This Is The Place

Hey, we’re not dumb. We know the main draw of AICFest 2019 is our beautiful, quirky, weird jewel of a town known to the world as Asheville, North Carolina. We prefer to call it home. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this magical place will enamor you with stunning nature; stuff your face with edible treasures harvested from our exciting local food scene and fill your belly with the craftiest beers, wine, coffee and just about any liquid you can imagine.    

While you’re with us for these three or four days, we hope you get to really dive into everything this area, and western North Carolina in general, has to offer. But much like any good improv set, it all starts off with a suggestion or two.

Where Should I Feed My Face?

Probably the most important question there is. There is a wealth of options all over town. We broke them down by neighborhood. Also, any listing as bolded white link is an official AICFest 2019 sponsor who you should definitely support.


  • Chai Pani [$]
  • Cucina 24 [$$$]
  • Curate [$$$]
  • En La Calle [$$]
  • Farmburger [$]
  • Limones [$$$]
  • Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge [$]
  • Table [$$$]
  • White Labs Kitchen & Lab [$]
  • Zambra [$$$]

River Arts District

West Asheville

  • The Admiral [$$$]
  • Biscuit Head [$]
  • Gypsy Queen [$]
  • OWL Bakery [$]
  • Pizza Mind [$]
  • Rocky’s Chicken Shack [$]
  • Simple [$]
  • Sunny Point [$]
  • Taqueria Munoz [$]
  • Taste of El Salvador [$]
  • The Hop [$]
  • Green Tea Sushi [$$]

North Asheville

  • 828 Family Pizzeria [$]
  • All Day Darling [$]
  • Homegrown [$]
  • Vinny’s [$$]
  • The Waterbird [$$]

Great! But what do I wash it down with?

No one ever goes thirsty in the Asheville area and here’s merely a short list of good reasons why:


  • Archetype Brewing
  • Asheville Brewing Company
  • Bhramari Brewhouse
  • Burial Beer
  • Catawba Brewing
  • Ginger’s Revenge
  • Green Man Brewing
  • Hi-Wire
  • Hillman Beer
  • Mills River Brewery
  • Nantahala Brewing
  • New Belgium
  • One World Brewing
  • Sierra Nevada Brewery
  • Thirsty Monk (Downtown/Biltmore Park)
  • Wedge Brewing
  • White Labs Kitchen & Lab
  • Wicked Weed/Wicked Weed Funkatorium
  • Zebulon Artisan Ales
  • Zillicoah Beer Company


  • Noble Cider
  • Urban Orchard Cider Company

Wine Bars/Shops

  • 5 Walnut Wine Bar
  • Appalachian Vintner
  • Crocodile Wine
  • District Wine Bar
  • Metro Wines
  • plēb urban winery


  • Chemist
  • Eda Rhyne
  • Troy & Sons

Cocktail Bars

  • Antidote
  • The Crow & Quill
  • Little Jumbo
  • Sovereign Remedies
  • The Imperial Life
  • The Montford Rooftop Bar
  • The Times at S&W
  • Top of the Monk

Coffee & Tea

Divey Bars

  • Banks Ave
  • The Barksdale
  • Burger Bar
  • DeSoto Lounge
  • The Double Crown
  • Fleetwood’s
  • Lazy Diamond
  • The Odditorium
  • Ole Shakey’s Getaway
  • The Prospect

Where can I spend time doing cool stuff when there aren’t any Festival shows or workshops happening?

Another great question. Damn, your inquisitive! If you’re feeling the need to get out in nature and see the changing leaves, we have you covered. Max Patch, Bridal Veil Falls, Craggy Gardens, Catawba Falls and Pink Beds are all great drives for a quick getaway from the city.

If indoors is more your thing then there is Well Played Board Game Café, Asheville Pinball Museum, Asheville Retrocade or The Conundrum.

To learn more about the city hosting this awesome Festival, check out Asheville by Foot Walking Tours, Amazing Pubcycle, Ghost Hunters of Asheville Tour, Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours or LaZoom Tours.

Nature is great and all but what if I just want to spend some money on some cool stuff?

Asheville has always been known for its shopping! Back in the day, it was the best spot to buy batik hippie wear. Now it’s a great place to find unique apparel, vintage hippie stuff, artsy craftsy work, and CBD on every corner (for other forms of inebriation see our section on breweries and bars).

South Lexington and Grove Arcade are the best spots for shopping apparel and boutiques. For arts and craft bazaars there is Woolworth (complete with the original soda fountain), and Kress Emporium just caddy corner to the best print art shop in town, Horse and Hero. For the skate enthusiasts Push Gallery has you covered. For the sonic connoisseur, check out Static Age and Voltage records. For your inner bookworm, check out the excellent Malaprops.

River Arts District
If you’ve got cash to burn or you just have higher brow art in mind, check out the many galleries in the River Arts District. You can see artists in their (mostly) natural habitat and browse a lot of art that will nourish your soul as well as lighten your wallet. A bit further down Swannanoa River Road you’ll find some really great antique barns including the now famous Antique Tobacco Barn and The Regeneration Station. Rummaging through dusty old furniture and vintage chotchkies? Yes, please!

West Asheville
West Asheville has a Downtown vibe except the parking is free and there are more locals going about their day. Haywood Rd. is a great place to walk around and check stuff out. The Littlest Birds is a great organic baby store, right next to Twice Round Vintage. Venture a bit further down Haywood for more boutiques and a cool bike shop, Second Gear. For another great record store, check out Harvest Records. For all you flower fans, Flora is a beautiful living boutique, complete with a cafe. Get in your car and head to the Goodwill on Patton (it’s the best one) if you’re super thrifty and love a goodwill bargain.

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