Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com

No. 27

Asheville, North Carolina

Perfect for artistically-inclined nature lovers, Asheville contains a sublime blend of a vibrant arts and music culture paired with the great outdoors.

Explore hundreds of waterfalls, hike and mountain bike in any of the vast mountainous nature areas surrounding the city, or keep it closer to home and kayak or stand-up paddle board along the French Broad River.

The Next Best

Nestled between the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests and the Great Smoky Mountains is walkable downtown Asheville with a wide array of local shops, restaurants, and craft breweries.

Within a half-mile of downtown there are more than 25 museums, art galleries, and studios for creative types, and numerous theatre troupes perform at a multitude of stages, including the Diana Wortham Theatre. The University of North Carolina Asheville is located just outside the arts district and is home to about 4,000 students. If you think it's the place for you, but don't want to commit to buying a house just yet, you'll be in good company: 41.8% of Asheville residents are renters. Everything will seem close at hand, including, perhaps, your workplace — the average commute is only 19 minutes.

And to get a taste of the good life, take a visit the iconic Biltmore Estate, the largest home in America, a 250-room castle situated on 8,000 acres overlooking gorgeous North Carolina mountains built for George W. Vanderbilt in the 1890s. — Chloe Wilt

Asheville, North Carolina population, median household income and home price, projected job growth, average commute, clear days per year

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