Living in Asheville
Arts and Culture
Long known for its arts and crafts scene, you can feast your eyes on great art in dozens of galleries downtown, in the eclectic River Arts District, and in small studios and cultural centers in all parts of the Western North Carolina region. Galleries run the gamut from sophisticated modern art spaces to small, intimate working studios. The Folk Art Center, home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway—this facility houses world-class art ranging from wearable to pottery, metalwork, and everything in between.
Fashion design is also an up-and-coming industry here—no surprise given the artistic culture that permeates the area. Local designers and boutiques draw inspiration from nature, creating an Asheville chic style; much of it organic, all of it functional and unique.
Theatre, Symphony and Dance
Special cultural opportunities abound, including great venues such as the Asheville Art Museum, Harrah's Cherokee Center – Asheville, Wortham Center for the Performing Arts, and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Performing arts enthusiasts can choose from several theater companies, the Asheville Symphony, Lyric Opera, Flat Rock Playhouse or the free outdoor summer Shakespeare series provided by the Montford Park Players.
Check out dozens of clubs that feature live music, ranging from blues to jazz to rock & roll to country. The Orange Peel downtown has a national reputation as a great live music venue and dance space.
Downtown Outdoor Adventures
Don’t miss downtown Asheville’s drum circle; a free event at Pritchard Park on Friday nights weather permitting. People gather to drum—a few at first, then more and more. It’s an intergenerational spontaneous event that gets everyone moving.
Outdoor festivals rule the weekends, especially during summer and fall. Shindig on the Green brings old time mountain music and blue grass to downtown, and the free Downtown after Five series features live music and great food.
An Outdoor Mecca
Outdoor adventure possibilities never end in Asheville, with four navigable rivers, winter skiing, and all kinds of biking challenges: curvy roads for motorbike, miles of off-road trails for mountain bike, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and great roads for road bike. The area’s reputation continues to grow as an outdoor mecca and consistently ranks as a top adventure town in national media.
Soft adventure awaits car travelers and others less willing to hang from the side of a rock for thrills - the Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Black Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for spring color and fall leaf viewing and easy hiking and picnic facilities abound off the Parkway.
Asheville Attractions & Entertainment
There’s so much to see and do in Asheville, that the only problem is narrowing the options! Western North Carolina offers something for every personality. For the book lover, Asheville has author Thomas Wolfe’s childhood home and subject of his best known work, Look Homeward, Angel. For the nature lover, check out world-class gardens at the North Carolina Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens. For the history lover, Asheville has trolley tours and George Vanderbilt’s mansion and largest private residence in the U.S., the Biltmore Estate. For the thrill-seeker, there are numerous whitewater rafting and kayaking adventure companies and new zipline canopy tours. For the beer lover, you’ll find out why Asheville was named “Beer City USA.,” with the abundance of microbreweries and even a beer tour with a designated driver.
And, it doesn’t stop.
Indulge in rest, relaxation and rejuvenation at one of the Asheville area’s many spas. Tee off from the mountains at one of the area’s many golf courses, several of which were designed by well-known designer Donald Ross.
View art and architecture; Asheville has more art deco architecture than any other city outside of Miami. Check out the many unique independent retailers in Asheville's vibrant downtown or explore local mountain crafts at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just outside of downtown. Many of the craftspeople offer demonstrations and are happy to talk about their craft.
Biltmore Village is another shopping destination that can’t be missed. Located right outside the entrance to Biltmore, America’s largest home and most visited winery, the Village has tree-lined streets, al-fresco dining and cobblestone paths.
Family fun never stops with mini golf, a climbing center and laser tag at Asheville’s Fun Depot. There are railroads, nature preserves and an interactive comedy tour on a purple bus -- LaZoom Bus Tours. The cozy Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company is a family-friendly favorite, with a bar for grown-ups and an arcade and movie theater for the kids.
Food and Drink
Welcome to a Foodtopian Society! The Asheville area is known for its dynamic dining scene of top-line chefs, menagerie of microbrewers and culinary tours for every taste.
The region’s variety of ethnic and exotic dining options, as well as vegetarian and vegan options at nearly every Asheville area restaurant, rivals that of larger cities. You’ll fine nearly 250 independent restaurants in the area, where chefs take inspiration from our local farmers’ and tailgate markets and slow food is a regular on area menus.
Named Beer City, USA, the Asheville area has more microbreweries per capita than any other city. Brew pubs such as Wicked Weed, Highland Brewing, Burial Beer Company, Hi-Wire Brewing, Catawba Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, Green Man Brewery, French Broad River Brewing Company, Asheville Brewing, and the Wedge serve cold refreshing microbrews day and night.
Asheville loves food, and foodies demand variety and quality. Asheville boasts the world’s only Foodtopian Society. More than 250 independent restaurants and at least a dozen farmers markets serve the city, and you can find anything from modern cuisine to ramps and biscuits to all kinds of international foods.
The region’s notoriety with wine aficionados is also well established, with Biltmore’s winery being the most visited winery in the US. Free tastings abound in the Asheville area, allowing you to sample locally brewed beer and hand-selected vintages.
Real Estate and Childcare
Looking for a mountain luxury home? Or maybe a modern condo downtown? Perhaps it’s a family home in the suburbs or a log cabin surrounded by woods and mountains. Whatever you prefer, Asheville’s got your dream home, premier commercial property or a great piece of land.
You’ll find both good neighbors and a diverse mix of neighbors everywhere, and they look out for each other. People love to get outside and take pride in keeping neighborhoods clean and safe.
Hundreds of licensed real estate professionals serve the Asheville area. In fact, the Asheville Board of Realtors is one of Western North Carolina’s largest trade organizations. Realtors here understand the sometimes complex zoning requirements and steep slope ordinances. Many realtors are also well versed in green building.
Diversity Defines Downtown
Downtown Asheville includes condos perfect for urban living. Some are completely renovated and ultra modern; others have charming eccentricities in historic buildings. Historic neighborhoods such as Montford close to downtown offer spacious older and new homes or cozy bungalows.
West Asheville: Fun & Funky
West Asheville offers a great mix of housing and people. In these neighborhoods, you can find anything from vintage arts & crafts homes to ranchers to new housing overlooking the French Broad River. The area is very walkable, and the retail area includes local restaurants, vintage shops, corner markets and bakeries.
North Asheville: Established Neighborhoods and Beaver Lake
North Asheville is known for its single family homes, most with good-sized yards. Beaver Lake is a great place to walk or run and see many dogs and owners. (Asheville is known as a dog friendly city.) The Grove Park Inn neighborhood is lovely with tree-lined streets and English Tudor homes. The small town of Weaverville just north is brimming with art galleries, unusual restaurants and friendly neighborhoods.
South Asheville: Family Friendly Suburban Living
South Asheville is full of suburban neighborhoods, including the venerable Biltmore Forest that borders Biltmore and the charming Biltmore Village shopping area. The corridor south of I-40 down Hendersonville Road is booming with new developments. Excellent schools make this area family friendly, as do the dozens of restaurants and shops nearby. You can also find older neighborhoods with established yards and gardens.
East Asheville: Privacy and Small, Tight-knit Communities
The area east of Asheville is known for larger lots, mountain homes and privacy. Beverly Hills is a long established community that’s family oriented and walkable. Scenic Haw Creek borders the Blue Ridge Parkway and has easy downtown access. The tight-knit, vibrant towns of Fairview, Black Mountain, and Swannanoa are also east of Asheville.
All these neighborhoods offer a range of rental properties from one-bedrooms in apartment complexes, to condos or townhomes, to private homes with acreage.