Make the most of Asheville’s summer days and long evenings with events and activities in City of Asheville parks.
Many of the activities listed here are free and you can’t beat that price. There are small admission fees to the pools and the WNC Nature Center, for example.
But walking on a greenway is free. So is taking the kids to Splashville. Here are fun things to do at City facilities this summer. Find more information at www.ashevillenc.gov/departments/parks.
Enjoy free splashy fun for the kids at this interactive water fountain in Pack Square Park. Children delight as arching sprays of water shoot up at random. It’s a great way to cool it on a steamy summer day. Bring sunscreen, a towel and maybe a change of clothes for the kiddies. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, though the fountain is sometimes closed for maintenance and special events. Visit the Asheville Park’s & Rec Facebook page to find out about closings.
2. Movies in the Park
Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and bring the kids. The City of Asheville Parks and Recreation Department offers the free monthly movie series in Pack Square Park. Children’s craft activities begin at 6:30 p.m. and the movie begins at dusk on a giant screen on the Pack Square Park stage.
Food and beverages will be available at the park. Bring a chair or a blanket and come out for crafts, a movie under the stars, and an evening of fun, all for free.
3. Swim in a city pool
Recreation Park Pool, 65 Gashes Creek Road, open noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the pool at (828) 298-0880.
Malvern Hills Pool, 75 Rumbough Place, open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 6 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the pool at (828) 253-1164.
Walton Street Pool, 570 Walton Street, open noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the pool for more information at (828) 253-1143.
4. Visit the WNC Nature Center
The center, at 75 Gashes Creek Road, is home to 60 species of animals including river otters, black bear, red wolves and cougars. Visit the petting barn. Learn about reptiles and amphibians. See birds of prey and learn about animals of the Southern Appalachians. Learn about wildlife rehabilitation and conservation.
The WNC Nature Center is open daily all summer 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 828-259-8080 or visit WNCnaturecenter.com.
5. Walk through history on the Urban Trail
A walking tour of downtown Asheville, the Asheville Urban Trail highlights the unique people, historic events and architecture of the city. The Urban Trail is divided into five distinct eras, each of which has a symbol. These symbols are carved into pink granite blocks placed in the sidewalk along the way for you to follow. All street crosswalks for the trail are marked. The walking tour requires approximately two hours to complete. All 30 stations include a piece of art and/or a bronze plaque that describes the station. Comfortable shoes suggested.
6. Play disc golf
Richmond Hill Park 280 Richmond Hill Drive, offers more than 180-acres of natural wooded terrain and views of the French Broad River. Amenities include a disc golf course and a series of unpaved trails.
7. Amble through Riverside Cemetery
Historic Riverside Cemetery is at 45 Birch St., in the Montford Historic District. The cemetery features over 87 acres of landscaped grounds and is the final resting place for many of Asheville’s early notable citizens such as writers Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry. Both guided and self-guided walking tour information is available.
For more information, call 828-350-2066
8. Play tennis at Aston Park
Aston Park Tennis Center, 336 Hilliard Ave., was one of the finest public clay court facilities in the United States. There are 12 lighted clay courts designed and constructed of the Har Tru Fast Dry clay court material.
Reservations are encouraged, though walk-ins are accepted when available. Call 828-.251-4074. Court fees are $5 per hour for residents, $7 for nonresidents. Summer hours are 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
9. Cycle the velodrome at Carrier Park
Located within Carrier Park on Amboy Road, the track is what is best described as a training velodrome. Fondly dubbed the Mellowdrome, the asphalt oval is a gently banked (4 to 8 degrees), retired motor speedway that is now part of the Asheville City Parks and Recreation Department. Access to the infield is controlled by a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the track. All races are run under track racing rules and etiquette.
10. Rent a picnic shelter
The City’s 11 picnic shelters are located at various parks throughout Asheville and are free to use on a first-come, first-serve basis unless otherwise reserved for private use. The following picnic shelters may be reserved in advance at a flat rate of $40 per day. The Carrier Park picnic shelter is reserved at $150 per day. City of Asheville parks and picnic shelters are open during daylight hours seven days a week. To reserve a shelter, call Asheville Park & Recreation at 828-259-5800.
11. Watch the river go by at French Broad River Park
French Broad River Park, 180 Amboy Road, consists of roughly 2.5-miles as part of the French Broad River Greenway system. There is a playground, picnic tables, walking trails and a dog park. Not to be overlooked are grassy areas and some benches overlooking the French Broad River.
12. Walk on a greenway
Greenways are multi-use paths used for recreation and alternative transportation that typically occupy stream and river corridors. Greenways connect people to the places they live, work, and play as well as preserve open space to promote air and water quality. Asheville currently offers 4.3 miles of developed greenways and is working towards its vision of a 15 mile system composed of 12 interconnected corridors. Completed greenway spaces include:
French Broad River Greenway, Western Segment: The Western Segment consists of a 10-foot-wide paved trail that extends from the French Broad River Park (at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa River) to Hominy Creek Park (at the confluence of the French Broad River and Hominy Creek) for a total of 2.8 miles. The trail includes a short on-road section as well as a section that is incorporated into a private RV park.
Glenn’s Creek Greenway, Western Segment: The Western Segment trail extends from W.T. Weaver Park to the Botanical Gardens of UNC-Asheville for a total of 1 mile. The trail connects the Norwood, Montford and UNC-A neighborhoods.
Reed Creek Greenway, Phase I: The Phase I trail that extends from Catawba to Cauble Street for a total of 0.23 miles. Reed Creek Greenway is Asheville’s highest profile greenway because of its close proximity to downtown. Once complete, the 1.0 mile corridor will connect the Botanical Gardens, UNC-A, and the Montford neighborhood to downtown Asheville.
Swannanoa River Greenway, “Riverbend” Segment: The “Riverbend” Segment consists of a 10-foot-wide trail that runs in front of the Wal-Mart shopping center. It will eventually connect into the Swannanoa River Greenway system.