The soundscape of Asheville, NC


Photo via @wncphototours

What is ASMR? It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response — a feeling of well-being caused by a specific stimulus, like a sound.

There are certain sounds you’ll hear around downtown Asheville that will either have you wondering “what was that?” or offer you a sense of place. Whether it’s the whizzing of cars down Broadway or the buzz of tourists exploring, these ambient noises give our city life.

While much of the downtown area is dominated by honks and hum of city traffic, there are a few sounds that are uniquely Asheville. Let’s take a look at some of those, and how they make us feel at home.

🛤️ Cicadas

  • The sound of periodic cicadas in the mountains is one of spring’s most memorable aural experiences. We don’t hear them every season — in fact, these critters only emerge once every 13 to 17 years. But when they do, their sounds can hit up to 100 decibels that can be heard from up to a mile away.

🍃 The wind in the trees

  • This is one you can hear in all seasons: the delightfully soothing sound of wind blowing through the trees. DYK: This incredible sound has a name? It’s called psithurism, and you can enjoy it all the way from Beaver Lake to Bent Creek + beyond.

🏗️ Construction

  • The sounds of construction might seem like a nuisance, but they are the sounds of a growing city. One of Asheville’s most notable construction projects is the River Arts Apartments project, a mixed-use facility of 237 apartment units, 60+ public parking spaces, and 16,000 sq ft of retail space that’s expected to be completed in summer 2024.

🎻 Street performers

  • If you’ve walked the streets of downtown Asheville, you’ve undoubtedly heard the sounds of some of our buskers. We’re particularly enamored with Hazel Brindley — a 28-year old pianist, busker, and self-described “inventor of strange contraptions,” who performs dazzling street solos using a portable, motorized piano that she built herself.

What are some of the sounds that you associate with AVL’s soundscape? Let us know.

More from AVL Today