Asheville receives countless accolades for being one of the best places in the United States to live. In fact, Livability.com ranked Asheville #14 on its Top 100 Best Places to Live in 2019. However, this is not news to the generations of travelers that have journeyed to Asheville as a vacation spot and decided to stay. In fact, you'll find a vast variety of options for real estate and locations in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina - including our many friendly small towns in the valleys and remote planned communities high in the hills.
1. Big City Appeal with Small Town Charm
Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel. Enjoy all the endless things to do and the mountain scenery that brings millions of travelers to the Asheville area each year. As a local, you'll get to find the best spots off the beaten path. Plus, friends and family will love to visit! There’s never a day without something fun going on. Our Top 300 Things to Do will keep you busy.
2. Nature and Outdoor Adventure
With two national parks, two national forests and many state parks and forests surrounding Asheville, there are endless possibilities to enjoy nature and the spectacular mountain scenery. No matter your activity and fitness level, there are plenty of ways to enjoy our great outdoors—from picnics to hiking to mountain biking to cruising along the French Broad River, and many other types of outdoor activities. With over 100 waterfalls, Asheville is known as the land of waterfalls. See our Outdoors Guide for ideas.
3. Food + Drink
Equipped with a world-class collection of restaurants, our culinary scene is constantly getting national attention. See our Foodie Favorites. And in Asheville, there’s something for all types of eaters. See our guide to vegan and vegetarian food in Asheville and gluten-free restaurants in Asheville. Along with the award-winning food in downtown Asheville, there’s award-winning craft beer too. Asheville is known as Beer City USA and you can sample hundreds of local beers and hard ciders at craft breweries. You can also find a dozen wineries to spend the afternoon tasting vintages. If you like supporting local farmers, Asheville is an excellent place to live. Check out one of the many farmers’ markets located throughout WNC.
4. Health and Wellness
Since Asheville is the hub for most of Western North Carolina, our hospital, Mission Health, is the state's sixth-largest health system with facilities often only found in much larger cities. With 800+ beds, Mission Hospital is the second busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. Mission Health has been named one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems by IBM Watson Health. In East Asheville, the Charles George VA Medical Center serves veterans from several states. Along with high-quality health care, Asheville offers dozens of yoga studios and wellness centers. See our list of the top spas, massage, and wellness in Asheville.
5. The Blue Ridge Parkway
Known as “America’s favorite drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and connects the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. It’s a 469-mile scenic journey from the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take in the scenic views from the comfort of your car, or on numerous hiking trails. See our Blue Ridge Parkway guide.
6. Vibrant Art Scene
As one of the top art destinations in the country, the Asheville area is home to thousands of artists. Be inspired by visiting countless galleries and studios. For a full-on artsy vibe, spend time in the River Arts District. Better yet, get hands-on with a workshop or class series. Join fellow artists from around the world at Penland School of Crafts. See the Blue Ridge Craft Trails for drive-able trails throughout 25 Western North Carolina counties with 200 craft sites.
7. The Biltmore Estate
Known as “America's Largest Home,” the Biltmore sits on 8,000 sprawling acres, with historic gardens and wooded walking paths. Get unlimited access to the amazing Biltmore Estate with their annual pass—as if it was your castle. Many locals stop by frequently for walks in the ever-changing gardens, attend events, take visiting friends to tour the house, and get discounts. See our Biltmore Insider's Guide to get started.
With our central location on the East Coast, Asheville is a great basecamp for traveling throughout the country and around the world. Our small and easy-to-navigate Asheville Regional Airport makes it easy to fly to all destinations—complete with non-stop service to 20 cities. Charlotte International Airport is just two hours away. Within a four hour drive, you can reach Atlanta, Charleston, SC, or Raleigh. The area is also home to 40 Small Mountain Towns with picturesque Main Streets, shops, galleries and more.
Since Asheville and the nearby valley towns are protected by the surrounding mile-high peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we miss most of the extreme winter chills and summer heat. Enjoy four distinct seasons, including one of the longest fall color seasons in the United States. Read more about our weather.
10. World-Class Music Scene
Home of the famous Orange Peel, music and arts festivals, and the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF), plus a myriad of indoor and outdoor venues, bars with nightly shows, and touring musicians and local musicians, there’s guaranteed to be live music every night of the week. Asheville’s music scene inspires connection, playfulness, and fun. Read more on Asheville's music scene.