Asheville, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the largest city in western North Carolina and serves as the county seat to Buncombe County, home to over 222,000 residents. Downtown Asheville is a unique place, bustling with tourists, artists, and street musicians, distinctive restaurants, and a rich legacy of beautifully preserved early 20th century architecture blending Art Deco, Beaux Arts, and Neoclassical styles. Over 500 restaurants, many locally-owned shops, and the beautiful mountain setting give Asheville a special flavor. The Grove Arcade, constructed in 1929, is a public market that houses 38 local shops and outstanding restaurants plus an open-air public market with more than a dozen stalls. With a vibrant downtown, beautiful scenery, outstanding schools and mild weather, it is no wonder that Asheville has been ranked #1 for Top 25 Small Cities and #2 as one of the Nation's Top Arts Destinations by AmericanStyle Magazine.
Originally a primitive outpost where trade routes crossed, Asheville was officially established in 1797 with around 1,000 residents. Asheville gained fame as a resort and vacation spot when the railroad arrived in 1880, shortly followed by George Vanderbilt constructing his Biltmore Estate. The city grew rapidly in the decades that followed, with many new buildings and municipal improvements in the years leading up to the stock market crash and subsequent bank failures of 1929. The city was burdened with debts that hindered growth until the 1990’s. Consequentially, the city could not afford urban renewal programs for several decades, resulting in the preservation of many of the pre-1930 structures, leading to one of the most concentrated collections of Art Deco architecture in the United States. Since the 1990’s, Asheville has earned top rankings as one of the best places to live from countless publications, including Forbes, Self, Rolling Stone, AARP Magazine, AmericanStyle, Outside, and Modern Maturity Magazine.
Asheville enjoys a mild climate year-round with an average high temperature around 73° F in summer with the hottest days rarely exceeding 80° F. The average winter low temperature is 36° F. While nearby ski resorts get plenty of snow, Asheville remains sheltered and annual snowfall never exceeds 16.2". During fall and spring, temperatures can change drastically day to day, or even day to night, so it’s a good idea to consider the season when heading out for the day. Get more Asheville weather information with these links.
Asheville’s Transit Authority provides 21 bus routes that operate between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Privately-owned trolleys provide tours of popular destinations and day passes for downtown travel, seven days a week. Asheville Regional Airport is western North Carolina’s largest airport with non-stop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale.
Cost of Living in Asheville
While the cost of living in North Carolina is slightly below the national average, the cost of living in Asheville is slightly higher than the national average due to the cost of utilities and services. Use these cost of living calculators to determine your budget needs for living in Asheville, North Carolina.
The highly-rated Asheville City School District serves students in the city of Asheville through two high schools, one middle school, five elementary magnet schools and one preschool. Buncombe County Schools serves more than 25,000 students outside the city. Additionally, several popular alternative learning centers, including Waldorf and Montessori schools, are based in Asheville providing an education that utilizes children’s innate capacity for imagination.
Mission Hospital is the number one hospital in Asheville and also the fifth-best hospital in the state of North Carolina. This general and acute care facility has also been recognized for its top performance in five separate specialties. If you’re planning a move to Asheville, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you:
Asheville Real Estate
From historic Victorian era cottages and cabins on scenic hillsides to trendy lofts in the heart of a bustling urban center, Asheville has the ideal home for you. Check out the home buying options in Asheville and Buncombe County with these links.
You can find accommodations to suit any style when you stay in Asheville. Rent a rustic, yet comfortable Blue Ridge mountain cabin just a few miles outside of town or stay in one of several AAA four diamond-rated bed and breakfasts located in the heart of Asheville. If you golf, a stay at Grove Park Inn can include a round at the legendary par 70 golf course designed by Donald Ross. For the experience of a lifetime, rent a cottage at the historic Biltmore Estate.
With a top-rated culinary school, it’s no wonder that Asheville has more than 90 locally-owned restaurants that will suit any taste. Laughing Seed’s eclectic international approach to vegetarian dining is a favorite among vegans and meat-eaters alike. Lobster Trap has been voted "best seafood restaurant" every year since opening in 2005, and the Posana Cafe in downtown Asheville features upscale dining with a locally inspired, seasonal menu that just happens to be 100% gluten free. Explore the many interesting restaurants in Asheville using these links.
Things to Do in Asheville
From hiking trails to eclectic shopping venues to live music halls, Asheville has something for everyone. The Asheville Art Museum, Colburn Earth Science Museum and Diana Wortham Theatre can all be found at Pack Place, Asheville’s education, arts, and science center. You can enjoy the grounds of the Biltmore Estate on horseback with a guided tour, or ride your own horse on their trails with a day pass. Wander into Jack of the Wood to catch an impromptu Irish or Old Time fiddle music gathering, or purchase tickets to a live show at the renowned Grey Eagle Music Hall. Wander into the F.W. Woolworth building where you will find a gallery of local artists and vintage soda fountain where you can grab a snack or a sundae. Discover more things to do in Asheville with the following links.