AVLtoday City Guide Live

Unwritten rules of Asheville

Tell us you’re from Asheville without telling us you’re from Asheville.

View of the Asheville skyline after dark

Learn all you need to know to run these streets.

“Downtown After Dark” by Lisa S.

Table of Contents

Whether you’re an Asheville native or relative newcomer, the Land of the Sky has its own set of rules that locals understand to be second nature. Think: specific city knowledge, trends, colloquialisms, or a strong opinion about swimming in the French Broad River.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the 828, here are a few unwritten rules (submitted by our readers) you may know to be true — and if you’re not from Asheville, these might be a little difficult to explain.

Support local

“Buy local, drink local, and tip, tip, tip.” — @lrowlandfinecontemporaryart

“Tip the bartenders and servers that run this city.” — @nikboda

Keep it casual

“It’s perfectly fine to go out to a nice dinner in flip flops and jeans & a t-shirt. In fact, if you’re too ‘dressed’ people will think you’re a tourist.” — @sorstudioavl

“Chacos are dressy as long as they’re your town Chacos and not your trail Chacos.” — @postwaffles

“Going on a hike, then going downtown to eat after in said dusty hiking gear is absolutely acceptable!” — @lila_rn

Stay right on the roads

“If the first car waiting at a red light hasn’t noticed that it’s turned green, give them a few seconds before honking. Maybe they’re just busy vibin’.’” — @ophidian_spindle

“Stop trying to turn left on Merrimon; it’s not going to happen.” — @findingmydrishti

“Don’t drive on Patton in West AVL at 5 p.m.” — @theemshea

“Only monsters drive on Wall Street.” — @yunz.are.sumthinelse

“Don’t tell anyone about your secret free street parking spot.” — @rdbarto

“I NEVER go anywhere without using GPS because you never know where traffic is going to back up (well, except for I-26 and Sweeten Creek, and, and, and… ).” — @marina.cora

Embrace authenticity (and your neighbors)

“It’s normal to see a nun with a mustache riding a bike downtown, squirting tourists with a water gun.” — Kelly H.

“Never ‘ogle’ at Ashevillians you might consider outlandishly dressed or styled.” — Steve H.

“Respect the queers. You have no idea how much power we have.” — @z.088.z

“Treat the homeless with respect. A lot of us are friends with them, and people don’t forget.” — @contrangea

“You’re allowed to cry in Chicken Alley.” — @bsundheim

Explore the outdoors responsibly

“Friends don’t let friends swim in the French Broad River.” — @j_jurassic33

“You must bring your dog everywhere you go.” — Elizabeth K.

“Leave No Trace when hiking, trail running, backpacking, etc. That includes apple cores, orange and banana peels, and of course, toilet tissue.” — Ann K.

“Wear hiking shoes with everything.” — Deborah H.

“Don’t touch the bears.” — @havenhealingcenter

“Don’t share your favorite secret swimming hole, summit, or dive bar without you knowing them REALLY WELL and that they too can keep a secret.” — @redheadedmtnwoman

“Always have some gear in your car for a spontaneous outdoor activity opportunity.” — @docvarn

Dos and don’ts of dining

“Pay attention to ABV% at the brewery. Three local IPA’s hit different than three Miller Lites…” — @chelsbenay

“Eat at the ‘best’ restaurants during the weekdays instead of the weekends.” — @goforthandgrow

“Don’t send tourists to your favorite dive bar.” — @tylerroach

“Try out any hole-in-the-wall restaurants. There are some really good ones!” — @stephpye1

What did we miss? If you know an unofficial rule that’s not on the list, let us know or drop a comment.

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