You might have heard the news: Asheville is hot right now. Whether it’s getting attention for its vibrant music scene, its excellent homegrown microbrews—the city’s been voted Beer City U.S.A. for four years running—or its eclectic array of locavore-ish restaurants, Asheville’s got a lot going on. Great shopping? Check. A plethora of outdoor activities? From hiking and biking to canopy zip-lining, check. Historic landmarks? Yep, the 250-room Biltmore Estate, the world’s largest private home, is rightly a huge tourist attraction. And that’s what you know before you actually get here and realize the enormous beauty of the city’s surroundings, set as it is against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, and sense the young, artsy, bohemian vibe that seems to infect the place, making you want to go out and just be in it.

Asheville has been called “the San Francisco of the East,” thanks to its New Agey liberalness, but reductive monikers don’t do it enough justice: For every bearded hipster there’s a very content retiree; for every vegan yogi a hard-core mountain biker; for every new home-brewer a longtime farmer. This being a small mountain town, you’ll likely meet them all as you eat and drink your way around. Restaurants here seem to do locally sourced everything, with appropriate hits of Southern flair and, yes, even some regional BBQ. Your toughest decision will be where to go first.

For a whirlwind tour of Asheville, watch our one-minute video!