A Student’s Guide to Asheville (On a Budget)

With Mass Communication students Peyton Graham and Virginia Taylor

Welcome to Asheville! The city that’s known for its beautiful mountains, mouth-watering food, outstanding artists and all the tie-dye your heart desires. Every year we welcome our new Bulldogs with excitement for them to explore, not only the campus, but everything the city has to offer.

Coming from current college students, we understand the stress that can come with money (or the lack of it), and the desire to venture outside of campus. So we’re going to show you that money doesn’t have limit your Asheville experience with our own personal guide.

Ready to get your day started? Check out Hole Doughnuts located on Haywood Road. You can enjoy a fresh doughnut made from scratch with a nice cup of milk or coffee. While you enjoy your tasty treat, you can watch the doughnut experts hand craft each doughnut to perfection until everything is sold out. Their hours are 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are closed on Tuesday.

Total $ Spent: $4

Next, be sure to check out the River Arts District to unleash your creative side. From graffiti, to gallery hopping, to learning how to blow your own glass, Asheville’s local artists will be sure to treat you to all their finest creations. Before you leave, sit down and enjoy the food and view at White Duck Taco. There is indoor and outdoor seating with the view of the French Broad River. They even tend to everyone’s food preferences with gluten free and vegan options. Each taco cost roughly $4, but don’t forget to share chips and queso with your friends. White Duck Taco has three locations that all have hours from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Total $ Spent: $7.65

Downtown Asheville is home to lots of local shops and artwork, and it’s not uncommon to run into a festival when walking through Pack Square Park. In the video, you can see local artists set up in Pack Square Park displaying and selling their art. You can also see UNC Asheville dance students performing “Moving Voices,” an on-site dance series about social justice issues in Germany and the U.S. Performances like this is just one of many ways that students often get involved in the community.

Total $ Spent: Free!


Don’t be afraid to take an adventure off-campus and see what is in store for you in the Asheville community. We couldn’t visit all the great places to check out in Asheville on a budget, but here’s some other cool spots to check out that we love!

The Hop Ice Cream Café

  • Locations: Merrimon Avenue and two on different points of Haywood Road.
  • Hours: Hours vary for each location, but they’re open for a sweet treat each day of the week.
  • Student Discount: 10% Friday-Wednesday and 20% on Thursday

Asheville Pizza & Brewing

Enjoy pizza and a show at this cool pub.

  • Locations: North Asheville, Downtown and South Asheville
  • Hours: Hours vary for each location, but they’re open each day of the week.
  • Student Discount: 15% on certain items at the Merrimon location

The Asheville Drum Circle

Come out to the drum circle to enjoy music and dancing with your local townies. This is a very popular Asheville tradition!

  • Location: Pritchard Park in Downtown
  • Hours: Roughly 6-10 p.m., depending on the weather every Friday night, and typically last spring through fall.

The Noodle Shop

Accommodating everyone’s food preference with vegan and vegetarian options, this is a great place to enjoy indoor or outdoor seating and satisfy your cravings for Asian food.

  • Location: SW Pack Square in Downtown Asheville.
  • Hours: Vary daily

When it comes to the Asheville community, you’ll never be bored. Forget the fear of burning a hole in your pocket and enjoy the art, music, and tasty treats. Welcome to your new home, Bulldogs!