Galleries, graffiti, breweries, and tacos—if this sounds like heaven to you, then Asheville’s River Arts District is your Shangri-La. Located southwest of downtown, in the French Broad River valley, just downhill from the South French Broad neighborhood, the RAD was once Asheville’s industrial center. Today, over 200 artists make their studios there, along with too many galleries and artists’ collectives to count. Sanctioned graffiti art is everywhere you look. Restaurants, brewpubs, and studios make their homes in adapted shipping containers, historic Farmers Federation buildings, and old factories.
River Arts District Lifestyle
Newer Energy Star constructions and historic homes dot the area, or Clingman Lofts offers a lower-maintenance lifestyle in the form of condominiums at about half the price of a new construction. Bubbling with entrepreneurship, Asheville’s River Arts District is a great place to start your small business or work for yourself, especially in unconventional and creative pursuits. The RAD is also centrally located among major employers like Earth Fare, Crown Plaza Hotel, Mission Hospital, and all downtown businesses.
Isaac Dickson Elementary, Asheville Middle, and Asheville High School are all within a few miles; plus all Montford schools, including Montford North Star Academy, Odyssey School, and Adonai Christian Academy are just a quick five-minute drive.
The RAD farmer’s market on Wednesday afternoons outside All Souls Pizza offers a chance to pick up fresh local veggies and more.
Eats and Entertainment
Start your day with great coffee at Penny Cup, a local roaster, or Ultra Coffee Bar. Get your WOD on at CrossFit Pisgah, and then pop across the street for tacos from White Duck. Participate in a studio stroll for the rare opportunity to visit all the artists.
Put your canoe, tube, or paddle board in at Jean Webb Park and float up to Salvage Station or the Bywater for live music and food. Ride your bike or take a hike along the river from Carrier Park to New Belgium’s taproom and restaurant.
Check out legal graffiti, skate at the skatepark, eat BBQ from Asheville’s beloved 12 Bones, and drink local craft beer from the Wedge, all within the newly built Foundation complex. The Wedge’s original location nearby shows outdoor movies in the summer and shares space with galleries, studios, and Bull and Beggar, a hearty, French-infused farm-to-table bistro.
Catch touring bands and enjoy Tacos con Cuido at the Grey Eagle, or chill at the Guitar Bar for more intimate shows. Enjoy dinner at the Junction, followed by an independent play at RAD’s black box theater, Magnetic Field. If you’re feeling mellow, stop into the Crucible for a craft cocktail in an artsy, neighborhood atmosphere.
Asheville’s RAD is eclectic urban beauty at its best!