If you spend any time reading up on Asheville, North Carolina you’ll see it referred to as Dog City, USA. With a name like that I knew that Lucy and I had to check it out. From the mountains, to the breweries and all sorts of great dog friendly shops and parks there was plenty to keep us busy for a week. Are you thinking of planning a dog friendly trip to Asheville? Don’t wait for other people to go with you, I did this trip on my own with Lucy and we had a blast! If you’re thinking about traveling with your pup, don’t forget to look into dog insurance. There are a lot of pet insurance companies out there, similar to Pets Best, that could give you the cover your pet needs should the unthinkable happen during their doggie vacation. Check out some of my favorite places and insider tips in this comprehensive guide!
Dog Friendly Hotel in Asheville
Lucy and I spent about a week in Asheville so I split up our stay so we’d have a few days in the heart of downtown where all the action is, then a few nights up on a mountain side where we could enjoy the sunset and slow down a little bit.
While in the city, we stayed at the Aloft Asheville Downtown. Aloft is such an awesome dog friendly chain, but their Asheville location takes it to the next level! They foster rescues who are available for adoption right in the lobby. Check out this video I did for PawCulture to see the adorable pup named Puma who was there during our stay. Since launching this one-of-a-kind partnership with Charlie’s Angel’s in 2015, more than 90 dogs have found loving homes through hotel visitors!
As much as we loved being in the heart of the action, it was really awesome to relocate to an AirBNB 15 minutes outside of town. The house we stayed at was so hidden at the top of a mountain that I think we passed 3 “private road” signs to get up there. We had a fabulous porch to sit on and enjoy the sun rise and sun set while Lucy snacked on treats from Patton Avenue Pet Co. The house was a quick drive away from Biltmore Village and the Estate, so Lucy and I saved that for the second half of our stay.
Dog Friendly Restaurants and Breweries in Asheville
There are so many breweries and awesome restaurants in Asheville! There’s no way you could go to all of them, but Lucy and I made it to a few really great places.
Everyone will tell you to check out Wicked Weed. It’s a cool place, but when we went one night it was so packed that it was really hard to get a drink and I think it was a little too noisy and crowded for Lucy. We did meet a group of really nice people I talked to for a while, but this place was hard to hang out at solo!
I really liked the vibe at Bhramari Brewing. There was a really big, nice outdoor area and many different seating options. Make sure to flag down a waiter though because they don’t allow dogs to go inside, so that makes it a little difficult to order if it’s just you and your pup.
One of my favorite places was Catawba Brewing Company tucked away on a little side street. The brewery was totally dog friendly, meaning Lucy could come inside with me to order. We could have stayed inside, but they have an awesome patio/garden with tons of seating. I ordered a flight so I could try a bunch of different beers and got the tastiest tostadas from a food truck parked in the garden area. It was so chill! We hung out for a while!
If you’d like a change of pace from the breweries, many of the restaurants downtown have dog friendly seating and even doggy menus! We stumbled up Mountain Madre Mexican Kitchen and their amazing back patio. The waiter brought Lucy a big water bowl right away, everyone was super nice and I felt really comfortable eating on my own with Lucy.
Dog Friendly Places to Explore in Asheville
Of course we went to the Biltmore Estate! But first, let me tell you about a really cool place we discovered thanks to the concierge at the Aloft. Built in 1913, The Omni Grove Park Inn is is a truly one of a kind property and it’s totally dog friendly!
Lucy and I took a ride on a old fashioned elevator up to the top floor and walked around to look at all the historical photos that documented the hotel being built. It’s really cool to imagine what life was like for people at that time. And it’s totally mind boggling to imagine them building a building of this scale! I guess they had to keep up with the Vanderbilts down the street!
After walking around and getting lost down some hallways in the subterranean spa, we settled on the patio for a beer and some sun. This would be a perfect place to watch the sunset if you can plan for that. There’s also some pretty cool art around the Grove Park like this dog sculpture by artist Dale Rogers.
Now for the highlight of the trip… the Biltmore Estate!
First of all, The Biltmore Estate is humongous! Going inside the house is spectacular, but your dog can’t join you for that part. So, I’d recommend saving that for another time and instead spending the day exploring the gardens and trails of the estate. Yes, you could really spend the entire day doing this! I found an amazing tip from another dog blogger when I was planning my trip. Of course I can’t find that link now, but I’m going to pass along her advice.
When you arrive at the Biltmore, you’ll check in at the gate house then have to drive like 15 minutes up the driveway. Do not go to the parking lots. Apparently dogs are not permitted on the shuttle that takes you from the parking lots to the house and gardens, so parking there would leave you kind of stranded! Instead, follow signs for the garden center or shop. You’ll end up driving right past the house, which is pretty cool! Then you can park in the small lot at the bottom of the gardens, behind the shop. There’s limited parking here, so this plan is best if you go early!
Once you’ve parked, walk up to the house, enjoy the view, explore the rose garden and take a bunch of photos! After that you can walk the nature trails down to the bass pond. If you still have energy, you can relocate your car down to the lower ponds near the new hotel and walk you dog around that area. These paths are along the French Broad River and there were a couple spots where it was safe to let Lucy jump in. Probably against the rules, but nobody seemed to mind!
There’s also a winery at the Biltmore and I would bet that you can hang out there with your doggy too! We didn’t get to do that this trip. You always have to save something for next time.
Asheville Dog Park
Although we had a ton of fun at the Biltmore, you just can’t do that every day! When you need a more low key place to run around, there’s a great fenced in dog park right along the French Broad River. We met a lot of nice dogs and friendly owners in the park and Lucy really enjoyed a chance to run off leash! We went three or four times during our stay, it was really convenient. Each day we went I also stopped at Ultra Coffee Bar after the park. They have amazing coffee, muffins and avocado toast! There’s big dig friendly patio and sidewalk tables.
Public Art In Asheville
If you love to take photos of your dog as much as I do, then you definitely want to seek out some of the amazing murals around Asheville. My best recommendation is to head down to the River Arts District where you can find colorful walls and the Beware Of Dog mural (that one gets changed every now and then, so it might be different now!). You can also take your dog into many of the galleries in this neighborhood.
If you drive from the River Arts District towards the dog park I mention above, you’ll also pass through an industrial area on Lyman Street that has a ton of murals! Park you car and walk around to take some cool photos. I saw a bunch of other people doing it, so it’s definitely a “thing.”
More Dog Friendly Things to Do In Asheville
Want even more ideas for a dog friendly trip to Asheville? I did a lot of my planning based off of this blog post on the Asheville website. I also created a video about dog friendly Asheville for PawCulture!