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I've read a lot lately about Asheville. It sounds like it's a mecca for gay men and women and for people pursuing "alternative" lifestyles. The NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle, Boston Globe, Washington Post have done articles about it. It's been referred to as a "gay mecca" on Bill Maher's (HBO), Keith Olbermann's (MSNBC), and John Stewart's (COM) shows.

I just visited Asheville recently and was surprised - as a ex-NYC resident that Asheville is as cool and progressive as people are saying. What do you think?
 

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Some people showing their age - before San Francisco was known for it's homosexual population, it was known for it's hippies. Hence, the nickname was for Asheville's large hippy population - which is still large. Where I live in now has a similar demographic, though they are more NIMBYish than anything else. But even though Asheville may have a larger gay population for a city it's size - I assure you the nickname is due to the hippy atmosphere that still hangs on there.

Great place though & the city is full of ex-Atlantans (which may be a bad thing ;)).
 

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Yeah, probably Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami are the leaders in regard to gay population, though Asheville does have a huge counterculture population that is quite freaky......
 

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King of the Queen
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i wouldnt call it the SFO of the south.
there are a ton of gay people, and it has quite a community, but not like SFO.
its just really large considering the size of asheville.
but there's gotta be one mtn. city for the gays!
 

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Yeah, probably Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami are the leaders in regard to gay population, though Asheville does have a huge counterculture population that is quite freaky......
Don't forget Houston which has a gay population of more than 250,000 people, and in my opinion is the gay mecca of the south.
 

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I think that Asheville's downtown area is much more SF-ish than any I've seen in the South. Part of it is that Asheville, unlike Houston or Atlanta, doesn't have a boatload of glitzy, gleaming new arenas and museums and so forth (not that there's anything wrong with those things). The city is quite small, but it's pretty dense and has a very bohemian feel in some places. The combination of older architecture, hippie presence, and gay culture definitely make it a West Coast type of place.

The downside of course is A-ville doesn't have the sheer size of population that some other cities have. So you don't see massive gay clubs or large bohemian districts. But if you take proportions into account, Asheville feels MUCH more like San Francisco than Atlanta, Houston, or Miami.
 

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I'm in Asheville quite frequently, and yes I think this is a fair comparison. Lexington Ave specifically REALLY reminds me of SF. Asheville is obviously a smaller city in the mountains, but the general feel is certainly there. Independent shops, restaurants, very open social place--pretty close. As mentioned--it's a little gritty too which gives it a similar feel. Atlanta is very buttoned up and corporate and new feeling to me, and although there are great quirky neighborhoods, large gay population, etc., it doesn't even come close to reminding me of SF.
 

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I don't think I was saying that Atlanta is LIKE San Francisco....

Urban Myth's post mainly focused on Asheville's gay population and whether that factor qualified them as the "SF of the South".

If we're going strictly by that standard, Atlanta still wins hands down. Asheville may be funkier and have more of a hippy vibe than Atlanta, but the size, visibility, and political influence of Atlanta's gay community is unparalleled in the South.
 

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I think that Asheville's downtown area is much more SF-ish than any I've seen in the South. Part of it is that Asheville, unlike Houston or Atlanta, doesn't have a boatload of glitzy, gleaming new arenas and museums and so forth (not that there's anything wrong with those things). The city is quite small, but it's pretty dense and has a very bohemian feel in some places. The combination of older architecture, hippie presence, and gay culture definitely make it a West Coast type of place.

The downside of course is A-ville doesn't have the sheer size of population that some other cities have. So you don't see massive gay clubs or large bohemian districts. But if you take proportions into account, Asheville feels MUCH more like San Francisco than Atlanta, Houston, or Miami.
Very well said :)
 
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