Article Overview: Pros & Cons of Living in Asheville | Moving to Asheville
Are you thinking about moving to Asheville, North Carolina?
I’ve lived in Asheville for the past 6+ years yet still find myself pleasantly surprised by this progressive and artsy city.
Nestled between the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains, Asheville is best known for outdoor recreation, hospitality, artsy residents and a robust music scene.
The charming city offers many big city perks (tons of restaurants, breweries, music venues, etc) while maintaining an easy-going small-town feel (as of 2022, Asheville’s population is 95,000).
I thought it’d be fun to roundup the pros and cons of living in Asheville based on first hand experience. While reading this list, keep in mind that not everyone will feel the same way about living in Asheville. And that’s alright, heck — that’s what the comments are for!
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Pros & Cons of Living in Asheville North Carolina
Table of Contents: Living in Asheville North Carolina
Table of Contents: Living in Asheville North Carolina
- Pros & Cons of Living in Asheville North Carolina
- Pros of Living in Asheville
- Cons of Moving to Asheville, NC
- Map of Living in Asheville
- FAQ – Living in Asheville
- Moving to Asheville (Post Summary)
- Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Asheville
Pros of Living in Asheville
#1. Access to Nature
There’s no denying that one of the biggest draws of living in Asheville is having access to epic outdoor recreation. And it’s true, the never-ending list of outdoor activities is one of the biggest perks of living in Asheville.
You don’t even need to be a nature nut to enjoy this perk. Merely looking out your window while driving will expose you to breathtaking panoramic sights on a daily basis.
Surrounded by the stunning Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountains, Asheville is a mountain town through and through. For those that strive to live an active lifestyle, the hiking opportunities will feel endless.
Asheville residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to playing outside. Most weekends don’t officially start until a hearty hike is capped with brunch. And because nature is such a big part of everyday life, it’s pretty easy to stay active and find other like-minded people who enjoy the great outdoors.
#2. Mild Weather Year-Round
It’s getting more and more difficult to find a city where extreme temperatures don’t make life challenging a few months out of the year. The south is known for having mild winters but nightmarish summer humidity. The Midwest is known for blissful summers by winters brutal enough to qualify them for Dante’s inferno.
Asheville, on the other hand, seems to be within the coveted sweet spot. The weather is pretty mild year round, which means playing outside is feasible every season of the year.
Average winter temperatures hover around 50°F, which means bone-chilling winters won’t be moving to Asheville with you.
Averaging 85°F, the summers in Asheville are admittedly warm but because of the city’s higher elevation, they’re also fairly mild. Asheville isn’t known for oppressive humidity or overbearing heat, unlike the neighboring cities to the east and south.
All this to say, you really can enjoy daily life in Asheville because the weather is mild so you don’t need to plan around it (thinking of winters in Chicago and summers in Texas). The weather is mostly blissful.
#3. The Lively Music Scene
I feel like the only person on the planet that didn’t know about the city’s music scene before moving to Asheville. My pleasant surprise turned out to be nothing more than naivety, because Asheville has been gracing “best music city” lists for ages.
Live shows are hosted practically every weekend, and many well known bands make a point to play in Asheville. Stroll through downtown any random Saturday night and you’re bound to see long lines spilling from venues, wrapping the block.
It’s hard to escape the live music scene while living in Asheville, so it’s best to embrace it. Heck, you don’t even need tickets to catch the talented street-performers downtown.
So if you’re an avid music fan, or simply enjoy the sound of live music, you’re going to love living in Asheville.
#4. Top-Notch Breweries
Did you know that Asheville consistently ranks as one of the top brewery cities in America? The metro area is home to 30 breweries, which means Asheville has the second most breweries per capita in the country.
As a local, I can confirm that Asheville’s breweries live up to the hype. If you’re new to town, make sure to check out Asheville Brewing Co., Burial Beer Co. and Lookout Brewery. Those are my top three spots to catch up with coworkers and friends.
#5. The Friendly Community Feeling
The south is known for hospitality, and North Carolina is no exception. It’s not uncommon to walk into your local cafe and be greeted by name (if you visit often enough) or have people ask about your weekend.
Since the city’s population is less than 100,000 people, you’ll be running into the same folks frequently. Overtime, people will make an effort to get to learn about you.
I’ll be honest, the friendly community feel took some adjusting at first. Prior to moving to Asheville, I only lived in large cities where being greeted by name was unusual more than comforting.
However, after adjusting to the difference, this is one of my personal favorite perks of living in Asheville. The community feeling makes me feel welcomed and safe, like my neighbors have my back.
#6. Proximity to Everything You Need
As mentioned earlier, living in Asheville means you have access to amenities usually reserved for larger cities. You’re never far from a grocery store, favorite brunch spot, great cafe, music venue or hospital.
Nestled in the mountains, we have easy access to a wide range of amenities and essentials right within reach.
When it comes to shopping, Asheville has it a lot to offer. From local boutiques and charming shops to larger retail centers, you can find a pretty diverse selection. And for your everyday needs, there are plenty of supermarkets and convenience stores scattered throughout the city (yes, there’s a Whole Foods).
Another wonderful aspect of Asheville’s location is the ease of exploring nearby attractions. Within a short drive, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of national parks, scenic trails, and charming mountain towns. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a relaxing weekend getaway, Asheville’s surroundings have got you covered.
#7. Asheville is a Foodie’s Paradise
When most people think of foodie cities, I doubt our city comes to mind, which is a pity. Because the food scene is one of the biggest perks of living in Asheville!
Asheville residents take great pride in local and seasonal cuisine. The city is home to incredible restaurants that offer everything from cheap eats to memorable celebration-worthy meals.
Another thing worth mention is that the brunch scene is alive and well in Asheville. You can expect up to an hour wait during the weekends, but start your morning at Early Girl Eatery and you’ll see what all the fuss is about.
#8. The Relaxed and Quirky Vibe
Asheville has a very relaxed vibe because people are seldom in a hurry. Taking it a step further, the city also has a quirky vibe made evident by the numerous Keep Asheville Weird signs.
Asheville attracts creatives like moths to a flame which means you’ll be living in a city full of unique personalities, like artists, foodies and coffee/brew- aficionados. This mix of fun personalities creates a very intriguing yet relaxed vibe to daily life in Asheville.
In fact, if you plan on moving to Asheville, I suggest strolling downtown during a Friday evening to experience the drum circle. It’s an organized event where folks bang drums while others sway with the music. It’s odd and interesting and downright weird — something you won’t want to miss.
#9. Access to Wine Country
One of my favorite ways to spend a relaxing weekend afternoon is by visiting a winery. Thankfully, there’s more than a dozen wineries within an hour’s drive of Asheville. And this doesn’t even include the most visited winery in the country, The Biltmore.
The region has an abundance of vineyards, thanks to the cool mountain air, temperate climate, and fertile soil that’s just perfect for grape cultivation. From intimate, family-owned wineries to more expansive estates, the area offers a diverse selection of tasting experiences.
And the wines themselves? A pretty great mix of classic varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay, coupled with intriguing local flavors that will definitely capture your interest.
But what really sets Asheville’s wine country apart is the total experience it offers. Imagine savoring a rich, bold red wine as you gaze upon beautiful mountain vistas, or sipping a crisp, light white under the Carolina blue sky.
Fun Fact: The Biltmore is the largest house in America, a tour is very much in order. I suggest getting the annual membership if you plan to move to Asheville because you’ll definitely get use out of it!
Cons of Moving to Asheville, NC
#1. The High Cost of Housing
Let’s talk about the sticker shock of buying a home in Asheville, because it’s real. Like most folks, I assumed that buying a home in the south would be affordable, especially compared to the west.
Boy was I wrong.
The average price of a home in Asheville is $427K, which is way too high when considering the average salary is $45K. The price of housing in Asheville is steadily rising, and homes are become less affordable. Young couples moving to Asheville with the hopes of starting a family may find themselves surprised by sticker shock.
Which gets me to my next point …
#2. Small City Salaries
One of the biggest disadvantages of living in Asheville is the lack of high-paying job opportunities.
Prior to moving to Asheville, I scoured the internet for jobs but wasn’t able to find any that justified the move, especially considering the disproportionate cost of housing.
Thankfully, I landed a remote gig that afforded me an opportunity to move to Asheville without compromising pay, and I plan to enjoy living in Asheville until the opportunity ceases.
So if you’re in a similar situation and able to work remotely, I highly recommend moving to Asheville because the quality of life is hard to beat. However, if you plan to apply for jobs within Asheville brace yourself for disappointment.
#3. The Airport Leaves Much to Be Desired
Offering only a handful of non-stop destinations, Asheville’s airport leaves much to be desired.
Unless you’re flying to large cities in the surrounding states (like Florida, Georgia), a layover is all but guaranteed. The exception is Washington DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.
So anytime I have a west coast-bound flight, I know that a 2+ hour layover in Atlanta is inevitable, which is a bear.
Of course, the fact that we have an airport is a luxury not lost on me. But I travel often for work and having to rely on the Asheville Regional Airport is one of the biggest cons of living in Asheville.
During my first visit, before I committed to moving to Asheville, I found myself surprised by the homeless population in the city.
I met up with friends at a local brewery and couldn’t help but notice the large crowds of homeless folks congregating in the city parks after dark.
Mind you, I didn’t feel threatened, but I don’t feel comfortable with my wife walking downtown alone at night.
And yes, I know that homelessness is not unique to Asheville. Frankly, the population of homeless is much smaller than other cities I’ve lived in, but it’s still worth a mention.
#5. Asheville is Going Through Growing Pains
As with most wonderful cities, the secret it out. There’s 90,000 folks lucky enough to call Asheville home and the recent interest in the city comes with its fair share of growing pains.
As you can imagine, not everyone is thrilled with new folks moving in because it drives up the price of housing and increases traffic congestion.
The city’s infrastructure is also feeling the strain of this rapid expansion. Traffic congestion, particularly in the downtown area, has become a growing concern. Despite efforts to improve public transportation and encourage alternative means of travel, the increase in residents and visitors has put pressure on the existing roadways.
At the same time, Asheville’s cherished local businesses are also facing challenges. As more national chains and high-end retailers move in, our small businesses are struggling to compete.
The city finds itself in a delicate balancing act, trying to sustain economic growth and cater to its new demographic without losing the unique charm and close-knit community feel that make Asheville so special.
I’ve never felt unwelcome since moving to Asheville, but I’ve overheard conversations where locals gripe about new folks. It’s inevitable and it happens everywhere, so handle this with a grain of salt, I sure do.
#6. Lack of Public Transportation
The good news is that Asheville offers public transportation, the bad news is that it leaves a lot to be desired.
Having a bus is better than nothing, but it doesn’t run on Sundays and the routes are reduced during Saturdays. The bus routes are pretty limited and don’t cover all the neighborhoods, especially the ones further out. On top of that, the service schedules can be confusing and unreliable, especially with services ending way too early in the evening.
All told, using public transportation while living in Asheville usually doubles travel time.
I moved to Asheville with my car and can’t imagine giving it up because the city is too spread out to walk (outside of the downtown core).
Map of Living in Asheville
FAQ – Living in Asheville
Asheville is a great place to live for those who dig access to nature, a lively music scene, top-notch breweries, and a friendly community feeling.
People are drawn to Asheville for its abundant access to nature, mild year-round weather, vibrant music scene, top-notch breweries, and the friendly sense of community. Additionally, the city’s reputation as a foodie’s paradise, relaxed and quirky vibe, and proximity to wine country make it an appealing destination for those seeking a unique and enriching lifestyle.
Moving to Asheville (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the pros and cons of living in Asheville North Carolina.
- Access to nature
- Mild weather year-round
- The music scene
- The breweries
- Friendly community feel
- Proximity to everything you need
- The city has a relaxed vibe
- Asheville is a foodie’s paradise
- The wine country
- High cost of housing
- Small city salaries
- Not the best airport
- The homelessness
- The growing pains
- Public transportation
Comparison of the Pros & Cons of Living in Asheville
|Pros of Living in Asheville||Cons of Moving to Asheville, NC|
|Access to Nature||High Cost of Housing|
|Mild Weather Year-Round||Small City Salaries|
|The Lively Music Scene||The Airport Leaves Much to Be Desired|
|The Friendly Community Feeling||Asheville is Going Through Growing Pains|
|Proximity to Everything You Need||Lack of Public Transportation|
|Asheville is a Foodie’s Paradise|
|The Relaxed and Quirky Vibe|
|Access to Wine Country|
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Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or if anything should be added to this list of pros and cons of moving to Asheville, North Carolina.
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