Learn why we love living in Asheville, NC. Have all of your questions answered about things to do, the best Asheville neighborhoods, WNC weather, and the pros and cons of moving to Asheville.
We moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 2019 and have never regretted that decision. It’s also no secret that we moved to Asheville on a whim.
With our weekend plans to Puerto Rico thwarted, we needed a backup plan. Why not visit Asheville? We both had never been but heard wonderful things.
What started as a whirlwind 3-day tour turned into the start of our move to Asheville in under two months. Who knew? Not us!
So, what pushed us over the edge to consider moving to Asheville? For one, we were New Englanders living in Florida, and Florida was just not for us.
Florida was hot, humid, and lacking in the culture we craved. We had lived in Central Florida for over 8 years. It was time for a change.
Two, we could both easily work in Asheville based on our jobs, and three, those gorgeous mountains.
Not to mention that we loved the foodie scene, endless hiking, craft beer, and mild seasons, including a vibrant fall.
Now that we’ve bought a house and have been living in Asheville for years, we receive a ton of emails asking us what it is like living in Asheville, NC.
Why move to North Carolina? What are the best neighborhoods in Asheville? What do we do for fun? Is Asheville expensive? What is the political climate like?
Most importantly, what are the pros and cons of living in Asheville? Ultimately, is Asheville a good place to live?
After answering these questions individually over and over again, we figured it was time for an article. Below find out why we love living in Asheville, NC along with our recommendations, advice, and personal experience.
We’ll hopefully make your decision about moving to Asheville a little easier and more informed. We frequently update this article. Let’s get started!
Read more about the best Asheville neighborhoods.
Table of Contents
FAQs About Living In Asheville, NC
Below are some of the most pressing questions that we receive in Uncorked Asheville’s inbox each week about living in and moving to Asheville.
Many of these questions include: Is Asheville, NC a good place to live? What is it like to live in Asheville? How about retiring in Asheville?
What is there to do, do you recommend a particular realtor, and how can we make friends? What are the best Asheville neighborhoods?
We will try to answer many of these questions about Asheville, NC living throughout this article. Then, we’ll share our top pros and cons of living in Asheville.
Please keep in mind that these are just our opinions and experiences. Yours may not be the same.
We are not journalists, and we are not realtors. We are also not a massive media site with employees.
Lastly, know that we do not have children and chose to buy a house before moving here.
We flew up one weekend to house hunt with an Asheville-based realtor and looked at 15+ houses in 2 days. We made an offer before leaving, and it was accepted.
We flew back up from Florida to close on our AVL house, and within months, we packed up and drove to our new Asheville home.
Our jobs remained the same with the relocation, and we were not first-time buyers. All of those elements factored into our moving to Asheville experience.
Why Move To Asheville, NC?
Due to the nature of our jobs, we have moved around quite a bit.
For me (Christine), I’ve lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Indonesia, Florida, and now North Carolina. My husband can add Virginia and New York.
I’m not going to lie: I love living in Asheville, NC, and of course, I enjoyed CT — where I was born and raised. I am a sucker for seasons, outdoor sports, and a mix of city and country life.
So, why would others consider moving to Asheville, North Carolina? Based on the emails I’ve received, people love the appeal of the mild climate, great outdoors, and hip and growing city.
There are craft breweries on every corner. If you have food preferences or intolerances, the delicious Asheville restaurants will easily cater to you without rolling their eyes or messing up your order.
I’m not sure we’ll ever eat at all of the cafes and restaurants.
Plus, Asheville welcomes everyone. There is a vibrant LGBTQ+ community. Black Lives Matter murals covered the downtown buildings during peaceful protests.
The city is filled with beautiful street art and history. Our neighbors are both young and old.
Don’t get me wrong: you will run into a grumpy local here and there or see a Confederate flag on your way to Ingles. This is rarer in Asheville than in Florida.
Plus, we have Biltmore Estate, an arts district, and a liberal city in a fairly purple-red state. Keep in mind that parts of Western North Carolina are extremely conservative. The larger cities run more liberal.
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Why Live In Asheville?
Along those lines, why would anyone live in Asheville over another growing city like Nashville, Knoxville, Austin, Greenville, or Dallas?
We would advise visiting the places you are comparing and spending as much time there as possible. Get a feel for the culture, the people, and what you personally value most.
Some places will have more traffic, fewer jobs, a higher cost of living, and different things to do for fun.
For us, we had some expected as well as oddball musts. We wanted a two-story home with a basement (Florida, remember…).
Because I have ulcerative colitis and my husband has Celiac’s, we wanted a town that respected food intolerances; we love eating out every week. I also needed a strong GI office close by (read more about my experience living with UC in Asheville).
After living in such a flat state filled with suffocating heat and humidity, we hoped to see light snow again — but not CT blizzard-level.
We also didn’t want to drive 1 to 2-hours to get somewhere like the dentist.
We love the outdoors and craved spending our autumns and summers exploring the waterfalls and swimming holes. We won’t lie, though; we questioned if we could live 4+ hours from the beach.
Plus, we desired a city with a diverse population.
We found all of this in Asheville, along with endless things to do. This sounds cheesy, but we just knew in our hearts that Asheville, NC living felt right for us.
Is Everyone A Hippie? Who Lives In Asheville?
If you aren’t at Trader Joe’s battling the crowds on a Friday night, you probably voted for Trump and hate polar bears. We are kidding.
Whole Foods and The Fresh Market are right there, too, over on Merrimon Ave.
But no, not everyone is an *awesome* hippie or even young, a digital nomad, a liberal, or a retiree. Truth bomb, though: For 2021-2022, U.S. News ranked Asheville as the 14th best place to retire.
We do have a lot of golf courses and country clubs…
Asheville has quite a bit of diversity with a metro population estimated to grow to almost half a million by 2025.
And yes, people both love and hate — really hate that fact — and argue fiercely about it on FB threads. The United States Census Bureau also reported that the median age in Asheville is 39.
Plus, we have the University of North Carolina Asheville — a liberal arts college — responsible for about 3,600 young adults. We early voted on this beautiful campus in 2020.
Yes; North Carolina has early voting. We are a state to watch during elections.
At different times of the year, you will see an influx of tourists and snowbirds. Does this get to be a bit much? You bet.
But, tourists help the local businesses thrive — myself and this site included. Locals know the off-seasons and adjust accordingly.
What About The Homeless Community Members?
One of the most asked questions we receive in our inbox is about Asheville’s homeless community. Yes; Asheville has a growing unsheltered population.
Watching a video of a driver trying to run over a homeless man and his cat — merely because they were homeless — was one of the most horrific things we’ve seen.
Beloved Asheville is a non-profit organization that works with people in need of shelter and supplies as well as challenges that people face.
The city has been trying to resolve housing issues and be more supportive of unsheltered camps. Some of these camps have issues with crime and drug use — and are removed.
It’s an ongoing dialogue and nationwide crisis.
You may also see people asking for money at heavily trafficked intersections. Fights may break out.
In downtown Asheville, you will find people — not all homeless — asking for food and money as well.
Save This Moving To Asheville Guide For Later
Are The Locals Friendly?
Which always brings us to the uncomfortable question: Are the locals friendly toward newbies living in Asheville, NC? Do they want us there? Is there visible tension?
Lately, our inbox is flooded with specific questions about Californians and Floridians moving to Asheville, NC — there are a ton of us in our well-established, older neighborhood.
Technically, Tom and I are what North Carolinians call “halfbacks” since we lived in New England and Florida first.
We had always heard that locals resented the influx of people moving in, the overdevelopment, gentrification, and, rightfully so, the increased traffic.
There will always be heated debates over housing and congestion. Fall foliage tourist season is also out-of-this-world busy.
We have never met anyone face-to-face who has expressed any concern for having us here. Luckily, new friends embraced us with open arms and booze — transplants and locals, alike.
Asheville is full of transplants, and we made friends here easily.
We purchased a home in an established neighborhood — a ’90s home that needs major updating (popcorn ceilings, GAH).
We work, eat, and spend our time and money in Asheville, giving back to local businesses and the economy.
However, we do receive negative, anonymous comments on this post. It’s much easier to troll behind a keyboard at 2 AM with a few drinks under your belt.
There is also an online trolling trend where older transplants feel like they had the right to move to Asheville, NC, years ago but now the “the city is full” and no one else can.
Many appreciate the tourism that allows the businesses to grow while having such an eclectic and even international gaggle of residents.
True to most cities, there is growth and change — for the good and bad.
The city wouldn’t be what it is today without so many people moving to Asheville. Asheville’s economy thrives off tourism.
What Is The Real Estate Market Like In Asheville?
When we first thought about living in Asheville, NC, we had no idea where we should look.
Due to work, we only had one weekend to figure it out. The real estate market in Asheville is hot. Homes move quickly.
In fact, we were touring a home when another realtor started yelling at ours because she jumped our time slot to put in an offer on the house for her clients.
We didn’t want the house but we had never seen anything quite like it.
Our realtor warned us that we only had a few days to make buying decisions, and she was right: houses we toured that weekend were off of the market by Monday morning.
We had 4 amazing houses that we loved out of the 15+ we looked at. Luckily, we got our first choice — sans bidding war — and for a price that was fair for Asheville.
Overall, we had many options with little stress.
Please remember that we don’t have kids — school districts didn’t matter to us — and we never considered renting.
The 2022 Asheville housing market is predicted to be just as competitive, and of course, this demand is driving up housing costs.
Be prepared to buy a pricy fixer-upper if you want a prime location.
How Do You Choose An Asheville Realtor?
Choosing a realtor in Asheville is tough. Some are pushy and clearly out for their bottom line.
Even because of this moving to Asheville post, many have reached out and asked to “work together,” which sounds nice until they aggressively harass you.
We liked our realtor and the practice. They found us what we needed, in the time that we needed it.
If you drop us an email — hello (at) uncorkedasheville (dot) com — we’ll be more than happy to recommend them.
We will not share their info below in the comments for the sake of their privacy and ours.
What Are The Best Neighborhoods In Asheville?
Where should you consider living in Asheville? Is Asheville, NC a good place to live, or should you look outside of the city?
First, don’t miss our complete guide to Asheville neighborhoods. Here, we talk in-depth about living in Asheville (the city proper).
Each place to live in Asheville has different restaurants, breweries, and vibes.
Some areas are more expensive than others. Others have newer condos.
A few Asheville neighborhoods are within walking distance of shops and restaurants. Others, you will need a car.
When we were moving to Asheville (proper), we looked at North, West, and East Asheville along with Biltmore Forest and Village.
We did not look at Asheville’s Historic Montford District or the Grove Park area of North AVL because our budget was lower than those gorgeous beasts.
You will find $1 to 5 million+ houses in Asheville. We have historic homes, fixer-uppers, new builds, condos, and everything in between.
What Are The Best Suburbs In Asheville, NC?
As for the Asheville suburbs, Fletcher, Fairview, and Arden have great houses for slightly less. The ones we toured tended to be more up-to-date, and you got more bang for your buck.
Those towns are under a 15-minute drive into the downtown area.
Hendersonville, which we love, is a great option, but it’s about 45-minutes away from parts of Asheville with the costs of living and crowds slowly increasing.
If you work in downtown Asheville, the commute from Asheville’s suburbs, though, won’t be great.
Traffic on I-26 — which is always under construction — can be a nightmare. However, it’s not I-4 Florida bad.
Is Living In Asheville, NC Expensive?
According to the U.S. Census from July 2021 (estimates), the median house in Asheville costs $270,400.
People are asking a lot for their non-updated homes and getting asking price or over because of the demand. The Census also notes the median income in Asheville, NC is around $50,000.
We know people who rent both houses and apartments. It’s doable, and it’s not CT.
When people complain about how pricey it is in Asheville, I think about my CT nonprofit salary, renting, and taxes.
Plus, it depends if you have an established job. Some people move to Asheville in the blind: no home, no work, no plan… That’s cool, too. We prefer to know our budget and look around.
If you don’t have these luxuries of already having work lined up or the chance to find housing beforehand, you can still find a mix of Asheville housing options with an open mind.
How Do You Get Around In Asheville?
While Asheville has public transportation — a bus system — most people get around by car.
If you live and work outside of the city, we’d say it’s fairly essential that you have a car. Most of America is like this, though.
We always half-heartedly joke that the older city structure is not prepared for our big SUVs.
Some of the streets are incredibly tiny with thin lanes, the parking spots are impossibly small, and those hills get us. The potholes are for real.
People drive pretty terribly here too — it’s not MA or Jersey, but it’s close. We will get trolled for that truth bomb.
Add in a parking lot, and drivers love to speed and weave. Plus, the tourists do some wild maneuvers in the fall over those dang leaves and when they are lost.
You will use your parking (emergency) brake in Asheville. Hills are plentiful. In the winter, snow and ice make twisty roads difficult to navigate.
When you head downtown, you will have to pay for parking, whether in a pay lot, at a meter, or in a parking garage. Parking is fairly priced, though.
In tourist season and on weekends, spots fill up quickly, but usually, we find something without having too much road rage. You just need to know where to go and where not to go.
What Is The Weather In Asheville and North Carolina Like? How Are The Seasons?
Asheville, NC is a great place to live if you are looking for all four seasons with moderate weather. The milder climate largely factored into us moving to Asheville.
On the downside, Asheville grows extremely foggy. Our mornings are much darker. It’s the mountains, which have unpredictable and angsty weather.
Snow & Winter Living In Asheville, NC
Some winters, we see snow flurries as early as October — they are beautiful. Our cats were mesmerized by their first snow.
We usually don’t have snow stick for more than a few hours but it can. Occasionally, you will see more snow, especially in the higher elevations.
Schools and roads will close. Parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway will shut down.
In 2020, we had a rare white Christmas. In 2022, Asheville saw about 9 inches of snow in one evening.
The snowfall and ice were not a big deal to us, but many of our neighbors don’t own shovels. It took the city a while to clear roads, and establishments stayed closed or delayed for 2-3 days.
We don’t usually lose power since our wires are underground.
It also grows frosty and icy in the winter. While we have had a few nights drop into the 20s, the 30s to 50s are our usual Asheville winter weather.
Spring & Summer
The spring and fall in Asheville are pretty mild. Compared to Florida, it still rains here a lot. We feel the gloom of less sun.
Summer in Asheville may hit the high 90s, but again, it’s not Florida. For us, the North Carolina weather is a mix of New England meets Florida.
For Asheville, NC living, autumn is by far the best season. It’s also peak tourist season.
The fall in the mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway compete with the glow of our New England home.
Our Asheville fall bucket list is filled with hiking, orchards, pumpkin picking, and seasonal drinks.
The season is filled with outdoor festivals.
What Can You Do For Fun In Asheville?
Living in Asheville, NC means that we are never bored. You can always check out our main page with things to do, including waterfalls, hikes, and shopping.
We are annual passholders to Biltmore and members of The NC Arboretum.
When not visiting Biltmore House, we go for their great exhibitions. One year, Biltmore showcased Downton Abbey period clothing, and in 2021-2022, they hosted Van Gogh Alive.
Not to mention the 22-miles of trails, Biltmore Winery, and dining. Biltmore also hosts concerts and seasonal events.
Of course, we eat out a lot and love hitting up the boozy scene. Yes, there are breweries, dive bars, and places to sip craft cocktails like the Grove Park Inn and Cultivated Cocktails.
You have Sierra Nevada and New Belgium as bigger names. Many breweries have live music on the weekends.
Hiking in the gorgeous mountains is a must, and DuPont State Forest — home to The Hunger Games waterfalls — is nearby.
We love the Blue Ridge Parkway and all of its picnic spots and mixed-level hiking trails.
The River Arts District is home to local art shops, urban street art, breweries, RAD restaurants, and a winery.
Take an Asheville day trip to Mount Mitchell, Grandfather Mountain, Charlotte, or Bryson City.
Basically, we sum up our Asheville living as hike, eat, drink, repeat. We try hard to maintain an Asheville Events Calendar — but there is so much.
Read More: Top Hiking Trails | Stunning Waterfalls | Mountain Biking
What Are The Pros and Cons Of Living In Asheville, NC?
What Are The Cons of Living In Asheville?
The regional airport is great, but we are used to MCO and direct international flights to Dubai, Reykjavik, and Dublin. We travel a lot so AVL adds time and layovers.
A plus: Allegiant is one of the major domestic airlines that flies out of AVL and is a low fare carrier. Delta, American, and United are the legacies that fly out of AVL, too.
You can drive to Charlotte, but you’ll still find yourself with an extra leg — and sometimes it’s cheaper to fly out of AVL.
Newark is also one of our newer international options, but you have to fly there first. We have friends that drive to Atlanta too.
The Traffic & Congestion
I-26 always seems to be under construction. Sometimes traffic can be horrific. There are a ton of trucks at the craziest hours of the day.
During rush hours and prime times, the roads get congested and parking can be harder.
You’ll witness horrific accidents.
We love that visitors add a vibe to Asheville and put money into the city. We both work in the travel industry — we cannot complain. But, tourism does clog up the highways and cause swarms downtown.
Overall, we just know to make reservations in advance, go out on “off” nights or times, and avoid certain areas at particular times.
The Grove Park Inn in December is like Disney on Christmas Day. The BRP in the fall is sheer chaos on weekends.
As with many cities, with everyone moving to Asheville, many areas have been seeing gentrification for years.
While gentrification leads to increased property rates, commercial development, and improved economic opportunity for some, this also harms another part of the population.
Older residents looking for new homes in the city might not be able to afford another house. There is also a rise in homelessness and crime.
Crime In Asheville
Is Asheville a safe place to live?
Generally, reports say that yes, Asheville is a safe place to live. You can peruse all of the independent sites online that gather Asheville crime data. CrimeGrade is one example.
We also follow the Asheville Police Department on Facebook for local and recent information.
The city struggles with drugs, panhandling, and violent and property crimes, which have increased over the last few years.
We were having dinner in North Asheville when the bank across the street was robbed. The police ran into our restaurant looking for the armed robber.
One of the grocery store workers was attacked mid-morning in the parking lot, and bullet casings were found mid-afternoon where we get sushi.
We do not feel unsafe. However, we also don’t stay out late and use common sense.
Lock your doors, don’t leave valuables in the car, and walking around under the influence at 2 AM in a neighborhood known for incidents is probably not the best idea.
Many homes have alarm systems and camera doorbells.
What Are The Pros of Living In Asheville, NC?
We appreciate the culture and diversity in Asheville. Could it be better? You bet.
The community is educated, active, and engaged. We have fabulous local bookstores and libraries. There is a thriving artist and music scene.
Take workshops to learn a new skill or hobby. Attend a lecture. Enjoy a variety of cuisines at a restaurant or festival.
Take up golfing and do studio yoga.
Unique Cuisine For Everyone
Asheville living is perfect if you are looking for a plethora of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Think Plant and Laughing Seed along with food trucks like The Smokin’ Onion and The Trashy Vegan.
We even host a VeganFest — it’s delicious.
As mentioned above, Tom has Celiac Disease, and his gluten-free options are pretty endless. Posana has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, and BimBeriBon is a gluten-free bakery.
Things To Do
As mentioned above, there are tons of things to do in Asheville for everyone. We barely scraped the surface. Find hiking, live music, art, educational lectures, food, theater…you name it!
We’ve traveled over to Tennessee for day and weekend trips to places like Clarksville (5.5 hrs), Nashville (4.5 hrs), Dollywood (2 hrs), and Knoxville (2 hrs).
We’ve been meaning to get out to the beach to see places like Hilton Head and revisit Charleston, too.
Lastly, we love living in Asheville for those stunning mountain sunsets.
George Vanderbilt built his retreat here and put Asheville on the map because he thought the mountains were healing and peaceful. He was so right.
If you are visiting to scope out Asheville living, here are a few of our hotel recommendations:
Aloft – Downtown Asheville – Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, the Aloft hotel is newly renovated — as of 2020. Vibrant local murals, updated rooms, and sprawling public areas greet visitors. They even have a rooftop pool overlooking the mountains.
Hampton Inn And Suites Asheville Biltmore Area – Although this hotel is on busy Brevard Road – NC-191 – across from the Asheville Outlets, it’s one of our favorites before living in Asheville. Clean, updated, and in the middle of everything, you can access downtown, Biltmore, and the Blue Ridge Parkway fairly quickly. Plus, you can grab a quick breakfast with tons of food options nearby, especially if you want a hiking lunch for the road. We are obsessed with grinders at the nearby Apollo Flame Bistro. It’s a dive, but it’s our dive.
1898 Waverly Inn Bed and Breakfast — While house hunting and before officially moving to Asheville, we stayed at this sweet B&B in Hendersonville, NC (35-40 mins from Asheville closer to DuPont State Forest). We loved their social happy hour and friendly hosts. Say hi to Mike for us! You can walk into downtown Hendersonville, and don’t miss Umi Sushi. Hendersonville is its own hip little town.
Omni Grove Park Inn – Did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed at the Omni Grove Park Inn? We love the Grove Park Inn for its delicious restaurants, events, and out-of-this-world sunsets. Go for the history and cocktails. For romantic AVL restaurants, Edison and Sunset Terrace are great picks.
The Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate or The Inn On Biltmore Estate – For fancy Asheville, NC living, don’t miss a stay at Biltmore to see how the Vanderbilts wined and dined. Biltmore is America’s largest home filled with history, gardens, restaurants, and hiking trails.
Still Considering Moving To Asheville, NC? Save This Post For Later
What Did We Miss About Moving & Living In Asheville, NC?
We have tried our best to answer the questions we get from our readers, and we hope these FAQs help you evaluate if Asheville, NC is a good place to live for you.
You may have a completely different experience living in Asheville, but we wanted to share ours to help guide you.
We love living in Asheville, NC — and we say this often. Moving to Asheville was the perfect choice for our family, and we have no regrets.
Do you have any more questions about what it is like living in Asheville or North Carolina? Did we miss anything that you want to know? Let us know in the comments.
Where Should You Head Next?
If you are planning a quick trip, check out this short Asheville itinerary.
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Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.