Photo Credit: Hunter Ward via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Hunter Ward cc

A Beautiful Mountain Playground

If you like live music, international cuisine, outdoor cafés, clubs, taprooms, coffee houses, food co-ops, eclectic architecture, history, baseball, boutiques, funky shops, art galleries, independent bookstores, theatre, dance, handicrafts, organic markets, street festivals, music festivals, film festivals, hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, golf, trout fishing, camping or picnicking, then Asheville, North Carolina, and Warren Wilson College are in the exact center of the universe.

Asheville, nestled in the Blue Ridge, an artist’s community and college town at heart, has been hailed as “one of the South’s hippest hangouts” by USA Today and crowned one of the “Top 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S.A.” by Money magazine. Our city combines small-town charm with an extraordinary urban sensibility…and it’s all a quick 10-minute drive from Warren Wilson College.

The Great Outdoors—All Year ‘Round

Ranked the third most livable city in America by Outside magazine, Asheville is also known as the “Adventure Sports Capital of the Southeast.” The Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina are one of the best natural playgrounds on the planet. As a student at Warren Wilson College, you can walk out any door on campus and you’re just steps away from 600 acres of mountain forest, home to one of the three highest centers of biodiversity in the United States.

Our region boasts the best ski resorts in the Southern Highlands and ranks as one of the premier paddling locales on the continent, featuring such whitewater celebrities as the Green, Nolichucky, Nantahala (training site of many Olympic hopefuls) and French Broad rivers. The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests are right next door, offering no end to excellent terrain for hiking and mountain biking, and dramatic rock faces attract climbers from around the world.

The famous Blue Ridge Parkway is a five-minute drive from campus, while the historic Appalachian Trail is less than an hour away. And a scenic hour and a half drive will deliver you to the Great Smoky Mountains, home of the most widely visited national park in the country.

Art—From the Canvas to the Screen

Hailed as one of the “Top 25 Arts Destinations in the U.S.” by American Style magazine, Asheville is an artist’s—and art-lover’s—paradise. Downtown and Historic Biltmore Village boast more than 40 galleries showcasing works by the region’s talented artists as well as top artists from around the world. The Asheville Art Museum even hosts traveling collections from New York City’s Whitney Museum. The Asheville Urban Trail is a 1.7-mile stroll throughout Downtown Asheville, illustrating the city’s vibrant history through artistic interpretation at 30 stops. It also provides a close-up look at a collection of Art Deco architecture rivaled only by Miami Beach. Asheville has a burgeoning theater scene, with dozens of local troupes and several professional companies taking to the stage year-round. And if you’re a film fanatic, Fine Arts Theatre shows first-run arthouse flicks, while the annual Asheville Film Festival offers an exclusive glimpse at features and documentaries

Music, Music and More Music!

After dark, let your ears lead you to the nearest microbrewery or music hall, where the acts range from rockabilly to ragtime. With one of the best music scenes in the Southeast, Asheville enjoys regular performances by bluegrass favorites Seldom Scene, Peter Rowan and Warren Wilson’s own Second String and Greasy Beans; blues rocker Ben Harper; mountain folksinger Gillian Welch; Warren Wilson grad David Wilcox; and the jazz-funk trio Medeski Martin and Wood. Other recent performers include Ani DiFranco, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Elton John, the Indigo Girls, the Allman Brothers, Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and Taj Mahal. Like to dance? Downtown choices abound, including west coast swing, waltzing, clogging, contra-dancing, disco, slow dancing to jazz or boogieing to bluegrass.


Whether you’re craving fresh mountain trout or a tempeh burger, Asheville’s eateries will have your mouth watering before you can say “wasabi.” Chefs who have worked in some of the world’s best restaurants now call Asheville home, and as a result, we have it all. Barbeque, burgers, Caribbean, Chinese, European, French, German, global-fusion, Italian, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Malaysian, Mediterranean, sandwiches, seafood, steaks, subs, Thai and plenty of vegetarian…no matter what your taste, you’ll find it here (and much of it is created using local organic produce!)