super roomy and doubles as a showcase for displaying outdoor furniture for sale. The comfy seating areas are perfect for conversations or setting up the laptop and getting things done.


16. Mine Gemstones at Asheville Gem Mine

Asheville Gem Mine is another very popular place for Asheville tweens and teens. They have thousands of gemstones, jewelry, toys, and gift options, like a giant glow-in-the-dark crystal growing kit and books about healing with crystals.

The indoor gem mine is a very fun activity for the entire family. They have seven bucket options from $15.99 to $199, and the friendly staff will help you identify the gems. 


17. Explore Haywood Road in West Asheville

Pride Month in Asheville: RuPaul and Dolly Parton mural

This is another popular area in Asheville for tweens and teens wanting to roam in a pack. Haywood Road is West Asheville’s central street and one of my favorite places to walk around. 

West Asheville’s vibe is more free-spirited, and you will see fewer tourists there. This is my kids’ neighborhood at their dad’s house, so I’m very familiar with it. Here are some ideas of what to do:

  • Go thrifting at rEvolve. They have “pay what you can” bins and $4 items.
  • Get iced coffee at Izzy’s Coffee House (although there are many excellent coffee shops and even a kava bar on Haywood Road).
  • Shop at Whist, a great place for truly original gifts.
  • Have artisan ice cream with eccentric flavors at The Hop.
  • Find beautiful, unique items, including fresh flowers and plants, at Flora flower shop/café.
  • Play with black cats at the House of Black Cat Magic, a cat lounge, foster home, and magic shop. They host Magic Markets on the weekends and all the panthers are available for adoption.
  • Dine at Botiwalla, which serves fantastic Indian street food.

18. Spend a Day in the River Arts District

Best Things to Do in Asheville with Tweens and Teens: River Arts District

The River Arts District (RAD) is one of the most fun areas to check out if you travel to Asheville with tweens and teens. My kids love going there! Here are some exciting things to do in the RAD:

  • If you are in Asheville on the second Saturday of the month, ride the free trolley between the RAD and downtown. 
  • Walk or bike the RAD’s Wilma Dykeman Greenway.
  • Have lunch at White Duck Taco Shop, which offers amazing, non-traditional tacos by the French Broad River with plenty of outdoor seating and outdoor games.

There you have it! 18 fun things to do in Asheville with tweens and teens. Do you have anything fun to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.


Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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