Travel Attractions

River Arts District

Distance from hotel: 6.0 mi

Asheville itself is an amazingly artistic city and many hours can be spent wandering its downtown streets that are filled with galleries, shops that sell handcrafted items, and restaurants serving intriguing cuisines that manage to cater to both healthy eaters and sophisticated palates. But one concentration of art and artists that cannot be missed is the River Arts District.

The River Arts District has been described as being the "jewel in the crown" of Asheville. Those who head from downtown through West Asheville and walk, ride, or bike toward the French Broad River will find a mecca of creativity that feels both new and old. Making relatively new use of nineteen buildings from the turn of the twentieth century, close to two hundred artists have their studios here. They work on every sort of visual art, from paintings to mosaics to sculpture and paper arts. On any given day, the district is worth a stroll, as there will always be friendly artists who will welcome visitors into their studios.

The district is a neighborhood of Asheville and can be found along the French Broad River, and The town first started blooming when the railroad came through at the year of 1880, although due to the Great Depression, it fell inactive until the year of 1985. In the last 27 years, it has been reclaimed by local businesses and artists and is now a popular tourist destination.

Besides viewing art, it’s also possible to taste local wines, enjoy music at the venue, buy farm products or simply savor a hot meal. It is also very family friendly. Asheville is known to be a friendly and appreciative of tourism.

However, to get the full-blown experience be sure to come for the Second Saturday Stroll that is available every second Saturday throughout the year. On these special days, hundreds of folks wonder in and out of the beautifully restored buildings, seeing the artists at work as well as chatting, sharing refreshments, and taking special classes that are offered for this event.

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