On the surface Asheville, North Carolina seems like a sleepy and slow-paced town, but nothing could be further from the truth. Beneath the laid-back atmosphere of first impressions beats a musical heart and vibrant nightlife that rivals other cities with two or three times the population.
Sounds and Sights for every discerning visitor
My first experience in Asheville was back in 2010 and I was pleasantly surprised by what the city had to offer. Instead of featuring only blues and folk music, which was what I had anticipated, I was greeted by diverse musicians, unique venues and enthusiastic fans. Whether you like electronic music, hip-hop or even jazz, come to Asheville eager to see a few shows because the city definitely has something for you.
Live Music everyday and OMG BLT’s
After Room5g into a hotel like the beautiful Indigo Asheville Downtown, head straight for the One Stop Deli & Bar. This place is a perfect way to ease into your Asheville experience. They have live music every day of the week except Mondays and their famous OMG BLT is pretty amazing. Show times vary daily so be sure to check their schedule online if you desire the authentic One Stop experience.
The Best club in America you didn’t know about
Photo by Shaindlin
Next up on this musical tour is the best known music spot in all of town, The Orange Peel. No trip to Asheville is complete without a stop here. This standing-room-only rock venue has well-known acts such as the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Arcade Fire and Macklemore, that come through on a weekly basis and was even named one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top five clubs in the nation. And for all you beer lovers out there, here’s an insider tip: most nights the two bars tap different kegs so make sure to visit each one.
Local beers and Local jams
Another fun place is the French Broad Brewery & Tasting Room. In the evenings from 5:30pm to 8:00pm (close) they feature live local music in their tasting room. Grab yourself a refreshing craft beer (I recommend the Wee Heavy-er Scotch Style Ale) and enjoy some laid back local jams.
From hipsters to hippies
Photo by Rich Orris
For anyone craving hip-hop, jazz, funk or reggae then be sure to check out The Emerald Lounge. It’s a small place, but attracts a very diverse crowd of listeners from hipsters to hippies. I was just as entertained people-watching as I was listening to some unknown band jam out.
You’ve got to see at least a little bit of bluegrass
The best time of year to visit is undoubtedly during the summer and fall. From June through September and October there are a variety of outdoor shows and musical events, most notably the Shindig on the Green, an annual Asheville event since the mid-1960s. After all no trip to Asheville would be complete without at least a little bit of bluegrass. Bring your instrument and come on out for a night of Appalachian music, jam sessions, and of course, folk dancing.