A desirable Asheville beckons with more than just its mountains and breweries.

From 2010 to 2015 (the latest year figures are available), North Carolina was the 14th fastest growing state in the country. Within the state, Buncombe County is the 15th fastest growing county during the same time period. And the biggest growth engine within Buncombe County is the City of Asheville. Why are so many people moving here?

Desirable Asheville shows up on many “top 10” lists. Here is just a sampling from recent publications:

  • World’s Best Cities (Travel + Leisure’s #10, 2015)
  • Best Foodie Destinations in the USA (S. News & World Report, 2016)
  • Best New Cities for Beer Lovers (Fortune, 2016)
  • 10 Best Outdoor Towns in America (SmarterTravel.com, 2015)
  • The 12 Best Places to Retire in the U.S. (Condé Nast Traveler, 2016)
  • The 20 Coolest Towns in the U.S. (Matador Network, 2015)
  • The 9 Most Romantic Cities in the South (The Huffington Post, 2015)
  • Top 10 Fall-Foliage Destinations in the U.S. (TripAdvisor.com, 2015)
  • 22 Best Small-Town Family Weekend Destinations (VacationIdea.com, 2015)

And the list goes on and on…

Many Things to Many People

You might think such a desirable Asheville is immense to offer so many different things to so many different people. But it’s a small city of 80,000. Just 20 years ago, many of its downtown shops were boarded up. Its resurgence has been sparked by both public and private investments. Now it’s a mecca for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

It’s a mountain town nearby the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail and the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s an hour from Greenville, SC; two hours from Knoxville, TN; and four hours from Atlanta, GA. In this day and age, where all you need to go to work is a broadband connection, people are choosing to move to a place to enjoy a quality of life outside the big cities.

Diversity Is Desirable Asheville’s Strength

While the population is somewhat diverse and city politics lean decidedly to the left, the diversity that attracts people to Asheville has to do with the city’s location and amenities. Outdoor sports are popular:

  • Mountain biking
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Hiking
  • Tubing
  • Skiing
  • Camping
  • Rock climbing
  • Motorcycling

Asheville’s also been named Beer City USA because it boasts more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. Large craft brewers Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have both built East Coast breweries and distribution hubs in and around Asheville. Drinking is a community activity.

Art for All’s Sake

And Asheville is home to artists of all bents, including:

  • Painters
  • Sculptors
  • Crafters
  • Musicians
  • Writers
  • Dancers
  • Photographers
  • Filmmakers

Art permeates the city as murals and public sculptures adorn public parks and private nooks. Artists have revitalized a previously rundown area of the city now known as the River Arts District (or RAD for short). You can find art galleries and boutiques on every downtown street and throughout the city.

Not All Roses

Asheville has its problems. It’s a small city hemmed in by mountains that limit its growth. Affordable housing is scarce. Traffic is increasing, and hotels now dot the city skyline. Jobs are growing, but most opportunities pay low, if not minimum wages. BYOJ (bring your own job) is still an accepted mantra.

What makes desirable Asheville worth moving to? Ultimately, it’s the quality of life.

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