Asheville NC downtown aerial

2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live In America Sponsored by: See homes for sale on Movoto by OJO

liv score
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 55
Demographics 51
Economy 48
Education 68
Health 68
Housing 49
Infrastructure 48

#19. Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC is an artsy city that brews fantastic beer and is home to award-winning chefs, two of its traits making Asheville one of the best places to live in the U.S. Cradled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville draws in outdoor enthusiasts who love to be sprayed by the mist of waterfalls while on their hikes and get excited for the crunch of leaves under hiking boots when autumnal colors paint the trees. Add to that a little quirk (there’s a drum circle every Friday night!), plus a strong economy, and you’ve got mountain town living at its finest.

Top Colleges/Universities: University of North Carolina Asheville

Top Industries & Employers: From health care and technology to arts and culture and tourism, Asheville’s robust economy stands on several legs. Mission Health, Ingles Markets, and the Veterans Administration are some of the city’s major employers.

Weekend Plans: Find adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where forested trails deliver you to cascading waterfalls. Or, explore the dozens of eclectic art galleries in and around town and pop into Lexington Glassworks to watch glass-blowing magic and shop colorful housewares.

Favorite Place to Feast: Benne on Eagle, which has an amazing Sunday brunch and a menu that honors soul food.

Beloved Beverage: Asheville is a beer lover’s paradise — seriously. The city is home to more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States. Start at Asheville Brewing Company’s North Asheville outpost, which is a combination brewery and movie theater.

Outdoorsy Activity: Plunge down an all-natural, 60-foot waterslide into a cool pool of water. Sliding Rock is close to Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest.

Rooftop Bar: Savor Cuban cuisine, daiquiris and sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Hemingway’s Cuba, a slice of Havana in Asheville.

Why Your Pet Will Love It, Too: Not only are several breweries dog-friendly, Asheville is home to Down Dog, a dog park, yoga studio and bar.

Remote Work Perk: When you want to go into an office, Asheville has plenty of coworking spaces. The Flatiron Writers Room has coworking space, screenplay and writing books, and member-organized open mics for creative types.

One More Thing … Several movies have been filmed in and around Asheville, including “The Hunger Games,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Patch Adams” and more.

– Brittany Anas

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