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Asheville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, is a city of contrasts with tourism as an important industry. Popular with White water Rafting, the Class II to V whitewaters attract rafters from all over. Other touristy outdoor activities are hiking in the 'Great Smoky Mountains' National Park, golfing and skiing.
While some say Asheville is redneck, it is also known for its liberal atmosphere. Many artists and artisans have migrated to Asheville which has broadened the tourism offerings. The Asheville Downtown Gallery Association has thirty-one member galleries with exhibitions from glass to jewellery to fine art. The Association sponsors four annual art walks.
Overall, Asheville has over a hundred galleries and a maze of artists' studios. The American Style Magazine named Asheville as the number two small-city arts destination for 2008. Shopping for art and antiques is a favourite tourist activity.
Asheville is also home to the University of North Carolina in Asheville, one of the nation's outstanding public liberal arts colleges.
Tourists will also find a vibrant night life in Asheville. In addition to varied performing arts activities, Asheville has an eclectic mix of beer pubs, wine bars, and night clubs with something for everyone. There are many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines to appeal to every taste and budget. The area also offers lodging to accommodate everyone from backpackers to honeymooners.