Asheville, North Carolina – Retirement Guide

Asheville, North Carolina   Retirement Guide

Jaw-dropping mountain vistas, a moderate climate, vibrant creative scene and thriving university culture all mean Asheville has earned its rank as one of the nation’s most popular retirement destinations.

In fact, the town is even home to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville (previously known as the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement), a continuing education program that offers programs and classes spanning topics as diverse as the arts, music, computers, wellness, life transition and retirement relocation planning and creative retirement.

Retirees can find a number of affordable housing options in and around Asheville. While some choose to live in the quaint and walkable downtown area, others choose retirement communities in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The median home price in Asheville is less than $200,000, though that can vary considerably depending on location and amenities. Still, Asheville’s low cost of living keeps the town an attractive option.

Pros: Gorgeous natural scenery, vibrant creative culture
Con: Few direct flights from Asheville’s airport

At a Glance
Best For: Arts lovers
Population: 84,458
Cost of Living: 6% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $199,000
Unemployment: 6.5%
Top State Income Tax: 7.75%
Crime Rate: 11% higher than national average

Arts lovers will find their schedules packed with what to do in Asheville. Galleries, antiques shops dot the streets of downtown, live music is prevalent throughout town — including a weekly Friday night drum circle that’s nothing short of an epic tradition. Asheville’s proximity to 3 universities also means there’s always a creative class to be taken, from pottery to philosophy.

Asheville lies tucked between the equally stunning Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains, on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian Trail. A number of easy and more challenging hikes can be found in these areas, as well as in other nearby forests and parks.

Other popular pursuits for retirees include bicycling, golfing, visiting the local Folk Art Center, taking scenic drives through the Blue Ridge Parkway, visiting the massive Biltmore Estate and shopping at the many outdoor farmers markets and antique markets that pop up on weekends.

Foodies will be enamoured at their dining options in Asheville: hundreds of restaurants fill this charming town, and serve up cuisine for a variety of palates, from barbecue, to contemporary American, vegetarian, Indian and Thai. Not surprising in an area filled with students, there’s also a bustling coffee house culture in town, as well.

Top Retirement Cities in North Carolina:  Asheville | Chapel Hill | New Bern | Pinehurst | Winston-Salem

Photo by Michael Tracey via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.