GQ’s ‘coolest city you’ve never been to’ is one many in NC call home

Asheville skyline.
Asheville skyline. NC Department of Commerce

GQ magazine showered some love on the hills of Western North Carolina on Monday, dubbing Asheville “the coolest city you’ve never been to.”

The magazine recruited Charles Frazier – author of the novel “Cold Mountain” – to offer a local’s take on things to do in the mountain town.

Frazier cited the scenery, a surplus of writers like himself, the bookstores, and superlative food and drink options.

Folks in Asheville, ranked the best place in the state for frequent exercise by one survey, take advantage of its proximity to Bent Creek Experimental Forest and North Carolina Arboretum to bike, hike or run, Frazier told GQ.

Frazier also gave a shoutout to breweries in the city, which has been called the nation’s best for beer drinkers by personal finance website SmartAsset. The group noted that the city has about 25 breweries in a population of about 90,000, giving it the highest ratio of breweries to people among the cities on its top-10 list.

For “real local beer,” Frazier suggested checking out Highland Brewing Company and Wedge Brewing Co., which brought home a gold medal for its Asheville Lager at the Great American Beer Festival last year in Denver.

On the food front, Village Wayside Bar & Grille, located in an old train depot in Biltmore Village, offers good eats and plenty of literary connections, Frazier told GQ.