Tucked into the French Broad River Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has long drawn outdoor lovers and artists with its natural beauty and independent spirit. Once a playground for the Vanderbilts and a counterculture hub, Asheville is now a vibrant city where food, music and art are at the forefront. Appalachian traditions are evident in Asheville, but they've been updated—think barbecue sliders paired with craft cocktails. This confluence of cultures is part of what makes Asheville so unique. With national parks and forests within an hour of the city and dining at downtown restaurants, Asheville's mix of sophistication, creativity and scenic beauty is irresistible.