So you’ve visited Asheville and fell in love with the mountains, the hiking, the beer, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, have ya? We get it. Both of us moved here from different places and are transplants just like a lot of other people who visit and decide to stay. If you’re thinking about moving to Asheville (is that a U-haul in your driveway?) read on to see some of our top tips for moving to Asheville. Relocating isn’t always easy but we’ve got you covered with some of our best things to know before you pack your bags. Happy and smooth transition to you!
BYOJ – Bring your own job
Finding a job in Asheville can be tricky. I taught PE in a middle school for ten years before moving and had hopes of landing a job teaching in Asheville. The pay was significantly different in Asheville (about $18,000 less than where I’d been teaching at a public middle school in Maryland) but I was willing to take a pay cut because I wanted to be here. That said, the best job I could find for myself in the field of education was substitute teaching and to be honest, I hated it. It wasn’t at all like having my own classroom with my own students. I was in a new school almost every time I subbed and it felt more like babysitting than teaching.
As a result, I kept looking for a job that felt like a good fit. I put my resume in over a dozen different restaurants but I hadn’t waited tables in over a decade. I got one interview but I didn’t get the job. When it seemed like the writing was on the wall I decided to decided to open my own business as a Asheville photographer, writer, web designer , social media consultant and content creator. I’d worked as a photographer for several years in Maryland but never full time. I figured now was the time to try. Thus, Authentic Asheville was born. And so far, so good! Necessity is the mother of invention and in this case, I literally had to reinvent myself. If you think you can brint your own job, find one, or reinvent yourself, then you’re already on your way to making a successful leap in your relocation to Asheville.
Major Employers and Jobs in Asheville
Memorial Mission Hospital, the Buncombe County Board Of Education Education & Health Services and Ingles Markets (that’s the local grocery store here) are the three largest employers in Buncombe County. (If you’re moving to Asheville, it’s pronounced Bun-come, the ‘be’ at the end is silent.) So the jobs are largely concentrated in and classified as health (Mission), education (BCBOE) and trade and transportation (Ingles). If you’ve got a medical background or have experience working with food, you may have an easier time than most.
Other Employers and Jobs in Asheville
Start asking around and you’ll hear locals say that most of the jobs in Asheville are in the tourism/service industry. It’s true. The Biltmore Workforce Management Inc. is the fourth largest employer in the area. Outside of the Biltmore there are numerous restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops in Asheville. It’s great if you have experience serving, hosting, bartending, and working in the back of the house as many places only want to hire someone with experience. If you don’t have any experience in these areas, you might want to get some before you relocate to Asheville.
How to Find a Job in Asheville
If you’re lucky enough to have a job in Asheville before you move, then good for you. You’ll be ahead of the curve and it’ll probably make things a whole lot easier for you transition-wise. If not, then perhaps the single most important thing you can do to find a job in Asheville is to come with an open mind. Be prepared to either learn a new skill or take a job that you never would have dreamed of taking. You may also have to consider, like most people, putting several part-time jobs together in order to make ends meet. It’s the norm in Asheville to have two or three part-time jobs rather than the exception.
Practically speaking, all the usual ways to actually finding those part-time jobs still apply: Craigslist, indeed.com, LinkedIn, word of mouth, knocking on doors and filling out applications in person. Some local businesses are even advertising their jobs on Instagram. If all else fails, consider starting your own business and figuring it out as you go.
Neighborhoods in Asheville
There are several different neighborhoods in Asheville. Like most places, one of the keys to happiness is being in a spot that feels good to you. That means different things to different people, Safety is paramount for some people. For others, it’s the nearby schools or proximity to work. For some, it might mean being within walking distance to the bus stop. Oh and you can’t forget the cost … that’s one of the toughest parts about relocating to Asheville. It’s expensive! Whatever it is that you’re looking for, chances are you’ll be able to find it in Asheville. That said, it can be more than a little tricky to find a place that you want to live that’s both available and within your budget.
We’ve lived in two different places in West Asheville and have really enjoyed both of them. West Asheville is laid back, gay-friendly, has sidewalks for running and numerous places to eat and drink. There are a bunch of businesses that line Haywood Road and then there’s homes behind that on either side. It’s a walkable and bike-able neighborhood that is known for it’s colorful murals on many of the buildings. Many of the homes are older bungalow-style homes and cottages although in recent years some of those have given way, literally, to new construction and much larger homes. If you want a walkable neighborhood with a friendly vibe, this might be a good fit for you.
Potential downsides: it can be a little gritty. Some people love all the random art and messy yards, other people think it’s an eye sore. You can decide for yourself. Also, depending where you live in West Asheville, it might be a little loud. Haywood Road is a super busy corridor with lots of vehicle and foot traffic.
If you like to be in the middle of things, downtown Asheville might be a good fit for you. Living downtown means you’ll most likely end up in a condo or small apartment above a restaurant or other business. Parking can be a pain but once your vehicle is parked, you can walk to tons of restaurants and bars and even the newly remodeled Asheville Art Museum.
Potential downside: lots of cars and lots of tourists. Oh and the parking. Plus, your chances of having a small, private yard are virtually zero.
Some of the nicest houses in the Asheville area are located in the Montford neighborhood. We recently learned that the neighborhood is actually listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to the large number of historic homes built between 1890 and 1920. Old growth trees line the streets of Montford and a fair number of bed and breakfasts operate out of it as well. If your party days are over and you want peace and quiet, put Montford on your list of places to check out. Can’t afford to rent or buy an entire house? There are some studio apartments in Montford, some of which are located in the basement and allow you to have your own private entrance and space at a fraction of the cost for renting an entire place.
Potential downside: there aren’t as many restaurants or bars in the neighborhood so you’ll most likely end up getting in the car to go “out.”
Biltmore Village, Biltmore Forest, Biltmore Park, Reynolds and Skyland are all considered South Asheville. The housing there runs the gamut. You can find everything from 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom mansions that are going for over a million dollars to 1 or 2 bedroom apartments. Though there are definitely neighborhoods in south Asheville, some of which have huge yards, it doesn’t have quite the same neighborhood-y vibe that you can experience in West Asheville or even Montford. There is pretty much every chain store you can think of in south Asheville but what’s missing is the creative vibe.
Potential downside: Hendersonville Road is the main artery that’ll bring you into Asheville. Come rush hour, you can expect a fair amount of traffic. Plus, if you want to enjoy downtown or West Asheville, you’ll have to get back in the car. Or take the bus.
Follow Tunnel Road out of downtown Asheville and you’ll end up in East Asheville. Haw Creek and Oakely are out that way. They’re slightly older communities that are a bit more spread out. Kenilworth is also considered East Asheville and draws a younger crowd, many of whom have families. Living in East Asheville puts you in a great position for jumping on the Blue Ridge Parkway as well as easy access to many of the same chains that you can find in south Asheville.
Potential downside: Tunnel Road traffic to get in and out of Asheville can be annoying.
North Asheville encompasses Lakeview Park, Albermarle Park, Kimberly, Beaver Dam and Grove Park. If we had to choose one we’d probably pick the Lakeview Park neighborhood because of Beaver Lake. There’s a nice walking path around it and the homes in the neighborhood are nice and well cared for you. Outside of Lakeview Park, there’s a mixture in north Asheville as far as housing goes: everything from million dollar homes to smaller, starter homes. You’ve also got close proximity to UNC-Asheville which is great if you’re a student and want to cut down on your commute.
Potential downside: It’s a little too far from downtown to walk so you’re faced with that same old problem of getting into town and parking.
Technically Weaverville isn’t part of Asheville. It’s about 10-15 minutes north of the city. But we’ve put it on here because we lived there for several months during the coronavirus and we loved it. It’s got a small town feel complete with a block of small shops and restaurants. It’s got six miles of sidewalks, a few small town parks, and even two breweries. While it’s nowhere as busy or as big as Asheville, it’s a great place to live if you want to be a little removed from downtown.
Potential downside: You’ll have to get in the car to get to Asheville. It doesn’t have quite as many dining options as downtown.
Neighborhood Recap: Top Tips for Moving to Asheville
Why are all of these neighborhoods in our list of the top tips for moving to Asheville? Because where you call home will have a big impact on how much you enjoy living here. Or not. Make a good decision the first time rather than getting stuck in a lease you do not want to be in. And if you decide you want to move here for good and put down some roots, consider purchasing a home. There are so many real estate agents and realtors in Asheville but our personal favorite is Holly Aracich of The Life in Asheville. She is an excellent communicator, honest, and makes the process fun. She has also become a friend of ours. Oh and we also took some Front Porch Buyer Photos of her clients in front of their homes for her new website!
Save up money
Moving is expensive. There’s no doubt about it. Costs to factor in include being out of work, a moving truck, cleaning supplies, a security deposit for your new place, fuel or airfare, shipping costs for all of your belongings, etc.
If you can, save up as much money as possible before your move. It might sound like one of the most common sense tips out there but it’s also one of our top tips for moving to Asheville. Why? Because you’re going to need a cushion. The cushion will alleviate stress and allow you to make the transition without putting a ton of expenses on your credit card. There is no hard and fast rule as to how much you should save up but if you can, we’d recommend at least 3 months worth to help you pay for basic living expenses such as rent, food, insurance, and a little fun.
Aim for Wellness
There are tons of great professionals in Asheville that can offer you the support you need to make relocating to Asheville a successful move. You can find a therapist, a massage therapist, sound baths, salt baths, and any manor of support groups, yoga classes, etc. Though we encourage you to save up and keep your spending down, don’t forget to use these resources as you move through the transition.
Make New Friends
If it sounds like an obvious no-brainer and an add-on to the wellness suggestions mentioned above, we decided to include it in our top tips for moving to Asheville as a reminder that though you’ve got a ton of boxes to unpack, you’ve got to find a new job, you’ve got to get the person from Spectrum to turn on the internet, forward your mail, etc. it’s important to put yourself out there so that when all of your chores are done you have someone to celebrate with. Easier said than done. Especially for those of us who identify as introverts.
But you can’t stay in your house all day, every day. Part of the reason you’re moving to Asheville is to take part in the awesome community that it offers, right? Look online in Meetups, facebook groups (WAX is a big one), on coffee shop bulletin boards, on social media, say hello to your neighbor or even host your own meetup. There’s no right or wrong way to make new friends. Just make sure it’s not the last thing on your list.
Set Realistic Expectations
Looking back at my own experience in moving to Asheville, I think one of the worst things I did was set unrealistic expectations. I moved and thought, well, I’ve had a successful career for ten years, surely I can put those same skills to use. When August turned into September and I wasn’t in front of a class of students, I started flailing. My friends and family all told me I’d land on my feet, and I did, but it took time. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Chances are you’ll have to deal with the monster named rejection a time or two. You might even go applying for jobs you didn’t think you’d ever do (or do again) but if you give it time and it’s meant to be, you’ll find your niche in Asheville.
Be an Explorer
Be sure to take advantage of all the fun things to see, do and eat in Asheville. There are tons of hiking trails in the area. Experiencing the outdoors is one of the best things to do in Asheville. Check out some of our favorite trails and hikes in the Asheville area. There’s also several music venues, brewery tours, coffee shops, and restaurants to try. One of our favorite ways to explore a new city is to go looking for the murals. We wrote an entire post about some of our favorite murals in Asheville. Balance is the name of the game. While you’re busy trying to get your new life in order, remember to sprinkle in a little fun. No one said relocating to Asheville would be easy but it can and should still be enjoyable.
Do Your Homework
Reading blogs like this one about making the move to Asheville is a great start. But if you want to feel even more at home, start following the local news before you even pack your bags. The Asheville Citizen-Times and the Mountain Xpress are two of the local newspapers that can get you excited about some of the goings-on in town. They publish info about new restaurants, breweries, hot topics, comments about how the community feels about new zoning changes, etc. Finding out what the local issues are before you even pack a bag can help give you context for your new home.
Unfamiliar with your state and local representatives? All that info is online, too. The Asheville reddit can get harsh but for every negative comment in there you’ll also find some good info. They’ve even got their own thread on Moving to Asheville. Bonus: make sure to secure an absentee ballot if you’ll be moving around election time.
Don’t Be Afraid to Leave
Sometimes a new place just isn’t the right fit. Sometimes it is but it just takes time. The good thing is, we’re only a 2 hour drive from Charlotte and about 3.5 hours from Atlanta. Asheville also has it’s own airport, the Asheville Regional Airport. You’re in the mountains but you are definitely not isolated. It’s fairly small although it did just receive a grant to build it out a bit more. You can get direct flights in and out of the airport to lots of different destinations.
Top Tips for Moving to Asheville Recap
If it seems like everyone is talking about moving to Asheville, it may not be too far from reality. The city is growing and growing. New people are arriving all the time. Many of them are fleeing larger cities, others are retiring here. Some are even coming because they want to be closer to the mountains. What about you?
Ready to move to Asheville? We’re excited to welcome you to our city. Please let us know if you have any other helpful tips for moving to Asheville. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks and good luck with your move!