Souvenir Shopping in Asheville

Enjoy shopping in Asheville for some fantastic local souvenirs

1. Wine, Beer, or Chocolate

If you’re anything like me, the perfect gift is one I can consume. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a growler of beer, or chocolate in the shape of, well, anything.  You will find options for all of these while shopping in Asheville, and the fact that they are local items makes them even more special!

For wine, visit the Biltmore Estate winery, Table Wine in Hendersonville, or the Asheville Wine Market on Biltmore Avenue. Asheville Wine Market, voted best of Western North Carolina 2014, is massive and almost overwhelming. Floor-to-ceiling wine displays in every corner (which means the kids may want to sit this one out), complete with a wine tasting station, ensure you’ll fine the perfect Bordeaux or Chardonnay for your loved one. Definitely a must see!

Visit Burial Beer Co. in Asheville, NC
Photo courtesy of Burial Beer Co.

 

For beer, check out any one of the areas local breweries. Popular stops include Burial Beer Co., a creative brewery that focuses on Belgian styles with a modern twist, as well as American styles such as IPAs and Breakfast Stouts. Although you cannot take your favorite samples of Burial Beer home with you (they do not currently bottle their beers to go), you may purchase a snazzy memento of this unique brewery for yourself or any beer lover on your gift list. Choose from several types of t-shirts, hoodies, and glassware, or opt for a gift card.

Asheville Brewing Company is known both for their classic brews, as well as for pushing the limits. Try their jalapeno-infused Fire Escape, the Mardi Gras-inspired Bier de Garde, or the malty & hoppy Ashevillian black IPA. Gift a growler! Or, visit Wicked Weed, easily one of the city’s most popular breweries and restaurants (judging by the wait for a table every Saturday).

For chocolate, of course you have to visit French Broad Chocolates (committed to sustainable business practices and super high quality products). The owners of French Broad Chocolates also own and operate a cacao field in Costa Rica. Be sure to visit their tasting room and fall in love with their truffles, bars, and brownies. Once you fall in love, you can order online … from anywhere. You’re welcome.

2. Biltmore Estate

There is perhaps no more quintessential Ashemore souvenir than one from the Biltmore Estate. Known worldwide for its exceptional beauty, this estate is an Asheville staple and, quite possibly, the city’s most famous landmark.

The gift shop at Biltmore is actually more like an entire wing of the mansion, and is portioned out into different rooms. You have the classic gift shop with things like glassware, books, wine (highly recommended: ask for a tasting), and food and dip mixes from the famed Biltmore kitchen, or you can visit the toyland for vintage children’s toys. Also available is the Christmas souvenir shop with ornaments and classic decorations that are reminiscent of the decorations used in the Biltmore Estate every Christmas. Shopping in these gift shops can easily take the whole afternoon and can be accessed even without a ticket inside the house (you can tour the grounds, shop, and dine without a touring ticket).

3. Art

An absolutely ideal and one-of-a-kind gift is a piece of artwork, which Asheville is not short on. Whether it’s a painting, an iron work, or a piece of pottery, you’ll find the perfect gift in the River Arts District. Nestled along the French Broad River, the River Arts District is home to more than 180 working studios housed in 22 former factories and historic buildings.

Many of the artists have showrooms that are open daily for shopping, tours, and live demonstrations. There is seriously no greater area for finding that perfect handmade gift! May I recommend The Wedge Studios and 375 Depot Studios and Gallery? Good … because I just did.

In December, check out Second Saturday, a more in-depth look into the artists and their work spaces. Visit RiverArtsDistrict.com for a downloadable and printable map for all participating artists!

4. Classic

If you’d like just a good ‘ole down home souvenir, you’ll want to visit Mast General Store on Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. The store has been in operation since 1883 and is filled with rustic mountain charm. You’ll find everything from official Asheville gear (think t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats) to local history books, barrels filled with candy, hiking and camping gear, and handmade crafts. Pick up a handmade birdhouse or local soap as a unique gift for a friend or family member. My husband and I once picked up a slingshot from Mast for our 5-year old . . . and it has provided countless hours of entertainment for him! What I love about Mast General Store is that there is something for everyone at every price point and will be the perfect present under this year’s tree!

After enjoying some souvenir shopping in Asheville, check out the city’s live music scene at these local venues.

Chocolate truffles photo courtesy of French Broad Chocolates

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