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6 Best Neighborhoods In Asheville For Living & Fun – From Locals

What are the best neighborhoods in Asheville, NC for living, playing, eating, and dreaming? As AVL locals, we are sharing the pros and cons of some of the coolest Asheville neighborhoods.

Uncover which Asheville neighborhoods are filled with literary history, hide the best eats and brews, and showcase stunning eye candy.

Did you know there is an Asheville neighborhood where you can dine at an old church and watch Shakespeare in the Park? There’s even a castle hidden among the plethora of gorgeous Bed and Breakfasts.

We have a neighborhood in Asheville housing a brewery that plays vintage and new movies at its theater. This area also boasts of an iconic fall pumpkin patch on a hill at a church.

Explore the best neighborhoods in Asheville that the Fitzgeralds frequented for their summer vacations. Learn which Asheville location has the best sunsets.

Don’t even get us started on the best Asheville neighborhoods with the most vibrant street art, strongest coffee, and wildest breweries.

Also, we are not realtors (with agendas). We are just locals and travel writers sharing our firsthand experiences of what we consider to be the best places to live in Asheville, NC (as well as play!).

This Asheville neighborhoods guide is for both visitors and people considering moving to Asheville. Below, tour the coolest neighborhoods in Asheville.

Of course, ‘best’ and ‘coolest’ are subjective. Let’s get started!

Thinking of moving to Asheville? Don’t miss this post.

Coolest Neighborhoods In Asheville NC with cityscape
Welcome to our guide to the best neighborhoods in Asheville, NC. P.S. We aren’t realtors trying to sell you exorbitant houses, either. We are locals living in Asheville and sharing our personal experiences and favorites in each Asheville neighborhood.

This post may contain affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission. Read the full disclosure here.

See our Top Places To Stay in Asheville.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.

6 Best Neighborhoods In Asheville, NC

1. Montford

Chiesa Restaurant Montford Neighborhood Asheville with grey house, red shutters and door, and plants & flowers
Montford, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Asheville, is home to the best Italian restaurant, Chiesa.

We had to start with our personal favorite Asheville neighborhood, Asheville’s Historic Montford District.

Montford sits between downtown Asheville and North Asheville. Parts of Montford uniquely land on the National Register of Historic Places.

Montford began to grow architecturally on the verge of Asheville’s big boom; think the construction of The Grove Park Inn and Biltmore.

Rich in history, Montford also housed Highland Hospital, one of the more progressive mental health institutions of its time.

Zelda Fitzgerald along with 8 other people died in the Highland Hospital fire. Today, former Highland Hospital consists of commercial businesses.

You also don’t want to miss nearby Homewood Manor where the Fitzgeralds and Vanderbilts used to stay. Homewood is one of Asheville’s gorgeous ‘castles.’

While Montford is a mostly residential area, visitors will find a plethora of quaint Bed and Breakfasts, restaurants, and easy access to downtown. For some, it’s only a mile walk to downtown.

Montford For Living

Considered one of the most diverse architectural areas across NC, Montford is home to Neo-Classical apartment buildings, Victorians, Colonial Revivals, and bungalows.

Being from New England, Montford is like a little piece of home.

This is an active Asheville neighborhood. You will always see people running, walking, and biking, even in the cemetery.

There is also a growing young professional population in Montford as well as families with younger children. Throughout the neighborhood, encounter a plethora of charming Free Little Libraries.

Historic Montford For Sight-Seeing, Sleeping, & Eating

Thomas Wolfe Gravestone Riverside Cemetery Montford Neighborhood Asheville
Don’t forget to pay tribute to Asheville’s most famous author, Thomas Wolfe, while you are in Asheville’s Montford neighborhood.

As one of the best neighborhoods in Asheville for history and literature lovers, be sure to check out:

  • Riverside Cemetery – Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry are buried at the historic Riverside Cemetary. Grab a walking guide as you enter the gates.

  • 1900 Inn On Montford – There are no shortages of Inns and Bed and Breakfasts in Montford, especially with the luxurious 1900 Inn.

  • Chiesa – Don’t miss our favorite Italian restaurant in a converted old church. Church-themed libations included.

  • Nine Mile – Another must-eat-at Montford area restaurant, enjoy Caribbean-inspired dishes. Nine Mile has multiple Asheville locations.

  • Shakespeare In The Park – Performed by a non-profit and North Carolina’s longest-running Shakespeare theatre company, Montford Park Players. We love grabbing dinner at Chiesa and walking over to the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater for a play.

  • Black Walnut B&B Inn – Richard Sharp-Smith — Biltmore’s supervising architect — designed and built The Black Walnut Bed and Breakfast Inn in 1899.

  • Montford Arts & Music Festival – The largest and longest-running, single-day neighborhood street festival. The bash takes place on Montford Avenue in Asheville’s Historic Montford neighborhood.

2. North Asheville

Omni Grove Park Inn North Asheville Neighborhood with large stone resort, orange roof, and patio
You cannot miss the historic Grove Park Inn or its famous sunsets while in North Asheville.

North Asheville is one of the most overlooked Asheville neighborhoods, which is fantastic if you want to escape downtown’s crowds.

In the fall, you’ll recognize North Asheville by the pumpkin patch in front of breathtaking Grace Episcopal Church. Once those pumpkins are up, you’ll know that Asheville’s most beautiful season has arrived.

North Asheville is one of our favorite areas in Asheville to grab a bite to eat. Here, you’ll see fewer crowds than downtown.

Plus, you have the historic Grove Park Inn, beautiful old homes, and UNC-Asheville’s campus. Kimberley Ave. is full of amazing Tudor-style homes.

On the con side, Merrimon Ave. is a bit narrow and becomes a tad congested during rush hour — with some erratic drivers. Road rage is for real out here. We call this “Merrimon Mayhem.”

There’s been a lot of work on the older water pipes over the past few years, which, well — we’ll leave that up to your imagination.

For Living

North Asheville black bear
North Asheville is also one of the best Asheville neighborhoods for making furry friends.

North Asheville is known for having some pretty ritzy houses along with the Asheville Country Club — for golfers. You can still find some starter homes nearby along with those multi-million dollar mansions.

You’ll also find craftsman bungalows, Spanish-style villas, Colonials, and Tudor homes.

A few North Asheville neighborhoods include Beaverdam, Lakeview Park, and Grove Park. North Asheville has more established neighborhoods.

North Asheville is home to retirees, college students, families, and young professionals. It used to be “old money,” but that is slowly changing. Oh, and the black bears live here.

People looking for homes here are driving up the price of houses here. What once sold for $200,000 may go for $500-$700,000+.

For Playing

North Asheville Neighborhood around Beaver Lake with pond, walking trail, and houses
North Asheville is home to beautiful Beaver Lake with a bird sanctuary and 2-mile walking trail.

Eating & Drinking

Sunset At Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville North Carolina
Nothing beats a North Asheville sunset at The Omni Grove Park Inn. For top neighborhoods in Asheville, find a bit of the mountain and city life.

Save Your Favorite Asheville Neighborhoods For Later

Best Asheville Neighborhoods Pinterest Pin with images of West Asheville mural and Dolly Parton mural, sunset at Omni Grove Park Inn in North Asheville, and pleb urban winery red wine glasses in River Arts District (RAD)
Touring AVL soon? Save this post for later to visit the best neighborhoods in Asheville with all of their hidden treats.

3. River Arts District (RAD)

Asheville NC Silo with street art
One of the more hipster neighborhoods in Asheville, RAD greets visitors with endless street art, a riverwalk, and delicious beer.

Greeted by the infamous Asheville silo with its ever-changing slogan, the River Arts District is a vibrant artist community.

Encounter endless street art, artists’ studios, and a newly renovated Riverwalk along the French Broad River.

For Living

RAD is where you will find a lot of condos and apartments along with hotly contested new construction.

Driving into RAD, you have to appreciate that hipster, warehouse vibe. RAD won’t appeal to everyone.

Younger families and professionals tend to reside here.

For Playing

Wedge Brewing At Foundation in River Arts District Asheville NC blue building covered with street art
Wedge is one of our favorite AVL breweries.
pleb urban winery in River Arts District (RAD Neighborhood) with street art of  woman blowing on dandelion
Don’t miss wine in the sea of beer at pleb urban winery.
Best Asheville Neighborhoods RAD Homer Simpson with donut Mural
Can you find Homer?
  • Wedge Brewing at Foundation – Another delicious Asheville brewery, there are two locations for Wedge. Wedge at Foundation is perfect for mural-spying.

  • 12 Bones Smokehouse River – One of the most famous BBQ spots in Asheville — the Obamas ate here — grab some local beer and try a side of each of their meats.

  • pleb urban winery – A unique Asheville winery with “minimal intervention wine-making,” pleb outsources grapes from local farms to create small-batch tapped and canned wines.

  • Roseabees – Delicious Hawaiian cuisine.

  • Bottle Riot – If you love Asheville’s wine bars, Bottle Riot is a ritzy fun space with some of our favorite bottles.

  • Murals & Studios – Don’t miss hopping between artists’ studios while spying beautiful street art. Can you find Homer Simpson?

  • RAD Riverwalk – Newly renovated, stroll down the riverwalk along the French Broad River. Brave people will tube down the river in the summer.

North of RAD and Montford, don’t miss the Woodfin area, too. Here, you’ll find Ginger’s Revenge and Zillicoah Brewing.

4. West Asheville

Best Neighborhoods In Asheville West Asheville Mural with house with greetings from West Asheville mural with blue sky and sunflowers
You’ll know you are in one of the coolest Asheville neighborhoods when this West AVL mural greets you.

We love visiting West Asheville — even on a weekend. While Haywood Road is pretty busy and jumping, many of the breweries and surrounding areas remain quieter than downtown Asheville.

For Asheville neighborhoods, West Asheville is one of the hippest and most laid-back.

You’ll find some of the best murals, including Dolly Parton and RuPaul. Look for Gus Gutty’s The Fox as well as Ian the Painter’s Ella/Joan of Asheville.

Find more of a GenX and Millennial population in this hipster Asheville neighborhood, too — although this is changing. West Asheville has a vibrant LGBQT+ community.

West Asheville is unique with its older buildings that house both new and generations-old establishments. You’ll find organic and gluten-free goods, especially at the West Village Market & Deli.

For Living

Development companies are building many new and contentious housing units in West Asheville, also driving up the price of real estate.

It’s a double edge sword, and you’ll see gentrification across Asheville.

In West Asheville, you’ll find more fixer-uppers for families — with the costs increasing — and expensive gated communities.

There are many cottages and bungalows. Million-dollar properties exist here, too.

For Playing & Eating

West Asheville is home to a plethora of amazing restaurants, cafes, and shops, truly making it one of the best neighborhoods in Asheville. To name just a few notable places:

5. Downtown Asheville

Best Asheville Neighborhoods Downtown cityscape at night
One of the most famous neighborhoods in Asheville, historic downtown is a must.

Of course, for the best Asheville neighborhoods, historic downtown is where it is at for *all* of the things to eat, see, and do.

Asheville is “Foodtopia,” after all. Personally, I’m not so sure I’d want to live there, but we do live pretty close.

Downtown Asheville is what you’d expect from city life. There are older buildings, both happy and disgruntled locals, loads of tourists in-season, and boho college students.

As Asheville locals, we try to visit downtown during off times.

Parking gets a little tricky if you don’t know the lesser-used garages and lots. The city is extremely walkable and has some magnificent Art Deco buildings.

For Living

Downtown Asheville has apartments, luxury condos, and lofts that vary in pricing. Of course, the closer you are to the fun and city, the more you will pay for it.

For Playing

Lager at Burial Brewing Co Asheville with Sloth and Tom Selleck mural
Grab a beer at one of Asheville’s famous downtown breweries like Burial.
Historic Grove Arcade Asheville North Carolina with white brunette female holding a map of NC
Don’t miss the beautiful Grove Arcade filled with goodies like the Battery Park Book Exchange and Asheville Proper.

Personally, we don’t think downtown Asheville is the greatest neighborhood for living in. However, this Asheville neighborhood is certainly the best for playing.

Overall, Asheville is full of the best things to do. We aren’t even sure where to start. Here’s just a few ideas:

6. South Asheville

Biltmore Estate Asheville NC house with green grass and people and shuttles out front
Welcome to my Asheville home. In my dreams… South Asheville is home to Asheville’s most famous legacy.

South Asheville has some pretty wealthy older properties and is, of course, home to Biltmore Estate. There are a lot of shopping centers out this way.

Full disclosure: I debated if this was one of the ‘best’ or coolest neighborhoods in Asheville.

What we love about South Asheville is its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway — especially to the Mount Pisgah and Black Balsam area — and all of the hiking and biking trails. South Asheville is great for outdoor adventurers.

For Living

Lake Powhatan South Asheville
Lake Powhatan is a popular South Asheville recreational area.

South Asheville tends to get a reputation — somewhat like North Asheville — for old money and being an expensive area.

For me, North and South Asheville are seeing younger families and millennials moving in, though. There are both new and old builds.

In South Asheville, you’ll find popular Biltmore Park and Forest, which are not cheap and are in high demand.

In fact, while we toured a home here, another real estate agent jumped in our touring time slot and put in an offer on the property for her clients while glaring us down.

The con of South Asheville and places like Biltmore Forest are that they lack diversity — just peruse the U.S. Census.

For Playing

Mountain Biking Bent Creek Experimental Forest South Asheville with mountain biker on a trail
We just love the Bent Creek Experimental Forest in South Asheville for hiking and mountain biking.
  • The NC Arboretum – We are annual passholders and love Winter Lights, all of the hiking trails, and the beautiful gardens.

  • Bent Creek Experimental Forest – Find hiking and mountain trails along with Lake Powhatan.

  • Biltmore Estate – Don’t miss touring America’s largest home, which was Edith and George Vanderbilt’s historic estate. Explore the beautiful gardens and hiking trails, grab a meal, and wine taste at Biltmore Winery.

  • Historic Biltmore Village – Another destination for shopping, food, and brews.

Save The Best Neighborhoods In Asheville, NC For Later

Hipster Asheville NC Neighborhoods Pinterest Pin with cityscape of Asheville
Searching for the best Asheville neighborhoods and find something you love? Save this post for later.

More Noteworthy Neighborhoods In Asheville (And Nearby Suburbs)

East Asheville – You’ll find more rural areas and older homes and neighborhoods close to downtown and parts of the BRP.

The WNC Nature Center is out this way. Oakley is popular here — filled with bungalows and craftsmen-style homes.

Kenilworth – Kenilworth is just south of downtown (a 20-minute walk), bordering South & East Asheville. Kenilworth is one of the more popular neighborhoods in Asheville for its 1920s architecture and bungalow and Spanish-style stucco homes.

You have access to Tunnel Road — full of *all* of the chain stores and restaurants. Kenilworth is also close to Mission Hospital and has a park.

Woodfin – Woodfin always gets left out of nearby Asheville neighborhoods, and we are not realtors so maybe there’s a reason?!

Woodfin is home to Zillicoah and Riverside Rhapsody Breweries. Find burger joints, outdoor spaces, BBQ, and new bars. There’s been talk about new housing developments out this way.

A few favorite suburbs and neighborhoods around Asheville include Fletcher, Fairview, Arden, Black Mountain, and Weaverville.

People will go as far out to Henderson County and Hendersonville.

What are the best Asheville neighborhoods that you love?

Which neighborhoods in Asheville do you frequent and why? Which Asheville neighborhoods are the coolest?

When considering moving to Asheville, which neighborhoods have you looked at? Which ones did you visit for fun? Let us know in the comments!

See our Top Places To Stay in Asheville.

Don’t miss out on these Asheville properties on Booking.com, too.

Asheville’s Best Neighborhoods Guides:

Historic Montford
West Asheville
All Of Asheville, NC

Where To Head Next:

What’s It Like Living In Asheville, NC?
Stay At These Gorgeous Asheville Properties
Asheville Local Life & Resources

Julianne | Pints, Pounds, & Pâté

Saturday 21st of August 2021

I need to visit all of these!! Sounds like it’s time for a return visit! x

Christine

Saturday 21st of August 2021

Yessss!!! The cocktails are waiting for you!! I think Joey needs some fresh mountain air.