A top destination in Downtown Asheville, the Grove Arcade Public Market appeals to all types: culinary enthusiasts, crafters, history buffs, and lovers of architecture.
The shopping, dining, and apartment complex boasts an intriguing history, having served not only as a shopping destination, but also as federal space for the World War II effort, plus the National Climatic Data Center. Today, the Grove Arcade offers a unique blend of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, salons, apothecaries, craft stores, and more.
It’s the perfect destination for a rainy day. Even if you don’t intend to eat out or purchase anything, you can appreciate the talent that went into the center’s original construction and eventual restoration.
The Grove Arcade does not consist entirely of shops and restaurants. The complex is also home to several offices and apartments. When you visit, stick to the first floor, where you’ll find plenty to fill both your stomach and your heart. The second floor is dedicated exclusively to offices, while residents live in secure apartments on the third, fourth, and fifth floors.
While most stores are reliably open all afternoon, hours vary somewhat from one shop to the next. The same is true for restaurants. If you are determined to visit a specific location, be sure to visit its website or social media page first to find out when it’s open. To maximize shopping and dining opportunities, plan to arrive during the mid-afternoon and shop for an hour or two before eating around 5 pm.
Although ample parking is available in the Grove Arcade area, it can fill up pretty quickly during busy weekend hours. If you visit during peak times, don’t expect to score metered parking on the streets adjacent to the shopping center. Thankfully, several parking garages are available nearby. For easy parking, try the Wall Street Parking Garage on Otis Street or the Civic Center Parking Garage on Rankin Avenue.
History of The Grove Arcade Public Market in Asheville
The Grove Arcade Public Market is named after Edwin Wiley Grove, a self-made millionaire and the genius behind Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic. This revolutionary tonic was a significant improvement over quinine — the leading malaria treatment prior to 1878. Following his success with Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic, he developed multiple neighborhoods in Atlanta. He eventually settled in Asheville, where he quickly became a community fixture.
Realizing that no city could succeed long-term without a vibrant downtown scene, Grove launched plans to enliven Asheville. He hoped the Grove Arcade would be “the most elegant building in America.” Charles N. Parker initially designed a huge complex with a five-story base and a far taller tower. Sadly, E.W. Grove passed away just two years before the project’s completion.
Although he never realized his dream of a fourteen-story construction in Asheville, Grove’s ambition did result in what, at the time, was by far the city’s largest structure. The building quickly attracted several upscale businesses, including a cigar store, a public stenography office, a haberdashery, and a photography center.
Following a dozen years of commercial success, the Grove Arcade closed during World War II, serving instead as quarters for the federal government. It continued on as a federal site, eventually housing the National Climatic Data Center. Eventually, the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation formed with the intention of returning the site to its former glory. The City of Asheville was able to acquire the building’s title and sign a 198-year lease with the Grove Arcade Public Market Foundation. Since reopening, the Grove Arcade has enjoyed strong public support and cultivated a more robust feeling of community among Asheville residents and visitors alike.
Top Restaurants at The Grove Arcade Public Market
Asheville boasts a thriving culinary scene, with some of its best restaurants located right at the Grove Arcade. If you’re hungry, consider stopping in at one of these top establishments:
Fans of classic hamburgers and French fries will love Burgerworx, home to a customizable burger with more than thirty different toppings. Whether your dream burger includes fried egg or cole slaw, you’ll be pleased with the end result. End your order with a chocolate milkshake or an ice cream float.
Full review of Burgerworx here.
Italian comfort food with a slight Southern accent, Modesto offers everything you love about Italian cooking. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Modesto’s wood-fired pizzas, seafood pasta, and classic salads pair perfectly with delectable wine selections.
3. Baba Nahm
If you crave Middle Eastern fare, you’ll adore the pita selection at Baba Nahm. If you’re in a hurry, stop by and quickly pick up a bowl of harira soup, Israeli potato fries, or your choice of chicken or lamb shawarma.
Full Review of Baba Nahm here.
4. Carmel’s Kitchen and Bar
Relax on the patio and enjoy the best of Southern home cooking at Carmel’s Kitchen and Bar. Carmel’s Sunday brunch is a local favorite, featuring such classic combos as shrimp and grits, and fried chicken with French toast. Another favorite: Carmel’s unique fried green tomatoes and over easy egg sandwich.
Full Review of Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar here.
Shopping at the Grove Arcade in Asheville
The ultimate shopping experience awaits at the Grove Arcade, where you’ll find a variety of stores operated by the community’s most prized entrepreneurs. Several of these shops support local causes. Browse the vast selection at your leisure — you just might emerge with a distinctive souvenir.
1. Enter the Earth
Quirky and charming, Enter the Earth joined the Grove Arcade family in 2002. Specializing in international minerals and fossils, the boutique sells jewelry and home accessories. With such impressive fossils, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered an official museum — but one in which you can actually touch (and purchase) the wonders you encounter.
2. Mountain Made
If you’re looking for a souvenir that holds true to the spirit of Western North Carolina, look no further than Mountain Made. This vibrant celebration of local talent features the work of several dozen artisans within a small radius. The vast selection includes gorgeous pottery, textile art, jewelry, blown glass, and more. Not only will your purchase support local artisans, proceeds also benefit entrepreneurial development via the influential not-for-profit Mountain BizWorks.
3. Stevenson Rare Coins & Jewelry
Passionate about rare coinage? Don’t hesitate to check out Stevenson Rare Coins & Jewelry. There, you’ll witness a vast collection of coins that you can’t find anywhere else. The store also boasts gold and silver bullion, plus antiques, rare stamps, and other valuable collectibles. Explore the wide array of antiquities available there, or show up with coins of your own — you can sell them on site!
4. Razberry Threads
Local artisans craft the colorful clothing, accessories, and toys on display at Razberry Threads. The children’s shop also offers a variety of items for infants and their parents, including bibs, teething rings, changing pads, and bonnets. Owner Susan Weaver designs and creates several of these items on her own. She is happy to accommodate special orders, including those involving custom embroidery.
5. Asheville NC Home Crafts
Nurture your love of all things crafty at Asheville NC Home Crafts. This local purveyor of yarn and associated supplies holds a dear place in the hearts of local fiber artists, who gather there for Sit & Knit events every Friday. Pop in on a Friday evening and you’re bound to leave with a new friend. Not a knitter? No problem. Browse through the store’s impressive selection of handmade items, including dolls, puppets, scarves, baskets, and bags.
Outdoor Artists Market at The Grove Arcade in Asheville
Situated at the Grove Arcade’s Battery Park end, the Outdoor Artists Market features stalls highlighting several of the region’s most talented artisans. These impressive individuals sell their wares directly to the public. The available selection varies considerably from one day to the next. With no two visits exactly alike, the market prompts many return trips. Open daily, the market provides true shopping convenience with hours extending from 10:30 am to 10 pm. It’s the perfect place to visit before or after you hit up one of the Grove Arcade’s many mouthwatering restaurants.
Whether your ideal weekend adventure includes shopping for gifts, sampling exceptional brews, or simply observing the friendly (and often quirky) residents of Asheville, you’ll find plenty to love about the Grove Arcade Public Market.
-You may occasionally spot dogs near or even in the Grove Arcade Public Market. Don’t be fooled — you sadly cannot bring your four-legged friend on your shopping trip. The only pets allowed in the complex are those owned by residents of the upstairs apartments.
-Looking for parking options? There is metered parking surrounding the building and throughout most of downtown Asheville.