Remember when arcades dominated malls, supermarkets, and even gas stations? Sadly, the classic days of the 80’s arcade culture are all but forgotten in our technological age. Some of us look back with a sense of nostalgia at those carefree days spent attempting to get pass level 4 in Pacman (a seemingly impossible feat!). These arcades were so popular that you could play one just about anywhere – 7-11, pizza pubs, laundromats. Ah, the golden age of arcades…I can still remember exactly where the arcade machines stood in the now closed down 7-11 near my childhood home in Chicago.

Today’s teens are more likely to be found shopping online and scrolling social media sites on a smartphone. Fortunately, retro arcades are beginning to make a comeback in cities all over the country. Now all of us Gen Xers can temporarily go back to the good old days, reliving all our favorite classic arcade games.

The Asheville Pinball Museum

…the perfect rainy day activity!

I have been to many of these arcades across the country. One of the best is the Asheville Pinball Museum. This arcade operates on a play-all-you want for 15 bucks format. No need to carry around endless rolls of quarters. On the downside, the automatic start does make the experience a bit more modern. There is no time limit so you can play to your heart’s desire. This place is expectantly busy as one of the few indoor activities. On busy days, be prepared for a lengthy wait as entrance is limited to just 80 people.

If you are planning a vacation to Asheville, checking out all the gorgeous waterfalls and hiking trails within the Blue Ridge mountains will obviously be your first priority. However, a rainy day or rare winter snowstorm could possibly dampen any intended plans.

As the Asheville region is a bit limited in terms of indoor recreation, The Pinball Museum is extremely popular on rainy/snowy days. Be aware that everyone else will be looking for something to do inside too! Regardless, if you are up for the wait, this is a really cool place where you can temporarily feel like you time traveled back to the 80’s. The hip interior includes 80’s movie memorabilia and knick knacks. Take a look at all the cool nostalgic items behind the front desk.

80’s overload!

Even the bathroom is decked out…

80's themed bathroom at the Asheville Pinball Museum

More than 75 pinball machines and classic arcades are located at the museum. Below is a tour of the various pinball/arcade machines on site. From limited edition machines, to a new Game of Thrones machines, you will find a bit of everything. Every machine has info regarding the date produced, as well as the number produced, which is pretty cool.

A quick photo tour…

Playing a Star Trek pinball machine at the Asheville Pinball Museum

The best portion of the museum is the classic gaming section where you can see just how well your remember Sonic the Hedgehog, Tetris, Super Mario Land, and Super Mario Brothers. Although many of us still own these old gaming systems like NES and Sega, it’s still fun to play them in a public arcade.

Additional Details

  • The Asheville Pinball museum is located downtown at 1 Battle Square #1b.
  • Hours are: 2-9pm (Wed-Friday), 12-9pm on Saturday, 1-6pm on Sunday and Monday. The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
  • Admission is $15 per person.